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House Staging: Staging Your House to Sell

The importance of staging your house before listing it cannot be overstated. One more time for emphasis: the importance of staging your house before listing it cannot be overstated. Skipping the house staging step leaves money on the table and extends the days-on-market.

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House Staging Statistics InfoGraphic

House staging can feel like one extra thing to do and pay for on a pretty long list of to-do’s and expenses when selling your house, and it may feel like the only thing you can cut out.  We’re here to tell you that is doesn’t have to take as much time or money as you might think.

Think of house staging as a part of the packing and cleaning process of selling your house. You are already planning to clean before the listing photos are taken and before showings, and you’re going to have to pack when you move – so staging your house is already “baked in” to the process. All you need is some encouragement and direction to make sure you are spending your time and resources wisely and to ensure that you get the best price possible for your house.

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Top 3 Tips for House Staging

Top Tips for Staging Your House to Sell

HINT: Let’s make sure that we are doing things in order so that we are being as efficient as possible. [Example: If we deep clean before we pack out a room, we will have to clean again once items are moved and reveal additional marks, debris, or dust. So we will clean last.]

  1. Depersonalize | First, go through each room and remove all photos or personalized items (diplomas, certificates, Artwork using your names, etc). It’s imperative that a buyer can see themselves living in the house when they walk through – that will be a lot easier for them if “you” aren’t around during the showing. The “feel” you should be going for in each room is “vacation rental.” Think AirBnB or HomeAway vibes, and feel free to check out their rental photos to get an idea of what we mean. You may also consider packing away any art or items of significant or sentimental value at this time. This is also the time to remove any religious, political, or divisive decor that may offend someone with a different view.
  2. Declutter | You are going to have to pack everything in your house anyway. So why not get a jump on it now, especially if it will help your house sell faster and for more money? Even if you intend to use movers, you can cut costs if you do the packing yourselves. Pack away all non-essential items and furniture on floors and counters and in closets in each room. It is important for each room, and the house as a whole, to feel as spacious and neutral as possible. You can hide personal items (toiletries, prescriptions, CPAP machines, jewelry, etc) in drawers, closets, or under beds to get them out of the way for photos and showings.
  3. Deep Clean Everything | If you’d prefer and you can afford it, you can hire a cleaning service to do this part. Or you can do it yourself. The thing you should NOT do is: Not do it. Clean it all. Clean the things you hate to clean and especially anything you’ve been avoiding for an extended period of time. If you are selling your appliances with the house, clean those extra well. Buyers will look in the oven, in the shower, in the basement, everywhere. Clean it all. Don’t forget the cupboards and drawers (inside and out), baseboards, marks on the walls, the doors (near the handles where they tend to get gross), under the furniture if possible, and the windows. If the carpets needs to be cleaned you might consider renting a carpet cleaning machine or hiring a company to come and clean them. Soiled carpets can lower the perceived and real value of the house.
  4. Don’t Forget The Exterior | Make sure basic exterior maintenance is completed and any exterior decor or clutter is removed or packed away. Keep the lawn mowed and the edges trimmed. Consider a couple of potted seasonal plants to bring the front door area to life and to up curb appeal. This can be a low-cost high-impact improvement. If your patio furniture or cushions are tattered or soiled, consider packing them. It’s best to not have visible signs of extended wear and tear inside or outside the house, but especially in the areas where a buyer will be getting their first impression as they walk up to the door. Another low-cost high-impact idea is to add a new Welcome mat. Lastly, do not forget to make sure that your house numbers are easily identifiable even in the evenings. You may consider adding solar lights near your house numbers to help buyers with evening showings find the house if you don’t have exterior lights that reach the area where they are.
  5. Be A Buyer In Your Own House | Once you’ve completed the steps above leave your house and drive around the block and pull up as if you are going to a showing at your own house. Bring a notepad and be critical of what you see, hear, and even smell as you walk up to and walk through the house. Pretend that it isn’t your house. Pretend that you have just arrived at a vacation rental, would you be happy to stay here? Remember back to when you were buying this very same house, what drew you in? Are those same features being played to their strengths now? Is a new buyer going to notice them too?

That’s it. 5 steps. Once you’ve made it through those steps your house will be clean and half packed, leaving you to focus on other aspects of selling – like being a buyer yourself, or making plans for your next steps. And you’ll be able to spend the last few weeks in your house feeling a little like you’re living in a clean and spacious vacation rental!

You can do it! And if you need further advice, please give one of our agents a call. They’ll be happy to do a walk-through and help you make your to-do list!

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How to Find New Real Estate Clients

If you’re in the industry you have probably wondered, how can I find new real estate clients? The answer is varied, but it mostly comes down to one simple factor: Your presence.

What do I mean by your presence? I mean how you show up in the world, what you put out there, both physically and digitally. How are you presenting yourself? Are you presenting yourself? Or are you hiding in the back?

