Tips for Sellers in a Buyers Market

Last week, we I talked about some ideas for Buyer’s in a seller’s market, so this week I am offering tips for sellers because sometimes sellers in a buyer’s market can use some help, too. Look to these tips to be able to stand out even amid some stiff competition.

Offer to cover closing costs

Buyers in these markets may hold more of the cards, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got tons of cash. So if your buyer doesn’t have financial wiggle room to pay the full amount you were hoping for, here’s a smart compromise: Rather than slashing your price, offer to pay for some of their closing costs instead. Or, paying for moving costs may also motivate a cash-strapped buyer into closing day.

Why does this work? Because you’re offering a huge chunk of money upfront. A lower home price, on the other hand, offers buyers dribs and drabs of money over the course of their 30-year home loan.

Buyer’s market or not, the allure of upfront money is hard to beat.

Negotiating $5,000 off the price will only reduce the buyer’s mortgage payment about $25 a month. However, $5,000 toward closing or moving costs will save them $5,000 in cash right now.

Figure out who’s behind the offer

Every buyer, even in a buyer’s market, has particular quirks and weaknesses, and it would behoove you to know them. Through your Realtor®, find out a little bit about the interested buyer. If it is a first-time buyer, consider throwing in stuff that new homeowners need such as a fridge and other major appliances.

For some buyers, the extras will engage them more than a price reduction. Learn what you can about the buyers and appeal to their likely interests or needs. You can also expect to throw in some other items as well. Window treatments, home warranties, carpets, lawn equipment, grills—anything is fair game if the buyer is interested.

It’s also possible a buyer is interested in something more than just money. Some buyers might be motivated to close before school starts—if that’s the case, negotiate to get them settled in before the school buses start running.

Consider paying for repairs

When buyers have their pick of the housing litter, they may demand that you make a whole slew of repairs. If you want the sale badly, go right ahead and agree—but it’s better to “pay” for those repairs by reducing your home’s price rather than doing the repairs yourself.

If the seller is willing to pay for updates, it is better to outline these, with estimates, and lower your home price and have the buyer deal with the contractor after the sale. That way, you can get to closing day faster (which the buyer will like, too) and not have to deal with the contractor—especially if the estimate turned out to be too low.

Slash the price

Let’s face it: In a buyer’s market, you had better have an attractive price. You overshot? Reduce your price strategically for a fresh set of eyeballs. While it might feel less painful to lower the listing in small increments, you’re better off just taking a chunk out of the price all at once to catch people’s attention.

A price reduction from $315,000 to $309,000 does little to nothing for engaging buyers. However, reducing a home from $315,000 to $299,000 will mean the listing now appears in online searches by buyers looking for homes under $300,000.

It may seem like you’re taking a big hit, but a home that sells faster can save you a bit of money, including for “costs such as insurance, repairs, upkeep, utilities, and lawn care. The price of the home is only one variable in the cost of selling, or failing to sell.

Don’t be too quick to walk

When you’re dealing with a possible buyer, do your best to keep the negotiations going. In this market, you should only walk away from deals that are clearly awful, super-lowball deals. Keeping talks open means a better chance of sealing the deal, so continue to negotiate until the buyer either buys or walks away.

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Tips for Buyers in a Seller’s Market

You do not want to be caught off guard in a seller’s market. It’s one of the reasons that the most important thing a home buyer can do is trust his or her real estate agent to advise on market conditions. If it is a seller’s market, it could very difficult, if not almost impossible, to buy the first home a buyer wants to buy.

Because home buyers generally have very little interest in the real estate market when they are not buying a home, they don’t always know how the market moves from one season to another, much less from month to month.

It is often uncomfortable for a buyer to be told the market is a seller’s market when the buyer may believe otherwise — especially a buyer who is trying to buy in a down real estate market.

Markets can change almost overnight. When the market changes to a seller’s market, a buyer’s home buying strategy needs to change with it. In a seller’s market, a home buyer is unlikely to be successful using the same techniques practiced in a buyer’s market.

Preparing the Home Buying Offer in a Seller’s Market

Time is of the essence. Multiple offers happen with more regularity in a sellers’ market than a buyer’s market. That’s because by its very nature a seller’s market is defined in part by low inventory and lots of home buyers. A beautiful home that is priced well can attract more than one offer. Remember, you might not be the only buyer.

