Blog :: 01-2015

It's All About the Journey...Ready to List Your Home!

The decision has been made and you're ready to get going! The next step is to confirm pricing, sign the listing agreement and the mountain of paperwork that goes along with putting your home on the market and preparing for showings.

Establishing a Price: When setting a price, the most important thing is to be realistic. This is where the experience of your agent is critical. You want an honest, well thought out evaluation where the agent is telling you the truth of where your home should be priced in order to attract the best offer. What you should be careful of is any agent who will tell you a price they think you want to hear, just so they can get your listing - if the price is too high, the house will sit and you will end up chasing the market down ( if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is). A well prepared comparative market analysis (CMA) and an experienced agent with a good track record are the best tools for establishing a realistic price. Professional appraisals and programs like Zillow are very unreliable and do not reflect current market conditions, or the competition including their upgrades and other features.

house with dollar sign

Signing a Listing Agreement: After you have chosen an experienced real estate agent, you will need to sign a listing agreement: a contract in which you agree to allow your REALTOR to sell your home during a given period and pay the REALTOR a fee when your home sells. There is also a stack of paperwork including state and federal disclosures which your agent can guide you through.

The amount of compensation you pay a broker is negotiable, but most REALTORS have standard pricing models that they use across all of their listings. The agreed upon commission structure will be noted in the listing agreement. Make sure you understand how the fee will be paid before signing.

listing agreement photo

Exclusive Right to Sell Listing - Almost all agents will ask for an “exclusive right-to-sell†listing. This means that all property inquiries are directed to your agent. Even if you decide to sell the house to your cousin, your broker still handles all aspects of the sale and earns their commission. It's possible that a REALTOR from another company will find a buyer for your home. In that case, your broker is the listing broker, and the second agent is the buyer’s agent or broker. General practice is that the commission is split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent.

Length of Listing - The listing agreement will specify how long you agree to list your house with a company and a specific agent. You want a period that's long enough for your agent to successfully market your home and respond to buyers (it's important to know the average days on market for your price range). Remember that the listing agreement is a contract, and your agent and brokerage is bound to the terms just as you are.

Preparing your home: Every home is different and your agent should provide you with advice and recommendations when preparing your home for sale. People buy on emotions and your home has to feel right, or buyers will look elsewhere. They also need to be able to picture their belongings and lifestyle in your home. An experienced agent can advise you on how your home should be staged. Staging “paints the picture†for a buyer. It neutralizes your home so the buyers can envision the space and what "could be". It is important to remember that you don't sell a house the same way you live in a house on a daily basis.

staged living room

Stay tuned for What to Expect once the Listing goes "Live"!

It's All About the Journey...Choosing the Right Agent for YOU

Guzinski, Geri 2 hi res color

Your relationship with your REALTOR becomes quite intense & intimate during the listing and selling process.

Ever wish you could see through the hype to know who the best fit in a real estate agent will be for selling your home? There are things you can do to pull back the curtain and accurately assess an agent and their potential for success with your home.

1. Look at the Agent's Performance - Ask agents to provide a list of what they've listed and sold in the last year (or further back). They should also be able to provide testimonials from past clients talking about their performance. You should be able to easily view these testimonials either on their website or in the preliminary marketing material. For instance, I provide my potential sellers with a comprehensive listing history. This history encompasses all the listings I've had during my career (currently 7 pages). This is helpful in giving an idea of my pricing philosophy, my list to sale price ratio-currently 98.6%, and my days on market --- all important information to consider.

2. Look up Licensing - Every state will have boards that license and discipline real estate agents. I always provide a copy of my license in my marketing materials.

3. The Right Credentials - Just as doctors specialize, so do real estate agents. Some agents will get additional training in specific areas, so that alphabet soup after their name can be an indication that the person has kept up and expanded their education. Here are my designations and what they mean:

realtor logo

  • REALTOR: If the agent calls himself a REALTOR with a capital "R," that means she's a member of the National Association of REALTORS. By hiring a REALTOR, the most important thing you get is an agent who formally pledges to support the code of ethics, meaning they will be fair & conscientious in all their dealings.

SRS_vctrLGO+txt

  • SRS (Seller Representative Specialist): The SRS Designation is the premier credential in seller representation. It is designed to elevate professional standards and enhance personal performance.

GRI

GRI (Graduate of the REALTORS Institute): REALTORS® with the GRI designation have in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards, and the sales process.

sres logo

  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Complete training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range (yes, 50 is the beginning of "senior"-how depressing).

4. How Long has the Agent Been in Business and is this their full-time career? - You can often find out how long the agent has been selling real estate from the state licensing authority, or you can just ask the agent. If they haven't been in business five years (I've been licensed since 1986), they're learning on you and that's not particularly good. Ultimately, what you're looking for is someone who is actively engaged in the business, what kind of market presence they have and that they are keeping up with the market trends on a full-time basis.

