Friday, May 26, 2006

Can I Take It With Me??

Fixtures - do they stay or go? Did you know that when you sell your home, anything that is attached to the house itself must stay with the property. That means...anything that is attached, screwed in, taped down, glued to or some way wired into the house, then it stays with the property.

Now I know this gets a little technical, but when a seller goes to move out of a property that you are buying, wouldn't you expect that the curtain rods, light fixtures, mirrors and kitchen cabinets would be there when you went to move in?? Of course you would! However, if you moved in and the kitchen cabinets weren't there, then it would need to refer to the listing and sales contracts. If the kitchen cabinets, for example, were not "reserved" in the contracts, then they must stay with the home since they are attached (screwed into) the walls of the home. An example of something "reserved" in a contract would be something like curtains and curtain rods. As the seller, you must specify in the contract that these items will be reserved if you want to keep them, otherwise they must stay with the home. However, if the curtain rod brackets are screwed into the walls, but the rod itself that is holding up the curtains is only "laying" in the curtain rod brackets, then the Seller does not have to leave the actual curtain rod and curtains that are not screwed into the wall, only the brackets. My advice to you (if you are doing this) is to remember to reserve the curtain rod brackets too, otherwise you may have a problem hanging your beloved curtains in your new house! :)

In the video podcast episode I did on this, I mentioned a story about my sister who moved into a house and the bathroom mirrors were gone! Well, technically the seller could take the mirrors because the mirrors themselves were only "hung" on the screws that were bolted into the walls. So the sellers were only responsible for leaving the screws & bolts, not the mirrors. If you want to check out the podcast episode, you can check it out by clicking on the picture above. Or you can subscribe to my podcast series "(417) Dwellings!" in iTunes.

I want to know your stories of moving in and out and leaving things behind or taking them with you. Of course, if you have any questions or want further clarification, I can do that for you too. But I can't help if you don't ask, so comment here and I'll help you out in anyway I can.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Pools, good thing or not?

This video podcast, in my opinion, wasn't filmed very well. (No offense to my video producer!). It was filmed at a pool that was not full yet and it really needed to be cleaned up. But it got my point across about pools. I'm curious to know what you think, did you watch the video?

The biggest piece of advice I can give about pools to anyone who is considering selling your home is this: Don't put in a pool just to get your home sold faster. Yes, 'tis the season for pools and everyone loves the idea of a pool, but no buyers wants to pay you the same amount of money that you put into installing the pool. Now, if you're going to stay in the home for awhile and you want a pool, then great! Put in the pool and invite me over for a summer time pool party! :) If you and your family will enjoy the pool, then put one in. I don't want to discourage you from having a pool, I only want you to be prepared for the fact that you probably won't get out of it what you put into it. Therefore, it is not a smart idea for you to put the money into a pool if you plan on turning around and selling your house because most buyers won't pay you that much more for your house.

Tell me what you think...Imagine that there are 2 identical houses for sale next door to each has a pool and one doesn't have a pool. The one house that has a pool is priced $20,000 more than the one that doesn't have the pool. The only difference in these two houses for sale is a pool. Keep in mind, you're living in Springfield, Missouri so you can only use the pool for approximately 4-5 months out of the year. Now which house would you buy, the one with the sparkling pool or the one that has no pool and is $20,000 cheaper? Now I wanna know your opinion...comment on this post.

Until next time...

P.S. Yeah Doc, that's your pool in the picture!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hot Tubs - should they stay or should they go?

Should hot tubs stay or go with your property??

OK, maybe I should be embarrased, but this is me in a Hot Tub and I love it! This entire podcast was taped from the hot tub! :) Click on the picture to see the video.

I tell my clients, that if you have a hot tub and you are selling your house you should not leave it with the property...take it with you. There are several reasons why you should take it with you when you sell your home. One reason is: hey, you enjoyed it while you were living in your old home, you'll enjoy it in your new home! If you don't have a place for it in your new home, then look at it this way: you'll get more for it by selling it in the paper or to a friend than you would if you included it in the sale of your home. Secondly, if the buyers of your new home really want the hot tub, then they will write it up in the contract and request that it stays with the home. You can either sell it with your home, or sell it outside of the contract, afterall it is considered personal property not real property. However, keep in mind that most buyers will look at the hot tub and think that it will be more of a maintenance hassle than an exceptional quality of the home that they are thinking of purchasing. Although a lot of people love the idea of a hot tub, it is a lot of work and most buyers realize that and just don't want to mess with it.

