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For Sale By Owner: Proceed with Caution

So you’re considering putting your real estate investment on the market, but what should you do first? You want the most for your investment. The listing process seems relatively easy; you call the agent, they run the numbers, and they get the paperwork ready. The photographer comes to your home, and, just like that, your home is on the market. All that commission for something so easy? I can do this myself. Mmmm… better think again. Selling by owner is risky – it may save you commission, but, in the long run, it could cost you even more!


Now we’re not saying you can’t do it, but let’s think this out. The agent’s first step is to run the numbers, so let’s start there – determining the correct listing price. How familiar are you with the activity in your area? Do you have the resources to pull active, contingent, pending, and sold real estate investments in your area to help make that decision? Research shows 18% of sellers found it difficult to find the right listing price, and that was just the start.


The next step for the realtor is preparing and gathering your paperwork. You will want to have many documents handy for interested parties. That includes pulling copies of your current deed, plat, septic permit, tax information, utility information, and what about those disclosures you’ve heard those realtors about? Potential buyers have done their homework, and they expect you to have done yours, too!


Then comes the marketing. Photography first. “I have the new iPhone X. My photos are just as good, and who really needs professional photos? Oh wait, Uncle Bob’s co-worker does that in his spare time. We’ll use him. Well he’s busy this week. And looks like it will be next Thursday evening before he can get to us. Okay, two weeks and we’ll have our photos back to market our home. Oh wait. We didn’t included editing time, too. Vistaprint is running a promotion, so, once we get the photos, our flyers will be ready.” As you can imagine, the story goes on. The cost of marketing materials, online advertising, professional photography, and more really add up, and you still aren’t getting the exposure that you do with a true agent.


Finding the right listing price and marketing are not the only difficult tasks. Other difficulties include struggles preparing the home for sale (13%), understanding & performing paperwork (12%), and selling within the planned length of time & having time to devote to the sale (6%), according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).  Research shows  the average For Sale by Owner (FSBO) home sold for $185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales. With over 50% of home buyers finding their home on the internet and 34% of buyers finding their home through a real estate agent, putting your home on the market FSBO may not be the best decision.


Don’t let it cost you. Nathan Fitts & Team has a team of professionals fully equipped to move your investment from “FOR SALE” to “SOLD.”


Nathan Fitts & Team of Remax Town & Country are leaders in Georgia’s Real Estate industry with proven results. This team will provide you with unmatched service and enhanced expertise in not only residential, new construction and building, but also in commercial, luxury homes & estates, and real estate development & acquisition.

This team of professionals has extensive knowledge and background of every aspect of the real estate industry, and, although the team is known as real estate specialists in North Georgia, it is comprised of agents able to serve you in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Nathan Fitts & Team offers the highest level of professionalism and customer service that you deserve as a valued client. The team’s success of repeat and referral business is true testimony to their genuine care for helping people experience their dream of “the mountain life.” You’ll find it easy to trust this team to put their wealth of knowledge, energy, and experience to work for you.


Allow Nathan Fitts & Team the opportunity to prepare a FREE comparative market analysis, and let’s get to work! Give us a call (877)BUY-MTNS or contact us via email


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15 Home Selling Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Many people in your life may think they’re an expert in real estate. Maybe they enjoy looking at listings online in your area, or maybe they’re obsessed with popular real estate realty television shows. Perhaps they sold a home several years ago and want to share their lessons learned with you.

What you learn from others about selling your home could be valuable information, but you may also be hearing popular myths that, if believed, could hurt your chances of selling your home for its highest potential price.

Here are 15 myths in Blue Ridge realty you should not believe:


1) You get to choose the selling price

Get this idea out of your head right now. Your real estate research and personal experience does not set the asking price for your home. Your experienced Blue Ridge real estate agent will determine the price of your home, which will be listed based on the current market, the home’s location, the amenities it offers, and its size.

2) Listing at a higher price means more money

This can actually be the opposite of the truth. When you overprice a home, you’re shrinking the pool of buyers who see your listing when they shop online, and you make buyer’s agents wary of working with you and your agent because they’ll know the asking price is too high compared to other sales in your area for similar properties.

3) You’ll keep more money if the agent has a lower commission

Again, this can often be the reverse of what actually happens. If your agent has a lower commission, he or she also has a smaller marketing budget and is reaching fewer buyers. Seller’s agents with commissions much lower than the standard rate (likely to lure in more home sellers) may also lack experience in how to negotiate the price of your home.

