Shhhh! What NOT To Say When Your Home Is On The Market!

Real estate markets around the country differ in terms of the protocol of how showings are handled. In some areas, homes are shown by appointment only with the listing agent present for every showing. In Northern Virginia, it’s customary for buyer agents to let Sellers know when they would like to show the home to their clients. The Seller then lets the agent in or the agent accesses the home through the lockbox that is placed on the door. (Appointment only listings exist, but unless the home is in the multi-million dollar luxury category, this can be a huge detriment to selling.)

This means Sellers are often home when agents come to show. We recommend that our Sellers leave during showings so Buyers can really picture the house as “theirs”. The other reason we recommend they leave is because it’s in their best interests NOT to discuss the following things with the Buyer Agent or the Buyers. Why? Because potential purchasers want to obtain the LOWEST price and BEST terms for themselves. And Buyer Agents represent them, not you.

The conversation might be a casual one. Just a meet & greet as you head out the door. But don’t get caught off guard and end up in the DANGER ZONE!

7 Things Home Sellers Should Not Say

7 Things Sellers Should NOT Discuss With Buyers (or Buyer Agents):

1. Reason for selling

2. Motivation/urgency to sell

3. Willingness to consider an offer less than the listing price

4. Terms under which you would sell

5. Relocation, timing, benefits & policies

6. Items of personal property which you “might” be willing to include in a sale.

7. Any confidential information that would serve to disclose your negotiating strategy.

For more tips about how to sell your home for the highest price, contact Terry Belt & The Belt Team. We are known nationally for our top-notch negotiating skills and Belt Team listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than average. It’s why we are routinely recognized among the best Realtors in Northern VA, and rank in the top realtors in the entire state.

FREE – What Is My Home Worth?

Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change yours, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

OMG! What Realtors Say To Other Realtors About YOUR House

Home Selling Mistakes

If your home has been on the market, and it’s not selling as fast as you expected, it could be that your home is one of the ones Realtors are talking about to each other! (But don’t worry, these are all fixable issues!)

Here are some real life examples of “What Realtors Say To Other Realtors About YOUR House”:

1. “Interesting” MLS Descriptions:

Here’s a real example from our local MLS: “Basic rancher in good shape, but has working Single Father Decor“.

A Realtor friend posted this on Facebook and asked “I wonder if THAT was approved by the Seller?!

It may accurately convey the state of the home, but it doesn’t help you sell. It night be wiser to list your home with a professional who will provide a free consultation with a professional stager. Even if you don’t choose to hire the stager, she will provide you with no cost ways to prepare your home so you put your best foot forward.

2. Inaccurate MLS Entry:

If your home hasn’t been shown much, it could be that your agent entered it wrong in the MLS. Check out this Facebook post from another Realtor friend of mine:

Why My Home Isn't Selling

This happens a lot. Sometimes the number of bedrooms is wrong. Sometimes townhomes are listed as condos. Sometimes homes are listed in the wrong zip or city!

3. Oops, We Hid The Property Address:

Why My Home Isn't Selling

This could possibly be a tactic to get people to call, but we think it works in reverse. Most people will just go on to the next home for sale. Kind of hard to find an open house when you don’t have an address, right?!

4. Typos That Make You Cringe:

Why My Home Isn't Selling

Enough said here!

5. “Charlie” Is Home:

Why My Home Isn't Selling

The reaction above (even from “dog” people) is not unusual. (Here’s how we advise our clients if they are selling a home when they have a pet.)

6. Ugly Christmas Sweater:

Wallpaper Room

You should see the pictures agents post. If you think the paint or wallpaper in your home doesn’t need to come down, you might think again because your home may have been entered in someone’s Facebook contest for UGLIEST ROOM. (It’s kind of like the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party – except online.)

How Do We Fix This?

The one thing we see in common in most of the cases like the above, is that Sellers sometimes choose Realtors who are not full-time, who are not professional, who don’t work with professionals and/or who work solo without teams to handle the details.

If you’re selling your home, don’t be short sighted. Listing with your sister, your neighbor, your friend, or your local discount broker just might not be in your best interests!

You deserve the BEST Realtors in Northern VA to protect your asset. Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 and ask about a FREE staging consultation with a professional stager, FREE listing photos from a professional photographer and FULL SERVICE from a professional team. Belt Team listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than average.

Don’t be the house everyone is talking about, but no one is selling!

FREE Instant Online Home Valuation

State-of-the-Art Home Search Site for Northern VA

Best Real Estate Agents in Northern VA

Shhhh! What NOT To Say When Your Home Is On The Market!

