Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we spoke with Carole Smith, a Realtor with EWM Realty International.
5. Execute the listing appointment. I always take a good length of time to talk to the seller about how important first impressions are. We walk room by room and discuss how each room might be improved. This will benefit the photos that will be taken. Nowadays the first showing is on the Internet; if someone likes what they see they will make an appointment to see the house. That showing is the “second” showing. There is an added benefit to this initial work being completed by the seller: the eventual packing and moving process will be easier for them when the house sells. Finally, we go outdoors and discuss the yard and ways to improve on the property to give it great curb appeal.
4. When in doubt, hire a professional to help stage the property. I explain to sellers that staged homes sell for a higher price than homes that are not staged. I also show them before and after examples of staged properties so they can see the difference. Then, I offer to meet the stager at the home and discuss a vision of how the home will look upon completion. I just had a listing that had been on the market for 7 months with another Realtor. I made several suggestions to the seller, including painting the interior of the house in a more neutral palate and hiring a stager to furnish the empty spaces. More importantly, the third bedroom was very odd. It was a converted garage that had a long bowling alley configuration. The stager was hired and with the combination of beds, drapes, night tables, rugs and artwork, it was turned into a fantastic guest suite. The remainder of the house was staged and I listed it at a higher price than the prior agent. It sold within 30 days for almost full price.
3. Accompany showings at your listings. There is nothing like having a warm, welcoming greeting at a property by an individual who can speak knowledgeably about the house. I get to the home early enough so that the lights and music are on and drapes are open. If the seller doesn’t have a sound system, I turn the TV on to one of the music stations. If they have doors that open to a garden and the weather is nice, I throw those doors open. If the seller is home prior to a showing, ask them to turn on the lights and music and to leave the house. A seller must not be at the home during a showing, a brokers open or an open house. I explain at the listing appointment that buyers need to feel comfortable to voice their objections so that we can discuss them. A buyer will not do that with an owner hovering in the wings.
2. Give sellers feedback. After a few showings, I like to give the sellers feedback and course-correct, if necessary. Sometimes a simple rearranging of furniture will do the trick. I had a listing in which we painted a kitchen backsplash, post-listing, because people were complaining that the kitchen was too dark. The most important thing is that my sellers know that I care and that we are in this together.
1. Treat the home and the seller with the greatest respect and acknowledge the wonderful job they are doing in keeping the house looking good so that YOU can do your job and get the house sold.
With over 20 years experience in luxury real estate, Carole is renowned for her professionalism and effectiveness. Named a South Florida mega-broker by Unique Homes magazine, she specializes in homes in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Snapper Creek Lakes, Hammock Lakes, the Ponce/Davis and Old Cutler Road Estates, waterfront properties and High Pines. Carole is a member of the prestigious Council of Residential Specialists, and the Master Brokers Forum of Florida. Additionally she is a member of Allen Haigne’s Cyberstars, the most tech-savvy Realtors in the industry. In addition, Carole is a certified Luxury Homes Specialist and was inducted into the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate group. Locally, Carole is one of the Top 10 Producers at EWM Realty, representing the top 1/2 of 1% nationally. Carole has sold over $500 million in real estate in her career and has assisted more than 900 families. She was recently named 2014 Realtor of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Carole has lived in the South Florida area for more than 30 years and intimately knows the areas she sells. She would love to call you “Neighbor”.