Set the Stage!

Set the Stage!

Set the Stage!

When you’re ready to list your home, one of the most important things you can do is prepare for home staging.  Staging your home is the process of decorating, rearranging, and organizing, purposely designed to feature and highlight your home’s best assets. Home staging is a crucial process to impress potential buyers and sell quickly for the highest price possible. Set the Stage!

While staging is technically optional, it really shouldn’t be!

If you choose not to stage your home, you could end up settling for a lower selling price than you anticipated. Additionally, it’s likely your home could be listed for a longer marketing period than you may have expected. Don’t forget – potential buyers don’t want to see unfinished project; it means more work for them when they move into the home. For every problem they see, they could deduct it’s cost from the offering price. Too many problems and they’ll pass on your home completely!

We advise taking a few simple steps to stage your home to be listed:

  1. Clean Up: Make sure your appliances are spotless inside and out. Deep clean the corners of your tub, the grout in between the tile, and behind the toilets. Your goal should be to make everything look new, even if it’s not!
  2. Depersonalize: Potential buyers want to imagine themselves and their belongings in your home. We advise removing refrigerator art and family photos.
  3. Declutter: Clutter distracts buyers from the best qualities of your home. Plus, it can make a potential buyer worried that your home doesn’t have enough storage space. Don’t forget, buyers will want to see inside the closets, so don’t cram items in them and expect them to remain out of sight for long.

When you’re ready to list your home, The Lippincott Team is here to help you every step of the way! Give us a call today: 832-392-8818

How to Optimize Your Selling Price

How to Optimize Your Selling Price

When you are ready to sell your house, you want to get the best price, bottom line. After all, no one puts their house up for sale hoping for a mediocre offer. The following strategies will give you the best opportunity to optimize your selling price.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Selling Price

There are many things to remember when selling a house. Getting the best price often takes extra care and utilizing specific strategies. Work with a quality real estate team for best results and use the following 3 strategies:

Don’t Always Accept the First Offer

The moment an offer comes in is exciting and can be very enticing to accept it right away. After all, isn’t it our main goal to get the house sold? However, accepting that first offer may be missing a big opportunity to earn more for your house.

A better strategy often is to wait out that first bid. This gives a second buyer the chance to come in and also make an offer. This often results in a bidding war that ultimately earns you more for your house. Therefore, before jumping to accept the first offer by a prospective buyer, consider waiting to see if another offer comes in to bring the selling price up.

Start Low and Finish Higher

This strategy is powerful in combination with the first strategy. While it may seem counterproductive for any motivated seller, this strategy is capable of creating the foundation for a bidding war that may bring your final selling price well above expectations.

By pricing your house slightly lower than expected you may pique the interest of more buyers. Generating interest is arguably one of the most important, and hardest parts of selling your house. With the right price, buyers begin imagining themselves in the home the moment they step into it. What all this means to you, the seller is multiple buyers competing for your home, in turn, create a bidding war that could drive the selling price beyond your asking price.

Be Ready to Make Changes to Stand Out

Another way to generate interest is making your home stand out. This is where an experienced realtor can really assist you. With the knowledge of what buyers are currently looking for, a realtor can help you determine strategies to make your house stand out. Keep in mind, you’re not looking at major remodeling projects, but minor changes to improve the overall appeal of your house.

Get the Best Offer You Can

Discuss with your agent these and other strategies to optimize your selling price. Don’t settle for a lesser offer when you can get more for your home.

The Lippincott Team provides sellers with the in-depth market knowledge and strategies designed for a quick sale at the optimal price. Contact Us for assistance or to learn more about selling your house.

Your Essential Guide to Selling Your House in the Fall

Your Essential Guide to Selling Your House in the Fall

The end of summer is nearly here, the holidays are around the corner,  and you want to sell your house. You may wonder if it’s the right time, what kind of market you’re in, and where to begin. Selling in the fall can be a great experience with a little preparation and a few quick tips.

