We Can Simply Throw a Sign in the Yard!

iStock_000004531492SmallI recently overheard a couple talking about selling their home. As I listened, they were telling each other that in this strong seller’s market all they need to do was to throw a sign in the yard and they would sell for top dollar.

I would agree that the greater Dallas area is in a strong seller’s market. I base that on the lack of inventory and the number of offers received on each of our listings. That said, if you want top dollar, you still have to properly prepare, market, and show it. Buyers are not going to pay top dollar for a home that does not show well.

It all starts with preparing the home for sale. While we have listed and sold a few homes that did not need any preparation, the vast majority can maximize their sales price and minimize their marketing time by employing a stager. We so strongly believe in this concept that we pay for a staging consultation on almost every listing. The photos below are an example of the difference staging can make (staging done by Karen Otto with HomeStarStaging).


Once the staging is complete, the cleaning stage begins. We recommend that carpets and the home be professionally cleaned. In our market the cost is about $500. Why? A super-clean home looks and smells good creating an emotional appeal to buyers. Emotion leads to quicker and higher offers.

The next stage is getting ready to market the home. Professional quality photography is a must. With over 90 percent of Dallas buyers starting their searches on the Internet, you have to create a compelling reason for buyers to want to see the home. Even in a seller’s market, quality photography instills a sense of urgency in buyers. They realize that the home will not last long and they need to get in to see it quickly.


The last stage is having the home in show-ready condition for every showing. Most sellers know in advance that their home will be showing. When you get that call, it’s almost show time! Have a plan of action to get your home in show-ready shape: window shades open, lights on, soft music playing, etc. It’s all about creating an emotional experience for the buyers.

Don’t let a strong seller’s market lull you into thinking that you can simply stick a sign in the ground and sell your home for top dollar in the minimum amount of time. Take the time and make the effort to get the home prepared prior to going on the market. You’ll be far happier with the results.

Tom and Gina Signatures

Photos: Main Photo licensed from iStockPhoto, Others Copyright Imaged2Sell

Having Trouble Selling? Strip!

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about getting that home sold.

Many homes built prior to the early 1990’s have wallpaper in many of the rooms. While it was trendy at the time, it’s not in-style today. Many buyers simply cannot see beyond the wallpaper.

Below are pictures (click the photos for larger views) of a kitchen being remodeled. The white-washed cabinets have been refinished, the wallpaper has been removed, and the walls have been retextured and painted.

Original Kitchen    Kitchen - Partially Completed

The good news is that the cost of removing the wallpaper, retexturing, and painting is relatively inexpensive. The owners of this property paid less than $2500 to refinish the existing cabinets, remove the wall paper, retexture, and paint the walls. What a difference it makes!

Selling in today’s market can be challenging. Homes that are in good condition, show well, and are priced right still move quickly. While spending several thousand dollars to remove the wallpaper from a home seems like a large expense, I submit to you that it will be far less than your first price reduction!

Photos:  Copyright Tom Branch

It’s a Price War and a Beauty Contest

Upscale Home

If your home is listed or you are thinking about listing, you need to realize that selling in today’s market is a price war and a beauty contest. Even worse is that you often have to win both!

In many areas there are far more homes available than there are buyers looking. Add short sales and foreclosures to the mix and you will quickly see that you are in the midst of a price war. For buyers, that’s great news. We’re having sale on real estate! For sellers, it means you really have to look at the prices of competing homes and price your home accordingly. I’m not saying that you have to give it away, but if you truly want to sell, you have to be in the ballpark. The good news for sellers is that many are also buyers so the “loss” on the sale can be made up with the purchase of a new home.

Unless you’re an investor, a home purchase is still an emotional decision. Homes that create emotion not only sell, they sell for more. If you’re selling, you and your agent need to create that emotion. Homes that are in good condition, properly staged, always ready for showings, and properly marketed do sell. Want to know the good news? They sell quicker and for more money!

I alway tell sellers if nobody walks in the front door, the home is either overpriced or poorly marketed. If buyers walk in the front door and will not make an offer, it’s because they don’t see the value for the price. There are two ways to fix it–put some make-up on the home or lower the price!

My advice is to take the time to get your home ready prior to putting it on the market. It’s a price war and a beauty contest out there.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Photo licensed from ShutterStock

Are You Show-Ready?

Are You Show-Ready?

I was reading a blog post written by Leslie Ebersole titled, “Is Your Home Listed to Sell or Listed to Sit?” Leslie writes about making the most of every showing.

I often talk about having your home in Show-Ready condition. What is “Show-Ready”? Here’s a little background before we answer the question.

Homes sell on either emotion or price. Homes that create emotion with buyers sell faster and at a higher price. Many sellers hire a professional stager to help create that warm and inviting atmosphere. While professional staging is a great idea, we’ve seen staged homes that would look even better if they were “show-ready.”

Most sellers know in advance that their home will be showing. When you get that call, it’s almost show time! Have a plan of action to get your home in show-ready shape:

• Open all the blinds and turn on all the lights including the garage and walk-in attic. Homes that are light and bright appear larger and more inviting. If you have ceiling fans, turn them all on low.

• Have some soft music playing. If you have a media room, leave a movie playing with the sound turned down low.

• Scents are important to creating emotion. In years past, we would leave a drop of vanilla on a light bulb. When the agent turned on the light, the heat would release the vanilla fragrance into the air. Times have changed and now we can simply purchase small air fresheners. While some fragrance is good, too much can be overpowering. If you can, burn a candle until you have to leave. Candles often smell more natural than the artificial air fresheners.

• If you have time, run the vacuum cleaner over the carpets. Buyers notice when the carpets look like nobody has walked on them.

• While you may love your pets, many people are afraid of them and they often get in the way. Taking your pet with you during the showing is the best idea. Some dogs are crate-trained and sit quietly in their crate. However, there’s nothing more annoying than listening to a dog bark the whole time you’re viewing a home.

• Don’t be there when the agent and buyers arrive. It’s awkward and makes the buyers uncomfortable. Buyers want to be able to peek into closets and kitchen cabinets. They want to be able to discuss what they like and don’t like with their agent and each other. If you’re there, it will be a short showing! Leave the selling to the agent.

Many sellers assume the showing agent will arrive ahead of time to get the home show-ready. If I’m only showing one home, I often arrive early and get the lights on. However, if I’m showing 10 homes, I have the buyers with me and we both walk in at the same time for that important first impresion.

Buyers decide in the first 60 seconds if they like the home. Get your home show-ready and make the most of that minute!