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Questions Open House Hosts Ask You as a Guest and Why – Number One of Three

Hi!

Recall all the open houses you have been to and when the host asked you questions…You might wonder what are the most often-asked questions open house hosts ask you and why they ask them?

Number One:
How long have you been looking for a house?

Why host is asking: The agent wants to see how far along in your search you are, how many homes you have seen, how motivated you are to buy and what your general experience has been. They want to be of help to you and, of course, they are there to help sell the house you are at.
If you allow the Realtor, they can give you helpful information to aid with your search such as additional neighborhoods that might fit your criteria or they may know of homes coming on the market – ones that are not listed yet. Just to name a couple of MANY great ways that they can be of assistance.

open house image

Watch for question number two – upcoming!

Cheers!
Ken

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What to do when a buyer voids a contract?

What to do when a buyer voids a contract?

Hi!

It’s not an exciting day when the buyer changes his or her mind. It’s definitely part of the risk of selling a home and getting under contract that a buyer may decide for any reason to want out of a contract. As a seller working with a skilled listing agent, one can do a lot prior to going on the market, while accepting contracts and during the contract to close phase to help avoid a buyer backing out of a contract.

Save money. Have a strategy.

Save money. Have a strategy.

Even so, sometimes buyers do. This could be for a reason they find in a home inspection, for an unexpected health or family reason, loss of a job or any number of reasons. They might state their reason and ask out or they might void the contract during the home contingency phase, for example (As a side note, this is one reason to have a strategy to eliminate contingencies being in the contract in the first place. Like doing your own pre-listing inspection and making corrections, and then advising the buyer that this has been done.).

When the buyer wants out, and can do so contracturally, or you as a seller simply agree to let them out of the contract, what then?
Some options:
1) Put your home back on the market immediately with no changes whatsoever to the home or listing information available to the agents and the public.
2) Put your home back on the market after strategizing, having learned from one buyer / one part of a possible sale, making adjustments to the information.
3) Put back on the market after strategizing, having learned from one buyer / one part of a possible sale, making adjustments to the home itself and the information.

My experience is the 3rd option is usually the best approach.

First, without exception, it is always important to assess where the market has changed since the home went on the market and since the contract was ratified. Markets are always moving in one direction or the other, and can be very local (I refer to it as hyper-local.), very specific to the neighborhood, even. Take a strong look at “What is the market of the moment?” In order to be in sync, timely, with decision makings in formulating a strategy.

Selling Your Home Without Having It Returned to You

Selling Your Home Without Having It Returned to You

Then, if due to a home inspection, what was the reason for the back out? Did the buyers say they were anxious or unhappy about any items on it? If so, it would it behoove you as a seller to listen to what the buyers found and said about it, make corrections if it makes sense, and note any big ticket items as “replaced, new or improved” to buyers?

Another reason the buyer might back out is for a more desirable home down the street that has come on the market since the buyer went under contract with you. If so, would it be a great idea to take a very strong look at that home and how it compares to yours? What about it is more likable to buyers – price, condition, exact location? You may want to or need to adjust your pricing strategy if that home or any others help you to see the market of the moment in a clearer sense.

I hope this was helpful. With a great strategy going into selling a home – choosing an experienced, skilled listing agent, completely preparing your home for sale, having a smart pricing strategy, and creatively and strongly marketing your property, you will be a long way to a hedge against a buyer wanting to void a contract. An once of prevention…. “an investment of $100 could save you $1,000.”

Cheers,
Ken

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Selling Your Arlington Home in Spring 2015 – Statistics

Selling Your Arlington Home in Spring 2015 – Statistics

Hi! Arlington homeowners are asking me: “What is the chance of selling my home this Spring?”

I will share here Arlington’s current inventory of homes and you will quickly see why it is a Seller’s Market.

Total of all homes, any type (detached, condo, etc.) at all prices: 462
(The estimated 2014 population of Arlington County, VA, by the US Census Bureau was 224,906)

Average price of all: $734,397

Seller's Market

Seller’s Market

Number of homes available by price bracket / range
$1,000 – 299,000 106
300,000 – 399,000 61
400,000 – 499,000 44
500,000 – 599,000 31
600,000 – 699,000 37
700,000 – 799,000 27
800,000 – 899,000 20
900,000 – 999,000 14
1,000,000 – 1,099,000 4
1,100,000 – 1,199,000 10
1,200,000 – 1,299,000 9
1,300,000 – 1,399,000 9
1,400,000 – 1,499,000 14
1,500,000 – 3,750,000 58
(If you would like a further breakout of the last bracket / range, please comment on the post and ask. Thanks.)
Source: MRIS, March 9, 2015

With this very small number of homes on the market, sellers have much more ability to ask for a price they want (it still needs to be reasonable, as always) and get it, and with the best terms possible. Having the stronger market position as compared to buyers gives home seller’s the better negotiating position. More strength.