  • Price. Price is not always the most important factor. But do not offer less than list price. Realize you may need to offer more than the amount the seller is asking.
  • Earnest Money Deposit. A larger earnest money deposit might look very attractive to a seller. Ask your agent for advice on the deposit; then consider doubling or tripling that amount. You’re going to pay it anyway at closing.
  • Don’t Request Favors. This is not the time to ask the seller to give you the refrigerator or washer and dryer, or part with fixtures, or paint the front door.
  • Delay Buyer Possession. If it is customary for the seller to move at closing, give the seller a few extra days to move. Another buyer probably won’t think of this maneuver, and the seller will look more kindly upon an offer that lets them move at leisure.
  • Submit Preapproval and Proof of Funds Documentation. If your preapproval letter is from an out-of-area broker or lender, get a local preapproval instead. Match your preapproval letter to your sales price and date it the same day as your offer.

Ask Your Agent to Call the Listing Agent for Tips

Listing agents are often very busy. If your agent can save the listing agent some time by preparing the offer correctly, the listing agent might be inclined to recommend your offer over an offer from another agent who did not complete the offer the way the seller expects.

Think of it this way. Say a listing agent has two offers. One is exactly the offer the seller would like to sign. The other offer is not, and the other offer would need a counter offer from the seller to compensate. Should the listing agent prepare a counter offer or should the buyer’s agent revise the offer?

In this situation, it is better for the buyer’s agent to revise the offer.

It is faster. During the time it would take the listing agent to prepare a counter, send the counter offer for a signature, and then deliver the counter offer to the buyer’s agent, another full price could arrive. If you want to be the first offer, the best offer and the only offer the seller will accept, your offer needs to match the seller’s expectations.

If you wait for the seller to sign a counter offer, your offer could fall by the wayside. Your buyer’s agent can find out what the seller wants by calling the listing agent or by reading the verbiage and instructions in MLS. Ask to see the agent’s MLS information sheet. The agent’s MLS printout is probably different than the information a home buyer receives.

Jump on that Seller’s Market Showing

Don’t be that buyer who wants to wait until the weekend to view a home in a seller’s market.

By the weekend, that home could be sold. Try to be one of the first showings. Sellers usually don’t enjoy having buyers come through their homes at all hours of the day, so most would like to see their home sold quickly.

If you write a good offer, a fast offer and a clean offer, your chances of acceptance are far better than those of a buyer who is unprepared. It may astonish you to know how many buyers are often unprepared.

Why Happiness at Work Matters.

People used to believe that you didn’t have to be happy at work to succeed. And you didn’t need to like the people you work with, or even share their values. “Work is not personal,” the thinking went. This is not true.

Far too many people seemingly couldn’t care less about what’s happening around them. For them, Wednesday is “hump day” and they’re just working to get to Friday. And then there’s the other end of the curve . These people are sabotaging projects, backstabbing colleagues, and generally wreaking havoc in their workplaces.

Disengaged, unhappy people aren’t any fun to work with, don’t add much value, and impact our organizations (and our economy) in profoundly negative ways. It’s even worse when leaders are disengaged because they infect others with their attitude. Their emotions and mindset impact others’ moods and performance tremendously. After all, how we feel is linked to what and how we think. In other words, thought influences emotion, and emotion influences thinking.

The myth that feelings don’t matter at work is simply just not true. When we are in the grip of strong negative emotions, it’s like having blinders on. We focus mostly — sometimes only — on the source of the pain. We don’t process information as well, think creatively, or make good decisions. Frustration, anger, and stress cause an important part of us to shut down —the thinking, engaged part.

Best practices for keeping your team focused and motivated.

There are clear similarities in what people say they want and need, no matter where they are from, whom they work for, or what they do. We often assume that there are huge differences across industries and around the world but this is simply not true.

