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How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home


Selling a home is an overwhelming task, and one thing any seller shouldn't worry about is whether or not their agent is qualified to sell their home.




Use the Internet!


Narrow the list of potential agents in your area by simply doing a bit of online research into their online marketing.  In today's digital world, in which most people are using their phones to look at homes, it's of the utmost importance that the agent you hire focuses on quality photography and social media marketing.  You will be able to significantly narrow your list of potential agents just by dismissing all of them who don't utilize professional photography and social media marketing, making your search for an agent that much easier.


Ask to See Their Credentials


There are plenty of designations and credentials beyond the required education that a person must acquire to become a real estate agent.  An agent who has these credentials, such as Realtor® (member of The National Association of Realtors®) or ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative), has displayed a genuine committment to their industry and education.  You should strive to hire an agent who has at least a few of these designations, because their having acquired those titles indicates a level of commitment and professionalism within their industry.


Work with a Full-Time Agent


When individuals are first breaking into the real estate industry, they often can only work part-time as an agent to still have a steady source of income as they establish themselves in their new career.  Hiring a full-time agent usually means that you are working with a committed and experienced agent who has only one career to focus on.  This allows them to dedicate more of their time to their career, meaning that they are dedicated to achieving success (which includes selling your home)!


Even if you have found who you consider to be the perfect agent, it's always encouraged that you meet with a few of the other front-runners, because you never know how you will click with someone.  Even if you meet the best agent in the area, you might end up not liking his or her personality.  In case that happens, make appointments with a few agents and see who you like the most, and weigh that with the different professional practices they use to maximize your listing's chances of selling quickly and for the most money.


The Sellers' Guide to Hosting an Open House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Open House: The Sellers’ Guide

 

Open houses increase both foot traffic inside a home and online activity on that home (assuming your real estate agent is marketing properly and effectively).  There are many who would argue that open houses are less than effective for selling a home, but they, at the very least, spread the word that your home is for sale.  There are a few things you can do to make sure that, after your open house, attendees are talking about it.

 

 

 

 

Curb Appeal: Impress Immediately



You want to be sure that the first impression that those coming to your Open House have is a solid and positive one.  The best way to do that is to make sure that your home has great curb appeal.  “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is a cliché that certainly rings true here.  Clean siding, tidy and trim lawn and landscaping, no clutter, simple decorations, upkeep, and some accents of chic style and color can do a world of good.  In the warmer months, focus on healthy, neat, and bright landscaping to draw eyes to your home; during the colder months, ensure that your home’s exterior is lit extremely well, keep your pathways clear, and clean the outside of your home and landscaping before the treacherous weather of winter hits.  To see a more definitive list of ways to boost your home’s curb appeal, click here.

 

 

Lock Your Valuables

 

We’d all like to expect the best of people, but that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen.  Be sure that any valuables you have are safely locked away before your open house.  Any money, important documents, banking information, jewelry, guns, and anything else dangerous or of value should be in a secure location before you vacate the home for an open house.  This is the most important thing you should do for a successful open house, because finding an interested Buyer won’t seem quite as important if some of your valuables have come up missing since that day.

 

 

Light it Right

 

 

This is something that sellers should be doing every time there is a showing at their home, as well as when their marketing photographs are taken.  Turn on all the lights in the house.  Well-lit homes appear bigger and leave a more positive, lasting impression on visitors.  No one enjoys picturing themselves living in a dark or poorly-lit home.  This is important to be done at all times of the year, but becomes especially true in the colder months of the year when the days are shorter and there is less natural light flowing into the home than during the summer months.  Be sure that the exterior of your home is well-lit as well, as that will impact the first impression visitors get from your home.

 

Installing brighter lightbulbs can go quite a long way in how well your home is lit.  This is a fairly cheap project to take on prior to an open house, and it could prove to be incredibly effective in how people feel walking through your home.

 

Clean all windows and change dark window treatments, because you should be trying to let in every bit of natural light that you possibly can.  Sheers are fine, because they filter out very little of the natural light, but any heavier curtains should be taken down and replaced with sheers.  If you can’t replace them with sheers, the best thing to do is take them down all together, rather than let them block the light from entering your home.

