Monthly Archives - August 2018

House with Open House sign.

6 Real Estate Agent Tips for Productive Open Houses

Real estate agents go out of their way to create open houses that bring in potential buyers, but learning how to hold a productive open house may present more difficulty than you expect.

An open house is not productive simply because people visit the home and see it. The goal is to make the home appealing enough that visitors make an offer on the home. These tips will help you achieve that.

1. Make Visitors Feel at Home

Stock the home’s refrigerator with cold drinks to refresh them as they walk through the home. While you don’t need to offer snacks or a meal, drinks encourage visitors to take their time looking at the finer details.

You can also make visitors feel at home by improving curb appeal. Power wash the walkways leading up to the house and clean up any leaves or trash outside. You might even ask the seller to plant some flowers outside if appropriate.

Visitors also feel as if they are home when the bedrooms are neutral. Prepare the open house by hiring somebody to stage the home or by taking care of repairs and improvements before the open house. Buyers like to see a finished product.

2. Create Interesting Brochures

In one of the larger rooms, like the dining room or living room, set out brochures and pamphlets with additional information about the property and neighborhood. Attached to each document, include your contact information or business card so buyers can reach you easily.

3. Invite the Neighborhood

You never know who might be interested in the home, and you also don’t know who might be able to influence the perceptions of potential buyers. Allowing visitors to meet the neighbors might help sell the home.

Additionally, you might use signs to point out specific features of the home, like hardwood floors, unique lighting schemes, and large closets. Buyers often don’t notice how amazing some of the features are until you focus on them.

4. Ask for Feedback (And Listen to It)

During the open house, try to glean perceptions of prospective buyers discussing the pricing and features of the property. Listen to your audience, especially when you contact them after the open house.

5. Host an Open House Only When Necessary

Simply because the seller wants to host an open house does not mean you should do so. Open houses are most effective for new listings and those near high-traffic areas. Open houses require resources, so don’t waste them. When you do have an open house event, make sure to market your opportunity with the intention of reaching every potential buyer.

Tile bathroom with glass shower door.

Everything in the home should speak to the prospective buyer. Staging helps.

6. Place Signs Strategically

While 92 percent of homebuyers use the web to search for homes, physical signs are still critical. Open house signs should draw as much traffic to the house as possible. You might be surprised at how often these signs are not readily visible or legible from the street.

Additionally, hang up house numbers anybody can read from the street, especially if the current numbers are faded. Don’t give buyers a reason to pass on by.
Real estate continuing education can help you plan open houses based on your strengths as an agent. Coursework helps you plan your next open house with current industry knowledge in mind. Start your training today!

House with a For Sale sign out front.

Homeowner Opinions Revealed in New NAR Report

A new survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that homeowner opinions reflect the changes in the economy. The survey lets real estate agents know what their clients are thinking but not actually saying.

Real estate agents can glean several key insights from this survey, especially when armed with effective real estate training. The results will help you answer these questions for your clients, providing them with the best experience.

Should You Buy a Home Now?

According to 68 percent of respondents, now is a good time to buy a home. Individuals who strongly hold this opinion have increased compared to the previous quarter. Is the economy encouraging clients to buy? Understanding your local economy helps you advise buyers.

In many communities, prices are going up. In fact, 68 percent of people surveyed say their communities have faced increasing prices in the last year. The high demand for homes is leading to significant changes in pricing.

Should You Sell a Home Now?

According to 75 percent of the survey’s respondents, now is a great time to sell a home. This figure has increased in the last few months. Older buyers, those over 65, are much more optimistic about selling homes than younger respondents.

Whether you should sell your home right now also depends on where you live. Optimism about selling homes is higher in the Midwest and South. If you live in one of these regions, you may have an easier time selling a home. Just work on your listings to appeal to this optimism.

Is Homeownership Harder Now than Ever?

The vast majority of survey respondents claim homeownership will be more difficult for future generations to achieve. Most individuals under the age of 34 believe buying a home is more difficult now than in the past, perhaps because they are currently trying.

The reason for eroding confidence in young buyers? Low inventory increases home prices, creating a pretty high barrier for first-time buyers in many parts of the country. Understanding the needs of younger, first-time buyers is crucial.

Couple signing real estate documents.

