The 4 Worst Home Staging Mistakes Your Sellers Can Make

When we accept a listing, one of the first things we think of is staging. Are they hiring a professional? How will they do it?

While many sellers do hire a staging pro, there are many who don’t – and it’s our job to at least point them in the right direction. That said, there are four huge home staging mistakes your sellers can make that can send potential buyers straight out the door. It’s usually best to give them a heads-up before the listing even hits the MLS.Home Staging Mistakes- Benchmark Realty

Home Staging Mistake #1: Not Staging at All

Not bothering to stage a home has far costlier consequences than spending a few bucks on paint and a storage unit for oversized furniture. Even if your clients have a spectacular home, failure to stage can cost them thousands on the selling price.

Home Staging Mistake #2: Ignoring Scent and Sound

While it’s great to clear out the clutter, the litterbox (and the cat) also has to go. The noisy appliances need to be turned off during each showing. Potential buyers are really tuned in when they’re touring what could be their next home, and every little detail counts.’

Home Staging Mistake #3: Hiding Instead of Removing

Space is at a premium, and when you bring potential buyers into a still-occupied home, they’re going to want to check out closets, attics and pantries. Tell your sellers not to cram these spaces full of the things they don’t want buyers to see, because it’s all going to come tumbling out during a showing. Besides, even huge closets look small when they’re packed.

Home Staging Mistake #4: Showcasing Collections

While some collections are exceptionally nice, most of them need to be packed away during the staging process. Buyers want to envision their things, not your sellers’ things, in the space. Make sure to mention that many people will be coming through the home, as well, so your sellers should put away anything that holds monetary or sentimental value.

Are You a Benchmark Realtor®?

At Benchmark Realty, we help our agents make the most of their careers. Whether we’re conducting our monthly Mastermind Meetings or we’re providing the latest, most effective Realtor safety tips, there’s always a way for us to share knowledge with each other.

We also give our agents 100 percent of their commissions (yes, you read that right!) and believe in the Total Freedom concept, which puts each of our agents in full control of his or her career.

If you’re ready to become part of the Benchmark Realty family, call us at 615-371-1544 or fill out the form below. We’d love to set up a confidential meeting and help you explore your options.

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Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair

If you need a recommendation for a heating and air company, a plumber or a pest control service who do you call? Chances are your Benchmark Realty agent might be one of the best-connected people you know. Our agents participate in a proprietary Brain Trust community forum where we share these types of referrals on a daily basis. So how do you get your company into that conversation? You must be the best at what you do, be reliable, and come highly recommended.Benchmark Vendor Fair

BENCHMARK REALTY VENDOR FAIR:

Benchmark Realty recently held our second annual vendor fair at the 50Forward Martin Center in Brentwood as a way to introduce new vendors to our Benchmark Agents. This is a great time for vendors to speak to our agents one on one about the benefits of their organization. Event organizer and Benchmark Agent, Linda Seaton says, “Benchmark promotes the vendor fair to help agents “sharpen the saw.”  It gives agents an opportunity to gain new insight in ways to improve their services and be more efficient.”

Thanks to Linda Seaton and Judy Gilbert we had over 40 vendors participate and over 100 agents in attendance. We also had lunch and snacks provided by Movement Mortgage, our preferred lender. Here are a few photos of the event.Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair Benchmark Realty Vendor Fair

At the end of the day an event like this is a win-win for everyone. According to Linda Seaton, “Vendors tell us they love coming to the Benchmark Vendor Fair. They comment that our agents are much more engaged than agents at other Vendor Fairs.”

If you would like more information on a career with Benchmark Realty please fill out the form below or call us for a confidential meeting at 615-371-1544.

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Realtor® Safety- We Need to Set the Benchmark

As Realtors®, we’re in a high-risk profession, and it’s not getting any safer – so what can we, at Benchmark Realty, do to help you stay safe? We really want to set the benchmark for Realtor® safety, not because we are trying to sell something, but because we truly care about each and every member of our real estate family.realtor safety tips- Benchmark Realty

September was National Realtor® Safety Month, and it’s always a good time to review our own personal safety policies. We’d like to draw your attention to a recent tragedy in Pulaski County, Arkansas, to encourage you to think twice about putting yourself in danger to sell a house.

