9 ways to make your Knoxville house sell faster without cutting the price.

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:59 pm, June 27th, 2010  

You hear a lot these days about lower price, lower price, and lowest price as the only way to get a house sold.

Here are 9 things you can do that will make your house stand out from the crowd, appeal to more potential buyers, and probably sell faster. None of them have anything to do with cutting the price.

  1. Curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal! I can’t emphasize this one enough. Buyers have to be attracted to your home to want to see it. I’ve had lots of buyers say: “Let’s pass this one buy.” when we’ve pulled up to a home that was not attractive from the street.
  2. Bright, shiny, and inviting entry. Once you get buyers out of the car and walking up to your front door, you want to continue to set a good tone for your showing. Make sure your front entry is spotless, sweep away the cobwebs over your door, clean front door, paint if necessary, bright, shiny new door hardware if necessary, a new light fixture if the old one is rusty. All these things go a long way towards keeping the mood for showing positive.
  3. PAINT! Biggest selling bang for your buck possible. Neutral paint is the word of the day, no bright or funky colors. A fresh, uniform coat of paint throughout your house if needed will bring a faster sale and more dollars in your pocket.
  4. Your kitchen. Lots of Realtors and buyers say the kitchen is what caused the sale. De-clutter your counter tops, cabinets, pantries, and storage space so buyers can see it.
  5. DEEP CLEANING! It’s gotta be not just spotless but “white glove” inspection clean. No grease on kitchen appliances, bathrooms including tubs, showers, and sinks spotless and clean smelling, all light fixtures wiped down or washed including  the bulbs, clean the blades on your ceiling fans, cobwebs from along ceilings and underneath. In fact it will likely pay you to hire a professional house cleaner to do the job for you.
  6. Straighten up,  “lean out” and neaten all your storage areas especially your closets. Don’t forget the fresh paint here too.
  7. Let the sun shine in. All blinds and shades should be open for showing even in the evenings. Of course your windows need to be included in the deep cleaning too.
  8. Get a pre-sale home inspection. This will alert you to potential problem areas you might not be aware of and let you fix or repair them at your leisure and also prevent a buyer from using some minor issue as a negotiating tool.
  9. No funky odors or smells. This one is tough because you live there every day and some odors might not be apparent to you. Ask a friend, neighbor, or real estate professional to give your home the “smell test” to see if there might be something there you’re not picking up on. Don’t get carried away with scents to mask odors; too much is almost as bad as the odors you’re trying to cover up. Get rid of the cause of the odor.

You can find lots selling tips as well as get a free copy of my 52 page e-book titled “450 Ideas To Help Your Home Sell Faster” at www. KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com or just send a blank email to [email protected]

Anatomy of a Knoxville TN short sale

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 7:01 am, June 9th, 2010  

Over this past weekend,  I wrote an offer on one of my listings which is going to be a short sale. I thought it would be interesting to keep an online journal of the process to see how it shakes out and if the lender will approve this price.

Today is Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, I have just faxed to the lender (who shall remain nameless) all the documentation they requested. As of today they have asked for:

  1. A HUD 1 closing statement detailing all the charges and net proceeds to seller/lender.
  2. The Purchase & Sale Agreement
  3. A copy of my listing agreement with my seller
  4. The listing history of this property (it’s been listed twice before at higher prices).
  5. A hardship letter from my sellers explaining why they’re unable to pay their mortgage.
  6. I also sent another copy of a letter signed by my sellers authorizing the lender to talk to me about their loan.

So the short sale process is underway. I’ll keep this post updated as we move through the process.

UPDATE: April 6,2010 Called lender for update and status.

Lender: “We don’t have your authorization form to talk with you about this short sale.”

Me: “Yes you do, I’ve faxed it to you twice now and a third time when I submitted this package on March 30th. Happy to send it again if you like.”

Lender: “Oh wait, here it is. OK, what do you want to know?”

Me: “Offer status”

Lender: “In 3 to 5 business days you will receive a call from the negotiator that’s has been assigned to this transaction. They will take it from there.”

Me: “OK, thank you, I’ll look forward to hearing from someone by next week.

So 8 days later that’s where we are. Stay tuned for the next update.

UPDATE: April 13, 2010, Realtor called and said she had been asked by lender to furnish them BPO (Broker’s Price Opinion). I told her to go ahead into the property.

