Not For Sale By Owner

In today’s economy, people are pinching pennies any chance they get. In my line of business, that means more and more sellers trying to sell their home without the expertise or skill of a real estate agent. Central Texas has been home (no pun intended) to the most stable real estate market despite the crash the rest of the nation has experienced, yet I still see plenty of For Sale By Owner signs on yards across Georgetown, Round Rock, and Austin. No community is immune to the temptation of saving money.

Not only is the owner potentially saving thousands of dollars from paying the agent’s commission, with the internet at our fingertips, there are great websites like ForSaleByOwner.com that help owners sell on their own. So it must be pretty easy and money-wise to sell without a licensed real estate agent. Or is it?

The founder of a popular for sale by owner Web site used a real estate broker to help sell his 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom New York apartment after it lingered on the market for six months. Colby Sambrotto, the founder and former chief operating officer of ForSalebyOwner.com, tried to sell the property himself by listing it online and through classified ads, but after six months of it sitting on the market, he sought the help of a real estate broker. The condo soon attracted multiple offers and ended up closing recently for $150,000 more than the original asking price.

It’s like Dieter Zetsche (CEO of Mercedes-Benz) buying one of these for his daughter:

In other words, he got a much better product and paid less.

Contrary to popular (and unsubstantiated) belief, real estate agents can save you time and earn you more money than you realize. Contact your local REALTOR today if you are thinking about selling your home and if you don’t have one, contact your favorite HOMEboys!

Read the full story here.

Williamson County Real Estate – 2010 Review

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One of the trends that I’ve been following this year is the level of activity for sold homes in Williamson County, Texas.  This graph (courtesy of the Williamson County Association of Realtors) shows some interesting trends that I thought I would share with you.

At first, you’ll notice that the amount of homes that sold from January through May was actually higher than 2009 numbers.  That’s good.  However, keep in mind this was when a majority of Americans were buying homes and taking advantage of the $8000 tax credit.  This tax credit probably caused a lot of people to buy in the first half of the year who wouldn’t have otherwise…or would have waited to buy in the second half of 2010.

After the tax credit expired, the level of activity dropped significantly lower then the amount of homes sold in any of the years from 2006 and 2009.  However, in November that number surpassed the 2008 levels.  432 homes were sold in the month of December , continuing the trend upwards, surpassing both 2008 and 2009 levels.

I see this as a positive sign for 2011 and I am optimistic that the level of real estate activity will continue to improve through the Summer of 2011 before slowing back down again.  Traditionally, there are 400+ homes that sell in Williamson County in the month of January but the last 2 years that level has been closer to 250-300 homes.  It will be intersesting to see how many homes actually sell in January and whether or not we’ll continue to see the upward trend.

If you’re a buyer or seller in this market, there are ways to leverage your position in any market.  Just ask me how and I’d be happy to share with you the systems I use to help you save the most money and time.

~ Your Favorite HOMEboy, Edward

Pre-inspections = Stress-free option periods – Chuck and Fran Testimonial

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Back after popular demand:  Another “Favorite HOMEboy Testimonial”

Okay, I confess, I’m not sure how popular these are and what the demand is, but many of my recent clients have been rather “video-shy” so I’m glad that Chuck and Fran decided to be such good sports.
They live on my street and are some cool neighbors and I wish them the best in their future as “beach bums.”  The home that was sold was on 133 Village Park Drive in Georgetown Village.

One of the things I always recommend to my clients is to do a pre-inspection.  This is another revolutionary method that my brokerage, Mars Hill Realty Group, integrates into our house marketing strategy.  Here are the top 3 reasons we do this:

1.  Eliminates potential deal-killers

2.  Reduces negotiation leverage of buyer during option period

3.  Attracts the highest offer from the buyer by positioning your home as fixed and well cared for.

Check out the testimonial below and call me to get the same great results on your home!



The Art of Pricing a Home Well – Gary Unruh Testimonial

Gary Unruh is one of my first clients when I got started in the business and has since become a very good friend. I’ve seen many changes happen in his life and he is a walking testimonial of the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ. Check out the video to see how God brought us together to sell a home at just the right moment. Currently, I’m helping his parents buy a home out in Sun City Texas.

Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Selling a home in 24 hours – John Mize Testimonial

Here’s my favorite client John Mize sharing his experience on how I sold his home in 24 hours for more money then he originally asked for!  Read more about how I sell a home 3 times faster then the average Georgetown Texas real estate agent on my Mars Hill Realty blog.

For now, enjoy the video testimonial of my homeboy John:

The Importance of Home Lighting when Selling Your Home

quoizel-chastain-tiffany-table-lampimgqzqz4882_lWhen it comes to selling your home, there are few things as important as home staging. By presenting your home in the most appealing way possible, you can greatly increase your odds of attracting potential buyers.

There are many different ways that you can utilize home staging in today’s real estate market, through the use of elements as simple as home lighting. By creating the right lighting scheme in your home you can be sure that you’re making a great first impression on any and all prospective buyers.

The key to creating the perfect lighting scheme in your home is by finding the right balance. You want to make sure that your home is not too dim, but by the same token you also don’t want your lighting to be too harsh. The best way to achieve a good balance is through a combination of different lighting sources. By pairing table and floor lamps with your overhead lighting, you can create the warming glow that you need to achieve an inviting atmosphere that best showcases your home.

Natural light is another element that should be utilized when lighting for home staging. Keep the curtains opened to let sunlight 102808_light01shine in and do your best to keep your windows clean. Natural light has a calming effect and helps create a more upbeat and positive atmosphere that is great for keeping spirits high. If you happen to have a dimmer switch installed, then you can slowly raise the brightness level of the room as the sun goes down. This way you can keep a well balanced lighting scheme throughout the day and well into the evening.

While a well lit interior is very important, you must consider the exterior lights of your home as well. By using exterior flood lights you can shine a spotlight on your home which will help it stand out against the dark backdrop. Lighting your home’s exterior will also make it easier to find at night. You don’t want potential buyers to drive past your house simply because they can’t see your address number. You should also make sure your entrance way is well lit to help guide your visitors to the front door. The more comfortable your prospective buyers are, the better your chances of selling your home.

Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Clean Homes Sell Faster – part 2 of 2

Editor’s Note: Two weeks ago, Maria revealed some great thoughts on why it’s so critical to have a clean home when selling (Clean homes sell faster).  I just showed a client a home in Fountainwood Estates in Georgetown, Texas yesterday and the home was a mess!  The tragic thing is that it was listed and owned by a real estate agent too!  Well, here you’ll get some practical tips on getting the job done.  Read on…

1. If you find that you can do the job yourself, then great! Here are some guidelines for you:

  • If you have clutter, get rid of it! The more “linear” you can make a home look, the cleaner it will appear.
  • Make a list of easy to forget items in your house to clean. Make sure to include the following: Ceiling fans, ceiling corners, light switch plates, electrical sockets, baseboards, inside windows, window frames, window sills, blinds, all dusting/polishing, glass cleaning, bathrooms, kitchen, and floors.
  • If you are going to be leaving the oven or refrigerator behind, then the inside of these appliances should be cleaned regularly as well. It is best to do a top to bottom clean then upkeep these things by rotating them on a weekly basis.
  • If you are dealing with mold issues in tubs and showers, spray a mold remover every day to get rid of the discoloration. If that doesn’t work, replacing the grouting is the best way to go.
  • If you have the time, vacuum every day before you leave work. It is amazing how a freshly vacuumed carpet can dramatically improve the appearance of your home!
  • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to hire a professional, especially if you are looking at years of buildup/neglect.

2.  If you decide to hire a professional, follow these guidelines to ensure you hire the right company:

    • Be sure the company is licensed, insured, and bonded. Now is not the time for any cleaning service hassles due to the many number of things that can go wrong in a cleaning! While on the subject, don’t automatically go shopping for the company offering the lowest price. In general, as with all things, you get what you pay for.
    • Try to get a referral from a friend, relative, or coworker. This is the best way to ensure that you find a company that will do the job right the first time around.

