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Free/Low Cost Marketing Methods How To's Must Read Posts Real Estate Marketing

How to Sell Your House Quickly – Part 2

Ok so in part 1 of this article we learned how to find the value of our house that we want to sell quickly. Now we’re going to learn how to market the hell out of your property so you get the word out there to the masses!

Market Your House Like Crazy
Your house being for sale at the prefect price doesn’t mean anything if nobody in the world knows that it’s for sale, does it?

So here’s what you need to do to market your house and to tell the entire world (or at least folks in your area) that it’s for sale.

    Break out your digital camera, cell phone, disposable camera or what you have and take pics of your house. Outside front, back, side, yard, living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. you get the picture. Common says tells ya that folks want to see what your house looks like and yes, even before they walk into it even. Please take in focus, decent looking shots. Don’t forget to get your darn finger out of the way!
    Now pictures are a necessity but if you have access to a video camera you have got to take advantage of that. Honestly, in today’s day and age, I’d say even video is a necessity. So just have all of your bases covered and try your best to take pictures and video of the home. Just do a walk through of the home with your video camera so folks can see the inside of it without even being there.
    Place a for sale sign in your front yard and rear and side yards if you have them. I get mine from Dirt Cheap Signs but you can get a few For Sale By Owner signs at Lowe’s, Home Depot or a local hardware store if you prefer. Make sure you get the 18 x 24’s and make sure you pick up some metal stakes (get extra to use in the next step) so you can stick them into the ground. By the way, please do not under any circumstances forget to put your phone number on your signs when you get them home. (Sounds silly to say that doesn’t it? But some folks have done it.)
    Now here is a tactic that will get your phone to ring off the hook with potential buyers. You need to buy anywhere from 10 to 50 blank corrugated plastic signs. They should be 18 x 12 in size and they can be any color you want, but white probably works the best and is the cheapest. After you get them home you’ll need to get a thick, black, permanent marker. When you have that you want to write in your own handwriting with the marker on the signs the following:

    3 bed/2 bath House Must Sell! Pottstown Area, $150k 610-555-1212

    Of course, you’re going to change out the information above with your appropriate information for your home. If you house is a fixer upper try something like this:

    3 bed/2 bath Needs Work! Must Sell Quickly. Area, Price, Phone Number

    For wholesale deals try:

    Cheap House 45k CASH. 215-555-5555.

    You can use any combination of wording, but make it seem URGENT that you need to sell. Now you need to place these signs all around your neighborhood. Put them at popular intersections, at popular stores (like Walmart, WaWa, etc.) and just put them in heavy traffic locations. You want extras because some of these will get taken down, some will blow away and some will just become dirty and ugly so you’ll want to replace them with fresh ones. I promise you that you will get calls.

    You can buy your blank signs from a place like Dirt Cheap Signs or they have them a little pricier at Lowe’s and Home Depot or Steph over at Flip This Wholesaler recommends Laird Plastics. I haven’t used them personally but I do have a call into them.

    Next you’re going to want to create what’s called a Postlet. Go to Postlets and create an account. It is free. You’ll want to create a postlet about your house. Post your pictures, list all of the features, write up a nice description. People want to know about square footage, school districts, beds and baths, taxes, etc. You can upgrade to Postlets Plus and this will allow you to post more pictures on your postlet and also allow you to post a video. Every little bit can help you market your house.
    Now, you want to go to Craigslist and post your house for sale there too. This is free also. You’re going to want to post in the portion of Craigslist that’s for your area. Find your area on Craigslist then go to housing and real estate for sale. Follow the steps, it’s pretty easy. Also, there is a craigslist section in your Postlets, so you can merely click that link and copy and paste the code they give you into your craigslist post and a nice little ad will appear. Don’t forget that you’re craigslist ad is NOT posted until you get the email from them and publish it. That is the final step.

Those few things should get your phone ringing, but since you are saving thousands by not using a real estate agent you should really market even more. So here are some extra things you can do that will cost some money.

