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Reasons Why Some Buyer's Agents Don't Provide Feedback

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Reasons Why Some Buyer's Agents Don't Leave FeedbackWhen you list your Wilmington area home for sale, you will have a number of agents showing it to their buyers. After each showing, the agent will receive an automated form through our centralized showing service asking them questions about what they or their clients thought of the home. They are not required to fill out this form. Giving feedback is just a matter of courtesy. Many agents take the time to fill out the form, but some don't, and we know that can be frustrating. As a seller, you want to know what parts of your home may be hindering the sale and if buyers are showing any sort of interest in it. So, why don't agents leave feedback? Here are some reasons why:

1. They don't want to lose negotiating power. Showing agents can pick and choose which questions they anwer on the form we send through the centralized showing service, but some agents feel that if their client showed serious interest in the home, anything they might say could affect negotiations. If they make their clients sound like they loved the home too much, the seller may counter at a higher price than if they didn't know their motivation. So, they may wait on giving feedback until after their client decides on a home. Sometimes, this happens so late that they forget to give it.

2. They don't feel they have feedback to share. Maybe it was just a preview for their clients (meaning the clients weren't present) or the buyers didn't have much to say about the home. If that's the case, the agent may feel giving feedback is a waste of time, because they have nothing helpful to add. We always prefer an agent to give feedback, even if it's just their own impression, but some agents are against providing their own opinions of the home, because they think it can get them in trouble when they show it again later.

3. They saw too many houses in one day. The day can become a blur when you see house after house after house. If an agent showed their client a lot of houses in one day, it's possible they don't remember exactly what they said about the home. To not risk giving the wrong feedback, they may choose not to provide any at all.

Not receiving feedback can be feedback in itself. If the buyer's agent doesn't feel the need to contact the listing agent directly or give feedback on the home, their clients were clearly not interested. It also implies there was nothing about the home that was an obvious issue. It doesn't matter how many homes you see, if there was something about a home that really stood out (good or bad), an agent will remember it.

We try to be considerate of other agents' schedules. We know that showing houses to a client can be a multi-day process. If an agent doesn't fill out a feedback request for a home, they get sent reminder emails. If we don't receive feedback in a few days, we do our best to contact the agent to get feedback, but as we stated above, agents have their reasons for not providing it.

If you have any questions about selling a home in the Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Video: What is the Due Diligence Period?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

If you're buying or selling a home in North Carolina, you should familiarize yourself with the Due Diligence Period, a part of the official offer to purchase that covers financing, inspections, etc. In this video, Melanie Cameron, Team Leader of The Cameron Team, explains all that the Due Diligence Period involves.

If you would like more information about buying or selling your home in the Wilmington area, please contact us!

Melanie Cameron
Broker/REALTOR®
(910) 202-2546

Email Melanie

6 Slightly Crazy Things That May Kill Your Home Sale

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

6 Slightly Crazy Things That May Kill Your Home SaleI have to admit, when I hear some of the feedback we get on homes, my response is, “What? Really!?” But I’m a fixer and one of those people who actively tries to look beyond what I see. When I bought my home, the yard was downright ugly. I saw it as a prime opportunity to put in a garden. Other buyers didn’t look at it that way and that’s one reason why I got my home at well-below the original listing price. If you’re thinking about listing your home for sale, you may want to consider the following list of crazy things that may kill your home sale:

  1. Dead Light Bulbs. A buyer walks into your home and flips a light switch, but nothing comes on. The bulb is dead. Maybe the home is vacant, so you figured, “Why pay for a bulb in a light fixture that doesn’t need to be used?” Or maybe it burnt out after the home was listed and you haven’t been around to notice. Or maybe you’re just feeling lazy. Well, that light bulb may have just killed your sale. Why? The buyer may assume the light fixture, not the bulb, is dead (ugh, a repair!) or it may make the buyer question what other upkeep you’ve neglected to do (that’s going to factor into an offer price). Bulbs are cheap. Take the time to replace them.
  2. Carpet in the Bathroom. It absorbs urine around the toilet and doesn’t allow water to properly evaporate, so the materials underneath are at risk of mold. Just imagining what lies underneath is a major turn-off to buyers, who don’t want to deal with repairs and other people’s bodily fluids.
  3. Brightly Painted Rooms. You took an AMAZING trip to the Caribbean and on returning home, decided to completely redecorate your home in a color scheme inspired by it. It’s just paint, right? Sadly, most buyers find it difficult to look past boldly painted walls. First, the colors make it more difficult for them to imagine their own furniture and belongings in the house. Second, they immediately imagine all the work they’ll have to do prior to moving in. Buyers want less work. Plain and simple.
  4. A Dead Lawn. Does your home look great inside, but lack curb appeal? You’ll want to get right on that! Patchy (or overgrown) yards, dying shrubs, unkempt bushes, hazardous tree limbs…a collection of lawn gnomes....These are the types of things that will make a buyer refuse to get out of the car to see your home. It DOES happen!
  5. Sloppy Closets and Cupboards. Just because the mess is behind a closed door doesn’t mean it’s not going to be seen. Buyers will open drawers and doors, and if they’re stuffed full, they’ll assume the home won’t have enough storage for them. So, make sure you clean out every nook and cranny, and put what you really don’t need in a storage unit.
  6. Listing Too Soon. Are you in the middle of renovating or updating your home? Don’t list until you’re done. Your MLS pictures are basically your first showing. You want the home looking as good as possible and with all the features that the buyers will be purchasing, because they will assume what’s in the pictures is what they get. If the features aren’t there in the pictures, the buyers will assume they aren’t present in the home. Good pictures also means no construction dust, materials, or other remnants lying around. When it comes time for showings, you don’t want buyers walking through a construction zone, because, let’s face it, the home needs to be accessible and available for showings or you may alienate certain buyers. It really pays off to wait.

