Meet My New Boy, Stoli!!

THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK

The Official Krisztina Blogsite

I love my husband and my dog, Kata and my cats Szuma and Kira but I must confess, I now have a new love in my life. His name is Winsdown Steel Works by Night, but he’s known as Stoli. He’s just turned 6. AND I LOVE HIM!! He chose me to be his new mom on Saturday November 20 – and yes, I celebrated. It was definitely a champagne-worthy moment! Horses have been my passion from a very early age – as you can see from the old photos, I would ride anything!! I am told my first word was ‘Horse’, so with the addition of Stoli to my family I have finally fulfilled a lifelong dream. It was definitely love at first sight as he nuzzled me and licked my hand. He’s a kissy boy, but that’s the way I like my boys!! His understanding of voice commands is astounding although he’s just learning the nuances of my accent!! Carving out the time to spend with my new boy will allow me to better schedule my days as well as give me a better work/life balance – and that’s good for everybody!! Keep checking in for Stoli updates. As for me? I’m going riding!!

Selling the Expired Listing

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The Official Krisztina Blogsite

I enjoy the challenge of selling an Expired Listing. It pushes me to up my game in every area. I have to overcome the bad reputation of a property that’s been on the market over 90 days. I have to increase my marketing, spreading the word that the property has changed and show it in a new light. I have to advertise these changes – new Agent, possibly a new price and possibly some home upgrades. (Actually, you can change ‘possibly’ to ‘probably’!!) Dealing with Sellers of an Expired Listing is an especially sensitive area. They have been through the wringer for a number of months. They are tired. They are frustrated. And they might even be a bit angry. This is the time for my Psychology degree to kick in! I have to reinstate confidence in the process. I have to re-energize the Seller. I have to be patient. I have to listen. And I have to gently get them on side with changes – in pricing, in renos, or both. If I do my job well on all these fronts, I will sell that Expired Listing.

In my experience, many listings expire because the Seller used an Agent unfamiliar with the Listing area. In this case, the Agent may not understand the localized pricing or the sphere of influence for the potential Buyers. Expired Listing Client, Terri Bruyns says that she chose me based on two things: 1) A lot of my signs were up in her area, and they were SOLD quickly, and 2) Internet Research. I was a match for her because of my knowledge of the neighbourhood and location, the fact that I understand the area Buyers and area Pricing and because I am strong in tailoring my Marketing efforts to each individual property. (In her case, it was important that I do the Open Houses myself, I used Coming Soon Signs while we did renovations to create excitement and I used the backyard fence facing the Park for extra signage to pull people in.)

When determining pricing of an Expired Listing, I have to show my research – recently sold homes in the area and other market comparables. Fair Market Value is not pricing from last year or last month. And it’s also not the price you originally paid plus upgrades. It is a current temperature of the market on the day you list. When I am suggesting upgrades, I always balance them against the price and I always direct them toward the elements that will help sell the property. Selling an Expired Listing in today’s market is even more difficult because most of these properties were originally listed in a HOT Spring Market, so it is extra-important that I crunch the numbers and show statistics for any price adjustments. To date, I have handled a number of Expired Listings and I have always sold them. I attribute that to 1) Listing the property at the right price, 2) Staging and Prepping the property for targeted Buyers, 3) Making sure my Marketing is top notch and 4) Being present at the Open Houses. Terri’s final advice: “A Good Agent is the key. They will guide you through all of the details and the pricing.” What can I say? I AGREE!!!!

Buy First? Or Sell First?

THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK

The Official Krisztina Blogsite

My “Krisztina’s 1 Minute Home Tips” Series will be continuing into the foreseeable future, and my latest instalment tackles buying and selling in today’s market. As we all know, the market is slowing and properties are taking a little bit longer to sell. So, make sure you SELL FIRST, ask for a longer closing and then go find that dream home! That is, of course, unless you can afford to carry 2 properties simultaneously. (And if that’s you, you’re probably not even reading this particular Blog!!) It is particularly important that you choose an Agent that is looking out for your best interests. The Agent relationship is short but intense, so make sure you have both a comfort level and a confidence level with that person. Especially in this market, I don’t recommend using the Listing Agent of the home you may have found through an Open House as their interests lay primarily with the Seller. You want an Agent who is knowledgeable, understands the area and is up to date on the local market trends. Find the right Agent and they WILL save you money!! Whether you are selling or buying, demand to see the latest market trends, area comparables and most recent local sales. This will help you in determining your list price or your offer. And finally, I want to emphasize, DO NOT ASSUME EVERY PROPERTY IS OVERPRICED! A good Listing Agent will set the listing price at Fair Market Value. Listen to your own Agent to set your offer. Despite a slow market, depending on the knowledge (and persuasiveness with the homeowner!!) of the Listing Agent, Fair Market Value might just be the Asking Price. And about “Fair Market Value”…keep in mind this is like taking the current temperature of the area. It’s NOT about what you originally paid for your property. It’s not about how much you’ve invested into your property. It’s about the CURRENT VALUE!! Fair Market Value can swing $50,000 up or down within months depending on external factors – interest rates, employment rates, recent sales etc. And on that note, BEWARE OF OVER-IMPROVEMENTS. Just because you want certain upgrades to your home does not necessarily mean they will add to the market value of your property. In fact, if you’re thinking of making improvements, talk to an expert about the best places in your home to invest…and where you want to keep the expenses down. I’m always happy to talk to homeowners about upgrades – whether they’re my clients or potential future clients. So, don’t hesitate to call, and good luck on your Housing Quest!!

It Was Hell!!

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The Official Krisztina Blogsite

Halloween 2010 has come and gone. So much effort for one little day. Kudos to my husband this year who went above and beyond for the decoration. NO, check that. We did not decorate for Halloween this year. No, this year my husband had a vision. A vision from Hell!! (Or at least of Hell!!) And I will say for the weeks leading up to Halloween, the prep and disarray of the house felt like I was in Hell! But the end result was pretty great. My husband’s interpretation of Hell included flickering red flames in all the windows, skulls and bones, spiders, a few corpses and Satan himself (complete with a giant pet rat!!). And to his credit, he only scared off a few trick-or-treaters! In fact, our street saw almost 230 ghosts, superheroes, witches, princesses and hockey players make their way from house to house. That’s about 40 more than 2009 and I fear I only have myself to blame. As well I gave out about 50 hot apple ciders and 50+ gluvines (my special Hungarian spiced wine concoction) to the adults. Now the question remains: How do I top myself next year? Right now, I’m thinking of throwing in the towel, raising the white flag in surrender and leaving the house dark! (I hear New Orleans has an amazing Halloween celebration!!) But don’t worry – I have a year to think about it and maybe by October next year I will have forgotten all about the prep!! Maybe we’ll go fun and WalMart cheesy. Or Charlie Brown’s pumpkin patch. …Or maybe my husband will have another vision!! Or maybe I’ll be drinking out of a To Go cup on the streets of the French Quarter. The good news is that the Christmas decorating season is around the corner and we actually get to enjoy that effort for weeks and weeks. Happy decorating!!