Real Estate Marketing Specialists

Category Archives: Seller Information

Information pertinent to Frederick home sellers.

Real Estate Terminology – What is Absorption Rate?

Real Estate Terminology – What is Absorption Rate?

What is “Absorption Rate”?

The Absorption rate is roughly how long it will take the current homes on the market to sell. It’s an estimate, based on  the current number of listings and current sales. Because those two factors fluctuate from month to month,  absorption rate is a rough estimate. It’s an average of how many homes sell each month, based on a 6-month calculation, because anything less than 6 months is too small a sample, and anything greater than 6 months wouldn’t give an accurate picture of what’s going on with values in an area.

If I get the total number of homes that have sold for the last 6 months in an area, say a Frederick zip code or a Frederick County town or, better yet, a neighborhood, and then divide by 6, I’ve got an absorption rateAverage number of homes that sell each month.

If I take the total inventory, or how many homes are on the market in a given area, and divide by the absorption rate, I get the months of inventory, or how long it will take to sell all of the homes in the chosen area (if no more homes were listed).

Why is Absorption and Months of Inventory important?

These numbers are important to buyers as well as sellers. An absorption rate of about four to six months indicates a balanced real estate market.   Balanced means a market that does not favor the buyer or the seller.  An absorption rate of less than four months indicates a seller’s market.   An absorption rate of more than 6 months indicates a buyer’s market.

Home Sellers

To a seller, these numbers tell them whether their home is positioned correctly in the market. If they need to sell in 3 months and the absorption rate in their neighborhood is 6 months, then they will need to price their home to sell, without taking months to adjust the price as they test the market.

The absorption rate tells the seller what the normal time on market is for their current market. If their home doesn’t sell in the time that the average comparable home sells, then they know that something is amiss. They will know how accurate, or inaccurate, their pricing is when they find themselves still on the market after the average time for their area.

Home Buyers

For a buyer, the opposite can be discerned. If they see a home that has been on the market for longer than the average time for that neighborhood or community, they will think either two thoughts: 1) something is wrong with the house, or 2) the house is overpriced.  These homes often receive low-ball offers because of these perceptions.

Understanding real estate terminology, absorption rate for one, helps to navigate the market, negotiate and have proper expectations. Both buyers and sellers can learn how to get the best possible outcome in their market by understanding local market trends.

Contact us for a consultation to find out how much your home is worth in today’s Frederick Real Estate Market.

The Highland Group
Chris & Karen Highland 
eXp Realty – 410-777-5714

Four Reasons Your Home is NOT Selling

Four Reasons Your Home is NOT Selling

Homes Don’t Sell for A Reason

The statistics say it’s taking an average of 60 days to sell a house in Frederick County. When a house is on the market for much longer than the average time of comparable homes, there are reasons the home is not selling. Many sellers don’t realize they can hurt their chances of selling their home by doing one or any of these things:

1. Overpricing their home.  When the number of homes on the market is at an all-time high, about twice as much as a normal Frederick Market, sellers need to realize that buyers have the luxury of choice.  They will choose the best house for the least money. Normal market forces make that fact more of a reality than ever.Pricing Your home right from the start

When the inventory is low, like it has been for a while, homes that are priced right and in their best condition sell in a matter of days or weeks. When a house lingers on the market in a hot seller’s market, you can be pretty sure that the asking price is not right for the house. The home needs to be positioned correctly on the market to attract the attention of likely buyers. Remember, most buyers are trusting the advice of their buyer’s agent, who more than likely are educating them on the on the market value of each home they see.

2.  Not keeping a house in the best Condition is a sure-fire way for a seller to send a buyer down the street.  Even when competition is high in the real estate market, buyers are viewing homes in a certain price range, comparing them all as they shop. Buyers choose the house in the best condition at the best price. The only way to position the house in the market when the condition is less than other like homes is to adjust the price.

3. One of the best ways to keep your house from being sold is to keep it from being shown.  Being unavailable or making it hard to show is not a good strategy.  If a buyer’s agent has difficulty getting the OK to show your house, they will move on to the other houses on their list, and chances are, they won’t come back.  The best way to sell a home is to be very flexible on showing times and to temporarily do as much as possible to arrange your life around the goal of selling your home. And keep your cell phone in your pocket. The sooner you sell your home, the sooner your life gets back to normal.

real estate listings4. Lack of proper Marketing is another way to keep your home from selling.  By proper marketing, I mean modern internet marketing, where over 92% of buyers are looking.  Sellers need to make sure their listing agent is advertising on the many real estate websites that are on the web. Internet marketing demands professional photos, high-definition video, and a detail-rich description.

By following these tips and using an experienced local real estate agent, you will have success in selling your home in the least amount of time for the best price for your market.  Your house can be one of the homes that sell in 30 days or less, instead of the house that lingers on the market.

