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Home Selling Mistakes You Must Avoid

Home Selling Mistakes You Must Avoid

Five Home Selling Mistakes You Must Avoid

When Listing Your Home for Sale

There are so many quotes out there around making mistakes and learning from them. Below is one of my personal favorites, another one goes something like this ‘Smart people learn from their mistakes, the wise learn from the mistakes of others.’



In this article, we are going to dive into some of the most common mistakes sellers make when listing their house for sale, and if you’re wise, you’ll be sure to learn from them!

home selling mistakes avoid

Not Having a Plan to Sell

One of the first mistakes sellers make is not having a proper plan before they decide they want to sell their house. Here is what having a plan, and an education will help you avoid:

Hiring your friend or family member that is a Realtor

They may hire the first Realtor they meet, or worse, hire someone they know. (it’s hard to fire a friend – don’t believe me? I’ve seen families and friends refuse to talk to one another because things didn’t go the right way, or there were problems). Learn from the mistakes of others.

Understand that there are times when everything goes smoothly and everything works out for the best. Everyone’s happy in this scenario. One of my friends is actually in a lawsuit right now because they hired their friend to do a job and they didn’t do what they said they were going to do. Awkward!

The common objection to this is, “well business is business and we can still be friends after.” Go for it then, hire your family member or your friend!

Selling your home at a price that’s too low or high

Know your local real estate market trends and statistics before you place your home on the MLS. You want to make the most money for your home right? Here is why overpricing your home actually ruins your value. Let your Realtor help you determine the price for your listing because if you try to price it too high you may end up as an expired listing.

If you have a great understanding of your local housing trends, and what homes are selling for than you will be a step ahead of your competition. You’ll also be able to accurately price your home allowing it to sell for the most money and in the fastest time period. The best thing you can do for your house is generate multiple offers in the first day or two. This will allow you to sell your home for the maximum amount.

Here is what having a plan will do for you:

There is a lot more that having a great home selling strategy will do for you, and these are a few of the obvious reasons it makes sense to have a plan. You’re working with hundreds of thousands of dollars, you want to keep as much as possible.

Another mistake sellers make is pricing their home incorrectly.

Pricing your home incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes sellers make. This is the number one reason homes do or don’t sell. If you want to sell your home for the most money possible you’ll want to have a list price that is spot-on where it should be.

If buyer demand is strong enough, like they are for homes in the Bella Casa subdivision in Apex, NC, you can attract multiple offers and sell your home for over list price. What sellers don’t realize is that you will damage your home’s value if you overprice it. Especially, if you overprice it and put it on the MLS.home selling mistakes to avoid If a home sits for more than 28 days in Raleigh it needs a price drop. Homes are selling way too fast and far too close to list price.

Are you familiar with absorption rates? If not, contact us and we will be happy to help.

The other night I was at dinner talking to the guy at the table next to me and he was talking about selling his home. Of course when I heard that my ears perked up.

I said, ‘excuse me, did you say you’re selling your home?’ He responded in the affirmative. My next question was scripted, though he couldn’t tell ‘Interesting, how do you plan to price it?’ His response was ‘I don’t know, just going to sell it for over list price.’ Nodding my head up and down I said, ‘I’m a Realtor in the area and I’m more than happy to come by Wednesday at 3 or Thursday at 4 to help price it, which works better for you?’‘Are you going to sell it for over list price?’ He asked.‘I’m not sure yet because I haven’t seen the house, what I can tell you is that the homes I’ve sold are at 99.5% of list on average.’‘Well I’m only interested in selling for over list price but thanks anyway,’ he said turning back to his friends.

Long story short, I didn’t get the listing (stop answering questions, start asking them moral of the story here). I did run into him a few months later and he waved hello to me. I didn’t even recognize him at first, though I walked over smiling and he introduced me to his friends as ‘the guy who gave him a business card one time.’ If you guessed that 110 days later his home is still on the market and listed at a price that is too high you’d be spot on. Which is interesting because homes in Cary, NC are selling fast and for top dollar.

Hopefully, he kept my business card, I know I can help him sell his house.

Trying to sell a home that is in bad condition

You cannot change the location of your house. Two things you can change are the price, as we talked about already, and the condition.

There are a lot of changes you can make to your home that will improve it’s condition, whether it’s something as small as cleaning or as large as remodeling. If your home is in average condition you need to improve it or you won’t be able to sell for as much or as quickly as others.

There are many tips Realtors have for sellers who are attempting to accommodate buyers by presenting the best home possible, here are some pretty great resources that I have read online to help you do that:

While these resources are great for improving the condition of your home, they may not be able to save it from being overpriced, or from a less than desirable location. There are a lot of homes that are in great condition and in a nice location that sit on the market because they are overpriced.

Hiring the Wrong Real Estate Agent

Not all Realtors® are created equal, similar to any profession.

You need to put things aside when you’re determining what Realtor you want to work with. Do you want a results-oriented Real Estate professional, or do you want the Agent that will sell your home for the lowest price?

If your Realtor doesn’t know what price to list your home at find a new one. If you suggest a list price and the Real Estate Agent feels it is high that is because the neighborhood determines the price, the Agent doesn’t. In order to price your home efficiently there are a number of factors that go into it, and if you’re not using the data to your advantage than you’re not serving your customers the right way.

There are certain offerings we have at Raleigh Realty, that come with different sets of packages and you can choose which you’d like. This gives owners the option to purchase different packages at different prices.

We understand not everyone wants to pay for a full service package, we care too much about helping people to list a home that is overpriced though. That would be doing far more damage than good for the seller.

Poor Negotiations During the Sale

One of the fastest ways to crush a sale is by trying to take advantage of a buyer.

One of the recent buyers I represented moved on from a home because the seller, a For Sale By Owner had verbally accepted our offer. My buyer and I put together and signed off on the offer. Then I received a phone call that the offer wasn’t good enough (she wanted an additional $300).

Buyers buy a home based on emotion. When selling a home it’s important to make sure the buyers feel like they win. If the buyers don’t feel like they’re getting a good deal they won’t buy your home so make sure they know they feel great about it.

Bad negotiations is one of the fastest ways to kill a deal. It’s one of the most important roles for an Agent because the emotions involved between buyers and sellers. Delivering messages and taking the emotions out of it is a big part of what a Real Estate Broker does.

Final Thoughts on Mistakes Sellers Make

These are five of the typical mistakes sellers make and they are one’s that can easily be avoided with a little time, effort, and knowledge. Be sure you understand how to avoid the mistakes that other sellers have made before you, and you will have a much easier time selling your home.

Selling a home is not as easy as a lot of people think. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars involved and you’ll be competing against other homes for sale. It’s important to make sure you have a great Real Estate Agent to help make sure you receive top dollar for your house. Determining the best list price for your home is one of the best ways to ensure your home sells for the greatest price possible.