  


De-Clutter

 


 

If you are planning on living in your home at the same time that your home will be listed for sale, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider consolidating some of your belongings, and possibly even renting a storage unit.  Too much furniture or clutter in a home doesn’t just make your rooms appear smaller, it also distracts the potential buyers, and they will end up focusing more on the stuff than the home itself.  That is something that should be avoided at all costs.  Here are some specific things you can do to help simplify your home before listing it or hosting an open house:

 

Take everything off your refrigerator:  Take all pictures and magnets off of your refrigerator and give the outside (and inside- some buyers DO look!) a good cleaning!

 

Simplify your decorations:  Opt for decorating that is simple and chic, despite whether that fits into your style or not.  Too many decorations are distracting to potential buyers, but a simplified decorating style can help suggest the decorating potential of the home to buyers who may lack the vision to see the home has to offer.

 

Remove any unnecessary furniture from your home:  Consider putting your excess furniture in a storage unit so that your rooms appear larger.

 

Tuck away garbage cans:  Garbage containers can clutter a room since they often sit in the middle of a room.  If their presence in the room during the open house is unnecessary, consider tucking them away under a cabinet or in a pantry.

 

Clean and organize all closets:  Closet space is incredibly important to many buyers, and you can help yours look more spacious by cleaning them out and organizing them.  Consider packing away unnecessary clothes, purchasing closet organizers, and purging closet contents prior to your open house.  Space utilization can make a small space a lot more appealing to buyers.

 

Consider storing area rugs:  While area rugs can be so beautiful, they can actually make a room look smaller.  Furthermore, if they are laid over wood flooring, you’d be much better off letting the hardwood show instead.  This is an important talking point for almost all buyers, so showing off your hardwood can be a really great idea!

 

 

Air It Out

 


 

This may seem like a silly thing to suggest, especially during the winter months, but it is, nevertheless, an effective suggestion.  Homeowners tend to get used to the smells in their homes, but visitors can immediately smell them.  Even if you don’t own pets, you should open the windows in your home for at least thirty minutes the morning of your Open House, but make sure that you leave enough time for your home to warm back up.  And, while on the topic of the temperature in your home, there is an ideal temperature for showings and open houses.  During the winter, 70-72 are the proper temperatures, and during the summer, 70 is appropriate.

 

 

Remove Personal Items from Your Home

 


 

Before your open house, remove the pictures and portraits of your family and friends, and other personal items that may be distracting or speak more to your personality than others.  For instance, sports teams decorations, family portraits, and anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate to others.  This also goes along with the idea of simplifying your decorations, and as a suggested replacement for some of those decorations that you take down, consider installing mirrors instead.  Mirrors give the illusion of expansion, making your room feel bigger than it is, and they also reflect light, making your rooms brighter.

 


Kitchen and Bathrooms Should Shine!

 

 

The two rooms that, above all others, should be sparkling clean and fresh are the kitchen and bathrooms.  Other rooms in your home get messy and dusty, but the kitchen and bathrooms get dirty.  They need the most attention from you, for two main reasons.  For one, a Buyer wants to feel like they are buying a home with a kitchen or bathroom that has never been used.  There should be no trace of past residents left over in ether room, because that means that there is germy evidence of your stay in that home.  For another, these rooms get more dirty than other rooms in the house, and that is in the back of every buyer’s mind who comes to your open house.  Counter that notion with a sparkling clean space that will make them feel like, if they Buy your home, they will be coming into a seemingly brand new place.  Be sure that all countertops are clear in the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Put everything in a drawer, cabinet, or tuck them away in a storage basket out of sight.  Remember to close the toilet lids before your open house, as well!

 

 

Set the Table

 


 

For the dining area in your home, consider setting the table with simple and chic place settings.  This helps buyers see themselves entertaining or even sitting down to dinner by themselves.  A fork and knife, linen napkin, and even one dinner plate per place would suffice.  Top off your staged dining room with a bundle of fresh flowers in a vase on the table for a really beautiful setting.

 

 

Deep Clean

 

 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be mentioned: Clean your home very well before your open house.  Dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, de-clutter, wash windows and mirrors, and attend to anything that needs attention.  Steam cleaning your carpets is never a bad idea, but it is especially suggested if you have kids or pets.

 

If you find stains or marks on any of your walls as you are cleaning, a great tool to help remedy them is the Magic Eraser.  A little bit of water and a magic eraser can work wonders on stained walls!  Don’t underestimate the effect small messes, like wall stains, can have on the impression buyers get from your home.

 

 

Make Yourself Scarce

 


 

Having the homeowners present at an open house (or any showing, for that matter) can make buyers feel awkward and pressured.  It’s important that you vacate your home during an open house, so that buyers can walk through without feeling like there is something to be expected of them, allowing them to get a clear and precise impression of your home.

