Choosing the Right Realtor

home photoWhether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, choosing the right realtor can make a huge difference. Although you don’t technically have to have a realtor to do either one of these things, it can be very beneficial to have the help of someone who is trained and educated in all the ins and outs of the buying and selling processes. With the tips listed below, you should have no trouble finding the perfect realtor for whichever stage of the home owning process you may be experiencing now.

Ask around:  If you know people in your area who have recently bought or sold a home, talk to them about the realtors they’ve worked with. Chances are good you’ll be able to get a solid referral from a friend or family member. On the other hand, if you’re new to the area or looking to move to a place where you don’t know anyone, check out reviews online. You can find a variety of different sites that offer reviews and “grades” for realtors in your area.

Understand the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent:  Just because someone is a real estate agent doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a realtor. A realtor is someone who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. This means that that person must stick to the rules and guidelines set out by this organization. It also means that the realtor you’re working with is likely to be ethical, fair, and willing to help you every step of the way.

Ask about your realtor’s price range:  Some realtors are better at finding homes in certain price ranges than others. If you’re looking for a home in the $200,000 price range, for example, you probably don’t want to work with a realtor who usually only shows million-dollar homes. That realtor simply isn’t going to have the expertise in the budget you’re looking for. The same is true, too, however; if you’re wanting to buy an expensive home, it’s a good idea to go with a realtor who has some experience selling homes with a higher price tag.

Don’t settle on the first realtor you meet:  You may not connect with the first realtor you talk to, and that’s okay. You might not like how pushy that particular realtor is, or you may just feel like he or she isn’t focused on the kind of must-haves you’re looking for in your home. For whatever reason, if your first realtor leaves you wanting a little more, don’t be afraid to try out some others and talk to several before you settle on someone to work with. You’ll be able to find the perfect realtor to help you locate the home of your dreams in no time.

I’ve been helping home buyer and sellers with their real estate needs in the west valley for over 12 years. As part of The Sibbach Team we pride ourselves on being a market leader.  We continue to learn and become educated thru extensive and on-going training, field research, open mindedness and client feedback to deliver a superior client experience.

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What Marketing Can I Expect My Realtor to Do?

Glendale Real Esatate photoWhen you’re selling your home, you’ve probably heard that it’s better to work with a realtor. After all, potential buyers are a lot more likely to look at a home that’s being sold by a realtor instead of one that’s just for sale by the owner. However, what can you really expect your realtor to do other than bring strangers to your home and walk with them through it? Did you know that your realtor has some marketing strategies to help you improve your chances of selling your home in a timely manner?

The MLS:  The MLS is basically a listings engine that realtors use to locate homes for sale in the area. They can search based on all sorts of parameters to help you find the perfect home to fit your needs, budget, and more. When your home is added to the MLS, that makes it much more accessible to other realtors throughout the region, and not just to yours. This means that even people who have never heard of your realtor will be told about your house for sale by their own realtor, and exposure to your home will increase significantly. This is the most important marketing task of any seller’s realtor.

Photos and Staging:  Not every realtor will do this for a seller, but many will. One of the most important marketing strategies your realtor can help you with professional photos of the inside and outside of your home. When a house has photos that are poorly lit or don’t show the key elements of a room, even the best and most impressive MLS listing isn’t going to get potential buyers interested in looking at the home. If your realtor doesn’t offer to help you with photos and staging, it never hurts to be up front and ask about it.

Pricing:  One key aspect of your realtor’s job is to help you set a fair and acceptable price for your home. Your realtor has access to a lot of information about the prices that homes in the area have been selling for, and he or she will know what the market trends are doing at any given time. Choosing a reasonable price for your home is a crucial part of marketing it to the right target pool of potential buyers and ensuring that it gets a lot of attention, too. If you insist on going with a higher price than the one your realtor suggests, don’t be surprised if you soon need to lower it back to what you were quoted in the first place.

Sibbach Team utilizes the most innovative marketing strategies.  We use professional photographers and our on staff stager who will help to show off your home’s best features.  But that’s not all!  We take drone aerial shots, list your home on most visited real estate websites  (trulia, zillow, redfin, realtor.com etc.) and strategically utilize social media to showcase your home.  Open House events are still very effective and we know how to drive visitors to view your home.

Are you considering selling your home?  Get started with a free, no obligation home value estimate or contact me at  602-329-7782 

Hot Kitchen Trends That Sell Homes  

Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes.  That’s a real estate truism that’s actually right on the money!  Whether you have just purchased your home and want to update the kitchen, you’re getting your home ready to list for sale, or whether you are looking to remodel your home in the future, you should consider the long-term resale value of any updates you undertake in the kitchen.