Of course, this is just my opinion on whether or not to leave the hot tub in the home you are selling. What do you think? If you were buying a home, would you rather buy it with the hot tub or without? Leave your comments and we'll discuss this.

Until next time...

Monday, May 22, 2006

2nd Homes or Lake Homes

Purchasing 2nd homes or lake homes is easy when you have a good Realtor to help you out.

I am in the process of helping a client purchase a lake home on Tablerock Lake in Lampe, MO. It is an awesome home with a spectacular view, so we went ahead and video taped our podcast show right on the deck.

Wanna watch the podcast? Click on the picture and wait a few moments for it to load. Also, you should consider subscribing to my podcast series "(417) Dwellings!" in iTunes or any other podcasts news reader you may subscribe to. I am always talking about selling or buying houses or investing in rental properties or managing rental properties. Yeah, you could say I've got my hands full, but I love my job! :)

There is so much to consider when purchasing a 2nd home. What is your biggest concern about dealing with a 2nd home? Let's discuss this.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What is in an ad?

It is time to sell the ol' homestead and try to attract as many buyers as one can. If you hired a real estate agent, they will take care of the advertising, however, make sure you check their work. Mistakes do happen, and it is imperative that you look at every ad that is placed. Always ask for copies to be sent to you.

When you purchased the property, what attracted you most to the home? Was it the school district? The basement, location, vaulted ceilings, lot size? Try to find the 3 best attributes to your home and feature those. Buyers want a positive and fun buying experience especially if this is their first home. Home buying is a great experience, not to mention an expensive one. Therefore, always avoid negative advertising.

DIVORCE FORCES SALE. ILLNESS FORCES SALE. Statements like these just scream, "I am desperate" which will result is low, low offers. This only attracts investors because it also gives buyers the impression that the home may be distressed. You will just be disappointed in the results and aggravation that will surely ensue.

To be successful, one must think like a buyer, not a seller. Trying to save money by having everything abbreviated is also a mistake. This is probably the biggest asset you own and the whole thought of saving $2 is ridiculous. If you are going to sell the home you must invest a little money to attract buyers. Besides, all those abbreviations mean nothing to most buyers as they do not know what they mean or understand them. And by the way, I have seen ads for homes where sellers forgot to put their phone number! How do they ever expect to sell when no one even knows how to contact them?!?

In a nutshell:

Avoid negative advertising.

Avoid abbreviations.

List the 3 best features.

List the sales price.

List the address.

Photo is always a good idea.

Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish.

If you would like assistance in writing your ad, we will help, no charge. Comment on this post and let us know and we would be more than happy to assist in creating an ad that works!

Paul Dizmang

P.S. This was a good video podcast episode. Click on the picture and give it a few moments to load to see the video.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What do you mean "it broke"?

Let's face it, a home consists of thousands upon thousands of parts and pieces and any of of those could fail at any time. So is it worth the money to purchase a home warranty?

Buyers often contemplate if a home warranty is a good move or just a sales pitch. I really do understand. I hate everytime I go to buy something at the store and I am asked if I want a warranty with this or that. I recently rented a video for $1 and they then asked me if I wanted a warranty on it for .25 more. You have got to be kidding me! But with a home it is something you might consider.

Home warranties come in different packages and sizes. Make sure you read the policy carefully to understand what it does and does not cover, but for the most part they cover all of the mechanical items in the home. Most do not cover roof or structure, but for an additional fee, they can cover a well and possibly septic system. For about $400 to $500 it really is a good value.

Remember, this is coming from a guy who hates extended warranties. But facts are facts, and most home warranty companies have over 55% of the homes they insure have a claim in the first year. Odds are, you will use it. Unlike other household items in which less than 10% result in claims. For the buyer, it provides peace of mind for that critical 1st year of home ownership, and for the seller, well, it gives the buyer peace of mind which makes them more comfortable with your home.

