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On the show today, I have real estate agent Kristina Mollo on the show and we talk about the process of both buying and selling a home, and what today’s buyers are looking for. When it comes to selling real estate, whether you are a home stager, a real estate agent or a home seller, it is important to understand what today’s buyers are looking for and how they think. Having worked on both buyer’s and seller’s side, Kristina knows what today’s buyers are looking for and understands the importance of putting the home’s best foot forward when it comes to selling real estate.
During the show, we discussed how to make listings stand out, leveraging social media, ways to create demand for your listings and what makes great homes hard to sell.
And don’t forget As part of our 13th anniversary celebration, we are doing a huge giveaway with $1,650 worth of prizes! I am giving away the Launcher course, the 6-Figure Floor Plan self-study course, the paperback version of the marketing in the home staging industry book, my five essentials in my home staging tool bag, and a bunch of other goodies.
The giveaway ends at 3/15/2019 00:00 EST. You can get an entry everyday, plus if you share the giveaway, subscribe to our podcast, like us on Facebook and Instagram, you will receive more entries!
On today’s show, here are some of the stuff we discussed:
Hey Kristina, thank you so much for coming on the show. Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what type of work do you do as a real estate agent?
What is your real estate market like?
I think a lot of people have misconceptions on how easy it is to be a real estate agent. Can you talk about your own marketing process to get new listings and new clients?
I know you work a lot with buyers. What are today’s buyers looking for?
Is having a turn key property important to today’s buyers?
What are some of the deal breakers for buyers today?
How do buyers negotiate when it comes to the price of the home? What are some of the common things that will make a buyer say “ah, this would be a good opportunity for us to ask for a lower sales price?”
Do you see a different reaction with your buyers when they see a staged home vs an unstaged home?
Some people argue that staging can be misleading for buyers, as a buyer’s agent, how do you feel about that?
What is the process of listing a home like?
As a listing agent, how do you determine the best marketing strategies for your listings?
How do you create more demand for your listings?
I really love your open house doormat, which I’ll post a picture on our show notes. I reposted your doormat on our Instagram and Facebook. People had been asking where did you get those made?
What are some of the common mistakes home sellers make when they are selling their homes?
What are some of your top tips to help sellers to get their homes ready for market?
When there are many real estate agents in the market, how does a home seller go about to hire the right one for them?
What is the number one tip you will give to home sellers when it comes to selling their homes?
Welcome Mat Mentioned On the Show
It was made by a gal who Kristina follows on Instagram. Her name is Courtney and you can follow her at @PoppyJackShop. She does everything calligraphy! From Wedding stuff to home decor to customized pieces. She’s amazing! Located in SoCal. Shop her Etsy store.
About Kristina Mollo
Hey there, I'm Kristina!
I like to call myself the Home Matchmaker because of my experience in the Wedding industry.
Diving into Real Estate, in early 2017, was a big step after previously spending over 6 years working in the Event Planning Industry. As the lead Weddings and Events Sales Manager for Big City Catering, a boutique style company based in Central Florida, I felt it was time for something new! Real Estate seemed like the obvious option. Having dealt with 100’s of Brides and Grooms, I found a way to bond with each person I met in a unique way. Charisma, patience, and professionalism are key especially when working in a highly emotional sales process (including buying a home for the first time!)
I have always had a passion for people, home design, and much love for Central Florida. Having lived all over the region for the past 10 years, I am thrilled to be able to show my clients around a place so special to me.
When I'm not working, you'll probably find me on at the dog park with my pup, Maisey, traveling to Sarasota to visit my family, or exploring the town with my fiancé, Jon (we LOVE the historic feel of Downtown Mount Dora + Downtown Sanford)!
I look forward to being not only a knowledgeable resource for home buyers + sellers but a friend that can walk them through this exciting process. I can't wait to learn more about you!
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This is the time when the real estate market is heating up. Everyone is getting ready to put their listings on the market. While preparing your home for sale, curb appeal is crucial in getting potential buyers through the door for the open house. Remember, the buyer’s first impression is the only impression ().
Worry not - here are nine simple projects you can do in an afternoon to boost your curb appeal without breaking the bank. Even though these projects may seem like small actions, they will go a long way in boosting your curb appeal. By working to boost your curb appeal, you are showing that you take pride in caring for your home.
1. Paint your door and add a welcoming wreath.
An attractive door can not only make a statement about the home, it is also the focal point of the face of the house. It draws the buyer’s attention in, and it is the first thing they will see up close before they even set foot inside of the home. A welcoming front entry is the biggest factor for setting the tone for the open house.
Want to see some inspiration for your front doors? Check out our Pinterest Board here.
