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Use Flyers Effectively!

We’ve all seen them. Flyers in a box attached to a seller’s sign. So, of course, you decide you’ll do that too. The box is empty so now you’re waiting for all those calls to come in. But, as much as you’d like to believe it, the box being empty does not mean there are a lot of interested buyers fighting over your home. It more often means that a few potential buyers have grabbed a flyer while the rest most likely went to nosy neighbors who just want to see how much you’re asking and realtors who want you to list your home with them. That does not mean flyers are not effective. The key is to use them most effectively! Here are some proven methods of operation.

  • Make sure your flyers are in color, bright, clear and include the most important details about your home including your address!
  • Make sure your flyers have ALL your contact information: first name, phone number and email address.
  • Print at least a hundred flyers so you can put some on your sign AND carry many with you to distribute both deliberately as well as when you’re just out and about.
  • If there are hospitals or universities in your area, go to the Human Resources departments and ask if you can leave some flyers with them for newly hired doctors, professors or staff.
  • Leave flyers at local police and fire stations as many municipalities require them to reside within the city limits.
  • Stopping for coffee with a friend? So are prospective buyers. Leave flyers on community boards or window ledges in coffee shops.
  • Heading to the grocery store? Bring flyers with you in case they have community boards as you enter the store. If so post some flyers there.
  • If you’re willing to pay a commission to buyers agents who bring you a buyer, stop by real estate offices with flyers that include a posting with the amount of commission you’re willing to pay them for their effort.

These are some proven methods to get results from flyers. Use your own imagination to think up some more. If you’re going to take advantage of flyers, make a point of doing so in the most effective ways possible. Good Selling!

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SUPER BOWL SUNDAY Open House/Showings Pros & Cons

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It’s a strange phenomenon, but history shows in many markets that having an Open House on Super Bowl Sunday can be very productive.

  1. Wives may make a deal with their husbands to leave them alone with the football game if they will go to open houses with them earlier in the day.
  2. Advertise and Hold your Open House prior to the game to take advantage of #1.
  3. If your home has a Media Room, Game Room or dynamic Family/Great Room, you can stage the room with Super Bowl decor (highlighting both teams so you don’t alienate anyone), chips, salsa and beverages to allow the football fan (man or woman) feel how great having this space for future games and parties will be.
  4. Take #3 a step further by having the pre-game activities on the TV in that room (especially if you have a big screen tv that you might be leaving with the home or is negotiable!) as a way to generate friendly conversation and quality ‘white noise’.
  5. Women may come on their own or with a friend to get away from all the Super Bowl craziness happening in her home and begin the home shopping process without her spouse. Though typically you want all decision makers at a showing, it’s not unusual for the woman to be the ultimate decision maker in the long run! Asking your guests to sign in to your Open House will allow you to follow up with them the following week.
  6. Put flags in your front yard (and balloons on your many signs) that showcase both teams participating in the Super Bowl to draw people to your home and your Open House.
  7. Review previous Blog Articles about holding a successful Open House and follow all those steps in addition to what’s noted here.

KEY:  Be friendly, relaxed and allow people to take their time viewing your home,  asking questions, enjoying your snacks and ‘feeling’ the positive party energy your home offers!

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YIKES!! It’s Moving Day….Take A Breath and Proceed with Confidence!

You’ve prepared and planned. You’ve organized and simplified. Now it’s time for the big day: you’re moving. Keep these tips in mind to make your day run as smoothly as possible. Key: Don’t have unrealistic expectations and think that you’ll have a totally stress free day. You might in which case you can celebrate your excellent planning, preparation and execution. If not, then you won’t explode, implode or scream at those you love (or the ones you don’t, ie: movers) causing the day to deteriorate for everyone involved. Be smart. Be prepared. Be efficient. Be flexible!!!! Things rarely happen exactly as we plan.