Contact Chris Highland for our High-Touch High-Tech Listing Plan. 


The Highland Group
Chris & Karen Highland
eXp Realty 

Ten Reasons to Sell Your House This Holiday

Ten Reasons to Sell Your House This Holiday

The Holidays are Are A Great Time to Sell Your Home!

Thinking about selling your home? Maybe to downsize, or move up, or even go somewhere warm?

Many sellers are waiting for spring, but why wait? Why wait for more competition? The Holidays are a great time to sell your home. Here are 10 good reasons to NOT wait:

  1. There is a good supply of buyers this year. Motivated buyers, not just recreational buyers. There are serious buyers who need to relocate for various reasons.
  2. There is less competition during the Holidays, which is a good thing when you want to stand out. Most buyers are looking online, and they’ll find you much easier when there are fewer homes on the market.
  3. You home looks great! Christmas decorations are lovely.
  4. Your neighborhood looks great too.
  5. Buyers who are searching have more time to look when they are off work during the holidays.
  6. Your REALTOR understands it’s the holiday season and you can show your home when you want.
  7. Everyone is in a good mood, because it’s the holidays.
  8. Sell your home now and you’ll be in a better negotiating position, without a home to sell.
  9. Interest rates are super low right now.
  10. If you sell now, you won’t have to mow the lawn ever again!

Contact the Highland Group and we’ll help you get it sold!

How to Blow Up Your Home Sale

How to Blow Up Your Home Sale

What NOT To Do In A Home Sale

Congratulations! Your home is under contract. It may seem like you’ve run a half marathon to get to this juncture, but the end is in sight! You’ve managed to find the buyer for your home. So now you want to see it to the end, right? You don’t really want to blow it up… I admit, I’ve sensationalized the title of this post… but not by a wide stretch. We’ve seen a few transactions blow up over the years. It’s best to be aware of some of the things that can possibly sabotage your home sale:

Mistake #1: Don’t make the effort to fix things that break.

If a fixture or system in the home breaks when the home is about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes it happens. If a major system of the house fails, get a professional to fix it, and let the buyers know. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers will probably lose confidence in the condition of the home and back out of the sale.

Mistake #2: Don’t use licensed contractors

home improvementIf your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly.

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes sellers try to cut corners, when repairs have been agreed to. Sometimes we see that they’ve called in “handy uncle Joe” to fix items. If the home inspection negotiation has been signed by both parties, and the buyer requests a licensed contractor to make the repair, it is an obligation.  Using a licensed contractor is in the best interest of the buyer and the seller. They are bonded and insured, and there is usually some kind of warranty to their work. It will be in everyone’s best interest to not only keep the home sale on track, but to mitigate against future problems that may arise.

Mistake #3: Ignore contingencies

Contingencies have deadlines. The first statement in the Maryland contract reads “time is of the essence.” That means when time runs out, you are out of contract. The buyer has no obligation to go through with the purchase.  If you don’t meet contracted deadlines, the contract becomes voidable. Treat deadlines as the law. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within two days. Always leave a buffer for problems that may arise.

It’s not a good idea to assume you can just extend the contract. Sometimes buyers will think that you are not serious and might just walk away. Often buyers have hard deadlines that must be met: loan locks that expire, move out dates from their current residence, or a deadline for a new job, just to name a few.

Mistake #4: Become Rigid about further negotiations

Once you’ve negotiated a price, it might be easy to start your calculations about how much first rule of negotiationsmoney you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during the home inspection may have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below the contracted price and the buyer and seller will have to negotiate what steps to take and what to do about the difference. Remain flexible throughout the transaction and remember that the negotiations aren’t over until the documents are signed and the key is delivered.

Mistake #5: Hide liens from buyers

Did you forget to mention that you owe six months of homeowners association fees or that Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien. It’s great if you can do that with the sales proceeds, but if not, the sale probably isn’t going to close, and you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy and emotion.

Disclosing everything fully from the beginning will be your best opportunity to find out if there are solutions that will make your home sale possible. That’s much better than crossing your fingers and hoping.

real estate success

Hopefully, no one will run into any of these issues. But it helps to go into the home selling process with information about the many possibilities, and an open mind. Selling your home is a stressful experience, so it always helps to have proper expectations from the start. When the unexpected happens, you want to have a game plan and a game face to get you through to the finish line.

