There are times when a client asks me a question about something that seems obvious to me, but makes me realize that I’m assuming too much. I am always willing to sit down with new people to discuss their moving plans, and hopefully, this is a helpful introduction.
You also may do something so well simply because you understand the process step by step. Like it’s second nature.
I put together this 3-part series of videos to help give you some insight into the questions home sellers ask me about today’s real estate market. Take a look, and contact me if you have questions..
What’s the MLS?
The MLS is the marketing database that Realtors use to publish the listing for your home.
It is where the photos and descriptions are added so that 18,000 Washington, D.C. metro area agents can see and share them with their buyer clients. It gives professional agents access to information and allows them to schedule appointments online.
It’s the site where Property Disclosures or Offer Instruction documents are too.
The MLS serves an even bigger purpose in 2023 because it is where real estate Apps get their information too. All those photos on Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin and more start with me adding that content into the MLS. It’s the Heart of the web!
All the text alerts, bells, rings, thuds, and urgent emails go out within minutes of me hitting ENTER to go active for sale. If you have been looking for a home, you know how important those photos are before investing another minute in considering a drive over for a look-see with your agent.
Because the MLS is THE Source, my strategy is to put effort into preparing/staging every listing to prepare for the critical digital photos, which is essentially your digital Open-House to the world.
How should we price our house?
Pricing real estate may seem like a lost art, especially when the Zestimate says it is worth $1,453,700.
Agents have seen AI-generated estimates for a decade, and know that they are helpful but are sometimes too low or too high. Websites and Apps offering estimated or instant values typically have (located down a level or two) lengthy explanations that their estimates are based on tax assessments and available sold properties located nearby the selected property.
This math or algorithm can work well in sprawling planned communities with uniform homes, like in the Sun Belt or the Brady Bunch home in California.
Here in Vienna, McLean, Falls Church or Oakton, there are a wide variety of styles with subtle differences that influence market appeal and MARKET VALUE. Algorithm estimates will miss your new windows, luxury bathrooms, Tesla plug in the garage, or wooded view that no one else has.
Last year, I met with a “prospect” who I had to convince that the Zestimate was undervaluing her home because it (the algo) couldn’t distinguish the (perceived human appeal) value of her wooded location.
I’m going to upset a few people here but, in my opinion, Artificial Intelligence doesn’t always get that “human” vibe.
Pricing your house will be an ongoing conversation starting with a range to start, and refining it to a realistic Asking Price that will attract today’s savvy buyers who have access to tons of market data and experience in the Vienna real estate market… possibly after getting outbid last weekend on a home just like yours!
That starting range will also influence the preparation or staging that is done. Well-prepared homes that are staged well are at the high end, while homes that haven’t made the effort need to be priced at the low end of the range. (in 2023, buyers are expecting it to look good)
So, I look at the data, the AI Zestimate because buyers look at that too, and weekly MLS market trends. But we also go over your immediate competition, what buyers bought last weekend, what mortgage rates are costing today and how much inventory is there to buy.
We will review pricing every week leading up to when your house hits the market.
Should we start slimming down our stuff?
You really need to spend 80% of your time preparing your home before you hit the market.
When buyers look at a home that has too much furniture or artwork, they often cannot picture themselves living there with their stuff. Simply, you need to slim down a little if you are planning to live in your home when it is on the market because you may create more buyer confusion.
My tip… homes need to look unrealistically clean when they are for sale.
Kitchens are a place to spend some time organizing, especially cabinets or in your pantry. Buyers will pull open the drawers and, upon seeing a pile of pans or Tupperware bowls, (that you never use) may lead them to think the cabinets are too small or just old and dirty.
Have an old collection or two, consider selling them using a great local guy who will come over for a consultation.
Or, have some rare art that may be worth more at auction than you can imagine? I can help with an opinion from the Sotheby’s Auction House in New York. Ask me for details.
Landscaping is important especially here in Vienna where bushes and trees grow fast. Hire a professional landscaper now so you can enjoy the look of your home the way it should look. Often, cutting back overgrowth can expose architectural details that buyers are excited about.
This list may seem like a big undertaking, but the results will be impactful when it is time to hit the market!
Have questions? Email me at email@example.com and we can set up a time to talk.
Examples in my Case Studies
If you are interested in reading a bit more and flipping through some case studies, then you can see some before and after photos in Case Studies and see what I have done to help my clients.