If you would like more information or a free market valuation of your home, please contact us. We can do it within 24 hours. Have a great day!

Cheers,
Ken

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Top 2 Ways to Buy Your First Home with Less Work and Less Money

Top 2 Ways to Buy Your First Home with Less Work and Less Money

Hi!

When buying your first home in Arlington – or anywhere – there are some fundamental things to put into place to help you get the best home possible for you with the least effort on your part and for the smallest amount of bucks out of your pocket. Here goes!

1. Have a plan. The key components of this are timing, money and who.

-When do you want to buy, and what is this based on? Can there be flexibility in the timing? Flexibility is one of the keys to having more negotiating power when making an offer.

-Where is the money for the purchase coming from? If a loan, get a referral from your agent. They know the best ones. Service to get you to closing, not just a great rate, is important. You need to close on the house in the time you have agreed to in your contract with the seller, so you are not in default. When you say you will buy it on a certain date, the lender needs to make sure all flows well and you can close on that date, with certainty!

A Top Notch Buyer Representative saves you time and money.

A Top Notch Buyer Representative saves you time and money.

-Who is going to lead you to success? Choosing a Buyer Representative is important. A study showed that buyers consider buying a house for an average of 13 months before they select a Realtor. And then guess how long they take to select a Buyer Representative? Only 1 week. And it’s such an important decision to make. What this leads the experts to believe is that, for the most part, not a lot of thought is put by buyers into selecting a great agent, and one that will work well with a buyer’s needs and personality. Some buyers choose to work with the first agent that they meet in public. It’s highly recommended to choose one wisely.

2. Reduce your time spent on searching and buying. Time is money – imagine considering to buy a house and then the interest rates increase to a point that you cannot buy the house you want? Wouldn’t that be a bad thing?

The best time reduction technique or choice is to get an agent to represent you 6 months to a year out from when you want to buy. Let them do the work!

I hear every week from buyers, when I am out in the field working, that they are just checking things out and online, figuring out what they want to buy and where before engaging an agent. That they do not want to “waste” an agent’s time early on to help them determine this.

One, if they help you through the process and work with you until closing, they are paid by the seller when you close on your house. It is their choice as to how they plan to use their time in their business. No skin off their teeth, as the saying goes, huh?

Two, a great agent can determine your needs and wants with a great complimentary consultation in an hour or less.

There is no substitute for a top notch Buyer Representative. If you decide to do the work early footwork of what you think it takes to get started by yourself – which might be ill-informed by online information or what someone might tell you – no fault of your own, this takes a lot of time and work. The information that you find online, that you might elect to use as resources, can be incomplete, incorrect and not up to date. Can one believe all they read on the internet? Note that none of the real estate portals that the public has access to are real time. That’s why perhaps you showed up for an open house that was listed in the MLS as being open, and the unit had since gone under contract and the open house was canceled. Not fun, especially if you planned your day around it – or there was freezing rain – like buyers told me last weekend when this happened to them.

More on timing: There is work that needs to be done to establish your ability to buy a house. For instance, perhaps there is an erroneous item that shows up on your credit report and it takes time to get it removed before you can have a lender look at your true credit score and thereby get the best loan rate possible. A higher rate often means that you will not be approved for as expensive of a house.

I hope this was helpful! If you would like a complimentary hard cover book that we at Keller Williams have designed just for first time home buyers, please let me know. Or ask questions, and I will be delighted to help! Have a great day!

Cheers,
Ken

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Clarendon, Arlington, VA, Mardi Gras Parade 2014

The 2014 Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade in Arlington, Virginia. It’s coming up soon!

Parade

Believe it or not, the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade is the largest celebration of Mardi Gras’ Fat Tuesday in the Washington, DC area. Organized by our wonderful Clarendon Alliance, the colorful parade features community groups, an array of floats, some pretty cars, fire trucks and “tons” of Mardi Gras beads (necklaces).

When? Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 8PM.

Where? The parade route runs along Wilson Boulevard from North Barton Street to North Irving Street. Wilson Boulevard will be closed off to non-parade activity.

How to get there? Be GREEN and take Metro. It’s right nearby.
Or, if driving, where to park? On the street or in one of the several public garages.

We look forward to seeing you. It’s a yearly outing for Team Yes I Ken!
Arlington, VA’s Mardi Gras Parade is another reason that ARLINGTON ROCKS!

Cheers,
Ken

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