    So, whether you can do the cleaning yourself or go with an outside company, remember to keep it clean during the selling process! Having a clean house to show should not be an afterthought but a priority as it may help you to sell it faster. Remember, your prospective buyers will picture themselves living in the house and it’s a lot harder to picture yourself living in a dirty home!

    Welcome Home Cleaning Services specializes in both “Spring Cleans” and Move In/Move Out Type Cleanings. If you do find that hiring a professional will work best for you, please give us a call at 512-931-2095 and I’d be glad to be of help!

    Maria Dorian

    Welcome Home Cleaning in Georgetown, Texas

    Clean Homes Sell Faster – part 1 of 2

    Clean Homes Sell Faster!

    Are you about to put your house on the market? I’ll tell you a little insider secret for selling it faster: Keep it clean!

    I know, I know, you may be thinking; “That’s not an insider secret, that’s just plain common sense!” However, I’m always amazed at how many people don’t take the time to keep their house clean while they are trying to sell it. Then they wonder why their house won’t sell as fast as others in their area!

    I remember one homeowner in Round Rock, Texas whose Realtor insisted that she hire a professional to clean her house. The homeowner did not like the idea of having to spend the money to hire a professional but her house had been on the market for close to a year and her Realtor thought that a thorough cleaning would help speed things along. Smart Realtor! My company was hired for the cleaning and, believe it or not, less than two weeks later the house was sold! I know this because the homeowner also hired my company for the move out cleaning.

    The bottom line is that you want your house to be totally clean and presentable for prospective buyers. The alternative is to sit on your property without a sale for longer than necessary.

    On my next post, I’ll give you some practical tips for getting the job done!

    Welcome Home Cleaning Services specializes in both “Spring Cleans” and Move In/Move Out cleanings in Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville and northern areas of Austin, Texas. If you do find that hiring a professional will work best for you, please give us a call at 512-931-2095 and I’d be glad to be of help!

    Maria Dorian

    Welcome Home Cleaning in Georgetown, Texas

    Editor’s Note: I recommend a three-step process for my clients to get their homes ready for the market: making repairs, cleaning the home and then staging the home. In the slow market that Georgetown, Texas is experiencing right now, all three are critical components to making a lasting impression with the buyers and setting yourself apart from the competition.  What about you?  Do you have any “clean home” success stories (or disasters) that you can share?  All comments are welcome!  Thanks for reading!

    Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

    Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

    I confess, I buy my own listings…can this be ethical?

    I am a real estate agent. Let’s face it, when it comes to nest egg options, I doubt my broker has a 401k prepared for me. Therefore, I’m also a real estate investor. I buy homes and hold them for the long term. But what happens when these two roles collide? What should I do if, during the course of listing a home, I tell myself, “Gee, this is the exact type of home I’m looking for!” (Note: I really don’t use the word “Gee” in real life.)

    Real World Situation

    I just got off the phone with a nice young lady in my neighborhood, Georgetown Village, and was following up after a listing presentation I gave a few weeks ago. I was just about to finish the phone conversation when she made a comment that went something like this:

    Some of my neighbors mentioned that you might not have my best interest in mind. They said that homes are selling in the $100/SF range and you list yours lower to maintain your statistics and sell your homes quicker (Note: My career average is 35 days). They also felt that there might have been a conflict of interest since you bought our neighbor’s home at a low price when you listed it, thus lowering values in our neighborhood.

    I told her that it was a great question…and an honest one at that. I really respect the fact that she had the guts to confront me with this situation and give me an opportunity to respond. Whether I get this listing or not…thanks for doing the right thing! I encouraged her to call the individuals I bought the home from and get their first-hand testimonial when working with me. They would be the ones who could tell her whether I was being straight-forward and whether I tried to “pressure” them in any way. (Now I need to find their phone number!) In the meanwhile, I decided to dive deeper into the statistics of how much homes sold for in Georgetown Village….and how much I paid for my own listing.

