Home Sellers: Don’t be caught making these real estate mistakes

Avoid Real Estate Mistakes and Get Your Home SOLD
Avoid these home selling real estate mistakes to get your home sold quickly, and for a price you feel good about.  As Realtors with over a decade of experience, we know what it takes to get a home sold as well as the prep that’s necessary to buy a home.  For home sellers in Wake County, knowing some basic tips in advance can make a world of difference for your upcoming home transaction.

When Selling Your Home:

Provide easy access for showings

  • 8 am – 8 pm is usually best.  Not setting restrictions up front and a willingness to be flexible with prospective buyers might mean the difference between selling in 2 weeks versus sitting on the market for an extended period.

Don’t be home during the showings

  • Buyers meeting sellers during a showing is an uncomfortable situation.  Allow prospective home buyers to see themselves living in your home, to sit on the furniture (if they want), to open closets, cabinets and the fridge.  If you’re home the buyers will feel they’re invading your privacy, and may be too distracted by your presence to really get a feel for your home.
  • Just like you, it’s best if your pets aren’t home either.  Every one’s different… a client told me once if the buyers don’t like dogs I don’t want them buying my home anyway.  While I understand the sentiment, limiting your buyer pool is not going to help you move on.

No really personalized renovations

Neutral is always a good way to go when thinking about colors and decor before selling your home in and around Wake County.  This is an over the top example but let’s just say you, the seller, LOVES sharks… the Discovery Channel’s shark week is your favorite week of the year and in honor of your passion you renovated your front entrance to look like you’re walking into a huge shark’s mouth.  You love it, your friends and family say “YES – LOVE it” but really… do you think this is going to help your chances of selling when the time comes?

Whether it’s a shark mouth entrance, your favorite purple polka-dot carpet or the very specific tile mosaic that reminds you of your childhood trip to the Disney theme parks, extreme personalization that requires a sledge hammer (or a lot of expense) is better to avoid when possible.

Personalization’s are what make your home yours but when your home is for sale, taking down a huge framed shark poster, or painting over a cartoon mural is a better alternative to having your home under construction.  For more information check out our home seller guide to color.

Don’t pick the wrong agent 

  • Choose the Right Realtor® to Market and Sell Your HomeWhen you meet – treat it like a job interview.
  • A friend of a friend may not be right for you.
  • Meeting at the Realtors office is a good idea.  See where they work, how organized they are, etc.
  • Ask a lot of questions.
  • Ask about the marketing strategy for your home – make sure there is a comprehensive online marketing plan to get your home sold, statistics show over 80% of homes bought were found online.
  • Choose someone you feel comfortable with, trust, someone who is knowledgeable about the area and has a list of references they’re willing to share with you.

Just remember, when your home is on the market… it’s not your own. Though it is not always convenient, living in a well staged (check out home staging tips for ideas), clean and organized home while it’s listed on the real estate market will get you a quicker sale and in the long run be well worth the trouble.

Comparative Market Analysis

Wondering what your home is worth in today’s real estate market?  We offer a free, no obligation CMA (comparative market analysis) for home owners living in the Triangle who are planning to sell.  Get your home’s approximate value in today’s market.


Buying or Selling a Home in the Triangle? Time to Declutter!


Spring Cleaning Can Feel SOOOOO Good!


Thinking about buying or selling a home in the Triangle… or really anywhere for that matter?  Now is a great time to start spring cleaning and decluttering your home.

Time to Declutter!

Getting a jump on spring cleaning hardly seems exciting,

but the results will produce a cleaner home…

and often even a fresh perspective.

For many of us, springtime brings out the bug (or should I say the obligation) to get organized. Tie that bug in with a real NEED to declutter,  especially when selling or buying a new home, and it’s safe to say it’s time to get started!   Just remember to tackle a little at a time ~ don’t try to do it all in one day.  Throw on some lively music in the background and what would ordinarily seem like a duty, can be made a fun (or at least an OK) event.

Selling your Triangle Home, or moving into your new home will likely sneak up on you fast.  Here’s a tip on how to make that move a tad less hectic;  start by making a few trips to your local donation center or having a garage sale.  By giving away some of that stuff  (you know that “stuff” we all collect that we know we’ll never use or need)  your moving experience (and home staging process) can be a much less hassled experience.

Getting rid of STUFF = Less Packing + Less Boxes + a Clean Start

4 Ways To Sell Your Home Faster And For More Money

We are constantly asked why do some homes sell faster than others?  Well, Lisa does a great job recapping just what it takes to move your home to the top of the list of potential buyers.  Well stated Lisa!

