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The Ultimate Selling Guide by Deborah Laemmerhirt

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The Ultimate Guide to SellingYour HomeDeborah LaemmerhirtIntroduction Your home is likely your single largest asset. Deciding to sell your home is a big decision –…
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The Ultimate Guide to SellingYour HomeDeborah LaemmerhirtIntroduction Your home is likely your single largest asset. Deciding to sell your home is a big decision – perhaps the biggest financial one of your life. If you are thinking about selling your home, read this guide and save yourself tons of time and aggravation – and, best of all, keep a lot more money in your pocket. I’ve made every effort to keep this guide as short as possible, while still conveying a full and detailed breadth of knowledge. Most homeowners decide to sell about once every six to nine years. In that same amount of time I have had the privilege of assisting many families with listing and selling their homes. In this guide we will take a detailed look at the following: 1. In Chapter 1 we will examine the emotional process involved in selling and how to prepare yourself. 2. In Chapters 2-4 we will review the three most important factors to getting your home SOLD! 3. In Chapters 5-8 we will look at how to hire the right agent, handle showings, work with offers and get your home successfully closed and SOLD! If you have any real estate related questions or wish to set up a free, no obligation consultation I am available! Please do not hesitate to contact me. Here’s To Your Success!ContentsIntroduction ........................................................ 3 ❶ Deciding To Sell ............................................. 7 ❷ Marketing Your Home for Sale ..................... 15 ❸ Pricing Your Home ....................................... 27 ❹ Getting Your Home Ready For the Market ... 39 ❺ Choosing the Right Agent ............................ 53 ❻ Handling Showings ...................................... 61 ❼ Working With Offers .................................... 67 ❽ Closing On the Sale ...................................... 73 Moving Checklist ............................................... 77 Conclusion ......................................................... 81❶ Deciding to SellIt goes without saying that the first step in the home-selling process is making the decision to sell. For some, this decision will be difficult and emotional. For others, the decision will come quite readily. There is a plethora of reasons that spark the idea of selling in homeowners’ minds. What I’ve found in my practice, however, is that by the time homeowners contact me to sell their home, they have already made the decision to sell; that is, provided they can achieve their goals through the selling process.One thing is absolutely certain – you are considering moving, you are not alone! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since the 1990s more than 40 million Americans a year decide to move. What’s more, approximately one-third of these folks move across a county or state line. According to a recent study by moving giant Bekin, 70 percent of all residential moves are within the same county. In our area, thousands of sellers successfully SOLD their homes last year alone; that number has been fairly consistent for several years.7Making the Decision According to Inman News, a leading publisher for the residential real estate industry, the three most common reasons for selling are 1) family-related, 2) work-related and 3) housingrelated. If a homeowner receives a job transfer, gets a new job or simply finds the daily commute unbearable, he or she will often make the decision to sell and purchase a property closer to his or her workplace. Other common reasons for relocating include 1) being closer to a preferred place of worship or family, 2) the desire to live in a different city or a another part of town, 3) better home amenities, 4) a growing (or shrinking) family, 5) personal hardship, 6) getting the kids into a preferred school system or 7) simply the desire to upsize or downsize.Top 10 Reasons People Move 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.New or better home Moving out on their own More affordable housing New job or employee relocation Moving closer to work Lower crime rate Wanted to buy a home (for those renting) Loss of employment Better weather Due to natural disaster (Source: Bekin Moving 2011 report)8For those facing a hardship, the most common hardships include: 1. Loss of income 2. Increased expenses 3. Medical problems 4. Divorce/Absolved relationship 5. Death in the familyEmotional Challenges In my real estate practice, I have observed that most homeowners greatly underestimate the emotional challenges involved in the selling process (especially if they are selling out of need, versus desire). In fact, compared to buying a home, selling can be a downright emotionally-draining process. For those selling out of necessity or hardship, the emotional toll can be even greater. The emotional challenges to selling are many. First, you have to get your home ready to sell. Doing small repairs that you never got around to and spending money on a home you soon will no longer own can be a drag. Then you have to deal with the whole selling process – working with an agent, setting the asking price, having your home “show-readyâ€? at all times, negotiating the sale, etc. And to top it all off, you still have to pack up your entire house and relocate your family. Whew! Having second thoughts?9I firmly believe that in order for you to avoid disappointment during the selling process, together we must set the right expectations. Just as an athlete prepares for a marathon, you must mentally prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. Selling your home is a life event. Trust me; by preparing yourself mentally, you will arrive on the other side a much better person. In my real estate practice, I am committed to using the right systems and partnering with the right people. Therefore, my job is to make my clients’ journey through the selling process as painless and stress-free as possible. In my real estate practice, my job is to educate my clients. Over the years I have come to realize that most folks are discerning and rational. Thus, if I can provide them with the right information, they can make the right decisions for their family. Therefore, I don’t spend time trying to convince my clients to sell. Armed with the right information they know whether it is in their best interest to abandon the idea of selling completely. For me, it is always most helpful to understand my