How to Start an Internet Business with Drop Shipping

How to Start an Internet Business with Drop Shipping

Starting an internet retail business can be exciting for any entrepreneurial, but can also be risky. Beginning a business entails finding marketable products that are in demand by consumers. Once you find those products through a wholesale distributor, you can order them in bulk to save money, and sell them at a retail mark up to produce a profit.

However, there are many costs that can cut into the estimated profit of a business. The business must have manpower to keep it growing, so you must consider what your time and your employee’s time is worth. Besides employees, you have additional fees such as storing the products and shipping them to customers. Other issues such as an excess supply of a product can reduce profits. Overall, a business can require a substantial amount of money to initiate and many overhead costs that are sometimes hard to predict and budget for.

One solution to product sourcing is using a dropping shipping business. A drop shipper can save your business initiation costs and other continuing costs. Drop shipping is the shipping of merchandise from a wholesale distributor directly to a retailer’s customer. In other words, your business can ship to your customers straight from the suppliers’ warehouses. This process reduces the risk of starting a business because you do not need to buy any products until they are sold. You can list several products and pay for only those that sell. Thus, your business is not left with an excess supply of a product. Suppliers take care of the warehousing, packaging, and shipping of products, which can save a significant amount of money and time for you as the retailer.

Drop shipping is simple to use as well. First, you select products to sell from the wholesaler’s product catalog. Drop shippers usually have relationships with several wholesalers which enables you to find the lowest price for your products. Next, those products are listed on the web site of your business. As soon as the product sells, you collect the money from the customer. Then you can order the product through the drop shipper. You gain a profit from the difference between your listed retail price and the wholesale cost of the drop shipper. After ordering the product, it is shipped directly to the customer. This gives you the ability to create the prices for the products after viewing the wholesale price, thus managing your own profit.

Consider using drop shipping for your internet business to save you time and money. Drop shipping services can cut costs, save time, and reduce the risks of online businesses, allowing you more time and money to market your products and sell more. This may be the new solution to the risks of starting and expanding an internet retail business.

Pro tip from the folks at Digi Arch. If you want to have your orders displayed at all time and at the forefront of your memory, grab an inexpensive computer, connect it to a projector, and stick the orders up on the wall. You can grab the best LED projector under 300 dollars from them.

 

Your Power Chef Next Door

Your Power Chef Next Door

Antonio Saladino is beind the counter paring meltingly tender Kobe beef for one customer and calling out to another just-arrived, “Mrs. Lee, we have those oysters you ordered, shucked and ready.” No charge for the shucking, of course. This is Antonio at his best: preparing outstanding food for the people he counts as customers, neighbors and friends at Antonio’s Gourmet Market sited in spectacular LaFayette Village.

Trained by Lagasse  amp; Prudhomme

Raised in New Orleans, Antonio trained under Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme. He honed his skills at The Double Musky and The Chesterfield cooking for Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Prince Ranier of Monaco and other luminaries. But, Antonio doesn’t want to talk about that. “If people are interested in that, that’s fine. But you won’t find any egos here. We’re all about great food,” says Antonio, sparking, instead, to the subject of the take-out dinner he’s creating for a group of women who want to share a gourmet evening without busting the calorie bank. He’s planned a superb braised southwest seafood sausage of fresh halibut, hog snapper and pumpkin swordfish drizzled with a sauce fume and a microgreen salad in a Modena Balsamic aged twenty years. The first course is, if anything, surpassed by the second course of baby tender spring chicken over shoe string vegetables and lemon-caper buerre blanc sauce paired with a Far Niente chardonnay. It’s all finished with a Chambord poached pear under cr¨me fraiche with fresh Italian figs.

Wander the Aisles

The Market stocks the world’s best: home made, Italian sausages, cheeses that range from well-known imported Reggianos to the less familiar French Explorateur Triple Cream Cow’s Milk. Foodies will happily lose themselves for hours here. And, the dishes Antonio and his team create reflect the worldly-yet-communal feel of LaFayette Village.

Dine In or Take Out

Prepared Foods: Daily menus of complex dishes.

Fresh Produce: Many from just up the road.

Specialty Pizzas: Like white pizza — whole wheat dough brushed with black truffle oil, topped with roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, fresh spinach, fresh mozzarella and Reggiano Parmigiana.

Butchery: Real behind-the-meat butcher counter.

Soup Bar: Five fresh-made daily.