Real estate markets around the country differ in terms of the protocol of how showings are handled. In some areas, homes are shown by appointment only with the listing agent present for every showing. In Northern Virginia, it’s customary for buyer agents to let Sellers know when they would like to show the home to their clients. The Seller then lets the agent in or the agent accesses the home through the lockbox that is placed on the door. (Appointment only listings exist, but unless the home is in the multi-million dollar luxury category, this can be a huge detriment to selling.)

This means Sellers are often home when agents come to show. We recommend that our Sellers leave during showings so Buyers can really picture the house as “theirs”. The other reason we recommend they leave is because it’s in their best interests NOT to discuss the following things with the Buyer Agent or the Buyers. Why? Because potential purchasers want to obtain the LOWEST price and BEST terms for themselves. And Buyer Agents represent them, not you.

The conversation might be a casual one. Just a meet & greet as you head out the door. But don’t get caught off guard and end up in the DANGER ZONE!

7 Things Home Sellers Should Not Say

7 Things Sellers Should NOT Discuss With Buyers (or Buyer Agents):

1. Reason for selling

2. Motivation/urgency to sell

3. Willingness to consider an offer less than the listing price

4. Terms under which you would sell

5. Relocation, timing, benefits & policies

6. Items of personal property which you “might” be willing to include in a sale.

7. Any confidential information that would serve to disclose your negotiating strategy.

For more tips about how to sell your home for the highest price, contact Terry Belt & The Belt Team. We are known nationally for our top-notch negotiating skills and Belt Team listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than average. It’s why we are recognized among the best Realtors in Northern VA, ranking in the Top 20 Realtors in the entire state.

FREE – What Is My Home Worth?

42 Questions To Ask When Selling Your Home

Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change yours, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

NOTE: Enjoy the videos below. Our marketing may be tongue-in-cheek, but our results are SERIOUS!

It’s a Seller’s Market! Should I Downsize Now?

This article about downsizing (or “rightsizing” as we like to call it!) from “Keeping Current Matters” brings up some great points. Call us at (703) 242-3975 if you’d like someone to help lay out your options and walk through current market conditions with you. You might also check out our blog posts:

It's a Seller's Market! Should I Downsize Now? | MyKCM

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in an article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profits from the sales of their current homes and splitting it in order to put down payments on smaller homes in their current locations, as well as on vacation/retirement homes where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values which makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 78.9% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let’s meet up to help guide you through the process.Call Terry Belt &The Belt Team at 703-242-3975. Don’t you deserve the BEST?!

WHat Is My Home Worth

2 Tips to Ensure You Get the Most Money When Selling Your House

Here’s some wise advice from Keeping Current Matters about how to maximize the return on what is probably your greatest asset – your house!


Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Impact on Price of Visibility NAR

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.


What Is My Northern Va Home Worth

Northern VA Real Estate Values

 

 

Wondering what questions to ask your Realtor when selling your home?

Find out here! Then call one of the country’s top real estate teams – The Belt Team – at (703) 242-3975. We were named to Washingtonian Magazine’s Best Realtors list in 20115 & 2016, and are ranked in the Top 20 Realtors in the State of VA (among 30,000+ agents!). It would be our pleasure to help YOU make the RIGHT move!

Baby Boomers Are On The Move – Is This YOUR Time To Move?

We hear from our friends at Keeping Current Matters that Baby Boomers are on the move! If you’re wondering whether now is the time for you to move, give us a call at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you sort through your options!


Baby-Boomers-STM


According to a Merrill Lynch study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.”

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses” at 26%.

A recent Freddie Mac study found similar results, as “nearly 20 percent of Boomers said they would move closer to their grandchildren/children compared to 13 percent who said they would move to a warmer climate.”

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes
There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them. According to Merrill Lynch:

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line
If your housing needs have changed, or are about to change, let’s get together to discuss your next steps.


If you’re thinking of moving, you may want to use our state-of-the-art web sites to begin your research:

And check out our FREE REPORTS – including: 

Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE consultation. We are one of Northern VA’s top real estate teams and are happy to help you make the RIGHT move!

42 Questions To Ask When Selling A Home in Northern VA

What To Ask When Selling Home

Are there questions you should ask your Realtor when you’re selling a home in Northern VA?

You betcha! There are more than 10,000 Realtors in Northern VA. So how do you choose the best one for you?