    1. Have everything packed and ready to go.
    2. Make sure you have your overnight/necessities bag: clothes, toiletries, important paperwork, cleaning supplies, towels, toilet paper, etc.
    3. Prepare an emergency pack that includes a first aid kit, paper towels, a flashlight, tools (you may need them) and other essentials.
    4. Take the garbage out. (Leave a note for your buyer re: garbage days and any requirements they need to know about times, rules, etc.)
    5. Clear an easy path for transporting boxes.
    6. Put away your pets. You may even consider boarding them or having them stay with a friend, in order to make moving day less stressful.
    7. Double-check the interior: go through all your rooms, giving everything one more once-over.
    8. Double-check the exterior: re-examine the yard, the pool, the play area, etc. Make sure you have everything.
    9. Make copies of the map of your new home’s floor plan.
    10. Once everyone’s done and your things are loaded, turn off the water heater.
    11. Before you leave, set the thermostat to 64 degrees.

USING MOVERS…..

    1. Communicate with the moving company.
    2. Go over the day’s schedule.
    3. Make sure anything not to be taken is put in a separate place and clearly identified.
    4. Provide drinks and snacks for everyone involved.
    5. Point out the bathroom to use, and make sure it has necessities inside.
    6. Exchange phone numbers with the driver of the moving van.
    7. Provide or get a copy of the inventory list.
    8. Check to make sure everything’s loaded before the van leaves.
    9. Confirm directions with the driver.
    10. Get to your new home before the movers do; there could be a fee if they have to wait for you.
    11. Be there to guide and/or answer questions for the movers.
    12. Prepare the moving company payment, and have a tip ready for the drivers/movers.
    13. Check the condition of every item as it is unloaded. Keep a list of anything damaged.

MOVING ON YOUR OWN

  1. Enlist friends to help.
  2. Pre-plan your directions and have them confirmed before starting out.  Use Navigation to ensure the best and most traffic free route.A great app for helping you avoid traffic issues is WAZE. Set the address, get going and it will help you maneuver around troublesome areas making your drive with a big truck or multiple cars less stressful.
  3. Plan to leave early, if at all possible but not at a time where you end up driving with rush hour traffic.
  4. Make sure your moving vehicle has a full tank of gas and thought it sounds silly, if you’re using a rental take the time to learn which side of the vehicle the tank is on so when you pull into a gas station, you don’t have to re-maneuver the vehicle because you’re on the wrong side.
  5. Load in reverse order: things you’ll need last in back and things you’ll need right away in front. Make sure again all boxes and bins are clearly labeled on the sides and top for ease of movement in both loading and placing once you’re at your new home.
  6. Leave a forwarding address somewhere in the home along with a nice welcome home note for your buyers just in case you did leave something.

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CREATE PERSONAL ACTIVITY TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY!

It’s great that online marketing gives you so much exposure. However; if you really want the best results in the shortest amount of time there are things you can add to your marketing plan that will produce more activity quicker. The reality is that if you really want productivity, you may increase the impact of your ByOwner.com advertising by putting a little legwork into your sale to get the word out!

Remember, Goal #1 in selling your home: get your phone to ring or your email to load up!

DISTRIBUTE FLYERS: Print out flyers and distribute them everywhere you can**:

    1. Area supermarkets and stores.
    2. Cafes.
    3. Local schools.
    4. Non-profit organizations.
    5. Libraries.
    6. Laundromats.
    7. Independent booksellers.
    8. Nearby University, Colleges or Hospitals. Put on Community Boards but also give to HR departments who might be hiring new Professors/Doctors/Nurses/Staff, etc.
    9. Any additional place where you can obtain permission to post!
    10. Keep flyers with you at all times, ready to hand out!!

USE YOUR CONNECTIONS

    1. Post on the bulletin board at work, if possible.
    2. If your subdivision/neighborhood offers a bulletin board or some kind of announcement section, post your flyer there! By posting in the neighborhood, you’re targeting people who are already attracted to your location.
    3. Your town/city may have a similar bulletin board option at the town center.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS

    1. Talk about your home sale with your friends and family.
    2. Mention it at work, at stores, with new acquaintances.
    3. Be bold! If you’re standing in line at the coffee shop, bank, etc., and you hear someone talking about wanting to move into the area, excuse yourself for ‘eavesdropping’ but let them know you might have the home for them and hand them your flyer! Don’t walk away too quickly as they may have questions and engage immediately, especially if they are relocating or their home is already sold and time is of the essence!
    4. Bring it up at book club, community events, parties, showers, holiday gatherings.

