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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
FSBOing: This Time It Was Embarrassing
by THE KCM CREW
This blog prides itself on the quality of real estate information we deliver each and every day. We try to gather empirical evidence to validate the positions we take. We do not use just an anecdotal story to make a point. We also do not get caught up in the sensationalism. However, today will be different.
We can’t resist commenting on the story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal a while back regarding Colby Sambrotto, the founder and former CEO of forsalebyowner.com. It seems the founding father and lifelong evangelist of the concept of selling your home without a real estate agent was forced to hire a broker to sell his home after failing at what he preaches others should do.
After failing to sell his NYC apartment on his own as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), Sambrotto hired a broker and paid a 6% commission in order to get the job done. His personal experience helps refute some of the myths Sambrotto has been espousing for over a decade. Let’s look at two of those myths:
Myth #1 – You Will Pocket More Money Selling on Your Own
Most FSBO sites say you can save the commission by selling on your own. What happened in Sambrotto’s sale?
From the WSJ article:
“The broker, Jesse Buckler, said he told Mr. Sambrotto the apartment in the Lion’s Head building on West 19th Street near Sixth Avenue was priced too low and wasn’t drawing the right buyers.
By May, it went into contract, he said, after attracting multiple offers. It closed in the last few days for $150,000 more than the original asking price.”
Myth #2 – The Internet Alone Can Sell Your Home
Many have said that, with the introduction of home search on the internet, hiring an agent is no longer a necessity. What happened to the FSBO guru when he attempted to only depend on the internet?
From the WSJ article:
“Looking to move his family to the suburbs, [Mr. Sambrotto] said he carefully staged his apartment for sale himself, and put it on the market. But after using a mix of websites to publicize his apartment, he said he had only ‘middling success’ and switched to a broker because many buyers were so reliant on brokers.”
There is a reason the real estate industry has been around for centuries: it performs a valuable service.
at 11:33 AM
Friday, May 3, 2013
Myths: The Earth Is Flat and Newspapers Sell Houses
by THE KCM CREW
It is amazing how masses of people can believe something that is absolutely untrue. The greatest example of this is that at one time the vast majority of people believed the world to be flat. Today, we want to debunk another commonly held belief – that newspapers sell houses. Somehow this notion gained believability even though the facts consistently prove it to not be true.
When you are selling your house, you should know what methods perspective purchasers use to find the home of their dreams. That would enable you to develop the best marketing strategy to attract a buyer.
Google recently teamed with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on a new report, The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate.
Let’s look at the actual search habits of today’s buyers revealed by the report:
- 90% of buyers now begin their search for a home online
- Real estate related searches on Google.com have grown 253% over the past 4 years
Of the 90% who use the internet, they gain information from these sources (with percentages):
- The internet – 100%
- A real estate agent – 89%
- A yard sign – 53%
- An open house – 46%
- Print newspaper – 28%
If you want to develop a great marketing strategy giving your house maximum exposure, forget newspapers. Less than 30% of buyers will ever see your home. Instead, look toward the internet and a real estate agent.
Where on the internet should you advertise your home?
The buyer is attracted to the type of sites that have the greatest number of listings. These sites are normally generated by the real estate industry. You should make sure your home is on as many of these sites as possible. That will give you the best chance of attracting your buyer.
Print media never was a great way to market a house for sale and its effectiveness is diminishing each year. Meet with a local real estate professional and put together an internet marketing strategy worthy of your home.
at 9:46 AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Spring Home Improvements: Repair, Replace, Enjoy!
With memories of snow and cold fading, it’s time to remind home owners to take stock of important work to be done for themselves and potential buyers down the road. Keeping on track with seasonal maintenance will lower costs and raise value.
APRIL 2013 | BY BARBARA BALLINGER
Besides cleaning closets and planting flowers and cool-weather vegetables, spring should involve scrutinizing the condition of a house following the rough winter. Repairs and replacements won’t just help owners enjoy their properties more; they’ll also keep energy costs down as hot weather rolls in and attract more buyers, many of whom have become meticulous about inspecting roofs, appliances, and HVAC bills.
While most home owners need to prioritize costs, these 10 improvements are at the top of many contractors’ lists. Some of them are even more affordable than ever before, thanks to rebates from local communities, utility companies, and the federal government.
1. Replace windows
If home owners’ houses felt drafty this past winter and they have single-pane windows, there’s a good chance those were one of the culprits. But replacing them all can be costly — $400 to $500 per window, plus $100 to $150 for installation, according to home improvement expert Tom Kraeutler of The Money Pit. Whether that’s the place to spend dollars should depend on how long home owners plan to stay put or what houses listed in their neighborhood offer if they’re selling. “If they’re the last ones with old, rotting-wood windows, that negative may affect buyer attention,” Kraeutler says. This year’s “Cost vs. Value” report from Remodeling magazine pegs the payback for vinyl windows at 71.2 percent and for wood windows at a similar 73.3 percent. A less costly alternative can be to add storms, caulk, weather strip, or rim joists in a basement. Contractor Paul Eric Morse of Morse Constructions Inc. in Somerville, Mass., suggests gradually replacing windows in any room that owners remodel to make the cost less prohibitive.
