When selling your Knoxville home, starting with the correct pricing and staging are like getting to start a marathon with a 5 mile head start. No it won’t necessarily make the race easy, but it will definitely get you ahead of the competition, and even the very best Knoxville houses comparable to yours will have to work really hard to catch up and beat you. So often agents are afraid to tell home owners the truth about what the market is saying their home is worth, or what improvements need to be made to help the home show the best it possibly can. The typical agent may be worried that they might not get the listing because they are not telling the seller what they want to hear. The truth is that by not telling the seller the cold hard facts, they are doing both the seller and themselves a disservice. Overpricing leads to extended listing times and ultimately a lower sales price as homes languish on the market. The same holds true for staging and home improvements. These items should be brought to the attention of sellers as the improvements will ultimately help the home sell faster and eliminate objections from potential buyers. Simple fixes such as de-cluttering, painting, removing of wallpaper, or trimming the bushes and planting flowers can make a huge difference in the perception of the potential buyer, turning a negative into a positive. However if the issues are never brought up, they can only stay negatives. Honesty will bring results. Within the past 12 months, because of sellers heeding this advice, I’ve had three listings go under contract within 10 days of listing. The old saying holds true in real estate, honesty is the best policy.
When you are selling your home in Knoxville, your strategy for pricing will be the #1 determining factor for getting a quick sale. Listing your home at the correct price can almost guarantee that a buyer will scoop up your property. On the flip side listing at the wrong price can cause your home to languish on the market for months and months with little to no showings.
Pricing is not a simple process, and Knoxville home sellers are likely to make mistakes that waste both time and money.
Don’t let this happen to you! Read below and avoid these common pricing errors to give yourself the best shot at a fast sale:
ERROR #1: Not doing your research
Often times sellers will base the price of their home on the listing price of the house down the street or something they have heard regarding pricing in the neighborhood. While knowing the prices of your competition is important, in many markets, listing prices are not a good indicator of what your home will actually sell for.
“Currently in Knoxville you will find that homes typically sell for 7% to 9% less than they’re listed for,” says Leslie Sellers, president elect of the Appraisal Institute. “So sellers who list their homes based on other listing prices are already almost 10 percent too high about what they expect to get out of their house.”
TO DO: Price your home based on a “comparative market analysis”. This is a report prepared by a Knoxville real estate professional that looks at the recent sales of similar homes in your area. For a fee, you can also get an estimate of your home’s value with a professional home appraisal.
ERROR #2: Hiring the Knoxville real estate agent who tells you highest list price for your home
It never fails. You talk with several Knoxville listing agents about how much they think they can get for your home, and one gives you a significantly higher listing price than the others. WARNING: the agent may be trying to “buy” your listing by suggesting an unrealistically high asking price. This practice is unethical and will cost you time and money. You will ultimately end up having to reduce your price significantly after your home has sat, without interest for many months.
TO DO: Always interview at least three agents and choose one who backs their suggested listing price with comparable sales data.
ERROR #3: Getting Emotional
You have probably spend significant time, money, and energy turning your house into your home, so it is only natural to be invested emotionally in it’s sale. Here is the bad news, buyers won’t have the same feelings for your home as you do. So regardless of what you “think” your home is worth, this should not be a factor in determining your listing price.
TO DO: You must stay objective during the pricing process by focusing on data spelled out in the Comparative Market Analysis. Do not take personal offense to low offers. Think of them as the starting point of a negotiation that could ultimately result in the sale of your home and transition into your new home.
ERROR #4: Pricing High Early
You only have one chance at a first impression when selling your home in Knoxville and those first impressions are crucial to a fast sale. Research shows that the first 10 days of a listing generate the most activity. If your home enters the market overpriced, it will often be overlooked by many buyers because it will not fall into their price range. Then when you ultimately reduce the price to fair market value, those potential buyers will have already made an offer on another home. The buyers who may be interested in your new lower price will also see that your home has been sitting on the market for a while, which could lead them to perceive that there is something wrong with the home.
TO DO: Price your home correctly the outset to get the attention of serious buyers and sell faster. Keep in mind the additional costs of ownership that you will be paying if your home sits on the market for multiple months at an unrealistic asking price.
ERROR #5: We have “time to sell” so we can price it higher and see what happens
Sellers who are not pressed to sell often choose to test the market by listing their homes at a higher price and waiting to see where the market goes. Unfortunately in most markets, where home prices are dropping, waiting may actually cause you to lose money.
