What is the process before putting your house on the market and how do you help with this process? As a pricing specialist, I come to the house to assess it and come up with the best market price to go to market with. I price that house so that we can be placed in a position of strength when we enter the market. I come up with a price after seeing the inside and outside of the house and speaking with the homeowners. During that time we also look inside and outside the house for any repairs, decluttering, or staging opportunities that need to be made so that the house hits the market in its best condition possible.
How do you help with staging, decluttering, and overall making the house stand out from competitors? Some sellers are different than other sellers. Some sellers are willing to do more when it comes to selling their house that other aren’t. I suggest everything that would position my client’s property in the best shape for market when I meet with them. So, when I am walking through the house, we talk about those things they can do. Decluttering, organizing closets, repositioning furniture, replacing artwork, sometimes even removing a lot of items from rooms so the rooms are more of a blank canvas for the buyers.
What are your average days on market? The average days on market on MLS for Durham and Orange county are very short. Some houses are selling within the first 3 days or so on market. Days on market depend upon the price point and area.
What key points do you tend to focus on when marketing a house to make it more desirable to buyers? I always like to look at what makes the house unique, what the positive attributes are of the home. It could be condition, it could be location, it could be special features that were added. I like to focus on what makes that home so unique and then come up with a winning marketing strategy that allows that house to put its best foot forward.
Which is more important, selling quick or getting the highest possible offer? I try to get the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time possible. The first week to two weeks are the most important time from when the house hits the market. We have to get the house in its best condition out there on the market so the highest amount of offers would be received.
Walk me through the process you take your seller through. We have a business meeting at the beginning and talk about the process from the buyer’s point of view, from the seller’s point of view. We discuss different inspections, due diligence period and money, earnest money, the inspections and addition inspections they may be needing. We discuss all the disclosures the seller needs to make and put in writing. We discuss any upgrades or repairs that the seller has done and how we can highlight that when we go to market. I share my marketing strategies.
What are your marketing strategies? I mail 100 postcards to nearby homeowners in the area. I usually suggest having an open house. When multiple people are entering the house at the same time during an open house it creates a sense of urgency for competition in offers, making buyers put in offers quicker and in higher amounts.
I sometimes partner with an organization to sell a property should there be a connection. One home that I recently listed i created a marketing partnership with a school. I promoted that home to all the parents of that school through the following vehicles: School facebook page posts, flyers that the kids took home. In return, we made a donation to the school. I also send an email to all the agents in Durham and Orange county before the listing is live. I post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Another unique way I promote my listings is something called house talk cards which promote special features in the house when buyers are previewing the home. I make information very accessible to buyers and even include a phone number for information about the property on the listing sign. I also put flyers at the road at the for sale sign.
I include additional information about the home in flyers and or packets that buyers can see when touring the house. Recently, for a listing I actually put together a notebook full of manuals for the appliances, information about the upgrades including all the invoices for each upgrade and the information behind the upgrade.
Each house is different and that is what I enjoy about the process. Making each house shine to its fullest capability.
My go-to is always Going above and beyond
What is your process for getting to know a client and finding out what they like and dislike about an area? I have a very different approach to working with buyers, where before we hop in the car to look for a house, we schedule a business meeting. In that business meeting we are discussing the process, the different contracts and paperwork that they need to be aware of. We also talk about a commitment to communication and how quickly we will be responding to communication because we are building a team before we go out and look at properties. We discuss lenders and all the different things that we need to do to position ourselves as the best buyer for the property they are looking for. I pride myself for moving very quickly, I often joke and call myself the “Real Estate Express” because in a market that is a seller's market, we have to move extremely quickly, and go out there to win and not waste my buyers' time. So when we leave that meeting we have a full understanding of what we need to do together and what commitments they have and I have. After this meeting, then we know how to look out for each other's best interest and I know what the buyer is looking for.
Do you have a typical client, or a typical area of the triangle that you specialize in? I’ve been here in the Durham-Orange county market since 1986 and I know those two markets like the back of my hand. I have worked in publishing and marketing and very visible public roles for many years and I have an insider's view of the market, instead of an outsider's view going into the market. I have grown up in this market since being in college; being a publisher of Durham magazine, being the general manager of The Chapel Hill Herald, owning my own boutique marketing company, volunteering on chamber boards and committees. For me, it’s having the heartbeat of the community. I have a very unique sense of knowledge of the community. The number one thing that clients say they like about me is that I really know the area. I am familiar with the rest of the triangle as well and I do work in other areas of the Triangle.
Do you have any interesting stories that have ever happened with a client? Funny story, I was looking for a Townhome for one of my clients. A single story one with a lower price point, one that tends to move very quickly on the market. I received a text from a client of mine. I tried to pull up the text of mine but I couldn’t really find it, maybe they sent me a typo in the address number. So I drove over to the community at 8:15 in the morning and I was actually sitting outside the property and I called my clients and we were the first one to tour and put an offer into the house. That’s how I work with my clients. I am always moving as quickly as possible and making sure I am doing everything I possibly can so that my client's offer is always the winning offer. For all my buyers, we have had a really small percentage of having to put in another offer on another property. I move quickly and I am focused on getting the client exactly what they want.