Wine Shop: Expert pairings.

Pastry Shop, Seafood Counter, and even a Cooking School to ensure you can confidently prepare anything on the shelves.

Gourmet meals in the heart of your neighborhood — Antonio’s embodies the idea that good food forges strong connections.

Advantages of Multiple Real Estate Appraisals

real estate appraisal

Face it, while the majority of us like to pretend we know something about everything, it is difficult to stay abreast of personal finance let alone industries. So it is with real estate. Having been in the insurance industry for years and years I can assure you that things change…dramatically. Certain laws that were in place when I started were gone when I left. It is not surprising a society that tends to accept a single opinion with regard to their health will also do so with regard to a piece of property. So what are some reasons to get multiple appraisals on property?

First, you can compare the appraisals. In fact I would get three of them to have a “tie-breaker” and a good average. This gets one back “in the loop” so to speak, “up to speed”.

 

If you are selling a property it gives you a floor that you don’t want to drop below. For example, if the house is worth $85,000 by appraisal, then it may make sense to put it on the market at $90,000 but you also know just how low you can go with respect to negotiations.

 

Conversely, if you’re buying property, you know what the selling price with respect to worth will be and avoid spending too much.

 

Today there is a trend for senior citizens to essentially liquidate their own estate by what is called a reverse mortgage. This involves getting a chunk of money for your home to increase and extend income. Since this figure is based on property value and, since the amount is just a portion of that, it is imperative you have a proper value.

 

It goes without saying you should have the property insured both with homeowners and life insurance. It is an asset most of is cannot afford to lose.

 

When looking at property you own, it is important to know what the value is as far as estate impact should you die. It is important to know if, due to inflation the value has been put over a certain limit that might increase taxes to your estate.

 

Most cities charge property taxes. Not all cities make the right assessments. In order to challenge their position, it is imperative that you have your own information.

 

Sometimes it makes sense to use your property as collateral. You may or may not be able to get the amount you want, but it is imperative to monitor your own capability to repay and you do not want to put up more collateral than what you have borrowed.

 

You may decide to “gift” property to an heir getting the property out of your estate and getting value to a relative.

 

Finally, you may decide to invest stocks or bonds with some of the value of your property. It is important to know how much you have.

 

In addition to all of the good solid financial reasons for getting an appraisal, there is the side benefit of just feeling like you have accomplished something.

Short Sales in the Real Estate Market: Are They Worth It?

sales in real estate

With the real estate market in near shambles, it is reported that one in about 145 homes are in foreclosure. There is a step before foreclosure termed a “short sale”. If you are a buyer looking to get a good deal on a house this may be an option for you.

What is a short sale?

 

In basic terms a short sale is a pre-foreclosure. It means that the owner of the home cannot pay their mortgage any longer but typically is up to date on payments, or has just fallen behind. A short sale is an agreement the bank (who holds the mortgage) makes with the homeowner to sell the house for less than the homeowner owes on it, with the opportunity to pay the bank back a percentage of their loss. Someone is coming up “short”, thus the term.

 

Pros:

 

Since the bank and the homeowner want sell, a buyer can typically pay thousands less than they would in a traditional sale. This is the biggest pro for someone looking to potentially save thousands of dollars.

 

Cons:

 

There are many negatives involved in a short sale for the buyer. Firstly, the term “short” makes it seem as though the deal will go through quickly. This is not the case. Short sales can take months to close, because there is third party approval from the bank required and a lot of back and forth. Also, there are many addendums to the contract in a short sale. The biggest and most troublesome is that in a short sale, the bank will write the contract to state that they can still accept offers even after they accept yours. This means, you can be packing up your things getting excited to close on your new home and the bank can call a day before closing telling you the deal is off. Typically there is no home warranty and the home is sold in “as in” condition.

 

Things to remember:

 

If you do choose to consider short sale properties in your home search, there are a few things to consider. Ask you real estate agent to amend the contract to state that the bank cannot accept other offers after yours is accepted.

 

Be prepared for a counter offer because the bank will not want to let the house go at a low price, so bid low but not too long to be rejected completely.

Also, be prepared for a lengthy process. A short sale can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks for an offer to even be accepted, and this is before closing and underwriting.

 

Short sales have many negatives, but if you are a patient person who wants to save several thousands of dollars on your new home it may be worth a try. Tread carefully though, and if you can afford it, a real estate attorney can be your best friend. Happy house hunting!