Selling Your House in the Fall: Quick Tips

While you may not have the ideal backdrop the spring months afford you, selling a house in the fall has its other perks. Make sure to take advantage of the season and know the current market conditions,  Prepare well and you may be surprised with your results. Get started with the following guide:

Embrace the Fall Market

While you will likely see fewer potential buyers than you would in the spring, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to sell. The temperatures are dropping, the holidays are coming, and buyers are highly motivated to close. Fewer buyers can mean you’re less likely to see a selling price higher than the asking price. It’s important to make sure your home is priced right for the market.

Seasonal Decorations

The holidays are times of cheer and goodwill. The general atmosphere is warmth and festivity. You can capitalize on this by decorating your house according for the fall, but don’t overdo it. Finding a tasteful balance for your holiday decorations will make your house stand out.

Mind Your Windows

The summer weather can leave your windows streaked and grimy. While smudges may seem small and subtle, if you want to sell your house, your windows should be spotless. Remove your screens and wash your windows inside and out. Your goal is to make them sparkle.

Boost Your Curb Appeal

Keep your lawn mowed and your leaves raked and cleared away. Tend to your landscaping and freshen up your flowers. First impressions still carry a ton of weight and can even turn potential buyers away before they even step inside. Give them a reason to take a closer look.

Take Photos in Spring

All your marketing photos should be taken in the spring when everything is green and full of color. They’ll see your house in its best light. They’ll also have the chance to see it during two different parts of the year.

Maintenance Matters

Keeping up with the maintenance inside and outside your home is essential no matter what time of year you plan to sell. Make sure your AC and heater are in proper working order. Keep your trees and shrubbery trimmed, and your roof in good condition. If you have a fireplace, keep it cleaned and lit during showings on cold days.

Light It Up

As it gets closer to winter, the sun sets earlier and earlier. A house in the dark is much harder to sell than one that’s well lit. Keep your lights on inside and make sure your exterior and landscaping is well lit as well. A well-lit house catches the eye in the dark and gives a sense of pride.

Sell Your Home This Fall

There’s not many weeks left in the summer and fall will be upon us before you know it. Don’t wait until the last minute. Now is the time to begin preparing your home to sell. Remember, buyers will be more focused and ready to close, so you need to be ready. Use this guide to selling your house in the fall to get started.

To learn more about selling during the fall months or for assistance selling your home, Contact Us.

5 Essential Home Maintenance Tips for Summer

5 Essential Home Maintenance Tips for Summer

Whether you plan on selling your house soon or not for some time, regular maintenance is one of the best things you can do to get it ready. Keep it cleaned, repaired, and up to date. Don’t wait for it to be on the market. Get started now.

A Guide to Home Maintenance Tips for Summer

Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your house in good condition. This will benefit you while you’re living there and it’s good when you’re selling a house. Ongoing maintenance will also save you a lot of money in the long run. Get started with the following tips:

1) Clean Gutters

Keeping your gutters cleaned regularly will prevent leaks and clogging. It will also make sure they will drain properly when the rain and storms come.

2) Inspect Roof

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your roof year to year to make sure no unexpected issues arise. Hidden leaks can start slow and cause tremendous damage before found. Keep leaves and debris cleaned off the roof and look for missing or damaged shingles. Consider a professional inspection every few years as well.

3) AC Tune Up

You don’t want to be caught without air conditioning during summer’s hottest days. Hire a professional to inspect your AC and conduct a summer tune up. Your refrigerant levels should be checked and filled if needed. They should make sure your fan is in good shape and clean your coils. They should also inspect your wiring to prevent fire hazards.

4) Check Windows

Your windows are a key to keeping the summer heat and winter cold out of your house. The main thing to pay attention to is your window sealants. Check both inside and outside. Caulk any holes you see and check the weather stripping. Make sure your windows remain sealed and in good shape. This not only helps keep your electric bill down, but it also keeps the outside looking good.

5) Pressure Wash Your Exterior

One of the sneakiest maintenance problems comes from dirt, grime, and mildew that accumulate on the exterior of your house. Routinely cleaning it will keep your outside looking its best. There’s nothing like a grimy film to make your house look aged. On the other side, there’s nothing like keeping it clean to keep it looking well-maintained. Pressure washing your walls is the easiest way to do it.

Maintenance Matters

How well your house is maintained could make or break a sale. Most people aren’t interested in inheriting major maintenance issues and problems. Give yourself the best chance to sell your house when you want to sell it by keeping up with regular cleaning and maintenance. Use these home maintenance tips for summer to get started.

