Blog :: 02-2015

Windham NH Realtor uses the Internet to Get Your Home Shown and Sold

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In Windham NH real estate as in many other businesses, successfully drawing the public's attention, then communicating value, are what separate can-do practitioners from the pack. It's pigeonholed under "marketing" instead of "selling" because the latter sounds more like a one-on-one activity, whereas "marketing" depicts the kind of effort that goes out to the world at large.

The past couple of decades have produced sea changes in the way southern NH real estate brokers and agents need to approach their marketing approach. It's not just the way all the advertising and communications media have been transformed; it's also the expectations of the people they are intended to reach--the buyers. When a homeowner intends to put his home up for sale, one way to insure success is to be aware of the elements that make up any marketing plan designed to take advantage of the real estate marketplace in 2015.

  • Technology is at the forefront of good marketing, and today's Realtors® can choose to put it to their clients' advantage. A responsive website, like Kristie Dinsmore.com with striking visuals, good content, and specific details to accompany their business cards, brochures, and other traditional marketing materials build more than their own brand--they launch every client's Windham NH real estate listing across the virtual Universe!
  • Today's real estate market rewards creativity more than was hitherto the norm. Because the web has made so much information so accessible, having a knack for standing apart from the crowd is more important than ever. Using techniques to attract attention is the first step in guaranteeing marketing success, so understanding search engine optimization (and using that knowledge regularly) is vital. In fact, it's one of the reasons I make sure to post this blog regularly!
  • A social media presence is a must for anyone conducting real estate in Windham NH--and it just so happens that it's the perfect venue for Realtors® to shine. It's a very personal (well, not quite an in-the-flesh handshake--but as personal as electronics allow!) way to expand networks and engage people in a diverse cross section of prospective audiences.
  • Using electronic and social media is part of the story, but monitoring their effectiveness ("the metrics") is a necessity to track how well they are working. By tracking this information and using the results to take advantage of what works best, every one of my southern NH real estate client shares in maximizing their listing's exposure.

Effective real estate marketing uses ongoing research--and the strategy and energetic tactics that reach out to take advantage of the whole spectrum of today's communication resources. If you are thinking of listing your own home, I hope you'll give me a call to see all that I can do for you!

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    News Flash! Men and Women House Hunters in Southern NH have Different Priorities.

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    Last week, The Wall Street Journal made it official: they had a slow news day. It was February 11 (that was Wednesday) when they ran the feature story, "A Gender Gap in Real Estate."

    This was something Windham NH house hunters (not to mention those hoping to attract their attention) could certainly appreciate: an article about what men and women consider "very important" when it comes to features in homes. Author Adam Bonislawski based his story on National Association of Realtors® survey information; the results pointed to some dissimilarities between what women and men look for.

    Now, I've had a good deal of experience helping both men and women house hunters in southern NH, so it didn't come as a complete surprise that their priorities differ. For instance, I was not at all surprised about the contrasting emphases the two put on the importance of having a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. The only surprise was that it was the men who found it much more important (38%-29%)!

    What about house hunters' feelings about the importance of kitchen appliances being new? Same phenomenon: men 38%, women 29% (possibly because appliances are gadgets, and men like the newest gadgets). How important is it that a home be single level? The sexes reverse: Male house hunters think it is very important 18% of the time; women, 31%. I'd bet that within the 18% that are masculine we'd find a disproportionate number of stay-at-home dads.

    House hunters registered a big gap when it comes to rating 9-foot or higher ceilings as very important. A miniscule 8% of females agreed, while nearly three times that many of their male counterparts thought so (21%).

    One harder to guess feature would have been the desirability of a kitchen island. Nineteen percent of male house hunters found it very important, versus just 8% of the females. Does this mean women are tired of entertaining? Do they no longer consider their masculine counterparts capable of sous chef action? Or is it that more men are taking over the cooking duties?

