I have found showing feedback to be essential and extremely helpful in the sale of my listings. Feedback provides insight into issues or factors that I might have overlooked or not considered important enough to affect pricing. Obtaining good feedback from showing agents takes some preparation and follow through though. Here’s what I do.
First, every listing has a “supra” lockbox. This lockbox electronically records every showing, and sends me an email when it is opened by an agent. The email has the day, time of showing and the contact information for the showing agent.
I then go into my MLS login where I have a standard letter that I send to the agent with a link to the listing. I greet the agent by name and thank them for showing the listing at “specified neighborhood” on “specified address”. I ask if there is anything about the price or condition that they can give me feedback on for this specific home. I think the personalized email is vastly more effective than the robotic auto-requests that so many agents set up. Some agents, including Steve, won’t take the time to complete a multi-question online feedback form sent by a robot, but they will respond to a personal email or phone call from the listing agent.
I ask, “did the buyer’s like it?”, “are they considering making an offer?” I also explain that the seller’s disclosure and survey is online attached to the MLS listing for their convenience. Also, to refresh their memory, I provide a link to the listing. After this I thank the agent for his or her hard work.
Our dishwasher needs replacing. It is old and worn out and as I am choosing appliances, it seems stainless steel is still the color of choice. What is the next big color in appliances? … I wonder?
I Googled this and came up with a few answers, but nothing that seems to dominate the stainless steel.
It seems people like the sleek, industrial look of the stainless steel “like you are in a commercial kitchen”. One of the best articles I read on the subject was “After Stainless What Now” by Ellen Byron of the Wall Street Journal.
What do the manufacturers say about a demand for new colors:
Whirlpool is rolling out a “new” color which it calls “Ice white”. Wow, that is creative! “White is the new stainless” Whirlpool says.
Meanwhile, General Electric has unveiled a new color in their microwaves, refrigerators and dishwashers in muted gray tones called “slate”. They believe this will appeal to “cost conscious” consumers because it will still blend with the stainless steel colors.
Miele is about to introduce some high glossy tones in the near future. They are keeping quiet about what it is going to be, but watch carefully, maybe we will see something more exciting coming from them.
Even while there are several colors and tones said to be on the horizon, many manufacturers say that 80% of their sales are still stainless steel.
So as I review all this information, I still decide to order that new KitchenAid stainless steel dishwasher.
Steve and I took a GRI class last week in pursuit of more knowledge about current real estate trends and practices. I always find these educational courses to be informative and helpful.
My biggest “take away” from this class was when one of my fellow classmates, who drove over 900 miles from El Paso for the 4-day class, shared with us the current landscaping requirements in El Paso. ALL new homes there are now being required to use xeriscape landscaping in the front yards because of the water shortage.
I wonder how long before the same requirement comes to Austin?
So Saturday as I was taking my buyer clients around looking at different houses, I was pointing out features that I may have overlooked in the past. One home had full gutters and a rain barrel capture system in place which I highlighted as a plus. Also, in the very small fenced in front yard where there was mostly Bermuda grass, I suggested, “You can take this grass out and put in xeriscape with native Texas landscaping”.
This whole idea of “no grass” front yards has really got me thinking.
One thing I have noticed lately while showing and listing houses is Buyers like COLOR!
No longer are the neutral tones the best advice for someone putting their house on the market. My last buyer clients went under contract on a home with colors they fell in love with. This home was painted a soft yellow in most of the living areas and a pale blue in the master bedroom. They absolutely loved it.
Another home I recently listed which received multiple offers within a week had a vivid red/orange chair rail in the entry hallway! No longer am I telling sellers when I list the house to paint everything neutral. Neutral is OUT!
The Front Door is Very Important
Another interesting observation I have made is the importance of the front door color. I used to recommend red, always. Now with the hot weather, I am recommending painting the front door a soft shade of teal (greenish/blue).
For the last six months I have made an effort to find ways to help my community by giving back my time. This is particularly helpful to me especially when I start hearing those violin sounds in my head “…Poor me……poor me….nobody is helping me clean, cook or take care of my house…everyone in my family is too busy, so I have to do everything by myself…”
These thoughts get pretty loud sometimes, but I have found that doing something for others is a perfect way to feel better and give back to the community. That’s why I volunteer.
Since September 2010, I volunteer 2 hours a week at the Westbank Community Library. Mostly, I check in books and put them away. If someone has reserved a book, I find it on the shelf and put it on the reserve shelf. I lucked out when I joined up and got the best ever shift working with some ladies that have become good friends.
One of these ladies has been volunteering since the “library was built” she says. “They built this place around me….I have been here that long!” She is a wonderful lady and an inspiration to us all! She has so much energy and vitality. She is down to earth and honest. I strive to be just like her in 30 years!
Another volunteer opportunity I have started helping with is Austin Meals on Wheels
I have not committed to being a regular driver, but I am a “fill-in”. When someone can’t make it on a particular route, they call me around 8AM that morning and ask if I am available. This way, if I have an appointment with a client or am busy in any way, I can say “no” and they move on to the next volunteer on the list.
Sometimes I am available, and I say “yes” and I have never regretted giving this small amount of time. It literally only takes about 2 hours of my day. I pick up the meals and they give me a list of around 5-10 recipients. I deliver the lunches and then get on with the rest of my day. It is that easy. There are some perks to this experience. I get some smiles and thank you’s from some very nice people and I feel I have in a small way helped them have a better day.
So, if you are feeling a little down, or just have some extra time to give back, there are plenty of opportunities around the community to help. From my experience, you will be glad you did, and you will meet new people along the way.
Get out there and get started! Here is a link where you can find some volunteer opportunities to get involved and give back.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. ~Chinese Proverb
I ran across this quote on Facebook about a week ago and it struck me how true this is! Especially now, in the cold of winter in Texas, it is time to plant your trees.
All my clients know that I constantly tell them “plant trees”. This is the least expensive way to add value to your home, but the pay off is several years, so do it now!
Trees add shade and beauty to your yard and when you sell, buyers will appreciate the care you took to plant these beauties.
For more information about earthwise landscaping, go to: www.growgreen.org. I recommend that you stay with native varieties that need less water and can survive in our 100+ degree months in the summer. Some examples are Bur Oak, Texas Ash and Pecan.
For more information and to buy some good trees to go my favorite place, the Natural Gardener on Old Bee Cave Rd. in Oak Hill. The people there are very helpful in choosing the right variety and in providing information on how to plant, how much to water, etc.
Another good website for exploring different trees that do well in Central Texas is Texas Tree Planting.
If you have any other questions or recommendations, give us a call. Grab a shovel and happy planting!