How to Inspect Your Own Real Estate Property

Inspect property

Inspecting your own real estate is not a hard thing to do, but be aware that professional inspectors will often catch more than you will. However, a basic inspection of a property is something that any owner can do. If your property is an improved property (a property that has a building on it, rather than raw land) then you would start your inspection outside. Look around the base of the building for normal wear and tear. While you are looking at that, search for signs of insect infestation. This may take the form of termites, carpenter ants, beetles, and any number of other insect species. The best way to look for termites and carpenter ants is the sign of rotting wood. That wood may not be rotten after all, but a feast for a termite or carpenter ant colony. If you cannot see any insects and there are small holes in the wood that looks rotted, then chances are you have an infestation. If the wood looks rotten but without holes, it may be in need of a simple replacement. Often, a rotted piece will have a moist feel and a discoloration to it where an infested piece will have a dry feel with a grayish color, or no discoloration at all.

While you are outside, grab a pair of binoculars and take a look at your roof. Using binoculars will eliminate the need to walk on your roof and increases your safety. If you see an irregularity in the roof, such as roof tile that is not aligned with the others, or a bump in the roofline, then call some roofers for an estimate of what the problem is and their prices. Never call just one but at least three, and make sure they offer free estimates. Some roofers will charge for an estimate.

 

Make sure that all exterior plumbing is not leaking and that your soffit is intact. The soffit is that part of your roof that hangs over your walls. Pieces of the soffit that are missing or damaged will be an invitation for infestation by insects or rodents into your attic.

 

Moving inside, use a flashlight to take a good look at your window frames as they intersect with your walls. Look for signs of water damage or rotted wood. Also, check the drywall with your fingers to make sure it is dry. Wet drywall is not only a contradiction in words, but useless as drywall turns into putty when wet.

 

As you checked your plumbing outside, check it inside. Use your hand to check the pipes under the sinks to see if they are dry. Check your shower and bath fixtures to see if they are working properly.

 

As an addition, check your electrical outlets to see if they are in working order. You can purchase an electrical testing unit at a hardware store for about ten dollars, and it is perfectly safe to check those outlets. As always, use caution when check electrical plugs, and call a qualified electrician to fix anything that seems out of the ordinary.

 

Other items that you should routinely check are large kitchen appliances, exterior door locks, garage doors (if applicable) and window locks.

 

Doing a routine check of these items can save you money by catching a minor problem before it becomes a major problem.

How You Can Evaluate Lowball Real Estate Offers

Evaluate Offers

Might I begin with, an offer is an offer! I would not look my nose down at any offer. I have worked through enough offers in my life to value the importance of each and every one of them. Keep in mind how important it is to actually sell the property that you have for sale. There are two types of lowball offers. Let’s explore the first one, the “are you kidding me” offer. Right from the start I will tell you that there are people in this world with the nerve to place a $100k offer on a house that is listed for $300k. That said, should this happen to you simply decline their offer but always give them something back. For instance in our example, they offer their $100k and your counter offer at $299k. This sends a clear signal to the potential buyer that you are not stupid and that there is no house here to be stolen away. Many times with gaps this large, that buyer will just go away and that’s what they need to do. Please do yourself a favor and do not allow this type of lowball offer discourage you from continuing to sell your property.

The second type of lowball offer is just a game of ball! When I receive an offer, I appreciate its value even if it is lower than I really wanted it to be. Do you know why? Because the buyer is, in a sense, playing ball with you. And one participant on the playing field is better than none.

 

First, I would look at the amount of this offer. Then, I would check for their proposed date to close the deal, contingencies like mortgage, pest inspection and home inspections, too. Lastly, I would review the offer for any extras they are asking me for, like that old light fixture that belonged to your grandfather.

 

Many times buyers offer low just to see what they can get, it’s just the game. What typically ends up happening is that you meet in the middle. An example of this would be a $300k home and they offer at $280k. Each party ends up moving toward each other at a few thousand dollars at a time until they meet in the middle. With this example, both parties would settle and sign at $290k.

 

Lastly, it is my opinion that all offers should always be handled professionally and with the hope that they will result in the sale of your property.

10 Creative Tips for a Real Estate Flyer

Real Estate flyer

Whether you are renting or selling your home, an attractive, informational real estate flyer will save you time and money. They are easy to make and should provide all the information necessary for a perspective renter or buyer. Sometimes it is hard for the seller to know what to include in a flyer, but if you hit the main selling points of the home, you cannot go wrong.

