Blog :: 02-2020

Welcome to Our Real Estate Blog!

Read our latest insights into the Greater Washington real estate market, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our team of expert real estate professionals at RE/MAX Realty Group/100 have a finger on the pulse of the local market. Stay tuned for news and analysis on all the most important topics pertaining to real estate and home ownership in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

 

 

 

WRITING AN OFFER LETTER: 4 THINGS TO AVOID

In a competitive seller’s market, it doesn’t hurt to set yourself apart from other home-buying candidates when making an offer on a home. Writing an offer letter can be the key to standing out. But be careful – evoking the wrong tone can be a deal-breaker. Here are four important mistakes to avoid when writing an offer letter.

Negativity

If you aren’t happy about the price of the home, your real estate agent should discuss it during negotiation. If you’re in a time crunch, avoid pressuring the seller. And if you have a sob story about your last home, tell it to a friend instead.

Sellers need to feel good when they’re reading your letter, and whining will have the opposite effect. As an alternative, connect with the seller and address commonalities you share. Do you both have dogs? Great! Explain how much your pups would enjoy their beautifully fenced-in yard.

Changes to the House

You may love everything about the home but think the kitchen needs some renovating. Be careful about sharing that detail – after all, the kitchen just might be the seller’s favorite room in the house. Expressing the changes you would make may come across as insulting or offensive.

Flattery is a much better approach. Be specific and authentic with phrasing like, “We love the antique hardware and the checkerboard marble tile in the kitchen; it reminds me of the house I grew up in.”

Desperation

This house is everything you could have wanted and more! You cannot imagine a life without it!

If you’re feeling this way, that’s great. Enthusiasm means you’re serious about the home. Excitement and all, you should still avoid a tone of desperation. A competitive “I’d do anything for this house” attitude may actually hurt your chances in negotiating power. 

Writing an Essay

Don’t beat around the bush – keep the letter short and concise. Avoid boring the seller with a never-ending list of why you want the home.

Lastly, bring the letter back to yourself by succinctly highlighting your favorite features and simply telling the sellers why you’d like to live in their cherished home.

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10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU SELL YOUR HOUSE

Before you put your house on the market, ask your real estate agent for guidance on improving your home's presentation. Your agent can tell you what buyers expect in your particular market and at your home's price point. The following 10 steps are a way to get a good head start on preparing to sell your home.

1. Welcome buyers. Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to attract attention from the street. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles and outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. Exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers.

2. Make it sparkle. Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Recaulk and repaint to give these grime-prone rooms a fresh and clean look. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

3. Start packing. Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don't use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move.

4. Paint wisely. A well-done, no-frills paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Nature- and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Definitely don't forget the trim and molding either. And a fresh paint job on outdated or worn cabinetry goes a long way, too.

5. Fix the small stuff. Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods - fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers - rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

6. Update lighting. Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home's cleaner, fresher look. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. For example, ambient, low-key lighting fills a room, whereas directional or task lighting works better in areas like a reading nook. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers' attention to certain selling points.

7. Frame windows. Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room's temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings.

8. Set the table. Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

9. Hide unsightly everyday items. Don't leave children's toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids' entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing or open house. Also think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.

10. Don't forget the back. Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

Find a RE/MAX agent who can help you every step of the way.

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    4 NEGOTIATION TACTICS YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT KNOWS

    Negotiating the purchase of your new home is one of the most crucial aspects of your real estate journey. It’s also when your real estate agent’s experience can make the most dramatic difference during the process of buying a home. RE/MAX agent Tony Iacoviello with RE/MAX Escarpment Realty in Hamilton, Ontario, shares four ways an agent acts as a professional negotiator, helping to ensure you’ll receive a fair closing agreement for your new home.

    Being in the Know

    Your real estate agent is a scholar when it comes to the real estate market. With their niche industry knowledge, they can take lead when it comes to negotiating a reasonable closing agreement based on the appropriate value of the home.

    “Knowledge is key in any negotiation, whether the real estate agent is representing the buyer or the seller of a property,” Iacoviello says. “Knowing the facts about a neighborhood, particularly sales history and current sales trends, is what helps to establish the value of a property, allows an agent to speak intelligently and confidently, and helps to ensure the client arrives at a fair and reasonable purchase or sales agreement.”

    Objectivity

    Your agent is trained to resolve conflict and knows how to remain cool, calm and collected during any intense moments of negotiation.

    “Emotion and anticipated enjoyment of a property are huge factors for both buyers and sellers and often lead to overestimates of a home’s market value, especially in comparison to recent sales history,” Iacoviello says. “An agent’s role, like that of any trusted advisor, is to acknowledge those emotions while remaining objective. Agents keep a level head so they can protect their client’s best interests and keep them grounded in reality.”

    Knowing What to Ask For

    Agents are well-versed in the language that surrounds negotiation. As your advocate, they’ll request maintenance, like concessions and repairs, in a manner that’s appealing to the seller.

    “Just like having knowledge of the neighborhood and local market conditions, facts are important when negotiating concessions and repairs,” Iacoviello says. “That knowledge isn’t limited to knowing what needs to be fixed, but also to the cost in time, money, and inconvenience of those repairs. Experienced agents can articulate what the buyer can expect based on what negotiations have yielded in similar situations.”

    Building Bridges, Not Burning Them

    Negotiation isn’t about working against the seller, it’s about working with the seller to get the best and most appropriate closing agreement for you.

    “While a real estate agent is bound to act in the client’s best interest and negotiations can become heated at times, negotiating isn’t a war or a battle,” Iacoviello says. “There are two groups of people, buyers and sellers, who want to work together to complete the sale of the property. The purpose of negotiating is to determine if there are terms like pricing, repairs, etc. both parties can agree to that will make the sale possible. It’s more about building bridges than blowing each other up. That’s it, really. It takes a lot of perseverance, patience and skill.”

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