Via Lisa Udy Realtor Utah Real Estate Specialist (Logan Utah Real Estate The Platinum Real Estate Group):

Iriginal Source: 4 Ways To Sell Your Home Faster And For More Money

As a home seller, you want the most money, in the shortest amount of time possible when selling a home. Heck, who doesn’t? But how do you go about getting the most money in the least amount of time? That’s the golden question isn’t it? Well, here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction:


Price Your Home Just Below Market Value

Paper money in grass.

Most people price their homes above market value hoping to get an offer right around market value. But consider this: Which homes are selling the fastest in today’s market? Foreclosures and Short Sales.

The reason people are buying up foreclosures and short sale is simple, they are usually priced below market value. Even though most of these homes start out priced below market value, most of them sell for market value because of bidding wars.

Foreclosure and short sale Realtors know that if you price a home below market value, you can stir up more activity on the home, which will then bring in multiple offers. Multiple offers will create bidding wars. Bidding wars will raise the price people will pay for the home.

Besides, most real estate markets are declining, and in 3 months, your home will be worth less anyways. Why not take advantage of that market today before it bites you in the butt 3 months from now? Price ahead of the market and watch your home sell faster and for more money.

If you’re home is priced the same as the foreclosure down the street, yet in prestine condition, you can be sure those offers will be on your home and not the foreclosure.

A home priced ahead of the market will sell faster and for more money.


Finish The To Do’s Before You List, Not After

Getting your home ready to show is crucial. First impressions leave a lasting impression and you need to make sure your home sticks out amongst the crowd. And, if you haven’t noticed, the crowds are out in full force these days.

Market inventory, in many markets, is at all time highs! Paint the porch, clean the carpets, replace light bulbs, clean and paint walls, and anything else that needs to be taken care of.

A home that isn’t well maintained tells buyers the owners don’t take care of the place which will be reflected in any offers you receive.

A well maintained home will sell faster and for more money.


Get Rid Of The Personal Stuff

Buyers are looking for a home they can call their own. Give them a canvas to paint their own picture. Sure, little Johnny’s first doo-doo was cute, but you don’t need to display in on the fridge.

Personal pictures distract buyers from your homes features. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked through a home with buyers who stop and look at every picture. They want to see if they know the people who live in the home.

Personal pictures tell buyers someone else lives there, and it makes it harder for them to picture themselves in the home.

A home without personal clutter sales faster and for more money.


Keep It Clean And Smelling Nice

Family giving dog a bath.You have to be prepared to show your home at anytime. If you’re not, you may miss the opportunity to show your home to an out of town buyer that’s in just for the weekend. Or, if you show them your home when it’s not clean, you may also lose out.

A bad smelling home is a warning sign to buyers.Common household odors such as pet urine, smoke, and mold tell buyers to run for the hills. Get rid of the odors and the odor producers.

If you’re a smoker, smoke outside. If you have pets give them to a family member while you’re on the market. If you have mold or mildew smells, use some vinegar to get rid of it, cover it with baking soda, and spray some Febreeze.

Before a buyer comes over, bake some cookies for a nice homely smell, or light a fresh scent candle. You can also put a bowl of vinegar in various places to neutralize odors while spraying some odor cover ups like Lysol or Glade.

A clean, fresh smelling home sells faster and for more money.


If you need to sell your home fast but don’t want to give it away, you have to be prepared to put a little work in. Clean up your house so that Martha Stewart would be proud, price your home ahead of the market, get rid of your personal stuff, and make sure all repairs are done and presentable.  Happy selling!


Lisa Udy

Platinum Real Estate Group

Please Help Carolyn Capalbo

Where do I start to get my home ready to sell? Remodeling projects that pay off – cost vs value trends

perhaps new counter tops would do the trick


This week I’ve received a couple phone calls from past clients that are getting ready to make a move.  With interest rates as low as they are and the tax credit for 1st time home buyers having been extended and expanded they feel it’s a good time to get their home ready for the Raleigh real estate market.  Their reasons for selling are varied BUT the question I hear is the same.  What do we need to do to get our home ready for the market here in the Raleigh-Cary NC area.

Of course standard maintenance items are always at the top of my recommendations.  Replacing a blown off shingle, having the HVAC serviced, or replacing wood rot should be on everyone’s list that is looking to get their homes ready to sell.  As is a good scrubbing and fresh coat of paint if needed.  But the folks I’ve been talking with have been good about keeping their yearly routine maintenance items up to date and they have started freshening up their interiors.  What they are looking for is answers to what remodeling projects should I do that will bring me the most bang for my buck…

Thanks to NAR and Remodeling Magazine there are some very specific remodeling projects that could help return goodin with the new dollar value.   As with everything concerning real estate do use common sense AND keep in mind that there are many factors that will determine the sale price of your home.  You’ll want to do your due diligence and not over improve for your market.  And do seek the advice of an outsider.  A good start is your Raleigh REALTOR®.   It’s just way too hard to look at our own home objectively as to what needs what.