Features and Facts

 

The real estate flyer should include a features section that describes the special features a perspective buyer or renter would be interested in, such as:

 

The amount of acreage the house sits on

 

Number of rooms and specifics such as 3 bedrooms (12′ X 14″), 2 ½ baths

 

Living space (square feet)

 

The average yearly or monthly utility costs

 

Asking price and yearly taxes

 

The foundation of the house (poured or cinder block)

 

Closet space – how many and are they walk-ins

 

Eat-in kitchen and dining room

 

Carpeting or hardwood floors

 

The year the house was built

 

The type of windows, double or triple pane, east to clean

 

The age of the roof and what type of roof (fiberglass shingles)

 

Central heating and air conditioning – age is of both

 

List of appliances that stay with the home

 

City water and sewer

 

Deck or patio

 

Garden area

 

Special Feature

 

Most people design or add-on to their homes to give it a special comfort just for them, but this can also be an added selling point. Before we sold our home, we remodeled the kitchen, adding floor to ceiling pantries. This was a special feature that older homes do not have and was a special feature that helped in selling our home.

 

Hot tub or Jacuzzi

 

Walk-in closets with space saving shelving

 

Industrial strength garbage disposal

 

Security System

 

Vaulted ceilings

 

Fireplaces – type, gas or wood, made with stone or tile

 

Energy efficient furnace

 

Italian tile floors

 

Crystal Chandeliers

 

10 Tips for a Creative Real Estate Flyer

 

  1. Real estate flyers can be located in a specially designed weatherproof box next to your ‘For Rent’ or ‘For Sale’ sign or you can post them in public areas such as grocery stores, shopping malls, or laundry mats.

 

  1. If posting real estate flyers in public places, be sure to add pull-off tabs at the bottom with your name, address, telephone number, and email address.

 

  1. If posting a real estate flyer in public places, add a map the shows where your house is located.

 

  1. Add a color print of the outside of the house, plus one or two rooms from within.

 

  1. Use bold print to define special features.

 

  1. Offset features and facts with outlined columns and rows.

 

  1. Avoid flowery boarders and stick to a more business look on your flyer.

 

  1. I feel including floor plans of the house in a flyer should not be done. It may help sell or rent your home, but it also provides burglars a layout of your home.

 

  1. Include all school names and districts, and child and adult day cares in the area.

 

  1. List ALL appliances include with the house.

 

When creating your real estate flyer, keep it simple and professional looking, list the homes basic features and facts, include the special features that will help sell your home, and include at least one recent photo of the outside of the house.

 

Source: Major Realty

Evaluating Real Estate Offers: Is it a Lowball Deal?

Real Estate offers

Your house has been listed on the market. You listed your house yourself instead of going with a realtor. You did your homework though. Each realtor you interviewed gave you a CMA. A CMA is a comparative market analysis. That means the realtor researched houses in the past six months that was similar to your house and found the price the houses sold for. In this market it is not uncommon for realtors to give you a comparative of what houses are LISTED for. Ask the realtor which they have done on your market analysis. If you want reasonable offers list your house for a reasonable price. As a general rule of thumb it needs to be around what the houses have sold for in your area. I suggest listing the house for at least 5%-15% more than what the other houses sold for because people always lowball and you will have room to work with them. If you owe money on your house this might cause a problem. You have to get what is owed out of your house or talk to the bank about a short sale.

Now that your house is listed you have offers coming in. The first offer you get comes to you only a couple of weeks after listing the house. If you get an offer that quick chances are good your house will sell and it will sell for close to what you are asking. Quick offers that aren’t far fetched mean you have listed your house at an appropriate price and it will sell if you hold out. Remember all offers are negotiable. You have to play their games if you want to get out of your house.

 

An offer for 35% less than what you are asking, you pay closing costs for the buyer and you fix all kinds of things in your home is given to you. What should you do? If you overpriced your house you may be able to get away with taking the offer. Should you take the offer though? The answer is no. This is a lowball offer from someone trying to see what they can get or from someone who can’t really afford your house but likes it. Either way you need to look out for yourself as well. If you want to entertain this offer you may want to counter offer. The best thing to do is find out their situation. Do they have to have you pay for their closing costs? How much can they really afford? A counter offer to this just to start out would be full price and you pay closing costs up to a certain amount. They say no and don’t want to continue negotiations. As I said, this is actually a good thing for you because they probably couldn’t afford your house anyway.