 

 

Remove Pet Supplies

 

 

Just as the owners should vacate the home for the open house, so should their pets.  Not everyone likes pets, and no matter how often you wash your pets, there is still a strong chance that someone who is not used to the smell of pets in their home will be able to smell pet odor.  This is even more likely if your pets are still in the home!  Be sure that you tuck away any pet toys, beds, and accessories before your open house as well.

 

 

Finish Any Projects You’ve Begun

 


 

If you have started any projects around your house and left them unfinished, be sure that they are finished before your open house.  Seeing half-finished work at an open house is a red flag to some buyers that your home will have repairs that were done with shoddy workmanship.  This will also be a talking point of your home after they leave, and wouldn’t you rather them be talking about some of the good things about your home?

 

 

Do Your Share of Marketing

 


 

Your real estate agent, if you’ve picked a good one, will be advertising your open house on social media before the event takes place.  If you aren’t already doing so, follow their page, so that you may see the posts they make pertaining to your listing.  When you come across their open house advertisement for your home, share it to your own page, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to share it, as well.  This can get the advertisement out to hundreds or thousands more people, increasing the probability that you will have a good turn-out for your open house.  You never know, one of those family members or friends may just know someone who is looking for a house, and it could be a match!

 


There are many things to consider before hosting an open house in your home.  The most important thing to consider is what you would want to see if you were looking for a home.  If you keep that in mind, everything should fall into place.  If you’d like to see further references for selling or showing your home, check out The Linda Frierdich Group’s Pinterest page, Go Team Linda, and be sure to follow the board “Help for Sellers.”

 

6 Steps to a Sale-Ready Home

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

6 EASY Steps to Make Your Home Ready for Sale


It's no secret that the majority of activity on a listed home happens right when the listing goes live.  There are many things that can take that flurry of activity and turn it into a quick home sale, from the right price to the photos to the staging of the home.  It's so important that the potential buyers looking at your home, whether through pictures or through a showing, see a home that they can picture as their own.  Here are six easy steps you can take to ensure that those initial interested parties aren't deterred by issues that could have been resolved before your home was listed.

 

 1.  De-Personalize

 

  • Remove Photos and Personal Items
    • Seeing personal items, such as photos, monogrammed decorations, etc. make a huge difference in how easily a potential Buyer pictures your home as their home.
  • Put Away Every-Day Essentials
    • Your toothbrush, makeup, and hair accessories cause distraction from the home and put a block between your personal home and the viewers' potential home.
  • Remove or Replace Items You Are Taking with You
    • For one thing, those items you are planning on taking with you probably have a distinct look that directly correlates with your style, but may not correlate with the style of the potential buyers.  It'd be terrible for a Buyer to fall in love with an intricate light fixture you have, only to find it gone when they go to close on the home.  The best route to take is to just avoid this issue all together and take any items you are planning on taking with you out of the home before you list it.
2.  Get Rid of Clutter

  • Donate What You Don't Need
    • Sift through those cluttered areas of your home and remove any items that you don't need.  Moving can be a great motivation to purge your home of things that you have been hanging on to for far too long.  After all, no one wants to move more items than they have to.
  • Clear Surfaces
    • Clear off nightstands, end tables, and kitchen counters to ensure that your home doesn't seem cluttered.  Some nice options for where to go with those items that usually sit out include organizational baskets with lids and mason jars for those kitchen utensils that you usually leave out.
  • Rent a Storage Unit
    • There are bound to be items in your home that you don't need access to until after the move, but that may lead to clutter or take up a lot of space in your home.  It might be a good idea to rent a storage unit and store those items while your home is on the market.  It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it could make the difference in how quickly your home sells.

