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Category Archives: Sellers

The Effect of Home Staging on Buyers & Sellers

The National Association of Realtors just released their 2015 Profile of Home Staging. This report shows the statistics on whether staging influences a buyer’s decision to purchase.  Key findings were that:

* 81% of buyers thought that it was easier to visualize a staged property as a future home.

* 46% of buyers were more willing to tour a home that had been staged that they viewed online first.

* 45% of buyers said that a home staged to their tastes positively impacted the home’s value. Whereas, if the home was not staged to the buyer’s tastes, then 10% of buyers said that the staging negatively affected the home’s value.

* 28% of buyers were willing to overlook other property faults in a staged home.

* 5% of buyers said that staging made them more suspect of the home’s features.

For sellers, the most important rooms to be staged, in order of importance are: Living Room, Kitchen, Master Bedroom, Dining Room, Bathroom, Children’s Bedrooms and Guest Bedroom.

Personally, I think staging a home is a good idea, especially for homes with odd room sizes or rooms/spaces that don’t have a particular purpose. Also, staged homes show better than vacant properties and allows buyers to see how furniture fits best in each room.

Call me today for more information about marketing your home to sell quickly, 503-421-2407. I look forward to assisting with your sale!


Posted in Sellers|

How Seller-Paid Closing Costs Are Applied at Closing – Portland’s Fee for Service Real Estate Company, PointClickandPack.com

Seller paid closing costs are basically a paper transaction. There are costs for the buyer for getting a loan. These include origination fees, loan processing fees, escrow fees & recording fees. Your lender can send you a break-down of these costs if you don’t already have a copy. In addition, your loan could include an escrow account to pay your taxes and insurance with your mortgage payment. If you choose to have an escrow account then there are typically 6-12 months worth of padding to set up this account initially and these reserve funds are collected by your escrow officer at closing. Think of your escrow account as simply a bank account for the house. When you sell, you will be refunded any unused portion in the account. But during your ownership, your bank will take care of your property tax payments and home insurance payments each year. (They pad the account at the onset so that they don’t need to ask each buyer for more money when taxes and insurance rates go up each year). These reserve funds to set up your escrow account are called “pre-paids.” In loans where the buyers have a 20% down payment or more, the buyers can choose to pay their own taxes and insurance each year, in which case they would not have pre-paids. When you close, you will need to provide the balance of your down payment (your earnest money deposit goes towards your down payment) plus your closing costs and pre-paids. When the seller agrees to pay a portion of these, (let’s say $5,000 just to have a number), then that simply shows up as a credit on your closing statement. So at closing, you will need to bring $5k LESS to the closing table while the seller nets $5k LESS from his profit. This is why it’s a paper transaction, because neither party actually shows up with this money at closing. Let’s say you want to pay your own taxes and insurance, and therefore you don’t have pre-paids, and your closing costs come to $3k. You would then talk to your lender about buying down your interest rate so that you come up with another $2k in closing costs and thus have a less expensive mortgage payment. Or, you would ask the seller to do $2k worth of repairs prior to closing and then contribute $3k towards your closing costs. Any unused portion of closing costs gets credited back to the seller, so it’s important to know exactly how much your loan needs in costs before negotiating this as part of the transaction. The closing cost contribution has absolutely NOTHING to do with the seller’s costs to close. The seller will have some closing costs related to escrow and recording fees, but they pale in comparison to loan costs and these show up as a debit on the seller’s closing statement meaning that the seller’s profit is reduced by that amount. Please contact me if you want additional information. You can reach me at Phyllis@PointClickandPack.com or 503-421-2407.

Posted in Buyers, Sellers|

Improve your house’s saleability

Most people are aware that we’re now in a buyer’s market. For the past few months, sellers have watched as more and more homes have come on the market allowing buyers greater negotiating power over sales price and repair issues.

