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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Pay 6-7% Commission?

Atlanta Real Estate.  I received a call yesterday from a homeowner stating that he paid his LISTing agent $24,000 to LIST the property and the property sold in 1 day.  He asked me why he had to pay so much for so little work?  After all $24,000 is a cost of a new car, college tuition or even retirement.

There is no reason to hire a traditional real estate company to LIST your property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Agents have scared homeowners over the years to believe SELLing a home is rocket science.

Today thanks to the Internet.  Homeowners have alternative choices on how they can LIST their properties in the MLS.  One of the choices they have is to LIST their homes with for a Flat Fee Listing Broker. The homeowner pay the Listing Broker a nominal marketing fee to LIST their property in the MLS.

In many cases the homeowner also reserve the right to continue to show and sell their properties themselves.  If the owner sell their property to a buyer not working with an agent they SAVE the buyer's agent's commission and pay NO COMMISSION at closing.

By using the Flat Fee Listing Broker the homeowner pays only 1 agent; the agent that brings them a qualified buyer a commission at closing usually around 3%.  The homeowner SAVES the LISTing commission that would have gone to the Listing agent at closing to LIST the property in the MLS.

Think about the terms used.  LISTing agents LIST the home.  The SELLing agent SELLS the home.  Homeowners pay only 1 agent that actually brings the buyer and not two agents.

In today's real estate market it really does not make sense to LIST your property with a traditional agent, unless you can't use $24,000 toward your retirement, your kids tuition or even to purchase a new car.

For more information go to: GAforSaleByOwner.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Fall and Winter is for many homeowners the most enjoyable of all the seasons. As the temperatures steadily decline and days get shorter, the cold winter days get closer and closer.

Now is the time to prep your home - both indoor and outdoor - for the long winter months.


         Outdoor Maintenance Tips
  1. Clear debris out of you window wells, gutters, downspouts, and storm drains. This will allow the water to properly drain, minimizing standing water and stalling the freeze and thaw expansion process that often occurs during colder months.
  2. Make sure the weather stripping on your windows and doors fit and is in good condition.
  3. Clean your windows. Sparkling clean windows let in lots of sunlight that will help chase away winter's doldrums.
  4. Look for broken or cracked glass and damaged screens or storm windows. Check for loose putty around glass panes.
  5. Remove garden hoses from spouts, drain and store for the winter.
  6. Check painted surfaces for water damage or mildew.
  7. Insulate outdoor faucets, pipes in unheated garages, and pipes in crawl spaces with materials such as rags or newspapers.
  8. Keep rodents out. In the winter months, all kinds of critters will be looking for a cozy spot. They don't need a lot of space to get into or under your home. Make sure all exterior vents are screened and that there are no gaps underneath garage doors. 
  9. Fall is also the time to remove window screens and store in a safe place such as your basement or garage. Install storm windows to insure proper heating efficiency.

    Indoor Maintenance Tips
  10. Get your heating system checked by a professional.
  11. Replace your furnace filter.
  12. Clean out any dust that has accumulated in vents to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and cut down on winter colds.
  13. Make sure you have proper insulation in both your attic and basement. While checking your insulation, if you see any dark, dirty spots, it may indicate you have air leaks coming into your home.
  14. Test all smoke alarms and clean dust from the covers. Replace batteries as necessary.
  15. Test all ground-fault circuit interrupters, especially after electrical storms.
  16. Check your home around windows and doors for air leaks. An easy way to check for leaks is to move a lighter around the window or door frame and see if the flame moves with a breeze. If you find a leak, you can caulk it or you may have to replace the wood frame. Repairing these leaks can save you money on your energy bill during the cold months.
  17. Don't ignore your hose bibs and learn the location of your pipes as well as how to shut off the water. If your pipes end up freezing, you'll have a better chance of preventing a burst if you can quickly shut water off.
  18. Clean and reverse ceiling fans. Reset fans for the winter routine by giving fan blades a thorough dusting, and then switch them to a clockwise spin in order to push warm air downward from the ceiling.
For more information go to: GAforSaleByOwner.com

Friday, October 29, 2010

Newly Renovated Single Family Home!

