Archives for the month of: July2011

We read this great article and felt the need to share it:


You’re not going to get 50% off the asking price on a home, and the good houses in the good neighborhoods go fast.

Posted by Teresa at MSN Real Estate on Monday, July 25, 2011 1:30 PM


It’s easy to think that because we’re in a buyers market, buyers can call all the shots: Wait weeks before deciding whether to make an offer on a particular house, find grateful acceptance of lowball offers or scoop up homes for 50% of the asking price.



Good luck with that. Clinging to those and other popular myths may keep you from getting the house you want.


I’m always amused to see how unrealistic some of the would-be buyers are on the TV house-hunting shows. But when I was 25, I knew everything, too — even if I didn’t realize my life would never be complete without granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.


Syndicated columnist Lew Sichelman had a column in last weekend’s Los Angeles Times about some of the real-estate myths that can keep buyers from getting the homes they want.


“… many people believe they can make any bid they want, no matter how ridiculous, because it’s a buyers market. False,” he wrote. “Even foreclosures and short sales are never priced at half their value ‘or anything even close to that type of fire-sale discount,’ says Christina Rordam of Exit Real Estate Results in Longwood, Fla.”


No one can predict how a particular seller will respond to an offer, whether the seller is an individual or a bank. If the seller doesn’t like you, you run the risk that he will refuse to deal with you.



Here are some other myths that could doom your purchase:

  • If the house has been on the market a long time, the seller will take a low offer. Wrong. The house could be on the market a long time because the seller not only won’t take a low offer but also won’t take a reasonable offer.
  • A distressed property is always cheaper. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Lenders aren’t always logical in their negotiations, so you may get as good a deal or better from a realistic homeowner.
  • If you look long enough, you’ll find your perfect house. Afraid not. The perfect house doesn’t exist, at least not in your price range. And that’s true no matter what your price range.
  • Your family and friends will give you good advice about real estate. They’ll give you advice, all right. But it is unlikely to be as good as the advice you’ll get from a professional.

We’ll offer one more piece of advice: All real estate is local. Very local.


That means that while it may be a buyer’s market nationwide, or even in your city, it could easily be a sellers market in your first-choice neighborhood. Do your homework.


If you’re thinking of buying a home, we suggest you dig into the articles in the homebuyer’s section of MSN Real Estate. That should save you from a few misconceptions and a lot of wasted time.

We just had to re-post this fantastic article, written by Tara-Nicholle Nelson from

13 Tips for Selling Your Home
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson from

We’ve all heard about how “bad” the real estate market is. But what’s bad for sellers can be good for buyers, and these days, savvy buyers are out in spades trying to take advantage of the buyer’s market. Here are 13 things you can do to help sell your house.

1. Audit your agent’s online marketing. 92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures! A study by shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.

2. Post a video love letter about your home on YouTube. Get a $125 FlipCam and walk through your home AND your neighborhood, telling prospective buyers about the best bits – what your family loved about the house, your favorite bakery or coffee shop that you frequented on Saturday mornings, etc. Buyers like to know that a home was well-loved, and it helps them visualize living a great life there, too.

3. Let your neighbors choose their neighbors. If you belong to neighborhood online message boards or email lists, send a link to your home’s online listing to your neighbors. Also, invite your neighbors to your open house – turn it into a block party. That creates opportunities for your neighbors to sell the neighborhood to prospective buyers, and for your neighbors to invite house hunters they know who have always wanted to live in the area.

4. Facebook your home’s listing. Facebook is the great connector of people these days. If you have 200 friends and they each have 200 friends, imagine the power of that network in getting the word out about your house!

5. Leave some good stuff behind. We’ve all heard about closing cost credits, but those are almost so common now that buyers expect them – they don’t really distinguish your house from any of the other homes on the market anymore. What can distinguish your home is leaving behind some of your personal property, ideally items that are above and beyond what the average homebuyer in your home’s price range would be able to afford. That may be stainless steel kitchen appliances or a plasma screen TV, or it might be a golf cart if your home is on a golf course.

6. Beat the competition with “condition”. In many markets, much of the competition is low-priced foreclosures and short sales. As an individual homeowner, the way you can compete is on condition. Consider having a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and get as many of the repairs done as you can – it’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent pest repair bill. Also, make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired before you start showing your home.

7. Stage the exterior of your home too. Stage the exterior with fresh paint, immaculate landscaping and even outdoor furniture to set up a Sunday brunch on the deck vignette. Buyers often fantasize about enjoying their backyards by entertaining and spending time outside.

8. Access is essential. Homes that don’t get shown, don’t get sold. And many foreclosures and short sale listings are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.

9. Get real about pricing. Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)

10. Get clued into your competition. Work with your broker or agent to get educated about the price, type of sale and condition of the other homes your home is up against. Attend some open houses in your area and do a real estate reality check: know that buyers that see your home will see those homes, too – make sure the real-time comparison will come out in your home’s favor by ensuring the condition of your home is up to par.

11. De-personalize. Do this – pretend you’re moving out. Take all the things that make your home “your” personal sanctuary (e.g., family photos, religious décor and kitschy memorabilia), pack them up and put them in storage. Buyers want to visualize your house being their house – and it’s difficult for them to do that with all your personal items marking the territory as yours.

12. De-clutter. Keep the faux-moving in motion. Pack up all your tchotchkes, anything that is sitting on top of a countertop, table or other flat surfaces. Anything that you haven’t used in at least a year? That goes, too. Give away what you can, throw away as much as possible of what remains, and then pack the rest to get it ready to move.

13. Listen to your agent. If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is the Consumer Educator for – the most comprehensive real estate site on the web.