Today we helped one of our Sellers close on their house in Oviedo, Florida.
After an extremely successful “First Look Open House” the home sold quickly. While this may look like a quick and easy sale from the outside, let’s lift the curtain for a moment. Let us show you the “behind the scenes” of just another successful real estate transaction and the many steps taken along the way. In fact, the whole process really started almost a year ago…
And so it begins
We received an email from our customers Brandon and Edissa in July of 2019, about 9 months ago. They wanted to get an update on the market value of their property, as well as some advice on the best time of the year to sell. These first time home sellers also wanted to find out what improvements needed to be done to their house in order to sell quickly – of course, ideally at the highest possible price.
We helped them with the purchase of this home about 5 years ago so we were familiar with the floor plan of the house and the location, Cobblestone in Oviedo, FL.
The Initial Consultation
The first step was to schedule a visit to the house. After all, it had been 5 years and the family grew. This young couple now has 2 precious kids and a dog so we wanted to evaluate the current condition of the house and how it compared with the houses that were selling right around that time, in August 2019.
Given the owners’ busy schedules we managed to schedule a visit within a couple of weeks.
That HGTV Moment
We are always curious to go back to a house that we previously sold to see the changes and love the owners have put into them. It’s kind of like the last section of each HGTV’s House Hunters’ episode, when the team checks back in with the new happy owners to see what they’ve turned the place into. Admittedly our favorite part of the show!
Oviedo Market Analysis
At our first meeting we were prepared to talk in great detail about the houses that sold within the last 6 months in the neighborhood and adjacent comparable areas; we also shared information about the houses that were on the market at the time, as well as the houses that had gone pending at the time.
The houses in this part of Oviedo are all around 30 years old. Some of these houses had recently been (partially) remodeled. Keeping all of that in mind, we were ready to advise Brandon and Edissa.
House SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning.
The goal of this first visit was to assess the condition of the property so we could complete our market analysis accurately and also to discuss the things that needed to be done to the property to have it ready for sale.
The house overall was in good condition and the owners had invested in some stylish upgrades.
They paved the driveway and the walkway to the front door which improved the curb appeal tremendously.
They also paved a good section of the backyard to increase open patio space.
Here are a few other upgrades Brandon and Edissa did over the past 5 years:
- They had recently replaced the whole roof of the house.
- They added a nice built-in in the family room.
- They painted the whole inside of the house with a neutral color.
- They replaced the carpets in the bedrooms.
However, there were some things not in their favor when selling their home. These were the big challenges:
- The floors were wood and laminate and they were heavily scratched in some areas.
- They had accumulated a lot of things so the house was cluttered.
- The 2nd bath vanity was too old and did not show well anymore.
- The AC was about 15 years old. It worked but it was at the end of its life.
- The backyard needed to be spruced up some.
- This house had popcorn ceilings which were very popular in the 90s but now frequently grace the top of most “ugliest features in a home” lists.
There was also a need for staging. Staging is done to give a purpose to each space of the house. By placing just the right furniture and decor it helps potential Buyers better understand the flow of the floor plan and visualize their lives in the home. That’s exactly why builders invest a lot of money in professionally staging their model home. And who hasn’t ever felt just at home in a model home?
After our first meeting we recommended that we address the things mentioned above.
We then determined that based on our research the best time to put the house in the market was March to May 2020 with a recommended listing price of $354,000 to $369,000, depending on market conditions.
The plan was for us to stop by one more time before the house would enter the market to make sure that everything was as perfect as possible. We talked about the end of the year or beginning of 2020 for that visit.
Our customers also wanted to be informed on sales in the neighborhood during the following months so we provided those updates from October to December, always keeping a close eye on the overall market activity in Oviedo.
A Smart Investment
Towards the end of 2019 Brandon sent me a message telling me that the AC had broken and to fix it was going to be expensive. He wanted to know what was the better route to take, repair or replacement? Since the house was going to be sold in the next few months I recommended to have it replaced. Having a brand new AC is always a great selling feature, so they upgraded their AC.
The Price is Right – But timing is crucial, too.
We touched base again in January 2020 as we were getting closer and closer to listing the house and planned one more visit for early February.
During that visit they decided on the listing price. Since the inventory was low and that is good for Sellers they decided to list the house at $369,000. There were growing concerns about the Coronavirus so we decided to enter the market in February rather than in March or even April. That turned out to be a very good decision after all!
The owners had worked very diligently during the winter so they had decluttered the house by a lot, replaced the vanity and 2nd bath, and improved the look of the backyard a lot. Then there was also that brand new AC. They refinished the floors some and moved some furniture around for staging purposes. They replaced a big dinette table for one that fit better in the space, and rearranged their living room. Of course, all of this is hard work when you have two little ones at home, but we were impressed how well Brandon and Edissa had followed through on our plan. When it comes to selling a home each Seller also has to do their part to ensure a successful sale. Believe me, it is so worth it in the end and you’ll be glad you did!
We were all ready – and just in the nick of time because there was indeed a new challenge on the horizon… By now, the Coronavirus was something to take very seriously, so time was of the essence.
Our real estate photographer was booked right away, and we started a pre-market online campaign. A “Coming Soon” sign was installed in the front yard and we scheduled a “First Look Open House” for Saturday, February 29th after entering the market on February 26th. We started to have a constant flow of showings right after the home hit the market on Thursday.
The Open House
Now, it may have been the freshly brewed hot coffee on a cold morning provided by artisan coffee roaster La Floresta Cafe or the fact that this home looked amazing on the high quality photos we had used in our marketing – we believe it must have been a little bit of both… Fact is, we had a very successful Open House with over 25 families coming through to preview the house.
Offers Rolling In
By Sunday, March 1st, we had 4 offers on the table to present. They were all very strong offers close to and even above the asking price. Even though it wasn’t the highest offer, the owners initially accepted a very strong cash offer. The Buyers were relocating from California. As you may know, most Sellers will prefer a cash offer over an offer that is contingent on financing, unless that offer is significantly higher and there are no concerns regarding the appraisal. Of course, there are many other variables to keep in mind but I won’t go there now (that could be the topic of a whole other article).
An Unexpected Turn
The next day we received a call from the Buyer’s agent saying that her customers had suddenly changed their mind and were no longer pursuing this purchase. COVID-19 fear…? We will never know.
Of course, we immediately contacted the other Buyer’s agents and told them that the house was available again.
In less than 24 hours we were able to secure another contract, this time with a Buyer that was obtaining financing with a 20% down payment and conventional loan.
The Finish Line
After this, the transaction was actually smoother than expected. Yes, there were concerns regarding the new situation we all found ourselves in. For example, would each party be able to move during a Stay Home Order in place? As it turns out though, real estate is an essential business, even in a health crisis like this. We learned a few other things about this new COVID-19 real estate world (praised be technology!) but are happy to say that we sailed through inspections and appraisal (always a bit nerve wrecking when on the selling side). The closing happened remotely on April 10th, 2020 with a final selling price of $369,000.
It’s All in the Details
Just like anything in life, it took good planning and precise execution to accomplish this goal. During our 15 years in real estate stories like this repeat themselves over and over again.
When the time comes and you are ready to sell your home, please give us a call or text us at 407-340-6458. We will be happy to put a customized plan in place in order to help you accomplish your personal real estate goals. We are innovative and always adapting quickly to the opportunities that our ever changing real estate market presents.
We are sure Brandon and Edissa will miss their beautiful home but we wish them nothing but happiness in this new chapter of their lives…