Sellers

Home Buying: Is this the right time?

By Mariella Reyes
April 19, 2018

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ismael Chavez of TEAM ChavezHomes at CENTURY 21 Discovery to discuss if this is the right time to buy a home.

“Clients always ask me if this is a good or bad time to buy their home,” CENTURY 21 Discovery’s Real Estate agent, Ismael Chavez says. Eleven years after, buyers entering the market are still shaken up by 2008’s housing bubble. According to Chavez it’s unlikely another bubble will happen again soon because of the fixed interest rates the circumstances are different.

Photo Credit: Marlon Marshall Parungao

Ismael Chavez began his real estate career in 2007, right before the market crash. “Those were dark times for the real estate industry, but the experience made me a stronger and better REALTOR®. I care about my clients,” he says. Shortly after the housing bubble, he expanded his practice and formed his team of agents operating under the business name of TEAM ChavezHomes at CENTURY 21 Discovery located in Fullerton, CA.

Chavez is optimistic about the future of the industry.

Ismael, what are some tips you can give future home buyers and sellers?

“It’s a seller’s market; we get many buyers but we have a shortage of homes for sale. It’s a great opportunity for those who’ve been thinking of moving and selling their homes. Although there’s never a wrong time to buy, home buyers will have to be competitive and focused during their search!”

We’ve added some extra pointers for both Buyers and Sellers below.  Happy house hunting.

About the Author: Mariella Reyes, is an Independent Content Writer for TEAM ChavezHomes of CENTURY 21 Discovery.  She’s worked as a content writer and producer for brands in the industries of escrow, mobile, fashion, plastic surgery, and beauty, and was the Marketing Coordinator during her time on the Board of Directors for Lean IN Los Angeles in 2016-2017. You can contact her at: mariella.reyesm@gmail.com

 

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Marketing a Listing

By Suzy Lins
April 19, 2017

Don’t be a secret agent with a listing nobody knows about! As soon as you take a listing let everyone know about it. First, you need great photos of the home. Hire a professional photographer. You can hire a good photographer for about $200-300. For more photos or larger homes the price goes up. Get a video made of the listing too. Century 21 creates a video slideshow set to music for every listing that has 6 or more photos. If you have a high end listing consider getting a drone video. Keep in mind that these images are in investment in you and your business. You’ll be able to use them when you go on your next listing presentation because that would-be client will not be impressed by photos taken on your phone vertically.

Now that you have your photos, maybe a video or drone images too, this is how you get the word out.

Email blast

Send an email to your database to let them know about the listing. The email should include a great visual image of the home or an embedded video with some details and the price. Include a Call To Action (CTA) in the email like: “Call/Text me for a tour” or “Do you know someone looking in this neighborhood?”

Send an email blast like the one above to all the agents you know. Add the agents in your office to your database as well as agents you meet at Open Houses, Broker Previews, etc.  The CTA should obviously be different, something like: “Do you have a buyer looking in this neighborhood?”

Facebook
To promote your business or to create an ad on Facebook you need to have a Facebook Business Page. Use these strategies to get the word out about the listing via Facebook.

Make a JUST LISTED post on your business page. Again, use a great visual image or video of the property. Don’t stop there. After you make the post go back and BOOST it to target the specific area and demographic that you want to reach beyond your Facebook followers.

Another option is to create an ad on Facebook about the JUST LISTED property. Creating an ad from scratch, rather than boosting a post, allows you to put multiple images in the ad (carousel ad) or a video plus you can target the ad to reach a more specific demographic. Here’s an example of what I mean: You have a $2 million+ listing on a golf course – target the ad to reach people with the income level needed to buy that home who like to golf AND who are likely to move.

The great thing about advertising on Facebook is that for dollars a day you can get your listing in front of the right people. An added bonus is that you have the option for your ads to appear on Instagram too. When Facebook bought Instagram they added this option. You need to have an Instagram account in order for your ads to appear there.

Other Social Media
If you use any other social media channels for your business get it out there too.

For Instagram, place an ad discussed above or you can post an image of the property with details. Instagram does not have the ability to include a hyperlink in the posts. Instead, direct them to your Instagram profile and include a hyper link there back to the property website.

For Twitter or Google +, post about your new listing with a link back to a video of the property or a property website. At Century 21 every listing automatically gets a Unique Property Website that has a URL using the property address. If you have a YouTube channel, upload the property video and share it on your social media sites.

Meet the Neighbors

After you take the listing get out there and introduce yourself to the neighbors on either side of the home. There’s something called the 5-5-5 rule. Knock on the door of the 5 houses to left, 5 houses to the right and 5 houses across the street and let those neighbors know you just listed a house on their street. Invite them to an upcoming Open House and ask if they know of anybody who has been looking to move into that neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to ask them if they’ve considered selling their home. If so, they’re going to be watching very closely how you market their neighbor’s property.