    Place a classified ad in your local paper. There are all kinds of papers that will work. You can place an ad in a daily paper, weekly paper, monthly paper, throw away papers like the Penny Pincher, etc. You can even try them all if you like. The smaller papers will be more cost effective. And keep in mind that you do not want to just run the ad for a day. That’s a waste of time and money. I suggest running it at least from Thursday to Monday for a month. See what kind of action you get and go from there. If you are under major budget constraints then you can work out a game plan that works with your pocket book. Generally, your ad will look something like this:

    Downingtown, 3 bd/2 ba twin for sale by owner. New roof, central air. Must sell. 610-555-1212

    Of course, insert the info that is appropriate to your home. You can even use the same type of ad that you hand wrote on your blank corrugated plastic signs. Remember that with classified ads you are pretty much paying per word. One word of caution: don’t try to create crazy abbreviations for your ad so you can fit more words in. A lot of folks may not know what your abbreviation means so it may confuse them and keep them from calling. The classified ad rep from the paper will sometimes suggest abbreviations for words to make things fit, just be cautious that it is a standard abbreviation that most folks know what it means like br for bedrooms or ba for bathrooms. Don’t get fancy with abbreviations, trust me.

    Post an ad on ForSaleByOwner.com They have all different pricing levels starting at $89.95 (which I don’t like because it’s a monthly fee) all the way up to an $899 one time fee. The basic plan is pretty decent, it gets you an unlimited listing on their site until it’s sold and an awesome thing about their ads is that you get a private voicemail system (so you don’t have to give out your home phone number!)

    Just so you know, the Gold package for a $699 one time fee is definitely worth checking out. It’s the cheapest of the packages that gets you listed on the MLS (multiple listing service, which is what all real estate agents use to list properties and find properties for their buyers) and on realtor.com Please keep in mind though, if you go with an MLS option, you are going to have to pay a commission to the agent that brings you a buyer (typically between 2 to 3%, but commissions are negotiable and you state when you pick your package the commission you are willing to pay.) Keep in mind, if you make the commission too low for the agent with a potential buyer they may not even show your house. So, personally, I’d stay within the 2 to 3% mark.

If you’re wondering do you have to list your property on the MLS for sale, the answer is no. I just want to make you aware that the MLS is what over 32,000 real estate professionals in this area use to view properties for sale. That’s a HUGE market that you’d be missing. But it’s ok, the basic package will at least get you in front of folks who are searching for a house to buy for themselves.

    This marketing method may be a little more than most of you want to get in to, but you can send out postcards to either folks in your area or to renters in your area. For folks who live in the area you can send out sort of a “Pick Your Own Neighbors” type of post card and let them know your house is for sale. For renters, you may just want to let them know how easily they can get into your home. Get 50% off postcards here!
    You’re going to most likely want to purchase a list of renters and homeowners in your area from a place like InfoUsa. For homeowners in your area you can actually get their names and addresses from public records and that is free, especially if you go to the courthouse. Just get a simple House For Sale postcard or Why Rent When You Can Own Postcard? And send them out.
    A free alternative to use is the same kind of House for Sale or Why Rent When You Can Own ad for the postcard above but print it out and make flyers at home. (Btw, if you are savvy with your computer you can even print out postcards.) A flyer that I like to put together to hand out to the neighbors on the same block as a house I have for sale is the “Pick Your Own Neighbor” flyer. Folks love that and you never know? They could have a friend or family member that is looking to move into the neigborhood. Your general flyers you can post in laundromats, grocery stores, around rental apartments, etc.
    One last free marketing tip that I forgot to mention is word of mouth. Don’t forget to tell everyone you know that your house is for sale. You never know who knows someone that is looking to buy.

Ok so now you know how to figure out what your house is worth and market your house to find a buyer……now what the heck do you do when the calls start coming in? We’ll find out in part 3 of this series.