4) You’ll get better offers if the house stays on the market longer

The perfect window to sell your home is within the first 3-4 weeks. Homes that are on the market for too long may make others curious as to what was “wrong” with the house. People start to assume that there’s a specific reason others have stayed away. Marketing is strategic, and when done properly, will create buzz around your home within the ideal window.

5) If your house sells fast, it was priced too low

This is also a Blue Ridge real estate myth! For buyers who’ve been actively searching for homes in your area, a quick offer usually means that the buyer sees the competitive and attractive pricing that’s exactly in the right range for the size and location of your home, and they know other buyers will also be interested in the property.

6) You should overprice because the buyer will want to negotiate anyway

First, see #2 in this list. Then you need to realize that in actuality, Blue Ridge home buyers are more likely to pass over your house altogether than try to negotiate the price down. On top of that, if a buyer or agent is using an online tool to search for homes and your price is out of the search range, you’re losing all of that potential interest.

7) Real estate agents don’t purposely overprice properties

If you get multiple opinions on how to price your property (which you should do), you shouldn’t choose the agent who named the highest listing price just because it was the highest. If a seller’s agent is pricing the home significantly higher than what you’ve heard from other agents or seen in your own research, he or she is likely just trying to get your interest and is likely a less experienced and less qualified agent.

8) You can depend on home valuations you find online

Looking online for home pricing estimates is a good starting point, but it should absolutely not be your only source (or considered to be reliable). Online pricing estimates can give you the wrong impression about proper price range for your home, and having the wrong expectations can set you up for a disappointing listing.

9) Selling a home “For Sale By Owner” saves money

Having a professional real estate agent working on the marketing plan — and vetting buyers — for your home is not a simple feat. Aside from being a much more time-consuming and challenging that you previously though it to be, statistics show that people who choose for sale by owner wind up selling their home for 15-20% less than what it would have sold for under an agent.

10) A home doesn’t need to be prepped or changed before it’s shown

Your biggest goal, along with your Blue Ridge real estate agent, is to make a buyer feel emotionally connected to your house. In order to do that, buyers should be able to imagine themselves in your home, and that requires some cleaning, organizing, light staging, and preparation.

11) Open houses sell houses

You might be surprised to learn that open houses very rarely sell the home. Rather, it’s much better to work with a trusted Blue Ridge real estate agent to develop a specific marketing plan that will reach potential buyers however they want to shop for homes.

12) My home is beautiful and has a great location, so it will sell itself

Myth! Just because your home is an attractive size and located in a sought-after part of town, the sale will still take effort and strategic marketing plan. Don’t assume that your home isn’t in need of a proper sale plan crafted by an Blue Ridge real estate agent.

13) You should wait until summer to sell your home

The summer months are more popular nationwide, but in Blue Ridge, the best time to sell your home is whenever it’s best for you — year round. Don’t hold back or put off the start of your home selling journey because of this myth.

14) Marketing your home nationally will earn you more money

Advertising nationally or in digital media markets targeted to out-of-state audiences will limit the amount of exposure your home receives within your pool of potential buyers. Rebranding your property just to raise the asking price will not help your home sell any faster and can actually hurt a local sale.

15) Home improvements pay for themselves

This is just not true. Yes, improvements made will help your home become more attractive to buyers, but just because you spent $10,000 on an improvement project does not mean the asking price automatically gets to go up by $10,000.


When it comes to learning how to best sell your home, and who is looking to buy a home in Blue Ridge, do your research and work with an expert in the field (so you don’t lose money by listening to these popular myths)!

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Hiring a Real Estate Agent? Don’t Make These 7 Home Seller Mistakes

Hiring a Real Estate Agent? Don’t Make These 7 Home Seller Mistakes

There are many reasons why you might want to sell your home in Blue Ridge, and one of the absolute best decisions you can make when doing so is to hire a real estate agent. And we’re not talking about just any real estate agent, but a home seller agent who will be your ally, partner, and all-around guru for the entirety of the home selling process! Choosing the agent that’s the right fit for you is important, and you’ll want to stay away from making these 7 popular mistakes:

7) Don’t choose an agent because they have the longest resume

When you’re looking at profiles of real estate agents, one of the factors that may stand out to you is the total number of homes that person has sold. Yes, you absolutely want a person who has sold a large number of homes, but the person with the largest number isn’t always the best home seller agent.

Selling more homes means that those homes have also sold more quickly, which could mean the person was pricing homes too low or poorly negotiating with buyers’ agents. Rather, you’ll want to look at the sales-to-listing rate: the number of homes sold compared to the total number of homes listed. Someone who sold 95% of their listed homes is a much more qualified and valuable agent than someone who sold 60% of their listed homes, even if the person who sold 60% totaled in more home sales overall. At Nathan Fitts & Team we focus on getting our buyers the best return on investment possible rather than just selling their home in Blue Ridge quickly.

