Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales
Mike Cooper

Archive for the ‘#cornerstonehomesales’ Category

5 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast

July 4th, 2016 by Mike Cooper

5 Ways to sell your home fast

What are the 5 ways to sell your home faster? That’s easy, the hard part is trying to unlearn many of things you’ve learned about real estate in your lifetime. You see, real estate is cyclical, and that cycle changes both up and down.

Real estate is cyclical

It has been a broad belief that real estate will continually go up in value, but that belief was challenged in 2008. In my market, property lost 33% of its value across the market. It didn’t matter if you bought a million dollar home or a $100,000 home. They all lost 33%. That brings me to the first point.

1. Sell your home fast by realizing what you paid for you home doesn’t matter to a buyer and your home may no longer be worth what you paid.

With the losses experienced in our market in 2008 – 2010, a homeowner may have found house_outline_dollar_800_clr_9658himself underwater. Depending on what kind of down payment a homeowner put down on his home, the home’s value may have passed the mortgage in its downward spiral.

The days of looking at what you paid for you home and then assuming you could add a certain percentage to that were over temporarily. My market is seeing a revival in home sale prices. They haven’t reached 2008 values, but they are improving. In 2016, a great home can expect to bring 20-30% above the current county/city assessment. Some may go higher, but the 20-30 rule has been very consistent this year.

I’ve seen more people break even this year than any other time in my 20+ years in real estate. That tells me that the market is better, but it is still soft. What you paid for the home really doesn’t matter to a buyer. A home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay, and an appraisal will prove that.

2. Sell your home fast by spending your resources on the right upgrades.

Two of the best things you can do to your home before you list is to paint the walls and redo the floors. If you have hardwood floors, consider having a flooring expert in to see what they need to be spectacular again. If you have carpet, do the same thing. Can the carpet be revived, or would it be better to replace it?

Let me give you a piece of advice related to flooring. Except for those areas where you tile, hardwoods are always the best investment. Laminate flooring should only be used if it is a high-end laminate. A lot of the laminate on the market today looks cheap and adds very little value to the property. At the cost of sounding like a hypocrite, I have seen a number of homes this year with beautiful laminate floors. They almost swayed my opinion of laminate, but the truth is, when you invest what those homeowners did for high-end laminate flooring, you could get hardwoods for just a little more.

Beyond paint and flooring, kitchen upgrades, bathroom upgrades, high quality appliances and curb appeal are the better places to invest your money. Granite or quartz counter-tops are still more desirable than laminate counters. Quartz is a less expensive granite alternative. It looks like granite, but it doesn’t stain. You can get more bang for the buck with quartz.

3. Sell your home fast with the right Realtor.

Not all real estate agents are created equal. Interview agents. Listen to them, watch them, ask about their production, ask about their experience, have them detail how they plan to market your home. Ask friends which Realtor they’ve used. Read reviews online.

What type of marketing do they use? Our local market is more influenced by the Internet than the Homes Magazine or the local newspaper. Only 1-2% of total local sales come from hard copy marketing. They are expensive and a waste of money. The Internet brings in 89% of real estate sales in our market.

A tech savvy agent is more likely to get your home sold fast than one who ignores or refuses to use that media. Many regional multiple listing services syndicate their listings to the major online real estate portals. Beyond that, there are individual property websites, along with regional and local sites.

4. Sell your home fast by keeping it in good repair.

No matter what you do inside your home, it won’t help you sell your home fast if the outside is in dis-repair. How old is your roof? When was it replaced last? What do the gutters look like? Are the plants and shrubs overgrown? Does it need paint or pressure washed? Is the grass trimmed?

Take an honest assessment of your property. Look at it through the buyer’s eyes. What is the buyer determining he will have to change? What will he have to fix? He’s going to deduct that off of his offer price. Fix it before you list to make sure you get top dollar.

5. Sell your home fast by pricing it right.

This brings us back to our first point. What you paid doesn’t matter. What the market will bear is what matters. Be sure to have solid comps to price your property correctly. Remember, every financed property must meet the appraisal. It doesn’t matter what a buyer offers, if it doesn’t appraise for the offer price, the lender will only lend up to the appraised price.

You may find that your home is more valuable than you realize. I recently pushed the trend up $10,000 in a neighborhood where I listed a home. I could see the trend moving that way, and the appraisal confirmed the trend. The same thing happened on a second home I listed a few miles away. Again, the sale pushed the trend for future sales up beyond $10,000. Pick and agent who knows how to price properties accurately and it will sell fast.

It’s hard to remove all emotion from a real estate sale, but if you want to sell your home fast, you’ve got to do it. Strong emotional ties to a home can make it hard to let it go. Memories linger and years of time and investment are sown into the fabric of every square foot, but when it’s time to sell, you’ve got to set those good things aside to realistically work within the market you’re in. And, when you’re ready to sell your home fast, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call. We are you local real estate sales pros.

5 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast

This information was originally published at, 5 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast. #mikecoopersellshomes,#cornerstonehomesales, #winchesterhomesales.