Paint is going to your new best friend when it comes to preparing your home for sale. A fresh coat of paint is the quickest and simplest face lift you can give to your home. According to a HomeGain 2012 study, painting the interior will give you a 107% of ROI (return on investment) and painting the exterior will give you a 55% ROI.
A gallon of paint will cost you between $15-$30 and a couple hours of your time (depending on the project), which is very affordable. You can not only use paint to change the color and touch up interior walls, trims, and moldings, you can also use paint to refresh exterior hardware (such as the mailbox, house numbers, light fixtures, flower boxes, etc.)
You can also add an attractive wreath to welcome the buyers. It’s going to set you back about $20-$50.
2. Refresh the exterior hardware if needed.
Things like house numbers, the mailbox, front porch lighting, and even the door knob and the door knocker can be impacted by wear and tear of outside elements. If the conditions are still pretty good, you can touch up or repaint the hardware to refresh it. If the overall style is outdated, you can install new ones very inexpensively.
Depending on the style and the brand:
Individual house numbers can cost you between $5-$20
A new mailbox can cost between $10-$100+
You can also get wall sconces for the porch for $35-$50 (or much more expensive ones if you have the budget)
A new door knocker can cost between $10-$55 (or even more if you want to splurge)
3. Welcome your new buyers with a friendly door mat.
We highly recommend switching out your doormat if it’s no longer in presentable conditions, especially if it’s covered in dirt and mystery stains.
A welcoming doormat is not going to break your bank. On average, a doormat costs around $10-$20 at a big box retail store. If you are a real estate agent or a home stager, you can also have branded doormats made for your open houses.
4. Use symmetry to up-level attractiveness.
Symmetry, or balance, is an incredibly important technique when it comes to styling. Our brain perceives symmetry and balance as attractiveness. It calms us. By creating symmetry in your entryway, you will instantly put the buyers at ease.
This is why there are usually wall sconces on each side of the doorway - to create balance. Oftentimes, you will also see the front door bookended by identical potted plants. This is a very classical and effective arrangement.
If you do a quick search on Instagram, you will see the some of the most popular posts have this exact presentation.
5. Trim overgrown bushes and plants & do some landscaping.
There is a saying that if you can’t see it, you can’t sell it. If you have a lot of shrubs and trees blocking the house, it’s best to trim them back so that buyers can see your house.
When it comes to landscaping, if you don’t have the budget to put in fresh sod, mulch is going to be your best friend. Based on Home Advisors’ 2019 Guide to Mulch Prices, “The average price of bulk mulch is between $15 and $65 per cubic yard, though some bags are priced to cover more than one cubic yard.”
Comparing to the cost of sod, based on an article by Angie’s List, “Rolls of sod cost about 28 to 45 cents a square foot, depending on the type and amount bought. For a 2,000-square-foot-lawn, that's between $560 and $900. If you decide to go with a pro for installation, the cost increases to $1 to $2 a square foot, or $2,000 to $4,000 for 2,000 square feet.”
It sounds old-school with how easy it is to view listings online nowadays, but many buyers still do drive-bys at different hours of the day, including in the evening, on their way home after work.
Unless you live an ultra-exclusive neighborhood where it is purposely not lit at night, having low-voltage landscape lighting along your driveway, walkways, paths, garden gate, etc. can make a great first impression driving by at night.
Not only it’s easy on the eyes, it is also practical for the safety and security for you as a homeowner. For more eco-friendly options (and wiring-free options), you can also opt for solar-powered.
The lower-end range of pathway lighting or landscaping is about $10-$20 for each light. Many big box stores often sell them in packs.
7. Line your walkway with lighting, stones, or bricks.
A raw edge around your lawn may make any pathway or walkway in your backyard feel unfinished. This is easily fixed by adding a stone or brick border around the edges. You can get these materials by buying bulk from garden supply stores or any home improvement stores.
8. Add color with plants.
Is your home’s curb appeal looking a bit lackluster and flat? There is no life nor colors?
Trim and cut down any brown/yellow/dead, unhealthy, and overgrown trees, shrubs, and bushes. You can also add lots of colors and natural fragrance by adding flowering plants.
Lavender, for example, can repel fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. It also has a pleasant and calming fragrance. Same with lemongrass, which is another great option that also repels mosquitoes. Chat with your local nurseries to see what the best options are for your budget and planting needs.
You can also add flower boxes. They can add charms and architectural interests to your home. You can have someone custom make them for you, or you can buy them ready-made. These can range around $8-$100, depending on the type of materials and brands.
You can rent a pressure washer from a big box retailer for about $30 for four hours, which is very affordable. You can pressure wash everything (siding, exterior of the home, fences, driveway, stairs, deck, tile flooring) and it can be strangely satisfying to see all the dirt and grime disappearing right in front of eyes.
