Category Archives: Sellers

Room for Negotiations

One of the most important rooms in your listing is room for negotiation.  It is critical in every market to set your list price accurately.  In any market, if your listing isn’t priced right, you price yourself out of showings.  Pricing with room for negotiations can be a dangerous practice and may sabotage your chances to make the sale.

Here’s where a trained and experienced broker is instrumental in getting the property priced right, not only to achieve vigorous showings, but also to elicit that all important high offer.  A skilled broker is trained by appraisers who are actively working in your market and who partner with lending institutions in providing their professional services to set market value once the property is under contract. 

Once your broker has researched your neighborhood’s recent sales of properties most similar to yours, several line-item adjustments will equalize the subject (your property) and the comparables (homes sold in the last 6 – 12 months in or near your neighborhood) for a suggested list price range.  Then the competition will be evaluated.  If new construction is in the area, the product, incentives, and desirability will also be considered.  Any home, in addition to yours, that would be included in a buyer’s tour must be carefully considered.

Once a range of value is determined using several calculations, it’s time to discuss price.  If your home is found to be a unique value, then its suggested list price would be on the upper range of calculated value.  This unique value may include condition, location, or the fact that there’s nothing like it available in your price range.  Here’s where sellers sometimes are tempted to become greedy. 

It’s just not worth the potential sabotage to your sale to price your property greater than ten percent above the suggested list price of your broker.  Buyers are out touring the listed homes and generally getting a better hands-on look at competing inventory than most sellers, and will see the inequity.  Most won’t make the offer even if they like the house.  What seller wants lots of showings, but no offer? What buyer wants to make an offer, only to hear “No?”

Take your broker’s advice in pricing your listing.  The result will be a quicker sale at a higher percentage of the list price.  Who wants the deal to fall apart when the appraisal is returned?

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I love what I do, I’m good at it, & I’d love to work with you! My personal best is 8th with foreclosure bid; we not only won (it was NOT more $), but listing agent complimented me on my complete package, & asked permission to use my secret weapon! 

My listing was on Google, first page, number three position, ‘above the fold’ within minutes of my blog post featuring it!

Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local, homegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030 TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com

Eliminating the Top 3 Short Sale Problems

Short Sales have a specific benefit to neighborhoods.  In contrast to a foreclosure, where the bank takes possession of the house and it sits on the market for months or even years, a short sale allows one family to move out and the next family to move in.  It reduces the number of vacant homes in the community that may invite mischief or decline in condition, and keeps the property and yard well-kept.

The Top Three Short Sale problems include:

  1. The process takes too long.
  2. Broker Price Opinions from offsite brokers can inaccurately reflect a property’s value in its market.
  3. Inexperienced agents are not able to execute the arduous and complex process with the strategies, knowledge and grace needed.

Statistics show that fewer than 40% of short sales close.  This is due in part to the volume of short sales managed by a lender’s asset management department, and in part to buyer frustration caused by delay ending in a withdrawn contract.

Delay can be caused by the bank-selected offsite broker’s inexperience with the local market values resulting in the return of an abnormally high broker price opinion of the property’s value.

Or your listing agent’s lack of knowledge of skill in the short sale transaction.  

“‘Short Sale’ is not a legal term, but a term of art,’ says Scott Green, Attorney at lawAvania in Charlotte, NC.  However, there are certain legal consequences of the short sale that can be decreased or eliminated by following expert legal counsel from an experienced real estate attorney such as Scott.  His firm specializes in partnering with the seller and listing agent to protect the transaction from floundering and to reduce the legal affect a short sale has on the seller’s assets, tax liability, credit worthiness, and future home buying ability.  From coordinating with the bank’s negotiator to representing the seller at the foreclosure hearing, Scott and his team attempt to postpone the forced sale of the home, allowing the homeowner more time to complete the short sale process. 

Buyers benefit by having their transaction coordinated by a short sale specialist attorney to assure closing on time.

Scott doesn’t list your home for sale or negotiate your offer to purchase and contract – that’s your REALTOR®’s job.  Scott’s expertise, added to your Short Sale Experienced REALTOR®’s part of the transaction, brings 95%+ more short sales to the closing table.

My job as your listing agent is to accurately set the list price on your property using the latest comparable sold properties in your neighborhood, to uncover your net, represent your best interests in the transaction from concept to closing, and to coordinate behind the scenes with your bank knowing the scope and sequence of events and documents required to bring you to a successful closing.