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This excellent guest post was from Ryan Fitzgerald, Raleigh NC Real Estate Agent. He graciously shared 5 mistakes sellers make when listing their home. Thanks Ryan!

Whether to Update Your Home or Sell As-Is

Whether to Update Your Home or Sell As-Is

Listing your home for sale: Should you update, or should you sell as-is?

When listing your home for sale, should you spend the money to make some home improvements, or should you sell it as-is?  Of course, as in most questions of this sort, it depends on the particular improvements that your home needs, and it depends on the local market trends. It depends on your goals as a seller. It also depends on the condition of the homes that are your closest competition.


The Mind of A Seller VS. the Mind of A Buyer

In our experience, there is a different calculation that goes on in the mind of the seller, compared to that which is in the mind of a buyer.  For instance, if the carpet in your bedrooms is original carpet in your 18-year-old home, there is likely no life left in it, we can all agree.  If the seller were to replace it with something mid-grade, they could foreseeably spend about $1,000 – $1500, roughly.  When the buyers see the need for new carpet, they calculate about $3,000 for said carpet, and they will menatlly subtract that from the price they are willing to pay for the the mind of the buyer

I can’t specify exactly what the reasoning is, whether buyers want the option of upgraded carpet, or whether they pad the estimate with compensation for their effort, but I’m almost willing to create a mathematical formula, I’ve seen it so often.

Now add to that old appliances, older roof, HVAC, flooring and siding.  These things may not all be worth the sellers attention, but all together, they add up in the mind of the buyer.

If a seller is not able to repair and renovate, or isn’t willing, then they need to be prepared for lowball offers, or perhaps no offers, depending on their list price. They cannot expect to get market value if their home doesn’t show well. Buyers will be overwhelmed with the number of updates needed, and if they are interested in doing the work at all, they certainly will want the home for a bargain.

Most Buyers Want A Move-In Ready Home

If at all possible, making the improvements before putting the house on the market will be to the sellers advantage. The majority of buyers want a home that is move-in ready. By addressing the condition of your home, you appeal to the majority of buyers, rather than that small subset of buyers looking for a fixer-upper.

The bottom line is: if you want top dollar, your house should be in the best condition possible. A buyer should be able to move right in without having to do a single repair. That means the major systems should be in working order, the home should be clean with a coat of fresh paint. The carpet should be fresh and the floors in good repair. Lighting and fixtures should be updated and colors should be neutral. Anything that is dated needs to go!

What If It Can’t Be Done?

I understand, some sellers are in a situation where they are unable to make many updates and renovations. In that case, they should do as much as they can to make the home as updated as possible, and then they should price the home accordingly. If similar homes have better amenities, your home will have to be priced below the average price that those homes have sold for.

It’s About Expectations

This goes to a seller’s expectations…if you understand that you won’t get top dollar and price your home accordingly, then you should have success. If you try to get a higher price…to “test the market”, then count on being on the market longer and count on lowball offers. Even as you drop your price, the length of time on the market will add up and you’ll face having a “stigmatized house”. Buyers will naturally wonder, “What’s wrong with that house that it has been on the market so long?”

Your agent should make you aware of the average time on market for homes that comparable to yours, in size, age, neighborhood and general condition. If your home sits on the market longer than normal for those comps, that’s the market telling you something.

Some MAR Contract History

Until recently, the Maryland contract of sale specified that the systems of the home must be in working order, so if a buyer had a home inspection, these items would come up and the seller would be required to repair them.  Plumbing, HVAC, electrical systems and appliances are included in the general category of “systems” by Maryland law. But that all changed when the contract language changed. Today, there are no requirements; everything is negotiable.

This means that no longer is there a “must-do” element to the condition of your home…everything falls into the category of what is the most prudent and what is the most advantageous, given your goals and circumstances.

This is when you really must know what features and amenities your competition has. You must understand what condition similar homes have been in and what prices similar homes have sold for. Having an experienced listing agent who is familiar with your market is of utmost importance.

Where to Start

Do you need to update something major? Like the roof, the HVAC, or refinished hardwoods? Some items are worth going the extra mile, some are not. With some updates, you may want to spring for the best available, depending on the comparative homes in your market. For example, architectural shingles are not that much more than the basic type of shingles, but look so much better.

On some items, like carpet, you may as well go with a mid-grade because top-of-the line flooring won’t give you a better return on investment. To learn more about ROI, visit Remodeling Website. There you’ll find a list of renovation projects and how much they get as a return on investment, broken down by region of the U.S. This is a good resource to see where to spend your renovating dollars.

Small Changes Make a Difference

Don’t forget the small items. Changing out light fixtures can make a big difference for little cost. Faucets and knobs are also a low-cost fix that can bring a home out of the 80’s into the 21st Century.

Painting is always a good investment and one of the least expensive updates a homeowner can do. Along with cleaning and de-cluttering, doing small repairs and updates will be worth it. There are many small home improvements that make a big difference.

Additional Resources:

Contact us to discuss our high-tech, high-touch listing program.

3 Home Improvements Sellers Should Avoid

3 Home Improvements Sellers Should Avoid

Savvy home sellers are aware that they need to present their home in it’s absolutely best condition to get the top dollar, in any real estate market, no just a buyer’s market. The question of which improvements to tackle first is asked very often.

Kitchens and Baths. That’s what we answer because they are what often sells a home. A typical buyer will go for the home with an updated kitchen and updated bathrooms, because those rooms are more expensive to renovate.

But, when making improvements, a home owner can go overboard. There are improvements that cost a lot of money but won’t necessarily increase your home’s value. Here are 3 things to avoid:

1. Avoid Expensive Landscaping

  • Those gorgeous stone hardscapes look fantastic and certainly give a
    home superb curb appeal. Landscaping always increases the sales appeal of a home, but the return on investment is another calculation. Hardscaping can be significantly more expensive than landscaping, so choose wisely. You’ll want to keep it at a minimum if you are going to put your home up for sale in the near future.
  • Inexpensive plantings will do the trick just as well as expensive ones. If a dead or overgrown shrub or tree needs to come out, replace it with something that is low maintenance and native to your area. Sometimes a pop of color is all that’s needed, and whatever you have planted just needs to be kept trim and neat.

    Don't overdo your landscaping
    No need to overdo landscaping
  • Best rules of landscaping: Cut, Color and Fill. Many landscape designers will advise a home seller to simply do some judicious pruning to get the best ROI. Too much unruly green can look like disrepair, and shrubs that are overgrown to the point that windows are obscured or branches are hanging in walkways can visually ‘eat the house’.
  • A fresh coat of paint on the front door and a few planters of colorful flowers will do wonders and won’t break the bank.

