Monday, September 29, 2014

Get your home from “Just Listed” to “Just Sold”

 Get your home from “Just Listed” to “Just Sold”

There are strategies that can sell your home in the quickest possible time. So many sellers fail to adhere to them either because they do not know about them or their agent does not advise them to do so. But if your Realtor does give you the following advice, listen to him, or her, because they have your best interest at heart.


Upon driving up to your home, impress potential buyers with amazing curb appeal. Have your property landscaped on a regular basis and keep it up until it sells.
Keep your grass cut regularly; a nicely manicured lawn is a thing of beauty. Also, if you have a dog be sure to clean up his droppings. I cannot tell you how bad it is when a realtor or potential buyer steps in your pet’s landmines
, because guess what, if they do not notice it, and enter your home they can potentially track it in the home. Some buyers walk around the property first while others go from the car to the walkway to the front door and view the property after seeing the home. Also, landscape your property, plant seasonal flowers, trim hedges and bushes so they do not look like a jungle scape. If you cannot do this, hire a professional landscaper.
And take a ride to your local greenhouse or home improvement store and get advice for what plants and flowers to plant. Consider putting colored stones in flower beds for two reasons. First it looks very sharp. And second better to have these stones bordering your home rather then mulch. Mulch is usually treated but over time the treatment degrades. If the mulch is close to your home, it can possibly attract termites.


I had a co-op listing recently that sold in the winter the same weekend that I listed it. The feedback that I received asked me if these sellers really lived like this; it is immaculate. Keep wood floors waxed and shiny. If they are dull you can have them re-sanded and polyurethane. On the coffee table limit magazines to about 3 and choose them wisely. Put the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition away! If you have hobbies such as boating or cycling, put them on the coffee table. In the kitchen de-clutter the counter top and keep the sink free from dirty dishes whenever possible. In the bathrooms, keep them clean and put air fresheners in there.
Throughout the house you can put out scent dispensers that release scents. Scents I like are saddle wood, beach and ocean scents, vanilla, cinnamon and apple pie are perfect for the kitchen, and fresh linen scents are great. For bedrooms, if you have children, instill in them to keep their rooms as tidy as possible. But let’s face it, kids are kids! Don’t despair. Upon seeing this most buyers were understanding. But make sure your bedroom is in better shape than your children’s room.


And here is my biggest pet peeve; take down all those magnets on the refrigerator


We have all seen listings that have only one to four pictures. And what do buyers think of when they see this? Something must be wrong with the house when there are so few photos. Ask your realtor what is the maximum number of photos that is allowed on their Multiple Listing service and how many do they think they will put on the listing. Another thing that is trending in my area is a real video of the home. In the recent past realtors would put slide shows up with music playing. As technology is ever advancing, the way to go is using video as well as pictures. If you have photos of your home you feel are worthy to be put in the listing, such as an area photo, or if you have water views with an amazing sunset, ask your realtor if they could use it. I personally prefer photography.
48 Charter HYPERLINK ""CHYPERLINK ""ircle in OssiningHYPERLINK "",HYPERLINK "" NY. East HYPERLINK ""MHYPERLINK ""ountain HYPERLINK ""RHYPERLINK ""oad is a high-end listing and in a remote area. Charter HYPERLINK ""CHYPERLINK ""ircle, a co-op apartment, sold the same weekend I listed it, thanks to the video done by Home Tour Vision.


Charter HYPERLINK ""CHYPERLINK ""ircle listing is a perfect example of this statement. It was a co-op apartment and we could only can get so many pictures of the apartment. In this listing, Home Tour Vision, at my request, mounted a video camera to their vehicle and drove through the scenic town of Ossining and filmed the town’s shopping stores, main street, and train station. 

Plus they also stopped and took photos as well to include in the listing. In addition, many complexes have other amenities like pools, laundry rooms, playgrounds, club houses, co-op gardens, golf courses, and restaurants within their borders. I put these photos in to show what the complex offers in addition to a great living space. In CHYPERLINK ""harter HYPERLINK ""CHYPERLINK ""ircle it did not have any of these amenities but still sold in a weekend!


They say LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION in real estate. But I counter this with PRICE PRICE PRICE.  List your home realistically and do not overprice your home in hopes you will lower the price once negotiations begin. With that mindset:

·         you can price yourself out the market
·         get reduced showings
·         have the home sit longer on the market
·         have to have price corrections to catch up to market trends.
Your realtor should show you comparables of homes in your area that have sold, and also show you what is active to point out your competition and allow you to see where your home fits into the current market.  You obviously have your bottom line price but it must be tempered with your local market. When showing comparables, I find that either a quarter mile or half mile radius from your home gives you a good indication of what the market is like in your area. 