It’s important to understand that the bulk of your business at first (and long term) will likely come from those in your circle and adjacent to your circle. “Your circle” meaning the people in your life who know you, like you, and trust you. You already know a fair amount of people, and hopefully most of them like you. The component that you need to be working to build is the trust component. It’s imperative that your “audience” trusts you, and that you are the trusted adviser that comes to mind when they think about real estate.

How are you showing up and presenting yourself in the lives of those who know you? Are you putting your best foot forward? Are you balancing the line of political correctness as not to alienate? Are you portraying yourself as someone who has it together? Would you want to do business with you?

The best way to find new real estate clients is by putting your best foot forward AND putting yourself out there as an agent. It’s imperative that you make it known, at regular intervals, that you are a Realtor. And you can do this without sounding desperate, coming off as annoying, begging for work, or getting unfollowed.

Here’s how…

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts When It Comes To Your Personal Brand:

DO post about your everyday life, your family, vacations and outings etc.

DO express interest in your hobbies, local causes that you support, etc.

DO make sure you and your voice are showing up in your timeline and not only re-posts and photos of your pets and family. Your friends want to see you! I’m willing to bet that photos with you in them are some of the most “liked” and commented posts on your page.

DO check in online regularly. It doesn’t have to dominate your free time and take over your life. Set yourself a timer for 30 minutes and get social. This will help with your “algorithm” and help Facebook, Instagram, etc keep you in front of your friends and followers.

DON’T forget that the Internet is forever. If you hold a polarizing or unpopular view, you may consider keeping that to yourself while online. You can’t take it back once it’s posted, not even by deleting it. (Long live the screenshot!) Before you post, consider strongly if it’s worth alienating half or more of your “friends”/following not only today, but even in the future if it resurfaces.

DON’T only post about Real Estate. Don’t become a broken record.

DON’T only “lurk.” Make sure you are an active participant. Comment and “like” posts that interest you, check in on friends you haven’t heard from in a while, be a part of the community – get yourself out there! Keep yourself relevant.

DON’T fake it. Be genuine with your posts and responses to people and your interest in them. They’ll be able to feel it if it’s forced.

How to Work Your Circle to Find New Real Estate Clients: 

  1. Follow the Do’s and Don’ts presented above
  2. Use the 80/20 rule for posting about business. 80 of the time post as outlined above and be you. Just you. Not business you. 20 percent of the time post about Real Estate, directly or indirectly. Your “business 20” could be re-posted articles about the market, a post highlighting a closing or a listing or an open house, a photo from a closing, a picture preview of an upcoming listing, etc. If you have regular listings, closings, and open houses and would like to post about each one – you should consider creating a Facebook Page for “business you” and “sharing” only a fraction of those posts. That way the folks who want to see everything can, and you’re avoiding alienating the rest of your circle.
  3.  Consider joining local groups and accepting more invites to get in front of actual people, both current friends and family and like-minded people in your community who are interested in or supporting the same things you are. A good place to start is by checking out the “events” that your circle are attending and interested in. Just go, and be you. What you do for work will come up naturally in conversation and it will become known that you’re a realtor without you even trying. A great question to ask someone you’re just meeting or have just been interested in is “Tell me about you, what do you do?” and if you’re not the first to ask, you’ll still likely get an opportunity to answer this question yourself several times at a social gathering.
  4. Always have business cards on you and as often as is practical, a small Realtor pin is always a great conversation starter and serves as a little non-verbal reminder to those you encounter on a day to day basis.
  5. It’s ok to ask those close to you to refer you business. This is best done in person and as part of a larger conversation about life and work and goals – a conversation that is genuine and goes both ways. Many of your friends would be willing to refer their friends and family to you but often that don’t realize they are missing opportunities to pass along your name. You can coach them by saying things like: “Hey, if you hear or anyone looking to buy or sell I’d love it if you’d pass along my info!” and “Do you know of anyone looking to move or sell anytime in the next year?”
  6. The life events that generally cause one to move are: marriages, empty nesting, college graduation, new jobs or positions, babies, and unfortunately death. Make sure you’re staying in touch with people enough to know when these things might be occurring, and also train yourself to listen and look for conversations regarding big life events so that you can remember to reach out at the appropriate time with your offer to help.

Don’t let the fear of being “salesy” or pushy or overbearing hold you back, because you don’t have to be any of those things to find new real estate clients. Just focus on being the best most genuine “you” and the rest will fall in to place. When you are coming from a genuine place and looking to serve and listen to others, you will find yourself in the position to help them when it’s time to buy or sell.

You can do this!

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Buying In A Sellers Market? We Can Help!


Buying in a sellers market is, in a word, difficult. It can be discouraging to buyers to be up against several other buyers for every home that hits the market in their price range. It can feel overwhelming and frustrating and even impossible.

But it doesn’t have to. And this is where we come in. Picking the right agent is the single best thing you can do to aide you in the buying process. Almost always, the Seller will be paying for your agent – which makes it almost crazy to go it alone or to not do your due diligence to find the best agent you can.