6) Don’t stop after you’ve met with only one agent

Hearing an agent’s marketing plan for your home is essential, but you won’t be able to gauge which plan best fits your home and your potential buyers until you hear multiple marketing strategies.

The same idea goes for pricing. You might really like a listing price that’s quoted by one agent, but you always want a second opinion. Listing a price that’s too high will prolong your sale and minimize your buyer pool, but a price that’s too low can also be a risk to you financially. It’s in your best interest to meet with more than one real estate agency to get a better idea of how your home will sell overall. When meeting with an agent ask them to prepare a Comparable Market Analysis, also known as a CMA, to gauge your home’s value against other recently sold properties. At Nathan Fitts & Team, we perform FREE home valuation estimates in Blue Ridge and the North Georgia mountains. Click here to get your FREE CMA!

5) Don’t choose an agent based on their commission rate

If you’re picking an agent because of their lower commission rate, it’s likely the rate was lowed specifically for that reason: to get your attention. There are a few reasons why that should be a “red flag” for you. If that agent has a commission rate that stands out from most other agents in the area (on the lower side), that agent had likely not been getting many clients, which speaks to their ability as a home seller agent.

Keep in mind that a real estate agent with a lower commission rate is also more limited in their marketing resources, which means your home listing will reach fewer potential buyers. Not to mention, if the home seller agent is willing to drop his or her commission, you should be hesitant to trust that person when it comes to negotiating offers for the price of your home.

We’re not saying to choose an agent with a higher commission rate either, but understand what the going standard rate in your market is, and look for someone whose rate is comparable to the standard. This is why we have established our commission guidelines to determine residential, commercial, and vacant property commissions.

4) Don’t choose a real estate agent who wants to sell your home for the highest price

The most important time for any new house on the market is that first 3-4 week window. If the price of your home is too high, your home will be off the radar for buyers who would have been a great fit for the property. Your seller’s agent needs to be able to execute a pricing, marketing, and negotiation plan that can attract buyers whose expectations are met. Creating that competition and eagerness to make an offer can then drive up the final sale price.

3) Don’t choose a real estate agent solely because they’re a family friend

This should be sort of a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people who get pressured by a friend or family member to hire someone that they know. Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t be worried about hurting someone’s feelings when you hire another other real estate agent. Of course, if the friend or family member has an excellent reputation and is a top candidate all-around, then that’s an entirely different situation. But don’t feel any kind of obligation to work with a friend of a friend, or a second cousin, just because that person needs more clients.

Your home and your sale experience always come first, and you deserve a qualified real estate agent who will ultimately do the best job. And if you do feel that a friend or family member is the best person for the job, be sure that you’ll both be able to separate business matters from personal ones.

2) Don’t choose an agent if they aren’t working in real estate full-time

Part-time agents means part-time availability, part-time open house schedules and part-time communication with other agents, potential buyers, and you! Don’t hire an agent until you’re sure that their schedule will best serve your needs (and the needs of buyers’ agents).

1) Don’t hire an agent without asking for references or checking reviews

You’re likely someone who is Internet-savvy when it comes to researching the best restaurants, vendors, and physicians in your area. You know how to research tech gadgets and appliances before purchasing them too. You need to have the same digital reference checking process when it comes to your real estate agent.

Checking the reviews on the agency and the home seller agent him or herself is a must. It also doesn’t hurt to check their social media profiles and to look for the marketing strategies they used when selling other homes similar to yours. The Nathan Fitts & Team Zillow reviews speak for themselves…to learn more click here: Nathan Fitts & Team Reviews

Most importantly, never be afraid to ask for a list of references. A home seller agent should never be wary of passing a list of references over to you.

Putting in time and effort to do the proper research before selecting your real estate agent is essential to having a successful and stress-free home sale experience. Remember to avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect agent (and buyer)!

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20 Honest Facts about Blue Ridge Real Estate Home Selling

So you’ve been thinking “it’s time to sell my home in Blue Ridge.” You’re outgrowing your property, or maybe you’re looking to move for a new career path. You’ve checked the market, done your preliminary research, and have started shopping for a new place to live. Selling your current home could seem like a complicated, stressful experience, but with the right financial, structural, and emotional preparations, and help from sellers agent in Blue Ridge, you’ll have a streamlined selling experience.


Once you’ve partnered with trusted Blue Ridge real estate agents in your area, here’s what you need to know to have a positive, stress-free sale.


