Henrico – Affordable – Renovated – $125,0

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Creating a Great Listing That Will Sell Your House

photo courtesy of Google images.

photo courtesy of Google images.

So you have decided to save thousands in commission and sell your own home.  Congratulations on making a great decision.  One of the keys to selling your own home is to expose it to maximum number of Realtors possible.   One way to do that and save thousands in commission is to use www.justlistem.com.  Justlistem provides the best of both worlds, as Miley Cyrus would say.  You can list your home for a small flat fee of just $299 AND still have every Realtor in town know the details about your great home.

This is where the actual listing becomes VERY important in your ability to sell your own home.  The truth is that know one knows Your home as well as you do.  This is the reason why YOU are the very best person to compose your own listing.  How can a Realtor possibly know every detail of your great home?  By using www.justlistem.com you will have the opportunity to easily compose your own listing and emphasize all your great features.  www.justlistem.com will take you through a very logical process to ensure every great feature of your home is accurately captured in your listing on the MLS.

Does anyone really know your house better than you?  I don’t think so and this is one of the many reasons users of www.justlistem.com are havings so much sucess using this service to sell their own homes.  Do you know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have?  Do you know how many fireplaces you have?  Do you know the features of your appliances?  Do you know if you have a walk-in closet in your bedroom?  I think you see what I am trying to say.  No one knows the great features of your own home as well as you do.  No one else knows the detailed features of your own home.  Using justlistem you will have the opportunity to easily describe all the great features of your home.  You will also have a section where you can add your own details right into the listing.  Details like that new roof you put on last year, details like park-like yard, great driveway and oversized garage.  Features like nice ceiling fans you installed into your bedrooms. 

The bottom line is that you are creating your custom listing so that ALL potential buyers will have a very accurate description of your home.  Using justlistem you will have the ability to easily create an accurate listing that will highlight every great feature of your home that will appeal to a large group of potential buyers.

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justlistem.com – Another Sucess Story…

We recently completed a listing with a user named David in the Richmond, VA market. He had success using our website and has wanted to be able to tell his story of how he recently sold his house using http://www.justlistem.com.  Just over a year ago David decided he wanted a bigger house in the Short Pump are of western Henrico county. He found the house he wanted, bought it and moved to his new home.

He figured it would be easy to sell his other home in Short Pump so he contacted a realtor who swore she would be the one to sell his home right away. His original house was empty since he moved to his new house. His Realtor said that won’t be a problem since she was sure she would list it and sell his house. 30 days went by and there were showings but zero offers. 45 days went by and the same results with no offers on his house. David was paying two mortgage payments and could not go on forever with double mortgages so he decided he would need to rent his nice house in Short Pump.

Fortunately he was able to find a very nice family that was moving to our area from South Carolina. They paid their rent on-time every month for a year, when David received the call from them in June that they intended to move-out. David considered his options wisely. He could re-rent the house to another family or take another shot at selling his house.

He determined that he would find a way to drop his price a bit if that was possible. He had pulled out his equity to use as his down payment on his new house a year ago so he had to get a certain amount in order to pay off his existing loans. After carefully considering his options he chose to cut his price a bit and the means to that end was http://www.justlistem.com. He found that he could eliminate the Realtor Commission and save 3% on his sale.

He listed his house at $265k using http://www.justlistem.com. He knew that 3% of $265k was $8500 in potential savings to get his house sold. This allowed him to price his house more aggressively this year. The end result was that David received a contract to sell his house. He is thankful for opportunity to sell it himself this year using the services of http://www.justlistem.com.

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The “KEYS” to Holding an OPEN HOUSE.

If you want to sell your home, you want to sell it fast, and you want to sell it at a price as close to your asking price as possible… you NEED to hold an open house.

If you are working through or with a realtor, they might schedule these FOR you and take care of all of the dirty work. In which case, all you need to do is sit back, relax, and let the realtor do the job that you are paying them commission to do.

