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Cold and raining in New Orleans! Buyers have stopped Looking! Not at All!!! They look on the internet!

      Not many New Orleans buyers are  physically looking at condos or homes bad weather and rain.  That however does not mean they are not interested.  They are looking on line using the Internet to search for places that they may like.  They are using all types of sites to see what is out there for them.  They are looking for information and going to all the places that they can find.  Some of the sites are:

Local Broker Sites– Such as Latter and Blum and Prudential Gardner will have all the listings in the local MLS.  All the listing by all the brokers will be on those sites.  The New Orleans Realtor board does not allow agents to have these properties on their sites.  Just do not want more competition!

National Lead Generation sites– such as  Realtor.com,  Home Gain, Trulia, NOLA.com,  Google and others  buy feeds or act as brokers.  They in turn sell the leads  to agents and to the brokers.  They know almost nothing about the local New Orleans market.  They want to ad revenue and lead generation.  The leads that they  generate get sold to agents and brokers.  They will sell you loans as well.  These may not be the best for you however.   Buyer Beware!

Craigs List–  This is a site where everyone can put listings up.  This is for sale by owners plus Realtors who want more exposure.  It allows the owner or agent more freedom in promoting the properties.  As a listing agent you will get some response as buyers want to cover all bases.

Agent Sites– Are much harder to find as not all agents have sites and many who do have not spent the time to build them with local content.  On my sites I try to give you a feel for the condo associations and the neighborhoods where people are looking.  I understand what people are looking for.  Besides this site I have a couple of websites,  New Orleans Condos and New Orleans Real Estate

Agent Blogs–  This is a great way to get a feel for the markets.  Its much more friendly and people recognize that you are talking about a period in time.  Updates, Trends,  Advice, Happenings, plus present pricing.  Easy to review a condo association and advise on the basics. 

      Along with this blog, I have another blog New Orleans Homes and Neighborhoods which is photos and short notes on the various places where one can live.   I will begin to review neighborhoods in the near future to give you a feel of the lifestyle.  Now it is mostly photos of neighborhoods. 

      The buyer needs to be aware that leads are sold to the highest bidder or sold to an agent that needs the business.  They may or may not be the right agent  for you.  They may know little about the area or have that much experience in real estate.  The better agents tend not to take the leads as they are expensive and they are able  generate their own leads.  They could be great but think about the chance you take with such a large investment?

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Selling your New Orleans Condo! Is it better to be furnished or unfurnished?

        It is always better to have your New Orleans condo tastefully furnished and decorated while it up for sale.  It just flat our makes the condo look and feel so much better.  Many buyers have little imagination and want to see what it will actually look like.  Staging your condo is very important in a competitive market.  It can and does get down to the little things.  It can save you thousands by spending hundreds.  Its your attractive choice.

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         Having your condo in great shape makes sense as buyers are looking for that move in quality.  On that same wave length here are a couple of pointers when looking ofr ways to improve the feel.  Seeing and Smelling your condo in the best light is the goal.

1.   Make sure your condo is clean as possible Go ahead and have the condo professionally cleaned and completely wiped down.  Pay special attention to the bath and kitchen areas.  Make your condo shine!

2.   Remove the clutter  Let the Buyers see the condo not your junk or personnel items.  Put it somewhere else.  Its OK to rent a storage unit.

3.  Your pet may not be every buyers friend  Most buyers like pets but why take the chance to remove one from consideration.  The pet smells can be the biggest turn-offs to potential buyers.  These have to be deleted from the buyers lists of considerations.

4.  Let the light shine throughout –  Let the purchasers see the natural light.  Have the curtains open with seeing as much natural light as possible.  Make sure all the lights and bulbs are burning bright.

5.  Make the repairs that are needed !  If you know something needs fixed then fix it.  If something needs painted then get it painted.  A good listing agent will point these out to get your unit primed for sale. 

     Many times you will see people spend more time in preparing their car for sale than their condo.  How does this makes sense ?  One may be worth 20-30 times the value and deserves the same grooming and shining.

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Selling your New Orleans Condo! Your first offer could be your Best ? History does repeat itself ! Greed is not a virtue!

    Many times the first offer you receive on your condo could be your best.  A good agent will give you an asking price and a range where he expects the selling price to be.  Its an educated estimate based on past sales and the present competition.  It happens time and time again that this is the best offer.  Sellers tend to want to try for the numbers that are not in the cards.  A good agent can almost tell you ahead of time what is a good offer at that particular time.

