Archive for the ‘Orlando’ Category

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The Art of Real Estate (or any type of) Negotiation

March 19, 2013

In my mind, a successful negotiation is not where one side has pulverized the other. You don’t “win” a negotiation; you get the best possible outcome for your clients while doing the least harm. No one should leave a negotiation angry. After all, you never know when you might have to negotiate with the same people again.  When it comes to negotiating on behalf of my clients, I keep the following in mind:

 

Set the stage: I like a location that’s quiet, neutral, pleasant, and away from distractions and confusion.  It’s best if everyone turns off their devices, and refrains from calls or texts during negotiations.

 

Be prepared: I never enter without my homework. I verify any outstanding facts before the negotiation begins. (Later fact-finding can cause a negotiation to bog down!)

 

Present a united front: I represent clients and have been hired to act on their wishes. At times I may not agree with their position, but I never share that with the other side. If I feel a client’s position is less than optimal, I only discuss it with them in private

 

Leave attitudes at the door: It’s very simple… treat everyone in the negotiation with respect, regardless of personal opinions. If anyone disagrees, disagree with the idea, not the person.

 

Watch non-verbal cues and body language: (Sorry, but I can’t reveal all of my secrets here… suffice it to say I take it all in!)

 

Hold something in reserve: I discuss concessions with my clients beforehand and only offer these concessions when we absolutely need to concede something.

 

I don’t harp about points that don’t matter to my clients: Negotiations should never choke over a minor point.  I like to get agreement on major points such as price and terms and put lesser items aside to return to later.

 

Never volunteer too much information: Knowledge is power in a negotiation. Telling the other side any information, however insignificant seeming, could weaken my clients’ position. On the other hand, I learn as much about the other side as I can.

 

If you ever need someone on your side in a real estate negotiation, feel free to contact me directly: 407-925-7721 (Cell or Text) or lindahutchinson@msn.com.

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What are Home Buyers looking for? This is a great read….

January 16, 2013

Buyers: Don’t just list a home – prepare it first

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 16, 2013 – To sell a home or get top dollar, sellers must look at their property through the eyes of a potential buyer. Consider the following five tips:

1. Get rid of clutter and Aunt Mary’s photo.

“Selling your house is about taking your personality out of it and having people going through it envisioning their own life and personality,” says Candice Olson, host of “Candice Tells All” on Canadian television station “W Network.”

It’s hard for buyers to imagine themselves in a home decorated wall-to-wall with photographs of people they do not know, and knick-knacks that hold no special meaning. In preparing a home for sale, all the things that personalize a home to the family within should be stored for the next home – including all the pictures and magnets on the refrigerator.

Olson says even art on the wall should be analyzed because people have different tastes. She recommends retaining any mirrors, however. “Art is very personal, but mirrors aren’t,” she says. “Mirrors are great for adding depth and dimension and visual space and light … it’s non-committal art.”

2. Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms.

Most buyers who fall in love with a kitchen fall in love with the house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers should invest in an expensive upgrade. The best kitchen is one that aligns with buyers’ tastes, and that’s not always one with upscale cabinets and granite countertops. At the least, the expensive of those upgrades may not come back to the owner in a higher selling price. Sellers should also focus on lighting.

Hilary Farr of the Toronto-based “Love It or List It” television show suggests spending upgrade money on refacing kitchen cabinets and counter upgrades, such as replacing the backsplash.

Olson has simple advice for any would-be seller considering a kitchen upgrade: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

3. Make your home look like a hotel suite – inviting but neutral.

Floors make a big impression because they’re big, the “first thing that strike you when you walk in the front door,” Farr says.

Bathrooms should look like a just-cleaned hotel room: New soaps, clean towels and perhaps some cut flowers. Beds should be made with neutral blankets or comforters.

Jonathan and Drew Scott, the “Property Brothers” on television, suggest that sellers consider a home stager. Stagers arrange furniture and furnishings or bring in their own to make the house look as appealing as possible to potential buyers.

“Staging is such a crucial part of it,” says Drew. “It’s just as important as any sort of renovation, because if a buyer can’t walk into a space and picture themselves living there, they’re not going to give you top dollar, for one, and they might just turn and walk away.”

4. Price the home based on market value, not your personal opinion

Do you need to recoup the money you spent at the market’s height in 2006? Buyers don’t care. Did you raise three kids in the home? Your fond memories aren’t worth anything to potential buyers.

Sellers have to switch from emotional attachments and see the sale of their home as a business decision. Realtors give unbiased opinions, and some home sellers even have an appraisal done before they list their home.

5. Focus on curb appeal first

If buyers love the outside of a house – their first impression – there’s a greater chance they’ll love the inside. Sellers can upgrade kitchens and bathrooms all they want, but if a buyer chooses not to enter the home because the outside doesn’t dazzle them, but upgrades won’t do any good.

Paint shingles, doors, garages and railings. Plant new shrubbery and trim existing greenery. In summer, mow the grass twice per week.

A new-looking exterior doesn’t have to be expensive to make potential buyers look twice.

Source: Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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What’s happening in Orlando real estate?

July 1, 2012

What an interesting time in real estate. Homes ARE selling and I have had a great year to date. I’m grateful for that. But there is a lot of work to be done. In what direction are we moving as a nation?

The majority of homes sold are still distress sales. Homes that are NOT distressed (in foreclosure or short sale) are selling fast and furious. These homes are generally well cared for and the Seller can make a decision quickly. People are tired of waiting on banks and on being required to accept homes in shabby condition or AS IS without regard to repairs. I truly believe that buyers want to work with homes that they KNOW are well-maintained and show pride of ownership.