You may be thinking now that buyers are too finicky, but most of them aren’t on purpose. Like marketing any product, it’s a mind game. Just pay close attention to commercials next time you’re watching television. The marketers have 30 or so seconds to convince the viewer that they need their product in their life. To hit the key triggers that will make the viewer want to buy, they appeal to all the senses through carefully thought-out product shots, dialogue, and music. In a way, you have to do this with homes as well. Not every buyer will fit your home, but you never know when the right buyer will come, so you should do your best to make it as presentable as possible.

If you need help listing your Wilmington area home, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Which Price Ranges in Greater Wilmington are Getting the Most Showings?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

The Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS uses a centralized call center for scheduling showings of homes. Not only does it take some of the work out of tracking showing times and who is accessing the home, but it also allows us to get a pretty good idea of what kind of activity each price range of homes is seeing. This can help us and our sellers create a realistic expectation for how often their home will be shown.

Here is the showing activity for the past month (1/18/15-2/17/15) for the entire MLS:

Number of Showings Per Price Range

Activity Detail 

As you can see, the homes listed between $100,000 and $300,000 are getting significantly more showings than the other price ranges. Even homes listed in the next price range, between $300,000 and $400,000, is seeing half the showings of the first two. Is this a sign that the homes in the higher price ranges will take significantly longer to sell? Not necessarily. This data needs to be compared to the amount of current inventory and the average days on the market. If you're thinking of your home in particular, you also need to consider how it's priced in comparison to other similar homes on the market.

If you’ve stumbled across this blog at a later time, you can always contact us, and we’ll be happy to pull this report for a more recent timespan. We can also further narrow the report to cities and zip codes. Have a question? Let us know!

Meghan Riley

Which are the Most Important Rooms in a House to Stage?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

The Most Important Rooms In the House to StageIn the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) recent report, 2015 Profile of Home Staging, over 2,000 real estate buyers’ agents were surveyed to discover the impact of home staging. Of those agents, 49% believed that staging had an impact on the decisions made by their buyers, 47% believed that staging sometimes had an impact, and the rest believed staging had no impact at all.

37% of the buyers’ agents surveyed believed that staging helped increase the purchase amount buyers were willing to offer by 1%-5%. 22% of the agents believed it increased that amount 6%-10%. 8% believed it was closer to 10%-15%. The rest believed it had no impact.

The Impact of Home Staging National Association of Realtors®

Source: National Association of REALTORS, 2015 Profile of Home Staging, REALTOR.org

As you can see, taking the extra steps to stage your home prior to listing has good odds of positively impacting the sale of your home. But which rooms should you focus on? NAR discovered the most important rooms to stage are (in order):

  1. Living Room
  2. Kitchen
  3. Master Bedroom
  4. Dining Room
  5. Bathroom
  6. Children’s Bedroom 
  7. Guest Bedroom

If you are in need of a stager in the Greater Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page. We know a few good ones and are happy to pass along their contact info!

Meghan Riley

Limits We Face Marketing Real Estate Listings

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

From the tools we use to manage paperwork to the way we market listings online, technology has become an important part of selling a home. You can’t be a Realtor nowadays without having some sort of tech savviness. While technology makes our lives easier in many ways, it can also be cumbersome. One example is the standardization for online listing information.

Our multiple listing service is the hub for information on homes listed by Realtors. It’s where real estate agents go to find important information and documents for active and pending properties, as well as past sales. It also provides a feed that brokerages use to send listing information to third-party websites, including the giants (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.) and listing tools (virtual tours, text for info, etc.).

