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5 Tips for Selling a Home in the Triangle during the Holidays and the Winter Season

FFR - Nov 3 Pic - 100216603It’s no secret that the spring and summer are most popular seasons for real estate sales in the Triangle and Central Carolina area. Beautiful North Carolina weather and long daylight hours mean that homebuyers are out and about in full force. In contrast, most sellers will face a few challenges when placing a home on the market in the late fall or winter season. Flat Fee Realty wants sellers to be successful no matter what time of year they are selling.

Our FFR team suggests these five tips to sell quickly and for the most money, even during the slow seasons:

  • Invite buyers in out of the cold: Be sure to create a warm and inviting experience when showing the home. Make sure all lights are on, that the inside heat is comfortable, and even light the fireplace if possible. Consider using aromas that evoke relaxation, like cinnamon or apple pie.
  • Use the holiday season to an advantage: Appeal to buyer’s emotional side by helping them envision spending the holidays with their family in their new home. Stage the home with all-purpose holiday decorations, like potted poinsettias, twinkling white lights or evergreen garlands.
  • Consider a pre-listing inspection: A seller’s inspection brings any potential issues to light and allows for their resolution early on. The holiday season tends to prolong a closing process already prone to delays. Don’t let last minute maintenance issues postpone the transaction. Slower processes create buyer’s remorse.
  • Avoid liability: Winter weather can create hazardous conditions for buyers and sellers. Keeping steps and walkways snow and ice-free to prevent slips and falls. Protect against maintenance issues (like frozen pipes or falling tree limbs) to ensure the home remains in marketable shape.
  • Price correctly: Although winter buyers may be more motivated, there are definitely fewer of them. To attract the most buyers, start out with a realistic asking price. Remember, homes that undergo several price reductions usually sell for much less than if the home was priced correctly in the first place.

With the right sales strategy (and a great Flat Fee Realty Agent) winter can still be an excellent time to sell a home. Cool weather buyers tend to be more motivated, and there is less competition, since many Triangle sellers often take their homes off the market until the warmer months and spring. Regardless of when you sell, Flat Fee Realty wants all sellers to land the best deal possible, no matter the time of year.

Wondering if November and December are is the right months to sell? Give us a call today!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: ddpavumba, Freedigitalphotos.net

4 Approaches Good Real Estate Agents Use to Create Success

FFR- Oct 20 Pic-10051836The Triangle region of North Carolina is home to thousands of real estate agents. Although the vast majority of real estate agents are very good at what they do, there are certainly some agents who are below average in both honesty and professionalism. When looking for someone who represents the true interests of the buyer or seller, look for those who are truly great agents, good people, and top producers. What is it that separates the average from the great?

Flat Fee Realty offers four attributes to look for when choosing a real estate agent partner:

  • A great agent will tell the truth about price, even if a client doesn’t want to listen: Let’s say a buyer loves a particular house, gets into a bidding war, and wins. Good news, right? This is not necessarily true. Today, homes must be sold twice—to the buyer and to the bank. If the bank doesn’t agree (say, the home doesn’t appraise to the selling price), the deal is off. A great agent will recognize this in the beginning and prepare the client for alternatives.
  • A great agent anticipates instead of reacts: Professionals make a complex process look easy for the client. Pro-activity, anticipating challenges, and removing roadblocks are important factors in a stressful process. Good agents have the foresight that develops with time and experience. And while challenges might the norm for them, they never take their clients concerns too lightly.
  • A great agent will get the seller the most money possible for their home, even if it takes a little longer and requires more marketing: A great agent always puts their client first, even if it means more work and less commission. Setting the right price for a home doesn’t mean pricing it low enough to sell quickly (unless that’s what the seller wants). It means getting the most profit possible for the client, even if it takes more time and effort.
  • A great agent doesn’t just answer the phone when clients call; a great agent is the one doing the calling: Some agents complain about their clients constantly calling them. This, however, can mean that they are not giving the client enough information. Even if nothing is happening, the clients want to know that nothing is happening. Great agents never let silence speak for them.

Any one of the thousands of real estate agents in the Triangle can show homes, negotiate a deal, and close the transaction. However, when money (and sometimes stress) is on the line, go for the great, not the average. Flat Fee Realty strives for the best. It is what everyone needs in real estate as we head to 2015. We are the FUTURE OF REAL ESTATE.

Looking for a great agent to help you buy or sell? Give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

 

Photo: jannoon028, Freedigitalphotos.net


 

 

 

3 Ways Schools Affect Home Prices Here in the Triangle

FFR- Oct 6 Pic-10060061 pic 1 10-14The Triangle area is a hotbed for education here in North Carolina. With top-ranked public and private institutions, teaching hospitals, and world-class research centers, there’s no better place to live if education is a priority in a move or relocation. It’s not just post-secondary schools that get top billing in the Triangle; the local school districts are highly rated as well. Consider that four of the top 10 public high schools in North Carolina are in the Wake County School System, according to US News and World Report rankings.