This is another important factor in the sale of your home. Find out what they will do to market your home. Will they do Open Houses or Mega Open Houses, and broker Open Houses? In the old days of real estate, before the advent of the Internet, realtors would stake their Open House signs everywhere like a miner would stake his claim to a mine and homes would sell at Open Houses. Buyers are looking at homes at 2 am on the Internet in their pjs rather than driving around to see Open Houses as they once did. Personally I find Mega Open Houses are more effective. Message me if you would like to know what they are as it is something that only few do and do not want to publicly share this Open House type.
I find a broker’s Open House is more effective. Every area has one day that is broker Open House day where any realtor does an Open House for just brokers. This is key because when your home just hits the market you want the neighboring agents to see it, because you know agents have buyers!


There I said it. So many brokers have stopped spending money on print advertising in newspapers because of this thing called the Internet, and only advertise in print for an Open House. Websites like, Zillow, and Trulia, just to name a few, are where the buyers are looking. I have accounts on all of these sites plus I employ social media outlets such as Facebook, twitter, YouTube, and propertytube, to advertise. Also submission to your realtor’s MLS automatically feeds your listings to hundreds of other websites automatically. Yesterday I showed East Mountain HYPERLINK ""RHYPERLINK ""oad and when I got back to my office I tweeted it with a few pictures. I received a few new followers because of it. By using Hashtags effectively, I can draw people into the listing with twitter or Facebook. I have my own professional page, THE BUTLER SELLS IT, on Facebook. In addition, I created a page for each property listing. When making a post I share the posts and pages to my personal Facebook page to let my Facebook sphere of influence see it. They may not be looking but may know someone who is and share it with them. Do you remember that Johnson & Johnson shampoo commercial; “she told two friends, and she told two friends and so on and so on”, or did I just date myself? Word of mouth is a very valuable form of advertising.
My thoughts on Craig’s List are mixed. Many listings get stolen by people overseas to try and extort money from renters to lease it sight unseen, i.e., if you send me a deposited check…
The realtor that  tells you, oh yes once I put it on MLS it will go to hundreds of websites, don’t worry. Look them straight in the eye and ask them, what else do you do, do you have a facebook page , twitter acct, and can you pull them up and show me. If they do and you see posts on there from 6 months or a year ago, they are not utilizing a great tool. They may be a tool, a tool that you may not want to consider doing business with for the sale of your most precious asset, your home.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


 I enjoy working with investors,finding them a under valued or distressed property, negotiating to get a great deal and help them market and resell after they have renovated. I have completed many transactions with this client including 2 this summer which i will be listing soon. 

Not every deal goes smoothly. In this case there unit did not appraise for there purchase price. But with some creative negotiations by all involved we had a great closing.

Estates are difficult for families but having understanding and respect is key!

It is a privilege to help some one return to Yorktown Heights where they grew up!

Always fun to close with a regular client! This is a business of developing long lasting relationships, not making a sale and forgetting about people

I get so excited for first time buyers, I reflect how i felt when on my closing day after we had our keys in our hand for the first time!

Both homes above were sold by the same seller. who i sold both with in months of each other

This home was short sale. They are not an easy process but with an agent that knows how to work with the banks makes all the difference some times. 

Talk about a double whammy! I helped these folks sell there coop then find a great home at an amazing price! The numbers don't like

This was a new all time quickest sale record! 

I hope you have enjoyed my latest post and blast from my past. It is my privilege to serve!

And Now one of my favorite pics  i took one eve on the Hudson River!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How do a chose an agent to sell my house?

When you decide to sell your Home real estate market, you will have to make many important decisions such as pricing, advertising, and choosing a sales agent. If you would like to sell your house as quickly as possible, for the best price, and with the least amount of stress, an experienced real estate agent can ease you through the process, which homeowners can find daunting!

So what should I look for in an agent then?

You should interview a few agents from different companies. Did you buy a car in the first dealership you went into in your car buying experiences? Most likely no unless the first one gave you a sweet deal!  The same is true for choosing a realtor.  Some agents will try to buy your listing, which means they will promise you they will get you more then what the market will bear, in hopes you will sign with them, because the other two realtors would list your home for 20k, obviously this guy knows something the other two don’t right? .  Note then the agents you interview should bring you comparable sales that are consistent. Depending on how thorough the agents are they should all bring many of the same comps.

I want to sell my home for 1 billion dollars !

So how is a list price determined?
An agent you will show you  comparables of sold houses and active listings in the general area. I typically  show homes that  are within a radius of 1/4 to 1/2 mile of your property. Unless it is a rural area and homes are spread out or you are ithe only colonial in a sea of ranches, then you would look at all the colonials in that area. this will give you a bead on the market and  will help you make an informed decision in the pricing of your house.  

You want how much to sell my home?

