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Monday, July 14, 2008

5 Feng Shui Concepts to Help a Home Sell

Blogging From The Desk of Alicia Lagarde-Craig
To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind.

1. Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.

2. Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.

3. The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.

4. The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.

5. The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Blogging From The Desk of Alicia Lagarde-Craig



The single biggest mistake folks make is setting their asking price too high. In today's down market homeowners need to price conservatively or they risk turning off potential buyers, says Michael Corbett, author of "Ready, Set, Sold." Figuring out how to set the price is tricky. Gone are the days when you can expect to sell your home for as much as your neighbor did just six months ago. Existing home prices have fallen 7.7% over the past year, according to the National Association of Realtors. So rather than looking at how much homes in your area sold for six to 12 months ago, compare prices for similar properties currently on the market. If you see a listing for a house that's sitting unsold for a few months, chances are the owners are asking too much and you'll want to set your price lower, says Corbett.


Too many sellers reject their first offer, even if it's close to or at full asking price. Holding out for more money is a strategy that rarely works, especially at a time when credit is tight, lending requirements for mortgages are in flux and potential buyers have less purchasing power.
The reality is that in any market a home's first offer is often its best, says Elaine Clayman, a real estate broker with Brown Harris Stevens. Typically, educated buyers will seize on a property they like -- with a competitive bid -- as soon as it comes onto the market, she says. Of course, given the glut of houses on the market, sellers should expect to receive some low-ball offers. Just don't assume that you'll get better bids the longer you hold out. As Clayman warns, the more time a home sits unsold, the greater chance a seller will have to reduce his price.


What if you get an offer that's simply too low? Don't reject it outright. See if you can negotiate. First of all, you can't blame someone for testing the market -- after all, in today's market, many buyers are confident that they have the upper hand. Secondly, by entering into negotiations with one party, you'll gain leverage with other potential buyers, says Corbett. Most importantly, it allows you to tell brokers that your property is in play and sends a message that if someone is interested, then he better present a competitive bid quickly.
Just don't get cocky. During this process, it's crucial for sellers to set a realistic bottom-line price they're willing to take, even if it's several thousand dollars below asking, says Corbett


In a depressed market, it's more important than ever that your property stands out from the competition. But unless you're trying to sell a multimillion-dollar mansion, you don't need to pay a professional to stage your home. There are a number of free or inexpensive things you can do on your own to get your house into show condition. Most importantly, paint the walls. Nothing does more to brighten up a place, says Peter Comitini, a real estate broker with Corcoran Group. Next, he recommends getting rid of all the clutter, excess furniture and family knickknacks. Finally, make all the necessary repairs before your first open house. If a buyer sees a small problem, say, a leaky faucet, he's likely to wonder about larger issues like the furnace or roof.


Now more than ever, sellers need to select their buyers carefully. As we mentioned earlier, thanks to all the defaults in the subprime market, lenders are tightening their lending practices, making it more difficult for consumers to qualify for mortgages. So it's critical to find a buyer with a recent prequalification letter (issued no later than four to six weeks ago) for a loan.
Next, watch out for buyers who need to add contingencies to the contract, including a clause stating that the deal won't close until they sell their own home. A better bet is to look for cash-flush first-time home buyers or someone who has already unloaded his existing house. In a slowing market it's difficult to estimate how long it could take your buyer to find someone to purchase his dwelling, warns Brown Harris Stevens' Clayman. And if that property doesn't go for as much as he expected, that person may no longer be able to afford your agreed-upon price