12 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire Home Improvement Pros1. Can you show me proof of a license, certification, or associations you belong to?
2. Are you bonded?
3. Will you provide three recommendations?
4. What are your specialties — kitchens, bathrooms, or additions? Are there jobs you don’t like to tackle?
5. Will you secure permits?
6. How much must I pay up front for work?
7. Do you have a regular team of subs, or assemble different members?
8. How might we resolve conflicts — will resolution be in the contract?
9. How often will you show up at the job site to check progress?
10. How might I reach you — e-mail, phone, text?
11. What is your typical clean-up schedule — daily or weekly?
12. Will you provide a lien release when work is done?
2. Install a new heating system and change filters
If a seller’s furnace and boiler were on their last legs this past winter, it may be time to install a new one, or at least provide sellers with a credit toward new equipment. Any choice should carry an EnergyStar label for best results. Existing systems still in good condition should have filters checked monthly and replaced when dark and clogged, a DIY project. For great energy efficiency, Morse is installing more heat exchanges that provide both heat and air conditioning and can be less costly than a new central air system with new ducting and a new furnace.
3. Clean air conditioning units
Before summer temperatures rise and HVAC pros are swamped, advise home owners to clean coils and change filters so their system doesn’t have to work as hard. They should also have drain lines cleaned, so moisture is eliminated, says Douglas Tompkins, with Pro-Air Heating and Cooling in Newburgh, N.Y. If they haven’t had air conditioning, now’s the time to weigh choices of a central system, heat exchange, or room units.
4. Install more insulation
A home’s first line of defense to stop cold or hot air — depending on the season — should be the attic, according to most contractors. An energy audit can determine how much more is needed, if they already have some. Seattle-based contractor Ron Rice, of Your House Matters, suggests adding more than the minimum 8 inches required by most local codes — up to 16 inches. For cold climates, installing electric or hydronic radiant heat under bathroom and kitchen floors will provide comfort next season.
5. Switch out inefficient appliances
Sometimes appliances are no longer smart to repair. The determining factors for that should be their age and the cost of repair versus replacement. Here, too, top choices carry an EnergyStar label. If home owners need to replace most of their kitchen equipment and have a limited budget or plan to move, Rice suggests they prioritize and first switch out the range, followed by the refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave — in that order.
6. Repair or replace roofs, gutters, and downspouts
Because of the tough hurricane season last fall and the winter blizzards, roofing contractors in many parts of the country have been busy. Morse recommends that those needing new roofs consider architectural asphalt shingles because of their long warranties (often 50 years), affordable prices, and attractive appearances that work with many house styles. In addition, many contractors have the equipment and experience to install roofs of this material, as opposed to metal. He also recommends that home owners have gutters and downspouts cleaned come spring so that water can flow through them; gutters should be angled away from a house to stop water pooling around a foundation and seeping into the basement. Gutter covers can be helpful but often don’t eliminate all debris.
Damage often shows up at this time of year, especially in climates where there’s been a lot of snow melting or winter rains, Morse says. Use the time to reassess your color choice for better curb appeal. Even changing the front door’s color can make a difference.
8. Prune trees
Cutting limbs that may have been damaged during winter and that might fall on a roof or allow squirrels to enter a house is smart, and it can be a cost savings later on. Called “thinning out,” this method gets excess foliage trimmed to allow more natural light into a house—and cut down on artificial illumination, says Sacramento, Calif.-based landscape designer Michael Glassman. “It opens the tree so you don’t have dead spots in the interior and lets the tree take advantage of air flow rather than chop off the top,” he says. A certified arborist will know the best ways to do this without removing too much of a canopy, which is useful for privacy and shade.
9. Mulch plantings
Along with fall, spring is a key mulch time. Mulch helps plants thrive by holding back weeds, retaining moisture so soil doesn’t dry out, and adding a tidy look, Glassman says. Use bark, shredded fir, leaves, straw, or grass clippings.
10. Replace lightbulbs
When it comes to artificial light, most contractors recommend switching burned-out bulbs to LEDs, which last longer than incandescents, consume less energy, and have come down in price — now often just $10. Quality has improved, too, and they’re dimmable and available in colors.
One more thing: Before you hire anybody to take on work, get a written estimate. Better to be safe than sorry.
at 12:03 PM
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
There are 178 active real estate teams and leaders in the Central & Northern Regions in the state of Ohio. Out of that number, Jose Medina & Associates were recently awarded 6th Place in Commissions Earned for a Team in 2012. They were also awarded 3rd Place in Commissions earned overall in the Northern Region alone. 2012 was a top year for the Jose Medina & Associates team & they remain the #1 team in Stark County into the 2013 year! This is when loving your job truly shows.
Pictured above: Mary Lou Steed (Remax Crossroads), Jose Medina,
Valarie Espenschied (buyer's agent), Tiffany Pepper (buyer's agent), Anita Reese (buyer's agent),
and Dennis Steed (Remax Crossroads Owner)
at 5:22 PM