UPDATE: April 16, 2010. I called lender to follow up on negotiator not contacting me in  “3 to 5 business days” like I was told last time I called. 

Lender: “Don’t know who told you that but blah, blah, blah.” We did get the BPO back and I am sending it right now to the RMV (Reconciliation Market Value) department. Once they complete their analysis you can call back and talk to the negotiator”

Me: “OK, that’s nice, when should I call back?”

Lender:  “Call back next Tuesday.”

OK, so we’re now waiting for next Tuesday to call back and talk with the negotiator. Stay tuned for the next installment.

UPDATE: April 21, 2010 Negotiator called me today and said short sale was approved subject to several conditions. All minor and acceptable subject to “management approval” from negotiator’s boss, we’re going to closing. So, not too bad for short sale approved.

I believe the lender is taking about a $30,000 hit on this sale so it’s not a huge loss for them and certainly more than they would net if they foreclosed and had to start from scratch marketing this property.

Now to see how fast I can get this one closed; stay tuned for update.

FINAL UPDATE: June 9, 2010 Today was closing day so it’s finally done. I didn’t do any updates in May because there wasn’t really anything related to the short sale going on. The new buyer’s lender was processing his loan and all the stuff related to a ‘normal’ transaction.

We did have to ask for and receive a 2 week extension on our short sale approval because of the time frame in getting the new buyers loan approved. I called Gus, our bank short sale contact and he granted the extension on the spot.

The original contract date is March 30th and we closed June 9th so about 70 days total from start to finish. The whole process went pretty smoothly:

  • The original lender took about a $30,000 hit letting the sale go through for that much less than the mortgage balance. However who knows how long it would have taken to foreclose and what they could have sold for.
  • The sellers salvaged some of their credit and can rebuild it quicker than a foreclosure.
  • The new buyer got a pretty good deal on the house and their lender now has a new, paying loan on the books.
  • And I got paid for doing my job; listing and selling houses.
  • A win, win, win, win for all.

Please call or email if you have a Knoxville property you’re thinking of selling.

Visit www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com to see all of Knoxvilles  Realtor listings for sale.

Buy a Knoxville TN home | get a green card

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:00 am, June 9th, 2010  

Here’s a simple solution to our current housing dilemma.

We all know there are too many houses on the market in most areas that are not selling.

Play VisualTour

There is also a problem with too many illegal immigrants.

One simple solution I ran across recently is to just give a green card to every legal immigrant who wants to come to the US and buy a house.

Democrats should love it because it allows more immigration.

Republicans should love it because the new immigrants would be well documented. Mortgage bankers ask for lots more documentation than the INS.

This offering should not apply to illegal aliens currently in the country.

I believe that would be a huge slap in the face to our country, our laws and those who obey them, and all other immigrants that took the time and trouble to go through the process legally.

Personally I don’t see a downside, do you?

Buy a house, get a green card.

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How to become a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:59 pm, June 7th, 2010  

The highest professional designation awarded to all Realtors is the CRS or “Certified Residential Specialist”

It’s also tougher to earn a CRS designation than any of the others I’ve done, in fact less than 4% of all the 1,000,000 plus current membership are CRS designees.

First there are production requirements; you must meet:

Participate in 75 transaction sides within any 5 year period of do a gross volume of $25,000,000 during any five year periord.

Successfuly complete any two Residential Sales Council RS core courses (business planning & marketing, listings, sales, wealth building, technology, or referrals.

AND complete a total of 4 more elective units such as 2 additional core courses, attend a CRS “Sell-a-bration”, or any 4 more electives from a list available at http://www.crs.com/

There an alternative course that requires 1 more core course also available on the CRS website.

If you’re asking yourself why you would want to become a CRS besides the obvious reasons (learn more, become more knowledgable & professional, and do a better job for your clients) there are 2 great reasons that immediately come to mind.

According to a survey of CRS designees the RS council conducted in 2005, designees earned an average income of $160,500 which is 4 times the average income of a residential sales agents.

Additionally holding a current, active CRS designation also puts you in the council’s referral roster. I received anywhere from 2-6 referrals a year from fellow CRSers all over the country.

So if making more money, being more professional, and becoming one of an outstanding group within the Realtor family appeals to to you, consider starting down the path to earning your CRS designation today.

http://www.crs.com/ has all the info and an application

Jim Lee, Realtor®, CRS

See all Knoxville, TN homes for sale @ KnoxvilleHomeSearcher.com