Phil Millage is a Principal Real Estate Broker and Owner of Inspire Real Estate, LLC

SELLING YOUR HOME

The bottom line for Inspire Real Estate is the “listing and selling ” side of real estate. When we approach selling a house, we go about it one of two ways: 1. If it is an entry level home (typical first time home buyer home), we will create a very simple marketing plan that will consist of only a few channels of advertising, including a listing in the Multiple Listing Service, or 2. If it is a larger, higher-priced home, we will create a more extensive marketing plan that will tailor the needs of the most appropriate type of home buyers (this is partly because more expensive homes will have fewer potential purchasers). Either way, we will reduce our fees to be very competitive relative to each market. The normal listing is 6-7%, ours is 5% (2% for us to list, and 3% for the selling broker). Marketing and selling are my primary life skills. I've used these skills in multiple industries and with multiple products/services. Real estate has been the most enjoyable, because it is constantly changing, involves many important components, and is extremely important to my clients.

 

 

Why work with us?

  • We are responsive – WE FOLLOW UP ON EVERY LEAD (and every positive or unclear comment will be pursued)!

  • We make selling cost efficient for the seller – lower listing commissions.

  • We have a unique approach for selling – we will explore creative selling techniques for clients who want us to widen the market of potential purchasers.

  • We are creative about the actual transition to the next house – we often negotiate move-in and move-outs to limit the hassle of moving for both parties.

  • If desired, the day of closing we will do a walk through with clients showing them basic maintenance items and provide tips about how to get things done in a professional and cost efficient manner.

 

RESOURCES FOR SELLING YOUR HOME

How To Sell Your Home:

 

Before you sell your home, it’s advisable to:

  • Determine what the true costs of both selling your home and purchasing a new home will be. Most people make a decision before they count the costs.

  • Search the web and list areas where you know you will need input.

  • A professional home inspection will likely be required by someone who purchases your home. You could do a home inspection earlier, but you might be required to do a second inspection by the future owner. Why not have an experienced (construction) friend take a look and give you input? Then, resolve the obvious problems before you ever put the home on the market.

 

Develop a check list of issues to think about before you decide to sell:

  • Is this the right time for you to sell? How will market conditions impact you, (i.e., local conditions, interest rates, national economic conditions, incentives available to purchasers, etc.)

  • Look at all the costs involved in selling and buying. Should you move or improve? Or, should you move, buy a house that needs improvements and then make improvements? Be sure to think of your house as an investment–it is an investment, and maybe the most important investment of your life.

  • Choose a Listing Broker who will look at the big picture – both the sale and the next purchase. Make sure you can work with the Listing Broker, and then work to get a package price that covers both transactions. At Inspire, our rates are much lower. 

 

Make minor improvements:

  • Add cosmetic improvements that will help sell the home.

  • Most of us believe we know current decor trends, but we don’t. Consider paying a little to have an interior design expert provide some design ideas. Small changes could add thousands to the value of your home.

  • If time permits, consider upgrading the landscaping, fix driveway cracks, and generally sharpen the property. Curb appeal is essential.

  • Remove and store belongings that clutter up the house and that make rooms appear smaller than they are.

  • Fresh paint, new carpet, new lighting fixtures, and new plumbing fixtures increase the value and ensure a quick sale. This will ensure the top sales price and will ease the sales process. This should dramatically reduce the number of showings needed to secure a sale.

 

Price your home:

  • To set a realistic price, you might need help. List it for too little and you will be disappointed. Listing for too much you will have fewer showings and you might get your price, only to be disappointed by a low appraisal estimate. Normally, that means more negotiating or a failed sales process.

  • There are many online tools, but real estate brokers have tools that you do not have access to. For example, a realtor can generally tell what a house has sold for in the past, at least in the last decade. They can see how many times it was listed unsuccessfully. They can perform a variety of searches, based on different criteria, for your market. And, they can show you a listing price that is "spot on" for the market.

  • Often Zillow.com can give you a price – the numbers are often conservative, because Indiana does not give Zillow actual access to current buy/sell data. Unfortunately, Zillow then makes their estimates based on tax assessment information.

  • A Listing Broker is the key to accurately pricing your home.

 

Market your home:

  • The more I work in real estate, the more I see the value of a good listing broker. Secure a legitimate full-time broker rather than a part-timer. This is real selling, so hire a true salesperson.

  • Transactions have become complex and buyers general don’t trust “For Sale By Owner” situations. FSBO is a signal to many experienced investors that there may be a good deal in the offering, because the seller often lacks the appropriate skill set to price and sell their home. 

  • Attorneys and title companies can help, but keep in mind that they normally lack the appropriate understanding of the local marketplace, thus they are not much help when setting the right price and negotiating the sale.

 

Close the sale:

  • Regardless of how you sell your home, you should end up at a title company for the closing.

  • Don’t try to close the sales while meeting only legal requirements: getting title insurance, making appropriate disclosures, and filings are worth the extra work, and is money well spent at a title company.

