Monday, March 14, 2011

March Guest blogger: Preston Martin, Realtor Extraordinaire

 Here's some great bits of advice from Preston Martin.  Enjoy!

"As an active, full-time Realtor, I have the opportunity to walk through 30 to 40 homes in this area almost every week, whether previewing for current or future clients, or “cold” with the buyer in tow.  After years in the business, the “Big Three” of property value still ring true: Price, Location, and Condition.  Since you can’t change the location, condition (cleanliness, color choices, clutter, repair/maintenance issues, landscaping, and staging) is something that the homeowner can affect that directly increases not only the perceived value of their home, but the opportunity that a reasonable offer is actually made, and made in a timely manner.  Let’s talk about staging as a way to enhance perceived value.

After a buyer has decided that the curb appeal of a property is acceptable, how a home is arranged and decorated is the single most important emotional impression that determines whether a buyer will make an offer, and influences the amount of the final offer made. In my experience, confirmed with many agents over the years, buyers determine within 2-3 minutes after walking in the front door whether a home appeals to them enough to make that 1st offer.  If a home is bright, nicely decorated, without clutter, flows well, and is eye-appealing, the emotional response from a buyer is immediate and positive.  Realtors call homes like this an “easy sell.”

Although I have a good eye for what appeals to a buyer, I am always pleasantly surprised after hiring a professional designer or trained staging professional to recreate a room, or an entire house.  Starting at under $200, some designers offer a simple consult that offers suggestions for specific arrangement of existing furniture and accents, wall color choices (since many need to paint a room anyway), and additions and subtractions of décor from existing rooms.  I have also hired designers to start from scratch, from flooring and wall colors, furnishings and total design of the house or condo, for maximum impact.  Don’t think this is only for higher-end homes.  The least expensive property I have hired a designer to stage top to bottom sold for under $130,000.  Bang for the buck in fewer mortgage payments (a quicker sale) and final sales price makes adding a designer to your sales team a smart investment in a housing market flooded with homes “exactly like yours”, only that they “feel”  larger, or brighter or more open……. and have SOLD signs in the front lawn."

Preston Martin has been a Realtor for the past eight years, licensed both in Kentucky and Florida.  Although now specializing in single-family residential property in Central Kentucky, Preston acted as project/sales manager for several apartment-to- condominium conversion projects while living in Orlando, Florida.  He personally buys, rehabilitates, and re-sells one or two homes every year, “just for the fun and experience”.  He is a member of the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors Million Dollar Club, and currently associated with RE/MAX Elite Realty in Lexington, Kentucky.

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