Friday, December 20, 2013

2014 Strategies for selling your home.

When it comes to the world of real estate, local Realtor Grace Frank says strategy is key for success.
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“I always say your strategy matters and your passion rules,” she said. “I have a real knack for strategy and a real passion for real estate.”
“Strategy” breaks down differently for buyers and sellers, but Frank stressed that it’s equally important for both sides.
“For sellers, preparation and flexibility are key,” she said. “For today’s market you must prepare your property to look its best, and you must be open minded when the offers come in, as buyers still feel it is a buyers’ market, though the trend is changing.”
Buyers, in turn, should “buy right and sell well,” she said. “You only make your money when you buy. If you buy right you can sell well,” Frank explained.
Preparation and organization are the two main concepts to keep at the forefront of any strategy, and for that, Frank has a dedicated and trusted staff behind her. Their main goal is to give clients the tools to make the right decisions and to be there as a solid sup- port system, said Frank.
More Information
To contact Grace Frank for a personal consultation, call 423-355-1538 or
“Systems are vital, and we have great systems that allow a client to review information, communicate concerns and execute strategy based on valid information,” she said. “I always analyze the personalities and then execute a plan that creates a win-win scenario. If a strategy is not a win-win, it is flawed.”
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Negotiations in real estate strategy can be a bit like playing cards, according to Frank. Those involved must know when to hold them and when to show them. Every situation is different and the strategy depends on the personality of the buyer and sellers.
“I recently had a buyer that was also a seller,” Frank said. “When selling their home we needed to drop the price in the middle of the negotiation to create urgency for the offer, and when we began negotiating the new home they fell in love with, they wanted to go in with a lower price below what I thought was the threshold of tolerance. They ended up going with my strategy and got their offer accepted and alleviated any multiple-offer situations and still got a great deal.”
For more of Frank’s tips and advice on strategy and negotiations for real estate, visit for sellers and for buyers. There, you’ll find many tools and articles that assist in making wise decisions pertaining to real estate.
“Information is powerful,” Frank said. “I believe when you edu- cate individuals they can truly make the best decisions.”
7 Secrets To Sell Your Home.

1. Open Houses Work. The half truth is that your house will probably not sell to a person that comes to your open house.  What is true is that your house will most likely get an offer soon after or before an open house because of “fear of loss”.  I wrote an offer  two weeks ago with a buyer.  She knew that the house was scheduled to be open during the upcoming weekend.  She said “I hope that the Open House does not generate another buyer that I will be competing with.”  She wrote a good offer and we are scheduled to close soon.  She never attended the open house event.   Activity, Promotion, Work – Always Good!
2. Color magazines and newspaper ads are for future listing agreements.  Much of traditional marketing for agents who sell houses is for them personally.  They know that people who are thinking about selling will pick up the latest color magazine at the grocery store to see who is promoting houses like their own.  Buyers are generally attached to agents by referral.  Buyers do not buy homes from a single small street picture.  They start looking on a smart phone app or online.  So, you may be proud to see that your agent is spending money to put a picture in the latest color newspaper ad or color magazine.  The truth is that the money would have been better spent encouraging other agents to take a look at the special features of your house, agent open house, or sending ads (more than one street shot) to specific potential buyers.
3. Most homes do NOT sell!!   What??  Yes, check your local stats, roughly only 50% of “listings” actually sell.  You may see yard signs come and go in your area, but moving trucks show up far less often.  Why?  Most people do not “have to” sell, or sadly in the current market (they owe the bank more money than the home is worth).  They are testing the market. If they can get more than their house is actually worth, then they will sell and move. Selling a house is hard work.  So evaluate your reason and be honest with yourself.
4.  Social and Mobile Media Work.  The average age of successful real estate agents is a generation or two “out front” of the average buyer.  Changes in advertising have come fast and furious in the last three years.  I am writing this in 2013.  I have been in real estate industry 23 years.  A few years ago I was not concerned how my listing was being presented in a Zillow app or Facebook.  Social media requires time and education.  The real estate “industry” as current day real estate agents know it is changing FAST!  The truth is that social media scares real estate agents because they are making decent money without doing it, and is the work and education worth the effort?  Successful agents are plenty busy already, and they never had to worry about Twitter to make a living in the past.
5. Another agent will most likely bring the buyer.  The odds are against the listing agent selling their own listing.  So, a good listing agent works hard to get fellow agents good information so that they will present your house to their qualified buyers for an income event for all involved.
6. Staging for emotional pull is important.   Buying a home is emotional.  We are a wealthy country and we have numerous “home lifestyle” options.  How someone feels about your house as they step out of the car in the driveway to the walk to the front door is important.  Are there projects to be done?  Cleaning, weeding, chipping paint, light bulb out?  Very few buyers are getting excited about paying a high price for future projects.  Involve the buyers senses and imagination as they take time to consider your house.  Retail stores spend millions to figure out what causes people to buy.  Have you been in a store selling clothes to teens at the mall lately?
7. Getting a contract to purchase is the start of another adventure. Congratulations, you have offers and chosen one to become a contract.  You SOLD your house!  Not so fast.  What about the buyer’s inspection, pest and mold inspection, low appraisal because of the foreclosure down the road, survey showing your driveway on the neighbors property, FEMA flood map moved your house into a flood zone, and not to be out done the sweet loan underwriter looking for the buyer’s changing credit report a week before closing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Should You Fix Up a Home Before Selling It?