How much do schools affect home prices? Let’s take a look at these statistics researched by Flat Fee Realty:

  • In a recent survey by Realtor.com, 91% of prospective homebuyers said that school district boundaries were an important part of their home search. 
  • That same survey found that over half of buyers are willing to boost their budgets for top quality schools, paying 6-30% more for a home within the boundaries of their desired school. 
  • Another recent study found that homes in areas with the best schools command about $50.00 more per square foot than homes in average districts.

Based on this information, buyers and sellers are correct in thinking that being in the right district can give their sales price or budgets a bump. But what is the “right” district? While a client’s first instinct might be to simply ask their real estate agent, they might not get the information they’re looking for. Many agents deflect questions about school quality to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the Fair Housing Act (this could be construed as steering). Instead, they point buyers and sellers to independent resources such as these:

  • For public schools, visit the National Center for Education Statistics, or the official site for NC Public Schools. 
  • For public, private, and independent schools, org has a lot of information. It also includes consumer reviews.

When buying or selling a home, everyone knows that location is paramount. And a significant part of this is the local school quality, even for buyers and sellers who do not have children.

Need help assessing the market value of your home? Give us a call! 

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only. 

The Future of Real Estate! 

Flat Fee Realty 

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: ddpavumba, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

The Independent Triangle 5 Step Seller’s Guide To Showing A Home

FFR- Sept 22 Pic- 10066250When a Triangle homeowner chooses to sell a home without the assistance of a real estate agent, they are usually looking to save money on an agent’s commission. However, independent sellers also understand that savings can sometimes be a challenge for the significant time and effort that must be spent to market and sell the home. One of the many necessary tasks is showing the home to interested buyers and their agents.

To make the most of each and every showing, independent sellers in North Carolina should follow these five tips from Flat Fee Realty:

  • Set the stage: When it comes to making an excellent first impression on buyers, nothing beats a well-staged home. Make sure the entire home is clean and in good repair, but don’t stop there. Consider taking an uninvolved person (like a neighbor) through the home to get a different perspective. For more staging advice, read our blog post on the topic here.
  • Give prospective buyers space: Resist the urge to tag along, rattling off a list of the home’s features. A home will sell itself without any persuasion by the owner, and heavy selling is a turnoff to buyers. Stay at a respectable distance and be available for questions, but otherwise let buyers lead the way.
  • Point out “hidden” features: While there’s no need to state the obvious (“this is the kitchen…”), feel free to draw attention to upgrades that aren’t readily visible. For example, maybe the air conditioning system was recently replaced, or the master bath has thermal floors.
  • Ask for feedback: Sellers can learn from every showing. However, buyers can be reluctant to give feedback (especially if it’s negative) directly to a seller. To encourage buyers to linger, consider leaving a stack of preprinted questionnaires or a guestbook in the kitchen next to a bowl of candy or snacks.
  • Reconsider open houses: Open houses can add to a home’s exposure, but there’s little hard data suggesting that they regularly lead to sales. Agents typically hold open houses because clients expect them to, and to bring themselves more business (by offering their services to unrepresented buyers and sellers who attend). So, if you don’t have the time or inclination to host an open house, don’t stress about it.

Selling a home independently requires a seller to wear many hats. Sellers become a sales, marketing, and customer service team. If it sounds overwhelming, well, sometimes selling a home is just that. For homeowners who want to sell by owner, or those looking for a full service partner, Flat Fee Realty can do what it takes to get a home sold. Give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

 

Photo: Renjith Krishnan, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

3 Must-Use Apps for Triangle Home Buyers and Sellers

FFR-100266681-freedigitalphotosAccording to the 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 92% of respondents used the Internet to support the buying and selling process. Over 90% of those individuals also retained the important services of a real estate agent. Real estate agents provide an irreplaceable and invaluable service, but even the best agent simply can’t be with each buyer or seller 24/7.

Flat Fee Realty wants buyers and sellers to be confident in every decision they make.