LINK TO YOUR BYOWNER.COM AD

    1. Create free online ads at places like Craigslist and Google that link to your BuyOwner.com page. You’ll be drawing even more people to look at your home’s photos, tours and text!
    2. Post on your Facebook page and ask that people viewing it share it on their pages as well.
    3. Instagram or twitter including a link to your BuyOwner.com webpage.
    4. E-mail everyone in your e-mail address book a link to your online ad and ask them to pass it on to anyone who’s in the market.
    5. Blog about your home sale. If you, or someone you know, blogs regularly, that can be a great way to spread the word about your property. Try to get a post written that links to your advertisement and mentions some of your home’s key features.

HOLD AN OPEN HOUSE

    1. Schedule an open house on a weekend afternoon when not a lot of community events are happening. Hint: don’t plan the open house on the day of a big football game or the weekend of a holiday.
    2. Promote your open house everywhere (see above for suggestions about flyers).
    3. On the day of the open house, have a niece or nephew run a lemonade stand out front. This will help draw in other passers-by, inviting them inside.
    4. Mark your open house online, through your BuyOwner seller dashboard. Contact Customer Care to add it to your MLS & realtor.com listings.
    5. Make the most of other open houses in the area. Check local ads, and when an open house is scheduled in nearby, put out several signs and draw those visitors to your home.

**Be careful to abide by all local ordinances regarding private property and only post the flyer after obtaining permission.**

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Does Empty Nest = Downsize?

Do you find yourself questioning your own thought process as you move into empty nesting? Now that the kids are gone and you are “free”, you may decide to build a new and maybe even bigger home than you currently have. The “experts” say this is the time to downsize. Your family and friends think they’re being helpful by looking at you like you’re nuts for wanting to upsize or go through the process of building. Of course, they all say, now is the time to get that condo on the water, or downsize to a townhome or move into an Active Adult Community. And after you hear that enough, you may start to question your own decision making and planning. DON’T! This is time for you to do what you want to do and live how you want to live. If that means building a home with a huge Great Room and plenty of beds and baths so you can always have enough space for your existing or future grandkids to visit or to entertain like you’ve always wanted to or maybe you just want to have your own spaces plus great combined living areas, then DO IT!

Unless you’re in a job that requires you to retire at a specific age, if you decide you want to work into your 80s because you love what you do, then DO IT! If you’ve worked your entire life and saved to live the retirement of YOUR dreams then, DO IT!  Don’t let anyone (including your children) make you feel guilty for not saving to give your kids a bigger inheritance or to save every penny “just in case” something happens. Of course, be responsible but you can choose to be carefree too! You’ve earned it. You raised your children. You’ve helped them move into their next life step. Empty nesting means you are free to move into the life journey that you may have been wanting, planning for and hoping to enjoy as you step into this new phase of your life. Be brave. Be strong. Be your own decision maker. And then, whatever you decide, DO IT!

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Winter Selling Can Be An Opportunity for Success!!

Depending on where you’re located, winter might seem like the worst time to put your home up for sale. The air is cold, the ground is covered with snow and daylight hours are shorter. But selling your home during the winter doesn’t have to be an impossible task and in actuality can be the best time to find Your Best Buyer. People who shop for homes in cold, snowy weather are deadly serious buyers who have a strong reason to buy NOW. Perhaps a job change, end of a lease and not wanting to sign on for another year, family necessities,etc. You can use this season as an opportunity to set your home apart from all the others. As an added plus, lots of people take their homes off the market through the winter and holidays so there is also less competition if you do choose to offer your home through this season. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve success!

Create a Safe Environment Free from the Weather

Make sure that walkways and driveways are salted and snow is shoveled. Nothing makes for a worse first impression for potential buyers than if they slip on the ice and injure themselves. They’ll be sure to remember your home, but probably not in the way you want them to. Also keep these areas well lit!

Minimize Your Holiday Decor

For most people, winter is a time for holiday decorations. But while your home should look festive, you will want to keep your decor attractive without becoming christmaslightswithout becoming overwhelming. A few well-placed lights will accentuate your home’s natural curb appeal, but maybe you should save the giant blowup doll for next year.

Cleanliness is Crucial

Winter is a difficult time to really show off the exterior of your home, so you should instead concentrate on accentuating the interior. Winter visitors are more likely to notice dirt and clutter because they are not distracted by the exterior of the home, so make sure it is absolutely spotless inside. Kids and adults coming in and out during this time can create messy floors and closets so try to keep a strong focus on those items.

