Sellers don’t have to let open houses daunt them

Some houses — you know, b-i-g houses — rarely are open. (Tim Pearce took this flickr photo at Alcatraz.)

Thanks to TV reality shows, some sellers may well be daunted by new takes on open houses.

That needn’t be the case.

The first thing that sellers must keep in mind is that they must not be present at an open house.

Not only does their presence tend to intimidate buyers into keeping closet doors shut, it also tends to cause mouths to shut as well.  Buyers at open houses don’t get to think out loud with a seller in their orbit, notes San Francisco broker Tara-Nicholle Nelson in one of her characteristically good posts on Trulia’s site.

Other of her tips include the following: Continue reading

Many things should never be left unsaid. Ever.

Drapes

“Oh, you say you’re taking the drapes? I don’t think so.”

When it comes to the purchase of residential real estate worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, some matters can stall the signing of a contract or even reduce a settlement to hours of prolonged battle.

Those matters frequently turn on the cost of items the value of which often can be calculated in the hundreds of dollars.

Disputes commonly rest on Continue reading

With real estate offers, who says that life is fair?

(flickr photo by maorix)

Sadly, homebuyers are finding that sellers are in the driver’s seat once again.

And they don’t always play fair.

As lawyer Adam Stone points out in a BrickUnderground.com column, not only do many sellers entertain multiple offers.  They also may work with multiple contracts.  Stone asks a pertinent question: Continue reading

‘This family takes some very strange vacations.’

(Flickr photo by exfordy)

To the extent that questions burn in the business real estate, one centers on family photos: Should they be hidden until the home finds a buyer?

“Honey, do you think that’s a beach in Vietnam?” a prospective purchaser might ask her partner at an open house.

“Hey, look at how many kids they have!”

“It seems like they had one of those weddings.”

“Eeeww, they’re really into religion, aren’t they?”

Some say photos should be banished to a box in the closet.  Others say they make no difference.

I come down somewhere in the middle.  Continue reading

Don’t let home suffer humiliation of bad breath

If prospective buyers entering your home end up looking like this, you’ll have to admit you’ve got a problem. (Flickr photo by db2r)

Do you know whether your home smells?

Homeowners sometimes are unaware how offensive to others can be the pungency of Fluffy’s litter box.

In co-operatives, condominiums and rental buildings, the odors of cabbage or ethnic spices assaulting hallways and insinuating themselves through vents not only may irritate neighbors but also drive away prospective buyers as surely as Fluffy’s transgressions.

The mere sautéing of garlic, which is bound to linger in a cook’s apartment, easily penetrates public spaces and the disapproving nasal passages of anyone who traverses them.  And never mind what some perceive as the stench of tobacco smoke, especially from pipes and cigars, as a powerful disincentive to making an offer.

As for marijuana, I imagine approval or disgust may vary considerably according to the individual. Continue reading

Getting out of the way is essential for sellers

Sellers need to think of themselves as toreadors and buyers as bulls. (Flickr photo by Matt Juriado)

Listing agents hate it when sellers stick around during open houses or other showings.

Most owners can’t keep their mouths shut, pointing out improvement and perceived advantages of their home.  They tend to shadow prospective purchasers, who usually make the rational decision to escape swiftly.

Their presence intimidates buyers, who become reluctant to confide in each other and their agents.  They also shrink from opening closets doors, cabinets and appliances.

However many times sellers hear that they are not wanted, I keep running into those whose presence interferes with the very objective they are trying to reach.

The advice to clear out is one of several mistakes listed by RealtyTimes columnist Julie Wyss, an associate broker in Silicon Valley, and a few others are worth repeating Continue reading

Got scalpel? Would you operate on yourself?

The questions in the headline are something of an exaggeration and wholly a cliché that I was too weak to resist, but a new online service made me do it.

You can check BuyerCurious.com yourself, then wonder how well the process would work for you in New York.  In a nutshell, the site describes its benefits this way:

Buyers can search homes for sale, request showings, and make an offer on a home online, while sellers can list a home for free, get information on low cost and discount ways to advertise their properties tapping the best of web 2.0, get professional yard signs, receive and negotiate offers, and finalize a purchase agreement in a private, online Deal Room.

From my biased point of view, I can’t imagine that even the site’s cafeteria of services would help buyers anywhere; as for sellers trying to unload a home themselves, that debate continues.

Although Robert Hahn, a consultant focusing on the real estate industry, sees the site as the beginning of the end of buyer representation, Continue reading