 

Lucky for you other offers come in. You will be able to easily evaluate offers if you list your house. A serious offer is usually full price to 10% less than what you are asking. A lowball and not serious offer is anyone looking for the house to be fixed or improved to their standards and/or 20% less money than what you are asking. Fixed houses and improvements in this market are unrealistic. Most houses are foreclosures with everything missing or beat up so don’t agree to fix anything unless it is a full price offer and the fix won’t cost much.

 

In this market you will get all kinds of offers because it has turned into a buyer’s market. Buyers know they will be getting good deals because there are so many houses in foreclosure so they don’t have to haggle to get what they want. If you don’t have to sell your house you may want to wait a couple years for the foreclosures to go away and the economy to improve.

REALTOR and Real Estate Agents – Know the Differences

Realtor Vs. Real Estate Agents

People often use the terms REALTOR® and real estate agent interchangeably. But, the fact is, a real estate agent is not necessarily a REALTOR®. The word REALTOR® is a trademarked term, yet often journalists prefer to type it: Realtor, as opposed to REALTOR®, refusing to use all caps.

Other writers choose to ignore the distinction between REALTOR® and real estate agent or licensee, and see the word Realtor becoming to real estate agent what Kleenex® is to tissue. While some may claim REALTORS® are oversensitive, and are simply trying to protect their trademark, that is not the entire story. There is a fundamental distinct difference of definition between the word REALTOR® and a real estate licensee.

 

Journalists who participate in this sloppy word swapping are doing a disservice to their readers, and in many ways waving a red flag declaring their own ignorance of the real estate profession.

 

So, what is a REALTOR®? About a century ago many in the real estate industry were viewed as con men and crooks. Reputable real estate professionals banned together and created an association to monitor their industry, and put into effect a standard code of ethics.

 

The National Association of REALTORS® was born. Real estate licensees who join the association, agree to adhere to a higher code of ethics, and are subject to the association’s sanctions and educational requirements. These members can then add the title of REALTOR® to their credentials.

 

It is not only the media or general public who get confused over the definition of REALTOR®, sometimes it is the new real estate licensee. When a member of the general public decides to become a real estate agent, they are familiar with the vocation, yet not necessarily fully informed as to the inner working of their new chosen career, such as the continual educational requirements, provisions for participating in area multiple listing services or distinctions between regional, state or national REALTOR® associations.

 

During real estate school instructors often point out to their students that the fulfillment of courses, and passing state and national tests will make them real estate licensees, not REALTORS®. Some simply don’t get it, at least, not at first.

 

There is also a confusion over the pronunciation of REALTOR®. It is pronounced real-tor, not real-a-tor.

 

Some real estate professionals make the conscious choice to not join the National Association of REALTORS®. This is often true for those specializing in commercial real estate.

 

Belonging to the association brings many benefits to the real estate professional, and to their clients. The association requires its members to take frequent ethics classes, along with other educational opportunities, and the agent is monitored by his or her peers.

Tips for Selling Your House in a Down Market

Down market Selling

As the director of media relations for the Arkansas Realtors Association, I’ve kept track of homes sales in my state in both good times and bad. Like most markets around the nation, we saw an unprecedented boom in sales in Arkansas from 1999 through 2005. At the beginning of 2006, sales started coming in noticeably slower and have continued to decline since.

The rate of declines in sales depends on where you happen to live. We’ve heard of catastrophic declines in markets where sales were outpacing other areas around the nation from 1999 through 2006 — areas such as Dallas and San Diego from which we hear all sorts of grim housing market news. Most smaller markets, however, didn’t shoot up as quickly as larger, urban areas during the boom years and the declines in those areas haven’t been as severe either. That’s certainly been the case in Arkansas, where sales have declined, but home values have remained relatively flat — good news when you’re comparing markets here against those in which homeowners are losing short term value in their houses.

 

But there is one thing common to almost all housing markets right now. Inventories have increased substantially, meaning sellers have found themselves in a position where they must compete with each other for buyers. That’s quite a bit different than how things were just a couple of years ago when buyers were in competition with each other and it was very common to find sellers sitting back and enjoying bidding wars driving up the prices of their homes. That shift has made it essential for sellers to change their strategies in order to find buyers.