4.  Organize

  • "Face" Items
    • Have you ever noticed how all the products in the supermarket have the label facing forward?  This doesn't happen by chance; the store pays its employees to ensure that all items look neat and easily recognizable on their shelves.  Applying the same kind of logic to your cabinets at home will have a similar effect.  Potential buyers will want to open up the cabinets in your home to get a good look at the state of teh interior as well as the space they offer.  The more organized your items are, the better and more spacious the cabinets will look.
  • Organize Everything
    • Rearrange your spice rack and alphabetize your movie and music collections.  If you ahve an area of your home that lacks good organization, consider investing in some organizational containers.  An organized home leaves a more positive effect on visitors than a cluttered home, and you want potential buyers to leave your home feeling that they had a positive experience.
  • Maximize Your Closet Space
    • The more organized your closets are, the bigger they look.  Clothes packed in too tight, shoes that are overflowing their rack, and items crammed onto shelves are all issues that lead to your closets looking smaller than they actually are.  Closet space is a great talking point of a home, and you want to make sure that yours looks the best it can.
4. Repair & Re-Think

  • Re-think paint choices
    • The loud color choices you made in your home may have worked for you, but they also may not work for the potential Buyer.  Re-paint those rooms with a nice neutral color.  A neutral color also seems a lot less personal than a loud color, and your goal is to make your home de-personalized to leave room for personalization in the minds of your potential buyers.
  • Fix Any Problems You Can
    • Whether it be a leaky faucet, a clogged drain, or some nail holes in the walls, repair them!  There are plenty of homes on the market that are completely repaired and ready to sell.  Don't assume that a Buyer will see the repairs in your home and accept them just because they are easy enough to do.  If a buyer has a choice between your home, that is in need of repairs, and another home, that is not; chances are, they will choose the other home.
5.  Clean

  • Dust Everything
    • Dust everything you see that needs dusted.  Don't forget to look at light fixtures, window sills, woodwork, and door frames, in addition to the furniture you have in your home.  No one likes the idea of moving into a home and living in other people's filth.  The more deeply you clean, the better your house looks.
  • Focus on Floors
    • Wax wooden floors, steam clean all of your carpets, and vacuum daily.  This step is especially important for any pet owners looking to sell their homes.  Dogs and cats leave floors a mess from dandruff and shed fur.  Animals in a home can be a deterrent for certain home buyers, so it is important that you minimize the effect pet ownership has on a home.  Remove the animal smell through washing, steaming, and vacuuming.
  • Consider Hiring a Professional
    • Hiring a professional cleaning service may be the right choice for getting your home listing-ready in a hurry.  A professional knows the areas that need to be focused on, and they can help you get your home in a state where all you need to do is keep up on it as your home is shown and on the market.
6.  Boost Your Curb Appeal

 

  • Pressure Wash
    • Pressure washing your home's exterior can be a great way to make the outside of your home look more fresh and tidy.  The first impression a potential Buyer will get of your home will be from the curb appeal as they are walking up, so you want to be sure that the first impression is a good one.
  • Keep Up on Your Lawn
    • A tidy and trim lawn also makes a huge difference in your home's curb appeal.  Be sure to keep up on the mowing and trimming, both before your home is photographed and while it is on the market.  Many potential buyers will drive by your home before they book an actual showing, so you want to be sure that your home is looking great even when there are no showings scheduled.
  • Plant Flowers
    • Flowers not only give your yard more curb appeal by adding a pop of color, they also make your home seem prettier and more appealing.  A home with flowers outside feels more like a home than one without flowers out front.

Real Estate Is Rocking!

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

Wow!  Where to start?  Real Estate has been an exciting roller coaster this year so far!  Despite all the media hype, stock market insanity, and economic uproar, my group has exceeded my expectations for this year in real estate!  According to the Southwestern Illinois Regional MLS, we are currently #1 in the area for home sales (dollar volume AND units sold) at a little over $25,000,000 in production!  What does this mean for my clients?

It means that I am STILL SPENDING TOP DOLLAR to advertise your home!  In fact, I am in the process of adding an Interactive Voice Response system to all of my listings just to make sure we access that many more buyers.  I am expanding my marketing plan online to reach out to that many more prospects.  Also, I recently attended a Leadership University where I learned new ways to keep my team productive and cohesive.  I picked up some great marketing tips as well that will keep us on the cutting edge for marketing.  Talk to you soon!

Thanks for the Support!

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

The new site has been up and running for awhile now, and the Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group would like to thank you for your support.  This new site is only one of many new marketing techniques we are implementing.  We have created a For Sale By Owner website (www.monroecountysalebyowner.com) as well as a free Home Search site (www.lindasellsmonroecounty.com)!  We are getting awesome responses from past, current, and future clients!  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on our new online marketing.

We also have put a few new seller and buyers programs into place to keep up with this constantly changing market.  Give us a call to find out about the details or for a free copy of our "Home Buyer's Handbook" or "Seller Success Strategies" pamplet.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Lindsey Bivins

Group Manager

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Contact Information

Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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