Adorable, newly renovated 3/2 bungalow close to downtown East Point shopping and restaurants. Refinished hardwoods upstairs and down, gorgeous master suite, large bedrooms, brand new mechanical systems, basement, bonus room, fully fenced yard, corner lot with detached carport. Owner is a general contractor and ready to customize for you!

For more information go to: http://2150BenHillRd.gaforsalebyowner.com

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Buyers First Impressions!

Before listing your home for sale, consider one home renovation project at a time.  Start with the exterior then work your way into each room of the home.

To significantly increase your home curb appeal--repaint the exterior trim, especially if it's flaking and looks shabby.  Pressure wash the driveway, sidewalk and home brightens up the exterior.  A clean exterior makes the home stand out visually.

Landscaping is extremely important for curb appeal.  Add fresh mulch and flowers enhances the curb appeal and adds a finishing touch to your yard. 

Bare area in the grass can be spray painted with natural green grass paint for a quick fix.  Cut back over grown bushes and tree limbs.  Pick up debris, leaves and sticks.

Repaint the front door. Add new lights and/or fixtures.  Add a new welcome mat to the entrance and color pot with flowers.  Buyers buy on emotions.  Create a welcome atmoshere means the difference between a sale or longer days on market which will lead to a lower price.

Although this is a time-consuming task, it's also one that can make prospective buyers fall in love with your property at first sight.

For more information go to:  GAforSaleByOwner.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GA for Sale By Owner: Mom Died at 80 - What Do We Do With Dad?

GA for Sale By Owner: Mom Died at 80 - What Do We Do With Dad?: "A year ago my mother passed away from lung cancer she was 80 years old. Mom wasn't suppose to die first - that was never our plan. She was..."

Mom Died at 80 - What Do We Do With Dad?

A year ago my mother passed away from lung cancer she was 80 years old.  Mom wasn't suppose to die first - that was never our plan.  She was to live to be 100 and enjoy her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

My parents live in New Jersey in their home for over 50+ years.  At the time of Mom's death, Dad was 87 he is a diabetic and had his right leg amputated 10 years earlier.  Dad is totally dependant on aides to do everything for him.  My parents wishes were clear - Dad was to remain in their home.  He was not to go to a nursing facility (that would have been too easy on all of us, I am one of 6 children).

So for a year now I have been traveling back and forth between Atlanta and New Jersey taking care of Dad's needs.  My baby sister (who lives near my parents) and I takes turns every 2 weeks running his household, maintaining the help, running to the bank and doing the grocery shopping and cooking.  Dad is now 88 years old. 

He is doing well considering his health issues and needs.  He is lonely yet he is never alone. 

Since my business is Internet based I have been able for the past year to service my clients while taking care of Dad.  I am very happy and content with the way things are going.  My clients are wonderful people with parents of their own and have supported me throughout the past year. 

I wanted to take the time this morning to thank everyone for their support and well wishes.  Human nature is amazing.  People you know and helped over the years have come to help me and my family.  We are very blessed. 

Thank you for all your support.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Showcase Your Property with Photos!

Internet marketing is the buyer's first impression of your propery.  The old saying 'A picture is worth a thousand words' can either make or break the buyer's first impression of your home.
If you are planning on taking your own photos here are a few tips to getting quality photos. . .
Use a high quality digital camera not your camera phone
Use a wide angle lens and correct lighting.  Dark and dingy photos will mean longer days on market.

Wait for a sunny dayThe best exterior photos of the home is when the sun is on the front of the house and the sky is blue.

Shoot during daylight Interior photos should be taken during daylight hours to provide the best lighting conditions. Turn the lights on in every room and use the camera’s automatic flash. .

Avoid glareA trick to avoid glare point the camera at the window and hold your shutter part way down.  When your camera adjust to the lighting pivot into the room and take your interior shot.  Don't shoot directly into a mirror or light.

Be still To avoid blurry or poor quality photos, hold your camera still when taking photos.  Turn off the ceiling fan (clean blades).

Rooms to showcaseBuyers want to see the living areas, kitchen, breakfast area, dining room, master bedroom, master bath and basement plus the exterior front, back and backyard photos. 

Arrange your photos as if you are walking through the front doorPhotograph your home in the same order as if you were walking through the front door. Starts with the front exterior, moves to the foyer, living, dining room, kitchen, family room, master bedroom, master bathroom, basement, exterior back, pool, backyard and gardens.