When the information is fed (syndicated), the third-party websites match it up to the fields they display, but not every website is built the same. So, not all information can be matched and that’s when key features get left-out. A few of these websites provide Realtors with the option to edit their listings, but even then, the Realtor may not get edit access for all of the information. They may only be given a checklist of options to choose from. In the website company’s defense, they do this to make sure the information they display remains accurate to what the brokerage, who they have a contract with, is sending them. It’s just not a foolproof system. If every Realtor association in every region used the exact same MLS software, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Room DetailsAs an example of the limitations we face, we occasionally run into an issue where a room that is traditionally called one thing can’t be called that in the MLS or on one of the third-party websites. For example, a Keeping Room is traditionally a room located beside a kitchen. It’s a sitting room for keeping the cook company and was originally the room in Colonial homes where a family would gather to keep warm on extremely cold nights. “Keeping Room” is not an option on Zillow, so we go with the more modern term “Family Room”, which is an option.

Another limitation we face is character counts. To make sure a listing’s description is able to be displayed on multiple websites, we are limited to how many characters (letters, spaces, and punctuation) that we can include. When a house has a lot of great features, this can be incredibly frustrating. The description has the most flexibility of all the fields in the MLS, but requires a lot of thought. When considering which words to include, we have to consider the SEO side of marketing and try to predict the features that a buyer will be “googling” for, but we also want to point out other amenities that may not be as keyword-friendly. Sometimes we get a really great description together and then have to edit it, because the website has scanned it and determined that a word is not in compliance with Equal Housing Opportunity Laws. It’s probably more complicated than you would think to come up with a truly effective description.

Character Counts

One more issue we run into is a delay in updated information. Third party websites and tools don’t always import or receive the feed right away. They have so many feeds that if they were to constantly accept information, there’s a good chance their servers would crash. Tools we’ve used in the past have only imported once or twice a day, and they don’t tell you exactly when that will happen. So, price changes and feature updates can take 24-48 hours to show up on a third-party website depending on their schedule and when the changes are made.

In the early 2000’s, we could have gotten away without having our listings all over the web, but that’s not the case today. 90% of home buyers conduct their home searches online and third-party websites are usually where they start out, because they rank the highest in search engines. That’s why it’s so important that we do our best to include important information in the description, edit third-party sites when possible, and get creative when need be. However, it’s also the reason why Realtors remain an important part of the home selling process. They fill in the blanks that these websites can’t cover and need to have an understanding of the limitations faced with online marketing.

If you have any questions about selling your Wilmington area home, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Should I Lower My Home’s Listing Price?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Should I Lower My Home’s Listing Price?Your home has been on the market a few months and now your agent is suggesting lowering the listing price. No one likes the idea of netting less money, so it’s justifiable that you are hesitant to do so. To make a solid decision, you should ask yourself…

Has my agent provided data in support of the numbers?

A listing price should be the fair market value of your home. This is determined by similar homes recently sold in the past 6 months. This information can be found by your agent in the Multiple Listing Service. If other similar homes in your community or area have sold for less than your home is listed for, you should consider lowering the price. When buyers sees a house listed significantly higher than others, they assume that the seller will be unwilling to negotiate.

Has showing feedback revealed the home is priced too high?

We always approach showing feedback on price with a bit of caution. If a couple of agents say a home is overpriced, but their clients might have some interest, that may just be a negotiation tactic. However, if the majority of agents are saying the home is priced too high, it likely is. The agents are viewing homes in a specific price range. If they are seeing other homes in better condition and with superior features, they’ll make sure to note it.

Am I getting showings?

If your home is in an active price range and you aren’t getting showings, revisit your list of recently sold homes. There’s a buyer for every property that’s priced at fair market value. Even if your home isn’t in the best condition, if it’s priced in accordance with comparable homes in a similar location, it will get showings. If you don’t get showings, you won’t get a buyer.

Do I need to sell?

When you listed your home for sale, your agent should have been very transparent on their expectations for listing, including their marketing strategy and price reductions. Local real estate markets are constantly adjusting according to supply and demand. If your home has only been listed a couple of months and a price reduction is in no way an option, you need to ask yourself if you really do need to sell.  If you aren’t going to make the money you need off the sale, then you may find it more favorable to rent out the home until the mortgage is paid down and/or listing prices have risen.

Remember, the longer your home sits on the market, the harder it will be to sell it, because it implies there’s something wrong with the home. So, don’t sit on a price reduction too long. If it doesn’t make financial sense to you and you aren’t getting showings, now may not be the time to sell. If you need to sell, you can always do a small price reduction to see if generates any activity.

If you have any questions about selling your Wilmington area home, give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page. You’ll always get a straightforward, honest assessment of your home’s market value.

Meghan Riley

Why Didn't My Home Sell?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Why Didn't My Home Sell?Are you frustrated that your home hasn’t sold? It doesn’t matter if you’re in Wilmington, Hampstead, or Little Rock, Arkansas – when a home doesn’t sell, it’s likely due to one or more of the following reasons.