Home ownership is worthwhile, owners seem to state. You can help families achieve this goal.

Is Home Ownership Worth the Trouble?

A resounding yes, at least according to 67 percent of the survey’s respondents. These individuals claim owning a home strengthens the community. Individuals who buy homes rather than rent are more likely to volunteer, vote, and otherwise engage with the community.

Buyers love to see a sense of community when they shop for a home. Find out as much as possible about the home and the community so you can offer as much information as possible to buyers.

How Can Real Estate Agents Help?

Real estate agents can help buyers and sellers make their marks by focusing on real estate training. Learning how to interpret these studies helps you educate your clients and meet their needs. Courses are available now. You can start your training today!

Decorative pills leading against a headboard.

A Realtor’s Quick Guide to Home Staging

One recent survey suggested that 77 percent of buyers’ agents claimed that staging a home made it easier to visualize themselves owning the home. Staging a home can certainly make a difference in the sale of your home. While most real estate agents do not stage all homes they sell, the truth is that good reason exists to consider it.

Are you struggling to stage homes so they sell efficiently? This guide will provide you with some tips you can use to stage homes to perfection.

Staging a Home Makes a Difference

A significant amount of sellers’ real estate agents claim staging a home typically decreases its time on the market. Of course, some agents believe staging could actually increase a home’s time on the market. You should use your best judgment for each house you sell.

If you stage a home, you can expect to see the biggest increase in home values if you decorate a home to appeal to the largest group of buyers. People want to envision their own belongings in the home, so keep it neutral and spaced out.

Staging Specific Rooms Is Most Helpful

The most important room for real estate agents to stage is the living room. The living room should be a light neutral, perhaps an ivory or gray tone. Put away any personal mementos or family photos. Keep the furniture simple too, offering just a couch, coffee table, and possibly just one or two seats.

The master bedroom is also important to stage. A calm beige and matching bedspread with many pillows adds a professional touch. A bed, nightstand, dresser, and mirror are all you really need to create a homey atmosphere. Don’t ignore window dressings in the bedroom.

Next is the kitchen. The most important thing is for the kitchen to be clean and odor-free. Take the trash out, run the garbage disposal, and pay close attention to any potential dirt spots. Organize the pantries and clear the counters.

Alternatives to Staging a Home

Keep in mind that staging a home does not necessarily mean it will sell at a higher price. While it may appeal more quickly to buyers, your clients should not expect to receive much more than they are asking for it.

Woman pushing drapes aside on a window.

Don’t forget the impact lighting and window dressings have on a room.

Not every home is fit for staging. Sometimes, the best you can do is declutter a home and make some repairs. Notable repairs and steps to take during staging include:

  • Fixing drywall holes
  • Removing stains in the carpet
  • De-personalizing the home
  • Improving curb appeal
  • Removing evidence of pets
  • Painting walls

Even if you do not hire somebody to stage the home professionally, making the home as clean and neutral as possible is critical if you want your efforts to pay off.

Learn More About Effective Selling Practices

Staying up-to-date on best practices for selling homes is a fantastic way to continue providing your clients a helpful service. We offer many different real estate continuing education courses to meet your needs. Ready to learn more? Choose your state now and get started!

Couple signing a real estate document.

What Real Estate Agents Should Know about Bump Clauses

Even if you are not familiar with real estate contracts, you might have heard of a bump clause. Real estate professionals often write bump clauses into contracts to allow a buyer to continue marketing a property even after receiving a bid. Sellers who receive better deals can then bump their original buyers. Ultimately, a bump clause has pros and cons for both parties.

Real estate agents should always carefully consider the impact of a bump clause on the best interests of their clients. Real estate continuing education helps real estate agents determine the best way to approach bump clauses for buyers and sellers.

How a Bump Clause Works

Suppose the seller receives an offer from a buyer who has a contingency. Perhaps the seller is still trying to sell his or her former home, for instance. The bump clause allows the seller to accept another offer, so long as the seller notifies the original buyers and sees if they will waive their contingency. If not, the buyer accepts the new offer and the first buyer receives the payment they put down.

Bump Clause Advantages for Sellers

The biggest advantage of a bump clause to a seller is that he or she can continue listing the home on the market for several months awaiting the contingency period to end. This is good because re-listing a home later can stigmatize the property.