Related Reading: Elbow Grease is the Secret to Great Curb Appeal

2.  Avoid expensive floor coverings.

  • If after cleaning, you determine that carpet needs to be replaced, get a mid-grade neutral shade. It will look great, and will meet wear expectations. Buying the top grade will be a waste of money, especially if the buyer decides to replace it anyway!
  • If the wood floors are dull or worn, try a good cleaning and new finish. If they still look worn they might require a refinishing.
  • Minor rooms like laundry rooms or powder rooms don’t need expensive flooring. Some laminates look just as good as hardwoods, but for less.

Related Reading: Small Home Improvements That Make a Big Impact

3.  Avoid Over-Converting Rooms

  • If you make over a room for a very specific purpose – like a home office or a library – make your improvements as non-permanent as possible. That way a buyer will be able to easily convert the room back to the original purpose. If they are faced with too much work, they might just give your home a pass.
  • This also goes for rooms with too much… Too much color, too much wall paper, too much clutter, too much personality…
    Traditional Dining Room by Miami Beach Interior Designers & Decorators BROWN DAVIS INTERIORS, INC.

    It’s always best to neutralize before you put your home on the market. It’s best if buyers can “see their stuff” in your space.

  • If you have a passion, the temptation can be strong to showcase your love for the team, so to speak. Just because you are a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan doesn’t mean that your collection of memorabilia will be appreciated by buyers touring your home. You’ll probably want to pack that stuff away…especially if you’re in Redskin territory!
  • Avoid over-doing your spaces to accomodate your hobby. Most buyers will only see a lot of work ahead of them when they see that your laundry room has been converted to an awesome beer brewing station…even if they love beer themselves!

Which Improvements Give the Greatest ROI?

The answer to that question really depends on comparative homes in your market…what amenities are buyers for your home going to expect? What are the common features of similar homes in your area? You don’t want to overdo your renovations compared to your competition, at least if you want the best return on your investment. Neither do you want to underdo your improvements, not if you want to sell your home for top dollar.

Generally speaking, kitchens and baths should be considered. Other than that, there are typical upgrades that will garner a better return. Check out the list at the following website:

Additional Resources:

For more tips on Home Improvement ROI, see the Remodeling Website. This site compares average cost for 36 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 102 U.S. markets. Check out this year’s trends and how they compare to prior years.


The Highland  Group
Chris & Karen Highland      301-831-9947
eXp Realty “ 410-777-5714

How to Handle Multiple Offers in the Frederick Real Estate Market

How to Handle Multiple Offers in the Frederick Real Estate Market

Multiple Offers in the Frederick Real Estate Market

The real estate market has transitioned to a seller’s market over the last two years. The lack of inventory and the healthy demand has created an environment where we’re seeing a good number of multiple offers in the Frederick real estate market. Homes that are in great condition and that are well-priced for the market are in demand. In certain price ranges, those high demand homes are getting multiple offers.

Local Frederick Market Conditions

While first time home buyers are entering the market, and the first tier of move-up buyers are seeking homes, homes in these categories are in high demand. Buyers should expect the possibility of facing a multiple offer scenario. There is a portion of the market that is seeing a longer time on market for the lack of demand: the price ranges above $500,000. In certain neighborhoods in the smaller, outlying cities in Frederick County, the market is also slow. Read more about a buyer’s or seller’s market.

Tips for Buyers in a Multiple Offer Scenario

A few years ago, if a buyer missed out on a home, they could just wait for another comparable home to come on the market soon afterward. In today’s market, they can’t count on that happening. With the lack of inventory, if a buyer misses out, they can’t be so sure a similar home will appear any time soon.

Although interest rates are still low, home prices are starting to rise. Buyers will want to take advantage of these low rates instead of waiting. To win out in a multiple-offer scenario:

  • Taking the time up front to get qualified by your lender is great advice in a hot seller’s market. When you submit an offer, the fact that you have been qualified, rather than just “checked-out” by a lender will add weight to your offer. It certainly increse the seller’s confidence in your ability to follow through on a contract.
  • When you see a home that you like, don’t hesitate too long to see it. You have to be flexible and make time to see a house as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we’ve had situations where our buyers scheduled showings a week out, only to find the home under contract before they got a chance to even tour it. Even though some people prefer to take their time and not be pushed, they find that they often miss out in a bustling seller’s market.
  • When you find the home that you want to buy, make an offer. Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. You want to be the first offer, in doing so, you just might get the home.
  • Buyers should strongly consider offering more in a competitive situation, rather than insisting that they get a steal. The days of those kinds of deals are behind us, especially in a high-demand market. Your insistence on getting a bargain will most likely leave you out in the cold.
  • If you find that you are in a competitive situation, you may get the chance to change your offer if a seller asks for the “highest and best”. You may want to increase your offer, or you may want to edit your contingencies, or increase your deposit, or a combination of all of these. It really depends on the situation. This is not the time to equivocate if you really want the to handle multiple offers in real estate
  • Your buyer’s agent should be a good source of advice in a multiple-offer situation. Be sure to choose an agent who knows the neighborhoods, the values and the current market trends. Negotiation should be one of your agent’s strongest points. Understand that your buyer’s agent’s advice is based on past experience and is not a guarantee of any particular outcome.
  • If you are selling your home and buying…it may be scary but in a competitive offer situation, you will most likely need to have your home already sold. You will be in competition with other buyers, most of whom won’t have a home to sell. Plan to put your best foot forward. Anticipate the competition and make your best plan.

Tips for Sellers in a Multiple Offer Scenario

Although it is a seller’s market here in Frederick Md, as in more and more areas of the country, sellers can’t assume that they can get an unreasonable amount for their home. Even if there are multiple offers, there is a limiting factor to those escalating offers. The house must appraise for the amount it sells for. The appraisal is sometimes referred to as “The Second Sale.

The appraisal is based on the most recent sales, usually 3 to 6 months, so those sales are likely going to be less than yours in an appreciating market. Although appraisals can ‘stretch’ to higher values, so-to-speak, to expect a price that is a large leap from the previous sold homes is unrealistic.

When a seller considers all offers, they’ll want to consider more than just price. Although of course the ideal scenario would be to get the highest price, there are other issues to think about. Your negotiating strategy will need to be reviewed with each potential buyer. Other important considerations are:

  • The buyer’s down payment. Sometimes a higher down-payment signals a more serious buyer.
  • The buyer’s contingencies. If you have multiple buyers, you should compare the details of the contingencies. Time frames, inspections, and other negotiating items should be considered.
  • The buyer’s financing situation. Your agent should be able to fairly vet their financing, including the lender and the loan program. We have advised sellers to choose one offer over another based on the veracity of the buyer’s financing, as well as the reputation of their lender.
  • The buyer’s ability to deal with the situation of an appraisal that comes in low. It can and does happen in an appreciating market. If you want to try to get the highest price possible, make sure you know the risks of not getting an appraisal to corroborate that high price, and make a plan with your agent to deal with that scenario.
  • As with a buyer’s agent, your listing agent has advice for you based on their past experience and can’t guarantee a particular outcome.