To be fully engaged and happy, virtually everyone tells us they want three things:

  1. A meaningful vision of the future: When people talked with our research team about what was working or not in their organizations, and what helped or hindered them the most, they talked about vision. People want to be able to see the future and know how they fit in. Sadly, far too many leaders don’t paint a very compelling vision of the future, they don’t try to link it to people’s personal visions, and they don’t communicate well. And they lose people as a result.
  2. A sense of purpose: People want to feel as if their work matters, and that their contributions help to achieve something really important. And except for those at the top, shareholder value isn’t a meaningful goal that excites and engages them. They want to know that they — and their organizations — are doing something big that matters to other people.
  3. Great relationships: We all know that people join an organization and leave a boss. A distant relationship with one’s boss is downright painful. So too are bad relationships with colleagues. Leaders, managers, and employees have all told us that close, trusting and supportive relationships are hugely important to their state of mind — and their willingness contribute to a team.

These 3 things throw out the old myths: emotions actually matter a lot at work. Happiness is important. To be fully engaged, people need vision, meaning, purpose, and relevant relationships.

It’s on all of us to find ways to live our values at work and build great relationships. And it’s on leaders to create an environment where people can thrive. It’s simple and it’s practical.

 

Spring Clean Your Appliances!

*Most appliance user manuals specify how to properly clean the model. Read manual first, and follow instructions before proceeding.

You can feel Spring begin to blossom in the air as the season of new beginnings rolls in and welcomes fresh air, perfect temperatures, new life, and a newfound sense of hope and renewal. Capitalize on that blissful feeling by taking part of the age-old tradition: Spring Cleaning!

Clean out the old and the bad to make way for the shiny and the new. While your kitchen floors, dishes, and countertops may receive regular cleaning, it’s often easy to forget about cleaning the appliances that are always there for us when we need them. Here are some helpful tips for your spring cleaning endeavors:

Refrigerator

  1. Clean out food items first, chilling what needs to be kept refrigerated and frozen in a separate cooler. Toss out all expired food items.
  2. Unplug and let freezer begin to defrost.
  3. Remove shelves and bins and soak in warm soapy water. Some refrigerator models have dishwasher-safe shelves that you can clean in the dishwasher.
  4. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator with specialty cleaner, and wipe clean.
  5. Locate the drip pan at base of refrigerator. Remove any liquid and wipe with bleach to remove mold.
  6. Use your vacuum’s crevice attachment tool to clean condenser coil located at the back of the refrigerator.
  7. Wipe exterior with soap and water, specialty cleaner, or commercial stainless steel spray for stainless steel models. Dry thoroughly to prevent streaking.

Stove Top

  1. Some stove top models have dishwasher-safe removable grates and burner caps. Check in user manual to determine if your appliance model applies. If not, remove grates and burner caps and hand wash.
  2. Spray a citrus-based cleaner on stovetop and let sit to disinfect and lift away stains. Wipe clean.
  3. Turn knobs to off position and lift them off. Wipe clean with a wet cloth or cleanser wipe, dry thoroughly and place them back on the stove top.

Oven

  1. Many high-end ovens have self-cleaning modes. Follow instructions in User Care Manual.
  2. Remove oven racks and wash in warm soapy water.
  3. Spray oven cleaner on interior and let sit for a few minutes. Wipe away grimy residue.
  4. For difficult baked-on spills (if you do not own a pyrolytic self-cleaning oven), use a mixture of ½ cup baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to create a spreadable paste consistency.
  5. Wear gloves as you spread mixture all over oven interior, focusing on difficult spills.
  6. Let sit overnight.
  7. Wipe away mixture next day and spray vinegar wherever baking soda paste is still present. The residue will begin to foam, removing spill.
  8. Wipe away foamy mixture.
  9. Final wipe down with damp cloth.

Microwave

  1. Place a bowl or mug filled with water and several freshly cut slices of lemon in the center of the microwave and turn the microwave on high for at least three minutes.
  2. Leave the door closed for several more minutes to let steam penetrate and soften food spills, as well as remove odors.
  3. Open door, remove mug or bowl and wipe interior clean with a paper towel or wash cloth.

Dishwasher

  1. Remove racks and utensil holders and soak in warm soapy water, or vinegar and warm water mixture.
  2. Use a dishwasher cleaner solution or white vinegar and fill detergent cup. Run a heavy clean cycle to let machine breakdown any residue and disinfect.
  3. Wipe interior with warm wash cloth.
  4. Clean exterior with soapy warm water and dry thoroughly.

Happy cleaning!