 

Illuminate

To counter the dreary winter weather,  make your home as bright and airy as possible. Open curtains and blinds to let in natural light, and keep the lights on throughout your entire home (including closets and basement) when showing it to potential buyers. This creates an inviting atmosphere while also highlighting the great features of your home.

Cozy & Comfy

Raising the thermostavisual-interestt a couple notches will set a warm, welcoming atmosphere and provide a great first impression. Serve hot chocolate, hot cider or tea and coffee with holiday cookies if it’s close to Christmas.  A fire burning in the fireplace says, “Ahhh”. You can even play some soft background music to set the mood.

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words

Displaying either individually or in an album, spring, summer and autumn photos will allow prospective buyers to see the home’s full potential and to visualize themselves living in the home beyond this season. Create a takeaway brochure of photos from all 4 seasons so the buyer will remember your home and all it offers once they have left and are considering all the homes they’ve seen.

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The Truth About Capital Gains

Capital Gains sounds like a scary inevitable cost when selling your home at a profit. BUT once you understand how it’s computed and who qualifies for exclusions you’ll see you can most likely breathe easy. Most people DO qualify for the exemption which allows for up to $250,000 per individual or $500,000 per couple.

What are Capital Gains?

You can determine the capital gain on your home by subtracting applicable costs of selling your home (ie: commissions, advertising) plus the cost of any qualifying home improvements (you can find specific details on the IRS website) from the original purchase price of your home.

Ex: Original Purchase Price = $200,000 + $25000 Costs = Cost Basis of $225,000 Selling Price = $325,000 – $6500 Commission (You saved by selling BuyOwner!) so you receive $318,500 – $225,000 = $93,000 in Capital Gains. You will not pay tax on this gain if you meet the exemption requirements noted below.

Qualifications for Capital Gains Exemption?

The following requirements must be met in order to qualify for the capital gain exclusion when selling your home:

  • You must have owned your home for at least 2 years.
  • The home must have served as your main personal residence for at least 2 years.
  • During the 2 year period ending on the date of sale (Note: If you’re close to this date, negotiate your closing to ensure it occurs after the 2 yr qualification has been met), you didn’t exclude gains from the sale of any other home.

YAY: You can use the capital gain exclusion over and over again as long as you meet the requirements.

BOO: If you take a loss from your home sale, you do NOT get to take the loss as a tax deduction.

NOTE: To Always ensure that you are receiving max tax benefits, consult your tax accountant or review thoroughly the applicable information on IRS.gov

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We Honor & Thank our Veterans on this 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day!

First, let me state that, on this Veterans Day, the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, we at BuyOwner.com,  are grateful for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and appreciate and thank our active military and veterans for your service. There are home ownership and rental benefits for both active military, veterans and the families of those who were lost in battle. When you’re ready to get started with your BuyOwner.com advertising, we will gratefully provide you with a Military usaflagdiscount! To help you on your journey to home ownership or leasing options, below you’ll find valuable information that will make your home search more manageable, less stressful and lead you to your new home!

One of the first places to check for eligibility, benefits and assistance is the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Some of their offerings include $0 down payment mortgages, housing grants for disabled veterans (with service related disabilities) and even have help if you’re choosing to rent instead of own. So let’s get started so you can move into your well earned lifestyle!

VA MORTGAGE GUARANTY PROGRAM

Veterans and service members can use this mortgage program if they are wanting to buy a home with no down payment. VA mortgages generally do cost less and provide for more flexible qualification requirements than traditional conventional mortgages.

BENEFIT FOR SERVICE RELATED DISABLED VETS – ADAPTIVE HOUSING GRANTS

If you are a veteran suffering with service related disabilities, you are eligible to receive assistance with the costs of altering your existing home or with building a new home. Visit the VA website to review details regarding 3 possible programs designed to help you live as independently as possible. They are: Special Housing Adaptation, Specially Adapted Housing and Temporary Residence Adaptation.

FORECLOSURE PREVENTION

Already own a home but suffering from some financial challenges; before you give up and walk away (which will incur more challenges in the future) contact your local VA office or the VA website to speak with counselors specifically focused on helping you avoid foreclosure. You can take advantage of this help even if your mortgage is not a VA loan.

ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE THROUGH YOUR HOME STATE

Active duty personnel and veterans can access state assistance with housing related benefits such as the Military Housing Assistance Fund. This provides help with closing costs related to your new mortgage. If you’re disabled, you may qualify for partial or full exemption from property taxes (may not be available in all states).

EMERGENCY AID FOR HOMELESS VETERANS

Several local agencies work in tandem with the VA to provide housing vouchers and subsidized rents for vets who are already or in danger of becoming homeless. If you need this help now or fear you may need it in the future, contact your local VA Medical Center via: 877-424-3838. You can also access information and assistance by going to va.gov/homeless.

Again, we at BuyOwner.com, appreciate your service and hope to assist you to the best of our ability with your home ownership/leasing goals!

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Is Your Home’s ‘Story’ Costing You the Big Bucks?!

One thing that everyone has experienced in our high tech world is the reality that people’s attention spans are very short…if they don’t like what they see within the first minute or two, they are moving on. This is especially true when shopping online. So, your home has to tell a great story via pictures and details to catch their attention and Keep it longer than 3 minutes. So what is the story your home is telling prospective buyers? Is it bringing you top dollar or costing you a bundle? What is your home’s story?

CLUTTER SAYS:  There’s not a lot of room in this home and very little storage. Keep in mind that what you see as “collectible” others see as clutter. Purge BEFORE you put your home on the market so you don’t lose valuable time fixing this issue too late. Fill and store Clutter-is-OUTbins with the off season clothing, boots, big blankets…whatever you can remove that will make your closets look roomier and storage appear ample.

FULL MIRROR WALL/WASHED OAK CABINETS/BRIGHT BRASS FIXTURES/PSYCHEDELIC WALLPAPER/POPCORN CEILINGS, etc SAY: This home hasn’t been updated for a very long time and so you should get a great deal on the price. These items can actually be updated at reasonable costs so consider doing so BEFORE you hit the market. Disclaimer: If your decor deliberately displays Retro decor, embrace it fully and sell as such which will bring you a great price with the Retro seeking buyer…and they are out there!

DIRTY BASEBOARDS/TRIM/WINDOWSILLS/MESSY ROOMS SAY: If you think this is dirty, wait until you pull out the refrigerator and stove! Even if you are comfortable living in a less than pristine environment, it’s important to market your home to the masses who most often are seeking to not find hidden schmutz after they move in. You can typically hire a cleaning crew to do a “Spring Cleaning” for $250-300. This will be money highly multiplied in its return when you sell.

Keep in mind that you are marketing your home to your buyers not to yourself. If necessary, have a good friend that you trust to be honest help you evaluate what you should consider doing before selling and then do what you can afford prioritizing the items by what will maximize your profit. Then fix and sell!!

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Contingencies….Pro or Con?

What is a contingency? Basically, what you’re saying with a contingency is, “As long as you do these things or this happens, I will pay you this much for your home.”

Common contingencies:

Financing:  This offer is contingent on you securing your financing.

Inspection:  This offer is contingent on the home passing an inspection typically covering items such as roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, foundation, walls, appliances and chimney if you have a working fireplace. Some areas also require inspections for termites and radon. If major issues ensue due to the inspection, you may be asked to negotiate on your price or complete the repairs in order for the buyer to proceed.

Appraisal:  This offer is contingent on whether the appraised value is close to, at or above what’s being offered. This is most typical when a mortgage company is part of the process. With cash deals, the buyer may choose to waive an appraisal if they feel confident of their offer and your price.

These are the most common contingencies that you’ll experience as both a buyer and seller. There can be others so if you receive an offer and your potential buyer includes several contingencies or is asking for a lot of concessions on your part, you may want to hire a real estate lawyer to ensure that when you walk away from closing you are doing so with exactly what you expect.

NOTE: As a buyer, if you’re in a bidding war for a home that you absolutely want to call your own, consider shortening your contingency time frame or eliminate them altogether. If you’re buying in a very popular and quick selling area, it will definitely serve you well to secure your mortgage approval prior to making your offer so you can eliminate that contingency which will most likely give you an edge on other buyers who didn’t do so.