If you, or anyone you know in the Charlotte Metro area, is facing a short sale, please give me a call.  I am a highly trained and experienced with the short sale transaction and can make the difference between closing and not closing on your sale.

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I love what I do, I’m good at it, & I’d love to work with you! My personal best is 8th with foreclosure bid; we not only won (it was NOT more $), but listing agent complimented me on my complete package, & asked permission to use my secret weapon! 

My listing was on Google, first page, number three position, ‘above the fold’ within minutes of my blog post featuring it!

Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local, homegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030 TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com

Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster and For More Money

In addition to right pricing, condition, condition, condition is the watch-word for selling a home faster and for more money.  Simple fixes and staging practices can focus buyers’ attention in the right places and keep them from getting sidetracked by personal items in the home.
 
Condition Affects Perception   
 

Presentation begins with online pictures and continues with the front yard and door, and are the buyer’s first impression of your product.  If buyers won’t drive by or leave the car, you can’t make the sale.  Clean the gutters, paint the front door, pull weeds and spent flowers, polish the hardware, and power-wash walkways and siding.  Pay attention to the specific needs of each season.

 

 Be prepared for a white glove inspection. Prospective buyers pull open drawers, look in closets and peek behind the shower curtain, and inspect the oven. Mop, dust, vacuum, clean baseboards, wash windows. Make sure the house looks fresh and smells neutral. 

 

Eliminate furniture that makes rooms feel crowded or décor that will distract buyers from your home’s architectural features.  


Use furnishings to give each space a logical identity.  Although it may have worked best for your family to use your formal dining room as a home office, get rid of the desk and computer, and bring back the dining table and chairs.


Eliminate countertop clutter. A countertop covered with small appliances and utensils looks crowded, not spacious. Store personal items, including toiletries; stash family photos and team and religious memorabilia.  Remember, you are preparing your home to become a product for market; one that appeals to the broadest market.  Don’t feel offended that your REALTOR® insists your coveted widget collection is stored, away from view.  Plus, the condition or state of your property’s storage capability is very important to buyers whether the home is 1100 square feet or 11,000 square feet.   Make the place look both spacious and suitcase ready.


Dripping faucets, burned-out light bulbs, and squeaking hinges become a distraction and can falsely magnify a home’s need for routine care and maintenance and tend to make the buyer question the condition of other items that can’t be seen, such as the HVAC, roof, and other expensive items.

 

Finally, ask yourself, “Is this property’s condition what I would like to see when I go house hunting this afternoon?”

 

Condition Affects Proposition$

 

The buyer is mentally subtracting thousands of dollars from your list price with every flaw he sees and his perception of your property will be reflected in the offer price.

 

Condition Affects Performance

 

With FHA loans offering competitive rates with conventional loans, and the FHA lending requirements more attainable by a larger number of prospective home buyers, condition becomes important where an appraiser in concerned.  Same is true for VA loans.  FHA and VA appraisers have a much different inspection checklist than if he or she were inspecting for a conventional loan.  Condition is key.  Some defective items may be required to be repaired prior to closing.  This can come as quite a shock to both sellers and buyers, especially when the condition of the house has resulted in a much lower sales price than allows the seller needs to cover the cost of required repairs.   Buyers may find that sellers are not willing to make the necessary repairs and it may leave them vested in the process, but unable to get money spent on inspections refunded.  Here’s where you’ll need a savvy real estate broker on both sides of the transaction who’ll make sure the seller’s and the buyer’s best interests are protected with knowledge of what FHA property conditions are.  This will help insure an smooth, on-time closing.

 

 

 

For a checklist on how to prepare your home for market, email your request to: chrystal.safari@gmail.com

 

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February 2006

I highly recommend Chrystal Safari as a Real Estate Broker. In the selling and purchasing of our home she worked with us for over 9 months, even before we were sure about selling and re-purchasing. With her input we were able to sell our home in 7 days. In the purchasing of our new home Chrystal was very patient and extremely knowledgeable. Chrystal took us thru several neighborhoods and areas and providing us with great feedback and input on what is a great investment and purchase for our family.  Chrystal has a great knowledge of real estate, including national markets and international markets. Chrystal was born and raised in the area; she has lived aboard and has strong ties to the international communities here in Charlotte. Chrystal has provided us with so much information, I think it would be worth your time to just take a couple of minutes and speak to her about what you and your family’s needs and desires are in your new home.

Desi and Dinika B.
South Charlotte

 

 

 

Tips for Getting the Highest Appraised Value for Your Property

Daily Real Estate news reports Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger’s (08/02/2009) findings on how to assure the highest value is calculated for your home by an appraiser.

