Floor plans – Why are they so important?

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Floor plans are one of the most effective marketing tools and widely sought after by buyers. In fact the majority of home buyers say that they would rather contact a property with a floor plan than without.

According to the research of Rightmove buyers are less likely even to enquire about a property without a floor plan. Why? Because floor plans help to perceive the overall picture of the house. Buyers want to see the room layout and how the rooms fit in relation to other rooms. They want to see the flow between the rooms. Floor plans are useful to help design furniture layout, wiring systems and more.

Save time

The best thing in floor plans is that they actually save both sellers and buyers time. Home-seekers can see at a glance if the house is suitable for their needs or not. There is no point to show a house to someone the floor plan is not suitable for. With a floor plan included the seller can focus on the most potential buyers.

Keep it simple

You might have a building or council plan already but remember that those are often very detailed and therefore quite hard for buyers to follow. Most of the buyers are not that familiar with construction drawings and this is why you should consider asking your floor plan supplier if they could redraw your floor plan and make it more user-friendly.

Use a professional

Even the simplest floor plan is way better than no floor plan at all. However it still does not need to look like it have been drawn by a child. If you don’t have a floor plan yet you can easily order one from the several service providers by just sending a sketch of the property or try some of the floor plan creator from internet. 

Special features

If you still want to have something more, consider adding the room dimensions and total square footage of the property. Room dimensions are actually rated to be the most important feature when looking at a floor plan. Some of the buyers could also value a compass rose which shows the orientation of the house.

 

Benefits of hiring a real estate agent

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You have decided to sell your home and now you’re thinking whether to hire an agent or to sell it on your own. Before you make the decision be sure to carefully weight the pros and cons of both sides. Check out our list of the reasons why people choose to hire an real estate agent.

Market Knowledge

No one knows your local market and neighbourhood better than a qualified agent with expertise. They know the market trends, price points and the best ways to market and advertise your home.

Selling Price & Price Guidance

As mentioned, a real estate agent knows the real estate market. This is why they can make sure that your home is priced right. The right price helps you sell your house quickly and the highest possible price. According to NAR’s (National Association of Realtor’s) statistics, the typical FSBO home sold for $210,000 compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

Better Home Presentations

Agents host and coordinate your showings. They make sure that the home presentations goes smoothly and your home look polished. In todays market it really matters how a home is presented. Hiring an agent saves also your time and you don’t have to devote your evenings and weekends to tours of your home.

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Paperwork

The selling and buying process comes with a lot of paperwork. But don’t worry, a highly trained and educated agent will be able to help you with those piles of paper! Licensed real estate agents also have an insurance to cover errors, which will limit your risks.

Time on Market

Great agents will help you buy or sell quickly. They know the best and most updated marketing techniques when it comes to selling homes. The longer your home stays in market you need to keep maintaining the house in a presentable order and ready for showings.

Stress on Seller

If you want to save the commission you might have to prepare yourself for stress. The legal and financial end of selling a house is incredibly complicated and for many sellers a list of things to do becomes too much.

Negotiation Skills

Things can sometimes heat up. This is why you need an agent who can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction. A good agent will negotiate on your behalf and you can end up maximizing your profit!

Professional Network

Using an agent gives you an access to their professional network. Even though your agent might not know everything they sure know just about the right person who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. A good agent knows the best home inspectors, mortage brokers, real estate attorneys, photographers, home stagers etc. and will use their expertise in the process.

 

How to find a perfect photographer?

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For real estate photography, you’ll need a specialized photographer. In April we wrote about why you should use a professional photographer. Today we’re going to tell you what to look for when you’re trying to find that perfect photographer just for you!

Search online

There are a couple ways to search for photographers. One is to simply go trough the internet to find real estate photography companies and networks that top photographers are involved in. One example of these are the Real Estate Photographers of America & International

Another way to do this is to look at other agents’ sites to see if some of them have great real estate photography. If you find something you like, look for a photo credit from the photos or on their website.

Go trough portfolios & read reviews

The next step is to go trough the portfolios of the potential photographers. The idea of doing this is to find the housing shots done in a style you like. Reading reviews of the candidates is also not a bad idea to do. If you can’t find any online, ask from the previous clients.