1) List your home for an attractive price.

Your Realtor will help you with this, but your home should be priced so that it is attractive to buyers. Remember that you want to get the attention of the best buyers, people who are qualified to purchase your home and will quickly act on their attachment to it. If a home is overpriced, it will likely sit on the market for an extended period of time, and buyers will be curious as to why others passed it over. Ideally, you’ll have multiple buyers show interest in placing an offer on your home, which will drive up the final sale price.


2) Always present your home at its best.

It takes time and effort (and a bit of well-spent money) to prepare your home for potential buyers. Over-staging isn’t necessary, but a clean home that invites a new family to envision themselves there is ideal. If you’re posting a video tour or virtual scan of your house, you’ll also want to ensure all the rooms are organized and tidy.


3) Be prepared for a challenge.

You probably already know that you’re up for a challenge, and your sellers agent in Blue Ridge will help you along the way, but being aware that there will be ups and downs in the process will help you get over hurdles and other unplanned obstacles. Do your home selling research, work collaboratively with Blue Ridge real estate agent, and troubleshoot any unforeseen problems to make the home selling process go smoothly.



4) Understand your local market and community.

One of the most important factors when choosing a north Georgia real estate agent is making sure that person is an expert on local trends in the market for your community. They should have experience selling homes similar to yours, which will give them a better understanding of what potential buyers are wanting to see.


5) Don’t go to your open house (or any other showings).

It’s never a good idea for the homeowner to attend their own showings or walk-

throughs. Aside from the fact that it can be stressful and potentially even emotional to

watch someone critique your home, you also don’t want to over-share information or

say something that devalues the property.


6) Always repair what needs to be repaired.

What’s easy is not always what is right. If repairs need to be completed, trust us and do

finish them before you sell. Show buyers that your home is move-in ready, and that

they will not need to make any repairs themselves before moving in. Repairs tend to

work in a domino effect, and if you give the impression that you’re not taking care of

the property, buyers will get the idea that they home hasn’t been well-kept in the past.


7) Your too-familiar “home smell” is not your friend.

We all know that “other people’s homes” have that specific smell… but your house doesn’t have a smell, right? Wrong. Just because you’ve gotten used to an odor, doesn’t mean it’s not there for others. Take the time to get carpets, furniture, and other fabrics cleaned properly to remove any lingering smells that could affect the buyer’s impression.


8) Overpricing is only hurting you.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your home’s price should be attractive and in-range for desired buyers. Your price should take location, features, age, and size into account, but overpricing your home will make it harder to sell and will catch the attention of a smaller portion of buyers.


9) Be ready to negotiate… and to negotiate again.

During your home’s inspection, you might be told that certain areas need to be repaired or changed. When buyers receive this information, they will often want to alter their offer because of the additional costs in making these repairs. Anticipate these changes and negotiations and be prepared for how to respond to them.


10) Don’t assume a Cash Buyer is the best way to go.

Cash sounds really great, but a financing buyer has his or her advantages too,

especially when it comes to having pre-approval, strong purchase contracts, and being

able to stick to schedules and planned deadlines in the purchasing process.


11) Your curb appeal is worth the time and money.

When it comes to your personal style, first impressions matter. The same rule applies to

your home. Having a well-kept front yard with an inviting entrance for potential buyers

will help give them a sense of reassurance that this home is a positive and welcoming

place to be.


12) You have to make communication a priority.

After you’ve made the commitment to sell your home, it’s your responsibility to be

reliable and to communicate. Be available to answer emails and calls, always being

prompt with your responses.


13) Do not lie. Ever.

Every detail counts, and trying to hide defects or your home’s history from buyers (or

Realtors) is the worst thing you can do. It’s not worth the potential law suit when you

could have just been honest or solved the problem beforehand.


14) Home buyers should be able to see themselves living there.

While you do want to show buyers that your home was a great fit for your own family,

you don’t want to have too many personal items on display. The reason for this is if you

have too many things that are unique to your family, it will be harder for buyers to

envision themselves living there.


15) Detailed video tours and home photos can make a huge difference.

Having photos of your home is great, but being able to post video tours or virtual scans

is even better. Over 90% of potential buyers use the Internet to shop for homes, and

you want to be able to give them as much information as possible about your house’s

layout without actually having them stand on your property. Having video or detailed

photos/scans will also show the buyer that you have nothing to hide, and that you’re

proud to show off the space.


16) Sometimes a little compromising creates a win-win situation.

With any deal negotiation, you need to be ready to cooperate. A compromise can go a

long way, and help smooth out the process of selling your home. Keep people happy,

including yourself, and you’ll have much better results.