Print Marketing
Some “old school” marketing would be a “Just Listed” postcard to people who live in that area. You can mail it but if you door drop it yourself it’s a great way to meet people in the neighborhood. You can also place an ad in the local newspaper showcasing the listing. Print marketing is expensive compared to online marketing so use it wisely.

Open House
Now that you got the word out about your new listing you need to have an Open House. Again, you need to get the word out about it. Use the same tactics listed above for an email blast, Facebook post and BOOST and a Facebook ad. Just tweak it for the Open House. Next, create an EVENT on Facebook. List the date & time of the Open House along with all the details and invite your friends. Promote the Facebook event by selecting your audience and budget and you’re good to go.

Make your Open House an event. Make sure you have a lot of signs directing people to the property. Add some balloons and include food. Invite the neighbors to the Open House. Do a give-away for a gift card for people who sign in and give you their contact info. Consider doing a Facebook LIVE video from the Open House too.

Broker Preview
Put it in your office caravan or local broker preview. At CENTURY 21 Discovery we have regular sales meetings followed by a caravan of our new listings. At our meetings the agents have an opportunity to “Pitch” a property that is not on the market yet. We also have several broker previews in our area that allow agents from any office to place their listing on the weekly caravan.

Most of these marketing strategies cost very little except time and creativity on your part. You’ll be a real estate marketing guru and your seller is going to love you! Do you have any marketing strategies to add? Please share in the comments.

 

About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Last-Minute Open House Cleaning Tips

By Guest Blogger
July 14, 2016
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on February 19, 2016

Your open house is almost underway! You’ve already made sure your home is warm and inviting and you’ve taken time to carefully stage it. Now, here are some last minute cleaning tips to quickly spruce up any areas you may have missed.

OpenHouseCleaningTips

Prep for Pets
You may be ready for your open house, but your four legged friends might have other ideas. Perform a last minute inspection of any areas your pets frequent to make sure they haven’t left an unpleasant surprise somewhere in your home. Also, pet hair has a way of showing up unexpectedly. Vacuum carpets and sweep any floors with a rubber broom to clean up debris that may have gathered since your last cleaning.

Check Your Entryway
Although you may have painted your front door and meticulously cleaned your home’s entryway in the days before your open house, recheck it on open house day. Be sure to check for marks on your door, damaged plants, disheveled door mats, and unexpected messiness that may have accumulated in front of your home since you last inspected it.

Clean Up After Kids
If children happen to be in your home during the hours leading up to your open house, you may want to check for additional messes before potential buyers arrive. Look at your lower windows for finger smudges, which can be cleaned quickly with a cleaning agent and microfiber cloth. Also check your doorway for dirt, and look at the lower part of your walls for crayon streaks or other stains.

Ready Your Refrigerator
While easy to overlook, the inside of your refrigerator should be as neat and clean as the rest of your kitchen. Make sure it isn’t full of half consumed food or overstocked to the point where it looks cluttered. Additionally, any fridge magnets should be removed to further depersonalize your home for potential buyers.

Care for Your Lawn
Last minute removal of lawn debris can make your home more appealing and may attract more buyers. Depending on the season, eradicate lawn clutter with a leaf blower, a rake or a snow blower. If you’re too busy for exterior home cleaning, consider hiring someone to do it for you, so you can focus on the interior of your home.

These last minute cleaning tips may help your home shine brighter on open house day.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

Unique Property Websites

By Suzy Lins
March 30, 2016

The fun part about working at CENTURY 21 Discovery is that I get to see all the cool marketing tools that our agents have access to through the Century 21® system. One tool that benefits our sellers as well as our agents is the Unique Property Sites. These are websites that are dedicated to selling the home. We all know buyers are searching online and these sites provide them with the property details and photos as well as allows sharing the sites through social media and email. These sites are designed for mobile devices too so buyers can access them from anywhere.

Check out this short video about the sites:

SuzyLins

 

About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Unique Benefits of a Property Management Company

By Blake Borowski
March 8, 2016

Owning a rental property and being the landlord comes with a unique and challenging opportunity. Some individuals might decide to give the landlord responsibility at least one try, and while it might work for them, there are some benefits that a property management company can provide that a landlord lacks.

HouseinHands

Numerous Rental Payment Options

Although it is possible for landlords to set up numerous payment options, it makes sense for property management companies to do so as they will end up accommodating a large number of tenants. For instance, while most landlords accept money orders and checks, property managers are accustomed to accepting online payments and direct deposits through a bank or credit union.

An Emergency Line

The ability for maintenance requests to be made in an online form is unique, but a special line for emergency maintenance or repairs is highly valuable and a great way to provide tenant solutions.