However there are projects that you can do that will not only return 60-80% of your cost, but they may also include tax credits too.  Things like replacing tired roofs and windows will not only help your homes appearance but it will also bring with it  a little energy pay back as well. Be sure to read the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act to find out if you qualify for any of the energy tax credit.

The AVERAGE overall cost vs. value trend across all regions in the US is down from it’s high in 2005.  Back then the average recapture on your cost was running as high as about 86%.  This years report states that amount is down to just under 64%.  But remember that’s the average for all repairs.  There are still some that could potentially return much more.

In the US the top remodeling return on investment projects (8 out of the top 10) were projects that buyers could see from the road.  Makes sense right?  If the street presence is top notch more prospective buyers will actually schedule a showing to see the inside!   So once inside concentrate on improvement projects that will meet those prospective buyers expectations.  Does your competition have granite counter tops?  Are you missing a bath to compete with other homes in your market price?  Well you get the picture…  Those are the projects that need your attention.

top remodeling projects 2009-10

So what remodeling projects will potentially bring you more bang for your buck?  Here’s what this years report shows us for the Raleigh NC area (left side of chart) compared to other South Atlantic areas. 

 NOTE: midrange & upscale data refers to the project – NOT the price of the homes

South Atlantic cost vs. value for Raleigh NC

Raleigh cost vs. value projects

Interesting to point out that here in the Raleigh area basements are not as plentiful as say unfinished walk up attics.   Which might account for the higher return on your dollar…  Also since we are an area that weighs heavily on square footage when pricing a home any additional livable square footage you add to your home is certainly going to increase it’s value.

Don’t take this data at face value – remember there are many factors that go into pricing your home today.  And that old expression rings true – you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig…  be sensable with your home improvements.  Instead use it as a starting point for what your home needs to meet your prospective buyers expectations. Again, be sure to sit down with your REALTOR® before starting any projects prior to selling.


Is YOUR welcome mat out?

be sure YOUR welcome mat is out...

Dear Mr & Mrs. Seller,

Your home has made the short list of ones that match my buyers parameters and I have made an appointment to show your home tomorrow afternoon.

These folks have been looking for a couple of months now and from what we read on the MLS sheet your home has a lot of what they are looking for.

They really have an interest in your subdivision as well.

Hopefully we have given you enough time to prepare for our showing.

Agent with buyers who need to buy a home

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller,

I am the agent that made the appointment to show your home that you are selling in Raleigh yesterday afternoon.  I’m not at all sure what happened.  I know getting ready for a showing can be time consuming so that’s why the advanced notice. Did you get the message?

The front door had so many cobwebs around it and that kick plate – looks like an antique.  So the first impression wasn’t great.

Upon stepping into the foyer the please take your shoes off sign was surrounded by dust bunnies and crumbs that I have to say I really didn’t’ feel like walking barefoot on your floors.  And that stench…  I didn’t get any warning about pets in the house.

Once in the kitchen we found the cause of the stench – it was your last nights dinner mess still in the sink.  I have to admit I bet your granite counters are lovely but we really couldn’t see them through all the stuff on the counters.

Oh and the wall of museum art on the fridge door – very attention getting.

Your family room sure has a lot of windows – and I’ll bet they really let the sunshine in when they’re clean.  And did you really win all those trophies in miniature golf?  There must have been hundreds on the shelves around the fireplace!  Was that cherry cabinets?  We couldn’t really see what they were through all the trophies.

Your master bedroom sure is a huge room to hold all that equipment.  Have you been restoring computers for a while?  There sure was a lot of tiny pieces for us to walk around to view the master bath.  I just wish we could have gotten the closet door open to peak inside but it seemed to be jammed.

My desperate to buy a home buyers didn’t want to see anymore – it was really a quick visit.  Too bad – because it did fit a lot of their needs…

I received a request for feedback from your listing agent.  All I can say is if you are really serious about selling your home – clean it, shine it, declutter it, and stage it. Then put out the welcome mat.

Agent with buyers off to find another home for sale in Raleigh


Every Home has a buyer! 5 pearls to sell your Raleigh Real Estate…

Sell my home!