Nowadays, buyers want homes that are already updated, as their lives get busier and busier.   Therefore, if one of the most important rooms isn’t updated, many potential buyers will start adding up the cost to update the kitchen, at minimum, and may not offer as much for your home down the line.    Therefore, if you are considering updating your home to maximize the sales price, as well as to compete with similar homes in your neighborhood, here are some current design trends to consider:

  1. Stainless Steel Appliances.   This is the first, and most important, item to update in any kitchens. Buyers still want stainless steel appliances, and this trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon.  Swapping out any black, white or ivory appliances for stainless steel (silver, black or slate stainless) is a relatively inexpensive, yet simple way to quickly update your kitchen.   If you do decide on an “alternative” stainless steel, black stainless is quickly gaining momentum as being on trend in kitchen appliances as well, so you may want to consider this color if it coordinates with your existing cabinets and countertops (ie, whites and grays rather than browns and beiges).
  1. Paint.  Painting your kitchen in a soft, neutral color, especially if it hasn’t been painted in the past five years, is a simple, inexpensive and quick way to update this area of your home.  Paint also covers a multitude of sins so any fading or dinginess that occurs from all of the heat and dampness in a kitchen will disappear with a fresh coat of paint.  It is important to pick a color that will appeal to the widest range of buyers, and that will coordinate with your existing cabinets, countertops and appliances.  I’d be happy to assist you with this decision.
  1. Flooring.  After paint and appliances, consider the flooring in your kitchen.  Buyers prefer tile, stone or other hard flooring in the kitchen.  Eighteen-inch porcelain or ceramic tiles in neutral colors are relatively inexpensive, yet provide a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to updating the look of your kitchen.   While hardwood flooring is always in style, it’s not a favorite in kitchens due to potential issues with water damage.  Wide plank porcelain tiles are absolutely on trend, especially in larger dimensions (for example, 12 by 24 inches). Be careful not to choose patterns that are overly busy.
  1. Countertops. Anything but laminate and tile is what buyers are looking for in today’s market.  Granite or quartz countertops in the kitchen are upgrades that will quickly update the look and style of your kitchen, and because they are very low-maintenance, they will stay popular.  There are various levels (or pricing) of granite, and I would be happy to suggest which level of granite would be appropriate for the price range of your home as you don’t want to price yourself out of the future resale market.
  1. Cabinets.  Your cabinets are the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to kitchen updating.  Depending on the type of wood and the style of cabinet you currently have, simply painting or refinishing your cabinets may do the trick. White-washed, light maple or oak cabinets are considered dated in today’s kitchens.  If the interiors of your cabinets are in good condition but the style of the doors is not current, re-facing may be a better option to update your cabinets.   With re-facing, the doors and drawer fronts will be removed, and they can be replaced with any style or finish.  A finished wood veneer will be affixed to the cabinet sides, and new knobs and handles can complete the updated look.

White and gray colored cabinetry are more updated and on trend than maple or blond cabinetry.   A current trend with cabinetry is contrasting the colors of cabinetry with one color of cabinets in your kitchen island and another color (typically lighter) in your perimeter cabinetry.  Again, I’d be happy to suggest what color and style would be appropriate in your price range.

Updating your kitchen with any of the above suggestions and trends will be sure to help you maximize the final sale price of your home.  I look forward to working with you to prioritize the costs of any remodel or update you plan to undertake with an eye toward maximizing the sale price of your home.

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Real Estate Terminology BINSR

While the ins and out of real estate have never been more part of our popular culture thanks to the advent of HGTV and its long roster of home shows, there are still several technical and legal components of real estate that can be confusing to home buyers and home sellers.  For example, you’ve listed your home for sale, have negotiated with a potential buyer, and have entered into a contract to sell your home.  Now what?  The buyer will set up and pay for an inspection of your home, and based on the inspection report, will send you a BINSR.

pool seating area photoWhat is a BINSR?  This is a Buyer Inspection Notice and Seller Response, and this is the document the buyer uses to notify you, the seller, about the issues that exist with the home and the property.  The buyer typically has ten days after the inspection to deliver this BINSR to the seller. Typically, there are three things the buyer can do after the inspection of the seller’s home, according to the BINSR.  First, the buyer can indicate that they accept the premises completely, which means no further work needs to be done.  The second option is the buyer can reject the premises, which means the real estate transaction is cancelled.  The third option, which is the most common scenario, is the buyer “elects to provide the seller an opportunity to correct” whichever items from the inspection the buyer wants corrected before they take possession of the property.

This third option is where the buyer wants the seller to either repair, replace or change something based on the inspection report.  The seller, you, will then have 5 days in which to respond to the BINSR.  As the seller, you have three responses available.  The first response is that you agree to correct all inspection issues.  Your second available response is that you agree to no repairs.  (The buyer then will have the option to accept the property as-is, or to cancel the transaction altogether).  The final response is that you can itemize which items you are willing to repair, replace or change.  For example, you may agree to fix 75% of the items on the inspection report, but not a few of the other items because you disagree with the inspector’s conclusions.

At this point, the buyer can then choose to either accept or cancel based on the seller’s response to the BINSR.  While this is a very simplified explanation of the BINSR process, this is typically how this often-complicated portion of the real estate transaction proceeds.  I look forward to answering any questions you may have about any real estate related matters.

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