 

However, a lot of sellers still behave like its 2005 when listing their homes, thus making some critical mistakes that prevent them from selling their houses within reasonable amounts of time or, in some cases, not at all. The good news is, there are some strategies sellers can employ that can dramatically increase their chances of selling their homes.

 

Pricing is critical

 

Just a couple of years ago, sellers commonly employed a common tactic of finding out what their homes were worth and then listing them for more money. If the fair market value of a home was, say, $180,000, then why not list it at $210,000 then negotiate a lower price is necessary? That tactic worked well in 2005 when inventories of quality homes were considerably lower — when demand outpaced supply — but it doesn’t work as well right now. If a seller puts that $180,000 house on the market, it’s a near certainty that he or she will be competing against a lot of other sellers with similarly priced homes. If a buyer is in the market for one of those homes, why on earth would that person go look at the overpriced one when equivalent homes are on the market for less money? If a seller doesn’t attract any serious buyers, then the strategy of listing high then negotiating downward simply fails.

 

Still, there are a lot of sellers out there who still cling to the notion they can always drop their list prices if their homes don’t sell quickly. Again, such an assumption is a mistake in today’s market. Homes get the most exposure within 30 to 60 days of being listed, so a seller who lists high then reduces the price later on will miss out on a lot of potential buyers. There is a bit of a stigma involved with homes that have been on the market for too long in that sellers ask themselves what’s wrong with a house that has languished without offers for a few months.

 

By the way, how does one go about finding that fair market value? The short answer is to hire a Realtor and let that individual run a comparative market analysis and find that value. Not everyone wants to hire a Realtor to sell a home because they don’t want to have to pay a commission. That’s fair enough, but homeowners still need to realize the importance of finding out the fair market values of their homes. A homeowner not wanting to hire a Realtor to figure out how much a house is worth can possibly figure that out by looking through courthouse records and seeing how much homes in the neighborhood have sold for recently. Also, one can definitely find out the value of a home by hiring a real estate appraiser to make that determination.

 

What do I offer that my competitors don’t?

 

With a lot of homes on the market, it’s very important for sellers to make sure their houses stand out from the pack. That can be achieved in many ways, of course, and the most obvious tactic to use it to simply list the home at a bargain. If a home has a fair market value of $180,000, then listing it for $170,000 will certainly attract buyers.

 

But most homeowners aren’t interested in selling their houses for less than they are worth, and there’s simply no need for such tactics in most markets. Generally, a house will sell if it’s priced well, provided the homeowner is a bit patient. To boost the chances of finding a buyer even more, consider the time-honored draw of curb appeal — if your home looks better from the street than the one for sale next door, guess which one potential buyers are going to look at first. Boosting that curb appeal can be relatively inexpensive. Make sure that lawn is mowed and edged so there’s a crisp, sharp division between the yard and driveways and sidewalks. If you’ve got hedges, trim them. Painting the front door and shutters if they look a bit ragged can boost the appeal of your home, too.

 

Some more aggressive tactics to use involve throwing in a little extra with the home. In this market, sellers have had great success in throwing in a free home warranty with their houses. A home warranty is, simply put, an insurance policy that will replace or repair the major systems in a home if they fail. Buyers like the piece of mind that comes with a home warranty and sellers are attracted by the fairly low price of taking out a one-year warranty — typically less than $400 in this market.

 

Homeowners with pricier properties have found some success in offering very tantalizing items in their listings. While we haven’t seen a lot of homeowners throw in free cars with their houses here in Arkansas, we have seen sellers offer items such as high definition television sets, generous remodeling allowances, privacy fences and other items that buyers appreciate.

 

The outside of the home looks great, but what about the inside?

 

A home that has great curb appeal may well get a buyer inside a home, but that’s only half the battle. The inside has to be appealing, too. Fortunately, sprucing up the interior doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of the time, simply removing clutter from the interior is enough to impress a buyer. Always remember — buyers want to imagine what a home will look like when they move into it and place their items inside of it, so remove anything that will interfere with the buyer’s ability to do just that.

 

Removing clutter, in other words, involves more than just tidying up a home or, indeed, giving it the thorough, “both barrels” cleaning. When we talk about removing clutter, we’re talking about taking out almost everything that is too personal. Knick-knacks, pictures of family, that painting of Elvis on black velvet and other personal items provide buyers with a great idea about how a home fits in with your life, but can prevent that buyer from painting a mental picture of how his or her items will suit the space. So, remove those items. While you’re at it, remove much of what’s typically in storage areas such as closets so that prospective buyers can get an idea of how much space will be available to store their items.