Experience Matters

Whether a buyer or a seller, you should expect fair and honest treatment throughout the offer and negotiation process, coupled with prompt, ongoing and open communication. Always remember to keep your eye on the goal: buying or selling your home. No real estate transaction will ever be perfect.

Make sure your Realtor has experience in transitioning real estate markets, or if they are new to the industry, that they work on a team with other seasoned agents. A skilled, local real estate agent can help you tremendously as you navigate the transitional market today.

Contact the Highland’s for real estate representation in a seller’s market. 301-401-5119.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appeal

Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appeal

Once you have gotten your home ready for the market, with all the necessary repairs and cleaning, once it’s staged and photos and video has been taken, some final tweeks might help put your home above the competition. Staging a home for sale has proven to be effective in making that home more appealing to buyers. Here are a few tips I’ve jotted down as we spend time with buyers looking at homes.

Making your home more appealing to buyers by paying attention to the “feels” of your home will pay off. What do I mean by the “feels”? Think about things that will appeal to the emotions and senses of prospective buyers:

1.  Make people feel at home. Choose a few areas of your home to pay special attention to in your staging:

  • Put a centerpiece on a brightly lit dining room table with attractive table wear, placemats  and napkins.
  • Fresh flowers are so welcoming. Plants are a warm addition to most rooms and also serve to clean the air. Even a simple bowl with blossoms is easy to do, and brings the beauty of the outdoors inside. flower arrangements
  • If you have a soaking tub or jetted tub, highlight it with pretty candles and attractive bottles of bubble bath. Play up the benefits of a spa-like experience.
  • If you have a cozy nook, turn on a reading light next to an armchair with an open book on the seat.
  • Thin out your closet of off-season clothes. Buyers want to know that storage is not a problem.
  • Dress your bed attractively with lots of comfy pillows. Make your linens non-fussy and not overly feminine.
  • Clear the kitchen counter except for some pretty canisters and an open cookbook. Again, buyers want to see space.staging tips
  • Keep the curtains open and the lights on to make the home bright. You may consider removing screens to let in even more light. Turn on all the lights at night, including the front walkway and entryway.
  • Don’t forget to decorate the outdoor rooms and create a welcoming area. Outdoor rooms add living space.

2.  Keep all of the 5 senses in mind:

  • Make the home smell good by baking cookies or bread just before your showing. Use candles, but make sure they aren’t overbearing.
  • During the time your home is on the market, refrain from cooking with pungent ingredients, like curry and garlic. Odors can linger long afterwards, and can be off-putting to some buyers.make your home more appealing
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature for visitors. When your home is on the market, it’s not the time to worry about the electric bill. While you don’t want buyers to sweat while they tour your home, you also don’t want the rushing out to get a winter coat, either.
  • Keep the air dust-free by changing filters often. As the light is beaming through the windows, make sure that there aren’t wafts of dust floating and making people sneeze.
  • Accent the season with flowers and wreaths in Spring, a basket of pine cones in Winter, Fall foliage in vases, etc. Find ways to bring the outdoors in no matter what the season. Natural elements are appealing and comforting.
  • Keep quiet, relaxing music playing in the background during a showing.

3.  Help buyers imagine themselves living in your home.

  • De-clutter. This will go a long way in helping buyers to envision their belongings in your home.
  • De-personalize. Remove most of your family photos and personal items. The buyers will feel less invasive as they tour your home.
  • Keep pets out of the way and put away food and pet supplies. Some buyers are allergic or not animal lovers.
  • Put away personal bathroom items. De-personalizing private spaces can be challenging, but results in helping a buyer feel more comfortable.

Related Articles: Getting Your Home Read for the Market, Getting Your Home Ready Part 2, 15 Staging Rules, What are the most Important Things to Do to Ready My home for the Market?

The Highland Group
eXp Realty
Frederick, Md 21704

The Highland Group

Why Zestimates Are Zillow’s Weak Spot

Why Zestimates Are Zillow’s Weak Spot

Why Realtors® Dispise Have Strong Feelings About Zestimates

Zillow is a great site for consumers to see homes for sale, no question. It has a lot of great information for buyers or sellers, like demographics and statistics on an area, maps and neighborhood information. It’s a great place to connect with professionals, and to ask questions. But, as the meme points out below, Realtors have strong feelings about Zillow. 

inaccuracy of zillowThere are two aspects of the Zillow website that I don’t find value in: their ‘Zestimates’, and their lack of accuracy in listing information.  The listings many times can be out of date as to their status, and the Zestimates are very often off by a significant percentage.

About Zestimates

Zestimates have been wrong more than they’ve been right. The reason they are is because they use an algorithm to formulate values all across the country. The same computations in every location. It’s not even remotely feasible that a “one-size-fits-all” mathematical equation could get it right, when determining a home’s value is dependent on so many local and subjective variables.

A complicated formula can come up with a uniform value, but the problem with that is that all real estate is not uniform, it is local. ‘Bricks and sticks’ in algorithmone neighborhood can have a different value than the ‘bricks and sticks’ in another location, due to all kinds of subjective factors. Proximity to highways, power lines, and unsightly commercial areas are an example of things that affect a home’s values in a subjective way.

All real estate is local, even micro-local. Values for similar homes in one neighborhood can be completely different in a neighborhood only blocks away. Zillow can’t get inside a home and see the differences in amenities…like an updated kitchen with pristine hardwoods, granite countertops, custom maple cabinets and top-of-the-line appliances; compared to a similar home with basic builder grade finishes and 15-year-old carpet.

Local Realtors Know Values

Only a local Realtor who knows the area can provide a realistic estimate.  He or she knows the local neighborhoods and values based on everything that is objective as well as subjective.  A local Realtor knows what the trends are in the neighborhood. Some areas hold their value better than others, due to a lot of factors: Type of construction, age of home, added amenities, and what’s going on in the neighborhood or area.Realtor

Our recent experience is that some neighborhoods are more effected by the downward drag of foreclosures and short sales on the market than other neighborhoods are. Two particular neighborhoods here in Frederick were primarily built during the years from 2003 – 2006, and the majority of the homes were financed with ARM’s…Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Unfortunately, when the rates adjusted after the values had fallen…these neighborhoods were filled with short sales. Comparable home sales were really difficult to calculate with a generic mathematical equation. It takes a local Realtor who understands the trends.

About Accuracy

To many consumers, the aspect of listing accuracy doesn’t cross their mind when they are looking online for homes for sale. Zillow is by far, the most trafficked website in the real estate sphere, with 70 million views a month! There is obviously a wealth of good information that consumers find valuable.