Check out my video podcast on this subject. You can get the video by clicking on the picture above, remember to be patient, it takes a few moments to load. Or you can easily subscribe to my video podcast series in iTunes.

Happy Selling!
Paul Dizmang

Friday, May 12, 2006

Feeling Blue??

I Like Blue.

I had a seller once tell me that his home was worth more than he paid for it 6 months prior because he had painted the inside, well, blue. Now, not to be misunderstood, I like blue. It reminds me of the ocean in Hawaii, warm and inviting. Beautiful. Truly paradise. But let’s face it, is your home really worth more because of a little blue latex paint?

My mom has always said cleanliness is next to godliness, or something like that. Growing up I never really understood that since I was the guy whose room was always a mess. Why pick something up off the floor now when I am going to use it tomorrow anyway. Pretty typical thinking for a 16 year old. Ok, I admit it, I haven’t changed that much if you ask my wife, but she has worked hard to train me. I digress.

The point is, paint covers a multitude of sins. It’s cheap, relative easy to do if you are careful, and wow what a difference it can make. If you are selling your home, stick with flat paint because it covers well and hides imperfections is the walls much better than a semi-gloss. About $10 a gallon is all you need. The big thing with paint is that it makes everything look fresh and clean. Even people that live in dirty homes want one that is clean when they move in. As one client once told me, I want to bring my own dirt in, not live with someone else’s.

But blue? This client was convinced that blue paint would sell his home for more money than any other color. He loved blue, and therefore, everyone would love blue. Well it may sound silly as I write this, but he was serious. The fact is...painting a home can be one of the best things you can do in selling your home, but you might want to consider a more neutral color. Although the blue home did sell, it took a little longer because either the buyers loved it or hated it. Most buyers would like to think that they can see past things like this, but they can’t. Go neutral or off white no matter how boring you think it might be. Accent your home with color, blue flowers if you like. Most all buyers are fine with off white. They can add color as they see fit. And whatever you do, keep the paint off of the trim and ceiling, otherwise it will look like you did it yourself. Take your time and do it right.

Your blue loving Realtor,
Paul Dizmang

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Do Agents really know value?

Within 60 seconds of walking into a home, I know about what the home is worth. After seeing thousands upon thousands of homes in our market, you just know. Condition, square footage, neighborhood, economic obsolence, and floor plan all contribute to the real value of a home. As an experienced agent, you just know. I always do a tremendous amount of data research in advance to make sure the logic is sound, but I just know.

For some reason in our DNA, real estate agents just "don't know" when it comes to the home they are buying and or selling. Odd really, when this is all I do is focus on homes.

Six months ago I went into a home that was owned by the listing agent and as soon as I was in the entry I thought "this agent has no idea what is happening in our market." Actually, the agent is a good agent, but way, way off on value in listing their own home! I went in the home again yesterday (yes, it has been on the market for over 6 months now!) to take another look at the home since it has now been reduced by $50,000, and well, in my opinion, it is still listed too high. So why does this agent/owner not realize this?

The answer is pretty easy. He is way too close to the situation. He wants all of the money and sweat equity that has been put into the home plus profit. It just doesn't always work like that. But even more importantly, he is not acting like an agent, rather like a typical seller. It is very difficult for an agent to approach a seller when we know they want way more for a home that the market will bear, but we must be forthright in our thinking or we are not being the professional that we are hired to be. An agent can be that third party that can look at your home objectively and give a straightforward answer.

The point here is that we all view our home as more valuable that it probably is. Rarely do I go on a listing appointment where the seller thinks his or her home is worth less than real market value. We all need another opinion other than our own to get it right, just make sure that the opinion is based on factual data not just on "gut opinion". If in doubt, get several opinions in writing and compare the data. Be open to the data. If estimates are within 5% of each other, you have probably found your value range.

We will talk more about pricing in the next several blogs.

Paul Dizmang

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Is your home a secret home? Often, and I mean often, sellers will ask that I not put a sign in their yard because they don't want the neighbors to know they are moving. I have never understood the logic in this thinking. The fact is, neighbors can be your very best salespeople.