What To Do Right to Keep Your Home Sale on Track

And now that you know what NOT to do, here is a collection of great articles to help you keep your home sale on track:

  • In this article, The Typical Issues in a Home Inspection, Jeff Knox shares the 10 items that most often show up as problems. This would be a big help to look out for these things and get them fixed right away.
  • How To Prevent Home Closing Failure. Paul Sian, Realtor in Greater Cincinnati, OH and Northern KY, has some good advice for both buyers and sellers about preventing a blow up before settlement. It’s worth mentioning that sellers would do well to have an experienced local agent who knows how to vet the buyer’s financing. This can help mitigate against the possibility of their financing not going through.
  • Selling Your Home and the Buyer Cancels. Yikes! It can happen, although it’s not often. Debbie Drummund, Las Vegas Luxury Home Sales, has some great advice on what to do when a home buyer backs out of the purchase.
  • In this article, Top 8 Reasons A Real Estate Deal Falls Apart, Kyle Hiscock, Rochester NY Realtor, points out the typical problems that cause a deal to fall through. Notably, not using an experienced listing agent.  Having an experienced and competent real estate agent working on your behalf will give you the best odds that your deal will NOT fall through!

Home Shopping: The Square Footage Dilemma

Home Shopping:  The Square Footage Dilemma

I like to watch several series on HGTV. “House Hunters” is one of them. I like to see the different home values in different locations across the country. One of the things that always makes me scratch my head, though, is when they use the price-per-square-foot calculation.


In the real world of real estate, no one really does that, at least not when it comes to market value and what buyers will and have been paying for a home. Builders use price-per-square-foot calculations for their own purposes, and commercial real estate uses that statistic to price out properties for rent.


When referring to residential real estate, comparing home values from one home to another is rarely ever an apples-to-apples comparison. Determining the market value of a home is a multi-faceted process. There are several reasons…

  • First of all, a home with lots of high-end upgrades is going to command a higher selling price than a similar sized home with basic features. Buyers just aren’t going to pay the same amount for a house that doesn’t have the custom features or upgrades compared to a similar sized home with all the bells and whistles.
  • Another reason is that square footage doesn’t always mean that you have that amount of actual floor space. Take for instance, a two-story Colonial =>
    traditional Colonial square footage
    Traditional 2-story Colonial

    To calculate square footage, you take the dimensions of the first floor, and double that amount for the square footage. This traditional Colonial home has about 2000 square feet, 1000 on each level.

    Now consider a contemporary 2-story house of 2000 square feet…If it has a 2-story foyer or a 2-story great room, like the picture below, it still may have the same 1000 square-foot footprint, the same square footage as the Colonial without the 2 story rooms. The two don’t completely compare.

    square footageYou might pay more for the dramatic 2-story rooms than you would for the basic home, depending on the market, even though the basic home had more actual floor space.

    This is like comparing apples to oranges.

  • A third reason why we shouldn’t rely on the square footage statistic is that it doesn’t take take location into account. Remember that overused cliche: location, location, location. The values in one neighborhood can be driven by completely different metrics than a neighborhood across town, even if the homes are similar. The age of the home, the amenities that the particular builder added and the difference in construction make a difference. The neighborhood amenities and demand also greatly affect the values.
  • The last flaw you find when relying on the square foot measurement in direct comparisons is that we often find the tax record is wrong. The tax record doesn’t always reflect any renovations done on the home after the initial sale. And sometimes, its just wrong for no reason at all…garbage in/garbage out.

Additional Reading:

Buyer Beware

Because mistakes are made, and human error is always a possibility, buyers should always make it their responsibility to check the square footage of a home they are interested in purchasing, and not rely on the owner, the agent, or even the State tax record.check the square footage

There are several apps available to serve the purpose, why not do your own quick measurements yourself?

  • Stanley Floor Plan App – It creates a floor plan from your picture. How easy is that? Android and ios
  • Add to that Stanley Smart Measure Pro App – Take a picture, then measure on the photo. Android and ios
  • There are several apps for professionals that use a laser measure in conjunction with a calculator to measure for flooring, paint, and to create floor plans for designers.

Count on Your Agent’s CMA – Comparative Market Analysis

Your listing agent or buyer’s agent will be able to do a custom CMA, by carefully studying comparable homes that have recently sold and that are currently on the market. This is the best way to determine fair market value. After that, if the home is being financed, the bank will require an appraisal, which will be the deciding factor in the value of the home.


An experienced agent will do a custom CMA, taking into account all of the various market factors, unique features and neighborhood nuances. No other valuation can compare for an accurate measure of what a home is worth in the present market.

Additional Reading:


If you’re considering selling your Frederick Md Home, contact the Highland Group regarding our High-Tech, High-Touch Listing Plan. 301-401-5119


Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Selling Your Home During the Holidays

The Frederick real estate market generally slowes down during the holidays, as most markets do. People are busy shopping and cooking, making preparations for gatherings with family and friends. There are admittedly fewer buyers out looking for homes, and many sellers question whether it is worth the life disruption. Selling your home during the holidays certainly has some positives and negatives.