Maureen Sweeney, a Chicago-area owner of an appraisal firm, gave several tips on getting an accurate and fair appraisal of your property. This is more important than ever due to our declining market-influenced neighborhood values and since foreclosures are now included among the comparables.

No one knows your home better than you, so naturally you should be present during the appraisal. Follow the appraiser around, pointing out improvements you’ve made to the home and provide him with a written list to take with him as well. Provide a copy of the most recent tax bill, any pending assessments, an HOA declaration which shows the amenities and HOA responsibilities to your community, and a copy of the survey to the appraiser.

No one knows your market better than your REALTOR®. Make sure your REALTOR® is present during the appraisal and is asking good questions. Your REALTOR® should make sure the appraiser is aware of the correct neighborhood boundaries and that the appraiser is truly comparing the home to similar properties. Your REALTOR® should provide his or her own list of comparable homes most like yours in the same condition, neighborhood, size and type that have sold and closed in the last 6 months. Your REALTOR® is the best person to offer a professional opinion about what makes your property worth more than any other properties in the immediate area.

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Chrystal Safari’s job? she gives great advice! She is a full-time real estate broker with Peters & Associates, a boutique firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in luxury homes from $700,000 and up, and is a MASTERS Designee specializing in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology. Visit ChrystalSafari.com for more information on luxury real estate, and Mark it your new Favorite!

What Should Your Listing Agent Do For You?

 When interviewing for the right agent to list and sell your home, be sure you know what your duties are to your real estate agent, and what his or hers are to you.  Ask how he or she has personally overcome objections during similar transactions and during negotiations, saving the deal.  

As your agent educates you on market conditions in your area, how to make the property’s condition market ready, the suggested list price, request a marketing and PR activity summary for your listing. To help with that, I have compiled the following. Your REALTOR®’s Marketing Plan should include 3 very important facets:

1. Expose your property and highlight all benefits to buyers and REALTOR®s in your area interested in your price point.

2. Provide exceptional service through communication and follow-up during your entire listing period.

3. Negotiate on your behalf and bring your transaction to a smooth and successful closing.

The 2008 National Association of REALTOR®’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that ‘buyers used a variety of resources in searching for a home: 87 percent used the Internet, 85 percent used a real estate agent, 62 percent yard signs, 48 percent attended open houses and 47 percent looked at print or newspaper ads. Fewer buyers rely on a home book or magazine, home builders, television, billboards and relocation companies. Buyers most commonly start their search process online and then contact a real estate agent.’ (Excerpt)

Savvy home buyers are not picking up days and weeks old marketing materials (print ads have deadlines for materials from weeks to months out) to find their next home.  Your agent should be skilled with all aspects of online and social utility marketing.

Promoting Your Property

The beginning of a listing period is work-intensive with a common list of activities required to prepare your listing for launch to the public. Your REALTOR®’s Twelve Month Marketing Plan Should Include:

Week One

 • Immediate processing of required documentation and professional quality digital photos should be taken so that no time is lost in getting your home into the local MLS system and distributed to every REALTOR® in the area.

• Color brochures should be designed and delivered to your home and strategic sites throughout the community containing all the pertinent information a potential buyer will need to develop interest and make an offer.

• Instructions on showings should be submitted to a centralized showing service and a lockbox installed to facilitate showings.

• Install a For Sale sign, when allowed, which includes your REALTOR®’s contact information. This allows buyers to call him or her directly – he or she is most familiar with your home.

• “Just Listed” postcards should be mailed out to your surrounding area. This allows your neighbors to be aware that your home is for sale so they can help sell the house and choose their new neighbor.

• Your property should be exposed to relocating companies through a national RELO Division, an extensive network of top REALTORS®.

• Your property’s full description and accompanying photos should be uploaded to several hundred of the top regional, national, and internation real estate sites.

Immediately Following Showings

• Follow up feedback exposing a potentially negative ongoing problem should immediately be communicated to you for resolution.

Bi-Monthly

• Bi-Monthly contact should be made with you to discuss the market and to summarize follow up feedback on all showings keeps you abreast of your position in the market.

• Keep you informed of all marketing and advertising efforts.

Monthly

• Email monthly market updates to keep you up-to-date on the local activity of your neighborhood and like properties.

• Monthly refresh copy and photographs shown online to keep listing fresh.

• Blog with photos your listing information with invitation to make an appointment to tour.