“It’s key to price properly right away because you have a greater chance of selling if you’re just on the market,” says Wendy Sarasohn, senior vice president of The Corcoran Group in New York ” Everybody wants something that’s brand new, not been shopped around, and not on sale.”
TO DO: Price your Knoxville home based on current home values and you will ultimately sell if faster and for more money.
ERROR #6: Market Chasing
If you overprice your home early, you could find yourself making incremental price drops but never quite catching up with the market.
Here is an example: Sellers insisted on putting their Knoxville home on the market for $250,000, despite the fact that comparable homes in the neighborhood were selling for around $225,000. Four months and no showings later, the sellers finally decided to drop the price to $225,000. However, by this time home values had declined significantly in those months, so the reduced price was still four months behind the market. Since then, the sellers have been reducing the price on the home about every three months, but never catching up with their competition.
In a potential buyer’s eyes multiple price reductions not only make a home appear stale, but that there may also be something wrong with it.
TO DO: Price your home competitively to begin with. If you don’t get any activity, don’t hesitate to lower your price quickly. Work with your Knoxville real estate agent to reevaluate market conditions and determine the fair market value of your home.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are thinking about selling and would like me to put together a Comparative Market Analysis on your home. I look forward to helping you price it right and get it sold FAST!
If you are like many individuals in Knoxville that are looking for a great deal on real estate, then you may have a few questions about the Knoxville market. There are a lot of homes for sale in Knoxville and there is no doubt that there are great deals being made on a daily basis. Here a few common questions answered that will help you find the perfect home of your dreams.
Can I Get a Loan?
It all depends on your current financial situation and your credit score. If you have had problems with debt in the past, it may or may not affect your ability to get a loan for a Knoxville home. You will need to get a credit report for you and your spouse if applicable and talk to a loan manager in Knoxville. They will look at your financial history and your present income. Sometimes you may not think that you can qualify for a loan and yet walk away from the interview pleasantly surprised!
Do I Need to Use a Real Estate Agent?
Yes, unless you want to end up driving around in circles looking at homes that aren’t worth your time. A real estate agent will help you narrow down your choices so you don’t have to waste any valuable time and energy. You will also have a professional in the field that can negotiate on your behalf to get the best price.
Can I afford it?
It is best for you to work with your financial advisor and Knoxville real estate agent to help you determine a realistic purchase price that fits into your monthly budget. When this is established you can start your search with confidence and the security of knowing what you really can afford.
As a local real estate broker in Knoxville we can offer you more free information about the Knoxville real estate market, including the most recent homes for sale, current property values and more. Feel free to contact me, Troy Stavros, anytime with any of your real estate or mortgage related questions and I will be happy to answer them for you. You can visit our website at www.RealEstateFish.com, which offers complete information about the Knoxville real estate market. You can also call me directly at 865-599-9444 or email me at Troy@RealEstateFish.com .
This infographic from Forbes.com explains pretty clearly the long term benefit of buying a home in Knoxville versus renting. The American dream is alive an well and as this shows can in turn help you save for retirement. Renting may be a good option if you are planning to stay in a location for a short term, but if you plan to live in your home for an extended period buying is the right move.
Selling your Knoxville home or thinking about it? Time to learn about home staging! Home staging is not decorating. HOME STAGING is about the house and the Knoxville marketplace (NOT interior design or decorating which is about YOU and YOUR personal style). Staging is a short term marketing tool used to make your Knoxville home more desirable to buyers, where the end goal is not your personal enjoyment but SELLING YOUR KNOXVILLE HOME at the best price.
Because home showings don’t last very long, we have a short time to catch the Knoxville home buyer’s attention.
Anything that can be seen is taking up visual space and ultimately shrinking your room. If you wouldn’t find an item in a fancy hotel or resort, get rid of it (not for good, just while you are selling your home). This includes family photos and all of the stuff on the refrigerator. Paperwork and boxes have got to be out of sight as well.
Remove big bulky furniture. Less is more in a buyer’s mind except when it comes to nicks and dings in walls and other places. Those will ultimately add up to dollars off your sale price, so fix them now.
Take a look at the color and style of your home. The best way to give a home or room a fresh look is a new coat of paint. Remember to keep the focus on the room, not the paint color. Furniture should complement your home’s style and be uniform throughout.
Every space matters! Don’t throw your stuff in the basement or cram it into a closet. The buyers will look in those places and when they looked stuffed or cramped they may perceive that as the home lacking storage space.
If you are stuck or can’t see past your own personal taste, hire a professional home stager.
