Friday, October 29, 2010

good-bye big, starry texas sky

"There are only two lasting bequests 
we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots, the other, wings."
Hodding Carter, Journalist

Carter and Lilah Sophia,  
We moved here five years ago and it's where you came into the world. Today is our last day in Texas.

I'm told that before long you won't remember this road that you know by heart now, at 4 and 2. 

I'm told you won't ask for the people that have made us feel at home here-the only home you've ever known. 
We won't pass by "your" hospitals-which are always on "your" sides of the car when we head to the University to see Daddy.  
I keep searching for clues on your face to how your little minds are processing "this is our last time to see our friends", "the last day at school", "the last time we'll walk through the church doors or pull into the gym", "our last night in our house".
I've never been a parent of a preschooler before, so I'm going to experience uprooting and replanting a family for the first time along with you. 

I can tell you this, the people that loved me & embraced me in the city where I grew up have helped to establish the roots that have kept me standing tall and sent me soaring through the years. 
You were loved and embraced here in Texas.
With loads of growing left to do,
God will continue to strengthen & enrich the roots of your lives in our new hometown across the country. 
Texas has been pretty darn good, we think this next place will be even better.
God has gone before us. God has ordered our steps. Follow us, as we follow Him.

If there is more spontaneous hand-holding along the way, I wouldn't mind either. Just saying.
Mommy


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

simple steps

"It's no trick loving somebody at their best.
Love is loving them at their worst"
~Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing
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Friday, October 8, 2010

How to sell your house by owner: Top Paid Resources

*You are reading Part 5 of How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too!
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post.

1. For Sale By Owner sign, Open House sign ($15 & $7, hardware store)
2. Info Tube ($15, hardware store)
 

3. Professional printing for home for sale Flyer (see Flyer here) $30
4.  Local Paper Ads
Here's the deal. I live in a city of many older conservative people. I decided to give this effort all that I had from the beginning. As much as it killed me, I spent $99 to list the home in the local paper for 30 days (including their website). It was killer to spend $56 each weekend for an Open House Ad, but I learned the hard way that craigslist.org wasn't bringing buyers to my Open Houses. When the local paper messed up & didn't run my Ad one weekend, only 2 people came. They didn't come 'til the last few minutes because they saw my sign on their way to another open house nearby. I hope your paper charges less! 

5. $500 to the friend who's referral led to the sale of our home. 
I used Facebook to advertise my house for sale (status updates, links, photo album)
To reach the largest local audience, I sent a message to every local friend offering them $500 if their referral led to the sale of our home by owner. Unlike say, $50 or $100, $500 is enough incentive for friends to spread the word on your home (give them links to your website, photo album, etc and suggest they share it via facebook, twitter, blogs, & word of mouth).
We didn't end up having to give $500, because it was our flyer in the infotube that got the buyer into our home. It would have been worth $500, not to have to pay 6% to a Realtor.

*Another resource I didn't have to use, but planned to use if my 14 day FREE trial at forsalebyowner.com ran out before my house was sold (which it didn't!) is www.why6percent.com , where you can get an MLS# for a flat fee. This significantly increases your home's visibility. The catch is, you will want to consider offering to pay a buyer's agent 3% commission. Still better than 6%.


photo: infotube.net 
HOW TO SELL YOUR HOUSE BY OWNER:
Step 1: Before the For Sale Sign hits the front yard
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to sell your house by owner: top FREE resources


*You are reading Part 4 of How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too!
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post.
Now that you've cleaned & cleared, taken photos, and created a website you can make all of that work for you in advertising. Here are the top free resources I used for selling my house.
1. Craigslist.org (free)
2. ForSaleByOwner.com
(Free 14 day trial. The house was sold before it expired!)
These 2 can work together:
Using "create a craigslist ad" feature on forsalebyowner.com, you can create a professional real estate for sale ad that looks like this:
You can also use Craigslist.org & ForSaleByOwner.com to announce Open Houses.

The PHOTOS we had available were key in drawing potential buyers in to see more of the home through these online ads. See the Photos step here, if you missed it.

The key to my successful online ads was keeping them current.
I logged in & re-posted my craigslist.org ad weekly, updating anything that needs to be updated regularly.
The weekly re-posting was tricky; having to delete the previous ad or change something about the title & content to manipulate the craigslist.org system. It was worth time & energy because most buyers are going to focus on the first few days listed on the site. Keep these things in mind when posting & managing your online ad(s): CURRENT, ACCURATE, ENTICING.

