Nebraska Realty Agents Offer Advice for Selling a Home Fast

 

So, you decided to sell your house? Before even thinking about pricing, the first thing to consider is curb appeal, followed by … a sharp-looking garage? Absolutely true, says Brian Carlin of Nebraska Realty, the second-largest Omaha brokerage with over 425 licensed agents.

Putting your home on the market is a bit like dressing up in your Sunday best. But don’t forget the garage. An organized and clean garage is the true measure of a well-kept home, and not just for the purpose of a sale,” said Brian, a 14-year Omaha-area home-sales veteran who holds a contractor’s license and the Realtor designation as a Certified Residential Specialist.

Fellow Nebraska Realty agent Dave Maloy chimed in: “I wouldn’t be quite as strict as Brian on the garage presentation. I’ve told clients to utilize their garage as a staging/storage area while their house is for sale. Buyers understand what people are facing and what it takes to sell a house, especially buyers selling houses themselves. But, to agree with Brian, that garage usage does need to be orderly.

Dave noted: “The most important task, though, which isn’t as common-sense as you would conclude, is to deeply clean the home before buyers walk through. A couple hundred bucks spent on professional cleaning will go further than thousands spent on staging. Neutralize offensive odors – don’t cover them up with ‘fresh-baked-cookie’ or body-spray air-freshener smells – by cleaning the home. If you aren’t good at cleaning, admit it – don’t skimp and save $200 on one of the most important financial transactions you will make.”

Brian couldn’t agree more with Dave on the cleaning and added: “The most often overlooked areas of a home during the big spring clean are ceiling fan blades and HVAC cold air return vents. Apparently, everybody forgets to look up while they clean. Cold air return vents sometimes located on walls near ceiling and ceiling fan blades collect a ton of dust during the winter months.” 

Nebraska Realty agent Molly Amick offered her tack: “I always advise sellers to depersonalize the setting so potential buyers can fall in love with the house instead of trying to figure out the residents’ story with pictures, medications and mail on the counters, children’s items and more. Those things can give pointed information about why people are moving or how motivated they are. I also tell people instead of decluttering, ‘get packing!’ Every horizontal service should be clean and free of accessories, pictures, knick-knacks and things you don’t use every day. In fact, everyday items should be put in drawers. Sellers will be so amazed how beautiful their home and listing photos look that they may decide not to move!

Nebraska Realty agent Deda Myhre added: “I always ask my sellers to clear out closets, under sinks or any storage areas and then organize them to make the spaces appear as big as possible. Fold and stack towels, and organize smaller items in inexpensive baskets for the biggest impact.”

Furthermore, the Nebraska Realty agents agreed: “Repairs, absolutely yes (never leave a repair project unfinished). Improvements, not so much,” pointing out sellers shouldn’t get carried away with improvements. Most important are getting the house on the market quickly and then being sensitive to prospective buyers’ feedback to guide the most needed improvements. Sellers also may offer to negotiate credit and let the buyer decide where to spend money.

Among other advice to consider:

  • To improve the curb appeal, consider new paint, replace rotting wood or add landscaping mulch. Don’t forget to sweep the entry or porch and knock down any cobwebs.

 

  • Don’t replace the carpet, clean it. The new owner might want flooring and would possibly rip out new carpet anyway. Consider giving a carpet or flooring allowance.

 

  • Update or replace electrical items such as ceiling fans. Have electrical panels checked for replacement, especially Federal Pacific or Zinsco panels.

 

  • Paint or remove old wallpaper as needed, and opt for neutral colors.

 

  • Roof replacement. It is the most common repair on a deferred maintenance list, and a repair that is one of the highest concerns for a lender, insurance company or buyer.

 

  • Small details: Use door stoppers to protect walls; move furniture that may be hit by a door opened too quickly or fully.

Finally, get an inspection from a professional who is certified by American Society of Home Inspectors and make the recommended repairs yourself or hire a handyman. If the buyer hires an inspector, things could get far more expensive because they will dictate using licensed professionals who will have to warranty the work.

To learn how Nebraska Realty helps in the home-buying process, check out: https://www.nebraskarealty.com/buyers/home-buying-process.aspx. See why working with Nebraska Realty is different:  https://www.nebraskarealty.com/buyers/faq-buying-selling-home.aspx.

For additional information, contact Nebraska Realty at https://www.nebraskarealty.com/ or reach any agent at https://www.nebraskarealty.com/agents/ or call (402) 491-0100. The Nebraska Realty Building is located at 17117 Burt Street, Omaha, NE 68118, north of the Village Pointe Shopping Center.

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, THERE’S GOOD BARBECUE

Rich Clark has had a couple surprises in recent years. He started a career in real estate and became an expert in barbecue. Neither of which were on his radar. He had been enjoying his job in apartment maintenance, but eventually, he was invited to join the world of real estate sales. After one year of building experience in the real estate market, he made the move to Nebraska Realty where he has been happily settled for the past year. He had a friend who told him about Nebraska Realty and specifically the President and CEO, Andy Alloway. Rich said he contacted Andy to discuss a potential move to Nebraska Realty and Andy “was so genuine and easy to talk to” that Rich knew he needed to make the move.