    I'd have to admit, I'm less than certain that these national averages are 100% reflective of what house hunters in the Windham NH market prefer. Yes, southern NH men certainly value attics (13%) more than the ladies (7%)--they do tend to spend more time up there (but neither are terribly committed to that form of high living). Basements are preferred by close to equal numbers.

    Being that these findings are sort of interesting (not fascinating, perhaps, but at least sort of interesting), you might be wondering why at the beginning I thought it was evidence that the WSJ was having a slow news day. It's because of some tiny print at the bottom of a graph, which gave the date of the NAR survey--all the way back in 2013! More up-to-date is what we find unfolding for today's southern NH house hunters: give me a call to get the latest!

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      Boomerang Home Buyers in Southern NH Emerge from 7-Year Limbo

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      There is a seven-year window for some past Windham NH homeowners--and it's one that's opening, not closing. The 'window' in question is the one that could activate southern New Hampshire "Boomerang Buyers"--which would come as good news for the local Windham and southern NH home sales.

      Some background about Windham NH Boomerang Buyers. It's a term coined in the wake of the subprime mortgage fiasco, describing those burned by the housing crisis. They were, on the whole, Baby Boomers and GenXers who were caught up in the Great Recession. For many who became enmeshed in the effects of the nasty confluence of the cliff-dive of the subprime mortgage bond market and collapse of residential valuations that swept the nation, foreclosures or short sales became, literally, offers they couldn't refuse. Not only did the bitter aftertaste leave many with a spoiled appetite for homeownership, but the damage done to the credit ratings of millions made that a moot point: they had fallen off the scale when it came to qualifying for a new mortgage.

      But that was then; this is now. It's a now that, in RealtyTrac Newsroom's breathless phraseology, "the first wave of...homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure or short sale during the foreclosure crisis are now past the seven year window they conservatively need to repair their credit and qualify to buy a new home."

      Soon, more and more Boomerang Buyers in Southern NH will be in the clear, if they choose to be; and they are only the first wave. "Nearly 7.3 million potential boomerang buyers nationwide will be in a position to buy again from a credit repair perspective over the next eight years," says Newsroom. Bankrate, the mortgage and financial advice website, sees the group as particularly well-qualified. They quote a broker in North Carolina to that effect: "If you've been through a foreclosure, you've already been a homeowner...you know the process. You've been through hell sometime in the last seven years..."

      That word 'sometime' is apt, because the seven year period has been anything but uniform. Guidelines for that "waiting period" have sometimes been three years for FHA qualifiers, or even shorter for portfolio loans that lenders keep on their own books. But whether it's three or seven years, the clock usually starts ticking only when a foreclosure has been completed. But according to FICO, although a foreclosure remains on a credit report for seven years, "the negative impact will fade as time passes."

      For potential southern NH Boomerang Buyers still waiting for a foreclosure to disappear altogether from their credit reports, there are other routes that can lead to a homeownership reboot. For more on buying or selling, I'm always pleased to sit down and discuss some of the great opportunities in our current market!

      Guidelines for Selling a House in southern NH this Winter

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      House sold in Windham NH in 10 days in January weather!Some folks live for our New Hampshire winters. For them, the brisk air is a tonic; longer night times are invitations to enjoy the warmth and cheer of fireside camaraderie; the prospect of great skiing, snowmobiling or skating is something they look forward to all year long. For everyone else it may be more of a drag—particularly when a succession of storms, like we’ve seen in southern NH seem to conspire to make their lives miserable.

      As a local Realtor in Windham, New Hampshire, I have been incredibly busy during one of the snowiest winters on record. The house in Windham NH pictured, that I listed in the bleakest part of January, was put under agreement in just 10 days.