clients’ motivation for selling, so I can 10educate them on the selling process (which is what I do to successfully sell homes), and let them make an informed decision with zero pressure.Five Tips to Mentally Prepare for Selling Your Home As the old proverb goes, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” Here are five tips that I share with my clients. These are strategies that I have personally found helpful to me when I am mentally preparing for a challenge. ① Be Positive - Yes, this can be tough to do if you are selling out of necessity; however, it is imperative that you remain positive. Read inspirational books, attend church or visit your preferred house of worship and help others who are less fortunate than you. Be conscious of the negative thoughts that enter your mind and quickly dispel them. Maybe you can even give up watching or listening to the news during the selling process! ② Get a coach - Confide in a mentor or close personal friend (one with a level head). Spend a few minutes a week discussing your thoughts and feelings. Support systems benefit the participants. Additionally, I can help coach you throughout the process. ③ Visualize the final outcome - If you are moving by choice, spend some time seeing yourself and your family in your11Don’t underestimate the emotional challenges that can result from the selling and moving process. It’s a BIG change in your life. Properly preparing for this will really help you come out whole.next home (after the dust has settled). If you are moving out of necessity, realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel and see yourself in that better light (living within your financial means, future opportunities, etc.).④ Prayer and meditation Studies have found that prayer and/or meditation are very beneficial when facing a stressful decision. Try spending 15 to 30 minutes in prayer or meditate each day. ⑤ Journal - Getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper is a very freeing exercise. This exercise will come as no challenge to you if you are constantly journaling. Others may find it easier to record their thoughts using a smart phone app or other device. Even if you simply give a voice your thoughts (speaking them aloud), it will help (sounds weird, right?). Ask yourself questions like “What do I enjoy or not enjoy about this process?” or “What do I expect for the future in what I am doing now?” Well… if you are ready to begin your home selling journey, let’s begin!12After selling a countless number of homes, I have observed that the three most important factors to selling your home are:1. Marketing 2. Price 3. Condition I will work with you to ensure that we have all of these three key factors going for us in order to get your home SOLD in the least amount of time for the highest price. Let’s take a close look at these basics in the following chapters.“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happenedâ€? Mark Twain Notes: 13Challenge Your Fears In his book The 4-Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferris outlines what I consider to be a remarkable strategy for confronting your fear and stepping into action. This involves a question and answer (Q&A) session with yourself, where you quickly write down your answers to the following questions, spending just a few minutes on each answer. Don’t think! Simply write down whatever comes to mind! 1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you SOLD your home. What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1-10? 2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily? 3. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios? Now that you’ve defined the nightmare, what are the more probable or definite positive outcomes? 4. What are you putting off out of fear? Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. 5. What is it costing you financially, emotionally, and to postpone action? What are you waiting for? If you cannot answer this question without resorting to the previously rejected concept of good timing, the answer is simple: you are afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction, realize the unlikelihood and reparability of most missteps, and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.14❷ Marketing Your Home for SaleThe first key element to selling your home is marketing. I believe that marketing is about creating awareness in the minds of as many potential buyers as possible. Simply put, if buyers don’t know about your home, it doesn’t exist. Because I have spent a lot of time marketing homes, I understand what it takes to get your home SOLD. Every week I come across sellers who have tried listing their home with another agent only to face bitter disappointment. Let’s examine why. In the past seven years, computers and the Internet have changed the face of real estate. Most agents haven’t kept up. According to a National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recent study, 90% of all home buyers now use the Internet for house hunting. While most agents Every day homes expire from the market and fail are struggling to keep up, my to sell because they company has been immersed in the were not marketed latest technology! correctly. 15Besides not keeping up to date with technology, less than 9% of agents are trained in the fine art of sales and marketing. That’s because sales and marketing is nowhere in the training that agents receive in order to become licensed. The truth is most agents are good people; they just don’t know how to engage in good marketing. Applying the kind of marketing that leads to a successful sale takes time, money and a great marketing plan. The average agent in our area uses a three-point marketing plan. I call it the three P’s of the average agent’s marketing.The average agent’s marketing plan… (the three P’s) 1. Place a sign in the yard 2. Put it on MLS 3. Pray that it will sell! In my real estate practice, I employ the most comprehensive marketing plan you will find anywhere and with anyone. I purchase and use the most high-tech software systems in the industry. My marketing is scheduled in advance for the duration of your listing. I have a proven plan that will get your home SOLD faster and for more money; I focus my marketing efforts on five major categories 1) Outdoor Advertising, 2) Internet Advertising, 3) Print Advertising, 4) Premium Marketing and 5) Industry Marketing. 16① Outdoor Advertising  Attractive Signage – My signs are printed front and back, and they get noticed! My direct phone number is the only one on my signs. I often place a directional sign on your street corner, toward your home, if town allows.  