Sure the Real Estate market slowed down over the past couple of years, but the good news is there are still  homes selling (Wake County Market Report) – so why shouldn’t it be yours!  Here’s 5 sure ways to position your Triangle home for sale to the top of the buyers list…

First of all it has never been more important than to define your market.  Real Estate is not a one size fits all glove – which has been obvious with the troubled real estate markets in CA, FL, and NV.  They do not come close to comparing with the real estate market here in the Triangle NC region.   

We can even go further and break down the Triangle real estate market – Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill – all different.  Then we could go even deeper say in the Raleigh area – Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina… well you get the idea… So define your homes for sale in Raleigh to match the market it fits.

Pearl #1…  Determine the true market conditions within your subdivision/area so that you can better assess your true competition.

Everyone’s heard real estate agents talk about the price.  Have you ever stopped to consider that there Price it right the first time!are actually 4 prices for every home?  Of course there’s the asking price… but then there’s the price that the buyer would love to get the home for, the appraiser has a price that they’ll give it , and of course there’s what the home will actually sell for. 

Pricing a home in any market is the #1 most important thing you can do to get your home sold.  The key?  Don’t be tempted to test the market and overprice.  Of course nobody wants to leave any money on the table either.  Here again a clear understanding of your market trends is very important.  But then so is your motivation to sell and what your competition is like while your in the market. 

Pearl #2…  Spend time to considering all the pieces when pricing your home and price it properly from the beginning

Staging is all the rage in our market these days.  Is it hype or real?  We believe it very much is real. 

Look at how we go about selling a car.  When you get ready to put your car on the market what do you do?  You clean it out, you clean it up AND you get it detailed. 

But there’s one very big difference between selling your home and your car (aside from the price).  You probably aren’t as emotionally attached to your car. 

When it comes to being able to critically look at one’s home as a buyer it takes an outside expert.  Buyers’ opinions are formed within seconds of entering a house.  It’s the first impression that counts.  There are different levels of Staging but well worth the time and money.  

Pearl #3… Stage it forward to an offer!

online info

We all know that buyers today are empowered by a wealth of information online.  But did you know that according to The National Association of Realtors that the number one way a buyer learns about a property is through a real estate agent? 

This makes sense.  Most buyers today are savvy enough to gather their info online but then turn to an expert in deciphering that information.  So it’s important to think like a buyer today.  Your home needs the exposure to the real estate community just as much as through all the various online channels. 

FREE Home selling tips from the St. Peter HomeSelling Team!

Pearl #4… Get the maximum exposure for your home to the largest number of buyers possible using every available medium possible


Would you consider yourself a bargain hunter?  I am sort of  – if I’m looking for something and happen to see a coupon, or discount for it at a particular store – that’s where I’m going to go to make my purchase. 

Everyone loves to get something freeThe same holds true for home buyers.  So get creative in ways to attract those buyers to buy your home.  Incentives can be in a variety of different forms; seller paid closing costs, 1st year home owners association fees paid, a flat screen TV above the fireplace, windows washed, a one year home warranty paid for.

• Pearl #5… Set yourself apart from your competition and get creative incentives working to attract buyers to your home

Hope this helps you get into the #1 spot for those next buyers heading your way.  If you have any questions we’re here to help!



Tips on selling and living in your home at the same time!

It’s not easy to have your house on display or more commonly known as for sale  Trying to sell your home and live in it at the same time really is an oxymoron.   All those model homes to compete with or that neighbor selling who is a neat freak can make you run for cover but hey – there are a few ideas that you could implement to at least help make those last minute showing requests a bit more humanly sufferable.

  • One of my favorites is buy a big plastic tub for each room. When a prospective buyer is on the way, throw unattractive essentials like toys, toothbrushes, dirty clothes into the tubs, then stow the tubs in the garage or a closet.

No time to really do a thorough cleaning?  Hit the Windex to the front door – that front entrance is the most important first impression you have to bestow on your potential buyers – it’ll leave a clean smell and shiny image to the sub consciousness.


Develop an escape plan. Decide in advance where you’ll go when potential buyers are on the way over. It doesn’t have to be far — taking a walk through the neighborhood is probably good enough.  But please remember to take your key with you…  here in the Raleigh area (and I’ll bet the rest of the US) the showing agent is required to lock all doors after showing.  I’ve had more than one seller call because they didn’t take their keys.


One of the most important issues that I see here in the Raleigh market is please be flexible about showing times. Setting severe limitations makes it harder to sell a home.  And really you only get a split second window of opportunity sometimes – take it!  (Wake county market report – days on the market)


And one that I can’t stress enough is please don’t request that the listing associates be there for every showing!  Itt makes it very difficult to find a time that works for everyone.