Ask LOTS of questions! We provide our clients with a list of 42 great questions to ask. Here’s a sampling of some – along with the reason why you should ask:

Q. How long have you been in real estate?

Does this really matter? Yes! While new agents can have many skills, there may also be some important ingredients missing: problem solving skills that come from experience for example. Per the National Association of Realtors, the average agent has been in the business for 7 years. Belt Team members average 21 years in the business. So we’ve seen a LOT more things come up and have a lot more resources to handle them. The more homes we sell, the more we learn. So when problems arise, they are usually only temporary and don’t permanently derail your sale. We’ve had lightning strike, raccoons in the attic (twice!), underground oil tanks and more – none of which derailed our sellers thanks to relationships we have built over many years.

Q. Do you have other listings higher in price and lower in price that you will be able to attract Buyers from?

Why does this matter? Because most calls we get inquiring about properties are calls from buyers who want to know the price of the house (and they always thinks it’s lower than it is) or they eventually realize they have to raise their price range to get what they want or lower it to get what they can afford. Since The Belt Team is such a productive team, our Sellers get the added benefit of being able to attract potential buyers from our other listings – both lower and higher in price.

Q. Do your signs have a direct phone number for your team?

Did you know that many newer agents get business by sitting at the front desk of their office as a receptionist and answering the phone – hoping a potential buyer might call about a house because they saw the sign in the yard? Some real estate companies require their agents’ signs to have the company number – instead of the listing agent’s number on the sign for this very reason – to feed newer agents business. While this might be great for the new agent, it’s not so great for the Seller becuase that means a much lesser experienced, less knowledgeable agent will be talking to potential buyers about your home. They might not have even seen your home! (Our signs and ads all have a dedicated Belt Team number that is answered almost 24/7!)

Q. Do you hire & pay for a professional photographer?

This one seems like a no brainer. Of course you would want professional photos of your home – especially when most buyers will see the photos online first! But you’d be surprised how many agents take their own photos to save the money. This is also a good way to guage how professional your Realtor is.

Q. What is the average days on market in my area and what is the average days YOUR listings sell in this area?

This question tells you how well the agent does their job. (Note: Belt Team listings sell much faster than average!)

Q. What percentage of list price do your listings sell for and what is the market average?

This is the logical follow up question to how fast listings sell for. You don’t want an agent who sells fast because they underprice their listings only for the homes to sell for less. And it’s a fine line to walk! (Belt Team listings not only sell faster than average, but for a higher percentage of list price.)

NOW is the time to prepare you home for the Spring Market. Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE Home Selling Consultation or email The Belt Team if you would like our FREE report “42 Interview Questions To Ask Your Realtor When Selling A Home“.

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Home Selling Tip If You’re Waiting Til Spring

Here’s a tip for those of you who are waiting until Spring to sell your home!

TIP: If your home has trees, backs to woods or parkland, or even just looks lovely with the chrysanthemums you planted – then NOW is the time to take some photos.

Trees in Vienna

Some homes show really well in the Fall – especially when the leaves are changing. Buyers who move here from places like Southern California, where there are no real “seasons”, will be especially wowed by how your home looks at this time of year. Snap some photos now and tuck them away for next year when you’re ready to sell.

Snow Day aon Frederick St - Feb 2 2010 002

You can do the same thing in the Winter when we get our first snow. And then again in the Spring when the trees being to blossom & the flowers begin to bloom.

Spring in Vienna - March 2010 005

 

AND – if you’re waiting to sell in the Spring, NOW is the time to get all the little “home maintenance” type things done that you’ve been putting off. It also might be the time to do the bigger items – like updating your bathrooms, taking down wallpaper and putting a fresh coat of paint on.

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule your PRE-LIST walkthrough appointment NOW. We can guide you on what items really need doing and what items can be skipped – which investments will generate a return and which investments will make you sale-able. We’ll ensure that your time and money are maximized!

Request our FREE REPORT: “42 Questions To Ask Your Realtor When Selling Your Home” by filling out this form or calling (703) 242-3975.

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Home Sellers – Don’t Be An April Fool. You Deserve Einstein!

The Belt Team Northern VA Real Estate

April 1st is approaching, and that means April Fool’s Day!

Here’s our April Fool’s Tip for Real Estate:

Don’t list your home with the agent who gives you the highest price recommendation.

Why not?

That seems backward, doesn’t it. Because of course you want to sell for the most amount of money possible. Right?!

Many agents will overprice a home in order to get the listing… and then ask for a price change down the line. But does it really matter? Can’t you just try out a higher price & then lower it if it doesn’t work?

