THE SMART HOME-SELLING GUIDE
Donna and Carol’s main objective is to provide you, the Seller(s), the most amount of money in the least amount of time with the fewest amount of hassles! Our expert real estate team’s unmatched local market and real estate expertise, phenomenal service, strategic pricing, aggressive marketing, and skillful negotiating allows you to achieve that goal.
There are many factors involved in selling a home, but getting the most money for your home really boils down to SIX things:
Our “Smart Home Selling Guide“ will cover these five significant factors; and it outlines her property Home-Selling Strategy that has proven to sell homes for satisfied clients.
SMART HOME SELLING GUIDE
Preparation: Preparing your home for sale
Many homebuyers prefer a home that looks new or is recently upgraded, yet most homes that come on the market aren’t upgraded. Because of this, homebuyers will pay a premium of 5-7% for a home that is upgraded or recently remodeled. Exceptions are when you live in an area where most all the homes are upgrades, which means your upgrades will bring your probable sales price to market value. To help maximize the value of your home, Donna offers expert advice on where to invest to ensure your maximum return when selling.
The number one deal killer in any real estate transaction is the home inspection. Why? Once you receive an offer for your property, 80% of the negotiating power can shift to the buyer unless you are in a heavy Seller’s market. This is also why strategic pricing of the home matters.
By choosing to have a pre-inspection of your home, this enables both you and your Realtor to know and handle any potential issues with the property BEFORE you receive a purchase offer. This reduces the possibility of any “surprises” during negotiations and can prevent buyer renegotiation after contract. Additionally, addressing repairs up front has been proven to maximize the cost of repairs by up to 400%!
Small investments worth the time and money
The following tasks should be a performed before hiring the photographer; Paint the walls a neutral tone, professionally clean the carpets and windows, have trees trimmed and gardener visit to remove overgrowth/plant flowers, remove appliances in the kitchen, and de-clutter and de-personalize all rooms, replace broken lights, hire a handyman to make minor repairs and/or replace light fixtures.
Once the property is prepared for market, it is time to stage the home and capture it in photos and videos. The goal in the Presentation phase is to make a prospective buyer say, “Wow! What a house” and compel them to come for a visit to look at it for themselves.
Professional staging helps define the space and makes it show in its best light. When you have guests over, you usually clean up your house and often remove items that you normally keep out in the normal course of the day. It’s important to view potential buyers as guests you have invited over to your home.
We have several staging professionals who we will hire to view your home and provide a professional consultation and estimate. This is done before the photography and videographer. Some homes may need only subtle changes while other homes might be vacant and need light furniture and décor. Studies show that homes that have been professionally staged sell more quickly (often within the first 14 days) and at a higher price (often 5-10% more) than those which are not. So, even though it seems contrary to spend money prior to selling your home, it’s worth it in dollars and cents at the end of the sale.
If paying for a professional home stager is not in your budget – or you only need subtle changes – Donna and Carol will use both their staging/designing experiences and resources to happily assist with making your home camera and guest ready!! Carol has an incredible eye for design (and her sister was a professional interior decorator for many years); it’s easy to see once Carol is done doing her camera-ready magic that she also has the decorator/designer gene! Donna has been staging homes long before the professional staging industry took off. She was hired to design and stage a model retail storefront in Redondo Beach and one in The Grove for her father’s DirecTV Sales & Installation Company; the Redondo Beach storefront was set up to represent all rooms in a home (including a bathroom with a TV in it).
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are the pictures saying about your property? Donna exclusively uses professional photographers on every property she lists. Professional photographers use wide-angle lenses, the right lighting, and complete post-photography touchups (even adding a lit fire in the fireplace). With 95% of buyers starting their search online, that first impression must be one that inspires buyers, compelling them to see it in person. There is no second chance at a first impression!
Technology is important now more than ever. Social media, syndicate websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.com, YouTube, and search engines such as Google all have metrics to order and prioritize what information will be given priority. Videos are prioritized on all these platforms, and a video will capitalize on the shorter attention spans of consumers. It’s a necessity in high-end markets. Videos can include drone footage, they can be virtual walk-throughs, and even created live as in a virtual Open House.
Once your home is prepared and ready to be presented to the market, the next most important factor is making sure your home is priced properly to attract the highest possible number of qualified buyers and the highest possible offers.
Most Realtors use an outdated pricing model called a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis that only considers past sales data and can cause a property to sell for up to 10% less than it should have.
Our Strategic Pricing model considers not just past sales data, but also factors in many economic and market variables to determine current market trends and how to position your home on the market to maximize Buyer demand.
