The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Smaller Modern Homes

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, more and more of my buyers want homes that are much smaller than what is readily available on the market. Space-wise they want the size of home that was built up until the 1980s, but they don’t want the floorpans that were used 30 or more years ago – and the ceilings are way too low… What do you suggest?

A:  I have been finding that there is a deficiency in the market for exactly the same type of home you are describing. You do have a few options at your disposal if you don’t have this product in your area. If there are homes in your area that do have the desired square footage but the floorplan and finishes are dated, usually this could be remedied with a remodel. I recommend first finding a home with the right square footage with “good bones” in the desired location. If you have a relationship with a general contractor who specializes in remodels such as this, bring them ahead of time in to tour the home and determine what can be done in terms of retrofitting the space to better match the needs of your buyers.

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Know Your Market: A Telling Look Back!

Houses and people from 1950's and now

A lot has changed over the past two decades in the housing industry. The makeup of buyers, tenants, as well as household formation has all changed dramatically. Here are some changes that are worth noting and keeping track of as time goes on.

MEDIAN AGE AT FIRST MARRIAGE- There are many reasons people choose to buy or rent. Age and family formation are two of the biggest variables when determining how to live. According to the 2013 Census the estimated median age of a man at first marriage is 29 while the median age of a female is 26. Compare this to the 1950’s when the median age was 21 years old for women and 23 years old for men. This is a substantial increase in a relatively short period of time. Marriage is often a stimulus for buying a home and because couples are getting married later in life the percentage of homeownership in that age group has shifted.

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Multiple Offer Madness: Prepping the Sellers

many hands reaching toward one house

Multiple offers create a complex situation where it is very easy to have misunderstandings between the many parties that are involved. Each party comes to the table with a different set of dynamics, objectives, and priorities. Sellers want to get the highest price and the best terms. Buyers want to buy at the lowest price with their preferred terms, but also to have the winning offer. And each agent is trying to represent the best interests of their clients. Whew!

When you are representing a seller in a multiple offer situation, it is important to remember that the seller ultimately makes the decision about which offer they want to accept. As the agent, it is your job to present them with all the facts and options they have available to them.

When representing your seller you have to juggle many options for the multiple offer may be handled and there is a bit of psychology involved:

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Ask Denise: Seller Wants Too High Price

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, with our tight inventory and multiple offers, my seller thinks if we price the house really high (20% above my price!) that buyers will flock to it anyway and continue to drive the price up. I have tried to redirect him, but how can I prove that it just won’t sell at that price?

A:  This is a question I have been hearing a lot lately. The bottom line is you don’t actually know that it won’t sell at the price the seller wants. But in order to explain to the seller why it is crucial to price the property at the market price, I recommend using my conflict resolution formula and first determine the facts around the situation:

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Zebra Report: My Company’s Brand, My Brand … Which Should I Use?


A client who had hired us to create her brand was approached by her managing broker. He didn’t understand why the agent hired me to do “branding.” His comment? ”Why do you need to spend money on that? We have company marketing materials that you can use.”

Sound familiar? I bet it does. Many agents and managing brokers believe that all you ever need is generic company-supplied marketing materials. So, why is it so important for you to have your own “brand identity”? Well, first of all, let’s define brand identity:

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