Now, if you are doing the smart, economically savvy thing and selling your home on your OWN… then you have to hold these OPEN HOUSES yourself. Here are the “KEYS” to holding successful open houses:

  • The Weekend WINS. Yes, although the weekend may be your time to relax, for potential homebuyers, the weekend is prime time to look. Saturdays and Sundays are perfect for holding open houses because you are more likely to get the MOST traffic during those times. Don’t try and hold an open house in the middle of the day on a Monday, because the chances of you getting a lot of lookers are slim to none.
  • Extra! Extra! Read ALL about it! Create a creative newsletter, flyer, or pamphlet advertising the home and have it ready to hand out to people who come look at the house. It should feature all of the details of the home including square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, # of windows, and any special features (i.e. fireplaces, bay windows, original crown molding). Include great photos of the home and highlight any new appliances or  renovations. This will give the potential buyer something to look at after they leave and will refresh their memory on their favorite parts of the home when they are considering their options. But please, don’t include cheesy clip art… this isn’t a 7th grade flyer for an English project.
  • Meeting and Greeting: That’s right. Be there, at the door, and extremely attentive to all of the potential buyers that walk in. Smile! Smile! Smile! Welcome them to the home and offer to take them around. Be able to answer any and all questions that they have in an honest and forthright manner… don’t lie to them, because they WILL find out later, BUT be sure to be as positive and upbeat as possible. Also, if they have kids, highlight the yard or accessory features of the home. And if they have pets, talk about great pet friendly features like an already built-in pet door, fenced in back yard, or close proximity to a dog park.
  • Ah! That’s refreshing! Yes, it seems silly, but prepare the home for guests! Put out a bouquet of fresh flowers and offer refreshments. Punch, water, fruit, snacks, etc… By setting a positive tone, your potential buyers will feel much more relaxed and much more likely to want to buy your home!
  • Mr. Clean. It should go without saying, but sometimes it doesn’t…. make sure the home is CLEAN. That’s right. Vacuum, dust, sweep, and clean the bathrooms. Also, make sure the bathrooms have toilet paper. Simple, but necessary. Oh, and a few Glade Plug-Ins can make a WORLD of difference.
  • One is definitely a lonely number. Do NOT hold an open house by yourself. If you’re married, your spouse should always be there. If you have older kids, have them help out. Neighbors, too. You will need more than one person to give tours, and greet, and welcome, and give tours, and greet, and welcome, and answer questions, etc… The more people who are willing to help, the merrier. BUT make sure everyone knows what their assigned job is so there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen.

Okay, so you are going to hold an open house. But guess what, it’s not ALWAYS easy. There are definitely some things to keep in mind as far as safety is concerned. Open houses are prime time for a lot of criminals to come in to your home, distract the homeowner, and leave with your stuff without YOU ever knowing. SO, here are some KEY safety times for holding an open house:

  • NEVER DO IT ALONE. I mentioned this earlier, but it is worth mentioning again. Have someone else there with you at all times to back you up if need be. Also, potential buyers should never be left alone in a room without supervision. You don’t need to be on their backs the whole time, but for their safety and yours, keep an eye on them. Also, it is helpful to have contact with someone NOT present at the open house just to let them know how things are going, that way if something were to happen, there’s someone on the outside who knows what’s going on.
  • Know how to get out of the house and make it accessible. Make sure to unlock all doors, deadbolts, and windows DURING the open house. This way, if someone does come in that is unwanted, you have more than one option as to a way out.
  • Watch yo’ back. Always walk behind potential buyers. Allow them to enter and exit all rooms first.
  • Keep your personal belongings (keys, wallet, cell phone) with you at all times. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Get their info. If possible, copy down the license or ID information of every prospect that comes in. This is simply a liability thing for both you and the potential buyer.

Phew. That was a lot of information, but definitely all things that are very important for you to keep in mind when holding an open house. Don’t be afraid of them, be excited!

Justlistem.com

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Real Estate 101: THE Settlement Process

There are a number of questions and fears that can be associated with selling your home. How much should I sell it for? Does my house look right? Is my home in good condition? Have I staged it properly? Am I in a tougher housing market? Is the neighborhood an issue? Location, location, location? Is the timing right? Will I be able to find a good realtor to market my home and do what’s right to get it sold? WILL MY HOME SELL?