All buyers are naturally attracted to a good value. The List Price for your property in relation to the market value will have a direct impact on the number of interested Buyers that come to see your property.
Over-pricing can discourage potential Buyers from viewing your home, while Underpricing can potentially cause you to leave money on the table.
Our Strategic Pricing model will also guide you to position your home in the market to attract the highest possible offer based on current conditions and has helped her Sellers net up to 6% more money when selling their home.
The #1 mistake Sellers and many agents make is thinking “I will list at a high price and if it doesn’t sell, I can simply lower the price.” As you can see by this chart, buyer activity peaks in week 3, yet most overpriced Sellers don’t reduce their prices until week 5, 6, or later, effectively missing the peak of buyer activity.
The #2 mistake Sellers and many agents make is thinking “I will list at a high price so that I have room to negotiate.”
Today consumers have access to a lot of information, have studied the market they are looking to buy in, and have knowledge of exactly what the value of your home is. If the potential Buyer sees a property that is overpriced, they see an out of touch Seller and don’t bother looking at the home. Others are priced-out of their price-point and will never look at your home. “There are two prices to sell a home. You can list it where it sits, or you can list it where it sells!”
Pricing properly the first time enables you to maximize exposure and increase your chances of attracting the highest possible offer during the peak activity period.
Promotion: A Comprehensive Marketing Plan will tell the world about your home.
Once your home is prepared and priced for the market, it’s time to promote and market your home to Buyers and their agents everywhere!
A Comprehensive Marketing Plan includes local, national, international level exposure, social media, YouTube, and paid search engine optimization campaigns. Donna is diligent in utilizing her pre-market, creative talents to bring each property to the marketplace in the best light. Marketing luxury and coastal homes located in the high-end, South Bay beach cities & Palos Verdes Peninsula real estate market requires a full scope of print and digital media, properly executed in a timely manner. Donna & Carol’s promotions and marketing plan helps to maximize exposure of your home to Buyers and extends the number of eyes that see it. This can drive the final sales price up by as much as 10%!
1. Strategic Internet Search Engine Presence
Our marketing strategy starts where Buyers begin searching – internet search engines. We invest our dollars in premium content writing for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the major search engines, such as Google and Bing. The presence of your home in top positions gets your property seen, which provides value to you. SEO is important because it is more credible to consumers than paid ads.
2. Syndicate Website Marketing
Donna and Carol provide extensive professional photos as well as YouTube videos to syndicate websites; such as, Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com, and many more. Video marketing is always included as it boosts the search result position on not only social media, but these syndicate websites as well.
3. Custom Property-specific Website Marketing
The unique website is simply your property address. When typed into the browser, it instantly pulls up your specific property details and video. Unlike a syndicated listing, this optimizes your property exposure online.
4. Agent Website
Our real estate website is robust and draws traffic through paid premium search engine optimization (SEO); this builds the online presence of your property. We will place your property prominently on the Home page as the “Featured Listing” on the website. Our website is set up to be mobile-friendly so that it reaches a wider audience. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking symbol on Google. Responsive websites make online sharing simple and so your web visitors are more likely to share your property on their social platforms.
5. Targeted Social Media Posts
When listing your home, Donna & Carol take it a step beyond “sharing” your property with our social media friends on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn; we also share our posts in the social media groups filled with members who are buyers, realtors and investors – both local and throughout the United States. We actively engage in conversations about her current and Just Sold listings, and off-market opportunities. We not only use free social media promotions, but we also pay a premium to boost your property to a targeted audience of Buyers on both Facebook and Instagram platforms.
6. YouTube Videos
Believe it or not, statistics show that only 4% of real estate agents post videos on hosting sites. YouTube videos drive more traffic to online listings. Buyers flock to videos, so when you have a YouTube video that comes up on Realtor.com, that’s huge.
7. Exclusive Print Marketing
Custom brochures, flyers, and postcards are created for Open Houses, mailing campaigns, and door-to-door campaigns around the property neighborhoods. No home should be advertised on a digital platform alone. Different properties require different print media for different audiences.
8. Targeted Email Campaigns
Email is one of the most effective channels to market your home to just the right people at just the right time. Targeted email campaigns are sent when your property is “Just Listed” and to invite Buyers to the Open House (“Your Invited…”), to highlight your property to all the members of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of Realtors and the South Bay Association of Realtors. Donna & Carol also send emails with property videos and photos to qualified buyers and to the people in her sphere of influence.
9. The International Real Estate Market
With a growing percentage of property purchases in the South Bay beach cities and Palos Verdes Peninsula from foreign or foreign-born buyers, our Sellers benefit from her RE/MAX Estate Properties affiliation. RE/MAX Estate Properties has exclusive international partners and a RE/MAX international website, which averages 2.3+ million monthly listing page views on Global. Remax.com and displays your listing across the globe in over 40 languages.
