Sorry, Buyers Do Not Want Your Home

If you are thinking of selling your home you might be pondering over what buyers want. That’s a good start, but maybe you should come at it from the other direction: buyers do not want to buy your home. Buyers do want to buy a house that will become their home. Think about these things to make your home into a house that a buyer will want.

What Home Buyers Do Not Want

Buyers do not want to do mental gymnastics to envision themselves living in a house. Don’t make people do too much work to understand the layout, rooms and property.

Buyers do not want a house that no one else wants. It’s human nature to want what others want. Price your home to sell and not to just sit.

Buyers do not want to pay for an over-priced house in an under-priced market, regardless of what you paid for it or need out of it.

Buyers do not want to see your stuff: cluttered kitchens, messy rooms, or your personal items in a bathroom are definite turnoffs.

Buyers do not want to smell your stuff: the litterbox, wet dog or morning bacon might be scents that you get used to, but other people won’t love them.

Buyers do not want to live with your stuff: your wallpaper, strong paint colors, brightly colored carpets, shelf paper from 1983 and 10 years of your kids’ trophies are definitely personal choices that a new owner may not care for.

Buyers do not want your projects: all those little repairs, clean-ups, fixes, smudges, cracks, rips, errors and mistakes…please take care of them before listing your house for sale. If you say to yourself “that’s a lot of work”, then so does a home buyer.

I see a lot of houses in St Charles, Geneva and Batavia so if you want me to come take a look at your house, give me a call. I can help you turn your home into a house that is perfect for the market…and a buyer.


Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: What’s the Difference?

If you are a homeowner having trouble making your mortgage payments, you may have considered doing a short sale or letting the home go into foreclosure. You must understand the difference between the two so that you can make the best decisions for your future.

A short sale of real estate happens when the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property’s loan(s). If a homeowner can’t make the monthly payments and the house can’t be sold for the amount of the loan(s) and other liens, then the lender may agree that selling the property at a loss is better than foreclosing on the loan. A lender may agree to a short sale if the homeowner can show financial hardship such as job loss, high debt from medical bills or business loss, or other financial difficulties that a homeowner will not be able to overcome.

A foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender or other lien holder seeks to take back a property if the homeowner stops making the payments or hasn’t met other commitments, like paying real estate taxes or homeowner association fees.

Illinois is a “judicial foreclosure” state. This means that the lender or other lien holder files a lawsuit to show that the borrower has missed payments. If the homeowner doesn’t make up the amount owed in a specific period of time, the lender may ask the court to allow that the property be sold at auction to pay off the debt. In Illinois the County Sheriff conducts an auction in which anyone can purchase the home to pay off the debts. Usually, though, the only “bidder” is the lender who owns the mortgage. The lender takes back the property and after a series of other legal steps is allowed to sell the home to pay off the mortgage.

Other options for distressed homeowners are loan modification programs or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

Know your options: consult your lender, a real estate attorney, a government-sponsored counselor, a tax professional and a real estate broker experienced with short sales.


Item Short Sale Foreclosure
Fannie Mae Guideline (Primary Residence) Eligible for new Fannie Mae insured loan after 2 years, no restrictions. Eligible for a new Fannie Mae loan with restrictions after 5 years, no restrictions after 7 years.
Fannie Mae Guidelines (Non-Primary Residence) An investor who has done a short sale is eligible for a Fannie Mae backed mortgage after 2 years. An investor who has had a property foreclosed cannot get a Fannie Mae backed loan for 7 years.
Credit Score Late payments on a mortgage will appear after completion of a mortgage. The effect can be as short as 12 to 18 months. Credit score affected by 50 to 100 points. Typically will affect credit scores for at least 3 years. Scores may be negatively affected between 200 and 300 points.
New Credit Application Questions (Form 1003) No questions on an application regarding a short sale. Questions: have you had property foreclosed upon or given title or deed in lieu in the last 7 years?
Credit History A short sale may or not be reported by a lender on a credit history. Remains as a public record for 10 years or more.
Security Clearance Usually does not raise red flags regarding security clearance. Security clearance will be questioned.
Deficiency Judgement Negotiable between seller and lender. No negotiations between the home-owner and the lender. It is up to the lender to file a deficiency judgement.

This post was written by Leslie Ebersole and originally published on FoxValleyRealEstate. Use or reproduction without express consent of the author is prohibited.

How Long Will It Take?