17) Set a closing date that supports your own move-out schedule.

Once your closing date is set, you have to be ready to move. The closing date is the

day the buyer is handed the keys to your home, and you have to be completely moved

out by that point.


18) Be sure to attract (and vet) qualified buyers.

Your Real Estate agent should be knowledgeable about your home’s “best fit” audience, especially if you have one of the area’s many Blue Ridge custom homes, and they should be vetted. Don’t get caught up in wasting time on buyers who aren’t able to afford the home, or who haven’t been pre-approved for a mortgage.


19) Consider that new buyers could see your home in a different way.

Financial and architectural preparation might be planned out ahead of time, but don’t

forget the emotional preparation either. Anticipate that a buyer may want to completely

change the layout of your home or repurpose certain areas. They might also remodel

the visual aesthetics completely. This isn’t a personal dig at you, but a way for the

buyer to make the home their own, which is always a good thing.


20) Seriously, use a trusted Realtor who’s sold homes in your area.

If you want a streamlined process for selling your home without surprise fees or

extended timelines, your Realtor decision is the most important. Find someone with

experience in your area, and at your home’s price range, who will be able to be the

most effective resource for you.

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Why Real Estate Photography Can Make the Difference for Potential Buyers

As all great real estate agents know, the best way to sell a home is to give the buyer a reason to fall in love with it. The percentage of potential buyers who shop for homes online before seeing them in person grows each year, and in 2016, it was reported that 80% of all home buyers do most of their searching online.


Put yourself in a home buyer’s shoes. If you were looking for a new place to live and the home was described in the listing as having four bedrooms, a finished basement and a spacious backyard, but the only photo available online was of the living room, you’re likely going to pass on considering the home as an option. You might search the address in Google and virtually stand in the front yard to see the home’s exterior, but unless you can check out bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, and other primary living spaces on the website, you’re going to be disinterested.


For younger home buyers, having fewer photos also gives the impression that the agent isn’t as well organized, or that he or she doesn’t give 100% effort to the listing, which would be a huge turn-off. Now you’ve got disinterested buyers who could have been a great fit for the home, but because they are under the impression that the agent isn’t thorough or tech-savvy (or worse, that the lack photos means the agent is trying to hide a problem) they’ll most likely never request a tour or step foot inside the house. Be proud of your home and what it has to offer, and don’t let a lack of photos sway someone into thinking that you’re hiding an issue.


How buyers find and tour Blue Ridge homes digitally


When a buyer is looking for a new home in the Blue Ridge area, he or she is going to start in a few common places: using a search engine, looking to social media, or inquiring from a friend or home owner in the area. If you’re using a search engine to find a home, chances are that you will be brought to a local real estate company’s website or to a national site like Zillow or Trulia. Looking through pages and pages of homes on a website is convenient for the buyer, but it also becomes easy for your house to be viewed as just another line on the page. As users, we are much more likely to interact with, share, and follow up on a post that has detailed descriptions and photos that give us the sense of what the entire property has to offer.


On social media sites, the photo of the home is what occupies the most space in your post, followed by a short title and one-sentence description of the home itself. Posts are often shared by friends and commented on with reactions or questions about the property. For people who know of friends that could be a good fit for the home, the social media user can simply tag their friend in a comment or share it to their page as well. The photos are what entices people to click on the links and explore the listings, but if you don’t include photos that are presenting homes in the best light, your post will be passed over and won’t be shared between friends.


How to ensure you’re presenting homes in the best light


Fear not, you definitely don’t need high quality camera equipment to get the best photos of your home, but there are several things you should be doing to ensure that you’re presenting homes in the best light, and we mean that both figuratively and literally. If you are looking into purchasing a new camera though, consider also getting a tripod to help you with stability and clarity when snapping pictures.


We’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit here though, because the first step of any good photo shoot is to prep the area to look its best. Cut the grass, clean up clutter from countertops, vacuum the carpets, remove any items that might be too personal. For example, if you want to show off your gorgeous fire place, but have a large family portrait hanging above the mantel, consider swapping the photo out if you don’t want the portrait to be made public on real estate websites. Another great reason to declutter or to not have detailed decorations is that it allows the person viewing the photos to imagine his or her own stuff set up in the home.


Choose a day that’s sunny and bright, with great natural lighting to support your home’s best features. You’ll want to shoot photos of the outside of the home, showing off accessibility features and any other central details, such as the driveway, garage, patio, or landscaping. Don’t forget to show off the backyard too!