      If you have a good Realtor, working to sell your listing, it does not have to be a tough time to sell a house in southern NH ! Winter does tend to make most houses in Windham NH look drab and barren; and, in general, potential buyers tend to be scarce for a number of reasons. But those who are in the wintertime hunt are apt to be quite serious, so it’s worth remembering that sales can be kindled on even the bleakest February day—especially for owners who keep in mind some simple guidelines:

      1.Create your own warmth

      Whether it’s turning up the thermostat, lighting a crackling fire, or arranging for that batch of chocolate chip cookies to have just emerged from the oven, thinking cozy is the antidote to gloomy days. The object is to make the entrance from the cheerless outdoors a passage into a welcoming environment brimming with welcoming ambiance. To sell a house in foul weather, make the contrast with the outdoors as stark as possible!

      2.Light their way

      To compensate for the dimmer sunlight on some winter days, dispel the gloom by turning on all the lights: lamps, overheads, chandeliers—any and everything to brighten the place. To sell a house in Southern NH in winter, (especially in later afternoon showings), be certain to open shades and curtains, too.

      3. Have summertime pictures on hand

      Be sure to lay out a picture or two of the property in more attractive months. While potential buyers may not be able to see the home when the sun is shining, a picture can help them envision what the house is like during most of the year. Pictures on the kitchen counter of your beautiful garden or your inviting inground pool will go a long way to helping perspective buyers see your home as in looks at other times of the year.

      4. Plus—the regular drill!

      And don’t forget the basics: carefully tidied, sparklingly polished, spotlessly cleaned, etc. It may be a little bit more of a chore to disperse the clutter (it does seem to multiply when you’ve been cooped up for days!), but it’s every bit as important as ever. Aromas are important anytime you sell a house, so obliterate stuffy winter air with strategically placed potpourri and candles.

      The fact is, when it’s properly priced, you can sell a house in in Windham or the rest of southern NH at any time of the year. To get the ball rolling, I hope you will make my number the first one you call!

       

      How to Know You Have Found the Right Home Inspector in Southern NH

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      The importance of hiring a reliable home inspection is one of the bedrock principles every home buyer reads and hears about from all quarters. Any Realtor® worthy of the name will be able to recommend southern NH home inspectors with the kind of strong credentials that establish the validity of his or her report--it's part of the full service a real estate professional brings to the process of buying a home.

       The object of the inspection is, of course, to prevent the unexpected: repair bills that might otherwise go undetected until after the purchase. A good inspector finds problems before you close on a property. Although a home inspector's fee may require an investment of a few hundred dollars, it's certainly better than spending tens of thousands down the road.

      A thorough inspection and the report that follows are what you are looking for--what earns a new home buyer peace of mind. And choosing the right candidate isn't difficult, as long as you are willing to follow a few common sense procedures.  For instance, the written inspection report is an important part of the process, yet some inspectors wind up sending only a checklist. The best ones accompany that with their more detailed written observations. Before you commit, ask the candidate if you can see a sample of the kind of report that will be prepared.

      It's a very good idea for you to be present when the inspection is made--it's a one-time chance to see for yourself some of the workings of the property from a professional's point of view. A good inspector may suggest it...and certainly will not object when you invite yourself to the party. If he or she objects, my advice is to find someone else.

      Remember that in Southern NH besides a general home inspection, you will want to complete a well water test, a septic system inspection, a radon air and water test, and a lead paint test if the property was built before 1978.

      Obtaining a Professional Home Inspection is the single most important thing a buyer can do for their protection. I urge all of my prospective southern NH buyers to seek professional opinions regarding property condition and to have a professional home inspection completed.

      A professional home inspection report will provide the buyer with detailed information about the home's physical condition, its systems and fixtures and usually note any potential future problems. This is your chance to verify information provided to you by the seller in the "Seller's Representation of Condition." The buyer should carefully review an inspector's proposal to determine the scope of the inspection. Some home inspectors limit the systems or components they will inspect. We do also recommend that you interview home inspection companies to make sure that they are experienced, a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors and have errors and omissions insurance.

      Buyers should not rely upon reports done for others (pervious buyers and/ or sellers), because the report may not be accurate and buyers may have no recourse against an inspector they have not retained. Standard Purchase and Sales Agreements in New Hampshire allow for a home inspection to be completed in a certain time frame. Additional information about inspections may be found at the American Society of Home Inspectors website http://www.ashi.org/ .