However…consumers regularly find inaccuracies. We get contacted regularly about homes that are listed on Zillow as active, but have either been under contract for days or even weeks, and many times have sold weeks or months ago. The inaccuracies include a lot more than status; consumers often find many details wrong, including the number of bedrooms and baths, the square footage, and even the information from the tax records. Among the different categories of “potential listings”, the pre-foreclosure category is very misleading.

As Bill Gassett points out in his article, Some Zillow Listings Are Not For Sale, the data Zillow collects on these homes comes from Realty Trac, a site that collects data on distressed housing, these homes are most often, not even on the market.

Data can be faulty. It happens. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault, it’s an imperfect system that data engineers are still perfecting. But sometimes it’s by design. The longer homes are listed as available, the more traffic the website gets. The more homes listed, like preforeclosures, the more “eye candy” on the website to attract visitors. Add to that more push notifications that people get on the Zillow app as they search neighborhoods.

Zillow is, afterall, a marketing site that makes money from advertising. It is not a site designed or monitored by licensed real estate professionals. They aren’t bound by the Realtor Code of Ethics, which requires that any information the we publish be accurate, to the best of our ability.

Why Does It Matter?

“If I just want to see houses, who cares?” Fair question. Let’s consider the Zestimate…

When a seller contacts an agent to list their home for sale, the agent conducts a Comparable Market Analysis, or CMA, to get a close estimate of what the home will likely sell for, based on comparable home sales, local trends and market analysis. Experienced Realtors who have local knowledge have been helping buyers and sellers in the local market and have been active in your neighborhoods. They’ve probably even seen firsthand many of the comparable homes in their market as they’ve worked with buyers and sellers.

Damage to the Seller

Zestimates are Often WrongSo imagine when the agent presents their hard-earned knowledge about the home’s value in the CMA (comparable market analysis), only to hear from the seller: “But Zillow says my house is worth $50,000 more?!” That seller is already set up for failure because of the inaccuracy of that Zestimate, sometimes a gross inaccuracy. First of all, it puts doubt in their mind about the Realtor, Secondly, if they disregard the agent’s advice and they overprice their home, they will do damage to their prospects of actually selling the home for the highest amount in the shortest time.

[In a recent  Washington Post article, a Washington D.C. brokerage was quoted for documenting that Zestimates are getting worse. Of 500 estimates, the values ranged from 62% under, to 150% over the actual sold figures.]

Damage to the Buyer

It’s easy to see that the expectations of the buyer will also be skewed when they see an inaccurate Zestimate. Right below the list price you can see the Zestimate, so at the very outset of seeing the home, a buyer will have it in their mind that the seller is asking too much, or too little.

If the list price is lower than the Zestimate, imagine the buyer’s disappointment when they get to the home and realize it’s not the bargain they thought it was. The expectations that Zestimates give buyers can be damaging, and can result in a lot of wasted time.

If they believe the list price is high, it will be hard for them to take the Realtor’s advice about what price to offer. We’ve seen our share of lowball offers from buyers who just didn’t take their buyer’s agent’s advice. We’ve seen just as many offended sellers rejecting those lowball offers!

Lousy Expectations Caused by Inaccuracy

mortgage shoppingBecause of inaccuracies, we regularly see missed opportunities, discouraged buyers who show up at a home that’s already sold, and lots of wasted time looking at homes that are nothing like the buyers thought they would be. We’ve seen wasted time on the market for sellers, and we’ve seen these sellers fire very good agents for things that are not their fault.

In my opinion, that is the real damage of inaccuracies…Lousy Expectations. Zillow discloses the percentages of their inaccuracies…way over on the page that you can barely see for the small print. It’s there. But most buyers and sellers never see it. They are unfortunately, subject to the disappointments of lousy expectations.

So contact a local realtor to find local values.  And use Zillow for other useful information. Take Zestimates with a grain of salt…if you even look at them at all.

More Great Explanations of Zestimates

But don’t take my word for it…here are several articles from some excellent real estate bloggers that have much to say about the topic of Zestimates and Zillow:


To see Frederick Home Values, we’ll be happy to do a complimentary CMA for you. Contact the Highland Group today: 301-401-5119

 Related Reading: 15 B.S. Facts About Real Estate That AREN’T True


The Highland Group
Chris & Karen Highland  – Cell: 301-401-5119
eXp Realty – 410-777-5714

Marketing Your Luxury Home

Marketing Your Luxury Home

Selling Your Luxury Frederick Home

If you are considering selling your luxury home in 2015, there are a few things to know about the local real estate market and about the best ways to market your home in today’s home selling environment. Successfully marketing a Luxury home for sale takes experience and attention to details. Here are 5 main points you need to know:

1. Connecting with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Real estate marketing has changed in the recent decade with the proliferation of real estate specific marketing sites on the internet. Today’s buyers often start looking on the internet as their first step in the home search. More than 90% of home buyers look online at some point in their search.

An experienced Realtor who also specializes in 21st Century marketing is an important choice for selling your luxury home. Getting your home in front of the most likely buyers, in the highest level of technical and visual sophistication, is the key to the best outcome. At the Highland Group we put our 22 years of experience in the Frederick County real estate market, combined with our understanding of internet marketing to work for you. Read on to learn about our marketing plan:

2. Correct Pricing of Your Luxury Home

The most important step in marketing any home for sale is to get the price right…from the first day it hits the market. The key to the quickest sale is to list the home as close to market value as possible.

A common misconception is that “we need negotiating room“, but overpricing has negative consequences. It’s well known that overpriced homes sit on the market longer than well-priced homes.

Additional Reading: How do we determine the correct list price?

Some Local Real Estate Statistics:

  • Homes that went under contract in the previous week (from 3/23 to 3/30) did so after 60 days on the market. The average price was $309,124.
  • Listings that haven’t sold as of March 31 have been on the market an average of 140 days.
  • The 23 Homes listed in the price ranges $700,000 – $800,000 have been on the market for an average of 186 days, The 37 homes listed above $800,000, an average of 191 days, both are the highest of all price ranges.

Conclusions: The demand for luxury homes is still soft in Frederick County; it takes longer to sell a higher end home. Even so, the homes that are in great condition and priced at market value are the first to sell. With less demand for luxury homes, pricing correctly from the start will position you in the most positive place in your market. If your home hasn’t sold in the average time it takes to sell a home in your price range and area, its time to consider a price adjustment or a condition adjustment.

More Pricing Statistics:

We currently have a bifurcated market in Frederick County.

  • Seller’s are getting 97% of list price on average, at time of contract.
  • Homes under $300,000 sell very quickly and have had 4% appreciation since March 2014.
  • Homes priced $300,000 to $600,000 have had 0% to 4% appreciation, depending on location.
  • Homes priced above $600,000 have not shown appreciation, but have leveled off for the most part. “The patient is out of intensive care.” ~ to quote Wayne Six, local Frederick appraiser. “But he’s still in the hospital.”

