Today’s REI Classroom Lesson

In the classroom today, Holly McKhann chats with us about just exactly a realtor should do for you when you’re putting a home on the market for a retail sale.

REI Classroom Summary

From having the home on real estate related websites to getting it on the “broker caravan”, there’s various areas that a realtor can help you with in order to have the home sell quickly and look it’s best.

Listen to this REI Classroom Lesson

Real Estate Investing Classroom Show Transcripts:

Announcer: Welcome back to the FlipNerd.com REI Classroom, where experts from across the real estate investing industry teach you quick lessons to take your business to the next level. And now, let’s meet today’s expert host.

Holly: Hi, I’m Holly McKhann with houseflipmasters.com. I’m your REI Classroom Host of the Day. And today I’m really excited to share with you . . .

Announcer: This REI Classroom Real Estate Lesson is sponsored by virtualstaffnow.com.

Holly: . . . the part of the sales process when you’re selling at a retail value your fixed up house, what your realtor should do for you, or if you’re not using a realtor, what you need to do for yourselves if you’re doing it for sale by owner.
So first of all, and this is hugely important, you must get professional photos. Forget taking your phone out and thinking, “Oh, I can do it myself, I have a HD camera.” Or, “I’ll put a little lens on it.” Forget it. There’s nobody as good as a professional photographer. Now if you happen to be a professional photographer, I’m not speaking to you. But I pay about $150 for a house 1,500 square feet or less, and maybe another $50 for every 500 square feet beyond that, and it is so worth it.
Let me tell you why it’s worth it. I heard a statistic recently that 92% of buyers are looking online at homes before they ever go look at a home in person. If you have crummy photos, they are not going to give you the time of day. They are not even going to show up and hope that it looks better. In fact, I’ve had several calls in the last year or two where people will call me and say, “Are those pictures accurate? Does that house look as good as the photos?” Because my photos are so good. Of course I say, “Yes, of course.” And my houses do look great.
Just as a side note, I have fixed and flipped with my husband over 200 homes in Southern California and that is us fixing them, retailing them out. I do stage my homes, typically, if they’re half a million dollars or over. So staging is a whole other conversation, but I will say pro photos and great copy for your MLS listing are really important and that’s what your realtor should do for you, as part of being a good realtor. I can say that because I’m a licensed agent myself, too.
You need to have a sign in front of your property. I get calls off the signs on my properties, with a flyer box, and keep the flyer box restocked. I get calls every week from prospective buyers that are just in the neighborhood or they’re driving around and they find my flyers and they call me off the flyer to ask questions about the home. So make sure it’s restocked. If you don’t live in the area, get your realtor to go by and restock it and check it every couple of days.
Get the house on the Broker Caravan, or sometimes they call it Broker Preview. These usually happen once a week in most areas and this is really important. I was reminded of this just yesterday when I was talking to an agent in Palm Springs, where I currently have a very cool mid-century modern, sleek condo available for sale. He has a non fixed-up condo in the same complex but he’s saying, “Holly, you’ve got to get it on the Broker Preview,” because so many of our agents are so old-school, aka old, they just won’t take the initiative to go out and preview homes on their own. He told me a couple agents in particular that he thought would have buyers for my property.
So I immediately called and got my properties on the Broker Caravan for those agents that are, do I dare say, lazy? That don’t want to go to the effort of making appointments to come see the properties. They need it nice and easy, planned out for them and then that way they’ll see them and know that your property’s available.
It’s ideal if you can get your property its own website. They’re pretty inexpensive. Your realtor probably has access to do that, but I think it’s fantastic when you have 123MainStreetisnowforsale.com and it’s on the sign, it’s on the flyer, people can easily go to the website, see the pictures of your home, read the description about it. It’s a fantastic resource available for you.
Virtual tour is something also that your realtor should do for you. It’s really easy with software these days. But that will auto-populate through to Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, with your photos, your virtual tour will also, and your description. So make sure you have a good description.
Now when I say a good description, that does not mean, “Oh, my house has a living room and a dining room and a hallway.” How boring is that? You definitely want to include specific, unique features and details to your home. For instance, that condo I was just speaking about, we were able to switch out some sliding glass doors to a big giant triple-track door that opens up almost all the way across the entire living room onto this big balcony so we have indoor/outdoor living. It feels like one big room. So I’m talking about that in my description.
When we switch out what we would call textured drywall, or orange peel drywall, that was popular in the ’80s and ’90s and we go to what’s called a smooth finish that’s really desirable in our markets, we promote that. It costs us money and it’s effort and we talk about that in our description. So we’ll say smooth finish drywall, new designer carpet. So try and get some good adjectives in your description and things that distinguish your property from the other ones in the neighborhood that are similar.
The last thing I want to mention is how important your price is. I was just seeing an infographic today, it was really cool. It said if you’re priced above market, you will get only 10% of the prospective buyers seeing your property. They just don’t even want to pay attention if you’re priced over market. However, if you’re 10% below market, for instance, if your price point is $400,000 and you’re pricing it at $360,000, which is 10% below market, that may sound like really scary and painful. And maybe it is too low, maybe in your market you don’t need to go that low. I’m thinking of my market, I would probably only need to go $380,000 to get attention. But then you’re going to get 75% or more of your prospective buyers to your listing.
The name of the game is turning the money and selling it fast, so don’t necessarily start really high and keep dropping it, because the more you have to drop it, the longer it takes. People think there’s something wrong with your property and they are afraid to make offers.
So price it right from the beginning. And I’ll talk to you next time.

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Holly McKhann is a full-time real estate investor and works with her husband Scott, having done over 200 fix and flips together in Southern California over the past five years. Holly began her career as a CPA, working for Ernst & Young. She also earned an MBA in finance. Scott is a registered civil engineer with a decade of experience at public home builders. Their blend of expertise and experience has attracted multiple investors, allowing them to expand their business. They used to buy homes exclusively at trustee sales, but now Holly focuses on relationships with realtors to find the flip deals that work. They own 12 rental units, mostly single family homes, all in Southern California. She raised over $3 million through trust deed investments. Holly loves working from home and enjoying her freedom as an entrepreneur. Holly has been married 23 years and has four children ages 13, 15, 18, and 21 and lives in Dana Point, CA.

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