Showcase your propertyIn order to get the best photos rearrange some of your furniture. Clean off countertops, and refrigerator.  Remove personal items and photos.  Remove pets and children toys.  Stage your home like a magazine cover.   Take photos of the rooms selling points, for example remove the rug to showcase the hardwood floors.

With over 90% of all buyers searching the internet for homes.  Taking quality photos can either make or break the buyers first impression of your home.

For more information go to: GAforSaleByOwner.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is the difference between an Appraisal vs CMA

An appraisal validates the asking price to the buyer.  The appraiser will compare square footage to square footage and condition to condition of property within and around your property.  The appraisal justifies the asking price to the buyer.  When a current appraisal is present Buyers are less likely to offer the Seller a lower price.

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is used to compare current homes on market, expired listings, under contract and sold listings within a neighborhood.  The CMA does not compare square footage to square footage.  The CMA is used by Realtors to get a 'feel' for what current market is - it does not justify the asking price.

When selling your home - think like a 'buyer'.  Buyers what proof that the home will appraise - especially in today's market.  The appraisal gives you the proof you need.

For more information go to: GAforSaleByOwner.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

When is a Good Time to List Your Home For Sale?

The best time to sell your home is when inventory is low.  Many homeowners are under the impression buyers only buy in the spring and summer.  The fact is buyers buy all year round.    
Getting from Market to SOLD


Many homeowners pull their homes off market during the holiday seasons and relist their property in the spring.  The holiday season is one of the best times to sell your home because there is less competition in the market. 

In addition the foreclosure market has been put on hold.  Sellers have a unique opportunity to getting their property sold without having to reduce their price to meet the foreclosure price.

If you are thinking of selling today is the best time to market your propety for sale!  Get ahead of the competition.  You will be surprised by the results.

For more information go to:  GAforSaleByOwner.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Open Houses SELLS Home!

Open Houses Sell Homes!

Holding an open house introduces potential buyers to your property.  Including neighbors that might know someone looking to move into the area.  Potential buyers check out neighborhoods on weekend, this is the best time to home an Open House.  You never know where the buyer is looking. 
Open Houses Sells 

Homeowners that hire a traditional agent expect their agent to advertise and hold their property open.  The fact is agents are NOT going to hold your property open every weekend (they have a life and family too).   If you list your property with a traditional agent you lose the right to show and sell your property yourself.   So why are you paying an agent 6-7% commission to show and sell your property when they don’t have time to hold your property open?

With Total Choice Realty’s Flat Fee MLS Listing Service, homeowners reserve the right to show and sell their properties themselves.  If they sell their property to a buyer not working with an agent they pay NO COMMISSION! 

Homeowners that hold their properties open every weekend are selling their home faster than homes that are listed with a traditional agent.

For more information go to:  http://www.gaforsalebyowner.com/

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GA for Sale By Owner: How Important is Condition?

GA for Sale By Owner: How Important is Condition?: "The fact is Buyers will buy homes in the Best Condition at the Best Price. Much like buying a used car vs a new car for that new car smell..."

How Important is Condition?

The fact is Buyers will buy homes in the Best Condition at the Best Price!

Much like buying a used car vs a new car for that new car smell.  Selling a home is no different. 
Condition Sells!

Look at your home through a buyer’s eye and you will begin to see what a buyer see.  Bring an objective friend along for your tour. 

Starting with your curb appeal.  How does your home stack up to the neighborhood?  The Buyer’s first impressions of your home are from the front seat of the car.  So get in your car and drive upto your home as if you were seeing the home for the first time as a buyer.

Does the driveway need pressure washing? Do the cracks in the driveway need to be filled?  What about the landscaping?  Is it fresh and inviting? 

While you are pressing washing the driveway don’t forget to pressure wash the house.  If needed give the windowsills and doorway a fresh coat of paint.  First impressions are everything.

Upon entering the home is the foyer fresh and unclutter?   Are the kids toys pick-up? A foyer clutter with book bags and shoes says, “This house is too small, not enough storage!”

Your kitchen and bathrooms must shine.  You need to give your home extra care especially when selling a home.  Hide all your personal belongings.  Put the hair dryer and makeup up.  Pick-up toys, clothes, Fido’s, and Kitty dishes. Don’t forget the litter box.  Remember that new car smell apply to homes too?