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Determining Comps How To's Must Read Posts Real Estate Marketing

How to Sell Your House Quickly – Part 1

So this 4 part post you can apply to your personal residence if you want to sell it without a real estate agent and save yourself thousands in real estate commission or it can apply to your investment properties that you want to wholesale or retail.
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Ok folks, here it is, the down and dirty on how to sell your house yourself quickly and keep thousands in your pocket (by not paying real estate commissions!)

I’m going to give you an outline to follow and if you follow it to the T, you should be alright!

Do Your Research About Your Homes Value
You need to find out what your house is worth so you can put a price tag on it. How can you find this out?

    Interview a handful of real estate agents (at least 3) and get Comps (Comparables of houses that have sold like yours) from them. Do not tell them what YOU think your house is worth, just let them do their thing and present you with their evidence of what they feel your house is worth.

    Now as JP from REI Tips pointed out below in his comments it’s a very good idea to keep your eye on DOM or Days on Market when checking out the comps. This is how many days the house was on the market until it went under agreement. How do you use this type of data? Well for instance let’s just say you have a few different sold comps and 1 had a DOM of 9 and one had a DOM of 83 and one had a DOM of 197. Ok? Obviously, if you want to sell your home in the same time frame as one of those 3 comps, you’ll want to price your house accordingly to those comps. Does that make sense?

    Check public records if you have online access or if you know how to do this at the courthouse yourself (or if you have a real estate agent friend that will allow you to look over their shoulder as they access their public records on the MLS.)
    Drive around your neighborhood and call on all of the for sale signs that you see. If they are having open houses too then GO TO THEM.
    Research your local papers classified section for houses for sale in your area. Call the numbers and get the facts on the house (remember, you’re comparing all of these houses to yours.)
    Hop on Craigslist and reseach the real estate for sale ads there that are in your area. Alot of times folks will have pictures and even videos in here, so you can actually see the houses. If there isn’t much info then email or call the person who is selling their house.
    Go to Realtor.com and research houses that are for sale in your area. Again, if there isn’t much info, then call the agent up and ask for some info about the house.
    Check out zillow and cyberhomes and see what they come up with as values for your house. Also, the comps that they list, drive past the houses to compare at least the outside of your house and the sold house. (I wouldn’t put as much weight on these 2 sites, but there is definitely more information here for you.)

Now, you should have a good idea of what you could sell your house for. By the way, when looking at public records, comps from agents and places like zillow and cyberhomes you only really want to look at sold houses within the past 6 months. Some folks will tell you to go back a year, but I think that’s even too far. Honestly, in this market, I’d say look at them in the past 3 months!

Ok so you have a value in mind. Well I need you to be honest with yourself about the value and how you came up with it, ok? Does the value indicate a house that is in pristine condition and your house isn’t that pristine? Does the value indicate a fixer-upper price and your house doesn’t need any work? Those are the things you have to think about when getting the comps from all of your resources above.

Make note of the condition and location of all of the comps that you get from your resources above then you have to HONESTLY compare it to your house. Honestly being the keyword here. If your house smells like dog, well admit that to yourself and know that it’s going to lower the price of your house. If your house is right next to an active railroad track, well don’t ignore the obvious and know that it will lower the price of your house as well. If your house is totally trashed and needs a lot of work, please, please, please don’t think that you are going to get maybe a couple thousand less than what a pristine house sold for. That is UNREALISTIC!

And always keep in mind the type of real estate market we are in. Right now at the writing of this blog posting, here in Pennsylvania we are in a BUYERS MARKET. Please recognize that and adjust your game plan (and more importantly) your thinking accordingly.

If you don’t adjust your game plan and thinking accordingly, believe me your house will sit there and it will NOT sell (until you come to your senses.

Check out the 2nd part of this 4 part article and learn how to market your house for a quick sale.

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Kids Must Read Posts Passive Income Random Ramblings

Challenge yourself (and your kids!)