Home staging can definitely give your home an edge over other comparable homes in the Knoxville home market. Now get to work!
Are you in the market to buy a home in Knoxville or beyond? Are you worried about whether you are buying at the right time and scared that prices may continue on a downward trend? If you are thinking about buying, the number one question you have to ask yourself is WHY?
The question of WHY, seems like it should be easy enough to answer but make sure you think about the real reasons. Many experts are predicting that, in many markets across the country, home prices will continue to decline. This news, which is so prevalent in the national media, has caused many buyers to stay on the fence of indecision hoping to find that perfect time to buy. If you are planning on purchasing a home to flip or sell quickly as an investment, waiting makes perfect sense.
However, what if your reason for buying a Knoxville home isn’t necessarily about making money? Does it still make sense to wait? Ultimately that depends on WHY you are buying. Perhaps the real reason you are buying a new home is to improve the quality of life for your family. Maybe you are moving across town into a school district where you feel your child could be better served. You could be trying to get closer to friends and family. Delaying these moves may end up costing you more than money.
Sure, no matter why we are moving we want to be sure we are making a good financial decision, but delaying and hoping to ‘time’ the market might not make sense. A recent article by John E. Girouard on Forbes.com last week addressed this issue:
“Trying to time the housing bottom is as much folly as trying to time stocks or any other investment vehicle. In fact, it’s greater folly because if housing prices do fall further, it’s likely to be because mortgage rates are rising, which would mean that over the long term that slightly lower price you may have paid could end up costing more in carrying costs than you saved.”
He went on to say:
“My answer to those who ask whether now’s the time to buy a house is that the American Dream is and always was alive and well. It has nothing to do with the direction of housing prices but everything to do with your financial situation, income stability, ability to shoulder the costs, and if the home you have your eye on is your version of the American Dream—a home you love that you hope to live in for an extended period.”
What does all this mean? It means that you shouldn’t base your decision on buying a home solely on finances. Look at the real reason you want a new Knoxville home and let that weigh at least equally in the decision. Oftentimes getting in that new school district, or closer to family and friends, and improving your quality of life can make a POSSIBLE financial loss seem inconsequential. Ask yourself what is really important.
1. Declutter. Clutter can be one of the biggest distractions to a potential buyer. Instead of focusing on the home they end up looking at all the stuff. Don’t throw it away, but pack it up and store it out of site.
2. Furniture: Big furniture can make rooms look smaller than they really are, and small furniture can make a room just look weird. Choose your pieces to accentuate the size of the rooms they are in.
3. Show the room as what it should be: It may work for you to setup your 3rd bedroom as a craft room, or the dining room as an office but when it comes time to showing your house, keep the room in their proper form. If it says 3 bedrooms and a dining room on the spec sheet, be sure that is what the buyer sees.
4. Proper lighting: Lights, lights, lights. Try to make sure that all of the lights are on in the home (including lamps) for showings, even during the daytime. Homes show much better with as much light as possible.
5. Repairs: Today’s buyers have plenty of options, and one of the biggest reasons for them to move on to the next home is finding your home in disrepair. We highly recommend getting a pre-home inspection and fixing all of the potential issues prior to buyers stepping into the home for the first time. Not only will this increase your chances of a buyer choosing your home, it will eliminate any surprises when the buyer does their home inspection and sends you the report.
6. Keep it neutral: Yes, buyer’s should be able to see past the crazy color you painted your walls, but why make them. They might not have to paint the other house they are looking at, and that could be just enough to let that potential buyer slip out of your hands.
7. Fresh flowers: Nothing says clean and fresh, like fresh flowers. Not only do they add a splash of color, but they typically add a pleasing aroma. It’s all about getting your buyers to FEEL at home.
8. Thorough Cleaning: It’s go time. This place needs to shine. Yes, it is difficult with kids, but this is your biggest investment you are trying to sell here. We are talking an initial major cleaning, such as cleaning carpets, removing stains, and scrubbing that bathroom until it sparkles. Then keeping it up for the entire time the home is on the market. In today’s competitive marketplace you have to “out shine” your competition.
9. Staged Dining Area: Yes, I know you rarely if ever use your dining room, but you can really make it pop by setting a formal place setting. Outdoor dining spaces also look great set with placemats, chargers, and proper plates and glasses.
10. Jazzed up Bedrooms. Upscale hotels do a great job of making bedrooms feel luxurious. You can do the same by updating your bedding and adding multiple throw pillows to the layout.