On September 25, 2014, Realtor® Beverly Carter left her house around 5:30 p.m. to show a home to an unknown person; when she didn’t return by 9, her husband started to worry. He went to the home and found her car parked in the driveway with her purse inside – and the door to the home was wide open. He called the police, who didn’t find any evidence of a crime.

After days of searching, during which our own Benchmark agents stepped up to help, Beverly Carter was found dead on September 30. The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has a suspect in custody, and he’s being charged with Capital Murder.

How could this have been prevented? As Realtors, we always need to ask ourselves that question. While we can’t predict what other people will do—especially strangers whom we’ve never met—we can take some steps to protect ourselves before we’re victims of a senseless tragedy like this one.

CLICK HERE to watch how Benchmark Agent Jennifer Van Nelson joined in the search for Beverly Carter.

Realtor® Safety Tips

While it’s easier said than done, we implore you to take safety precautions when you’re showing homes to strangers, including:

  • Bringing another agent with you
  • Get identification from prospective buyers before showing them homes
  • Make sure others know where you are at all times
  • Meet clients in your office (make a copy of their photo ID and leave it with a staff member) before every showing
  • Show homes during regular business hours, when possible
  • Purchase a small Taser or can of mace and keep it in your hand while in the house with the prospect

We’re currently in the process of revamping our own safety protocol, and we are always open to suggestions about how we can help keep you safe.

At Benchmark Realty, our hearts break for the Carter family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them through this difficult time.

5 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We’ve all seen it before: a client who’s so excited about buying his or her first home that they’re making classic mistakes.

As a Realtor®, it’s your job to help them do the right thing. The good news? You can do that while building their loyalty and earning their respect – and it’s probably easier than you think.

First, let’s cover the newbie mistakes:First Time Homebuyer Mistakes- Benchmark Realty

First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

  • Buying too much house. Actually, it’s not really too much house; it’s buying more than they can afford afford (just because they’re approved for a certain loan amount doesn’t mean they can really afford it). Your clients need a serious budget before they can start serious house shopping.
  • Forgetting about additional fees. Many first-time homebuyers don’t think about HOA fees, utility costs that go up over time (especially when appliances get old) and maintenance costs.
  • Ignoring the need for a home inspection. We all know that big things that go unchecked will seriously affect the value of a home—like mold in the crawl space—but many first-time homebuyers might assume everything is as it seems. Unless your buyer is a licensed contractor, insist they hire a licensed home inspector to look at the systems of the property.
  • Believing that foreclosures are always the best deal. Yes, they’re sometimes less expensive to purchase; at the same time, renovations and unexpected repairs can cost far more than the home itself. Since most foreclosures are sold “as is” this is critical to remember.
  • Rushing. Sure, it’s exciting – but it’s unequivocally one of the worst things to rush into.

You’re an experienced Realtor®. You already know all of this, so what does it mean for you?

Positioning Yourself to Do Business

Many agents don’t go out of the way to educate their clients. That’s where you can really set yourself apart. Let’s face it: people have a desire to do business with smart, caring people. (As an aside, that’s part of what makes Benchmark Realty special.)

We recommend building an information packet that covers all five of these mistakes. People love a take-away! Make sure it’s branded by putting your logo and contact information on the top of each page. Include:

  • A budget worksheet
  • A worksheet that includes possible additional expenses
  • An information sheet on home inspections with at least 5 local inspectors’ contact information
  • An information sheet on foreclosures
  • A step-by-step guide that illustrates the whole process for first-time homebuyers

Naturally, branding is incredibly important. Your logo, Facebook URL and Twitter handle need dedicated space, as do your web address, phone number and email address. (Don’t forget that the company name and phone number must appear in all advertising.)

Making Sure You Have an Edge

At Benchmark Realty, it’s our mission to make sure our agents have the tools they need to build successful real estate careers. We embrace the Total Freedom concept and give our agents 100 percent commission from day one.

If you’d like to talk about becoming a Benchmark Realty agent, call us at (615)371-1544 or fill out the form below. We’ll set up a meeting so you can discover how you can take control of your real estate career with Benchmark Realty.

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