      As with any other expert, check the candidate's reputation online. The Better Business Bureau website, Angie's List, Yelp, and all the other websites that post continuing reviews of professional service providers can supply good feedback. But again, be thorough: watch out for 'paid' ratings; check more than one source; and if a complaint is registered, be sure to bring it up when interviewing an otherwise-qualified candidate.

      Home inspectors who are strongly tied to the southern NH business community, or who are involved in national-level home inspector organizations, have their reputations on the line with every inspection. These inspectors may provide higher quality service than others, and although choosing a leading Southern NH home inspector may wind up costing a few dollars more, when you're about to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a home, paying a bit extra is usually money well spent.

      Whenever my clients ask for advice in choosing a home inspector in Windham NH, I supply a choice of several, along with what I have heard from other clients who have used them recently. It's part of the service I'm pleased to offer--and another good reason to give me a call!

      When is the Best Day to Enter Your Home in the Southern NH MLS Listings?

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      The Goal is to enter your Home Listing in the Southern NH MLS on a Weekday.

      It is a good bet that the first place the public will spot your house for sale will be the Southern NH MLS listings. If 90% of those who actually do buy a home go to the web during their search (researchers at the National Association of Realtors® say so), they will either go directly to the Windham NH MLS home listings or find them through a Realtor’s site.

      If you think like an advertising director, you might wonder when, exactly, the best time would be for your new listing’s premier? Is it in the dead of winter? Springtime? Summer? And is there a perfect day of the month, or (come to think of it) day of the week?

      The NAR® has weighed in with some concrete answers. Well, actually, not really answers per se—more like information to help satisfy our curiosity. It turns out there really is no single best time for southern NH MLS listings to debut, for a couple of reasons; nonetheless, in case you’re curious (I was) about the findings, here they are:

      The most popular home listing debut last year was Thursday, May 1, 2014. Second, April Fools’ Day. April and May were sprinkled liberally through the Top 25; but June, and March were all up there, too. But although the 20th was one of the top days of the month for listings launches (as well as the 24th through 30th), the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ranked often enough to tilt the overall results toward early in the month.

      As for the most favored day of the week, there really wasn’t a clear winne­­r—though there were definitely a couple of losers. Saturday and Sunday were all but ignored as days anyone first listed their homes. The reason is quite simple. As a Windham NH Realtor I want to make sure a new listing coming onto the market is seen by as many interested people as possible. My prime target market is to other Realtors, who may have buyers they are working with, searching for the type of Windham NH property like yours that I am listing that day. Most Realtors and many Buyers get a “hot sheet” of new listings delivered to them daily in their e-mail. New listing buzz is important and I want my new listings to premier on a weekday when other Realtors are likely to be in the office or working on real estate matters. On weekends, many Realtors and Buyers are busy with personal matters and may not notice a new listing coming on the market. So always launch on a weekday, the earlier in the day the better.  

      Closings—the days that home sales are signed and sealed—­­­had the same unpopular pair of days: weekend closings were predictably rare, as were Federal holidays. Two strange exceptions did pop up last year: Sunday, November 30, and Sunday, August 31. That has to be because of the natural inclination for people to pick the end of a month when they need to come up with a deadline. Often enough, we have to scramble to meet any deadline…if it happens to fall on a Sunday, too bad!

      But although we have all this information about what the most common days to inaugurate a listing or finalize a home’s sale, that ­­really doesn’t answer what’s the best time to do either. After all, just because more people pick similar dates, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily advantageous. You might even argue that the best day to begin listings in Windham and southern NH would be the least popular one, since your listing would be more likely to stand out when it’s the newest. Lonely, but brave!

      There is one good answer to when is the best time to list your home: it’s whenever you’re ready. There are plenty of prospective buyers at all times—and as has been well-documented, a lot of them start looking in the dead of winter, when outdoors activities are at a minimum. As for when is the best time to give me a call? Anytime!