This article originally comes from, and was written by Jack Guttentag. You can find the original here.

Recently I put my home up for sale, and because it needed a new roof, deck, and septic system, came face to face with this question. This article is based heavily on that experience, in which I made a serious mistake that other sellers can avoid.

It is easier to sell a house that is attractive to potential buyers, which means that you spend a little time and money on cosmetics. This is partly just a matter of making sure the house is clean, the yard is neat, the driveway is swept, bushes pruned and so on. Easily fixed structural defects, like a loose shingle, should be fixed.

Houses almost always look better when furnished than when empty — and they also look larger. If you are moving to another residence and plan to take your furnishings with you, try to arrange to show the house before you move out of it.

But if your house also has structural defects that are costly to fix, as mine did, the challenge is in deciding whether or not to fix them before sale.

Every house has defects, some obvious and others hidden. Both types will affect the price a buyer is willing to pay. It is a mistake to think that a potential buyer will assume that the only defects that exist are those that are visible.

So what should you do? Click here to read the rest of the article and find out a few recommendations.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Home Sales in Chattanooga are Looking Good

This article originally appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. You can find it here.
It's shaping up to be a solid year for the housing market, as home sales and new housing starts rose across the board in September.
Sales of existing homes in September rose 19 percent over the year to 615 homes sold across the Chattanooga area, as homeowners rushed to put nearly 1,000 new homes on the market during the period, according to the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.
Home starts year to date are up 12.4 percent to 1,178, including 760 new homes started in Hamilton County and 224 in Bradley County so far this year, according to research firm The Market Edge.
But though unit sales are promising, the recovery has yet to hit the high end of the market. Big homes, defined as those with more than 4,000 square feet or costing more than $400,000, are actually lagging 2012's numbers, with only 30 permits for large homes secured so far this year.
Builders aren't the only ones feeling the squeeze. Realtors say the median sales price in the Chattanooga area squeaked down 1.7 percent to $137,000. But buyers seemed to like the lower prices, as the number of days a home stood on the market decreased
2.5 percent to an average of 119 days, and the months of housing inventory decreased 6.3 percent to nine months, or about 5,173 homes for sale.
Mark Blazek, president of the Realtors association, said the combination of new home sales and buyers looking to downsize are driving the home sales surge.
"Some baby boomers are ready to look for less space, nudging Junior out of the basement," Blazek said. "The pizza boxes and late-night video games get old, plus there's a fresh crop of buyers looking for a bigger space to raise their own little darlings."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Awakening the Dormant Seller

This content was originally posted on the Buffini & Co. website. It was written by Joe Niego, the Buffini & Co. presenter and trainer. You can find the original post here.

Generally speaking, yesterday’s market moved at a slower pace and the MLS was overloaded with homes for sale – many of them foreclosures or short sales. Prices adjusted downward and people seemed nervous to “buy into” an unstable market.
Today, however, there’s a sense of better times ahead. We’re seeing multiple-offer presentations and there are more buyers than homes available! Inventory is limited and it requires more work to find your buyer a home. The lesson here is: different markets require different approaches, strategies and skill sets.

How did we get here?

