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Home Warranties Offer Great Benefits to Agents, Buyers & Sellers

homeumbrellaBy David Glenn

If there was a magic formula for selling real estate quickly and easily, you can bet every real estate agent would be signing up. Real estate sales affect agents, buyers and sellers one way or another. Although homes need to be in good condition and offer what buyers are currently seeking, the real estate agent ultimately drives the sales. To stay on top of their game and work a little magic, smart agents have learned that a home warranty, also called a home protection plan, can work miracles for increasing sales and quick turnarounds. Learn how agents, sellers and buyers benefit from home warranties and all come out as winners.

Home Warranties

Home warranty programs are available for purchase by consumers who want protection for home appliances and major home systems in the event they fail or break down. If any of the items under warranty in the program should fail, the consumer simply contacts the home warranty company and they see to it that the item is inspected, repaired or replaced by a qualified contractor.

Agents Start the Process

Once a real estate agent learns about the advantages of home warranty programs, work takes on new meaning and they see the possibilities for success. Skeptical buyers are no longer afraid to consider older homes when sellers pay for a home warranty. After an agent explains that the warranty covers appliances and major heating, electrical and cooling systems, clients become eager to see a home that was once not considered. The agent just got a shot at another sale!

Real estate agents have more time to devote to selling homes because they are not continually working out last minute problems and negotiations with sellers and buyers over failing appliances and air conditioners. REALTORS® can sell any home that comes with a home warranty faster. Home warranties are almost like having insurance. Customers like the idea of buying a home and not worrying about troubleshooting repairs, hiring contractors and forking over more money. Home warranty programs provide the magical solution for problem homes that aren’t turning over. Some homes may have the most wonderful qualities, but it’s often the bonus of a warranty program that seals the deal.

Warranties help agents to get satisfied sellers and buyers, which in turn, leads to more referrals and increased future business. Real estate agents stand to make more money when they sell more homes. There is no doubt about it; REALTORS® are in business for the money. Selling homes with warranties provided by the seller goes a long way to increasing REALTORS’® incomes!

Sellers Take the Lead from Agents

Sellers are overjoyed at the prospect of a home warranty that gives their home an edge when selling in a competitive housing market. Homes with a warranty typically sell for more money than those with no warranty. Any seller would be pleased to get top dollar for their home. Faster sales are appealing to sellers. Constant cleaning and showing the house weakly is tiring on sellers. The faster the home sells the better!

Buyers Dive at the Opportunity to Purchase Homes with a Warranty

Homes that come with a home warranty help to assure buyers that repairs for warrantied items are covered by the seller through warranty coverage. Interested home buyers don’t have to speculate on mechanical problems down the road and how much it’s going to cost them after they move in.

If we all had our way, homes would sell instantly and would always be a snap. However, life is full of surprises. Sometimes you’ve got to work a little magic with home warranty plans so REALTORS®, sellers and buyers all win.

 

David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He freelance writes about home maintenance and DIY home repair. He’s also knowledgeable about topics like how to improve social presence and build a reputation online.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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10 Tips for Handling a Hoarder’s Home

blog.rismedia.com

blog.rismedia.com

By John Egan

If you find yourself handling the buying or selling of a hoarder’s home, you might feel like you’ve landed in an episode of the reality TV show “Hoarders: Family Secrets.” Chances are, you’ll encounter many of the same issues that pop up on the program. To cope with those issues, here are 10 tips from the experts.

 

1. Recognize that hoarding is a disorder.

Hoarding isn’t a way of life. It’s a mental condition that affects anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. population; in a recent survey commissioned by SpareFoot, seven percent of American adults identified themselves as hoarders.

Everything in a hoarder’s home carries emotional attachments, whether it’s a stack of old newspapers or a collection of hats, experts say.

“Something that looks like trash to the average eye may be a very important item—emotionally or financially—to the hoarder,” says Matt Paxton, one of the cleanup professionals on “Hoarders.”

2. Be compassionate.

Speak to hoarders as equals, Paxton says, and work with them closely to come up with a fair deal for both sides.

“Hoarders are good people who have experienced bad things. Do not treat someone with a hoarding disorder as a lesser person,” he says.

If you’re a real estate agent whose client is a hoarder, be honest while also being respectful and nonjudgmental, Paxton says. Here’s what you shouldn’t say to a hoarder who’s selling a home: “Do you see how messy this house is? I can’t list it.”

Here’s what you should say to a hoarder who’s selling a home: “My expert opinion tells me that we’ll need to clean up this space in order to maximize the sale price.”

3. Create a sense of optimism.

If you’re representing a hoarder who’s selling a home, assure the client that the home can be sold, says Paxton, the hoarding and extreme-cleaning expert for ServiceMaster Restore.

“If you don’t believe it, they won’t,” he says. “Treat them just like any other client.”

4. Team up with “extreme cleaning” professionals.

When dealing with a hoarder’s home, it’s best to clear out everything before it’s put on the market, says Dave Baxter, owner and CEO of Baxter Restoration, which provides restoration and remediation services in Orlando, Fla. Experts suggest tapping professionals who are well versed in “extreme cleaning.”

“You can’t know what you are really dealing with until you get all the crap out and have a look at the structure of the building to see what kind of damage has been done,” says Baxter.