At NextHome All Pro Realty we have a team of knowledgeable agents working closely with a seasoned and savvy Team Leader. We are a tight-knit team and we take pride in each other’s success as well as our own, so our goals are aligned. When the team does well, we do well – and vice versa. We don’t hold secret pocket listings close to the chest, we let each other know. Working with a NextHome APR agent is like working with the whole team and having access to the whole team’s potential inventory even before it goes live on the MLS and enters the traditional market. This is key. You will also have access to the combined expertise and strategy of the team.

We win together.

Things to keep in mind when selecting an agent: 

  1. Experience. Experience of the agent, the team, and the broker. It is imperative to have a leg up in negotiation knowledge and a good agent is the best move you can make.
  2. Access. Access to knowledge of pre-listing properties can be the difference between buying a house this season and not. Also, access to the MLS through a Board of Realtors is imperative for real time listing results.*
  3. Always Ready. Easy to get a hold of and has an office assistant. This is important when it comes to writing offers and handling each detail between offer acceptance and closing. You cannot afford to miss a detail.

In a sellers market the days on market (DOM) are short and time is of the essence. The time to see a house that comes on the market and fits your criteria is immediately. It’s important to have an agent who is receiving real time updates from the multiple listing service (MLS) and who can alert you right away and make time in their schedule to accommodate a timely showing. You don’t want to lose out on a house because your Realtor is sleeping on the job.

NextHome Buying in a sellers market


Top Tips for Buying in a Sellers Market: 

  1. Find the Right Realtor. Use the tips above to help you with your selection.
  2. Finances. Make sure that you have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage company, or the appropriate cash proofs, for the full amount that you are approved for, are comfortable with, or have access to before you step foot in a showing. It is a common misconception that you don’t want to submit proofs for over the offer amount. In a sellers market it shows your negotiating power and confirms that you are financially sound and will not have issues providing funds for closing.
  3. Timing. Set the showing and see the houses that come on the market and fit 80% of your criteria same day when at all possible. Make home buying your priority and call in favors and outsource the rest of the duties in your life when needed in order to make first day showings if you’re able. Timing is everything.
  4. Perspective. It’s likely that you will need to compromise on something on your “ideal property” list in a seller’s market. Prioritize your list, put it in order or importance, outline your deal breakers and make sure your agent has a copy. See the properties that come close, the ones that have crappy pictures, and the ones without pictures if they come in and check most of your boxes. Properties show differently than they photograph, and potential is easier to see in person. When is doubt, see it.
  5. Contingency Expectations. Set your expectations low for appraisal and inspection negotiation. It is still important to get a home inspection as it gives you the opportunity to “walk” from the deal without penalty is major issues are found and a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached for repairs. But minor issues and repairs you should expect to pay for yourself when buying in a sellers market. With appraisal, especially if your offer is over asking, you may need to bring more cash to closing to cover the gap between the agreed sales price and the appraised price in order to keep the deal. Your agent is the best person to help you navigate negotiation, choose a good one.
  6. Offer Intelligence. Second to timing, a strong offer is the best thing you can do to secure the property of your dreams. When buying in a sellers market, its imperative to start strong. It feels counter intuitive to start with your best offer or to go in over asking right off the bat, but that is typically the name of the game in a sellers market unfortunately. Your Realtor will be able to best advise you, but you should consider the following: An over asking price offer or an offer with an escalation clause (automatic incremental counter bids with a set cap if another offer is received by the seller), a personal letter to the seller (can help swing the vote your way if the competing offers are comparable to yours), doubling or tripling your EMD amount (you are going to be paying closing costs anyway, consider paying them in a chunk up front to strengthen your offer), allowing your offer to be a backup offer if another offer is accepted over yours (something to consider if you’re flexible and the house is *the one*). If you are paying cash and are handy, you could consider waiving all contingencies (mortgage, appraisal, and inspection) to strengthen the offer. None of these “tactics” should be employed without the complete guidance of a reputable Realtor who can analyze your unique needs and position.
  7. Flexibility for the Seller. Being flexible for the seller is an often overlooked strategy. Consider putting yourself in the Seller’s shoes, what would make an offer stand out to you? How abount offering to use the title company of the seller’s choosing, allowing the seller to set the closing date and time (within reason and adhering to your contingency timeline), shortening your contingency time frames (inspect immediately, spur along your mortgage company at regular intervals and agree to the earliest closing date you can), and being flexible with your move-in (their move-out) date? Those are all great value adds to a competitive offer with very little “cost” to you.

Another thing to consider when buying in a seller’s market is to find a local builder and see if they have anything coming up in your price range that haven’t been listed yet, or if they have any lots available to custom build. Check out DW Development in Northville.

We know that this is a lot of information to digest. The great news is, a good agent knows all of these things. As long as you choose wisely (Ahem, NextHome APR) you will be in a great negotiating position.

Best of luck to you! We hope to hear from you soon.


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* Did you know that not all real estate agents are Realtors? In order to be a Realtor an agent needs to be part of a board and take an Code of Ethics oath. All agents at NextHome All Pro Realty are licensed Realtors. More on that.