Then, you make the decision to sell your home… on your own. Multiply those questions and concerns by 100 and you begin to feel wary and may decide to go a different route.

We are the experts on selling your home on your own. This is the third in a series of blog posts where we are going through some basic information that may address your concerns and help to ease your worries and fears when it comes to taking that big step and choosing to sell your home on your own.

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So, you got an offer. What next?

First, before you even look at an offer, make sure that you have a loan approval letter from a reputable and reliable bank or lender, an acceptable money deposit check, and/or in the case of a cash offer, the proof of funds. Without any or all of these components, you are simply wasting your time. Be sure to read the offer carefully paying special attention to any clauses or contingencies. Identify any conditions hat may be unacceptable to you and keep close track of them on a notepad. In addition, look for unreasonable demands or time frames that don’t work for you.

Second, determine the total amount of money that you will be receiving from the offer and be sure to discuss it with your realtor, agent, and/or attorney. The offer on the table may require that you front some of the buyer’s closing costs. In a tough real estate market such as the one we are facing currently, paying some of the buyer’s closing costs is very reasonable and also very likely. It is very important that you are familiar with allowable closing cost limits for the different types of loans. Conventional loans are 3% of the closing costs while FHA loans are 6% of the closing costs. FHA loans tend to have more requirements and can often take longer to close.

While taking all of these things into consideration, don’t ignore the time you have to respond on the offer, all of your efforts will be void if the time limit expires.

Now, if you don’t agree with the terms presented to you, you are able to make a counteroffer. Make any necessary changes on the offer sheet and initial them to validate your counteroffer. Be smart and make wise decisions when making any changes to an offer. You don’t want to lose a buyer over something small and petty. Once your submit a counteroffer, the original offer is voided. So if they don’t accept that, then you have just lost a buyer.

Now that you have a contract, it is time to find an attorney. All contracts should also disclose any and all attorneys from both parties. So, if you don’t have an attorney, ask for referrals from people you trust. Choosing a good settlement agent or attorney is key to having a good and smooth closing.

Here’s what you should expect during the process of finalizing a contract and heading to closing:

 

  • Request for title work or an examination of the home’s ownership history (results provided by settlement agent)
  • Visits from professional inspectors checking for structural and functional integrity, wood infestation, and other issues on the buyer’s behalf
  • A survey and an appraisal will also be conducted to assure the buyer and the lender of the value of the home
  • Termite inspection, usually paid for by the seller

 

Be sure that once everything is taken care of and you have closed on the home, you vacate the home and leave it in the condition that you and the buyer have agreed to and do a walk-through with the buyer and the buyer’s agent the day of or the day before closing. 

The process of buying and selling a home can be very tough and very challenging at times. But make sure you keep your eye on the prize and know that in the end it will all be worth it.

Justlistem.com

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Real Estate: SHOWING Your Home on Your OWN.

There are a number of questions and fears that can be associated with selling your home. How much should I sell it for? Does my house look right? Is my home in good condition? Have I staged it properly? Am I in a tougher housing market? Is the neighborhood an issue? Location, location, location? Is the timing right? Will I be able to find a good realtor to market my home and do what’s right to get it sold? WILL MY HOME SELL?

Then, you make the decision to sell your home… on your own. Multiply those questions and concerns by 100 and you begin to feel wary and may decide to go a different route.

We are the experts on selling your home on your own. This is the second in a series of blog posts where we are going through some basic information that may address your concerns and help to ease your worries and fears when it comes to taking that big step and choosing to sell your home on your own.

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Open houses are a great way to publicize your home.

Open houses are a great way to publicize your home.

IT’S TIME TO SHOW! Showing your home to prospective buyers is a crucial part in the process of selling your home. If you don’t show your home, then no one will see it. If no one sees the home, the chances of your home selling are slim to none. Yet, when making the decision to sell you home on your own, the process of staging and showing a home can be daunting and a bit cumbersome. So, what needs to be done? 