Ask about the equipment & software

Don’t underestimate the power of proper equipment. And do not hesitate to ask about what camera they’ll be using!

The photos will be edited after the shooting but if they look cartoon-like or “too good to be true” there’s probably to much HDR (High Dynamic Range) used. The process can also be done correctly so search for a photographer who knows how to do it right.

Search for a real professional

  • Different listing services and databases handles photos very differently. A professional photographer knows this, and takes it in consideration.
  • Make sure that your photographer is always dressed appropriately. They will representing you at the property.
  • A professional photographer knows that good photos take their time. You’ll know that someone is a professional when they really take time to examine the space and find the best compositions before shooting.

Beginners Guide to Home Staging

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Home staging, also known as property styling is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in. A professionally staged home will essentially bring out the good in a home and make it sell faster and at the best possible price. Check out our tips for home staging, it does not have to be expensive!

Quicker Sale & More Money

According to real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran home staging can increase the selling price of a home by 10% to 20%. It is also said that the average staged home spends about 57 days fewer on the market than a comparable un-staged property. And by the way, did you know that home staging can add up to 20% of your home’s value?

Easier to sell

First impressions count and you’ll never get a second chance to make one. Most people will make a judgement about a house in just 7-10 seconds upon arriving on the property. In addition, only 1/10 people can visualise property potential. This means that 90% of people need a place cleaned and staged in order to see the potential.

How to stage?

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Little Fixes

Now it is time to get your hands into those unfinished home improvement projects, because even if you don’t notice these small flaws, your buyers will. You might have some of the following ahead:

  • Replace broken bulbs
  • Repair broken light switches & curtain rods
  • Give you cabinet doors a fresh layer of paint
  • Fix leaky taps
  • Straighten doors and cupboards
  • Replace mouldy silicon
  • Fill dents in walls

Cleaning

The cheapest staging tactic is also the most important. Clean rooms also look bigger. Deep clean the whole house throughout with special focus on the kitchen and bathrooms!

  • Clean the windows
  • Clean inside the cupboards
  • Scrub the hob and oven
  • Polish metal taps, sinks & piping
  • Clean light shades and chandeliers

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Declutter

In addition to the deep cleaning process you probably need to do some de-cluttering. The key to home staging is to create a beautiful “blank canvas” that buyers can envision themselves in. Ridding your home of clutter also allows your home to look larger and well-maintained. Here’s something you can easily do by yourself:

  • Take down family photos & personal stuff
  • Clear off counters
  • Consider of renting a storage locker to promote extra room in the house and to hide unwanted furniture
  • Remove seasonal clothes from the closets & organize the kitchen cabinets (there’ll always be someone who opens them)
  • Throw away stacks of post, paper and magazines

Rearrange & decorate

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Sometimes rearranging the furniture can make a big difference and promote a better flow throughout the house. If you have a table that sticks out a little too far in the entryway or a chair that disrupts a natural walkway you should probably think of moving them somewhere else.

A fresh coat of paint on the walls makes the house feel new again. But remember to keep it neutral as possible. White might seem boring but the truth is that it makes every room feel more spacious.

Remove your personal stuff from the walls and replace some of them with mirrors. Mirrors give the illusion of a larger room.  Then just add flowers and houseplants to brighten up the rooms.

Curb Appeal

The first impression matters also in curb appeal. So ensure that the outside of your home is looking the best it can before the showing. But don’t forget the backyard!

  • Trim overgrown trees & bushes (don’t let the bushes hide the features of your home!)
  • Keep the grass cut
  • Add some colour with flowers
  • Repair sidewalk cracks
  • Replace old doormats with new ones
  • Add potted plants next to the door
  • Replace old and outdated front door

Why to use a professional photographer?

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Why should you hire a professional photographer when you already have a camera on your iPhone? Why wouldn’t you take the photos by yourself with your brand new high-end camera? Keep reading and we’ll tell you why!

Most people find their homes via the Internet.  In fact 92 % of homebuyers use the Internet as part of their home search. We all know that if you want to be a successful real estate agent these days, it is absolutely essential to advertise online.