The difference between selling and sitting on the market will be a combination of proper pricing and setting your home apart from the competition. Use the 10 secrets above and you will be well on your way.
Contact Troy Stavros at 865-599-9444 today to assist you in marketing your home.
Once a purchase price has been established on a house sale, the next question becomes, “How much of a deposit should I give?” Individual real estate agents and brokers in the Knoxville area may each have a different answer, but follow the same general guidelines.
The point of leaving a deposit with an offer to purchase a property is to let the sellers know you are serious or “earnest” about your offer. That is why it is referred to as “earnest money.” If a potential buyer did not leave any money with an offer they would not have any risk involved. Money offered with the offer to purchase tells the sellers the buyer is serious about the offer. There is risk involved for both parties. In the Knoxville area it is common for buyers to leave a deposit of between one and five percent of the purchase price. Professional real estate agent Troy Stavros, of Gables & Gates, REALTORS states under certain conditions a larger deposit is wise. For example, if the purchase offer is weak, or if there are several offers competing against each other, a larger deposit may sway the sellers towards the buyer’s offer. However, normally, the lower deposit is sufficient.
There are some risks when giving a deposit with a purchase offer. However, states have minimized this risk with regulations and through the use of escrow companies. Although the deposit “belongs” to the seller, it is held by either the real estate company or an escrow company until closing. If the deal falls through it is easier to get the deposit back to the correct party. In some cases that would be the buyer and in other cases it would be the seller. One complication with using an escrow company is the parties involved need to be in agreement before the funds are released. In order to protect your interest it is best to use a professional real estate agent or broker in the Knoxville area. If you would like more information about agents in the Knoxville area go to www.RealEstateFish.com or call Troy Stavros at 865-599-9444 or email at Troy@RealEstateFish.com.
The unfortunate thing about termite damage is it is not always completely visible to the naked eye. In many cases there can be underlying damage that cannot be seen and you may be taking on more than you can chew by purchasing a Knoxville home with this kind of problem. Here’s more information about termite damage that you should know before buying a property in Knoxville.
Finding the extent of the damage
If you see any signs at all that there have been termites in a Knoxville home, you will not be able to assess the full damage unless you lift up the carpeting and take a look underneath. You also need to move the appliances and you may even need to open walls and ceilings for a full inspection. In severe cases it may be necessary to call in an excavation crew in Knoxville to find out the true extent of the structural damage.
The costs involved
It can cost up to $1000 to call-in pest-control in Knoxville and get rid of the termites. Sometimes the seller may offer to cover the costs of this but it is important to understand that you’re not only dealing with termites at this point but with their damage as well. If you really like the Knoxville home you are looking at, you may want to step back and decide if it is really worth the time and trouble it will take to fully handle any of the damage.
There are companies available that will check Knoxville homes for termite damage. If you have any suspicions at all that this home may have come into contact with termites, the small cost of hiring a Knoxville company for a full assessment may end up saving you a lot of money in the end.
If you need more free information about selling, buying or investing in Knoxville real estate feel free to contact us at RealEstateFish.com.
Financial awareness is a big part of the real estate game. It is important to realize that there are a few things you can do before even starting your house hunting in Knoxville that can get you prepared for the final sale.
Make a Plan
It is unfortunate that many homebuyers rush into a purchase without ever having devised a solid game plan. There are a lot of variables involved when buying Knoxville real estate, and knowing what is involved and planning for them will save you time, energy and quite possibly a lot of money in the end.
Use Self Discipline
You have given yourself a budget, now you need to stick to it. Don’t waste your time looking at Knoxville homes that are out of your price range – no matter what! There are often costs associated with a property purchase that you may have forgotten to plan, and you need to make certain that the process is completed smoothly. The last thing you need is to find yourself in a compromised financial decision.
Find a Good Knoxville Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent in Knoxville can be a lifesaver in both the searching and purchasing of a home. His guidance and knowledge is invaluable and can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run. Use the time you have with your agent wisely – ask questions and get all the information you can about the Knoxville property before making the final purchase.
When you take the time to plan, you lessen the risks involved, and can make decisions with certainty and confidence. Take the time to really assess your finances and what you are looking for in a Knoxville home. Upon close examination you may find that you have a much clearer vision of what you are looking for in your future Knoxville home and neighborhood.
As a local real estate broker in Knoxville I can offer you more free information about the Knoxville real estate market, including the most recent homes for sale, current property values and more. Feel free to contact me, Troy Stavros, anytime with any of your real estate or mortgage related questions and I will be happy to answer them for you.