10. Broker Open Houses
Our Broker Open Houses are known to have 100 agents in attendance. We have our Broker’s Open House placed on all the Broker’s Opens’ distribution lists, which goes out to all real estate agents registered through the real estate associations in the area. Our Broker’s Open Houses are also advertised in all 16 RE/MAX offices – which includes 625+ agents. We additionally send a Broker Open House email that showcases your property and details – along with a video – to ALL the agent member of the PVPAR and SBAOR.
11. Public Open Houses
We invite the neighbors to the Public Open Houses because often they are the ones who have friends or family members who would also love to move into the neighborhood. Some Open Houses are held at sunset or in the early evenings to maximize the qualities or views of the home and accommodate people’s busy schedules. At our Open Houses, we serves food and drinks, lights the candles, plays music, and sets the mood. We have a sign-in sheet, so we can later aggressively follow-up with agents and buyers who came through the Open. We also place at least 7-10 Open House signs around the neighborhoods, which garners more traffic as a result.
What do we do in times of Covid? We adapt. We act responsively. We legally protect our Sellers. We take steps to ensure your home is sanitized before and after visitors arrive. During the pandemic, our regular Open Houses have been altared, and we now schedule visitors by appointment and/or only allow 2 guests and an agent in the home at one time during Open House hours. To avoid touching anything in the home, we open the cubbards and drawers, turn on all the lights, and provide disposable gloves in case someone accidentally reaches out to touch anything in the home. We keep windows and doors open during showings. We accommodate all buyers, but also diligently follow all the health guidelines provided by the CA Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), to protect all parties from any exposure to health risks. For more details on how we are creatively and respectfully handling Open Houses during the pandemic, please contact us and we will share all the details and protocols!
12. Targeting Buyer Agents
Over 70% of homes are sold in part by at least two Realtors – a Listing agent and a Buyer’s agent. Targeting buyer’s agents can increase showings and visibility. The Buyer’s agents are sent personal emails from us, and we call these agents to find out if they have any active Buyer who might be interested in your home.
13. Immediate Response/Accessibility/Availability
The #1 factor that determines if an inquiry on your property leads to a sale is how quickly the agent responds. When buyers are sitting in front of a property for sale, they want information now, without having to wait. Both Donna and Carol have a 24/7 availability when we have a listing and have no problem responding at any time of the day or evening.
14. Aggressive Follow-up
After Buyers and/or their agents come through our Open Houses, we call every one of them afterwards to get their feedback or to ask if they have any questions. Sometimes, a maybe turns into an offer. Other times, a no turns to a maybe because we answered a question the buyer or agent didn’t ask at the Open House.
Negotiation skills are the single most important variable that can help you maximize the equity in your property sale once Offers come in.
After an offer on your property has been accepted, there are several Contingency Periods. Both the Appraisal and the Inspection contingency periods are important to both Buyer and Seller. This is the time when a Buyer may have a Home Inspector, Termite Inspector, Soils Engineer, Electrician, Plumber, and other inspectors come to the house, and they will undoubtedly uncover issues common to almost all homes. Buyers will attempt to negotiate new terms, which will lower the sales price – or Buyers will demand expensive repairs. This may come in the form of a Request for Repairs. If you do not have a skilled and trained negotiator working for you, it may cost you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, or even a cancellation of the contract.
Most good deals don’t just happen. They are a result of diligent research, knowing what is negotiable, and having a well-thought-out strategy and position before entering negotiations.
Donna and Carol have expertise and skills in both the art and the science of winning negotiations so that the terms are favorable to you!
Execution: Putting it all Together
With so many variables in the home-selling process, you need agents who are honest, professional, discrete, diligent, experienced, detailed, determined, resourceful, adaptable, highly-skilled with marketing technology, and who can build good relationships and communicate well with everyone. That’s no short order! A lot of little things and a lot of big things need to get done – on a tight deadline. Donna & Carol ensure everything gets done – and done right.
It’s our mission for the sale of your home to proceed seamlessly, without issue, where everyone is aware and informed of the current status and your desired outcome is achieved to your absolute satisfaction.
We are aware that to achieve these goals we are required to commit considerable resources and to carefully navigate many external influences. The exceeding of expectation will be a result of maximizing your home’s value which will in turn enhance our reputation. Our character matters at all times.
We will utilize our considerable expertise to evaluate how best to achieve these goals and execute our proven methodology to provide you with a professional service while we remain acutely cognizant of your needs, concerns, and desires.