Friday, August 21, 2009

Sell Your Home in the Next 30 Days

It’s difficult to stay positive and motivated when your home has been on the market for over six months without a single solid purchase offer being made. If you’re in a situation like two of my neighbors who say, “I don’t really have to sell my home, but if someone offers full price, I’ll take it”, well, you can stop reading right now. This article is for those buyers who need to, have to, really want to sell their homes as quickly as possible.

I read a quote early this morning from one of my Facebook, friends (I can’t remember who it was). He said, “If you’re in hell don’t stop, keep moving.” That’s good advice for folks whose home has been on the market for what seems like forever. Realtors tell me the longer a home remains on the market the fewer inquiries that listing gets and the more frustrated sellers become. So if you think you’ve tried everything to sell your home, I have a few ideas that will hopefully stimulate your thinking and reenergize your efforts to get your house noticed.

Start with a fresh outlook: Invite someone from where you work to come and tour your home. The idea is to get someone who has never been to your home to come see your home as if they were house hunting. If you elect to use this idea, put your “thick skin” on. Watch their facial expressions and listen to the tone and inflection of their comments. You can learn just as much from what they say as you can from they way in which they say it.

Change the price: Before changing the price, take the time to tour other homes in your neighborhood to make an honest comparison. Most of us will have a difficult time remaining objective, so consider having that friend from work tour these homes with you. After visiting other homes check your price. If it’s too high, lower it. If it’s too low, raise it. If it’s just right, then leave it alone. The reason I include the option to raise your price is that common wisdom is that if a home hasn’t been shown, then perhaps the price needs to be dropped. When the price of a home listed on the MLS is changed it is picked up on more Realtor searches. The idea here is to generate interest in your home.

Hold a neighborhood open house: Use your neighborhood’s newsletter, website, or just mail postcards to your neighborhood and invite everyone over for a weeknight open house. Provide light snacks and hand out flyers to everyone who drops in. Most neighbors are curious about what your home looks like on the inside and many will come. Consider offering a “finder’s fee” for information leading to a buyer for your home.

Make use of Twitter: There are 170 characters in every Twitter post and with careful planning you can maximize each letter. Consider the following: “We’re moving and can’t take out house with us. Know anyone wanting a great place to live?” “Great home, new carpet, fresh paint inside and out, leaving great karma behind, no extra charge.” “$500 finder’s fee for sending me a buyer for my home” Ask your friends to use a few of their Twitter posts to help you sell your home. You might even make the finder’s fee available to them as well.

Have a candid talk with your Realtor: If your home has been on the market for several months and you’re getting limited or not interest, it’s time to have a candid talk with your realtor. But before jumping to the conclusion that they haven’t been doing their job I encourage you to take the opposite approach and listen to the way they answer this one simple question. “If this was your home and you needed to sell it, what would you do differently than what we have already done?” Be sure that you have both ears on and a notepad; and resolve beforehand that you will not take any of their suggestions as a personal attack.

The idea is to do something different that what you have already been doing. Mixing things up can be a great way to re-energize everyone’s activity and hopefully attract that buyer within the next thirty days.

Friday, August 14, 2009

More Boomers Choose Aging In Place

My parents have chosen to do it, and they are in their mid-70’s. I’m nearing my mid-50’s and if I have the choice to stay at home rather than move to a retirement village or an assisted living center, I too would choose to Age in Place. So would 89 percent of 50+ year olds, in an AARP survey conducted in 2005.

But many are not prepared to remain in their homes. Most have not taken even the most basic steps to make their home more senior friendly. In response to this growing Boomer trend, the NAIPC (National Aging in Place Council) has formed an education and resource website for aging adults who choose to remain at home (

The self-stated purpose on the NAIPC website is: “The National Aging in Place Council is a membership organization founded on the belief that an overwhelming majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes for as long as possible, but lack awareness of home and community-based services that make independent living possible.”

The identifier “Aging in Place” may be a new term to you but already there are hundreds of “specialists” identified in this field. The list of experts includes Legal and Financial assistance, Healthcare, In home care giving, Interior redesign, Remodeling, Insurance, Lifestyle transitions, Public and non-profit resources, Products specific to senior safety, Reverse mortgages and Real estate services.

The National Association of Homebuilders has also taken up this cause by offering an extensive training and certification course of study. CAPS certified professionals have completed the course of study that includes understanding senior demographics and the aging in place concept, how to make the home safe for seniors and extensive training in ethical business practices.