Everyone likes to talk about real estate. No matter where I go, who I talk to, everyone loves to talk shop. It is our home, our largest asset, our domicile. We love our home because it is who we are. So why would a seller not want all their neighbors who love their home and neighborhood, working for them to sell their home? Friends, relatives, and neighbors go to work, church, and social activities and talk about the home down the street that just came on the market. This can be the most valuable marketing one can have and it works beautifully.

Therefore, everyone in the neighborhood needs to know you are selling. Post not only a sign, but make up a flyer and make sure everyone gets one with all the detail information. Always use color flyers and have them printed on a laser printer at the very least. Ink jet printers can do a nice job, but the print will fade and run if even a hint of moisture gets on it. Make sure it has all of the most important features with several photos.

You can see my video podcast on this subject by clicking on the picture above. Just remember to be patient, it may take a few moments to load.

So get out there and let the world know your home is for sale. If you want to really sell it, never keep it a secret.

Paul Dizmang

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Don't Throw Caution to the Wind!

You lock your car doors everytime you park and go in somewhere, right? OK, well maybe my good friend Ty doesn't...but if you know Ty or if you ever meet him, you'll see that's just the way he is. :)

My point in locking your car is that I'm sure you take safety precautions in protecting your car, stereo and any valuables that may be inside it, am I right? Well, my question to you is, why wouldn't you take the same safety measures when selling your home? My video podcast episode talks about the big safety precautions you must take when you have your home listed on the market. This considers whether or not your home is listed with a Realtor or not. I have been listing and selling houses for over 19 years and I am amazed at how many sellers don't take safety measures in the simple things. I have seen many wallets, billfolds, money clips, fine jewelry, iPods, credit card statements, etc. just left out in view during a home showing. It would take a dishonest person less than a second to swipe these valuable items or steal your identity. They could even do it when the Realtor turned his/her back for just a second. Why take that risk?? Just put your stuff away and don't leave it out.

Now if you have listed your property with a Realtor and another Realtor is showing your property, this isn't as much of a concern because Realtors are required to carefully "screen" buyers looking at a property to verify that their reasons are legit for wanting to take a look at a home that is on the market. However, when you list your home for sale on your own, I always encourage sellers to carefully "screen" potential buyers that want to look at their home. Be nosy! Ask them their names, phone numbers and what kind of car they will be driving. It is so important that you have an idea of who you are letting inside your home. Don't let them photograph your property. Who knows what exactly they are taking pictures of inside your house. This doesn't mean that you should not be willing to let people have pictures of a home that they are thinking of buying. What I mean is, keep control of the situation. You need to offer the pictures or videos of the home. Put away your valuables and then video tape the features (not the personal contents) of your home and offer them to potential buyers.

I don't say all of this to scare anyone. I just really want to encourage all sellers to use common sense and keep in mind the safety issues, afterall it is still your home.

You can see the podcast movie by clicking on the picture above. Remember, it will take a few moments to load so please be patient. If you want to be a regular subscriber to my podcast series, then go to iTunes and subscribe to "(417) Dwellings" in the podcast section.

Post your comments and let me know what other kinds of tips you want for taking safety measures in listing your home for sale. I once again have only scratched the surface here.

Until next time...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Lack of Planning

OK, I know it's been a little while since I have blogged, but I am back now. I have just started my video podcast series on "10 Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make When Selling Their Home".

If you haven't subscribed to my video podcast, here is the feed URL:
Copy & paste the link into your news reader (one that plays videos) or into iTunes. Please contact me if you need further explanation on how to do this. It really is easy, it just sounds hard if you're not into this whole blogging/podcasting thing. :)

Anyway, I find so many times that home Sellers make many big mistakes when selling their home. And that is whether or not they do it with a Realtor or on their own. My first episode in the series is about not doing enough planning & researching. Kind of like I did here, in not planning enough time to blog daily to keep you informed of things happening in the real estate world!

First, Sellers need to consider why they are selling their home or what their motivation in selling their home is. Are you selling your home to get a bigger one? Are you selling because you don't like the neighborhood? Has your job moved you out of the area? Are you selling because it's time for a change? Or do you just want to see how much money you can make when you sell your home? All of these questions are good to ask yourself because it will determine your motivation in selling your home and determine the time and energy you want to put into this big project.