24-Hour Info Hotline! – Prospects can call or text 24 hours a day and get information on your home. When a buyer calls I receive a text notification that someone has called about your property. The text notification includes the prospect’s phone number so I can return a call right away and schedule a showing!  Full-Color Print Material – Included but not limited to: Flyers, Small Flyers, Postcards, Door Hangers, Single Property Business Cards and Sign Rider.17 Direct Mailing to Area Home Owners – Large full colored post cards will be mailed to surrounding neighborhoods announcing your home listing.  Full-Color Virtual Flyers – Buyers can pull up the upto-date home information right from their smart phone or mobile tablet. On my virtual flyers and single property websites, I also provide phone and email information access for questions. This system of advertising is very efficient. Internet flyers give more information than a printed brochure, including but not limited to town, school and community info.② Internet Advertising I feature your home on hundreds of real estate search websites.  Brokerage Websites – My technology allows me to showcase your property on every major brokerage website. This means that your home will be featured on sites such as Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, and all of the local “mom and pop” real estate firms as well. So, even though you list with me, your home will be featured on just about every other brokerage site in town and throughout the nation.  Regional Channel Partners – I market on hundreds of popular regional websites that attract buyers. These include CT Real and Listing Book. 18 National Channel Partners – Through my unique relationship with my national channel partners, your home will be featured on popular websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo Homes, Homes.com, AOL Real Estate, Oodle, Realtor.com and many more. Buyers often start their home searches on one of these sites.  Affiliate Channel Partners – Popular websites like those sponsored by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and many others will also feature your home.  Global Property Websites – As a global property specialist, I market your home on hundreds of additional sites, some country-specific. These placements allow potential buyers to view your listing translated into 20+ languages. Did you know that one in every 14 homes sold in the United States is part of an International transaction?  Marketing your Luxury Home – As a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, I belong to an exclusive cadre of agents within Keller Williams, the largest brokerage in the world. Luxury Division members must consistently demonstrate documented sales priced in the top 10% of their market. Fewer than 2% of agents qualify for the Luxury Division’s vigorous standards as I do. Your Luxury Home will receive additional marketing benefits and specific focus centering on the higher end’s needs. 19Emphasizing the importance of hiring the right agent to sell your home.  YouTube Productions – There will be several YouTube videos of your home produced initially for a variety of ads, blogs and social media. Also, when your listing is changed for, say, a price reduction, YouTube presentations announcing such an update will also be posted. Additionally, your property will have a series of ten YouTube presentations strategically labeled with key phrases that attract buyers through good SEO (search engine optimization), geared to get your listing out to more buyers.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Of course, you are familiar with search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN, etc. Your listing will be keywordoptimized by my professional team so that your home achieves high-ranking status on the Internet’s most popular search engines. This includes but is not limited to Internet ads, photos, YouTube videos and website postings. Once optimized, your listing may be found on first page search placement for selected phrases.  My Websites & Your Home Group Websites – Your property will be displayed on all my websites. On my buyer’s website, your home will always be displayed prominently with my other listings – before20any others in a particular search criteria. This website provides buyers with strategic local information and areas additional questions. It is frequented by more than 15,000,000 viewers per year. Real Estate Specific Sites -- I post your home on a variety of sites for agents, brokers and their clients. One site is Active Rain for blogging, which is frequented  Real Estate Specific Sites – I post your home on a variety of sites for agents, brokers, and their clients. One site is Active Rain for blogging and promoting listing information to aid them to find your property information. Other systems I to promote your listing provide dynamic single property websites and landing  Just Listed E-Cards – Your listing will be sent to my entire database. Additionally, those people in my database will receive E-Card announcements for listing changes.21 Social Media Platform – I advertise your property with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr and other popular social media platforms.o Targeted ads – using landing pages or YouTube videos – are designed to reach selected audiences. These ads will reoccur automatically for the user, intended to attract attention. o Your home will be posted on Pinterest with a price tag, and with various photos from my blogs. o I have lots of friends and clients on my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles where your listing will be prominently featured, along with links to my YouTube channel, to your home’s individual website, and to several other key social platforms.22③ Print Advertising  Monthly Mailings – In addition to the Just Listed neighborhood mailings, I periodically direct mail to local residents and to my database contacts, marketing my website, which prominently displays your home as a featured listing.④ Premium Marketing  Professional Photographs – When buyers are browsing the Internet to search for properties, photographs do more to help sell your property than anything else. I use professional camera equipment with ultra-wide angle lenses and great lighting options, along with Photoshop for touch-ups. Additionally, for some of my higher end or Luxury home listings, I hire a professional photographer to take special effect photos of your home.  Aerial Photography – I also use drone or aerial photography with larger or unique properties.23 3-D Tour – With some of my larger and luxury listings, I often order a professional virtual 3-D Media Tour, featuring different floors and rooms in y
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