Since making that move, Rich has had the opportunity to supplement his real estate career with his barbecue hobby which has become a second profession. Rich developed an interest in barbecue by watching television shows like BBQ Pitmasters. He figured he could do it, too and started experimenting. Between trying out his own techniques and recipes, and reading books by Myron Mixon, Rich developed enough skill to win second place for brisket in the 2014 Decatur Riverfront Days barbecue contest. For the past several months, he has been the go-to barbecue guy at four area Cubby’s Convenience Store locations smoking meat in the parking lot for them to serve to their customers for as long as supplies last, which isn’t long. On Mondays, Rich can be found in Bennington, then at the Old Market location on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in Shelby, Nebraska on Wednesdays and every Saturday brings him to the Blair location.

Even though he spends many days each week in a parking lot smoking brisket, Rich keeps up with his real estate clients by firing up his laptop and phone enjoying the free Wi-Fi offered by Cubby’s. Whether it rains, snows or the sun is shining, the show goes on. Inclement weather means Rich will likely be preparing meat under a shelter set up to protect him and the smoker from the elements. Rich explained that the secret to knowing how the meat is cooking is by watching the smoke as it rises out of the stack. “When it rolls out slow and white, you have to make the fire hotter because the meat’s not cooking. If the smoke is coming out fast, it’s too hot, likely burning the ends. Rich said one day he’d like to create his own rubs and sauces to supply to customers who enjoy the meats he smokes.

Rich is just as committed to his real estate clients as he is to perfecting the smoked meats he creates each week. He is eager to be the best agent he can be and is enthusiastic to share how easy Andy Alloway makes it work at Nebraska Realty. “It’s nice to know someone at his level takes the time to listen. He actually makes eye-to-eye contact to make you feel heard, and he knows the things that aren’t worthwhile to pursue and knows how to steer us in the right direction,” Rich said.

Rich even translates his barbecue talent into closing gifts for his real estate clients. Once the family has moved into their new home, Rich hosts a housewarming party for their family and friends providing smoked brisket as the centerpiece of the meal. What better way to speak to the heart of what matters?

Are you interested in connecting with Rich? 

Contact Rich Clark

 

Teamwork Vital to Success in Football and Real Estate

Chris Bober experiences success on and off the football field. 

Being a professional football player is high on the list of goals for most young boys, but few actually realize that dream. Since most athletes’ pro careers are typically shorter than most other careers, they eventually find themselves pursuing other goals and visions for life. This scenario is exactly what happened for Chris Bober.

After enjoying a career as an offensive lineman with the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs, Chris returned to Omaha in 2008 and began his next career in real estate. “Professional football is extremely structured,” Chris explained, “with coaches and owners dictating your one goal: win the game.” Not only does someone else tell you what your goal is, but then add the rigid training and practice schedule year-round and there isn’t much flexibility in the life of a professional athlete. So when faced with the opportunity to pursue a new profession, Chris knew real estate would be the best option. It’s the polar opposite of football and the hardest part of the transition is also what he loves most about real estate: Chris is completely in charge of his goals. The potential is unlimited, “You can be as successful as you want to be with real estate. There is no ceiling to our success.”

 It would be easy to question how real estate relates to football when it comes to the transition from one to the other. “Being a professional athlete taught me humility, the value of hard work, and paying the price for success,” he said. Having attended Harvard and the Kellogg School of Business, Chris knew he’d need education to fall back on, and that, combined with the work ethic he developed in football has prepared him for a lifetime of success in real estate. Although Chris is no longer part of a football team, he is one-half of Team Bober, as he and his wife, Jennifer, have partnered together to be the yin and yang for their real estate customers. “Together we are a powerful team. We complement each other,” he said.

Hard work and intelligence are only part of the formula. Chris places a big priority on developing relationships within the community and it shows because his business is exclusively referral-based. He doesn’t rely on traditional advertising, but on his reputation for customer service and receiving referrals from happy customers who often become friends through the transaction process. Community involvement for Chris reaches to the St. Patrick parish where he is a volunteer football and basketball coach, Chris Bober’s Building Blocks Foundation which provides opportunities for youth to participate in athletic programs and learn the value of teamwork, and his volunteer work for the Knights of Columbus.

Chris Bober’s experience is proof that you can start over from any situation to pursue new dreams and new goals. When you focus on the right things like helping others and community involvement, success is always within reach.

Photo and video is credited to 316 Strategy Group

Realtor’s Work to Find the Best Homes Not Limited to People

What if, instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on designer dogs, everyone in this country adopted pets that desperately need homes? What a wonderful world it would be.

Cindy Andrew has taken on the challenge of helping orphaned pets find their forever homes. Through her work with Heartland German Shepherd Rescue (HUGS), Cindy provides foster care for dogs while also volunteering in an administrative role by processing applications for prospective adoptive families. HUGS is a 501c3 nonprofit, launched in May of 2015, dedicated to saving and rehoming German Shepherds and German Shepherd mix dogs.