When researching the North Carolina real estate market, try one of the following three apps guaranteed to enhance your buying or selling experience:

  • Check out any house, anytime, anywhere: Useful for both buyers and sellers, Homesnap (for Apple and Android) lets users take a photo of any home and get basic details about the property. It also estimates a range for which the property will most likely sell, suggests similar listings, and shows recent nearby sales. For potential investors, Homesnap even scores the property on its potential to produce cash flow.
  • Get the latest information on any neighborhood: AroundMe lets users (of both Apple and Android devices) in on many neighborhood features that they wouldn’t typically find in an MLS listing. It searches for amenities of all kinds like parks, hospitals, coffee shops, banks, movie theaters, and more. Buyers can use the app to find out if an unfamiliar neighborhood might meet their needs, while sellers can boost the desirability of their listing by drawing attention to local businesses and amenities.
  • Brush up on your real estate vocabulary: If a seller chooses our Flat Fee Marketing Plan (as opposed to our full-service listing package), they’ll be shouldering some of the listing responsibility themselves. Download the Dictionary of Real Estate Terms to stay in the know and level the playing field with experienced buyers and agents. This particular app is for Apple devices only, but similar versions exist for Android.

The Internet can be a great resource for buyers and sellers to stay connected to their local real estate market. However, the sheer amount of data available can trigger an information overload, adding uncertainty to a process that already has its share of confusion. Have questions about buying or selling? Give Flat Fee Realty a call and let us help you get started.

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

5 Top “Super Secret” Home Buying Tips in the Triangle

FFR  Pic 1 august 14When it comes to purchasing real estate in the Triangle, there are a few truths even the most inexperienced home buyers in Raleigh-Durham know. Making location a top priority and cleaning up credit reports are on the list, but first-time buyers need to be savvier than ever before.

The following five “under the radar” tips are brought to you by Flat Fee Realty and are guaranteed to give buyers an edge as they look for a new home:

  • Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified: Pre-qualification is useful in terms of figuring out how much home is affordable, but that’s about it, because none of the financial information has actually been verified. Being pre-approved means obtaining a written (albeit conditional) commitment from a lender after a more extensive review process. This carries much more weight during negotiations with a seller, and leaves less to chance during the closing process.
  • Don’t always buy the best you can afford: Conventional wisdom says to buy the best quality items that are affordable. But in the case of real estate, leaving a bit more leeway is smart (consider the effects of a job loss or having a child, for instance). Still have money left over? Use it to build equity or make improvements to enhance your home’s value.
  • Learn to separate needs from wants: Everyone wants a stylish, move-in ready house that meets all 35 items on their wish list. But even with an unlimited budget, that’s probably impossible. Instead, think in terms of what can be changed and what can’t. Updated finishes can always be added—not true for a backyard or a great school system.
  • Don’t obsess over the housing market: Whether it’s the buyers or the sellers that are on top this year, if a buyer is financially able and needs or wants to buy, then it is the right time. Looking for a bargain in the Triangle? Motivated sellers and solid deals exist in any market, and our professionals can help you make the most of those hard earned dollars.
  • Work with Flat Fee Realty: Ok, so this isn’t exactly unheard of, but the most important thing for a homebuyer to do is to work with the best. It is free of charge, and gets buyers a personal shopper, expert negotiator, and legal and financial assistance. Take advantage of this opportunity and call Flat Fee Realty today!

Finding a good real estate partner, when looking for a new home, makes for less stress and less hassle during a time of both opportunity and challenge. We can manage the process and work in your behalf. Buying a house is an exciting time. Have fun and enjoy the experience.

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

 

 

 

4 Facts to Consider Before Selling a Home in the Triangle “By Owner”

scott chan fdpAll home sellers across Raleigh and the Triangle want to receive top dollar for their homes and sell them as quickly as possible. Only a small percentage of home owners decide to take the adventurous route and attempt to sell a house themselves. Is For Sale by Owner (FSBO) a good idea?

Here are four important facts that Flat Fee Realty believes Triangle home sellers should consider before taking the plunge and putting up that sign:

  • FSBO listings are a significant source of sales leads for agents: Home owners should expect to be contacted regularly with sales pitches. Many agents will provide FSBO’s with free market analyses and sales comps in the hopes that if or when selling by owner becomes tiresome, the seller will be calling them. In the meantime, take advantage of all the free tools and figure out which agents are honest and forthright, and who will work for you.
  • Selling as a FSBO is not free: Most FSBO’s decide to sell using this method to avoid paying a huge commission that can run up to seven percent of the home’s sale price. While that’s definitely an incentive to consider, selling as a FSBO isn’t completely cost-free. Homeowners must pay out of pocket for promotional signage, advertising, flyers, newspaper ads, websites, rack cards, and more. Many FSBO’s opt to offer an incentive or commission as well (usually around 2.5%) to the buyer’s agents to ensure their home gets shown.
  • Listing a home is almost a second job: It’s a big mistake to think that once a “for sale” sign is planted in the front yard, it’s time to sit back and wait for buyers to come knocking on the door. Selling a home requires a significant marketing push, receiving calls at odd hours, answering inquiries, making appointments, showing the home during the day or early evening, and hosting open houses every weekend.
  • The devil is in the details: Chances are that an agent will represent the prospective buyer. Experienced or not, it’s likely that the agent will be aware and ready to negotiate around subtle but key aspects of the sales contract. Consulting with a real estate attorney can keep FSBO’s competitive; but again, expect to pay high legal fees for the service.