Working with a team of professionals who are familiar with hoarders’ homes, rather than a typical cleaning crew, ensures there’s a high level of “compassion and understanding,” says Paxton.

“People with a true hoarding disorder cannot be pushed, threatened or cajoled into making decisions, so ideally, a professional organizer or therapist would be good to add to the team,” says Regina Lark, a Los Angeles-based professional organizer with expertise in hoarding disorder and chronic disorganization.

5. Consider storage.

Lark suggests renting a mobile storage unit or a nearby self-storage unit to temporarily store stuff if a hoarder is grappling with weeding out belongings.

6. Be realistic.

If you must list a hoarder’s home while all of the seller’s belongings are still inside, feature only a floor plan in the listing and include photos of what does look nice or can easily be fixed to look nicer, says Brad Chandler, co-founder and CEO of a real estate investment company in Springfield, Va.

“Encourage buyers to visualize what can be done with the ‘bones’ of the property and how it could look once it is renovated,” says Chandler.

Depending on the market and the property’s value, consider paying an architect or remodeler to draw up a plan showing renovation ideas and costs, he says. Such a plan can cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

7. Brace for extensive damage.

Hoarding often evolves over the course of many years, resulting in mold, animal infestation and other structural problems. Therefore, both visible and hidden damage may be lurking inside a hoarder’s home.

“Buyers and sellers need to fully understand that they may not be able to determine the full extent of structural damage to a house or residence until after the items are removed. This is where professional companies experienced in construction and repair work, as well as cleaning and decluttering, can be particularly helpful,” Paxton says.

If a house is being sold “as is,” you might not fully understand why the price tag was so low till after the house is empty, Paxton warns.

8. Recruit home flippers.

An investor might be willing to buy a hoarder’s home “as is,” with the owner’s possessions still inside, Chandler says. An agent can host an open house for potential investors without the hoarder needing to be there. “This shields the seller from embarrassment and eliminates the need for parading buyers through, as is necessary when listing the traditional way,” he says.

9. Establish ownership.

Make sure the person living in the home actually owns the home. A hoarder’s house actually might be tied up in a trust, or a hoarder might be living there for free. “Understand the legal landscape of ownership before getting too far into a contractual relationship,” says Paxton.

10. Be time-sensitive.

When arranging appointments with a hoarder client, set specific times and call ahead a few times before those appointments. “Understand that timing is not a hoarder’s strength,” says Paxton.

As for establishing goals for cleanup, set several reachable deadlines instead of one massive deadline, Paxton advises. In other words, don’t tell the hoarder: “This house must be clean by end of week.” Rather, approach it like this: “By Friday, I need you to clean up this hallway. Then by Monday, I need to be able to see this 2-foot-by-2-foot area.”

John Egan is editor in chief at SpareFoot, which operates a marketplace that helps people find and book self-storage.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for real estate tips and tricks for you and your clients.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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7 Ways to Wow Buyers with Outdoor Staging

As one of the busier times of year for real estate activity, summertime is ideal for sellers hoping to unload their homes for top dollar. If you’re listing a home on the market this summer, stand out from the pack with these outdoor staging tips.

1. Invite Buyers In

welcomeIt’s no secret curb appeal matters to buyers, but too often, minor details are overlooked when setting the stage out front. To roll out the welcome for buyers, replace your worn welcome mat with a summery alternative, and install large house numbers in a prominent location that can be viewed from the street.

 

bobvila.com

bobvila.com

2. Shine Up Windows

Cleaning windows inside and out can be taxing, but it makes a noticeable difference. For the exterior sides of the windows, scrub off any accumulated film from tree pollen and polish until glistening. Buyers will be pleased to see not only a sparkling home outside, but a light-filled interior as well.

 

fabuloushomeblog.com

fabuloushomeblog.com

3. Showcase Small-Scale Color

In lieu of a costly exterior paint job, choose specific areas outside to add pops of color. Window boxes bursting with blooms are often well-received by buyers, as well as container plantings. If the exterior could use refreshing, consider re-painting the front door before recruiting a professional to do the entire home.

 

 

plowhearth.com

plowhearth.com

4. Spotlight for Safety

Make sure the outdoor spaces around your home, including the front entrance, deck, patio, and walkways, are appropriately lit. Updated light fixtures are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are an added safety feature to the home.

 

5. Maintain the Landscape
hgtvgardens.com

hgtvgardens.com

A well-kept home speaks volumes to buyers, and the exterior is no exception. Whether you hire a professional landscaper or DIY, trim the lawn and any hedges – the latter can be a trip hazard if left untouched.

 

 

6. Deck Out the Deck
deck

hgtv.com

Whether your home features a deck, patio, porch or other outdoor living area, take time to power wash the surface to remove any debris. If your outdoor furniture is lacking, consider purchasing a fresh set, complete with all-weather cushions and pillows in vibrant colors.

 

7. Make the Pool Picture-Perfect
home.howstuffworks.com

home.howstuffworks.com

Pools can be a make-or-break feature for buyers, so play it up as best you can. After having the pool cleaned by a professional, take care to skim the surface for any debris that accumulates between buyer visits. Be sure the pool cover, mechanized or otherwise, is free of damage and the filtering system is in proper working order.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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