Fostering and application processing are only two of the roles required at HUGS. Among other things, volunteers also coordinate veterinary exams, they interview applicants and conduct background checks on prospective families. 

Cindy fostered her first dog in February of this year and adopted one herself. Sissy came to Cindy’s home waiting for a family to find and accept her. “Sissy came from South Dakota running around on a reservation. Many of our dogs, including my current pups, came from there. Another volunteer group finds and traps the dogs, but they aren't able to find them homes. That's where we come in and make several trips to Valentine to save them. Without us, many of them would starve, or freeze to death.” Within two months, Cindy knew she couldn’t let Sissy go. Sissy’s story is one of many wherein innocent animals are found abandoned, dropped off at a shelter, or taken by police due to abuse or neglect. The more fortunate ones find their way to an agency like HUGS where people are willing to welcome them into their homes, care for them, and prepare them for their forever family. “We treat dogs like they are our kids. They are so well taken care of. We want the dogs placed in forever homes so we do everything possible to place the right dog in the right home so everyone will be happy,” she said.

Growing up around her grandpa’s German Shepherds, Cindy always had a love of dogs and was notorious for constantly bringing home strays. She’s also been known to stop in the middle of intersections to save dogs from traffic dangers. Naturally, she would eventually turn that love of dogs into a volunteer experience. Her career as a realtor with Nebraska Realty meshes well with her volunteer work as she spends time in both spaces helping others find homes. Though she began her career in television as a news reporter, Cindy found her true happiness and helpfulness in real estate. Cindy is proud of the progressive technology tools Nebraska Realty provides the agents, and at no charge. Speaking about Nebraska Realty owner, Andy Alloway, Cindy said, “Andy is a genuinely nice and caring person who treats all the agents here very well. With so many agents coming to us from other agencies, why would I go anywhere else?” Cindy commits a portion of her profits from each house sold to be donated to HUGS to help with caring for the dogs. She gives $200-$1,000 depending on the price of the home.

HUGS conducts events throughout the community for adoptions and fundraising. At one public event held at Nebraska Realty, lunch was grilled in the parking lot, while realtors came and brought along househunting clients that were looking for pets. A dog was adopted that day. Cindy encourages everyone to first consider adopting when looking for a pet. “Get dogs from rescue groups or the Humane Society before you do anything else. Rescues and the Humane Society have purebreds, too.”

HUGS Facebook Page

Nebraska Humane Society Facebook Page

Nebraska Realty: 34% Growth Driven by Culture

Nebraska Realty has created a unique space in real estate that looks decidedly different from the rest. Owner Andy Alloway’s humility, passion for people, professionalism, and concern for the customer experience is precisely what makes Nebraska Realty different. When an organization’s leadership has these qualities, it naturally attracts agents with similar values. Nebraska Realty can be described as “agent-centric” with the agents being the agency’s primary customer. Alloway believes that providing the best tools to provide excellent customer service are the key to attracting and developing the best agents. “How you treat people is what makes you successful, not the sign on the building,” he said.

 

In the past several years, Nebraska Realty has seen a surge of growth in both sales volume and agent count. In fact, they’ve increased from 300 agents in 2015 to 402 today. Alloway attributes agent growth to organic, word-of-mouth testimony which is the best marketing any company could ask for. While growth is important, the main focus of Nebraska Realty is two-fold. First, to attract the most professional, customer-oriented agents and commit to their success through consistent continuing education, and second, to provide potential clients with personalized customer service by professional agents who can provide a first-rate experience for all real estate needs. According to Alloway, Nebraska Realty is “always looking to evolve with what’s happening tomorrow,” by being on the front of technology and providing ease of access to that for their agents.

 

Agents are viewed as franchisees at Nebraska Realty. They’re provided with the education and the ability to run their business without management or corporate interference. Freedom to make decisions tailored to each customer’s best interests is crucial to a positive real estate experience. As a whole, the agency’s success can be attributed to open communication and team effort among their agents, staff, and management. Social engagement through activities such as tailgate parties, pool parties, and grilling lunch in the parking lot during the summer develops relationships and support systems among the agents who largely work independently.

 

As the Nebraska real estate market continues to evolve, so too will Nebraska Realty. With a focus looking ahead at new construction and continued work with the 21 builders they represent, adding agents in Lincoln and Iowa, and potential franchising opportunities in outlying areas, Nebraska Realty’s growth is truly in the hands of a dynamic, forward-thinking team of professionals.

 

Nebraska Realty’s agents are not only committed to helping people find a home, they’re also dedicated to helping Omaha’s homeless. The agency is a very enthusiastic and involved supporter of The Shelter Fund, hosting a golf tournament and Christmas party every year with all monies raised being donated for the benefit of the homeless.

 

Angel Starks, a realtor with Nebraska Realty since 2012, told us, “Nebraska Realty has a culture that can't be replicated. You can't teach it or define it, you just feel it.” Nebraska Realty cultivates a culture that is felt not only inside the walls of the building but in the community as well.