5. Look at an Agent's Current Listings - Check out an agent's listings online. Two places to look are the agent & agency's websites, and REALTOR.com, a website that compiles properties in the Multiple Listing Service into a searchable online database. Most buyers start their search on the internet, and you want an agent who uses that tool effectively. A key component is an attractive presentation on the web. Although the internet is the most important advertising vehicle, you should look for an agent who uses other avenues to promote your home including direct mail, agent networking and YES, print advertising as well.

http://geriguzinskisellsstamfordhomes.com/

 

Ultimately, you want someone who's on top of the market and has your best interests at heart with the skill set to make things happen. It's like dating...trust is key and you "know" when it's the right fit.

It's All About The Journey . . . "I Have A Dream"

dr martin luther king jr.

Can you imagine what life would be like in the United States today if Martin Luther King Jr. had not had such a large impact on civil rights and race relations?

I remember being in 6th grade and having three negro (that's how we referred to Afro-Americans then), children bused into our primarily white school and how scared they looked on that first day. I tried to go out of my way to befriend them and volunteered to sit with Ella ( yes, I still remember her name and wonder where she is), and as a result was teased by some of my classmates.

Through his activism, Dr. King played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King received the Nobel Prize in 1964, among several other honors. He was assassinated in April 1968, and continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history, often referenced by his 1963 speech " I Have a Dream." His life and work have been honored with a national holiday, schools and public buildings named after him, and a memorial on Independence Mall in Washington D.C. He was truly a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through nonviolent means.

Do you think his dream still lives on the way he envisioned it?

 

 

It's All About the Journey... Did You Know There Is a CT Panhandle?

Ct panhandle

Have you ever wondered why Connecticut's boxlike shape has a jut out into New York? In life we kind of like things orderly and symmetrical. I've recently learned the "tail" is called the Connecticut Panhandle. Texas, Florida and Oklahoma all have panhandles, but who knew Connecticut has one too!

The Connecticut panhandle is the southwestern portion of Connecticut, where it abuts New York State. It is contained entirely in Fairfield County and includes all of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien, as well as part of Norwalk and containing some of the most expensive residential real estate in the United States.

The irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 17th century, culminating with New York giving up its claim to this area, whose residents considered themselves part of Connecticut, in exchange for an equivalent area extending northwards from Ridgefield, Connecticut, to the Massachusetts border as well as an undisputed claim to Rye, New York. Just think Playland could have been ours.

The two British colonies (a century before the future Revolution's end) negotiated an agreement on November 28, 1683, establishing the New York–Connecticut border as 20 miles east of the Hudson River, north to Massachusetts. The 61,660 acres east of the Byram River making up the Connecticut Panhandle were granted to Connecticut, in recognition of the wishes of the residents. In exchange, Rye was granted to New York, along with a 1.81-mile wide strip of land running north from Ridgefield to Massachusetts alongside the New York counties of Westchester, Putnam then Dutchess, known as the "Oblong".

Congamond Lakes

There is also a little cutout on the Connecticut - Massachusetts border known as either the "Granby Notch" or the "Southwick Jog" depending on which state you're in. After a 155 years of border disputes an agreement was reached over the final disputed 2.5 mile area - giving 5/8th's of the parcel around Congamond Lakes west shore to Massachusetts and Connecticut receiving the remaining east shore, creating the "Notch".

Let's save a discussion of Rhode Island and Great Captain's Island for another day...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's All About The Journey...Happy New Year!!!

new years countdown

new years clock champagne toast

Is going to Times Square on New Year's Eve on your bucket list? I've been there and it's definitely an interesting experience! I was one of the lucky few that was at a private event (which had a bathroom and was downstairs from Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve). Even thought we were inside it was freezing cold (even the alcohol didn't help), and twenty minutes before the magical hour we were herded like a group of cattle into the "VIP" area where we were squished like sardines. The ball drop, however, was amazing.

So you may be wondering where the tradition of the Times Square ball drop started. The history actually centers around the The New York Times moving to its new headquarters in 1903. The paper's owner wanted to mark the festivities with a midnight fireworks show, which continued for four years. In 1907, to draw more attention to the newly renamed Times Square, he had a lighted Ball constructed to be lowered from the flagpole, this was the debut of the Ball drop at one second after midnight. Though the NY Times later moved its headquarters, the Times Square celebration lives on.

The Ball has transformed from being made of iron and being five feet in diameter, to today's Ball which is the seventh version, weighing in at 11,875 pounds, measuring 12 ft. in diameter with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles which vary in size. The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 LED's in 672 modules which each contain 48 LED's - 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green & 12 white - for a total of 8,064 of each color. The Ball is capable of displaying more than 16 million colors and billions of patterns that creates the spectacular kaleidoscope effect. WOW!!!

So as you sip your champagne and countdown to midnight you can astonish your friends with your new found knowledge. 2015 lights

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy & Fun New Year!