Established Vendors

As a landlord that manages one or two properties, it is just not possible for a vendor to make it their top priority to provide your properties with maintenance and repairs. However, some property management companies have plenty of work and use the same vendors on just about every occasion.

A Systematic Approach

Landlords that are still learning how to manage their property will likely be taking each day and responsibility one step at a time. However, property managers have a systematic approach to managing a property, which means your property will get managed in an effective manner, no matter what.

BlakeBorowski

About the Author: Blake Borowski is the Founder of White Glove Property Management in Fullerton, CA. If you would like more information about the unique benefits of using a property management company call him at 714.515.3395 or visit the website www.whiteglovepm.com.

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Interview with C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young

By Joe Lins
February 15, 2016

I had the opportunity to interview California Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young after her presentation at the Pacific West Association of REALTORS® February general membership meeting. I asked her three questions about the real estate industry and specifically Orange County real estate.

Those three questions were:

1) What is the biggest disruption facing the real estate industry?

2) How healthy is the Orange County real estate market?

3) What is the biggest opportunity for the consumer in Orange County?

She’s a smart woman and I value her insight. Watch this short video for her responses.

 

Joe Lins photo

 

About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team or would like more information about our services contact Joe at 714.626.2069.

Escrow and How It Works

By Nancy Mattaliano-Castaneda
February 2, 2016

Buying a home is a huge undertaking and requires a good understanding of the process. In California, once a buyer and seller agree to the terms of the sale the next step is to open escrow. First time buyers or people who have not bought or sold a home in awhile may not know what escrow is.

Couple taking a break from unpacking

Here is a brief overview of what escrow is and how it works.

What is Escrow?

Escrow is a process that protects the interest of all parties in a real estate transaction, ensuring that all the conditions of the sale have been met before property and money change hands.

Why Do I Need One?

You need escrow to ensure that all parties have complied with the escrow instructions before any funds are disbursed or title is transferred. The escrow company has an obligation to safeguard the funds and/or documents while they are in the officer’s possession and to disburse funds and/or convey title only when all parties have met the terms of the escrow instructions.

What is the Escrow process?

Once a purchase contract has been negotiated to the satisfaction of both the seller and buyer, a legible fully-signed copy is forwarded to the escrow company. The escrow officer will then prepare supplemental instructions and place the earnest money deposit into a trust account. The buyer and seller can move forward separately, but simultaneously, in obtaining inspections, reports, loan commitments, funds, deeds and many other items using escrow as the central depositing point.

Who to Contact with Questions:

Your REALTOR® will answer questions about your purchase contract agreement. Your loan officer will answer all questions about your loan status, conditions of your loan and the loan process. Your escrow officer will help or direct you with any other questions. A good escrow officer understands you will have questions and should be willing to answer them or direct you to the person who can.

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About the Author: Nancy Mattaliano-Castaneda is an Escrow Officer at Equity Escrow Group, Ltd. in Fullerton, California. For more information about Equity Escrow Group, Ltd. call 714.626.2095 or visit the website www.equityescrow.net.

Investing In Your Resale by Staging Your Home

By Mary Sauer of Modernize
December 8, 2015

In most regions of the country, it is a seller’s market. In previous years, sellers were doing just about anything they could to get an offer—sometimes even selling their home for less than it was worth. Now things have turned around and homes are selling within days of going on the market. It is definitely a new time for real estate, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. But when it is a seller’s market, that doesn’t mean you can relax your selling strategies. Instead, it is vital you take advantage of the high demand for homes by doing everything possible to attract the highest offer on your home. One way this can be done is by using a professional stager to prepare your home for photos and staging.

Via Modernize

Via Modernize

What is Home Staging?

There are many ways to invest in the resale of your home, but one strategy is to stage your home with the help of a professional. While most homeowners know to declutter their home or move larger items to storage, many do not have the design knowledge it takes to stage their home without assistance. This is where a professional home stage becomes incredibly valuable to the home selling process. A professional home stager is similar to an interior designer, except they specialize in creating a simple space where potential buyers can imagine their own furniture and belongings.

How do I Find a Home Stager?

If you are looking for a professional home stager, asking for a recommendation from your realtor is a great place to start. Many realtors, including Century21, offer home staging services to their clients. Their experiences realtors can work with you to create a beautiful and simple space before you place it for sale.

If your realtor does not offer specialized home staging services, they will most likely be able to recommend a professional they trust to stage your home. The average home staging service costs $625, and this number can vary greatly based on the size of your home and how much work must be done to prepare your home for walk-throughs.

Via Modernize

Via Modernize

Is Home Staging Really Worth it?