1. Lack of Exposure. If you didn’t hire a real estate agent that syndicates their listings online, where 90% of home buyers conduct their home search, your home is missing out on a big chunk of exposure. This is especially true in Wilmington where the local Realtor association decided in 2014 to not syndicate listings to websites like Trulia, Zillow, etc. It’s now up to the real estate companies to decide if they want to syndicate their listings.

2. Bad Marketing Content. Dark or unstaged pictures, incorrect or missing information, and lack of a description are all examples of bad marketing content that will either prevent buyers from seeing your home in searches or won’t motivate them to schedule a showing. First impressions really count in real estate, so your real estate agent should be taking full advantage of how they present your home online and in marketing materials.

3. Poor Presentation. A clean, uncluttered home is very important when your property is on the market. Not only does it make the rooms look larger and show the buyers the home’s true potential, but cleanliness is a reflection on how well the home was maintained over the years. If the home looks neglected, they buyers may misinterpret the risk involved in purchasing it.

4. Ignored Feedback. One buyer’s opinion may not be a true analysis of a home, but when a theme is established over the course of a few showings, it needs to be addressed. Examples include: visual flaws, traces of past damage, extreme design choices, and overpricing. If feedback is ignored or denied, then the issue will remain to be a hurdle for other buyers.

5. Overpricing. Pricing too high is the number 1 reason homes don’t sell. We often hear sellers say, “My tax assessment is $________, so I want to sell for that,” or “I put $_________ in the home for upkeep, so I want to tack that onto the price to get it back.” That’s not how pricing works. The home needs to be priced according to similar homes that have sold; otherwise, it’ll just sit on the market while other cheaper homes sell.

For more information on selling your Wilmington area home, we have multiple seller tips and reports on our website. You can also give us a call or send us your questions through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Bellhops Help with Small Moves

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

BellhopsNeed help moving? A couple young lads to lift something heavy? Check out Bellhops!

Bellhops is an online on-demand service for hiring college students for moving jobs. They’re located in over 100 cities and have 10,000 student bellhops. At UNCW, there are 75 students alone who are part of the service and ready to be booked for all your heavy lifting.

Now, don’t confuse them with movers. They’re here for the small moves. Think of them as the “buddies” that are supposed to help you move over the weekend. According Bellhops, if the move doesn’t go as quickly as you think it should, they’ll refund time. If something gets broken during the process, they’ll pay for it.  They’re license and insured, and they’re guaranteed to show up! So, this is even better than your buddies.

You’ll be “introduced” to your Bellhops before they show, so you know who to expect, and they’re put through a strict screening process before they’re hired. Their fees are $40 per hour with a 1-hour minimum, and you can book them completely online or call them. Just know that they don’t provide the truck.

Right now, Bellhops covers a 20 mile radius around Wilmington, but in early 2015 that will change to 75 miles. Also coming soon is a mobile app that will help to more accurately track moves.

Have you used Bellhops yet?

Need a full service mover? Send us a message for a referral!

Meghan Riley

Don't Take Staging Suggestions Personally

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Don't Take Staging Suggestions PersonallyAs the person who handles the marketing for The Cameron Team, I'm looking at multiple homes per day, and I have to admit, I occasionally ask, “How the heck do they live like that? The home looks like a museum, everything’s perfect!” I go home to my 1,200 square-foot brick ranch where there are toys and books scattered across the living room where my toddler has decided they must go, mail from last week sitting on my dining room table, my other half’s jacket and shirt (and pants and hat…) draped over a chair where he abandoned them after work last night, and half of our belongings are precariously piled onto the top two or three shelves of every unit in our house where they can’t be reached by little hands…and I sigh.

But, do you know what this is? Me forgetting my job.

I know from experience that the house you sell and the house you live in are not the same thing, theoretically. Your home should be a reflection of who you are. After all, you are the one living there. However, if you want to sell quickly, you need to make it appeal to the most people possible and that includes making changes that make it look polished and, basically, unlived in. You want the buyer to picture their things, not yours.

Ask any Realtor and they’ll admit that their own homes are far from perfect. They too have pictures of their children plastered across their walls and refrigerators. They may even have some crazy art that no one, but them truly appreciate or understand. Their paint colors may even echo their last trip to the Caribbean. However, they too go through all the steps of staging when it comes time to put their home on the market.

This is why you can’t take staging suggestions personally. They are not judgments on your lifestyle or decorating tastes: they are reflections of the current market and buyer desires. The suggestions you apply depend on your motivation to sell. In the end, it’s all in your best interest.

If you have any questions about staging or selling your home in the Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

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The Cameron Team
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
1001 Military Cutoff Suite 101
Wilmington NC 28405
Office: 910.202.2546
Toll Free: 800.522.9624
Fax: 910.795.4723