The FIRST thing that needs to be done is the home needs to be staged. What exactly IS staging a home? I am going to refer to a couple of old blog posts that have some great information about staging your home INSIDE and OUT. 

STAGING ON THE INSIDE

Step ONE: De-personalize. Even though this is the first step, it can be the most difficult for people. Yes, this means take down those family pictures (especially the ones of your Great-Aunt Mildred), remove trophies, mementos, New Kids on the Block posters, and other various personal knick-knacks. This allows a potential buyer to picture THEMSELVES in the home, not you.

Step TWO: Clear the high-traffic “runway.” Do you have a fabulous couch table? Do you have an armoire in the foyer that you adore? Is there a runner carpet that adds flair to your stairs? Well, hate to say it, but too bad. Get rid of them all. By clearing high-traffic areas of “stuff” makes rooms, hallways, and foyers seem larger. Maximizing space = maximizing selling odds.

Step THREE: Accentuate your “assets.” Just like you would want to highlight your great cheekbones with blush (for the ladies, of course), you want to highlight the great parts of your home. Do you have a fabulous fireplace, a beautiful bay window, or incredibly detailed, original crown molding? Show those features off! Don’t hide them with curtains, furniture, etc. Let them breathe! Let those assets show and enhance the unique value of your home.

These things can seem stressful, but in the end, they are just one step towards achieving your goal. Keep an open mind and know that you don’t have to throw away any of these things listed above (especially the New Kids poster…), you can just box these things up and hold them in storage until you’re ready to move!

And when in doubt, bring in another set of eyes (a friend, family member, or coworker). It always helps to have an outsider’s opinion.

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STAGING ON THE OUTSIDE

Take a minute and step outside your home. Stand directly in front of it and ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my home inviting? Do I want to go inside?
2. Are there any qualities about my home that stand out in a positive way?
3. Are there any qualities about my home that stand out in a negative way?
4. Does my yard look well taken care of, or will a buyer have a lot of work to do?
5. Does the siding, doors, and windows look in good shape, or would a buyer have to replace them?
6. Has any paint faded or chipped?
7. Is my house number clear and readable from the street and/or curb?
8. Does it look as though someone lives here?

How you answer these questions can determine the amount of potential buyers that come to view your home.

  • Make sure your lawn is cut, you have trimmed your bushes, weeds are pulled, and flowers are looking fresh. Try planting yellow or purple flowers — these are calming colors that invoke an inviting feeling.
  • If your door is looking dull, paint it red. A red door is always a bold statement that can feel very welcoming to a buyer.
  • If you have window coverings inside, make sure they don’t block the view of rooms from the outside. Let light in! (Oh, and wash your windows from the outside in… this can make a HUGE difference).
  • Make sure the siding is not chipping or faded. This can be a visually deterring factor for a buyer.
  • If you have sidewalks, make sure they are clear of all weeds, debris, and extraneous items.
  • If you have a curbside mailbox, make sure it looks nice, NOT rusted.

Just as it can be difficult to stage the inside of your home, it can be just as difficult to stage and adequately prepare the outside. Keep in mind that all of these things will benefit you in the long run and greatly increase your chances of selling your home quickly.

Great! Once you have properly staged and prepared your home for presentation to potential buyers, now is the time to start showing.

First, make sure ANY potential buyer is preapproved and be sure to get a letter from a lender to prove it. In this market, you don’t want to waste your time with someone who is just a “looker” and will never even consider actually buying the house. 

Second, have the buyer come to see the home when it is convenient for him/her, even if it’s not your favorite or most convenient time for you. This lets the buyer feel comfortable and at ease when they come to see the home. It’s important to remember, if a REALTOR is showing your home for you, you need to be gone and out of the house during that period. Prospective buyers tend to feel stressed and uneasy when someone else, especially the homeowner, is around. Each potential buyer wants to feel open and be able to freely voice their opinions and discuss concerns without feeling pressure. Let the realtor do his/her job and bring YOU a contract. I mean, after all, you ARE paying THEM.

