Should I list my home during the Holidays?

Video

Should I list my home during the Holidays? This is a questions the agents on The Belt Team get a lot! Terry Belt, our CEO, & Tom Hanton have 11 reasons you SHOULD in fact list your home during the Holidays!

  1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are more serious buyers!
  2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you!
  3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home! Less demand means less money & longer time on the market for you!
  4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays! #curbappeal
  5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price!
  6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a working week.
  7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons!
  8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait until spring to buy, you must be on the market now to capture that market!
  9. You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings during the six or seven days during the Holidays!
  10. You can sell now for more money and we will provide for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year!
  11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! Sell high and buy low!

Terry & Tom elaborate on this list in the video above. Be sure to check it out!

*List credit to Mike Ferry, North America’s Leading Real Estate Coaching & Training Company*

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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!

Thinking of Downsizing? 4 Tips To Simplify Your Life!

The Belt Team works with many clients who are downsizing. (And we like to call it “right sizing.”) So why do people think about moving “down” and how can you simplify the process?

Downsizing Your Home Northern VA Real Estate  Halstead at The Metro II

Here are the most common reasons our clients “right size” to a smaller home:

Travel – A smaller home is easier to maintain. And that means they can travel more – visit grandchildren – or take those trips they’ve always dreamed of. This is not uncommon with empty nesters.

Health – Sometimes their current home is just too much to take care of on top of whatever health concerns they are dealing with.

Financial Freedom – Some people bite off more than they can chew. Or their priorities change (or their job situation) and they don’t want to be tied down to a big mortgage payment.

Commuting Time – Buying a condo or townhouse closer to the city might be enticing after commuting an hour each way in order to have that single family home.

Age – Perhaps it’s time to move into a community where you can get the extra assistance you need and/or have more opportunity for recreation and cultural activities. And maybe it’s time for a place without stairs.

Here are 4 Tips To Simplify Downsizing:

1. Plan Ahead

Schedule appointments with your financial advisor, your Realtor and your lender. Each one will walk you through a variety of things you’ll need to either do or think about: cash flow, market conditions, important amenities, lifestyle changes, tax considerations & more.

And don’t wait until you HAVE to move. As soon as the thought crosses your mind – start gathering information. This will make it SO much less stressful when the time comes. My parents moved several years ago. After 30+ years in the same town, the move was emotional. They didn’t “have to” move at the time, but they were starting to think about things like stairs and maintenance of such a large home. Not long after they moved, Dad fell & became very ill. If they had still been living in the big house, his road back to “normalcy” would have been long extended. But since they were in their condo by that time, he was able to come home so much sooner. Looking back now, they are so happy they moved when they did.

2. Start Educating Yourself To The Market

Online searches are a great way to see what your money will buy AND see what range your current home might sell for. You may find you have to compromise some of your wish list or you might find your money buys more than you think.

3. Family Is An Easy Way To Simplify

If you have children (or grandchildren) who may benefit from some of the “things” you’re ready to let go of, but you’re not ready for those cherished items to leave the family; make family holidays a “shopping time”. Send each visitor home with a (re)gift! You could also enlist one of the younger generation to help you sell unwanted items on Craig’s List. Offer them a percentage of the sales – and you have a win-win. Less clutter for your home. And you’re helping teach entrepreneurial skills & hard work!

4. Open House Instead of Garage Sale

When my parents moved, they had an open house. It was like a garage sale, except the items were free. They were moving from a huge house where they entertained a lot – to a smaller condominium, and Mom had so many lovely things she just didn’t use any more. She wanted to know that they were going to someone who would enjoy using them the way she did. We set up tables and displayed all the items – silver platters, crystal, percolaters, linens. Mom invited folks over – a number of whom were friends in my generation. They were so excited. I still have a friend who talks about how awesome Mom’s turkey roaster is! (They don’t make them like they used to.) Not only did this help clear her house of clutter and make moving easier – it was also a nice way for Mom to connect with folks before she moved.

The Belt Team has helped hundreds of clients downsize. And some on our team have even downsized themselves! If “rightsizing” is in your future, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and walk you through all kinds of helpful ideas to help you make the RIGHT move!

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

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. if it’s time to change yours, call (703) 242-3975 today!

Downsizing Your Home

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“.

FREE, Instant Online Home Valuation 

State-of-the-art Northern Virginia Home Search Site

Downsizing Made Easy – 4 Tips To Simplify

The Belt Team works with many clients who are downsizing. (We like to call it “right sizing.”) There are a number of reasons people think about moving “down”:

Downsizing Your Home Northern VA Real Estate

Travel – Some of our clients downsize to a home that’s easier to maintain so they can travel more – visit grandchildren – or take those trips they’ve always dreamed of. This is not uncommon with empty nesters.

Health – Maybe your current home is just too much for you to take care of on top of whatever health concerns you are dealing with.

Financial Freedom – Some people bite off more than they can chew. Or their priorities change (or their job situation) and they don’t want to be tied down to a big mortgage payment.

Commuting Time – Buying a condo or townhouse closer to the city might be enticing after commuting an hour each way in order to have that single family home.

Age – Perhaps it’s time to move into a community where you can get the extra assistance you need and/or have more opportunity for recreation and cultural activities. And maybe it’s time for a place without stairs.

Here are 4 Tips To Simplify Downsizing:

1. Plan Ahead

Schedule appointments with your financial advisor, your Realtor and your lender. Each one will walk you through a variety of things you’ll need to either do or think about: cash flow, market conditions, important amenities, lifestyle changes, tax considerations & more.

And don’t wait until you HAVE to move. As soon as the thought crosses your mind – start gathering information. This will make it SO much less stressful when the time comes. My parents moved several years ago. After 30+ years in the same town, the move was emotional. They didn’t “have to” move at the time, but they were starting to think about things like stairs and maintenance of such a large home. Not long after they moved, Dad fell & became very ill. If they had still been living in the big house, his road back to “normalcy” would have been long extended. But since they were in their condo by that time, he was able to come home so much sooner. Looking back now, they are so happy they moved when they did.

2. Start Educating Yourself To The Market

Online searches are a great way to see what your money will buy AND see what range your current home might sell for. You may find you have to compromise some of your wish list or you might find your money buys more than you think.

3. Family Is An Easy Way To Simplify

If you have children (or grandchildren) who may benefit from some of the “things” you’re ready to let go of, but you’re not ready for them to leave the family; make family holidays a “shopping time”. Send each visitor home with a (re)gift! You could also enlist one of the younger generation to help you sell unwanted items on Craig’s List. Offer them a percentage of the sales – and you have a win-win. Less clutter for your home. And you’re helping teach entrepreneurial skills & hard work!

4. Open House Instead of Garage Sale

When my parents moved, they had an open house. It was like a garage sale, except the items were free. They were moving from a huge house where they entertained a lot – to a smaller condominium, and Mom had so many lovely things she just didn’t use any more. She wanted to know that they were going to someone who would enjoy using them the way she did. We set up tables and displayed all the items – silver platters, crystal, percolaters, linens. Mom invited folks over – a number of whom were friends in my generation. They were so excited. I still have a friend who talks about how awesome Mom’s turkey roaster is! (They don’t make them like they used to.) Not only did this help clear her house of clutter and make moving easier – it was also a nice way for Mom to connect with folks before she moved.

The Belt Team has helped hundreds of clients downsize. And some on our team have even downsized themselves! If “rightsizing” is in your future, give us a call today at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and walk you through all kinds of helpful ideas to help you make the RIGHT move!

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

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. if it’s time to change yours, call (703) 242-3975 today!

Downsizing Your Home

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

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

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