The possibilities are endless and it’s such a small investment for a very visually pleasing results. (You can check out this Buzzfeed article here about how effective pressure washing is. Buzzfeed writers are strangely obsessed about how awesome pressure washing is. 😂) When I was managing rental properties, pressure washing and painting were our two best friends when the homeowner didn’t want to cough up any budget.
Any of these nine projects can be easily done in an afternoon or over a weekend, and none of them are big financial ticket items. Most of them can be accomplished well under $100.
What do you think of these nine projects? Do you have any to add? Tell me in the comment section below.
Your house needs to go through a fine-tooth comb before you put it up for sale. You just cannot throw your property in the market and wait for things to happen.
Getting your property ready for selling can be a daunting task without a bit of planning. Here’s what you need to do before you put your property up for sale.
1. Update or Replace Electrical Items
Replace the electrical panels and circuits that are obsolete. Call in an electrician and update those panels with safety switches and newer electrical materials. You also want to check and see if there are any wiring problems that can create a safety issues. Investigate the common electrical wire cable problems and fix them before you go on the market.
2. A Mini-Facelift
At this point of the game, it can be difficult to recuperate your full investment if you decide to remodel the home. A mini-facelift, however, is definitely going to appeal to more buyers and less risky.
The first cosmetic fix to consider is a fresh coat of paint. If the paint is five to seven years old or if there are visible signs of paint chipping off and fade caused by the sun, it is best to get the walls painted.
Painting the walls, ceilings, trims and doors is a cheap way to give a dramatic makeover to the rooms.
Minor fixes go a long way in making your house look attractive to the potential buyers. Things like replace a broken tile, update outdated outlet face plates, tighten a loose handrail, updating the hardware, are easy and minor fixes that will refresh the home without breaking the bank.
The quickest way to make a small room seem larger and inviting is by making changes in the lighting. Lighting plays with the perception of space, that’s why there are many studies done about how light affect buying behaviors in the retail industry. Good lighting is worth an investment. Consider these three things while improvising the lighting:
Take time to analyze your current space and see if you can find some ways to improve the lighting.
If you have outdated light fixtures, replace them with more modern alternatives. This change can have a great impact on the look and can lead to a quicker sale.
While investing in lighting, don’t forget the natural light. Let the sun in. If possible, ditch the heavy drapes.
Roofs and Outdoors
If your roof needs to be replaced, then get it done. Buyers hesitate to buy the property if they have to replace the roof. Replacing the roof may not increase the sale price of your property, but it will definitely open up plenty of potential buyers, who are willing to buy your house, and reduce the chance of a price reduction. If the sidewalks have cement cracks in them, patch them up. Give your fence a good makeover; fix or paint them.
3. Kitchen Improvements
Minor repairs in the kitchen can make your kitchen appear more welcoming. Before your home goes on the market, take the time and check these areas and make the necessary fixes:
The stove, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher need to be in good working order. Fix any leaks and replace the coolant in your fridge if necessary. If your appliances are outdated, consider replacing them.
Your kitchen cabinets should be in good conditions, because this is something the buyers will definitely open and check to see how much storage they can have.
The doors and drawers of the cabinet have to open and close smoothly.
Tighten loose hinges, unclog or replace drawer tracks that are rusted or stuck.
Replace broken handles and knobs.
If the paint of the painted cabinets has chipped or peeled off, sand them down and then apply a fresh coat of paint.
You can also change the hardware with new ones to make the cabinets look more updated.
Sinks and Faucets
Faucets should not leak, and sinks should not clog.
Make sure that the overflow drain, which prevents overfilling of the bathtub, functions properly.
Hot and cold water faucets should operate as marked.
4. Flooring Fixes
From laminate to carpet, no matter what your flooring is, it should look presentable and in good condition.
Replace cracked or chipped floor tiles.
Refinish scratched or dented hardwood.
Replace carpets that are torn or stained.
If you have pets, make sure that your steam-clean your carpets.
Buyers will always want to buy a house that is turnkey. If they see any tell-tale signs of an ill-maintained house, it’s going to put them off. If you want to make a quick sale, make sure that you get the must-fixes done in your house before you introduce it in the market.
Guest author bio - Jeson Pitt works with the marketing department of D&F Liquidators and regularly writes to share his knowledge while enlightening people about electrical products and solving their electrical dilemmas. He's got the industry insights that you can count on along with years of experience in the field. Jeson lives in Hayward, CA and loves to explore different cuisines that the food trucks in the Bay area have to offer.
I will be doing two live workshops and two more next week on using 4 simple but effective strategies to boost your home staging business. These are tried and true strategies that you can implement right away in your home staging business after the class. One of them actually saved me from losing my business during the recession!