There are pros and cons to selling your home during the holidays:

  • There are fewer buyers out looking at homes during the winter months, which include the holidays…but, those buyers who are looking are serious buyers, we like to say “motivated buyers”.
  • It can be difficult to keep the house in show-ready condition during the holidays, especially for a busy family, or if you are hosting parties or celebrations. But if you are keeping a home clean and ready for guests, you have an advantage for possible showings.
  • If your home is decorated for the holidays, the decorations are an added bonus to the staging of your home, as long as your decorations aren’t over the top. This is the perfect time to experiment with minimalist Christmas decor if you are used to something more elaborate.
  • More than likely, you are already starting to pack for the inevitable move…so why not pare down and pack away some of your holiday decorations while you’re at it? Especially the highly personal items.

Additional Resource: Staging Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays, via HGTV

  • There will be fewer showings during the holidays…but…there will be fewer showings during the holidays!
  • There are fewer homes on the market…that means less competition for you. This can be a good thing when you find a buyer who needs to buy a home, and is unable to wait until the spring market. Some buyers need to make a purchase before the end of the year for tax reasons, for example. Some buyers need to be ready for a new job. You just never know.
  • Most showing systems allow you to make your home unavailable for showings during a selected time…for instance if you have holiday guests, or if you just want to have a few days to relax.
  • If you sell your home now, you may be able to be a non-contingent buyer in the spring, something to consider.

The decision whether to market your home during the holidays really does depend on selling your home during the holidaysyour tolerance for more “to-do’s” during an already hectic time. You have to weigh the inconveniences with your family’s holiday agenda, and with your desire to move on with your life.

Either way, the basic principles of selling still mean just as much as in any other time of year:  The homes that sell are priced right for their condition, and for the market.  Make sure your Realtor provides you with a periodic updated comparative market analysis (CMA) so that your home stays competitive with the market. Selling your home during the holidays doesn’t have to be a monumental task, with the right REALTOR® by your side.

Contact Chris Highland and the Highland Group for excellent real estate marketing, no matter the season. Find out what your home is worth.

Sellers: Give Your Home the Sniff Test

Sellers: Give Your Home the Sniff Test

When a Frederick home seller is getting their home ready for the market, the look of the home is not the only thing to be considered; all five of the senses need to be given thought. The most overlooked… the odors in the house. Overwhelming odors can be offputting to buyers at best, and leave a negative impression at worst.

Here are 6 places in your home to pay attention to:

1.   Closets – odors tend to build up in closets because they stay closed.
2.   Bathrooms – besides the obvious odors, mildew on surfaces and towels can be either subtle or overt.
3.   Bedrooms – dirty clothes, bed linens, and musty drapes can cause odors.
4.   Kitchens – Onions, garlic and ethnic spices can linger in the air from last night’s dinner…sometimes from last week’s dinner.
5.   Basements – Basement rooms often don’t benefit from the airflow that the main floor rooms have, and musty odors can build up.
6.   Pet smells – homeowners can get used to pet smells and forget that buyers will immediately notice the lingering smell of pets.


  • Natural solutions like baking soda are the best for possible sensitivities that others may have to cleaning solutions. Baking soda absorbs the odors from the air, not does your house pass the sniff test?just masking them like commercial air fresheners.
  • Before leaving for a showing, put towels and dirty clothes in the washing machine. You’ll want to set out the “good towels” anyway.
  • Use absorbant air fresheners in the closets. They will absorb the stale odors in the air. Put air fresheners inside gym shoes or any others that build up odors. Take special care when choosing the scent of air fresheners…a little goes a long way. Stay away from anything too flowery. Subtle is much better in this case.
  • Use a dehumidifier in the basement to keep the musty smell away. Place fans to circulate the air periodically.
  • Open up the windows to circulate fresh air periodically. Even if its winter, you want to be less concerned about your heating bill than you are about the welcoming smells and fresh air in your home.
  • If you’re going to clean with strong odors like bleach, clean the night before so the odors are not so strong that they “hit someone in the face” when they enter a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Place pet beds and items outside or in a garage before a showing. They should be out of sight anyway, for buyers who may have allergies or sensitivities. Have a neutralizing spray on hand to spray on furniture or carpets, or any fabric where your pet has been.
  • Above all, keep the house clean. Don’t let it build up and you won’t have a huge amount of work to do right before a showing. It can seem tedious when you have your home on the market, but it will pay off with a speedy offer.

Sometimes we get used to the odors in our living spaces and it helps to have a friend come over and give our home the sniff test…a good friend, of course, who will also give us the truth. 

Additional Resources to Cure A Smelly House:

For more seller tips, visit the seller page on our website, Selling Real Estate in Frederick Md.            Find out what your home is worth

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.

***   ***   ***

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:

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