 

Similarly, removing evidence of pets in the home is a good idea. If you’ve got a buyer who hates cats, that person will react harshly upon seeing a litter box and will likely be biased against the home. I know of one Realtor who removed pets entirely when his house was being shown — he spent a lot of time putting his dogs in his truck and driving around town with them when prospective buyers would come to visit. The theory, of course, is that pets would distract buyers from forming the requisite mental picture of how the home would suit their lives.

 

Another thing to consider is how much furniture is in each room. If there’s too much furniture in a room, it can looked cramped. Interestingly enough, a room will also look small if it’s completely stripped of furniture. A good rule of thumb to use is to put no more than three major pieces of furniture in a single room — in that case, three really is the magic number. A room with three major pieces of furniture just looks right and demonstrates how the space can be utilized well without making a room look to barren.

 

For those wanting to really spiff up the interior of their homes, fresh coats of paint and a little updating can go a long way. If you’re going to paint a room, make sure to stick with neutral colors. You may like that bold green wall with purple trim, but will a prospective buyer like such bold color choices? Also, it doesn’t cost much to update a bathroom with new faucets, towel racks and other items that will modernize that often overlooked room of the house.

 

Marketing

 

A few years ago, one could get away with simply sticking a “for sale” sign in his or her yard and waiting for offers. In the current competitive market, that tactic doesn’t work as well. Hiring a Realtor can take care of the bulk of those marketing problems because Realtors have access to the local multiple listings service (MLS). Most homes are sold through MLS systems as Realtors in a given area both list and review properties in them. If Sam Seller lists his home in the MLS, it can be shown to Sam Seller even if both the buyer and seller are represented by different Realtors.

 

Again, however, there are a lot of sellers who had rather go the “for sale by owner” route and take care of selling their homes without going through a Realtor. While having a listing in an MLS is valuable, it’s not the end of the world for people who don’t have access to the local MLS because they aren’t selling their homes through Realtors. Still, it takes a lot more these days to sell a home than putting a “for sale” sign in the front yard, so make sure to set aside some money for newspaper ads or, if available, magazines in your area that run listings of homes.

 

However you choose to market your home, remember that pictures are perhaps more important than ever in selling your house. If you have a Realtor who is listing your home through an MLS, then you’ve certainly got the option of posting a lot of photos of your property in that listing. Make sure those photos are of good quality and show off the home in the best light. Avoid using photos with people and animals in them and make sure you’re not sending in photos that are dark, show cluttered rooms and etc. When going through an MLS, listings and photos are picked up by national sites such as Realtor.com — places where people around the nation go when shopping for a home.

 

Whether you’re marketing through an MLS or otherwise, it’s always a good idea to have photographs available. If you can get those photographs posted on high traffic Web sites, you’ll wind up with more buyers.

 

Know your market

 

Here in Arkansas, we’ve seen the housing market slowdown in the higher price ranges, whereas things are moving along well in the lower and mid-price ranges. The reason for a lot of that slowdown is, of course, that builders were very interested in constructing expensive homes a couple of years ago because there was a lot of demand for them. A lot of buliders ignored the middle price ranges, resulting in the current situation in which there are a lot of expensive homes in inventory and an actual shortage in some other price ranges.

 

So, someone selling an expensive home has a tougher row to hoe than someone with a house in one of the lower price ranges. Finding out which price ranges are moving and which ones aren’t can be a very important factor to consider if you’re thinking about selling a home. Doing some research before putting your house on the market can save you a lot of time and aggravation — whether homes in your price range are selling might well be the deciding factor as to whether you’ll list your home and try to find some buyers.

 

But what if you’ve got to sell that expensive home? The good news is that there are still a lot of homes being sold and sellers that are marketing their homes well and making them attractive for buyers are finding that, with a little patience, they’ll receive some good offers. One thing we’ve found is that a lot of buyers have caught onto the fact that they’ve got a lot more buying power than they did a couple of years ago and are out to find some bargains or, at least, get a home for fair market value. Pricing your home well and marketing to those buyers will typically pay off in the end. You might have to wait a bit longer to sell your house than you did a few years ago, but you will eventually sell it.