My firm belief is that there are only two things that sell a house, price and location. You can’t do much about a house’s location, but you can price it lower than market if your house sits on a busy street or near commercial or industrial property. If the seller is firm about keeping their sales price at a particular price point, there are a couple of other ways they can try to improve their chances of getting a great offer.

  1. Offer incentives such as a credit towards the buyer’s closing costs or a decorating allowance if the house is dated or in need of new carpeting.
  2. For condominiums or townhouses, offer to pay up to six month’s worth of home owner association dues.
  3. Offer a higher buyer’s agent commission (BAC) to make the house more attractive for Realtors to show and sell. The standard BAC is 2.7% of the sales price. A good incentive BAC would be 3% or 3.15%. I’ve even seen commissions offered at 3.5% and would absolutely LOVE to sell one of those!
  4. Include in the house sale something unusual of value. This incentive would typically only apply to high end homes where some sellers have included a new car with the house. Lesser expensive value items may include upgrading the kitchen appliances to stainless steel.
  5. Think about hiring a professional staging company to give you ideas about how to reposition your furniture and accessory items, remove unnecessary clutter and/or paint accent walls so that your home elicits a WOW factor when buyers enter for showings.

When you sell your home, make sure you know about the other homes in your area that are also on the market. These houses are your direct competition since any buyer looking at your house will probably also see these and will be making comparisons amongst all houses toured.

I’d love to help you sell your home. Please call me today to discuss your home’s market value! You can reach me at 503-421-2407.

Posted in Sellers|

Expertise from Real Estate Professionals: Far Better Than an Estimate

Real estate websites serve as an important platform to help buyers find their next home, and certainly help sellers expose their listings to those buyers.

But in our view, real estate websites are a starting point, not the ultimate decision engine.

Accurate data and up-to-date listings are very important, but ultimately, we believe the expertise provided by a real estate professional is a far better indicator of true market value than an estimate derived by machine.

That’s why we only display REAL PRICES on homes for sale on REALTOR.com®. Real prices that have been established between a seller and the listing broker, not a mechanized estimate.

Estimates may be OK if they’re used as a reference point to gather general information, but we feel placing mechanized estimates on an active listing that’s been priced by a local professional familiar with the market is misleading.

At best, these estimates are confusing to consumers. At worst, they create the perception of market conditions that don’t accurately reflect reality.

That’s why we don’t do it.

The real estate market is not a “paint-by-numbers” animal. Local market conditions can vary drastically from zip code to zip code, neighborhood to neighborhood, and can change at a moments notice.

Foreclosures and short sales – or the removal of distressed inventory all impact what’s actually happening.

Estimates that are placed on listings that already have an established sale price not only create a recipe for inaccurate information, they also create a strain on real sellers and a strain on the agents who work hard to create CMAs and pricing strategies based on what’s actually happening.

Sellers deserve better than that. Buyers deserve better than that.

Lost in the machinations and histrionics that permeate the discussion about listings and accurate data is the one thing that should be crystal clear:

Real Estate is NOT a game.

It’s a serious business with significant financial and emotional ramifications for the parties involved in every transaction.

And at REALTOR.com®, we have a responsibility to provide accurate information and accurate representations of what’s actually happening in the market – so consumers get the REAL story about what’s happening in their market.

And we do this by displaying real prices from real professionals in every market we serve.

That’s the thing that can really help consumers get a flavor of what’s happening locally, and that’s what we deliver.

Posted in Buyers, General, Sellers|

Real Estate Commissions

With fee-for-service packages, sellers are able to choose the level of professional real estate services they need and pay the listing side of the commission accordingly. Keep in mind that the standard buyer’s agent commission in Metro Portland is 2.7% of the sales price.

My fee-for-service packages start with a flat fee MLS listing only, which typically appeals to sellers interested in selling for-sale-by-owner, and go all the way up to full-service, which has no up-front fee. View Full details of all of my packages.

I look forward to assisting with your sale!

Posted in Sellers|