      When you list a property there is a group of people looking in that price range and need.  This group will look at it as soon as they can.  Most of these buyers have agents who do advise them on current pricing and the competition.  When the listing hits the buyer’s agent notifies the buyers of the new listing.  Many times this is thur an MLS feed that updates buyers daily as condos or homes come within the range they are looking for.

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      As a seller don’t let the boat leave without you!  Buyers may not be on the return trip ! Houses and Condos are not like stocks and bonds that have a ready market daily.  Buyers can be very unpredictable  !  Expect showings to be on the upswing as we enter 2010.

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The Pre-Market approach to listing your New Orleans Condo. Make sure its all working! You only get to make a First Impression Once!

      The New Orleans Market is very competitive for a seller in a Buyers Market.   There are a couple of thing you can do and should do before putting your condo on the market.  Making sure it looks great and putting everything is in order will put your condo in the Driver’s seat to getting sold.  I have come up with some ideas that are not the norm but will enhance the marketing of your condo.  You may have some to add?

Pre- Marketing Inspection  Before listing have an inspector review your condo. I have people who will do it for $175 and may save you in the long run.  He will check all the basics and give you a report so you can fix the things that need fixing.  The buyer will get their own but you know your unit is in good shape.

A/C-Heating Serviced-   Most people forget to have their units serviced on a regular basis.  If you have not done this recently then do it before marketing.  It will give you peace of mind that one of the biggest mechanical expenses is taken care of.  Have the receipt handy and change the filters.  Buyers like to know that people take care of the place.

FHA Financing Available?  Can your condo association be sold as an FHA loan.  It opens up the doors to more buyers who only need to put down 3.5% and have a much lower PMI premium.  The manager can look over the approval questionnaire to see if all the questions can be answered.  The Rules change in November of 2009.

Paint is Cheap is cheap!   You want to touch up and dress up.  Your condo is going on a date and needs to look her best.  Touch up and freshen up is simple but rewarding.  Getting a professional job done can be the answer.  Nothing looks worst than a job poorly done.

Professionally Cleaned !    Sounds simple but a lot of sellers forget.  You should do to do it on a regular basis to get the premium status.  The cluttered look may eliminate you from the race early on.  People smell as well as look so any smoking or pet odors is a big turnoff.

Get an Appraisal   If you do not have faith in the numbers that your agent is giving you then you should get an appraisal.  The agent and the appraiser will be using the same properties.  You can often get a break in the cost as this will not be official.  The lender for the purchaser will have to get another no matter what.  

The Reluctant Tenant!  This is a factor that cannot be understated.  Let’s just be honest!   Tenants have little incentive to get the place sold and very few add to the positive impression.  Its an agents nightmare to get a messy tenant that cannot show when needed and keeps the place a mess.  This is a factor in all price ranges and in all areas.  There are few exceptions!

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      I continue to see sellers not getting  the basics done.  In the end it will take longer and you will get less.  So take the steps to get your condo in premium shape for the big date ahead. 

      You only get to make that first impression once.   Spend some time and money to get as close as you can to a premium unit.  In a slow market those condos are still selling.

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Selling Your New Orleans Condo, Flyers still get the word Out! Gorilla Marketing! Old School!

      In the world of marketing condos the real estate sign is not going to help you sell the condo in most cases as signs are not allowed or cannot be seen.  One of the Old school ideas that gets notice is a simple flyer that catches a person eye. You can give them out to whoever. You can e-mail them to past and present clients. One of the best uses to to give notice to the current condo residents and their visitors that the condo is for sale.

      Many  condos have have a desk person or central desk for messages or security. Put them there. Bulletin Boards are common. There is usually a bulletin board near the mail boxes.  Its getting them out so people will see and pick them up.

      I am going to staple a candy bar to each fl-yer to make it more desirable for residents to pick them up.  Its just another marketing idea.   You can get a bag of miniatures for “cheap” from Wal Mart in the Halloween Season.  You can do it again of the Christmas holidays.

      You can e-mail the fl-yer to agents and past clients.  Its another way to get the photos of your listing in front of people.  Putting info about the condo association on the reverse is another way to get more info in front of the public.  You can put past sales on the back as everyowner wants to see the values and compare to their unit.

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      Many agents do not like to make flyer’s because they do not believe it works or its not easy for many agents to do something that stands out.  Its one of the little things that you can do get your listing notice.  You may be alone which makes it all that better.   Always good to have in the unit so people can take them with them.  