I (Joe) sell real estate in the Midwest – a region that’s usually last to feel an economic up or downturn. But our market is definitely starting to feel this inventory shortage. As I travel coast-to-coast talking to real estate agents, I can tell you that many regions are already experiencing this phenomenon in full force: California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida and even markets in Canada.

The five economic factors causing an inventory shortage

1. Slowdown of New Construction Starts

In the U.S., 1.6 million new construction homes must be built each year just to keep up with current demand (due to population growth, homes lost to natural disasters, tear downs, etc.). Over the last five years the U.S. has averaged approximately 600,000 housing starts per year. That’s a million homes short – each year! You don’t need to be a mathematician to realize this is a contributing factor to our current inventory shortage.

2. Re-entry of The &lduqoBoomerange Buyer”

A Boomerang Buyer is a homeowner who had trouble weathering the recession and as a result, lost their home to a foreclosure or short sale. These people are rebuilding their credit, however, and seven in 10 will return to homeownership within eight years of their foreclosure or short sale. Do the math; they are re-entering the market now! They represent over 20 percent of buyers in California, over 30 percent in Arizona, Nevada and Florida, and we’re starting to see a larger percentage of Boomerang Buyers here in the Midwest. So the re-entry of the Boomerang Buyer is causing an intense demand for homes, furthering the impact on inventory.

3. Arrival of The Echo-Boom Generation

The Echo Boomers are the offspring of the Baby Boom generation. There are 80 million of them and they are between the ages of 18 and 31. Why is that so important? Because the average age of a first-time buyer is 30 years old. What this means is there’s a massive conveyor belt of demand moving your way. And it’s just started up.

4. Increase in Life Expectancy

Good news for all of us: people are living longer! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, life expectancy in 1970 was 71 years old. The projected life expectancy in 2015 is 79 years old. As we grow older we’ll still need a place to live, which results in fewer available homes on the market.

5. Increase of Immigration And Population

It’ll come as no surprise, North America is still the promised land for many people. Population and immigration growth – both in the U.S. and Canada – are ticking upward with no end in sight. More people means more housing needs. It’s that simple!
So from a macro-economic perspective, these are the five forces affecting the market. The bottom line is, markets are experiencing a housing shortage, and if you don’t feel it yet, it’s coming.
As I mentioned, new markets create new challenges, but they also create new opportunities. This new market demands a new solution, and here it is: you must create your own inventory.
The days of sitting in the office, checking the MLS and waiting for other agents to bring you listings to show your buyer are over. You need to get out into the market. And you need to be strategic in your approach to acquiring more listings.

What are you going to do about it?

Are you feeling the pinch of the inventory shortage? If not, what are you doing to prepare for its inevitable arrival? Over the past couple of years, Brian would talk to me about sharing the strategies and resources I had used to generate listing opportunities in difficult markets. To be honest, I was reluctant at first because I knew it would require a tremendous amount of time and energy; two resources I had already maxed out.
However, after a number of conversations, Brian’s ability to persuade, and a lot of thought, I made a commitment: I would formalize a 10 strategy system to help real estate agents generate three additional listings each and every month. I did, and it’s here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

If you’re on the selling side of today’s real estate market, these 5 tips will help you sell your house, stat!

We’ve all heard about how “bad” the real estate market is. But what’s bad for sellers can be good for buyers, and these days, savvy buyers are out in spades trying to take advantage of the buyer’s market. Here are a few thing you can do to help sell your house.

1. Audit your agent’s online marketing. 92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures! A study by shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.

2. Get real about pricing. Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)

3. Listen to your agent. If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.

4. Get clued into your competition. Work with your broker or agent to get educated about the price, type of sale and condition of the other homes your home is up against. Attend some open houses in your area and do a real estate reality check: know that buyers that see your home will see those homes, too – make sure the real-time comparison will come out in your home’s favor by ensuring the condition of your home is up to par.

5. Post a video love letter about your home on YouTube. Find an affordable videographer and walk through your home AND your neighborhood, telling prospective buyers about the best bits – what your family loved about the house, your favorite bakery or coffee shop that you frequented on Saturday mornings, etc. Buyers like to know that a home was well-loved, and it helps them visualize living a great life there, too.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Selecting the wrong listing agent can (cost you dearly) (bruise your bank account) (ruin your chance of profit) (destroy your profits) (be a very costly mistake) etc.