The Lippincott Team is your Cypress area resource for buying and selling houses. Contact Us for more information for for help selling your house today.

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a House

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a House

A house is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. When it’s time to sell, it’s important to know you’re working with an agent who is experienced, competent and has your best interest at heart. Before you select an agent, it’s a good idea to interview 2 or 3.

Best Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling Your Home

When you interview a realtor, think of it as a job interview. You are, after all, hiring them to work for you selling a house. You’ll want to vet them out just like a manager would a potential employee. Get started with the following 10 interview topics:

1) Experience.

Ask them to tell you about their experience selling houses. Make sure they include how long they have been doing it and a little about the houses they’ve sold. There’s not necessarily a specific amount of experience you’re looking for. You just want to make sure they have enough to be comfortable handling the entire process from listing to closing.

2) Full Time or Part Time.

Ask them if they’re a full time or part time agent. Working with a part time agent isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something you’ll want to know up front. It may give you an idea of his or her availability to work on your listing.

3) References.

Just as with any other job interview or service you look for, ask if he or she can provide reference letters, previous clients you could call, and/or online reviews you can read. If you’re able to talk to previous clients, ask about their experience with this particular agent. What did they like? What did they not like? Try to get an idea what it will be like working with them.

4) Staff/Assistant.

An agent who is busy will need a personal assistant or other staff to help process transactions, run a comparative market analysis, and provide other backend support while the agent is out in the field. They may also work with a team of other agents. Ask for the names of anyone you may work with and how they will help you with your transaction.

5) Communication.

Find out how you can expect communication to be handled. By phone, email, text? Who will communicate with you and how often? Also, find out when your agent can receive phone calls. You will be communicating a lot over the course of the sale, so it’s good to get an idea of what to expect.

6) Marketing Plan.

Marketing your home is a crucial step in the sales process. It’s the only way to get your listing in front of potential buyers. Ask how they plan on marketing your home to the most potential buyers possible. Take a look at how they’ve marketed other homes online. Look at the photos and ask how they will increase your home’s visibility online. Ask if they utilize virtual tours and to show you some examples if they do.

7) Pricing Strategy.

Ask how they go about pricing a home like yours. The condition of your home and its location will affect the sales process. But the determining selling factor is more often than not the price. What’s their strategy?

8) Work in this Price Range.

Ask if they have experience working with buyers shopping for homes in your price range. You’ll want to know if they understand how the mind of your particular potential buyers works. If they do, they’ll know how to negotiate more effectively.

9) Knowledge of Home Loans.

The last thing you want is for the sale to break down during the financing process. It’s a good idea to work with an agent who understands the process and works with a reputable lender. Working with a less than reliable lender can often cause delays or even make the whole deal collapse.

On the other side, often you run into issues with the buyer’s finances. Sometimes it will make a deal fall apart at the last minute. However, if your agent is well-versed in the home loan department, he or she may be able to salvage the deal.

10) What sets you apart from other agents?

Give the agent the opportunity to talk about what they will do that’s different from anyone else you’d encounter. This is their opportunity to sell themselves, so understand you’ll only hear positive things. But use this as an opportunity to learn about them. Ask probing questions and listen to their answers. Notice their confidence level. Try to determine if you’ll enjoy working with them or not. 

From Listing to Closing

Selling your house will likely be one of the largest transactions you’ll ever make. Give yourself the best chance to sell your home as quickly as possible and at the best possible price. Interview 2 or 3 realtors before choosing the one you’ll work with. Get started with these top 10 questions to ask a realtor when selling a house.

The Lippincott Team is your resource for Cypress and North Houston area real estate. Contact Us for more information or for help selling a house.

What to Expect as a Buyer or Seller at an Open House

What to Expect as a Buyer or Seller at an Open House

The open house is a critical moment for both buyers and sellers. Knowing what to expect will help you make the most of it either way. It can feel overwhelming, but take a deep breath and get to know the process.

Open House Tips for Sellers

If you’re selling a house, your goal is most likely to sell it as quickly as possible. It’s important to increase its saleability however you can. Your open house events are a key moment in this process.  