Now, if a realtor is NOT involved, then you absolutely need to be there to show the home. However, make sure someone else is with you in the house at all times, this is for your safety! Things to keep in mind when showing the home yourself: be relaxed and give the potential buyer the freedom to move about and explore on their own. Say VERY VERY little… it is best for the buyer to fall in love with it on their own and let the home sell itself. However, DO be there to try and answer any questions and provide any and all requested information the buyer may have. And DON’T try to sell the home to the buyer on the first visit. People don’t want to feel pressured and commit to such a big purchase prematurely. 

If you get a request for a follow-up visit, this is a great sign. This means you have an interested buyer. SO, once you have provided enough information and satisfied all of their curiosities, ask for an offer from them. Or, if you don’t want to pose such a big question in person, follow-up with a courtesy phone call. Ask and you shall receive.

Remember, you CAN do this. Selling your home is in your hands and you can be as successful as you want.

Justlistem.com

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Real Estate Marketing 101

There are a number of questions and fears that can be associated with selling your home. How much should I sell it for? Does my house look right? Is my home in good condition? Have I staged it properly? Am I in a tougher housing market? Is the neighborhood an issue? Location, location, location? Is the timing right? Will I be able to find a good realtor to market my home and do what’s right to get it sold? WILL MY HOME SELL?

Go from for SALE to SOLD.

Go from FOR SALE to SOLD, lightning fast.

Then, you make the decision to sell your home… on your own. Multiply those questions and concerns by 100 and you begin to feel wary and may decide to go a different route.

We are the experts on selling your home on your own. Through this next series of blog posts, we are going to go through some basic information that may address your concerns and help to ease your worries and fears when it comes to taking that big step and choosing to sell your home on your own.

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MARKETING 101. Did you ever take a marketing class in high school or college? If so, you know that the first rule of marketing is TAKE CHARGE of your marketing. Meaning, more specifically, have a plan. No one cares more about your marketing than you do. So, devise a plan and execute the plan. Now, here’s some great and helpful information to help you in your planning process:

  1. The MLS (Multiple Listing Service), a proprietary service that allows members to list properties. We have thrown this term around a lot on this blog, but I can’t stress enough how important and KEY it is in selling your home. Over 90%, yes 90%, of homes sold in America have been sold using the MLS. To be a member of the MLS, you have to be a realtor. How are you going to list your home on the MLS if you, yourself, are not a realtor? That’s where WE come in. (BTW: the going rate to hire a realtor to list your home and/or sell your home is at least 3-6% commission on the selling price of your home). At Justlistem, we serve as a limited agent/realtor, where you simply pay a flat fee and we list your home for you. No middle man, no stuffy realtors, no expensive commission prices, just a helpful service. By listing your home on the MLS, you are giving your home a GREAT amount of exposure to all who are members of your local, regional, or national MLS. By making this first step, your property has been efficiently marketed, but you retain the right to sell it to ANY individual not buying through a Realtor as well. This gives you the best of both worlds.
  2. INTERNET MARKETING. Yes, we are in a digital age, and the internet is one of the most highly sought after markets for, well, marketing. Craigslist, Real Estate Forums, Facebook, and Twitter are just some of the ways many homeowners (and realtor’s alike!) are using the internet to market their homes. Futhermore, if you decide to use Justlistem, your home will also be posted on Cheaprichmondhomes.com which is a very prominent real estate website in the state of Virginia.
  3. Kick it old school, style. Nothing can beat old school marketing techniques. They worked for years, why wouldn’t they work now? Create a flyer for your home (which can be provided by Justlistem), post it in the yard, place a lock box onto house for easy showings (you can get one right at Home Depot or Lowe’s), and of course, placing a FOR SALE sign in the yard (which is also provided by Justlistem).
  4. Staging. Don’t forget to stage your home. You’re going to need to make sure your home is ready to sell. Check out this GREAT blog post on staging your home on the inside AND the outside.

At the end of the day, it’s about making a decision that is right for YOU. You’re the owner of your home and only you know what’s best. But, it is my hope that these basic marketing techniques will at least jump start you in the right direction and help you sell your home LIGHTNING fast and save you lots of money.

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