Sell Your House With the Wow Factor

June 11th, 2016 by Mike Cooper

Sell Your House With the Wow Factor

I’ve shown a lot of houses recently, so it gets harder and harder to be wowed by a home. Like so many things, if you are inundated with them, they become mundane. After showing dozens of houses each week, they all seem the same unless there is something that sets them apart, and that something is what I call the Wow Factor. Sell your house with the wow factor

What is the Wow Factor?

For instance, when you list your house, there are certain things that contribute to the Wow Factor, such as:

  • Have your home clean. A house that smells clean is a great place to start. Have a friend give you an honest assessment as to whether your home has a smell that is distinctly yours. If so, scrub the house top to bottom, paint, shampoo carpets and
    Wow factor

    Sell your house with the wow factor

    remove or clean anything that is smelly in itself, like cat litter, dog beds, sports equipment, etc.

  • Bring in the light. Light is one of your best friends when selling a house. The more light, the better. If you have dark drapes, always have them wide open. Be sure all areas are property lit. Have all light bulbs working. I encourage you to use LED lamps over other forms. They give a whiter light, costs less to run, come on instantly and they don’t get hot.
  • Kill the clutter. Rent a storage container to house unnecessary items. Most people have things that can be stored and not missed for a few weeks. Make the home lived in, but not overly so.
  • Make it easy to show. If you are living there while tying to sell, it will be a bit more of a challenge to make the home readily available at a moments notice. But remember, the harder it is to show, the longer you will have to put up with the challenges of keeping it in pristine condition. Expect to be encouraged to leave at the most inconvenient times. It will happen. I regularly ignore homes that have 12 – 24 hour wait times to show. Most clients are on a schedule, and that can be too far outside of their ability to view the property. Make it easy to show.
  • Make sure it is well appointed, but not overly so. What does that mean? Only keep things out and visible that need to be out and visible. A coffee pot on the counter is common, but a food processor, juicer, toaster, dishes in a drain rack and a host of there things might be overkill. Keep counters clean, clear and uncluttered. The same is true of every room in the house. 
  • Keep personal items out of sight. Don’t leave mail on tables. Keep those areas free of personal items that buyers don’t need to see and shouldn’t see.
  • Avoid artificial smells. No potpourri, air fresheners, incense, etc. Let the cleanliness of the home be the smell buyers are greeted with.
  • Always have fresh towels in the bathroom, keep the toilet seat down and make sure soaps on sinks are decorative and not used. A clean fresh smelling bathroom is a big plus. Dirty or wet towels hanging over the shower stall is a turn off. Make your bathrooms look like they are waiting for privileged guests in a high-end hotel, inviting and ready. 
  • Shine the floors. Beautiful hardwoods are a home-buyers dream come true. Shiny clean hardwoods are a step toward a contract. 

Most of my Wow Factor items relate back to cleanliness. Home buyers want to feel they are viewing the prized possession of the seller. Make sure you leave it that way for them every time you walk out the door. When you’re ready to sell, make sure to give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., real estate agent a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.

Sell Your House With the Wow Factor

This blog was originally posted in; Sell your house with the wow factor., #winchestervarealestate, #sellyourhomefast.

For Sale by Owner Properties Often Fail. Why?

May 21st, 2016 by Mike Cooper

 For Sale By Owner Properties Often Fail. Why?

As a licensed real estate professional, I’ve seen my share of for sale by owner properties around. Most of theFor sale by owner properties often fail. Why? time, they end up with a Realtor sign in the yard after months of languishing on the market with a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) sign. I just passed a former for sale by owner property yesterday. As usual, I chuckled when I saw the Realtor sign in the front yard.

Why do for sale by owner properties fail at a higher rate than a professionally listed property?

  • Homeowners seldom really know the current market. That leads to an overpriced home that savvy buyers would never buy. I showed one this past Monday that was 62% overpriced. I guess the seller assumes there is always a buyer with more money than brains out there. What you want, and what a home will sell for may be light years apart.
  • Showing a for sale by owner can be challenging. When an agent sets up a dozen showings in one day, scheduling becomes an art. Access is the key to making that day successful. If a for sale by owner can’t allow the house to be shown except on a limited schedule the odds are radically against him. That’s true of listed properties too. Access is really important.
  • Homeowners may not know how to negotiate an offer. There is usually some give and take in a real estate offer. If a for sale by owner is locked on a price and won’t budge, or won’t let a home inspection or repair request become a part of the deal, or is refusing a termite inspection, or is demanding of a closing date closer than a lender can accommodate, then a buyer can’t buy it.
  • Homeowners may not disclose things, or they may disclose too much.
  • Homeowners may not understand legal contracts. I ended up re-writing a contract for a for sale by owner last year because there were so many legal liabilities in in it that could eventually come back to bite the seller. The seller had no idea, and the buyer, who wasn’t represented either had no idea of the legal ramifications of a binding contract full of potholes.

This list could go on and on, but the reality is that a FSBO is almost always better off selling through a competent Realtor. It will reduce stress and it will help the seller get across the finish line with a better deal.

When you’re ready to sell your home, don’t waist weeks or months trying to sell yourself, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and Mike Cooper a call. We are you local real estate sales pros.