Conclusions: Selling a home in the higher price ranges is still a challenge in 2015 in Frederick County, although that market is seeing signs of health. Sellers need the right price, great condition, and patience. And great marketing will surely help. Let’s talk about condition:

3. Staging Your Luxury Home

Even high-end homes need to be staged to show their best features. Staging a home is not just decorating. A home stager knows how to promote a home in the real estate marketplace.

Professional home stagers are practiced in the home staging for luxury homesart of preparing a home for resale. They work with the “flow” of a home, eliminate clutter, edit and arrange furniture, and even assist in enhancing curb-appeal.  With the aid of a professional home stager, your house can make a notable first impression on potential home buyers.

At the Highland Group, we recommend professional Frederick home stagers to show your home off at its finest. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers.

No amount of staging can cover up poor condition. Condition is of utmost importance in homes in the higher price ranges. The home must be perfect to stand out in the competition. Most buyers in the higher price ranges are not looking for a project. If by slight chance they are, they don’t want to pay the market price for something that they have to then put work into.

Most importantly, bathrooms and kitchens must be updated. These are the most expensive rooms to update and the first to appeal to today’s luxury buyers. Dated fixtures, lighting and appliances are the easiest to address and update. More expensive updating should be considered. Your agent and stager should be helpful in suggesting the best updates and fixes for a dated kitchen or bath. And for inspiration:

Additional Reading:

4. Visual Marketing for Today’s Buyers

High Definition Photography is a must for marketing your luxury home. In a recent survey from, 91% of buyers reported they are “less likely to see a home in person if the listing has bad photos or no photos.” Professional photos will be the first impression for buyers looking online. If your home stands out from the start, buyers will be sure to put it at the top of their “must-see” list.

High Resolution Walk-through Video 

video marketing for real estateIn today’s highly visual internet age, video is an important part of selling a home. And yet, only 8% of real estate agents use video to market their listings. Even then, many videos are compilations of still photos, not at all effective in showing the real flow of the home and the feel of the rooms in relationship to the floor plan. High Def, Walk-through video is available and very accessible in our market.

When buyers search on the internet, a home video shows up high in the search results, (video is 50 times more search friendly than written words!) YouTube is the top video research destination for home shoppers. (NAR)  With high resolution video and photos, your home will NEVER go unnoticed.

Additional Reading: The Best in Video Marketing and Video Marketing for Real Estate

A 3-D Interactive Tour of the home is a valuable tool to show your home at the highest level of elegance to today’s internet-savvy buyers. A home buyer can touch the screen and move from room to room, navigating all angles of the space. The technology works great on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. See an example at

Mobile applications are used by 68% of today’s home buyers at the onset and throughout their home search. (NAR)

Make sure your listing agent has mastered internet and mobile marketing to spread the broadest net to market your home. All of the places that your listing shows up on line must be mobile ready. In today’s marketplace, internet marketing must be part of a listing agents plan.

Additional Reading: Real Estate and Internet Marketing

5. Geo-Targeted & Demographic Marketing

Social Media Marketing has become a buzzword that many agents are happy to use, yet I find that many people don’t really know what it means. In a study of how agents use social media, NAR found that 91% of Realtors use social media to some extent. The average agent has 175 social media contacts…many of whom are Realtors. Posting your listing to their contacts will not get your home sold.

One of the best things about social media marketing is the ability to use demographics to get your listing, images, 3-D tour and video in front of the most likely buyers. Targeted demographic and geographic marketing is one of the best tools that is only growing in it’s accuracy and efficiency. Make sure your agent is well-versed in social media and internet marketing, your home will never go unnoticed.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It:

High-End home sales take a special marketing touch. Several of our real estate friends from other luxury markets have some great advice:

Frederick MD Luxury Market

As the real estate market continues to show signs of recovery, luxury home owners in Frederick Md can expect better news than they have had in several years. We have been experiencing a bifurcated market here in Central Maryland, with homes above $500,000 seeing a slower market than homes in the lower price ranges. Homes under $400,000 are seeing 3% to 5% appreciation, while luxury homes have been continuing to see declining values.

As the market and the economy improves, we are seeing more move-up buyers in the higher price ranges. As first time buyers enter the market in 2015 and 2016, many homeowners who have not been able to sell will see appreciation and will enter the market, moving up. As the demand increases, the normal market forces of supply and demand will trickle up to luxury homes.

Luxury Neighborhoods in Frederick Md

Are you searching for a luxury home in Frederick, Or just want to find out what trending prices are? There are several neighborhoods in Frederick County with luxury and upscale homes. Luxury means different things to different people. In Frederick County, we tend to think of homes above $600,000 the entrance to the luxury market.

As you can see by the above statistics, there are fewer than 75 homes on the market that are considered luxury homes. At this time there are 18 homes on the market listed above $1,000,000.

Use our Advanced Property Search to find Luxury Homes in Frederick County

Holly Hills and Fairways at Holly Hills, Hoot N Hollow Woods, Winpenny Tel, High Meadows, White Flint, Whiskey Creek, Baker Park, Baker Park Estates, Villages of Urbana, River Meadow, Potomac Hills, San-di-Gan, Windsor Knolls, Holbrook Heights, Edinburg Forrest in Braddock Heights, Aspen in Lake Linganore, Westwinds, Arrowood, Vistas At Springdale, Haythorn Ridge, The Legends, Old Frederick Estates, Glenbrook, Weller Estates, Ridgeway Farms, Willow Pond Estates, The Paddocks, and Estate homes throughout Frederick County (not in neighborhoods).

10 Ways Elbow Grease is the Secret to Great Curb Appeal

10 Ways Elbow Grease is the Secret to Great Curb Appeal

If you’re considering selling your home this Spring, you will want to start getting your home ready.  Don’t forget the outside when you consider sprucing up the home. With the Spring officially upon us, it’s time to give some attention to outside. In most cases, all you need is a little elbow grease to make a big difference. Here are 10 steps to great curb appeal:

Ten Steps to Great Curb Appeal

We’ve seen the effect that the outdoor approach to the home has on home buyers. Great curb appeal is a first impression that can set the tone for how the buyer views the rest of the home. If they feel a strong “Welcome Home!” message from the time they approach the home, they are much more favorable to the rest of the home. I’ve put together some basic tips for achieving great curb appeal for your home.

1. The front door has to give the ‘Welcome Home’ message loud and clear. A fresh coat of paint is a must, new door knobs and hardware, if the old ones are worn, and a new kick plate if appropriate. Studies show that red is a favorite color, if it fits in with the style and colors of the home and the neighborhood. Be sure to check with the covenants or homeowner association guidelines if applicable.