You can. But not if you want to net the highest price possible. Statistics prove that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price it will sell for. Overpricing a home is the worst mistake you can make!

First, select your real estate agent based on his/her credentials. Then, with your agent’s input and a comparative market analysis, decide on price, and price it right from the start.

Never let an agent “buy” your listing. It’s tempting to “tell you what you want to hear”, but integrity and a professional price opinion are in your best interests. No one has a crystal ball & pricing can validly have some variability, but pricing realistically from the start is one of the strongest tools you have in winning the “Sales Game”!

The other reason you don’t want to select your agent solely based on the price he/she recommends is that you want to ensure you have an agent who gets results, who negotiates like a Ninja and who solves problems like Einstein.

Marketing your home & getting a contract are only half the battle. Negotiating, getting it ratified and getting successfully to closing are the other half. In today’s markets, lots of contracts are falling apart. And what we are observing is that the agents with the most talent, skill & experience have the highest success rates.

Oftentimes, the agent recommending the higher price is doing so because that’s the easy way out. They don’t have the skills to compete with other agents except for on price (whether that is list price or commission.) Sometimes it’s because they don’t do a lot of business and just don’t know the market well. But in either case, that doesn’t bode well for you as a Seller. This person will be representing you and is most likely NOT going to get you the results you want. You don’t just need a good marketer or a good sales person or someone you “click with”. You need the person who will get you the highest price for your most valuable financial asset and who will do it in the least amount of time with the least inconvenience, because that’s in your & your family’s best interests!

(Note: today most of Northern VA is seeing a Seller’s Market. So even newer & less talented agents can “sell” homes. But you don’t just want to “sell” your home, you want to maximize your profit and not leave money on the table!)

How do you find an agent who gets results, negotiates like a Ninja and solves problems like Einstein? (Well, you could just call us of course – LOL.) But seriously, ask a lot of questions. We advise people to ask 42 questions actually. Once you conduct that 42 question interview, you’ll know if you have a Ninja on your hands. You should also read their online reviews – not the ones on their web site, but on independent sites like Zillow. You’ll get a real feel for what it’s like to work with each agent you read about. (Just make sure they have enough reviews to paint a real picture!) (Read Belt Team Reviews here.)

If you’re thinking about selling, don’t be an April Fool! You deserve the BEST Real Estate Team in Northern VA. Call (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE consultation or email The Belt Team to request our FREE REPORT “42 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Sell Your Home.”)

I Want To Sell A Home & Schedule a FREE Seller Consultation

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Search Homes For Sale in Northern VA On Our State-of-the-Art Search Site

I Want Buy A Home & Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation

Shhhh! What NOT To Say When Your Home Is On The Market!

Real estate markets around the country differ in terms of the protocol of how showings are handled. In some areas, homes are shown by appointment only with the listing agent present for every showing. In Northern Virginia, it’s customary for buyer agents to let Sellers know when they would like to show the home to their clients. The Seller then lets the agent in or the agent accesses the home through the lockbox that is placed on the door. (Appointment only listings exist, but unless the home is in the multi-million dollar luxury category, this can be a huge detriment to selling.)

This means Sellers are often home when agents come to show. We recommend that our Sellers leave during showings so Buyers can really picture the house as “theirs”. The other reason we recommend they leave is because it’s in their best interests NOT to discuss the following things with the Buyer Agent or the Buyers. Why? Because potential purchasers want to obtain the LOWEST price and BEST terms for themselves. And Buyer Agents represent them, not you.

The conversation might be a casual one. Just a meet & greet as you head out the door. But don’t get caught off guard and end up in the DANGER ZONE!

7 Things Home Sellers Should Not Say

7 Things Sellers Should NOT Discuss With Buyers (or Buyer Agents):

1. Reason for selling

2. Motivation/urgency to sell

3. Willingness to consider an offer less than the listing price

4. Terms under which you would sell

5. Relocation, timing, benefits & policies

6. Items of personal property which you “might” be willing to include in a sale.

7. Any confidential information that would serve to disclose your negotiating strategy.

For more tips about how to sell your home for the highest price, contact Belt Team Listing Specialists Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges. They are known nationally for their top-notch negotiating skills and their listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than average. It’s why they are recognized among the best Realtors in Northern VA, ranking in the Top 10 Teams in the entire state.

FREE – What Is My Home Worth?

42 Questions To Ask When Selling Your Home

Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change yours, call Terry or Kevin at (703) 242-3975

NOTE: Enjoy the videos below. Our marketing may be tongue-in-cheek, but our results are SERIOUS!