Although “Home Makeovers That Sell” by longtimeRealtor Sid Davis is intended primarily for home sellers, the smartest realestate sales agents will also study it to advise their home sellers how to earntop dollar. Throughout the book, the author shares many examples of how simplefix up, painting and clean up resulted in fast sales of homes that hadpreviously languished unsold for many months.
An important aspect of getting homes sold quickly that israrely mentioned by real estate agents to home sellers is the extra carryingcosts of an unsold home. But Davis emphasizes by making a home show its best,such as sprucing up the landscaping and making cosmetic repairs to eliminatebuyer objections, sellers can earn thousands of extra dollars by cutting theirownership carrying costs with a quick sale.
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Rather than reducing the asking price of an unsold home thatneeds work, the author explains spending a few hundred or even a few thousanddollars on fix-up will make the home appeal to more prospective buyers. Anexample he uses is how he counseled a new agent to give his listing sellers a”to-do list” to make their home have more curb appeal so prospectivebuyers would stop at his weekend open houses.
But this book isn’t just about fixing up a home to prepareit for sale. “Cut to the chase and eliminate hype when you interviewagents to list your home. Ask them for MLS (multiple listing service) printoutsof their last 10 sold listings. Note the days on market (DOM), list price andsales price. A top agent will be happy to give you this data,” Davisadvises.
Heavily emphasized is the importance for each agentinterviewed by home sellers to present a CMA (comparative market analysis) formshowing recent nearby home sales prices, current asking prices of similarneighborhood homes, and homes under sales contract that have not yet closed.”Because CMAs can be more proactive than an appraisal, they look at what’scurrently for sale and what has recently sold but not yet closed. With thisdata, a good agent can anticipate where the market is going and price a home atthe top to get the most money possible,” the author notes.
Davis gives major attention to home fix-ups, which makehomes more attractive and saleable to buyers. However, he advises not makingmajor improvements just before the sale.
An example he shares was a seller who spent $20,000remodeling his kitchen to make the house more attractive and competitive.Although the home sold quickly, when he stopped by the house shortly after thesale, Davis noticed the buyers had torn out the almost-new kitchen to remodelit to their tastes. It turns out they bought the house because of theneighborhood, not because they liked the renovated kitchen.
The author warns about the pitfalls of selling a home”as is” and not sprucing it up before listing it for sale. “Youend up selling by price, and that attracts bargain hunters who never pay fullprice for anything,” Davis shares. He calls those buyers”bullies” who track homes that need a little work and have a highnumber of days on market (DOM) to get a good deal at the home seller’s expense.
The book is filled with valuable checklists, such asquestions to ask prospective listing agents, curb appeal improvements, housecleaning tips, and ideas to make a home appeal to virtually every buyer.There’s even some humor. For example, Davis says if a home doesn’t exciteprospective buyers, “The emotion of ‘this is my dream home’ is replaced bya pillager’s lust for a good deal.”
The book’s most important “take away idea” is:”Cost does not equal value. Cost is what you pay for something. Value iswhat the market says that item is worth. Value is established by what othersimilar upgrades have added to the price of homes recently sold in yourarea.”
Only a very perceptive, experienced realty sales agent suchas Sid Davis can understand what home buyers are thinking and how sellers canmake their homes appeal to their desires. He reveals buyers are in”elimination mode,” and they are looking for reasons to cross homesoff their list. First impressions control their pen, he advises.
Chapter topics include “Finding Your Home’s HighestSales Price”; “Take Control: Decluttering 101”; “Cleaningfor Dollars”; “Repairs and Upgrades That Make or Cost YouMoney”; “Upgrading Your Home’s Exterior”; “Putting YourLandscaping in Selling Condition”; “Showtime: Putting It AllTogether”; “Marketing Your Home for a Quick Offer”;”Working with Offers and Counteroffers”; “Solving DifficultSelling Problems”; and “Showcasing: How the Pros Do It.”
This outstanding new book should be required reading forevery home seller and their listing agent. It unlocks the secrets why somehomes sell fast, even in a slow buyer’s market, and why other nearby homeslanguish unsold. On my scale of one to 10, this superb “how to sell yourhome for top dollar” book rates an off-the-chart 12.
“Home Makeovers That Sell,” by Sid Davis (AMACOMPublishers, New York), 2007, $15, 207 pages; Available in stock or by specialorder at local bookstores, public libraries and www.Amazon.com.
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center).
Copyright 2006 Inman News