     Making the Best Points and photos that show them off are the best way to go.  Too much detail and you lose them.  Let the Photos work for you.   Drive tehm to your site for more info  and an indepth view.

 

 

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Listing Your New Orleans New Orleans Condo, The seller needs to know what the competition is? Think like the Buyers!

      You will get a good idea of the properties values from condos that have sold in your area by looking at the past history of sales.  This is important in setting a price.  This is what we know as comparables in the business.  It is what appraisers use to set values.  It should not end here when you are the sellers or the listing agent.

     Knowing which properties are currently for sale are equally as important.  How does your condo stack up against this group.  You also need to be competitive with current properties for sale in your price range.  Buyers will comparison shop and start of with 6-10 properties in mind.  The buyers shop in price categories within their own criteria. 

     Knowing what you are competing against is important.  Most  buyers buy the best deal if it meets their criteria.  If your condo does not compete well, yours will not sell.  Your agent should know how you are going to slot in the available properties.  You as a seller should know what you are up against.   Oddly enough there are generally less numbers than you may think.   A lot of times you are only competing against 5-6 properties.

    I set my sellers up to receive updates on the competition as if they were buyers so they can see what the market trends are.  There are always reasons why your condo is not picked.  It is not always price alone that buyers make their decisions on, but it is high on the list with condition.

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       Many agents are not really aware of competing properties especially if they do not put in the study time or really know the areas involved.  A lot of listing agents only list and thus never really see the competing properties.  If you are selling you need to ask the questions and take an active part in the process.  Buyers rank their choices and you want your property ranked high enough to make the final selection list.

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Selling your New Orleans Condo! Print advertising is doing little to sell your Condo! People want to see it!

      I stopped doing newspaper ads  6 years ago when I noticed no one would call on them.  The ads in the newspaper and in the real estate magazines are expensive and give you little or no return on your investment.  The small chance to sell via print ads is getting smaller by the year.  Wonder why newspapers and the post office are in trouble.  The Internet has taken over as the place to start your New Orleans condo search.

       Six years ago  is about the same time I got interested in websites and how they can promote your properties.  What can a person really learn about a property, only that it is precious and the very basics from print.  People want to see photos first.  You get showings if you can show off your property in the best possible light.

     The wide angle digital camera has become a “must have tool” in the current real estate business.   This leads into some the most  important way in which you need to promote you properties in the Internet age.  Make sure you take great photos that can high light the best features of your New Orleans condo.  The photos should promote what you are selling.  Its a lifestyle presentation in many cases.  You should capture the common areas of the condo association as well the interior features.

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          In this photo I wanted to show the high ceilings, open floor plan, wood floors and the natural light from the large windows.  I figured it was also helpful to write on the photos to point out a feature at a time.  More than one feature tended to clutter the photo.

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       Trying shots from different angles gives you a different look and gives you a different feel for the size of the rooms and other features.  You can always take a lot of photos and come back to clean up your mistakes.  I am always amazed that I never take enough.  Next time I will have to clean up the sink  as the photo tends to capture it all.   As a seller you should make every effort to have the property in tip top shape as this is the start of the selling process.   Start well and the chances go up in finishing well.

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       Getting the photos of the better features of the common areas are important as well.  In this photo I wanted to show the historic nature of the complex as well as the pool and courtyard.  I took this from a second story window as I had never seen this angle before.  Each time I try to get some of the features I may have missed on previous shots.

     You can put up to 12 photos in the New Orleans MLS so an agent should use them wisely.  Using both the best features of the interior and common areas should give the viewer a feel for what they are getting or would like to look at.  A “picture is worth a thousand words” is never more true in real estate as in today’s Internet marketing.

     I cannot only use the photos for the New Orleans MLS but can post them on Craig’s list, local Blogs, websites, flyers, slideshows and even Face Book.  Is your agent doing this for you?

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Cotton Mill Condos, What a premium unit looks like! How do you get there?

     I sold this Cotton Mills Condo  #211  located in the New Orleans Warehouse District several years ago.  At the time it  had some nice features that the buyers really liked.  I sold it to the present sellers after looking at all the condos in this price range.  The high ceilings,  lots of natural light, and four large windows made it feel much larger than it really is.  The configuration of the unit was a winner.