The NAHB website ( has an extensive list of items around the home that anyone choosing to age in place will want to consider. Here I have provided a few of the highlights.

Exterior of the Home: Low-maintenance exterior of brick or vinyl siding; trees, shrubs and plants should be low maintenance; and deck, patio or balcony surfaces should be no more than ½ inch below the interior floor level.

Entry and Hallways: Hallways should be a minimum of 36” wide; provide at least one covered entry to the home with not step up or down; non-slip flooring at foyer; and provide a place for package delivery that is easily accessible to home owner.

Interior Doors and Windows: Doors should allow a clear path of at least 32 inches; replace doorknobs with levered door handles. Plenty of windows for natural light; low maintenance exterior and interior finishes; with easy to operate widow hardware.

Faucets: Install lever handles or pedal controlled faucets and make certain anti-scald controls are in place.

Kitchen and Laundry: Upper cabinets should be lowered three inches for easier accessibility; install glass-front cabinet doors and install pull-down shelving. Appliances should have easy to read controls; washer and dryer raised 12 to 15 inches to facilitate loading and unloading, or replace with front loading machines; replace stove with electric cook top with level burners for safety in transferring pots and pans between the burners.

Bathroom: Provide at least one wheelchair accessible/maneuverable bat on the main level; bracing in tubs and showers, with seat in shower; raised toilet with grab bars; stand-up showers should be curbless and be a minimum of 36 inches wide; and install slip-resistant flooring.

The website’s list is quite a bit more extensive and continues with suggestions for stairways, lifts and elevators, Ramps, Storage, Electrical, Lighting, Safety and Security, Flooring, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Energy-Efficient Features, and Reducing Maintenance and other convenience features.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sell Your Home on Facebook

Social networking has always been a part of our lives. We interact with people at church, at work and in the neighborhood. Let’s admit it, we would often be finished at the store much quicker if we didn’t constantly run into people we know and stop to speak. The Internet has made social networking even easier and made it easier for all of us to expand our social network to an almost unlimited scope.

Many social networking sites have become popular, and Facebook seems to be one of the most used among all demographics. My young nieces and nephews each have a Facebook account and so do my 70+ year old aunt and uncle. This tool is a great way to stay in touch, share pictures and videos and communicate both public and private messages. So why not take advantage of this free networking tool to sell your home?

First of all, if you haven’t activated a Facebook account you won’t have any idea what I’m writing about. If you have, then follow along and I’ll give you a few tips on how to use the various facets of your Facebook account in ways that could help you sell your home.

Status Updates: Update your status with good memories of things your family has done in your house. It could be as simple as, “Remembering Memorial Day family cook-out at our house. 12 adults, 16 kids and a 10lb box of hamburger patties. Great memories!” This simple post communicates that your house is spacious enough for big groups and entertains well. Use the status box in this way to communicate different benefits of your home.

Photos: Your photo page allows you to create albums and post photos of anything you like. Why not create several photo albums that really show off your home. Take pics of your home when it is “open house ready”. Post other photos in another album of times when friends and family are being entertained there. A powerful feature of Facebook is that it allows you to add a description to every photo. Tag your photos with information about the newly remodeled bathroom or kitchen, etc.

Video: Shoot a video tour of your home and post it here. Take a few minutes to storyboard the shoot, but begin with a shot from the street, slowly pan through all the rooms and finish with a tour of the backyard.

Blog: Post about how you found the house and why you decided to buy it. Post about late night slumber parties and movie nights. Post about landscaping you’ve added and updates you’ve made. The more personal your posts, the more the home is made personal and attractive to the reader.

Friends: The more Facebook friends you have the more potential “salespeople” you have helping you sell your home. The best way to grow your list of friends is to ask the friends you already have to recommend to their list of friends that they connect with you; then they will see your status updates on their Facebook homepage and have access to all the things you post. If you really want to expand your list of friends, go to your account settings and click on Networks. There you will be able to find other local networks and request friendships with a great many people you don’t currently know. Who knows, they could be looking for a home just like yours.

Messages: Facebook has its own email feature that you can use to request friends and family to place a picture of your home on their “Wall” so anyone viewing their profile can see your home for sale. Ask your friends and family to request their friends to help you sell your home by place the picture on their “Wall” as well.

Facebook has many other ways to get the word out about your house that is for sale. Spend some time getting familiar with the features of the site and think creatively about ways you might use the standard features of Facebook to sell your home. If you have other ideas or would just like to visit about this topic more, you can find me on Facebook. Let’s chat.