    Real World Numbers

    The home I bought was built by Lennar and was 1603 SF. It was built in 2002 and although it didn’t have any significant upgrades, it was in very good condition. I paid $153,000 which comes out to $95.45/SF.

    Since January of 2006, there were 10 resales that sold in the MLS that were built by Lennar and in the 1600 SF range (1603 SF – 1674 SF) and not ONE sold for $100/SF or higher. Do you want to know what the average $/SF was? $92.56/SF.

    But wait, it gets better! In that same time period, there were two homes that sold in the MLS that were BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW! These homes were decked out with stainless steel appliances and upgraded hardware throughout the home…or rather, they didn’t have any ugly gold fixtures! Guess what the average $/SF was for these homes? $94.54/SF.


    Yes, you read that correctly: I paid more $/SF for my home than the average comparable home that has sold in Georgetown Village for the past two years! In fact, I paid more $/SF for my home than two homes that were 5 years newer, had stainless steel appliances and were never lived in! Man, I need to quit letting my clients rip me off!

    The Bottom Line: My integrity is worth far more than any investment home. Although I am self-employed, I do have a boss…he’s God. Ripping off a client is the last thing I want to do, because I am accountable for what I do and my actions reflect on the truthfulness of who I believe in. Here are a few important points to think about:

    1. Did I really buy this home at a “great” price? It’s funny, but true: the home I bought was NEVER posted in the MLS and this is the FIRST time I have published it’s purchase price. So, how do people know how much (or how little) I paid for it? Neighborhood gossip is the last place to get accurate real estate information. Kudos to the lady who came straight to the source rather then rely on second-hand assumptions!

    2. It seems like everybody is a real estate expert…except the real estate agents themselves! Read my most recent Georgetown Village case study to get the real scoop on what is selling for $100/SF or higher. $/SF is a good measurement for value, but if used out of context, and without supporting data, can be a dangerous and misleading catch-phrase. Get the facts! Only comparable homes that have recently sold determine the value of your house. If a real estate agent is determining the value of your home with something that hasn’t sold…run away….run away fast…..and hey, if you can multi-task , run away fast and call my number!

    3. The seller is in control. It’s not just a good business practice, it’s also the law. Don’t you just hate pushy real estate agents that strong-arm you into making decisions you’re not comfortable making? Well, I do too. That’s why I always encourage my buyer AND sellers to make their own decisions when coming to a price. It’s my job to equip them with the data and inform them of pros and cons…it’s not my job to tell them what price to offer or list their home at. If you’re ever faced with a real estate agent that winks too much and has a gold tooth….or is using a high-pressured sales tactic on you, drop him like a ton of bricks.

    In 2007, my homes stayed on the market for an average of 45 days (it was a tough year) versus the Georgetown average of 148 days. Don’t be fooled by real estate agents that “buy the listing” by offering to list your home for an inflated price. If a home takes 148 days to get an offer, trust me, it’s inflated…and around the 60 day mark, they’ll be coming to you for a price reduction that will mysteriously fall into my original recommended price range. So you decide: Sell it for market price now…or make some extra mortgage payments, deal with 20 extra showing appointments, and sell it for market price later.

    So what do you think? Should I continue investing in my own neighborhood? Should homes be listed higher than market value so there is “room to negotiate?” Has a real estate agent ever bought your home? What was your experience? Please comment on my blog! Your comments are very much appreciated and keeps the conversation interesting!

    Giving My Listings “the bird”

    BirdOnRedBudTree_800.jpgRealbird.com that is. What else where you thinking?

    I’ve been blogging over at a real estate networking site called Active Rain and learned about this website that you can post your listings to and increase your exposure to the market. I went over and created a quick post on one of my listings:

    Cedar Park Texas Real Estate

    Not bad huh? This is just one thing I do different then many of the “old timer” real estate agents out there. I maximize exposure of my listings on the Internet. Do you have a home in Georgetown, Texas and need to get it sold? Give me a call and I’ll give you 30 other reasons I have to sell your home in 90 days or less!

    Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

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