The first thing the typical buyer looks at an online listing are the photos. Actually, most of the Internet home shoppers won’t even look at listings without photos. This means, that the first impression really counts (except if you want these homebuyers to move on…) According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 83 percent of homebuyers rated photos of listings for sale as the most useful website feature. Buyers also stated that the photos captivated their imaginations and helped them to make their decisions effortlessly.

Okay. So the photos are important. But why to use a professional instead of doing it yourself? Many agents fancy themselves photographers because they have a high-end camera and they taught themselves how to use it. But the things is that it isn’t enough. A talented and skilled photographer knows to use lightning, angles, colour and composition to make the photos look great. They know how to make something ordinary look spectacular. They have spent hours and hours learning how take the best possible pictures.

Get more views & sell faster

Using professional photos can draw more attention to your listings and result in more views. According to the study of NAR & REDFIN the listings with professional photos get 61 percent more views online than those without.Since your listing is now getting more views and the photos are great more people are enticed to visit the home. Thanks to the realistic shots potential buyers also know what they are getting before even entering the house. More people at your open house = greater chance to find the right buyer.

 Stress less & boost your brand

Professional photography for your listings is one of the simplest ways to boost your brand and business. What’s even better about it is that you don’t have to do the hard work. Hiring a photographer gives you more time to focus on the most relevant things; selling houses and building your business.

Ps. It is also proved that listings with professional photos sell for more money! 

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Thanks for RuxtraRealty.com about this amazing infographic!

7 things to include in your Real Estate website

 

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The purpose of your website is to get more business. It should be working 365 days a year capturing leads and marketing your brand. It should be answering to your customers burning questions and helping them to find homes. But is your real estate website helping your business to grow?

We’ve come up with 7 things that you should at least include in your website. Here you go!

Have a sign up form to your email list

Do you want to waste a chance to get more leads? In case your answer is no, think about creating a subscription form for your newsletter. Email addresses are really valuable, because they give you a chance to market to them forever.

In order to get those addresses you could think about having an offer for them to sign up. It could be a discount code, a report, a relocation guide or something else your visitors would love.

Use videos

 These days, we prefer to watch our Internet rather than read it. Videos also make people stay on your page more longer which makes your website a little stickier.

Have you ever thought of making your introduction on video? Well now is the time. In addition to all those perks mentioned earlier making an intro video of you talking gives the visitors the opportunity to get to know you as a person.

An about us page

When you are hiring a professional, you are not interested about their hobbies, right? What you really want to know is what can they do for you. How can they help you? So, about page is not just for you to tell about your merits. First, let the potential customers know why they should work with you and after that tell them about your history with real estate business.

Customer testimonials

Testimonials are very powerful marketing tools. Even though anyone can write anything at Internet, people still believe in social proof. Using videos and quotes with real names and photos will help with this message and decrease potential doubts. So, if possible ask your customers for testimonials and start getting more leads!

Neighbourhoods that you know

If you market to the entire Seattle area real estate market, no one would probably feel like you really know the neighbourhood. So, instead of doing that you should market only some parts of Seattle (central etc.).

Show that you know the neighbourhood well. Provide information of the area and post about local events, festivals, neighbourhood parks, or any other new developments. If people think that you are an expert on the area where they want to sell or buy, they are more likely to hire you as their agent.

Start Blogging!

 A blog is one of the best ways to show the world what you are made of as an agent. Highlight your expertise and win over the customers. Everyone wants to work with an educated real estate agent!

Remember that creating  good content takes time. If you have to decide, choose to post quality content less often than posting daily something you cannot be proud of.

When you’ve finally hit the send button, don’t just leave it there. Attract new followers by sharing the post link in your social media channels. The biggest reasons why so many real estate bloggers fail are both because the lack of quality and the fact that there is absolutely zero effort made to promote the post.

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Learn the basics of SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the name given to activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. Everyone wants to have their website on the first page of search results. This takes a lot of effort and time, so don’t wait it to happen in one night.

But don’t sink in to despair just yet. If you learn how SEO works and start using it in your website and blog, you’ve got a great chance of getting your sites in at least the first few pages of search engine results. The Internet is full of websites and blogs. Learn the basics of SEO and stand out in a crowd!