The Wall Street Journal recently published results of a study showing experienced agents sell homes for an average 12% more than their less experienced counterparts. According to the article, this amounts to an average sales price gain of about $25,000. You can find that it here if you're interested.

But selecting a poorly qualified listing agent can cost you much more.

Earlier this year, I represented a buyer who wanted to find a home on Chattanooga’s thriving South Side. She mentioned she had driven past a house and seen the For S
ale sign, but could not find the listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  My research discovered that the listing agent had entered the wrong zip code for the property, and therefore potential buyers did not find it on searches of the MLS, Zillow, Trulia or similar web sites.  In addition, the listing agent had only posted one (very sloppy) photo and had significantly understated the actual square footage of the property.

During phone conversations, the agent demonstrated little insight into new construction, failing to recognize the term “C.O.” (certificate of occupancy). As a result, we were able to negotiate a sales price for the buyer approximately $50,000 below the actual market value of the home, creating $50,000 of instant equity for the buyer (and that amount of lost profit for the seller).

Picture is not unrelated.

In the Wall Street Journal article, Bennie Walker, Professor of Finance and Real Estate at Longwood University, points out “the more experience you have, the more likely you are to sell the properties that you list, the more likely you are to sell it at a higher price and the less time it stays on the market.”  

Experienced agents have greater knowledge of neighborhoods, a larger network of buyers and sellers, and well developed relationships with home inspectors, appraisers and mortgage brokers. These connections can also really make a difference, and should be considered when you are deciding on who will represent your interests when it comes time to sell.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Selling Your Home? Here's a Few Tips

*This article was originally published by Simon Campbell on, and you can find it here.
Long gone are the traditional ways of selling a home. It used to be that placing a sign in the front yard of your home and a small classified advertisement would be good enough to get the job done. Times have changed, though, and the process of marketing your home for sale have, too.
Hiring a real estate agent can certainly assist you in the marketing process, but there are some tricks that go underutilized even by their standards. Here are a few tips of ways to market your home that may just be outside of the box. Consider these into your budget, and there can be a lot of success that go into selling your home.
Facebook has easily become the most popular social networking site in all of the world. Everyday, hundreds of millions of people log on and check what’s going on with the people in the lives. There is, however, much more use to Facebook than that. Companies are beginning to utilize the site as a marketing tool, and there’s no limit on to what can be marketed, including real estate.
Listing your home on Facebook is a simple and cheap process that only takes mere minutes to get your advertisement seen by many of the people in your social network. You can set a daily advertising budget on the site and how many people worldwide will be able to see it.
Since you will obviously be looking to advertise to those that are within a short radius of the area, this will save a lot of money focused on just a couple of cities.You can also set what type of customer that you are looking for, all the way down to the age of the viewer. The budget should be around $7 to get started and you can input your credit or debit card to make the payment. It’s that simple (and effective).
Individual Website
While a realtor is able to provide a listing for your home on their website, why not try a dedicated website to promote your listing? For a year of having a good looking website with technical support, it should only cost around $100, which is not bad for a marketing budget.
This will certainly set your home apart from the other listings in the area as you can showcase every glorious detail of the property and home, something that the realtors have limited capability of doing. It doesn’t have to be a fancy website that was created by a state of the art graphic designer, but a basic knowledge of aesthetics will go a long way.
Creative Staging
Having your home look identical to a model home that a realtor is selling can be nearly impossible. However, if you are willing to spend a little extra money to improve the look of your home, it can garner a lot of positive attention. This will help you to sell your home even faster than normal.
If you rent furniture that is a dramatic improvement over the furniture you currently have in the home, it will give it a more decorative and positive feel. People pay attention to details like that, and will appreciate the effort of upkeep the home has had. Not many people consider renting furniture just for the aesthetics, but it can go a long way in helping the sale.
Now that you have considered some of the “out of the box” ideas, it may be time to put them to good use. It’s a lot cheaper than listing your home the traditional way, but still gets the point across beautifully. If you don’t feel comfortable using these ideas, then a realtor will be able to answer any questions you may have. But try it out to see if it works, and you just may be pleasantly surprised.
For more information on selling your home, head on over to, our website dedicated to helping you sell your home!