Tracy Ellis

Tracy was recently featured in Gazelle Magazine as the local Real Estate Contributor.

What advice would you give sellers on letting go of their home?You must detach from your home mentally and emotionally when you are selling your home, because it will make it much easier on you when it is time to negotiate a contract. You have to look at this like a business transaction, it’s an investment, and it’s no longer your home. Always take the advice from your Realtor, they have your best interest in mind. In most cases, when my clients move in to their next home, they aren’t even thinking about the one they just left.

What should people look for in a Realtor?
When you’re looking for a Realtor to get your home sold, you should always interview at least 2 or 3 real estate agents. When you need your roof replaced, you usually get 2 or 3 estimates, same goes for selling your home. Definitely discuss their experience and the areas they service. I think one of the MOST important things to discuss is how they are going to market your home? Who will be taking the photographs? Will you be working directly with that agent or a member of their team? How does their web site look? Will you have TV, radio or publication exposure? Are they a full time agent? Do they market your home on Social Media? Ask for referrals from previous clients or contact them directly. You should also find an agent with a wide network of professionals at their disposal, it will make selling your home much easier. This is your largest investment, do your homework!

Are people still getting into bidding wars on homes?
In many instances yes! Pricing is everything, I’ve actually turned down listings that I felt weren’t going to sell near the price the home owner wanted. It’s not going to do many any good to have an unhappy client, so I’d rather just walk away from the listing. After almost 20 years in real estate, I’ve went in to so many homes that I can tell the value almost as soon as I walk through the door. Sometimes it’s not always pricing, it’s how a home is displayed. Rick & I recently were called to home in Camelot, that had previously been listed with 3 or 4 agents. I knew as soon as I walked through the door why it hadn’t sold. The house was already beautiful, but sometimes there is just too much stuff. I was able to get my client to follow my advice. Within 30 days it was under contract for our full list price of $750,000 after being on the market for over a year prior. In a similar situation,  I was called to interview for a listing  that had been on the market with another agent for over a year. The seller had too much personal attachment to her things and wasn’t willing to listen to my advice. I walked away from listing that home, because I knew it had nothing to do with the price, and it’s still on the market today. Many times it doesn’t cost money to help your home show better, just some sweat equity. We are all visual people and in today’s market buyers know what they want and are willing to pay for it.

What is the sweat equity you’re referring to?
There are many things that go into having your home “show ready”, but some of the most important is de-clutter. I tell all of my clients, “You’re moving, pack”! If you don’t use it, lose it! Every thing on the floor is square footage, remove the pots and decorative items and PLEASE get rid of the artificial plants. Limit the amount of personal photos and neutralize your paint; colors are everything. Buyers do not want to buy a new home and start painting right away, moving is exhausting enough. Regardless if it’s Spring or not, clean like it is! I always notice when I go into a home and see dust accumulated on the air return vents, that screams the home owner doesn’t maintain the home. Anyone that list with me, should get their note pad ready, but it’s all easy things in most cases. The goal is to get the home sold, not for me to tell you what you want to hear just to get the listing.

What is the #1 tip you’d give buyers?
This will always stay the same, Location, Location, Location! You can always change the house, you can never change the location! Make sure it’s in a good school district and near major highways.  People are busy working for a living and they don’t want to spend anymore time away from their families.

What about people building a home?
Again, Location! They also need to remember, it won’t be easy to someday change the exterior or floor plan. ALWAYS pick the best lot you can afford and sacrifice flooring and granite to have the things you can’t change! You have to look at your home as an investment; don’t pick the cheapest elevation on a standard lot in order to have all of the upgrades on the interior that nobody can see from the street. If you do that now, you’ll regret it when you’re ready to sell! Some buyers  think they don’t need an agent when their building, they do! We do this everyday, we know what’s going to get you the best return and in most cases there is no cost to the buyer. The commission is paid by the builder in almost all cases. You should always have someone representing your best interest.

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