Additionally, the seller can use the pending deal as leverage with buyers who could be swayed to outbid the current price. The buyer could end up offering a better bid.

When sales are not as hot as they once were, bump clauses tend to emerge. Sellers can hold out for a better offer while holding one potential buyer in their pocket. For a seller, the clause may feel like a security blanket.

Bump Clause Advantages for Buyers

The buyer often presents a bump clause to the seller in the hopes it will influence the seller to accept an offer with a contingency. Otherwise, trying to buy a home while selling your home at the same time can be a hardship. While the concept of a bump clause does not initially seem advantageous to the buyer, it can present opportunities not otherwise available.

Wooden bird house with a pile of coins and rolled up paper money.

Real estate transactions rely on foresight, understanding the market, and knowing how to use contracts strategically.

The Best Time to Use a Bump Clause

Bump clauses do not always work, and they especially do not work when the market is hot. In a seller’s market, offers are coming in without contingencies. Consider your location and the state of the market in your area before considering a bump clause.

For sellers, the best time to take advantage of a bump clause is when the offer is strong enough to warrant it. If the second buyer has bad credit, he or she may be unable to secure funding for the home.

Whether you are a new real estate agent or simply want to brush up on your knowledge about contractual clauses, consider taking real estate continuing education. Choose your state now and start your training today!

Sold real estate sign in front of a house.

6 Best Lockboxes for Your Realty Company

Realtors rely on lockboxes for the homes they show. No real estate agent can get by without understanding which lockboxes are desirable when he or she is concerned with home security.

In this guide, you will learn more about the top lockboxes on the market today, as well as some tips for using the lockboxes.

1 – Nu-Set Lockboxes

The Nu-Set 2050 lockbox comes with a detachable lid and weather resistant cover to protect the interior from the elements. You will not notice any rusting or sticking. In addition to high-quality materials, the security features of this box require a key to change the combination. Unfortunately, the box is not large enough to hold a card.

2 – Kingsley Lockboxes

The biggest benefit of this Kingsley Guard-a-Key 70074 lockbox is its rotating hinged design, which can fit up to 10 keys. The shackle design fits most doorknobs, and the body is weather resistant. The intuitive design makes it easy to set codes.

3 – WordLock Lockboxes

Boasting a huge storage capacity, the WordLock KS-052-BKbox is an excellent choice if you want to use the same box for a multi-unit community. The biggest downside of this lockbox is the small window which somebody could break if they wanted to do so.

4 – Kiddie AccessPoint Lockboxes

The Kiddie AccessPoint 0010141 offers quarter-inch thick zinc alloy and a spacious interior that can fit keys and cards. Best of all, you can use an alphabetical code to open the box, which may be easier to remember. The construction is designed for safety, preventing anybody from wedging the door open. With the Kiddie AccessPoint 001404 model, you can set several access codes.

Real estate contract document with keys and a pen.

Lockboxes come in a variety of styles, allowing you to experiment with different options.

5 – Master Lock Lockboxes

The Master Lock 5400D is a versatile choice because it is available for real estate agents on a budget. The durable nature of the lockbox is excellent, but you may be disappointed by the limited storage capacity.

6 – KeyGuard Lockboxes

The Keyguard SL-590 box is large and offers a tough exterior. Inside, you can fit everything from key fobs to cards. Plus, you can mount the lockbox on a wall rather than shackle it to a doorknob. The downside? You have to re-enter the combination to close it.

You might also want to consider the KeyGuard SL-500 as an alternative which is easy to use, durable, and intuitive. The box is also weatherproofed thanks to its tight seal.

Tips for Lockbox Safety

Real estate continuing education addresses the issues of real estate agent safety, but anybody can use a refresher on using the lockbox safely.

First, keep in mind that illumination is critical. The lockbox should always be under a light or a motion sensor light that will deter any potential trespassers from trying to work the lock. Keep in mind you may be better off putting the box somewhere it would expose a potential thief to the street.

Next, make sure you change your lockbox codes frequently to prevent individuals with previous access from continuing to enter homes you are showing.

With real estate continuing education, you can learn more about safety and security when you show homes. Are you ready to learn more? Start your training today!