Create a focal point at the front door by adding a wreath of flowers, or Red Doorplanters or potted flowers. Adding a cozy chair or bench is a nice touch if there is room. Hanging planters of flowers are a nice touch if you don’t have room on the ground. Just remember not to go overboard with a cluttered entrance. The entrance should have enough room for at least a couple of people to stand side-by-side. A crowded entrance doesn’t say “welcome home”.

2. Wooden trim must be repaired of wood rot and freshly painted. Buyers will spot wood rot or old peeling paint right away, and suspect that the home might have other deferred maintenance issues. Maintaining and repairing the outside as well as the inside of your home during the time you own it will keep you from the last minute repairs that can be inconvenient as well as more expensive.

3. Overgrown plantings can also hint at lack of maintenance to many buyers. Trim bushes and trees and put a layer of new mulch on beds. If you can’t plant some colorful flowers, put some potted flowers near the doorway. Colorful flowers are friendly and welcoming. Looking for some inspiration? Check out this group Pinterest board:

Curb Appeal Welcomes Buyers

Follow The Highland Group’s board Curb Appeal on Pinterest.

4. Renting a power washer for a day can take care of a lot of problems. Power washing mold and algae off of outdoor surfaces is important, as mold shouts deferred maintenance to most buyers. Power wash dirt build-up on driveways, walkways, stoops, porches, siding and decks, making a clean, sparkling impression.

Make sure the windows are clean, inside and out. When showing your home, you want as much natural light as possible to enter. You also don’t want buyers being distracted by dirt-filtered light…anyone who has dogs…you know what I mean!


5. Putting new black top on the driveway can sharpen up the approach to the house. Taking care of cracks in the cement and walkways is also a good investment of time and energy.

6. It may sound like a small thing, but a ratty-looking mailbox will really stand out once you’ve done all the other sprucing up. Home supply stores carry lots of types so that you should be able to find one that fits your home’s style for a reasonable cost.

image curtesy of   of

Faded Beauty is Not Appealing

7. Paint faded shutters to make a clean fresh look. Re-think windows that are without shutters, keeping symmetry in mind. Staining or painting siding may be necessary if the house is faded and dingy.

Address repairs in siding and roof shingles. If you have repairs that will need to be done, attending to them before you list the house will eliminate negatives in the buyer’s mind and may even net you more in an offer. Most buyers have a number in mind, and then they start subtracting with each item they see that needs repair. It’s always a good strategy to give them as few negative items as possible from the start.

8. Make grass as lush as possible, as soon as possible. Start using a product like Scott’s Weed and Feed right away, so your lawn will be in great shape. And it may go without saying, but keep the lawn mowed when you have your home on the market.

Be Appealing

9. Make sure your house is easy to show. Put the lockbox in a prominent place and make sure walkways are clear. When you have a scheduled showing, make sure there is room in the driveway or front of house.

10. Keep the entrance well-lit for night-time showings. After you’ve spent all this effort on your curb appeal, you don’t want buyers to miss it in the dark. You also don’t want any accidents.  Inspect your entrance lighting and replace if necessary.

More Recommended Reading on Preparing Your Home for Sale:

Elbow Grease Pays Off

Outside presentation is important…first impressions can often make a big difference in how the buyer views the inside of your home. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on any of these projects, in fact you probably shouldn’t. Just consider a little elbow grease as a good investment. Most of the outdoor sprucing can take place over a weekend. All of this effort will pay off when you grab a buyer’s interest before they even walk through the front door.

Make sure you don’t overdo anything, including paint colors, flowers, and outdoor furniture. You don’t want to overwhelm your visitors, you just want to make them feel welcome. Welcome enough to want to stay!


Contact Chris Highland for our Seller’s Marketing Plan

The Highland Group with eXp Realty
410-777-5714 – Broker
301-401-5119 – Cell

10 Steps to Great Curb Appeal
Great Curb Appeal Welcomes Buyers


15 BS Facts About Homebuying Everyone Thinks Are True

15 BS Facts About Homebuying Everyone Thinks Are True

Facts About Buying and Selling A Home That (really) Aren’t True

How can something be a fact, but not be true? In the internet age, it’s very possible to find many so-called facts that don’t really hold true in real life…especially regarding real estate. So many people have so much to say, but don’t really know what they’re talking about. Yep. I said it. BS Facts abound on the world-wide-web.

15 BS Facts about real estateTwo reasons why non-facts linger: Old news lasts a long time on the internet. The problem is that any local real estate market can change on a dime. As well as market changes, its also true that markets are very local. All Real Estate is Local. What is fact in one market may not be in another.

Here are some of those so-called facts that I’ve run into lately…and along with them, some truth. I’ve brought in some of my favorite real estate bloggers to help me expose and dispel the BS:

BS Fact #1:  “Homes are way overvalued today, there is nothing I can afford.”

In 2013, most recovering markets saw large gains in home prices, many as much as 11-12%. That market correction hasn’t continued in 2014, and isn’t expected in 2015, either. With the combination of low interest rates, home affordability is still a reality for middle-income Americans. Although affordability is bound to decrease, compared to historic values and interest rates, home affordability is still very good. Consider:

“At today’s house prices and income levels, mortgage rates would have to be nearly 7 percent before the U.S. median priced home would be unaffordable to a family making the median income in most parts of the country.”  ~ Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist

BS Fact #2:  “New homes are not being constructed. I’m just going to wait until builders start building again.”

Builders are building. Builders are targeting different demographics, including first-time home buyers. Many are prepared to make up for lost ground of the last decade by building homes that people actually want. D.R. Horton is one such builder, with a focus on the entry-level market, launching “Express Homes”, which are priced between $120,000 and $150,000, much lower than the national median new-home price of $290,000.New Home Construction in Frederick Md

NAHB, National Home Builders Association, has been predicting positive outlook for new homes throughout last year, reporting month-over-month increases in housing starts and completions during 2014. Consider: Single Family Production is Poised to Take off in 2015.

In Frederick Md, we’re seeing new home construction like we haven’t seen since pre-2006.

BS Fact #3:  “My house is worth much more than the neighbor’s house because…[insert any of 2 dozen reasons].”

Sellers don’t determine how much their house is worth. a) Buyers do, and b) Appraisals do. Lenders must have appraisals to establish a value that the bank uses to decide if they want to loan the money or not. Buyers make an offer based on what they are willing to pay for the home in the present market. These two factors determine a home’s value. [Not to say that improvements aren’t taken into account, but the process of determining value is far more entailed than many sellers realize.]

For Additional Reading on the appraisal process:

BS Fact #4:  “We’re headed for another housing bubble!”