So who is buying distressed properties? Mostly investors with a lot of cash. Are we turning into a society of renters? Time will tell. I can tell you that there are a lot of people looking for rental homes. I probably get five to ten calls per day of someone looking for a rental house.

I am happy for the uptick in home sales but I will be happier when we see loans easier to obtain (even qualified buyers are unduly pressured during the loan process), appraisers realizing that the market is getting stronger and buyers not afraid to make decisions. WE NEED TO MOVE TOWARD A COUNTRY OF CONFIDENT CITIZENS.

I love our country as we approach this July 4th holiday and I pray that we will see our nation move in a positive direction with everyone working to the better good of our nation. May it be so.

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Change is good…let’s get into home design

February 29, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years I have been writing about market conditions and lenders and the federal government’s role in real estate. I’m still going to do that but…I’m also going to start writing some hints and tips to help you get your home SOLD in these challenging times.

For starters – I recently had a homeowner approach me about selling their home inOrlando. They asked me to stop by to view their home. What did I find? A carport full of junk (think hoarder), dead grass and a very unappealing entry to this charming home.

I told the Sellers that before we did ANYTHING – they had to clean up the front, put in new grass and add some orange shutters, window boxes, and paint the front door, etc. In other words – create charm. They did so and sold their home quickly.

No matter how you live daily…you have to live differently when you are selling your home. A lovely and charming entry is going to entice people to look at the inside of your home. If a home looks neglected – Buyers won’t give it a second chance.

Today color is HUGE. The orange (think coral) shutters and window boxes made a giant impact on the Sellers’ home. They did not have to buy tons of new plants, just fill the window boxes and replace the lawn with new grass. The whole change was under $2,000 and they got it all back on the sale of their home. In fact, the Sellers wondered if they should sell once the house looked so cute.

Just like anything – first impressions count. Make yours memorable.

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Orlando Real Estate Update

September 1, 2011

My Mom always said…if you don’t have something nice to say – don’t say it. So I have been quiet for a while about the condition of the real estate market in Central Florida. I thought I would update you as we enter the final part of 2011.

Things are pretty rough and that is putting it mildly. I know everyone says we should be positive and optimistic and believe me…I am. But the realities are that (a) we have the lowest number of homes available in recent history for sale with so many of them short sales (b) lenders are still making it very difficult to obtain loans and (c) when you do get an offer on a home – appraisers have become the enemy. The low-ball appraisals are causing the cancellation of many contracts.

It’s hard times. In fact, in some areas of Central Florida…I see home prices rolled back to 1980’s price range and can’t believe it. This is the LOWEST price for listed home that I have seen in some time. That says something.

What does this mean to you? If you have CASH and want to buy – there will probably NEVER be a better time to pick up some bargains. Buy now at the LOW point and lease out your properties…it’s a wise move. For those of you who own your home free and clear – HOLD A MORTGAGE. This is a no-brainer. Sell your home with OWNER FINANCING and you will realize a higher return on your property with a 7% mortgage than putting it a volatile stock market. Take a reasonable but good sized down payment and hold the balance on a seven year balloon. You will watch your money and investment grow.

When will things change? No one knows. But I don’t look for things to get better in the immediate future. However, the wise investor or buyer knows that NOW is the time to buy and that’s good news.

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Glamour comes in all sizes…

July 7, 2011

Real estate  is constantly changing and for me…that is a good thing.

I like change and while sometimes it can seem daunting and scary, it also forces me to re-focus my energies into what is important and what will make me AND my clients happy. The old days are gone and a new day is here. Not everyone is going to make it in this new world order. Why? Because they are unwilling to change.

One of the biggest changes I see is the return to smaller homes. I remember when everyone thought bigger was better and tried  to keep up with their neighbors. If these economically challenging times have taught us anything – it’s to tighten your belt and live within our means. No more super-sized anything. It’s time to live large in smaller spaces.

When I say that glamour comes in all sizes – I am seeing it on a daily basis when showing homes. Small homes are VERY popular and as baby-boomer enter new phases in their lives and careers, they will look to downsized. The smaller home will be the desired size for many. Even Gen X, Y and whatever would agree that to be “green” today means to keep our homes at a manageable size. Families live within their means and within a more “defined” living space. It’s cool to be cozy.

I’m looking forward to our future – I think we are getting smarter and we are coming to terms with what is important in life. Size doesn’t matter – but charm, character, personality and a home with glamour will never go out of style. Live large but in a smaller space! Be willing to change.

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Safety First – why your agent should use an Electronic Lockbox

June 22, 2011

I recently had the pleasure of taking an out of state buyer to look at properties in Central Florida. I was ALARMED (sorry for the pun) at the number of homes without electronic lockboxes.

The alternative that is used is often a “locker-style” lockbox where the agent enters an alphanumeric code such as A-B-C  to open the box and obtain a homeowner’s house key. The problem with that system is that any prospective and attentive buyer can watch you use the code and gain access to your home in the future. While I don’t think break-ins are increasing – it is still a security risk. These lockboxes are cheaper but not safer for the homeowner.

I highly recommend the electronic lockbox (no cost to the seller – just to the agent) because they LOCK at night and no one can gain access to your house unless they use a Board of REALTOR’s issued lockbox key which records via an electronic keypad the showing agent who is going in and out of your home. All this information is downloaded daily to the listing agent via the internet. These lockboxes are safe and effective.

In my business the customer comes first and the customer’s safety is of the utmost importance to me. Be smart.