Keep walking though your home as if you are a buyer.  Buyers want to see neat clean closets.  Are the closets over stack with stuff?  Clean them out!  De-clutter, De-clutter, De-clutter is the key to showcasing your home. 

Take the time and energy before you place your property on market to make your home showcase ready.  Or expect to see longer days on market and a much lower price at closing.

For more information go to: GAforSalebyOwner.com

Monday, October 11, 2010

GA for Sale By Owner: To Stage or Not to Stage?

GA for Sale By Owner: To Stage or Not to Stage?: "To Stage or Not to Stage? That is the question of the day . . . Staging a home is a quick and easy way to getting your home SOLD. The s..."

To Stage or Not to Stage?

To Stage or Not to Stage?  That is the question of the day  . . .

Staging a home is a quick and easy way to getting your home SOLD.  The secret is to declutter and neutralize the space.  A home that is well staged simple sells faster and at a higher price than homes that are not staged.

What exactly is staging?  Staging is simply creating an atmosphere of space so buyers can see themselves in the home.

Usually the homeowner can use furniture they currently have on hand - however if the furniture is old and outdated there are some quick and easy fixes. 

Staging Makes Sales!
Sofas and chairs can be covered, remove the table cloth in the dinning room to streamline the table, remove the top hutch to your china cabinet also create space and makes the room more spacious. 

Remove personal photos and your collectibles. Declutter is the key to good staged home. In the Kitchen, remove the refrigerator magnets, photos and the cereal boxes from the top of the refrigerator. Clear the countertops, pick-up Fido’s dishes and Kitty’s litter box. 

Remove oversized furniture and rugs to showcase the hardwood floors underneath.  Heavy curtains make the room drab and dark - let in the sunshine and your home will shine.

Vacant homes can easily be staged by adding colors and a few items back into the home.  Add colorful towels in the bathroom, old perfume bottles, and shower curtain in the bath. In the kitchen add a few cookbooks and place settings or a bowl of fruit on the counter. In the family room lean a mirror or painting on the fireplace; adding a chair and book is a simple way to stage a vacant property. 

Staging your home in today’s market is a great way to getting your home SOLD take the time and effort now to stage your property.  You will be surprised as to how quickly your home will sell.

For more information go to:  GAforSaleByOwner.com

Friday, October 8, 2010

How Important Is Pricing?

How Important is Pricing Your Home in Today’s Market?

People ask me all the time how to sell their home in today’s real estate market. The answer is to simply price your property slightly lower than what the current homes in your neighborhood are listed for.

It is important that you examine current sales in your neighborhood and compare your homes to those that SOLD. Then price your home according to the SOLD price. Homes that sold in your neighborhood are the success stories. They show current real estate market trend.

When pricing your home it is important to price your home in 10K increments. Both Buyers and Agents search the Internet in whole numbers. By pricing your home in 10K increments you will reach two ranges of buyers.

For example: $200,000 is a better price than $199,900
You will reach buyers searching between 190-200K and 200-210K (missing these buyers by $100 if listed for $199,900).

When adjusting your price always adjust by 10K increments to bring in the next buyer’s range.
Pricing your home correctly at the time of listing will save you days on market.

For more information go to:  GAforSaleByOwner.com

Traditional Real Estate vs Flat Fee Listing

In a traditional real estate transaction there are usually two agents involved in the transaction. The LISTing Broker LIST the property in the MLS and the SELLing Broker brings the Buyer.
Let's say at the time of LISTing the commission is negotiated at 6%. At closing 3% will go to the LISTing Broker to LIST the property and 3% will go to the SELLing Broker that brings the Buyer.

Total Choice Realty's Flat Fee Listing Services offers the homeowner an alternative method of marketing their property by charging a Flat Listing Fee instead of 3% to LIST the property in the MLS. The homeowner pays one agent at closing. Saving the seller upto 3% on the LISTing side of the transaction.

The homeowner also retains their 'By Owner' status and shows and sells their property themselves. If they sell the property to a Buyer NOT working with an agent they pay NO COMMISSION!

For more information go to : GAforSaleByOwner.com