Inside the home, your photos should highlight main living spaces and features that would be attractive for the buyer. If your description promotes amazing cabinet space and a large pantry, show them off in your photos! The same goes for closets and bathrooms. Making sure that you include areas that are great for family gatherings, as well as storage spaces and other amenities.


If you advertise your home as having four bedrooms, don’t just include a photo for one of them! People want to be able to see and get a feel for the size of each room, and that includes closet space and bathroom access. Bonus rooms, finished basements, and office spaces are attractive to buyers too, and it’s important that your photos show potential buyers that the home will make for an easy transition.


Particularly with mountain homes and cabins, photos should include the greater landscape or the view if you think it’s something the buyer would like. Outdoor living spaces, like porches, firepits, hot tubs, and grilling areas would also be great additions to your photo gallery. Don’t forget the main real estate marketing goal: show someone why they should fall in love with your home.


How photos can help increase leads


Largely because of social media, real estate marketing has shifted to include digital postings, along with mobile-friendly content, photos and video. We are more likely to watch a video or stop on a picture when we’re scrolling through a social media site, more so than we might read text or click on an outside link. Buyers are doing research online and many want to feel as though they’ve taken a virtual tour of the home before they schedule time to tour it in person or attend an open house.


When a potential buyer can see themselves living in the home, or know of someone who would be a great fit for the property, they will want to interact with the listing, talk with their agent, and communicate with the realtor to tour it in person and learn more. The digital landscape has become crucial to selling a home, but you’ll also have buyers who are more educated about the property, which in the end, will be much more valuable for the realtor.

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7 Reasons Why You Need An Agent Instead of Trying For Sale by Owner

7 Reasons Why You Need An Agent Instead of Trying For Sale by Owner


If you’re thinking about selling your home, you might still be on the fence about whether to hire an agent to help you sell, or if you should try selling by owner. Though it’s up to you how to go about the process of selling, there are some major benefits to using an agent that will help you save time, increase the value of your sale, and support buyer confidence. Here are just a few ways an agent can help make your home-selling experience less stressful while ensuring you get the most value on the market.


7) An agent is an expert for real estate in your area, like Blue Ridge


This is at the top of our list at number seven, but it’s one of the most important factors to consider. Even though you may be keeping up with recent sales in Blue Ridge and watching trends in the market, a real estate agent is going to be the most knowledgeable about what you can do in your home to help it sell faster and at a higher value.


6) Access to the Multiple Listing Service, like North East Georgia MLS and Georgia MLS (Atlanta)


An agent is going to help you sell your home faster because he or she has access to the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. The MLS is a database of all the homes for sale in your area, and when your home is listed in that database, all other potential homeowners’ agents will be able to see your home as an option.


This expedites the “word of mouth” process and helps others see that your home is also being sold with help from an agent. For buyers using a real estate agent, that person could be more interested in showing their clients homes that are being sold with help from an agent rather than from a family who’s trying for sale by owner.


Effective agents in the Blue Ridge/Tri-State area subscribe to the North East Georgia MLS and Georgia MLS which doubles the coverage in which your home is displayed.


5) They’re in-the-know on code regulations and zoning laws


You might know everything about events in your neighborhood, the quality of the schools, and where the best markets are, but an agent is going to be your trusted source for all of the local coding laws and zoning regulations that will apply to your residence. This is especially important when looking at different types of properties such as cabins and mountain homes in the Blue Ridge area.


Making sure your house is up to code will make the selling process much smoother and will give buyers confidence when they make offers to buy your home. If something isn’t up to code, like the entrances, foundation, roof, wiring, flooring, or plumbing, you’ll want to have someone on hand who can point out what needs to be repaired, and what doesn’t, helping you increase the value of your home and keep repair costs from exceeding what they need to be.


4) Inspector and contractor referrals


After your agent helps you evaluate your home, he or she might find something that needs to be addressed further before introducing your home to potential buyers. That’s where their knowledge of professional inspectors and contractors in the area will come into play. Having an agent is kind of like having a guide through the home selling process, a guide who doesn’t want you to waste money or find yourself in a situation where you’re in over your head. Having their knowledge of how to go about prepping your home for sale will be a huge help and will save you time and money.


3) Networking with other agents and potential buyers


Not only should your agent know of well-reviewed inspectors and contracts, but he or she will also have a trusted network of other real estate agents and potential buyers. Rather than depending on your own advertising and word-of-mouth, your agent is going to be able to reach out to other agents with which he or she has built a relationship.


