Do open houses REALLY not work?

So, you’ve listed your home and your agent says, “I don’t do open houses”.  Hmmmmmmm.  What is that all about?  Isn’t that part of selling houses?  Yes!  Absolutely!!

Open houses are always a great source of business for me.  Not only do I pick up potential buyers and sellers at open houses, the home that is being held open gets amazing exposure.  How is that possible if only 2 or 3 groups of people walk through the house?   That is simple.  By, “word of mouth advertising”.  Let’s say 4 groups of people walk through the open house.  Those casual lookers mention the property to 3 of their friends.  Now 12 people know about the property.  Those people may casually mention your property to someone else.  Do you see where I am going with this?   Without that open house, no one had any firsthand knowledge about the property.

Many times the buyers walking through your open house will already be working with another agent.  That is great!!  We know these people are serious buyers.  Most likely their home is already on the market with their agent.  Finding the home of their dreams may just encourage those buyer/sellers to lower their asking price so they can purchase your property.  I routinely contact the agent that that particular buyer is working with.  That agent needs to know that their client showed interest in my listing.

Pictures on the internet are great.  But, if you ask me, we have to go back to the old-fashioned way of selling houses.   Putting a buyer in a house is the very best way to get a home sold.  There is a certain feeling that a person experiences when they walk into a house that could potentially be “their home”.  It is impossible to expect photographs to convey that “certain something”.

People love to talk about houses!  They love to look at houses.   Let free “word of mouth advertising” work for you.  Insist that your agent hold your property open at least once every 6 weeks.  I do opens more frequently than that.  There are always new buyers coming in to the market.  Those buyers need to be able to physically walk through your home in order to get a good sense of the house.  Holding open houses is a great way to get additional exposure for your house.

As always, feel free to contact me at fwallace@firstweber.com with any real estate questions.


Coming back from a CRAZY summer!

The market has CHANGED.  This may not come as a surprise to you as you’ve seen sold signs come up and down over the past few months.  The truth is, I have been so busy since the market changed that I haven’t had the opportunity to blog!  I promise to be back soon with more real estate tidbits for buyers and sellers.  Today, lets concentrate on Sellers.  If you are considering selling right now, but are wondering if the time is right, I am here to tell you that it is!

Four Reasons to sell NOW:

  • Less competition
  • The buyers that are in the market haven’t found their “dream home” yet.  They are ready to pounce on your home!
  • Interest rates are projected to come back down, after increasing during the Summer.
  • Buyers want to get in to their new home before the holidays AND before Winter really hits.

Be proactive!  Get ahead of the competition that is waiting for the spring market. You will be glad you did!

Trending in Real Estate Today

Considering a move?  There is no time like the present!   After several years of less than optimum sales conditions, the switch has been flipped.  FINALLY!!   Inventory is at an all time low and buyers are everywhere, with nothing to purchase.

What does this mean to a seller?  Not only will you get showings, but you should expect to see offers on your property.  And, depending on your location, you may be lucky enough to get to choose which offer you want to work with.

There are still things to do though to get your home ready to sell, remember, it is still a ” beauty contest”.  Make certain your home is presented in the very best way possible.  Reduce clutter, paint in today’s color palette, make those little improvements you have been thinking about,  and consider hiring a professional stager.  

We are in our Spring market.  Don’t miss it!  Take advantage of the best market conditions we have had in years. If you do decide to take advantage of the 2013 Spring Market to sell your home, please consider me as your real estate agent! Call me and set up an appointment today! (414)350-6358

Look for Hidden Details in Older Homes

stone surrounding natural fireplace and sunroom off of living space

What immediately comes to mind when I say “older home”?  Probably a home that needs some sweat equity, right?  That may possibly be the case with older homes that have not been updated recently but if you are a buyer who has seen some older homes either online or on a tour, did you notice anything special about the older home?  Did you look beyond what is obvious to the naked eye?  Did you open the doors that are a darker finish than you’d prefer and notice the inlaid detail behind the door?  Did you see the fireplace and not think twice about the stone surrounding it?  The seller custom-built the home and chose all of the stone materials themselves.  Buyers in general are looking for granite kitchens, updated cabinetry, open concept, master suites with en suite bath and large walk-in closet, nice sized yard, etc.  If most buyers are looking for the same details, then sellers update their homes to have all of those same details.  Eventually all of the homes look the same on the inside.  Older homes offer the opportunity to own a home that is unique not just on the outside but inside as well.  That is exactly what the home at 8860 N Seneca Rd in Bayside offers.  It has the updated kitchen that buyers want, hardwood floors, open concept layout, large master suite with a 4-piece en suite bath and large walk-in closet, yard plus a large sunroom that doubles as another living room.  If you visit the home, don’t forget to open the closet doors because you do not want to miss the inlaid detail.  The stone surrounding the fireplace was hand-picked by the seller when they bought the land and built the home.    The home has detail and history that you will not find anywhere else!  In a country full of cookie-cutter homes, why not invest in a home with the one thing that most buyers say they want but can’t get with a newer home – character.  As always, please feel free to contact me at 414-350-6358.

