“I buy when other people are selling.” – Jean Paul Getty

As a buyer’s agent, I’m looking at houses all day long. I know what buyers like and what makes them immediately leave. These concepts aren’t new, yet in this market of distressed properties, I’m seeing less and less “staging” and cooperation and more of a “you’ll take it as it is and love it” attitude. After all that’s what all the banks do right?

In actuality, REOs (real estate owned) or bank owned homes are the easiest to show and sell. They are vacant. A buyer can see the home anytime they want . Added to that the buyer’s can look at the house all they want without the weird feeling of snooping through someone else’s stuff.   REOs are sometimes remodeled, painted in a neutral color, the carpet is replaced, and in some cases the appliances are new or retrofitted. Finally, the process is often faster, 30 -60 day escrow and no third party approval needed.

So how do you get your home to compete?

First, if you have to sell your house as a short sale you can’t compete on time. The best you can do is hiring a short sale specialist (I can refer you to some great ones no matter where you live) to work the negotiation process. Often times, the right agent can make a huge difference in time.

However, you can make your home competitive in other areas.

1.) Make your home as easy to show as possible. We live in a fast food culture. We expect instant gratification. If a buyer can’t see your house immediately, they most likely will not see it at all.

2.) Clean you house. I sounds like a no brainer right? You’d be surprised how often I walk into a house with dishes in the sink and clothes on the floor.

3.) Remove personal items like pictures and chotskies. You want the buyer to be able to imagine their stuff in the house, not be obsessed with the photo of you pole dancing a light post.

4.) De-clutter the house. If you’ve started packing, move the boxes to the garage where they are out of sight. This let’s the buyers see the full space and opens up the rooms.

5.)If you’ve already moved, keep the power on. Buyers work and many of them can’t view houses until the evenings. Looking at homes with a flashlight has become a common practice. Stand out and keep the power going.

6.) Don’t over power the house with smells. Neutral smells like cinnamon, vanilla, and light lemon are inviting and nostalgic. Fruit Explosion or anything floral from the dollar store may smell great to you, but they can also induce headaches and allergies in others.

Your house is competing against the house next door that’s $10,000 cheaper and bank owned. You want to impress the buyer so much, they are willing to stick around for 4 months waiting for lien holder approval. Take the extra time and effort to make your home more appealing to buyers.  Now, more than ever, your house has to make the buyer fall in love.


*On a completely unrelated note, I’m hiring. If you know anyone who loves to look at houses, is independent, organizes and a motivated, please have them submit a resume to Jessica.L.Kincaid@gmail.com


“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Stewart Brand

The Evolution of Writing an Offer

Handwrite, copy, fax (everyone has a hard copy)*

Handwrite/type, copy, scan, fax/email


Type/DocuSign/email (everyone has a PDF)

*Rumor has it there was once this thing called carbon paper where you wrote in triplicate…

Technology helps us work smarter, it helps us be more efficient. Why wouldn’t you use a system that lets you write the offer (or upload a PDF), email it to all parties (at the same time) for signature, provide a copy to all parties the instant they sign, and creates an easy, safe, and secure PDF for you to email to the listing agent? This is a no brainer. After all aren’t we supposed to be working smarter instead of harder?

Welcome to DocuSign. ** In my opinion, probably one of the greatest inventions ever.  What is DocuSign? According to their website, it’s “the complete digital signature platform”. I like to refer to it as freedom. I love that I don’t have to be tied to a printer in order to get an offer signed. No longer do I have to bring my clients all the way back to my office; I can write the offer, email it to them to sign, and submit it to the listing agent right from the property. I can be out-of-town or heck even by the pool (it is Vegas after all) and the process is the same. If you aren’t already signed up with Docusign, what are you waiting for? Get on board! After all it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

** Because I know I will get comments, yes there are some instances where the banks won’t take a DocuSign offer. They are the holdouts. They will come to the darkside…eventually.

“Everyone always wants some new things. Everyone likes new inventions, new technology.” ~ The Office

I often have buyers who are purchasing property without ever having looked at it. This market moves very quickly, so there isn’t a lot of time for the luxury of waiting a few days to write an offer so someone can fly into town. By that time, the property is either gone or has multiple offers. This means agents have to be creative when working with out of town buyers.

One of the greatest websites for this is Qik.com. Qik allows me to take streaming video from my phone. How does this work? A property matching my clients criteria comes on the market, I visit the property and using the application on my phone, record a video. As I am recording, Qik is sending it to their website live. It also saves the entire file so if my client is not online, I can send them an email with the video link to view.

Not working with out of state buyers? Another practical application has been to use the site in cases where a couple is purchasing a home and only one person could meet me to view the house or where the buyer may want the opinion of friends and family before making the purchase. Instead of visiting the property multiple times, I take the video on the first visit and send it the buyer who can then send it their circle of influence.s

One of my other favorite things about this application is that it allows me the ability to privatize any videos. This way I have control over who sees what. I get all the benefits of the site, while the seller gets peace of mind that their vacant (or not so vacant) house will be all over the internet.

What would normally take a few days, now only takes a few hours and allows my clients the opportunity to put their offers in a lot faster. It’s a practical application and the best part is, its FREE and it works on most smartphones.

*A word of caution. These videos are taken on the phone so they tend to be a bit shaky and anything you say will be recorded.

Here’s a sample of a video I took.