Hope this helps in making a very uncomfortable situation bearable…  and when all else fails.. leave a cute note… reminding those buyers that  you’re human too.

Want to know 3 ways to guarantee the sale of your home?

#1 – Price it right…

Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for their home.  Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to overprice just to test the market; especially in todays market.  A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. Overpriced properties do two things…  they take an unusually long time to sell and they end up being sold at a lower price. If you live in the Raleigh NC area we’ll be happy to provide you with a free market analysis.

 There’s a lot to consider when pricing your home..

  • The difference between cost and price
  • What the market value really is in your neighborhood
  • How the principles of progression and regression apply to your home
  • Do you leave room for bargaining
  • What’s the absorption rate for your area
  • And especially what’s your competition in the market today

You can also request a free copy of our 29 Essential Tips That get homes Sold.

 #2 – Stage it right

 Staging is not just a buzz word anymore.  This mistake could cost you more money than you think!  When attempting to sell your home it has to sparkle!  Don’t forget to make your home look and smell as pleasant as possible. Get it ready as if you’re expecting guests.  Remember ambiance lighting and even a bit of inviting background music…

And those repairs you’ve been putting of doing… do them now.  If you want to compete when selling your home has to be sparkling clean.

 Make sure everything functions.  And don’t neglect the front door – it’s your potential buyer’s first impressionA poorly kept home in need of repairs will only encourage low offers – if any.


#3 – Market and advertise it right!

Everyone is aware that buyers start online these days when searching for their new home.  So make sure yours is getting the online presence it needs.  That means on multiple sites, with lot of professional looking photos and perhaps even a virtual tour. 

Social networking sites are another way your realtor® will attract interest in the sale of your home.  Employing a wide variety of marketing techniques is not just lip service it’s imperative in today’s market. 

Thanks for reading and good luck on the sale of your home!

the DaVinci Code of real estate lingo

As with all industries, real estate professionals have developed a lingo and acronyms to help them communicate with each other more easily. For the first-time homebuyer (and even some veterans), making sense of property listings can sometimes leave you feeling like you’re deciphering the DaVinci Code.Let’s take a look at a sample real estate listing:

2,500 sf on a c-d-s, 2BR, 2.5BA, CA, spac grt rm w/ wbfp, grmet kit, det gar

Looks a lot like alphabet soup doesn’t it?  But so often we are forced to use these abbreviated property descriptions because most of our multiple listing services and newspaper print ads only allow us limited space for our comments and descriptions.  Some abbreviations you’ll probably encounters are:

·        AC or A/C: air conditioning

·        BA: bathroom

·        BR: bedroom

·        CA: central air

·        C-D-S: cul de sac

·        DET: detached

·        DK: deck

·        EIK: eat-in kitchen

·        F/FIN BSMT: finished basement

·        FDR: formal dining room

·        FP, frplc: fireplace

·        GAR: garage

·        GRMT KIT: gourmet kitchen

·        GRT RM: great room

·        HDW, HWF, Hdwd:  hardwood floors

·        HOA: home owners association

·        LR: living room

·        KIT: kitchen

·        OFC: office

·        PVT: private

·        SF: square feet

·        SPAC: spacious

·        VW, VU: view

·        WBFP: wood-burning fireplace


In addition to the abbreviations in property listings, here are a few other common terms you should become familiar with.

FSBO—For Sale By Owner.  This term refers to a property where the homeowner is trying to sell the property themselves without a real estate professional.

MLS—Multiple Listing Service.  MLS’s are comprised of a group of real estate brokers who have agreed to share their property listings. This listing is then provided to the group through a database or directory.  If you are buying your home, this is the service that your sales professional will use to search for potential homes for you to purchase. If you are selling your property, your real estate professional can list your home through the MLS. For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) properties are typically not listed through the MLS.

CMAComparative Marketing Analysis. 

This analysis is an opinion/assessment of a property’s market value. This is one of the tools your real estate professional can use to help you determine a reasonable listing price. Usually, the CMA compares your property with similar properties that have sold in your area within a certain time frame. Besides purchase price, some of the information typically listed is the number of bedrooms and baths, approximate square footage, size of major rooms, amenities such as fireplaces and pools, age of the home, and property taxes.


During the real estate process, you probably will come across more acronyms and lingo. Make sure you ask your real estate professional to explain any terms you are unfamiliar with so that you are not in for any surprises.


{By the way, the listing above was a 2,500 square-feet home on a cul-de-sac, with two bedrooms and two and a half baths, central air, a spacious great room with a wood-burning fireplace, and a gourmet kitchen and detached garage. }

Make it a great Real Estate day!