Owners will often forego the expertise of a traditional real estate agent in hopes of saving money. There’s nothing wrong with that if a seller is willing to put in the time, effort, patience, and consistency to be successful.

Consider the above information we have presented as a public service and know that Flat Fee Realty truly is the best answer for a cost effective and smooth sale. Consider the enormous advantages of our marketing package.

Give us a call today to find out how Flat Fee Realty can partner with home owners who believe in value for both the move and the successful sale in the Triangle.

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This post on selling a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended as a service for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Scott Chan, freedigitalphotos.net

 

6 Tips for Selling Homes in the Triangle

stagingSummer is here in Central Carolina and the Triangle real estate market is booming! Warm, sunny weather and long hours of daylight have potential buyers on the hunt for their next home. It is the perfect time of year and the height of selling season. Now, what can the seller do to turn lookers into buyers?

These six selling tips offered from Flat Fee Realty will help get any home ready for showings, offers, and most importantly, a sale:

  • Roll out the red carpet (or maybe just a welcome mat): All joking aside, a little curb appeal goes a long way. Purchase a new, clean doormat, and add some colorful, potted flowers for the porch area or near the front door.
  • Neutralize it: Paint the interior in a sophisticated, basic shade. Provide a blank slate using gender-neutral beiges or grays to help buyers envision themselves in the home. Fresh paint smell is a very positive bonus for people wanting a “turn-key” house.
  • Focus on the three “De’s”: De-clutter, depersonalize, and detail clean. Clear all the counter and tabletops. Pack up pictures and knickknacks, and keep everything spic and span.
  • Follow the 30% rule. Closets and storage space are big selling points, especially in areas like the Triangle (where basements are rare). Aim for 30% empty space in these areas to accentuates their spaciousness.
  • Reduce and rearrange: Remove a few non-essential pieces of furniture to open up the rooms. Take what is left on the walls and arrange everything in a way that highlights the flow of each room.
  • Consider a pre-listing inspection: Every house has local competition. The house has to stand out over the rest. An inspection will alert the homeowner to any potential issues in advance (rather than waiting for them to pop up in the buyer’s inspection). Leave a copy on display at showings as an additional selling point.

Selling your home (not to mention finding a new one) can be an emotional and logistical rollercoaster. Whether homeowners take on the challenge as an FSBO (for-sale-by-owner) or are looking for a highly qualified, full service agent; Flat Fee Realty can help. To find out how, give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: coco+Kelley/Foter/Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

 

2 Ways Flat Fee Realty in the Triangle Saves Homeowners Money

Flat Fee RealtyIndividuals and families in the Triangle move for any number of important reasons. Among the options they consider is the possibility of selling by owner. If you tell this to “big name” real estate agents, they will tell you that it is a bad idea.

It’s true that selling a home can be stressful, tedious, and often full of surprises and pitfalls. It is probably for those reasons alone that most sellers do not consider the For Sale by Owner process. They think it will be even more headaches.

Many people who want to sell their home on their own do it or one important reason. It can save money. Specifically, most people do not want to pay a large commission to a real estate agent (usually 5-7% of the sale price) for services they might not need or believe they can handle themselves.

Flat Fee Realty in the Triangle can actually reduce those large realtor costs and support the sale of a home in a variety of ways. As the Future of Real Estate here in North Carolina, our company provides everything you need and nothing you don’t, without the hidden costs or fees.

At Flat Fee Realty our strategies are different from the traditional brokers and national chains.

Here are two ways we help sellers keep a bigger portion of their property’s assets:

  • We streamline the sales process by focusing on the most essential services—only those proven to positively affect the home value and how quickly it sells. This allows us to provide our services at an amazingly reasonable rate (customized plans start at just $795).
  • Our packages are customized for sellers with a wide variety of needs. Our Flat Fee Marketing Plan works best for more experienced sellers who simply need access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the Centralized Showing Service (CSS). Our Flat Fee Plus plan provides full service representation and is perfect for sellers who want comprehensive guidance throughout the entire sales process.

With over 40 years of combined experience in the real estate industry, we’re ready to help you accomplish your goal of buying or selling a home. Curious about how we work? Give us a call today!

Photo: Flat Fee Realty
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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!
Flat Fee Realty
919 342 5230
Contact us
Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

 

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