• Arrange print advertising as appropriate.

Regularly

• Arrange regular events such as Open Houses and other similar events to targeted audiences who are your buyer or your buyer’s agent who can keep the ‘word of mouth’ buzz going. Announce the listing to local or move-up buyers such as high profile CEO’s, CFO’s, etc., website registrants, and buyer walk-in traffic from personal visits to similar home communities who may be interested in a property such as yours and regularly (every 1 – 2 weeks, as appropriate) send them updated information about the listing or related information about lifestyle, neighborhood, or schools, as appropriate.

• Email, Blog, Twitter, and Facebook all activities with teasers and invitations to strategic audiences.

FROM CONTRACT TO CLOSE:

Your REALTOR®’s goal is to pave and negotiate the road to a smooth closing through:

Monitoring closely all lender and escrow activities to ensure a successful closing.

Assuring that all inspections and repairs are completed.

Concentrating on and creating solutions, not problems.

Representing your best interests at all times and in all negotiations.

Accompanying you to the closing.

 As an informed seller, your partnership with your agent, like any personal or professional relationship, should be based on trust.  If you develop questions, don’t hesitate to ask your broker, and call immediately if a problem arises. Step back and evaluate when problems arise and always remember, WHY people do things is more important than what they do. 

If you encounter problems with your agent during the listing period, such as lack of knowledge, professionalism, or rudeness, document all your concerns and speak with the agent before contacting the agent’s broker-in-charge.  Your local real estate commission will not allow the release of an exclusive listing agreement without obvious and just cause. 

Good luck with your sale!

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Chrystal Safari’s job? she gives great advice! She is a full-time real estate broker with Peters & Associates, a boutique firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in luxury homes from $700,000 and up, and is a MASTERS Designee specializing in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology. Visit ChrystalSafari.com for more information on luxury real estate, and Mark it your new Favorite!

Reverse Offers…Proceed With Caution

Reverse offers are an excellent way to get the conversation started about a property that may result in a contract.  It also works when offering a listed or unlisted home to a builder who specializes in renovations and flips in your area.

 

However, in the best interests of the sellers, all reverse offers must contain an expiration of offer to prevent further delay on the buyer’s part, and also to limit the exposure of the seller to potential problems down the road should an offer from a different buyer be presented. 

 

 

chrystal.safari@gmail.com

Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster and For More Money

In addition to right pricing, condition, condition, condition is the watch-word for selling a home faster and for more money.  Simple fixes and staging practices can focus buyers’ attention in the right places and keep them from getting sidetracked by personal items in the home.

  

 

Remember, you are preparing your home to become a product for market; one that appeals to the broadest market.  Don’t feel offended that your REALTOR® insists your coveted widget collection is stored, away from view.  How your live in your home and how you prepare and keep it market-ready are very different.  The 10 minute rule applies: if you (or the kids) can’t put it away in ten minutes, reevaluate whether you must take it out.

   

 

The front yard and door are the buyer’s first impression of your product.  If buyers won’t leave the car, you can’t make the sale.  Clean the gutters, paint the front door, pull weeds and spent flowers, polish the hardware, and power-wash walkways and siding.

 

Be prepared for a white glove inspection. Prospective buyers pull open drawers, look in closets and peek behind the shower curtain, and inspect the oven. Mop, dust, vacuum, clean baseboards, wash windows. Make sure the house looks fresh and smells neutral.

 

Remove furniture that makes rooms feel crowded or décor that will distract buyers from your home’s architectural features.  

 

 

Use furnishings to give each space a logical identity.  If it worked best for your family to use your formal dining room as a home office, get rid of the desk and computer, and bring back the dining table and chairs.

 

 

Eliminate countertop clutter. A countertop covered with small appliances and utensils looks crowded, not spacious. Store personal items, including toiletries; stash family photos and team and religious memorabilia.  Make the place look suitcase ready.

 

 

Dripping faucets, burned-out light bulbs, and squeaking hinges become a distraction and can falsely magnify a home’s need for routine care and maintenance and tend to make the buyer question the condition of other items that can’t be seen, such as the HVAC, roof, and other expensive items.

  

  

The buyer is mentally subtracting thousands of dollars from your list price with every flaw he sees.

 

 

Finally, ask yourself, “Is this property’s condition what I would like to see when I go house hunting this afternoon?”

 

For a checklist on how to prepare your home for market, or a list of preferred and proven vendors, email your request to: chrystal.safari@gmail.com

 

 

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