If your agent has facilitated positive home sale experiences in the past for other agents and their clients, those agents will likely want to work with your agent to help find the right buyer for your home. In addition to the MLS list, your agent will make sure your home is visible on the market and attractive to buyers.


2) Official and professional price negotiators


One of the most challenging tasks as a seller is to know the best asking price for your home. You might be able to be a pretty good judge based on what other homes similar to yours are selling for in your area, but you might not be taking amenities, aesthetic appeal, remodeling, and other factors into account. If you post an asking price that’s too high, you’re going to keep yourself on the market for a longer period of time, wasting your own time, when you’ll likely wind up with lower offers in the near future.


But at the same time, you don’t want to start your asking price too low, because you might not realize that certain upgrades and additional features in your home, that were missing from a comparable home a few blocks away, might make your house worth more than you previously thought. Having an agent evaluate what your home is worth and come up with a pricing plan for buyers is a huge part of what an agent’s role is in the selling process, and it’s one of the most crucial reasons why having input from an expert is ideal.


1) A stress-free selling experience


Overall, the absolute best reason to use an agent is to make the sale of your home be as stress-free as possible. Of course selling your home will involve some stress and decision-making, but having an agent to guide you through the entire process is invaluable, and though having an agent might seem like an extra expense on the surface, his or her expertise and connections will help save you time and money overall.


Because you’re only going to sell just a few homes, or many just one home, in your lifetime, it can be a daunting task. Using a real estate agent who is aware of current trends and issues in your community, and is helping families sell and buy homes each week, will be a tremendous asset to you in your own experience. There’s a value in what you’re getting from your agent that goes beyond a price tag, and the confidence and security an agent can provide your family will make the sale of your home a positive experience.

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Styled, Staged, aaaaaand Sold!

Beauty, indeed, is in the eye of the beholder. Styling and staging may be one of the last things on your mind when you think of selling your home; however, styling and staging your home is essential in today’s market. Staging aids in turning a potential negative into a positive, and it greatly improves your home’s “showability,” which helps your listing stand out significantly among the competition. Georgia’s Blue Ridge and surrounding areas offer a unique market, which includes a variety of traditional and cabin style homes for full-time living, mountain retreats, and rental investments, so staging your home is particularly important, as buyers must be able to visualize how your home will suit their needs.


So now you are probably thinking, “with the possibilities my home has to offer, where should I begin?” Think curb appeal. The exterior of your home is what welcomes buyers to the inside. Our first suggestion is to give the outside of your home a well-maintained look; this includes pressure washing and repairing the basics. In addition to giving the structure an overhaul, yard maintenance is of utmost importance. Overgrown grass and weeds make your home feel neglected from the moment buyers arrive and steer their thoughts in the wrong directions prior to even entering your home. Upon completion of the exterior basics, you can freshen your look with items such as modern front door wreath, potted plants & flowers, and you may even consider a front porch bench with an accent pillow or throw.

The next step in staging your home is to enter your dwelling from the front door, as buyers will be when previewing your home. Take a look around. What way will you move first? Is the path you would take obvious? Are you able to move easily through each room throughout your home? Does it appear spacious? Does it look clean? Does it look clear? Are your eyes drawn where they should be?


“Decluttering” is one of the most basic steps in preparing your interior for a speedy sale. Removing clutter maximizes space without making structural changes to your home. This step is one of the most important, as it enhances your home’s features such as closet space, counters, cabinets, flooring, and more. Window treatments should be solid colors or basic patters that enhance, not distract from, the view. The less distractions caused by personal items, the better.


Now, let’s identify the purpose of each room. Buyers must be able to visualize how your home will accommodate their lifestyle. It is your job to help determine how a room should function. This may include rearranging existing furniture to improve the flow of each room; any rooms that you may have transformed to fit your lifestyle may need to be converted so that your home doesn’t appear to look empty or deficient.

Once you have cleared your home of unnecessary decorations and defined each room, it is time to freshen walls and modernize accents. This step is a little more time consuming, but it is worth the investment. The best way to freshen walls is with a coat of paint. Light neutrals are a must, and the wallpaper must go. Neutral colors open each room and showcases what each room has to offer. Neutrals also allow buyers to visualize their own furnishings on a solid color such as beige, tan, or almond. This color scheme is not gender specific, so it appeals to both sexes. Solid modern pillows and throws may be used to accent outdated furniture or camouflage worn spots. Think big, bold, and universal.


Mountain cabins, this step is for you… stage your room around the view to draw eyes to the outside features. Situate a comfortable chair near the window so that buyers are able to envision themselves enjoying the view with a coffee table and throw conveniently positioned near the chair. Create a cozy environment where buyers can imagine themselves enjoying a book or cup of coffee while enjoying all that the mountain life has to offer.

