The BOSS is proud to present our new monthly series called Lunch with an Expert. We sit down with industry experts to bring you the latest in product knowledge, industry trends and market insights to assist you in all your home improvement jobs, projects and needs.
Today we visit with Christy Hebb of United Real Estate DFW Properties to discuss the current D/FW housing market and how to sell your home for top dollar.
Talk a little bit about the current D/FW residential real estate market
Overall, there is a limited amount of inventory. Buyers are scrambling to find a home; it is an extremely competitive and hot market. This summer the Dallas News reported that North Texas home prices had hit a record level; increasing by almost 40% in the last five years. This is alarming; what goes up must come down.
What questions should homeowners ask a realtor to ensure they are choosing the right one?
I think one of the most important things to discern when selecting a real estate agent is if they do this as a full-time profession. This is important in understanding what their commitment level is going to be throughout the process. Additionally, don’t be shy about asking for referrals. Any professional, honest agent is going to be willing to share phone numbers of previous clients that can verify their work ethic and dependability. Buying and/or Selling a home is too important to NOT do your homework!
One of the most important things to discern when selecting a real estate agent is if they do this as a full-time profession.
When a homeowner is getting ready to sell what should they be thinking about 90, 60, 30 days out?
They need to walk through their home and take honest notes on everything that they believe will be negatively observed by a homebuyer. Begin making repairs on all those things that have been put off throughout the past several months/years. Homebuyers notice everything….and then some! Additionally, begin packing and cleaning out the clutter. A minimalist approach is essential when selling a home; less is more! Lastly, paint your walls a neutral color. Just because you may love your choice of color, doesn’t mean that feeling will be shared by a potential homebuyer. Honestly, the most important first step, find a trusted realtor to come in and visit with you regarding the repairs and/or renovations that are crucial to bringing you top-dollar for your property. Try to remove the emotion and allow them to be honest with you regarding their recommendations. You are a team in this process….a qualified agent will not lead you astray!
What should a homeowner look at when improving their home to get top dollar?
I do not think this piece has changed much through the years. Well-done kitchens and bathrooms are always going to yield top dollar. Updated flooring is also a must! Lastly, don’t forget the yard. Small investments in the yard can go a long way. Remember that the front yard is the first impression of your home, and many homebuyers will drive by a property before contacting their agent to see the inside. Make sure the outside reflects the home’s value.
What type of design trends are selling homes faster?
Right now we see a multitude of various trends. There are a lot of gray and white color palettes being used; gone are the days of faux walls. Many homeowners want to do away with their large tubs; preferring an enormous steam shower in its place. Believe it or not, brass is making a comeback in many homes; others are opting for a matte black or brushed brass fixtures in kitchens and baths. At the end of the day, it comes down to individual taste and what feels like HOME.
How much should a homeowner invest to sell quicker?
This investment is going to vary depending on some factors. What updates need to be made? By doing these “updates”, will the homeowner see a return on their investment? What are some small investments that can yield the largest return? There is not a “one size (or price) fits all” answer….every home and situation is unique.
What are some common mistakes you see homeowners make when looking to sell their home?
Pushing to price their home for more than the market dictates, and not being flexible or willing to negotiate when they receive a reasonable offer. Understandably, there are a lot of memories and emotion attached to their home; however, a buyer does not see this. There has to be a level of flexibility, and this is where a professional agent is so important! In reality, the longer a home sits on the market the buyer perception is that there is something wrong with it….which is never a good thing! The other common mistake I see is when a homeowner wants to remodel too many things. Again, hiring an honest and professional agent is a must. They will guide you to make the right changes that will yield the largest return.
Why is pricing strategy important to get right up front?
As I touched on in the previous question, when a home is not priced according to what the market dictates….it will sit and get very little traffic. The longer it sits, the more difficult it becomes to move; as the perception is there is something wrong with the house. At that point, an interested buyer will think that they can offer even lower than market dictates….it is a vicious cycle. Therefore, it is so important to hire a professional that will do a Comparative Market Analysis and accurately price your home.
What is the best way for homeowners to receive multiple contracts and quick offers?
Work with an agent that understands the market and will price the home appropriately. If a home is priced right and shows well….it WILL sell! Also, don’t make it difficult for buyer’s agents to show your home. Be flexible and understand that this in and out traffic is part of the process. It will pay off in the long run.
Are open houses necessary to sell quickly?
Not really in today’s market. It is not unusual to be under contract before you even have time to do that first open house. However, they are still important, and a crucial part of my business and provided service to my clients.
When it comes time to start showing homes, what key factors do sellers need to be aware of?
The single, most important thing for them to understand is the need to be pre-approved; as sellers require a pre-approval letter from the lender with every offer. This is imperative for every buyer so that they can make a quick offer when they find a home that they love.
What advice do you have to help homeowners not get emotionally involved?
By being honest with my clients from the very beginning. Thoroughly explaining the current market and setting the expectations as early as possible. However, it is so hard….even when I do this, I can tell when my clients are already emotionally invested.
What is the advantage to receiving a below market offer?
In my opinion, there is no advantage if a home has been priced correctly and marketed appropriately. However, if you are working with a seller that has unrealistic expectations on the value of their property, then there is a benefit to a lower offer. While not fun, it opens the door for yet another awkward conversation. Sometimes sellers need to have that experience to fully understand the situation. I believe that my responsibility to my client is having this conversation as many times as necessary; as their home could lose value if it sits for too long in a hot market.
Disclosures, why are they so important and how do you make sure as a seller you have been upfront and honest?
Disclose! Disclose! Disclose! It is best for all parties involved. When I am working with my sellers, part of my job (my fiduciary duty) is to stress the importance of this piece; to protect them from any future problems that could arise. I have heard the quote, “When in doubt….disclose” and this is what I repeatedly stress to my seller. If they are questioning something….they should disclose it.
Thank you Christy for sharing your time and expertise with us! If you would like to receive more industry insight articles like this one, sign up to become a BOSS Insider for free today!
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