3. Kodak Gallery (MOMMY) PHOTO CARDS. (50 FREE)
You may remember this post, where I mentioned these cards which are intended for moms to have easy access to their contact info for playdates, etc. There are no restrictions as far as photo or content, so I used a photo of my home, website across the front.
And the back included important info regarding the home: address, price, a few key features, contact info for showings.  
Concise. Appealing. Essential.
I was able to hand these out to people that came in for a showing, giving them easy access to contact info. I also kept them in my wallet to hand to those that may be looking themselves or know someone in the market for a house. Easy. Accessible. FREE! Get yours here.
4. Flyer 
Using "Pages" on my Mac I chose a flyer template with tear-off tabs on the bottom for posting on bulletin boards at local businesses. I simply inserted text & photos & printed them. You can do this all at home. 
I chose to have them printed locally in high quality to increase appeal which cost around $30. 
But you may have a perfectly adequate printer at home. Here's a glimpse at mine.

I kept a stack of flyers on display using a plate stand when buyers came through the house. We filled the info tube that was attached to our yard "for sale by owner" sign with these flyers too. Be sure to replenish. The buyers of our home were led to us first from the flyer out front. They had it in hand when they entered for the first time.
I also asked to post them in public areas, frequently visited by people that may be looking for a home in our price-range.

Also FREE:
Official Documents.
Real Estate sales documents vary state-to-state. I was able to download & print the necessary forms (sellers disclosure, offer form, purchasing contract, etc) from my state's website. Check with a local title company if you're unable to locate those forms online for your state. 
Have the seller's disclosure & offer form out at every showing & open house. 
I sent each potential buyer home with a business card, flyer, & offer form. 

HOW TO SELL YOUR HOUSE BY OWNER 
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How to sell your house by owner: YourAddress.com

*You are reading Part 3 of How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too!
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post. 

www.3006105th.com was integral in the sale of my home in less than 3 weeks.
It allows buyers to tour my home online & gather most desired information at their convenience.

This post will tell you how to create YOUR own home website too for FREE or $10: your choice.

I used a FREE blog platform to create & manage www.3006105th.com.
I chose blogger.com, which is user-friendly.
Theses instructions refer to using blogger.com. The concepts can be adapted & used on your choice of website platform.
All of the ideas can be translated to one of the other blog platforms as well.

Here's a screenshot of www.3006105th.com:


You'll need some time.
While it's easy, you want to be sure to publish accurate & thorough information & photos before you advertise the site.
1. the web address.
For simplicity sake, I chose to pay $10 for publishing my site as a ".com" 
(for FREE you can publish as ".blogspot.com".) I highly recommend spending the $10 to increase the chances that buyers will remember the address & for other advertising purposes (signs, business cards, flyers, online & newspaper ads, etc.)
I suggest using your address as I did "www.3006105th.com". It's simple & tells them both your physical & web addresses.
To nix the ".blogspot": Go to Blogger Settings, Publishing, choose Custom Domain.
Check availability. Pay $10 & you've got your domain for 12 months.
****SINCE THE HOUSE IS SOLD, WE'VE DISCONTINUED THE CUSTOM DOMAIN & ADDED ".BLOGSPOT.COM" (IT'S FREE)****

2. Header
Take a look at mine above.
Using a photo editing software, select a stellar photo of your home (I suggest the front view or front door, unless it's hideous & or FAR less attractive than say, your living room or kitchen.) I used Picasa which is free here. A catchy phrase, just your address, or both works for the text on the photo. Before it said SOLD, it read: "for sale by owner"
To insert as the header: Go to Design tab, Edit Header, Choose & Upload Image, select "instead of title & description", Save.

3. Pages (Posts)
Page #1 is a Photo slideshow. Visit Step 2 if you haven't.
I used FLICKR for free here. Once it's created, go to Play Slideshow, Click on Embed, Copy Code & Create a new post, Edit HTML tab & Paste the code. Publish Post.
Page #2 : General Info & Features. (including main home info, a few highlighted features, price & contact info)
The following pages are rooms. Each page has at least one photo of the room & includes a list of the most attractive features of that room.
Beyond rooms, I included a page that is formatted much the same way you'd see a Realtor's site with exact dimensions, materials, etc. It's more official. This is important for making the site appear professional to those that are into that sort of thing.
*You want to reach everyone. It only takes one buyer & they may not look or think a bit like you do.
Finally, I included a page with a map & nearby retail stores. I also included links to the school district's website & the city's website. For that added "imagine your life here" touch.
To be sure posts appear in the order that you wish, you can manipulate the time/date of publishing of each post: post options (below the white box where you enter your post text, post date & time, set date & time.

*Visit my home's site anytime for reference. 
Feel free to copy my format and text, on one condition: GIVE CREDIT when it's due! You can simply state the source for your text or your inspiration by linking to www.detailgalblog.com

*Speaking of credit: I was inspired by this site when creating www.3006105th.com 


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