The term “staging” may sound like quite the investment and may even leave you feeling overwhelmed when you think of hiring a professional interior designer and decorator, or completing the project on your own, but let Nathan Fitts & Team of RE/MAX Town & Country put your mind at ease, as staging is one of their many services offered.


The listing process typically includes three major steps: 1) the initial listing appointment 2) listing paperwork: comparative market analysis, listing agreement, disclosures, etc. completed in person or via email 3) professional photos. From this point, Nathan’s listing specialist creates your listing from multiple listing services, as well as for other marketing and advertising campaigns. It is very important to have your home staged and ready prior to the professional photos that Nathan Fitts & Team provides to market and advertise your listing. Your staging consultation can take place during your listing appointment to make the process flow more smoothly. Nathan and his team are not only able to offer suggestions, but they are also equipped to provide you with the necessities to polish your home.


Ready? It’s time to style, stage, and sell. (877)BUY-MTNS

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What Is a Listing Agent? Why a Home Sale Hinges on Agent’s Expertise

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, finding a listing agent should be at the top of your to-do list. But just what is a listing agent? You might have a vague mental image of someone who plants a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn and shows potential buyers around your place, but there’s plenty more to it.

Here’s a primer on what a listing agent does, how the agent makes or breaks your sale, and how to find the right agent for you.

How listing agents help you price your home

How much is your home worth? That’s a hard question to answer. You can get an estimated value by entering your address on®, but from there you’ll want to do some fine-tuning—and that’s where a good listing agent can help.

And the stakes are high: Price your home too low, and you could lose out on a lot of money. Price it too high, however, and the picture isn’t pretty either. While it may be tempting to work with an agent who says he can fetch a fortune for your home, overpricing may mean your home languishes on the market for months or even years—making buyers wonder if something’s wrong with your home and lowball you anyway.

“Listing agents have many duties and responsibilities, but at the top of the list is to properly price your home,” says Janine Acquafredda, a Realtor® with House-n-Key Realty.

To do this, a listing agent will analyze the sales prices of comparable homes, or “comps,” in your area to see where yours should fit in, and advise you accordingly.

How listing agents help you sell your home

After you determine an asking price, a listing agent should provide you with a comprehensive marketing plan detailing how she’ll get your property sold. This plan should include the following:

  • Recommendations for home improvements or home staging, if necessary. Yes, these alterations will cost you time and money, but they will improve your chances of a faster sale and higher asking price.
  • Taking photos or hiring a photographer who will be able to highlight your home’s best features.
  • Adding your home to the multiple listing service, where home buyers and their agents can view your property and decide if they’d like to come visit for a closer look.
  • Advertising and holding open houses.
  • Coordinating showings with prospective buyers.

How listings agents negotiate with buyers

Once you get an offer on your home, it’s the listing agent’s job to present it to you and advise if any haggling needs to be done. For instance, if you get an offer way below asking price, your knee-jerk reaction may be to refuse in a huff. But a listing agent might be able to negotiate with the buyers and bring that price up to a decent level—or, if the buyers truly can’t budge much, find other ways to sweeten the deal like a faster closing date or waived contingencies. These compromises can actually save you tens of thousands of dollars.

How to choose a listing agent

If you’re looking for a listing agent, you can find ones in your area at, where you’ll find such details as their years of experience, number of homes sold, clients’ reviews, and more. Don’t just move forward with the first agent you meet. Choose at least a few and ask them some questions to assess whether they’re right for you.

Here are some questions to ask a prospective listing agent:

  • How many homes have you sold in this area, and how long did it take?
  • In what price range do you sell most of your homes?
  • Do you have advice for me about the condition of my home, and what could be improved to glean a higher sales price?
  • What is your marketing plan?
  • Can you recommend contractors, photographers, moving companies, etc.?
  • Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors®? (Realtors must abide by the group’s code of ethics.)
  • Is this your full-time job? (A part-time agent is not a problem, but you will want to gauge her availability during off-hours.)
  • How often will you touch base with me?
  • Are you planning any vacations, and if so, who will back you up?

How much listing agents get paid

Listing agents don’t receive a dime unless your home gets sold. If it does, the typical agent commission is 6% of the price of your home (which is typically split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent). This price may seem substantial, but consider this: For every hour an agent spends with you, he will spend an average of nine hours behind the scenes working on your behalf. In other words, listings agents work hard to earn that commission and get your home sold.

Credit: | Sep 14, 2016
Michele Lerner contributed to this report.