In some cases, homeowners wonder if home staging really worth the extra expense. The truth is, staging is vital to attracting the right buyer to your home. According to buyers surveyed by Realtor.com, as many as 46 percent of families who first look at homes online are more likely to schedule a walk through if the pictures are staged. In addition to this, 81 percent of buyers revealed they had a much easier time imagining their family and their belongings in a home when it had been professionally staged.

Getting buyers in the door and peaking their interest aren’t the only benefits to home staging—it also seems to increase the dollar amount of offers. The average increase in selling price is between 1 and 5 percent, which greatly exceeds the money spent on staging.

At Modernize, we know how small changes can make a big impact on the appearance of your home. Because of this, we encourage our readers who are selling their homes to consider working with a professional home stager who can help them get more potential buyers in the door and increase the selling price of their homes.

About the Author: Mary Sauer is our Guest Blogger who works at Modernize. Modernize is where you come to get inspired, see what’s possible, and connect with a professional who will make your dream home a reality.

How to Stage Your House Over the Holidays

By Guest Blogger
November 11, 2015
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on November 3, 2015 *

Selling your home during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to hold back on the festivities. Let your home shine while attracting buyers during the most wonderful time of the year with these seasonal touches.

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Deck the halls:

Don’t let selling your home stop you from spreading the holiday cheer. Subtle hints like a welcoming evergreen wreath at the front door, mulled cider brewing on the stovetop or hand-sewn stockings hanging from the fireplace awning gives the space a jolt of spirit.

Trim the tree:

Usually the most eye-catching piece of the living room during the holiday season, make sure your spruced-up Christmas tree matches the aesthetic you want to sell to potential buyers. If your living room has a clean-cut scheme with ivories and whites, for example, make sure your baubles fall under the same color palette.

Tone it down:

As tempting as it is to blow up some lawn ornaments to celebrate the season, it’s best to go for a minimalist approach during this crucial selling time. Neatly highlight the defining elements of your home’s exterior with snow-white lights or hang a fresh garland with bright red bows from your rooftop or mailbox.

Warm up:

Before open houses, make sure your home feels as cozy as possible. Now’s the perfect time to light a fire in your fireplace and warm up your home. If your home is lacking the fiery centerpiece, turning up the thermostat to a comfortably toasty level gives potential buyers extra incentive to linger for a while to escape the brutal cold outside—and allows them to fully digest the best qualities of your home.

Tune up:

Fill up the hallways with contemporary holiday classics while potential buyers are roaming the halls. Make a mix of festive favorites: go old-school with Frank Sinatra’s “White Christmas” or Natalie Cole’s take on “The Christmas Song”…or just play Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas (Is You)” on a loop.

Feed the masses:

The best way to make somebody feel at home—potentially at their future home—is through their stomach. Whip up some holiday-themed cookies and mocktails to serve during your open house; the extra hint of hospitality will keep you in the mind of prospective buyers even after the last present is unwrapped during the holidays.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

5 Places You Forgot Potential Buyers Will Check

By Guest Blogger
October 15, 2015
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on October 14, 2015 *

An open house is a crucial component of the home sale process. Start with these tips for staging an open house, but don’t stop there. Potential buyers are likely to inspect all areas of the house. Yes, even your “junk drawer” and closets. Here’s a list of five often forgotten places that potential homeowners may check.

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The sides of your house

When you spruce up your front yard and backyard, pay attention the sides of your home as well. Potential buyers will likely look at the exterior of your house from all angles. One unkempt side may turn them off from the rest of the home. Make sure the paint and landscaping is in good condition from all angles.

Inside your closets

Don’t stuff everything in your closets and hope no one will open them. Even if the potential buyers aren’t fashionistas, they may still care about closet space. Show it off by organizing it. You wouldn’t want a potential buyer to open a closet just to find a hodgepodge of the belongings you stashed there.

Under your bed

Removing the bulk of storage from your closets is a great way to make closet space appear bigger, but that doesn’t mean your stuff should be shoved under the bed. Not only is it an eyesore, but the potential homebuyer might also see it as a sign that there is not enough storage space. Your best bet is to invest in temporary external storage space so that your open house has all the space it needs.

Inside the shower

Chances are no one wants a small, cramped bathroom. Create storage solutions that may make your space appear bigger and brighter to buyers. For example, stash toiletries and cleaning supplies in a separate closet, a dresser, or under the sink.

Your drawers and cabinets

Potential buyers will probably open drawers and cabinets. Spend time getting inspired by these home organizers. Think about all of the details like your spice rack, whether your dishes match, and finally taming your “junk drawer.” In need of more inspiration? Our Pins may help!

Go the extra mile, and don’t get caught off guard. You wouldn’t want to scream a slow motion “nooooo” as a potential buyer innocently reaches to open a closet.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.