Housing Bubbles ... Danger!It seems like any time there is positive movement on home values, even if it’s a measly one percent, we have cries for the next housing bubble. Our collective psyche will never be the same after the previous decade of housing woes. Although we have sites like The Housing Bubble Blog, and Trulia’s “Bubble Watch”, the preponderance of economic reports are saying “No to another housing bubble”, Trulia, Forbes, Inman, and Kiplinger are just a few.

Here’s another thought…with so many eyes on the potential of a real estate bubble, and so much intervention by the Fed, do we really need to worry about bubbles so much? Can we enjoy a little real estate recovery without so much angst? Tweet That!

Now, this is a housing bubble I can dig! From 1972:

Bubble House


BS Fact #5:  “I’m waiting for mortgage rates to fall.”

All indications are that mortgage rates are on the rise. Since the Fed stopped buying up government securities (Quantitative Easing) they are predicting rising rates. By waiting around for 3% rates, a potential buyer is taking a great risk that the cost of a home is only going up, and they may well be priced out of the market in the near future.

Additional Reading:  Three Mortgage Rate Predictions from 3 Industry Experts, Tim Lucas at My Mortgage Insider, Brad Yzermans at Home Loan Artist, and Luke Skar, Madison Mortgage Guys.

BS Fact #6:  “I was told it’s a bad time to buy (or sell) real estate.”

We’ve been hearing similar statements for years. It fascinates me how a single negative factor, among thousands, can overshadow the entire subject of real estate for some people. They draw large conclusions from one anecdote.

An example: Your neighbor refinanced several times during the boom and is now underwater on his mortgage because the house isn’t worth that amount anymore…and probably won’t be for a few years. So he concludes for you that “it’s a bad time to sell.”  Well, yes, for him it is, but that’s not the case for everyone.

BS Fact #7:  “I can’t buy a house yet, I don’t have 20% to put down.”

Some of the well-known advice columns lead people to believe that they must have enough cash saved to put 20% down on a home purchase. While that might be the ideal situation, and certainly the best case scenario, that is not the only option. Very few have that amount, especially first-time buyers. There are many loan programs available that require less than 20% for a down-payment.

  • FHA loans require 3.5%. Fannie and Freddie Mac are now backing loans with 3% down.
  • VA requires 0 down, zero, nada. A wonderful benefit for those who have served us and kept our freedom.
  • There are Conventional loans for 20%, 10% and as little as 5% down. Add to them gifts from parents or other down payment assistance and they can be as little as 3% down.
  • Speaking of down payment assistance programs, there are many. Consult a local lender to find them.

Related Article: Where Mortgage Down Payment Assistance is Still Available, Lender 411

BS Fact #8:  “But the online Valuation of my house was more than you’re telling me?!”

Batman Has Strong Feelings About Zestimates

Zestimates are more than 10% off about 1/3 of the time. Tweet That!  On the Eastern Shore in Maryland, they are a whopping 42% off! If any Realtor was that far off, they would not be in business for very long! All I have to say is this emphatic statement:

Online valuations can never take the place of a local professional CMA, comparative market analysis. 

Related Articles:

BS Fact #9:  “All mortgage lenders are the same. I’ll just choose the one with better rates, lower fees, brightest smile… etc.” At the risk of bringing down the positive vibe…all lenders are NOT the same. If you’ve ever had to make the phone call to your seller a week before settlement, and tell them that the buyer’s financing fell through because of a lender’s incompetence, you know that the facts say otherwise. Although rates are very competitive, all lenders have varying experience. From our perspective, the most important thing is that there are no surprises. There may be challenges, but we can overcome challenges. As Realtors, we’re interested in the entire team you’re working with, and the more we can count on the other real estate professionals involved, we find that the bumps in the road are hardly noticeable.

Related Articles:

BS Fact #9.5:  “All Realtors are the same.” See BS Fact #9, only replace Realtor for Lender.


BS Fact #10:  “There are too many foreclosures dragging prices down, I’ll never get what I want for my house.” According to Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings have been falling every month in 2014, and there’s no reason why they won’t continue to fall throughout 2015. “Foreclosures will likely fall to pre-crisis levels in 2015.” The drag on home values from foreclosures is virtually non-existent.

BS Fact #11:
 “Staging my home should bring me a higher sale price.” Although staging a home is advisable, and will serve to present the home in it’s most positive light, there is no evidence that the favorable presentation will net a higher price. There is evidence that the home may sell more quickly, and may win out over other homes in a competitive market, so staging is often well worth the effort. Remember, whatever the offer on a home, unless the buyer is paying cash, the home must appraise for the buyer’s loan to get funded. (See BS Fact #3)

Related Articles:



BS Fact #12:  “A real estate agent will try to make me pay more so they can make more money.” This is a statement that I see often in online forums…from people who have no idea how a real estate agent works. Many people make the mistake of comparing real estate agents to other, more…er…pushy more pushy or aggressive salespeople. Here is (one of) the differences:  We want to be your Realtor for life! We want you to be so ecstatic with our service that you tell everyone you know about us. We don’t get that result by doing anything but serving your best interests.

Greedy Realtors Let’s just say that we could push you to a higher price point, given that you qualify. If you spend $10,000 more on a home than you thought you wanted to…your Realtor might make $300 more.

Who in the world would risk their reputation, further business and recommendations, and their integrity, for $300? Not me. If a buyer will refer me to someone else, I stand to make thousands, not just $300. As real estate professionals, we are local business people. We have to live in our communities, see past clients at the grocery store, the hardware store and the little league games. We care about so much more than a few more dollars on our commission.

BS Fact #13:  “A real estate agent will underprice my home just to make a quick sale.”
See BS Fact #12. Reverse it to $300 less.

BS Fact #14:  “I’ll need to spend a fortune to update my house, I can’t possibly sell it and break even.” I call this problem: Too much HGTV! While home sellers need to make sure their home has the right updates to compete in their market, it doesn’t have to be costly. There are updates that are necessary, but if they cost so much that you can’t get the home sold and break even, then you don’t need to do them. Much has been written on this subject by experienced real estate agents:

Related Articles:

And the mother-of-all BS Facts…#15:  “Who needs a Realtor anyway? I’ll do it myself!”  Well, that is true, anyone could sell their own home. Anyone could also cut their own hair, make their own shoes and put a new roof on their own house…I’m just not sure I would advise it. We each have our skills, training and talents.

Realtors negotiate and buy and sell 24-7, 365 days a year.  Realtors are professionals with experience in marketing, contracts, negotiation, contingencies, time-frames, loan programs, and a number of other elements. Not to mention, they bring a team of professionals to the process…lenders, title attorneys, home improvement, stagers, painters, and many more.

The average homeowner buys, sells, negotiates and maneuvers through the process once every 7 to 9 years. Find a Realtor you can trust and let them do the heavy lifting. How to find that real estate professional?

Check out these articles: Related Articles:

Interviewing A Real Estate Professional

View more lists from Karen Highland
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