First I want to say GREAT JOB JOE!!!!

This is a little post about a 7 yr. old boy named Joe. This is Kathy’s youngest son. Now he takes Karate lessons and they were going to have a kick-a-thon to help support a charity for kids. Joe asked me if I’d sponsor him and the recommended sponsorship was to pay per kick. So I told him that I’d pay him 5 cents per kick. He was cool with that (that’s what the norm was, besides a flat rate to give him.)

I asked Joe how many kicks he got in practice…he said 140. I said great. So he goes on to say about how that’s how many kicks he’s gonna get…..140. I said well hang on there….you already KNOW you can do 140, right? He said yeah. I said well I will give you .05 per kick on one condition..he said what? I said I want you to at least TRY to get 150 kicks. If you don’t make it that’s fine, but I want you to at least try, because we both already know you can do 140. Ok? He said that was a deal.

So today was the kick-a-thon. Joe was leaving to go with his mom (I couldn’t go because I had to take Brandon, the 17 yr. old his meds that he forgot) and I said so how many kicks you gonna get? He said 300! I said really? He said nah, 200? I said no really, how many kicks are you gonna try for? He said, 140. I said oh no…remember, you have to at least TRY to get 150 kicks, remember? He said oh yeah…ok. Then I wished him good luck and they were out the door.

About 15 minutes later I get a text from Kathy saying this: “U should challenge joe more often lol he did 300 kicks.” 🙂

And that was exactly the point of the challenge…..to make him realize that once you know you can do something to try to challenge yourself to do just a lil more….you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish if you did that. Don’t just settle for what you KNOW you can do. Try to do just a lil more.

Now, technically I owe Joe $15 for his charity and I will give him that but I’m gonna give him a lil bonus for himself personally to put in his jars (remember the book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind?)

I think this is a cute lil story for us to remember and reflect on. Let’s not forget to challenge ourselves and our kids. I honestly believe that a lot of kids are lazy as hell nowadays and most of it I blame on the parents. Let’s get back to challenging our kids, holding them accountable for their actions and inactions and also rewarding them for challenging themselves, etc.

Kathy and I come from 2 different schools when it comes to parenting..grant it, they are HER kids and they are just my step-kids (I know we’re not married, but we would be if it was legal, so trust me, these boys have 2 moms 😉 ) She’s more of the “I’m their mom I want to do EVERYTHING for them and take care of them forever because they need me for everything” side of things and I’m more of the “They can do it themselves……they need to learn to do things on their own someday and they can do it now if you just LET THEM!” (Especially the 17 yr. old….he’s gonna be 18 in January and he’s helpless without his mom, so he’s taking the most work right now lol from BOTH of us.)

It’s amazing the things that go on in a kids head when you show him that he can make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Or he can sleep in his own bed! Or that they can make something called passive income where you don’t have to go to work 40 hrs. a week for your money! Btw, the 9 yr. old gets this concept wayyy better than the 17 yr. old. And I let him know too….I think it challenges him to listen more and pay more attention when we talk about money and investing. hehehe

The challenge with us, is that every other week Joe goes to his dad’s house. And at dear old dad’s house he has zero discipline, zero challenge, and he gets told that all of our ideas and rules are dumb. Like passive income and the no video game Thursday rule. So that’s our challenge….luckily it doesn’t take the kid long to adjust to this world when he leaves la-la land with dad.

As for Brandon, he lives with us full-time now….he refuses to go to his dad’s house (if you read my flippinghomes.com blog before you’ll know that I mentioned there that it was just a matter of time before Brandon came to us and said he didn’t want to go to his dads house anymore.) He’s making progress with the whole discipline thing, just not so much with the money thing….but I think he may start listening more because he’s got a girlfriend now and he’s learning that they can be expensive lol

Sooo I’ll stop rambling and just ask you all, myself included, to continue to challenge yourself and your kids.

Flippin’ Carey

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