Selling Tips:

Hire us as your Listing Broker
Hiring an agent will be the best decision you make with regards to selling your home. Working with an agent, allows you to gain access to the Multiple Listing Service, which is the primary way people learn about a house for sale. Your agent will use his/her knowledge, promotional skills and research skills to sell your home quickly, at the highest price possible. Using an experienced agent will also remove you from the firing line of negotiation during the offer and closing procedures.

 

Sell or Rent?
The first tip we give to people wanting to sell is to ask yourself if you would be willing to rent out your home as an investment. I started by naming each of my first three houses after my children--it paid the college bills later. A popular trend is for people to rent homes, rather than renting apartments, because of the added safety and square footage that a home offers. Factors to remember when making this decision are: your personal financial situation (can you afford to pay two mortgages until you have a renter?), your temperament, (can you be a strong landlord if you need to be?) And, simply your preference (do you want to rent, or do you simply want to be done with the house and move on?). Inspire can show you how to set up and manage a rental, and we will show you how to do it, so, you won't need to hire a professional manager. We give the advice and information free of charge.

 

Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is buzzword of buzzwords for television shows about real estate, and for good reason. Curb appeal is the cover of a book, the hot red color of a sports car, the out-the-door line of a popular restaurant – the one thing that catches the subconscious of a potential buyer, and makes them say, “I want that one!” A well-manicured yard with a gorgeous front porch will sell any home faster than a dandelion-infested desert. A few things to remember to spruce up for better curb appeal: clogged gutters; overgrown bushes, trees or grass; dead leaves; unshoveled sidewalks and driveways in the winter; sagging or ripped window screens; dirty siding; fading or cracking exterior paint; etc.

 

Interior Updates
Once a potential buyer is attracted to your curb appeal and takes the next step of entering your home, they need to be "wowed" yet again. Glaring imperfections inside your home may seem minor to you since you have lived with them for so long, however, they need to be addressed so they don't scare the buyer away. Things to consider updating and refreshing in your home include:
1. Patch drywall indentations and imperfections. These suggest larger problems with the home such as a poor foundation or lack of support. This is a very easy step, especially if you are planning on repainting.
2. Fix creaking steps and squeaky doors. These also may seem to be signs of larger problems in the home.
3. Repair tile grout. To the buyer, this looks like a headache accompanied with some dollar signs.
4. Install new carpeting or flooring. Do this only if the current flooring cannot be cleaned or refinished.
5. Upgrade kitchen and bath faucets. Although potentially pricey, a contemporary faucet will intrigue buyers and be memorable throughout their home search.

 

Repaint and Relight
Color and light, can and will effect the mood and provide a "feel" of each room. Repainting every room inside to be a muted, neutral tone will provide the buyers minds with a clean slate to picture themselves in. Painting with lighter colors will make the area seem larger, while darker colors will feel more cozy. Also, consider making rooms brighter with a new lighting layout by repositioning track lighting, floor lamps or ceiling fixtures.

 

Staging (De-Clutter and De-Personalize)
Staging is another buzzword of real estate-based television shows and is another great idea to keep in mind when preparing your home for sale. Staging your home is a very simple process of two steps: de-clutter and de-personalize. De-cluttering your home will allow buyers to look at the home without feeling cramped or dirty – buyers need to feel comfortable in your home if they will even think about buying it. Reducing the amount of furniture is also a good idea to make your house feel more spacious. De-personalizing your home is done by removing anything that is specifically “you” such as photographs, family name art, etc. This will allow buyers to envision themselves in your home, rather than only visualizing you and your family while they tour the house.

 

Professional Stager?
If you have a large enough budget, you may want to consider hiring a professional stager. It doesn't have to be expensive. Many stages will take a quick look for no more than $100. A qualified professional will be the difference between selling your house in a matter of days rather than months. If you do not have that kind of budget, it is a good idea to have a few friends walk through the house and point out things that could use some work.

Pricing
Pricing your home effectively is a difficult task that should be done with the assistance of the listing agent. When you are working with your agent, make sure to evaluate these points: a professional appraiser may be needed for unique properties, comparable homes in the area should be evaluated, and try to set your price below a whole number like $149,900, rather than $150,000 to ensure your listing will appear in an Internet search of homes ranging from $1-$150,000. 

 

Marketing Your Home
Advertising your home should be your number one priority until your house is sold. The longer your house stays on the market, the less attractive it is to potential buyers because they feel as though if nobody wants it, why should they? Working closely with your listing broker is a key to selling your home. When a buyer wants to talk about price, your broker will be able to negotiate without an emotional attachment to the home. Some absolute musts when marketing your home include: a listing in the Multiple Listing Service, complete with pictures, a “for sale” sign in the yard, a list of recent updates on the property, well written descriptions, and be listed in at least one other service. We make sure the listing shows up on Zillow.com and Realtor.com. Additionally, a key to getting your house sold is to make it easily accessible to real estate agents and their clients. Be on-call and ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice if someone wants to drop by and see it.