Archive for May, 2011

Negotiations with a seller are a bit of a dance led by you as the buyer/investor. The first two things you will want to determine when speaking to a seller are their level of motivation and timing. If they are motivated, they will most likely have an urgent need to dispose of their property quickly.

A seller may be motivated if they are facing job relocation, foreclosure or bankruptcy, a divorce, medical emergency, or other financial distress. Often a seller in distress will divulge their reason for selling right up front, but not always. It may be helpful to thank them for their call and ask why they have decided to sell right now?

It is also useful to determine whether the property is currently listed on the market, and if so, at what price? If it is listed, ask them why they think it hasn’t sold? This will give you a better idea of how realistic they are about pricing.

I always like to ask who else they may have contacted about selling their property. This will at least inform you as to potential competitors. The goal of your initial conversation is to weed out the motivated sellers from the less motivated ones, and to set up a face-to-face appointment. Once you meet face-to-face with the seller(s), here are some great pre-screening questions to better prepare you in formulating an offer:

  • What do you like most about the property? What’s the one thing you would change if you could?
  • Why did you buy this property versus anything else on the market?
  • When was the last time you sold a property like this?
  • What do you owe on the property? What is it worth?
  • What do you want for it?
  • How did you arrive at the asking price?
  • How many other properties do you own? Why did you elect to sell this one?
  • What steps did you take to prepare the property for the market?
  • Why did you decide not to use a realtor to list it?

Finding out as much as you can about the seller and about their motivation will help you put together the most effective purchase offer(s) to present to them. It will also give you useful information you may need in developing your own exit strategy(s) should you decide to purchase the property.

About the author…
Wendy Ceccherelli is the volunteer membership coordinator for REAPS. She has been a full-time real estate investor for the past six years, and is the designated real estate broker forHome Land Investment Properties, Inc. Prior to her career in real estate, she spent twenty-five years as a government arts funder. More information on real estate topics may be found on her at [email protected]

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Even though our weather leaves a lot to be desired, it’s still the beginning of spring and there isn’t an easier time of year to create knock out curb appeal. Now we all know that first impressions are key and a beautiful inviting front yard and entry along with a back yard that speaks of barbecues and family fun will create that emotional connection that sells. But hey, even if you aren’t planning on selling isn’t it so much nicer to come home to a yard that makes you smile and release that pent up tension in your shoulder blades over coming home to a drab boring front yard that does nothing to lift your spirits? Or worse, a weed filled over grown yard that just adds the weight of ?one more thing to do? to your already over burdened life.

You’ve all heard me talk about the three C’s of staging right? Clean, Clutter free and Color. Apply the same three C’s to your yard.


So what’s the most important thing you can do for the inside of the home? Clean it! What’s the most important thing you can do to the outside?  You guessed it.  Clean it!  Pressure wash walk ways, decks and driveways to clean off the winter moss build up.  If the paint is in good shape but the home is dingy try pressure washing the siding to polish the exterior.  Weed all flower beds and take out any plants that are dead or dying.  Keep the lawn mowed and edged.  It’s spring, and with our rain lawns grow lush green and well, high.  Don’t make the mistake of mowing once and not keeping the lawn maintained.  I know this sounds like common sense but I’m amazed at how many homes I drive by with for sale signs that haven’t done this simple first step.


De-clutter the yard. Now I’m not talking about collecting the junk that was left in the yard by that disgruntled previous owner or simply through years of overlooking stuff until you ?get around to it?. That’s a given. Take a hard look at flower beds. Just as too much furniture in a home overwhelms the space and creates clutter, too many plants in the flower beds overwhelm and create a messy look. If you’re not sure which plants are going to come back and bloom or which plants will grow fast enough to take over the whole flower bed it’s worth your while to hire a landscaper to come in and help with that decision. In some cases the yard may be so over grown that the easiest and least expensive answer is to take everything out and start over. Just as inside a home less is more if its artfully done.


Finally color, the easiest way to add color is to buy a couple of flats of annuals from the local Home Depot or Lowes. Since the color of the year is Honeysuckle or hot pink, why not add some hardy hot pink primroses? Or a startling bright pink petunia?

Adding fresh bark to beds is the final touch. Not only does bark help to keep beds weed free, it adds color and a wonderful fresh smell as buyers walk to the front door or explore the back yard. It’s amazing how some simple low cost changes can make such a powerful impact. Enjoy the spring colors whether you are staging your yard to sell or staging your own yard for spring!

Do you have specific staging questions? Send me an email and I will feature your question with an answer on my biweekly radio show on the Chat with Women Network. Listen in every other Wednesday morning on KKNW 1150 AM radio from 8:00am to 9:00am!

About the author…

Pam Christensen is an Accredited Staging Professional Master who specializes in working with investors to help them maximize their return on investment by providing high quality staging that get results! Staging for Charisma, LLC
[email protected]


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