If you are thinking of selling your home then one of your questions will certainly be: “how long will it take to sell my house?”  In today’s market, it’s worth calling a few real estate agents just for the entertainment value of the possible answers:

  • How long would you like it to take?
  • Let’s list it and see what happens.
  • Anyone who claims to be able to answer that is lying.
  • When the Moon is in the 2nd house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.

If you would like to plan your life around more than astrological projections or wishful thinking, you and your Realtor have some work to do.

If you want to sell in your time frame and not endure months of inconvenience and anxiety, you must be the best value on the market. Value is made up of price, condition, location and emotional intangibles like attractiveness. So how do you set and manage the value?

Evaluate Comparables: I don’t think there is an alternative to previewing the Active comparables with a knowledgeable local Realtor. You must visit the houses in person and realistically “think like a buyer”. You should also drive by the houses that have recently Closed or are Under Contract. Carefully study the online interior photos and make lists of the pros and cons compared to your house. 

Ask yourself: would my house been chosen over the ones that just sold?

Market Analysis: Your Realtor should show you a detailed market report of the inventory of comparable houses, the absorption rate (how many will sell each month), and the average market time of the Closed sales. The report should be based on data from MRED (the MLS of northern Illinois) and independent research from a company like Altos Research. You should be able to develop a very clear picture how many houses like yours will sell each month.

Ask yourself: do I want to be the next house to sell in my area?

Be Realistic: Will your house will compete against distress sales in your area? Foreclosures or short sales sell for as low as 40% below market value so you must make your home worth the difference in price.To sell in this market, your home must be compellingly priced, professionally staged and be aggressively marketed by a full-time Realtor with a successful brokerage.

Ask yourself: do I really want to sell?

“How long will it take to sell my house?” won’t be a quick or simple answer but it doesn’t require a crystal ball. A real answer will require that you are realistic, willing to work hard and that you hire the right Realtor.


You Got Us To The Door, Now Get Us To The Table

Hey there, Tech Savvy Listing Agents! I’m showing your listings! Your steady flow of clever blog posts helped lure the transferee to our great area, your website had nifty interactive maps, and you displayed attractive photos of the home on 1,000s of websites. Your charts and reports convinced your sellers to price competitively and then to lower the price as we head into fall. And you’ve marketed to the local agents as well…how could I miss your listing popping up on Google in every search? Your unique property websites are impressive. You’ve sent out snazzy e-flyers to all the local agents with each price change. Really great work and you got my client’s attention.

And now, after all your work over so many months, if you get us to the door, will you get us to the table?

I worked with two families this week who are transferring to the area. There are so many houses to choose from that you’d expect sellers would roll out the red carpets.

But we didn’t see many red carpets at the showings. In fact, a lot of houses looked a little sad. Even if the seller is discouraged, it is the listing agent’s job to create a great showing experience every time someone drives up to the house.

As the gardens turn brown, the dead plants should be cut back. At the front entry a few mums and pumpkins look nice and the front porch should be swept of dead leaves.

And please, brush away the spider webs. “We never use the front door” is not an excuse. A buyer comes though the front door.

This time of year the lights should be turned on for a showing, especially on a dreary day. Maybe you could turn on some soft music. Warm cookies are a wonderful way to entice a buyer to stay a little longer and enjoy the home.

The dog needs to be somewhere other than the laundry room. Barking dogs scare little kids and their parents. And a buyer needs to see the laundry room.

If the weather is cold and the house is vacant, someone should come over and turn on the heat. One house I showed yesterday had the air conditioning set at 58 degrees. Perhaps the agent hadn’t been there since summer, which probably explains the bugs. As the weather grows colder, vacant houses here in the Midwest get bugs. Someone needs to vacuum up dead bugs before a showing. Hundreds of dead box elder bugs are not warm and inviting. Dead bugs are creepy to little kids who crunch them under their little sneakers. Teenage girls flounce out and go sit in the car, announcing that they aren’t moving into that house.

Houses for sale need brochures in the house. Yesterday I showed fifteen houses in six subdivisions and only four had multi-page brochures with good photos. A 4,000 square foot house priced at $600,000 deserves a nice brochure.

The showing experience starts when a buyer sees the photos on the internet. Driving up to the house is the start of “show time”. Walking through the door should be a “wow”. A buyer should be reluctant to leave and move onto the next house. A buyer, especially a transferee, wants to collect nice looking materials to remind them of their favorite homes.

So to my colleagues, I ask: after all the work you’ve done, if you get us to the door, will you get us to the table?