Preparation – the key to selling your home.

It’s Spring time in Wisconsin!  The crocuses have come and gone, Brewers Opening Day is less than a week away, the daffodils are up and the Junco’s have left for cooler weather.  Real Estate “FOR SALE” signs are popping up like the dandelions that are sure to follow.

Get your ducks in a row before signing on the dotted line.  What do I mean by that?

  1.  Prepare your home for the market and the microscope that buyers will be placing it under.   Pre-Sale home inspections have become increasingly popular over the past few years in response to these economic times.   Better to know up front what a buyer will be asking for than after negotiations have begun.  Make repairs as necessary in order to allow for a smooth transaction.
  2. Eliminate all clutter!  Empty out all closets.  Start packing.  Use a corner of the basement to organize the things you can pack up now, before showings begin.  Make certain to NOT pile boxes around the foundation walls.  Buyers want to see what the walls look like.  I don’t have an issue with putting boxes in the middle of the basement – you have to put them somewhere!
  3. Touch up all woodwork!  Nothing says “I don’t take care of my home” more than chipped woodwork.  Little things add up and mean a lot.  Those things translate to dollars off the purchase price.
  4. Clean, Clean, CLEAN your house.  Hire a professional service if necessary. No one wants to buy a dirty home!
  5. Organize your kitchen cabinets and pantry.  Even if you normally don’t live this way, a buyer won’t know that.  When Buyers see an organized home they feel comfortable that the house itself has been maintained during the seller’s ownership.
  6. It is no secret that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes.  Eliminate all appliances from the kitchen counter tops for all showings.  Put everything in a large laundry basket and store in the garage until the showing is over.  Re-caulk your bathtub and shower if the caulk has seen better days.
  7. Consider hiring a professional stager!  They make a world of difference!! 
  8. Start your Spring clean-up outside too!  Make your home welcoming from the street.  Plant a few pansies in pots to make a positive first impression.

It is never too early to make a good impression on your buyer.  It starts from the moment they drive up to the house.  Do things that your competition isn’t doing.  Tip the scales in your favor.  It’s easier than you may think!!

Good luck!  And remember, feel free to email me with questions.  I am happy to help!

Fran Maglio Wallace


Finally, an offer!

This scenario has played out many times in the last few months.  Buyers seem to want the earth, moon and stars from the Sellers.  Not only have prices dropped considerably, but, the Buyers are also looking for a great deal off the purchase price for repairs once the inspection has been completed.  Don’t these Buyers know they are buying a used home?   We didn’t have these problems 5 years ago.  It is a whole new ballgame.  The rules have changed, and it is time for you to understand them.

As a Seller, do you have to do what the Buyer is asking for?  The best answer I have is; it depends. 

The Seller’s motivation will have a great deal to do with how much they will be willing to give to the Buyer.  Are you moving out of the area?  Is this a job transfer, or are you simply needing a larger home.  Have you owned the property for a long time, or did you purchase the house at the height of the market.  All of these factors must come in to play when deciding to take an offer or not.

FACT:  Some Buyers are being unrealistic when making demands on the Seller.  My best advice is to make certain that you have hired a strong agent that has exceptional negotiation skills AND is respected within the real estate community.  Those personal relationships go a long way when negotiations get tense.  It is essential that both agents work together or nothing is going to get accomplished.  There is nothing worse than a Buyer’s agent that digs their heels in and stops working to put the transaction together.  It is almost like a child taking their ball and going home!

There are Sellers that wish that they could turn back the clock and take that low ball offer that came in last summer.  An offer that once was a ridiculous joke is now something a weary Seller would seriously consider.  They have carried the house for a number of additional months and are at the point where they are frustrated and aggravated, not to mention almost unresponsive.   Sellers are depressed.  They’ve been beaten up.  They realize that pride should not have gotten in the way of a business decision.

When your offer is presented don’t be insulted if the offer is low.  Be thrilled that an offer came in at all.  How motivated are you?  Is half of your family here and the rest somewhere else?   Look at it as a business decision.  Does it make sense to carry that house for an additional five, ten, or twenty thousand dollars?  There are many sellers wishing they were the lucky ones to be beginning the negotiation process.  Don’t forget, an offer is just the beginning of the dance.  There is so much that has to occur between the offer, the inspection, the appraisal, and the closing.  Your Realtor has experience in negotiating all of these steps.  Listen to what they have to bring to the table.

Six Months on the Market and Still for Sale.

Sound familiar?  You are not alone.  Days on the market have increased due to fewer buyers in the market place and more inventory to choose from.  A nasty combination, I know!  Couple this with foreclosures and short sales and the lower prices that occur as a result, and selling has become a real nightmare.

You like your agent, but they’ve had the house listed for six months without many showings and certainly no offers except the one that was $75,000 under asking!!  Do you stick with that agent, or try someone new?  That is a very good question!

