Todd's Blog

You must Stage!

Besides pricing your home, staging it would be the next most important thing.  I have been through hundreds of homes that could be presented so much better.  They say a picture is worth 1000 words so you imagine the impact of 25 photos online representing your home. 90% of the buyers look and identify their likely purchase online.  It is very important for your listing agent to hold a property listing until the home is properly staged.  Proper staging can be as simple as de-cluttering or as involved as repainting the whole house. What is important to remember is that the way you market a home may not be the way you live in it.  You may be inconvenienced for a time and have to adapt to a different type of living in the home.  Coldwell Banker has an interior designer to help with furniture, colors and fixtures and a handyman to help implement the larger changes or updates.  The key to successful marketing of a home is NOT to rush it and to make sure that time, thought and expertise is applied. 


Beware of Range Pricing

Selling and buying real estate takes patience, meticulous record keeping, great organization, and most important a lot of research.  There are several ways to sell a property, listing with an agent, selling by owner, auctioning the property or listing the property using range pricing.

Range pricing is when the property is listed with a price range; for example 123 Normal Blvd is listed for $160,000 but the sellers will accept offers starting at $120,000.  This marketing tactic gives buyers a lower starting point but with an open range price you never know what the real selling price is.  With this type of marketing There are almost always multiply offers with many people submitting contracts closer to the starting number but the seller not accepting them but rather holding them until the price escalates to a satisfactory or acceptable level.  If you submit an offer and you are the only contract often times the listing agents will use that as fuel to call other agents to solicit more bids thus escalating the price.  The problem for the purchaser is you typically will never get an answer on your offer until there have been several offers submitted and then maybe an opportunity to raise your offer.

The best way to counter this if you feel you are offering a fair value for the home is to put an expiration date on the contract; which every real estate contract has a section for. This eliminates the possibility of the sellers holding and marketing your bid for too long. Buyers should stay away from range priced listings. They are vague, sketchy at best, and you will find yourself waiting, waiting and waiting for nothing more than drummed up artificial competition that will drive up the cost of the real estate.  Sellers should be also concerned with this for the simple reason that many Agents will not even bother showing these homes due to the lack of concrete pricing and the overall headaches that come with trying to truly represent their clients with such a vague listing tactic. For the best exposure set the price at what you and your agent feel the fair market value is.



Redeveloping is not Flipping

There is no doubt that Buffalo has an aging inventory of homes and properties, and it would not be uncommon to come across homes especially in the City of Buffalo built in the late 1800”s.  Unlike many parts of the country our inventory is also in need of updating, rehab, and overall renovations.  With the current housing crisis our Western New York area did not experience the depreciation or flood of foreclosures however there are foreclosure and a large inventory of dilapidated properties. It is important to distinguishing the difference between “Flipping” a house and “Redeveloping” it.  For all the HGTV watches that think they can buy undervalued properties, slap a coat of paint on the walls, replace a few fixtures, plant some flowers and make $60,000 on the resale of the same property; I got news for you, its Buffalo and if you believe that than I have some great Florida swamp land for you to buy.  The bottom line is that flipping is bad for any community and people should be vigilant to discourage I; they don’t improve the property, and often times they don’t even have clean deeds to transfer.  Now “Re-Development” which often gets lump in as “flipping” is something that is needed and should be embraced by the community and municipalities.   “Re-Developing” is someone buying an undervalued property in need of repairs or updates and putting consider amount of money with a level of craftsmanship that is equal to new construction and bring that property back to a level of the market and the community. You will typically see these types of redeveloped properties being bought and sold by local companies or contractors with a solid reputation.  These properties usually find their way back on the market through Real Estate Brokers or agents.  “Flipping” is someone buying the same undervalued property putting little or no improvements to the property and trying to resell and profit off the natural market trends.  Typically the craftsmanship if any is sub-par and questionable.  Flipped properties which often will be on EBay or secondary Web sites hoping to lure the unexpected buyer and occasionally they will be listed with brokers.  Buffalo and its surrounding communities should be open to the groups of skilled contractors and craftsmen that take our aging vacant inventory and turn them into modern updated homes that are financeable and desirable to potential buyers.  The neighbors and tax man should love it.   And if you’re still leery of “re-developed” properties let me also shed some light on how the banks are now more than ever picking apart properties and appraisals; that without someone making improvements to these properties most of them are not financeable (unless you specifically applied for a rehab style loan FHA-203k).


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Personal Notes

  • Consulting with contractors
  • The Olympic Torch in Vancouver
  • My favorite pastime
  • Team USA at Vancouver!
  • Enjoying the local waterways
  • Vacationing in Russia