Sellers often don't plan what they are going to do if they get an immediate sale on their home. Most often they don't know where they are going to go whether it be staying at a relative's home or renting another home or just go ahead and purchase a different one. You must plan for the unexpected and be prepared for it.

What are your fears/uncertainties you may have regarding selling your home? Let me help you work thru it and give you some help in the planning and research process of selling your home. Comment on this post and we'll discuss it. I have only scratched the surface here. :)

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Clean to Higher Profits, part 3

I have so much junk. Junk everywhere. I think I have my own JunkMart. Where did all that stuff come from? But more importantly, how am I going to move all this stuff?
You are busting at the seams and need a bigger home for all that stuff.

Problem: How is your home going to look to buyers with all that stuff crammed in it? I know it is everywhere but it has to go and go now, not when you move. If you wait to sell first and then deal with it later, the buyers will see your home differently because if it is too small for you, it is probably too small for them too.

Closets that are stuffed so full that the door won’t close, or when one opens the door everything falls onto the floor is a real problem. You are moving, so get rid of it now. Closets must be thinned so that you can put your hand in between the hangers. If you have to have a crowbar to separate one shirt from another, it is way too tight. The closet floor should be neat and tidy, not 3 feet tall full of stuff.

You home should have a natural traffic flow. If someone has to climb over a recliner to get into the middle of the room or squeeze past a table, the furniture needs to be rearranged or removed. All rooms should be easily accessible, so that the buyer can get the full feel of how the room will be with their furniture.

It is ok to take all this stuff, box it up and neatly stack it in a corner of the garage or basement. Clothing is best stored in plastic clear boxes so that it is well protected.
It is always a good idea to label every box with masking tape so you know where it is to go when you move it into your new home. The garage is a great place to store all that extra stuff, but do it neatly. The garage is a big deal to a lot of men, so if it is not neatly done the garage will appear smaller than it really is. Furniture can also be stored here, but make it as tight as you can.

Paul Dizmang

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Clean to Higher Profits, Part 2

As buyer enters your home for the first time, they have an impression of your home within the very first 10 seconds. They can tell if it has been well taken care of or lived in hard. This will ultimately determine the price they are willing to pay for the home. It is the first thought of value they will have and it will stick with them throughout. Therefore, it is critical to have your home ready.

I love chocolate chip cookies. It reminds me of my childhood growing up, a warm comfortable feeling. Sweet, warm, and inviting. I hate the smell of pet urine. I would just assume walk back to the car and go on. So will most buyers.

Odor in a home can be a huge problem. If there is an odor, most homeowners have lived with it for so long they don't even notice it. That musty basement, smoke, incense, and a whole host of smells could come from your home. The big problem is that some smells may not be offensive to you, but are to your buyers. Yes, you have to care if you want top dollar for your home.

Masking the smell with scented candles is a huge mistake. Huge. The candle scent will actually make the smell worse. Just what we all want to smell, lavender cat pee. The odor has to be removed and it can be done. Funny thing is, smokers hate homes that smell like smoke. I never really understood that, but I find that is so true with every smoker we work with.

Fresh food smells are truly the best like fresh baked bread or cookies in the oven. It is not that hard to obtain either. Take a store bought loaf of bread and put it in the over at 250 degrees for a few minutes and you have your fresh baked bread smell. And you didn't even have to get out the rolling pin.

Paul Dizmang

Monday, May 01, 2006

Clean to Higher Profits!

We all know that having your home for sale on the market is not an easy task. So if you have decided to make a move, have the home ready for that first buyer so that they can’t wait to buy it. We are going to look at the 5 areas that you must do to ensure the highest price possible.

Having your home spotless, will result in a faster sale, a higher price, and quite frankly fewer people coming into your private domain. Let’s look at what areas you should focus on.

The number #1 biggest problem in most homes is clutter. You live with it and hardly know it. We are so use to seeing all those pictures on the refrigerator that one does not realize how distracting it is to a buyer. Clutter must go. The rule is, if it is a household item and you have not used it in 3 days it must go. Box it up, you are moving anyway, right? Clean lines are the objective. Remove all those knick knacks on the coffee table, pick the clothes off the floor, remove it! If in doubt, box it. Get apple boxes from your local grocery store, they work best.

Tomorrow we will look at #2.

Paul Dizmang