1) Clean and Organize

Your home needs to look its best. Keep it cleaned and clutter-free. Vacuum and dust. Keep your beds made. Open all your curtains and blinds to let the natural light in. Clear away all personal items and keep your kitchen spotless. Check your bathrooms and make sure no one has left any unpleasant surprises.

2) Pay Attention to the Outside

The outside of your home is the first thing they’ll see. Make sure you give them the best impression. Keep your lawn mowed, trees and bushes trimmed and leaves raked. Don’t leave any clutter or debris in your lawn. Keep your sidewalks clear and make sure you don’t have any visible ant beds or other issues. Examine your house for any maintenance or repairs. Consider adding flowers.

3) Choose Decorations Carefully

Inside your house needs to be as generic as possible. Any religious or political items need to be packed away along with personal photos and your family name. You want potential buyers imagining themselves in the house, not you.

4) Kids and Pets Must Go

Kids and pets are a distraction to buyers. Make arrangements for your kids to visit other family or friends. Find a place for your pets to stay during home showings. You want buyers to focus on your house. Make sure to get rid of the litter box, toys, or any other indication a pet lives there.

5) Take a Walk, Seller

Unless you don’t have a real estate agent to host your open house, it’s not a good idea for you, the seller, to stay around. You may think you could be helpful and answer questions, but the reality is buyers may feel uncomfortable. They typically won’t say what they’re thinking if the homeowner is there. Your agent won’t be able to get an accurate reading of what they’re thinking. This could harm you in the negotiations.

Open House Tips for Buyers

If you’re buying a home, you’ll want to make the most of the open house events you attend. Don’t just show up, though. Be prepared with a game plan. Know what you’re looking for and how to get the information you need to make a good, informed decision,

1) Wear Appropriate, Comfortable Clothing

There’s no need to dress up, but keep it reasonable. Remember, you’ll likely be doing a good amount of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and light, loose clothing. You may be walking up and down stairs and in and out of rooms. But you also want to be considerate of your host and other guests.

2) Check Out the Neighborhood

Before you arrive at the house, take a drive around the neighborhood. Notice the condition and styles of other houses. Take a look at the upkeep of the surrounding homes and lawns. Notice the layout and location in relation to other key places you’ll frequent such as grocery stores, schools, and shopping strips.

3) Pay Attention to Details

Keep your eyes open for maintenance issues inside and outside. Look for peeling paint, missing shingles or other roof issues, and take note of the condition of the siding. Remember as you enter the home, it has been presented in its best light, so keep a critical eye. Look for issues that may indicate damage or structural issues. This would include uneven floors, cracks in ceilings or walls, water stains on floors, ceilings, or walls, mold, and mildew, and unpleasant or musty smells. Take a look out all the windows, examine the storage space, and check to see all water faucets are working properly.

4) Ask Good Questions

The questions you ask are key to knowing if it’s a good match for you. The agent is there for a reason and is knowledgeable. Pick their brain! You will want to know some basic key information such as: the year the house was built, a record of renovations, the listing date, and if there are any current offers. Ask about HOA fees, special assessments, and other fees. Find out about the local schools and community events. Get the agents insight on the neighborhood and community.

5) Document Your Tour

Request permission first, but plan on taking photos and videos of your tour. Make sure to get good shots of any issues and features you like and dislike. As you go through, take notes in a notepad. This will give you fuel for negotiations later on and make it easier to remember each house when it comes to decision time.

Respect Host and Property

Be kind and polite to your host. Greet them with a smile as you sign in. Your goal is to obtain as much useful information as you can from the tour. Keeping a good rapport with the showing agent will ensure the best experience possible. Respect the house and property. Feel free to look in drawers, cabinets, and closets, but don’t rummage around in their stuff.

Planning Your Open House

Whether buying or selling or both, open house events are a critical component of the process. If you’re selling, it’s your moment to let your house shine. If you’re buying, it’s your opportunity to gather good information so you can make the best decision. Either way, it’s important to make the most of each event. Get started with this guide to open house events for buyers and sellers.

Contact Us to learn more about hosting and attending open house events or for assistance buying or selling a house.