    The surprise came when I went to list the unit again as the client is being transferred.  It had been turned into a real show place or what I call a premium unit in the business.  It has been transformed into a designer like unit.  The professional paint job that they bought cost several thousand dollars makes the most difference.  The two tones along with the beams and ceiling being painted really bring out the original hardwood floors.

    The shades on the windows, the built- ins in the bedroom, the loft bed, and decor add to the designer look.  The addition of California closets,  loft  bed , and the new wall dresser gives you more than enough room for storage and your clothes.  This gives you the Wow!

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         The updates and features  make the unit a move in type of unit.  The large windows means lots of natural light with little direct sunlight.  The unit is now a much condo better in quality several years later.  The condo is 747 square feet of living with a lot of storage areas for a condo of this size.

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     The updated kitchen features ample custom cabinets, granite counter-tops, double sink, and stainless steel appliances.  The washer and dryer arein the hallway and stays in the unit with all the appliances.  Its open to the living area and very accessible. 

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           The main point of the article is to point out how improvements can be made in your condo.  In the end things that are tastefully done will add value.  This is the type of  units that people are looking for in this market.  To see more photos of the unit click here to see the website page for this Cotton Mill condos located at 920 Poeyfarre  in the New Orleans Warehouse District.

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Selling your New Orleans Condo? Know the competition! Get you condo sold quicker?

      It’s not what you paid for it.  It’s not what you owe.   It’s not what you what it to be.   It’s not what you put it to it.  It’s what the condo is worth that counts.  The price or value is what people will pay for your condo.  Buyers have many choices to choose from in all categories.  The other condos in your price rang and area are your direct competitor. 

     Knowing them is the key to getting your condo sold at the best price .  A good agent can give you this info and show you where you will fall in the order of units for sale.  Know how you compare?

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     You want to slot your condo into the correct group by pricing or updating to get slotted higher.  It  really does get back to pricing once your presentation is  very acceptable.  People will look at 6-7 of the better units in that range.  You need to be near the top in your group.   Agents will by pass on those that are unrealistic.  Agents may show it to make the other ones look better.

       You want to be the best available with what you have to offer.  Location, Condition, Parking, Updates, Views, Historic features, Great complex, Security, flooring, paint, are all things buyers are going to be looking at. 

      Many sellers wait till the buyers are gone before figuring out how to figure this one out.  Come out of the gate ready to fly.  Its much like a beauty contest with each condo having its pros and cons.  The biggest con is pricing the unit wrong.

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        Just like my grandson is watching the ducks, you want to be watching what the buyers are doing and why.  As agents we know most of the answers but are open to learning everyday.  This is what I learned from my clients.

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Timing in Real Estate is Key for Buying and Selling ! Now is the season !! Its Busy right now.

     Real Estate is seasonal but its very hard to judge when the season starts.  It started for most agents 2 weeks ago.  It was like someone shot a cannon off and the market filled up with buyers.  I thought it would be after Mardi Gras but nothing happened.  Then I thought it would start in March after Easter.  Then I thought is would happen after daylight savings time started.  It was close after that time that it really picked up.

    The interest rates are at 5%.  There are willing and nervous sellers.  There are some nice places in all price ranges.  The better condos and homes tend to come on the market this time of year.  People are moving, changing  jobs, moving up, moving in and moving out.  The sellers and buyers that fall into these categories are serious.  The Rent versus Buy is strongly leaning to buyers at this time.  The prices are leaning to buyers.  Just wonder what took so long for Buyers to start looking.  Psychological maybe?

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        Sellers need to make sure their units are priced correctly and compete well with the competition.   Are they ready to shown easily and quickly.  Are the places looking great with all the little issues having been taken care of.  People will buy the best looking properties.  Many, many people cannot see around a mess or lots of defects even if small.  You only get so many chances as a seller before your property gets stale in this market.  Its show time so act  like your condo is in a beauty pageant.  The winner sells.

       Buyers need to be ready.  Getting pre-approved and sitting down with a lender is a great way to start the process.  I would sit down and talk to an agent about the process that is used to being a buyers agent that knows the properties.   Getting started on the Internet is the way most buyers start looking at properties.  Its a great way to start but it has it limits. 

     Having an agent while you are beginning the process is a great step the right direction.  You are learning  learning the pros and cons of complexes, neighborhoods,  resale values, current and past pricing.  Think about resale values and local real estate trends when looking.

    Just call me when you are ready.  Eric

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Eric Bouler Realtor
Gardner Realtors
Metairie - New Orleans, La. USA