Your agent has spent considerable time and energy, not to mention money, marketing your property.  An agent’s cash outlay is considerable when beginning the marketing process.  If your agent has been marketing your home and working to expose it to the brokerage community as well as to buyers, then they probably deserve to continue marketing your property.

Does your agent keep in touch with you?  Are you discussing market conditions a couple of times a month?  You should be.  As the market fluctuates, sellers need to know their competition.  Insist that your agent set you up on an MLS search.  This is easy to do and a great way to keep abreast of what is going on in your community.   Know the homes that are new to the market and know the ones that have offers on them.  Is your home priced accordingly? Many sellers don’t want to hear it, but, it is ALL about price.

Selling a home in a good market is challenging.  Selling a home in our current market is unbelievably stressful!  First of all, prices are considerably lower than they were 5 years ago.  Be realistic when pricing your home.  Don’t forget, Buyers buy by comparing properties.  Check out your competition!

If your agent has exposed your home all over the web, helped staged your home, returned your calls and emails promptly, provided showing follow-up, had broker’s opens, held open houses, sent out post cards to the neighborhood, taken great photos of your home, kept in contact with you, in other words, has done the job you have hired them to do, stick with them!   There haven’t been a ton of buyers out there for the past couple of years.  It is time to reevaluate.  There is a reason your home hasn’t sold.  Take a good long look at the competition, the answer is there.

Your agent has been working for you!  Agents can’t make a buyer appear out of thin air.  They can, however, help you by doing all in their power to get you the exposure you need in order to be the next home that sells in your price range.  It’s a team effort.  You and your agent must work together to achieve this goal.  Best of luck!  Our Spring market is here!!

Tips on how to find the best listing agent to help you sell your home.

So, you’ve decided you’ve outgrown your home.  The family is growing and what once was the perfect size doesn’t fit any longer.  Where do you go from here?   What’s the next step?

First things first!  Interview no less than 3 agents that specialize in your market area.  They are the experts and are an invaluable resource that comes without a charge.  Each agent should provide a market analysis.  After all is said and done, the prices they come up with should be all in the same ballpark.  BEWARE of pricing that is way out of line.  A higher asking price is NOT a reason to choose one agent over another.

A great agent has recommendations from a number of different people who have already bought and sold in your market area.  Ask to see a copy of those recommendations, or go on the agent’s web site to read their testimonials.  See what other buyers and sellers are saying about the agents that you are interviewing.

The agents should also bring their marketing plans to the table.  This is something you shouldn’t have to ask for.  A marketing plan is something that each agent should present to you in writing.   Review each of those plans and don’t be afraid to offer suggestions to your agent.  You are, together with the agent, working as a team to get your home sold.  The agents should explain to you why their company stands out from all the rest.  Finally, there is that “X” factor…………..personality.  Personality plays a huge role in the success of any agent.  Look for someone who is upbeat, friendly and has a positive attitude.  In this business, attitude is everything.  The agent that you choose should be able to make friends easily, and able to put even the most skeptical person at ease.

Buying a new home can be fun, or it can be torture.  The choice is pretty much up to you.  If you approach the process with a bit of knowledge of what may occur along the way, it will be easier on you and your family.

Fran Maglio Wallace



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First Blog Post!

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Fran Maglio Wallace, I am a real estate professional with the First Weber Group.  I live and work on the North Shore and have been selling real estate for the past 28 years.   During those years I have sold millions of dollars of real estate and have accumulated a great deal of experience and many stories to tell.  My goal is to provide you with insight into the real estate market that we are currently experiencing.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  Please feel free to email me at fwallace@firstweber.com with any questions.

This is my more than “full time” job.  In order to be successful, especially in a down market, I have had to work increasingly long days spending many more hours to get my listings sold.  I have seen all kinds of markets come and go during my career, however, none has been more challenging than the market we have been experiencing for the past 3 years!  Please check back to my blog I am giving away free tidbits of information that will be useful!

If You’re Selling Your Home, Get Ready for a Beauty Contest

Beauty Contest Winner - Small Kitchen

For better or for worse, like it or not, today’s home sellers are participating in a “Beauty Contest”.  There is a ton of inventory available and a very small pool of buyers.   Your merchandise must stand out from the rest.

For the most part, buyers want to walk in to a home and fall in love with it.   They want updated kitchens and bathrooms, the current color palette on the walls, and mechanicals in acceptable condition.  New windows and roof??  That is definitely a plus!

If you are considering updating your home, do it!  It will help you when it is time for you to sell.  Today’s Buyers want to close on their new home, place their furniture in the house and go out to dinner that evening.  The more “move in” ready you can make your home, the more likely you will be to win the “Beauty Contest”!   Don’t forget, there are many homes from which to choose, and only a handful of buyers out there that are ready, willing and able to buy.
Don’t be left out in the cold!  Make the improvements that will get your home in the running to be a finalist.  Tip the scales in your favor.  Do everything in your power to make your property stand out from the rest.  Your real estate professional should guide you.  Take that advice and run with it.