Frequently the first question I get asked before I even am sitting before a home owner is what’s it gonna cost me, what do you charge , what’s your commission? Over the phone I usually say 35% and wait for the silence or the laughter. And then I tell them anything I tell you after this wont sound that bad. 95 percent of the time this works in developing a connection  with some one and I usually give a range between 5 and 7 percent.  When in front of the home owner I explain that I use everything as away to help sell a home even commission. Typically when an agent puts a home on a multiple listing service the commission agreed is split between the listing broker and selling broker. All participants in the multiple listing agree to cooperate and show everyone’s listing. An agent should show all homes in the market area regardless of what commission they would receive if they sold the home. But some time agents see 3 homes on same street or close in proximity and one has a lower commission then the other two and may not show the lower commission home. This is wrong but does happen.  Since I know this can happen, I try to get the highest commission possible so I can offer more to a cooperating broker.  The hope is my home is priced well, in best condition so a buyer will choose it with their agent. But then I show them my marketing plan to show what they will get for the commission asked.

So what is a good marketing plan ? 

I don’t know what a good one is, just a great one that I offer.  Today print media is dead, but if you are reading this blog you probably already know this!  Its all on line and social media venues like Facebook, and Twitter and MLS syndication's. You may be familiar with the first two I mentioned but what is MLS (multiple Listing Service) Syndication's. When an agent puts a listing on MLS it automatically goes to However the MLS in each area has agreements with other home buying web sites that it will send a feed of listings when ever new or updated information is available. Some web sites get regular feeds others just get the initial listing feed and never get another update again. I also have a profile on Trulia   and Zillow (Click each to see my profile). Listings automatically go to those both, but since I have a agent profile and pay for different features I can do more with the listing then it just going to the site through regular syndication.  Another big social media outlet I have is my Facebook fan page for my real estate business : The Butler Sells IT (click on link, and like my fan page!).  I also have a channel and a channel. I place listing videos and other video material here.  Many can claim they use these things because they are buzz words today, but with my past life as an IT consultant, I leverage all technologies to my sellers advantage in the sale of a home.

So what else does my marketing plan include besides social media?

The latest in selling homes is the virtual tour. It has come a long way from 2007 when I first saw it and the first ones made you feel you were walking in a submarine and get nausea! I employ a company called Home Tour Vision (click on the link) which delivers an amazing “real virtual walk through tour”  with narration pointing out a homes features. There staff comes to a home and videos  it in HD as if you were walking through it. They also photo the home in HD quality. I have prided myself in my photography.   Since I do, the editing on my end would add more delay on getting the home listed. With Home Tour Vision doing the photography as well it helps me to maximize the other facets of getting a home listed.  You many say there are a bunch of companies out there that do video or what was popular before this the slide show.  The difference between them and Home Tour Vision is they also have a marketing system as well. I recently sold a coop in a weekend thanks to the video done by Home Tour Vision.  This is video they did that sold 48 Charter Circle (click on property to view video by Home Tour Vision)

Well I want my agent to an open house very Sunday till my home sells!
Are Open Houses Effective in selling a Home?

 Like everything else in real estate things change. Back in the day open houses were as vast as trees in the forest and very effective in selling a home. Why was this? Because for a long time there were no computers around and every month a broker would get a book of listings and this is how agents would show properties. And an open house sign would a tract buyers in droves and was common for an agent to sell a home from an open house. Today that is not the case with the traditional open houses. Today the open house is at 2am when some one is looking at a video from Home Tour Vision in there pjs. Most buyers are super tech savvy and want to view the homes that catch there eye on line.  So is the open house a dead horse? No!
 I employ two types of open houses, a brokers open house and a mega open house. The brokers open house is important because you premier the home to local brokers and agents in the area. Why is this important?  Because agents have buyers Duh… You want an agent to walk out the front door and be on the cell phone w a client  telling them you have to see this house today!  It is also important because it exposes the home to all brokers and agents so they are aware of the home even if they don’t have a buyer today they may get a call or a colleague in there office may have a buyer.  As for a mega open house that’s part of my classified marketing. If you are interested drop me a text email or call and would be glad to share it with you, unless of course you are my competition lol! 

Which day is it better to initially put the home on the market?

 It has been said that Friday is the best day to list a property because buyers are more available on weekends to visit homes for sale.  Today's home buyers are tech savvy and can view all the details of a new listing by logging on to the internet. Therefore, the Friday listing idea is no longer relevant.  Any day is a good day!

I still cant decide on which agent????

So you have interviewed a few agents and all have a lot of these characteristics and you still cant decide what then?  Ask them for testimonials or links to them. I am currently working on video recommendations or reviews  here are mine on Trulia, I have 22 currently and growing.  If all things being equal and you are at a crossroads in choosing an agent then you should say who did I most feel comfortable with.  What agent best matches your personality, do you want some one all business, or some one you feel a connection with that you can talk to as if you are talking to a friend. I try to be informative, knowledgeable and have my clients feel that I am with them through the whole process, to advise them on real estate matters, not just look for a quick sale and forget about them after the sale.  

Even with the with the best actions taken by your agent, the selling home the home still relies on how the market is doing in your area, how much or how little inventory is out there.  I hope this was informative and light hearted. If you have any questions or are interested in buying or selling never hesitate to contact me but remember to sell a home my commission is 35 percent lol!