Professional Real Estate Photography – WHY?

Professional Real Estate Photography – WHY?

Q: Have you looked for a new home lately? if so, how did you search for that new home? Odds are that if you are looking for a new home, you have used the Internet and online photos to see what’s on the market. The 2014 Home Buyers and Sellers Profile report by the National Association of Realtors® states that 92% of buyers use the Internet in their home search process! To attract the right buyer for your property, it’s important to showcase your home properly with professional real estate photography.

Sale Price to List Price AdvantageHow Many Days Faster do DSLR photo listings sell









First Impressions Count

With buyers searching for homes online, a lot of times the “first showing” will be through an online presentation consisting of photos and possibly other media! Data gathered by Redfin proved the importance of great photos when they found that homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million that had photos taken with a professional camera sold for $3,400 to $11,200 more, relative to their list


Redfin also proved through their data analysis that homes which have photos taken with a professional camera actually sell faster! More people are enticed to visit a home with professional photos and they know what they are getting before they even step foot in the home! Across ALL ranges of list price, homes with professional photos sold faster!

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Which home would you rather see in person?


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Kathy Toth and Team

Your Ann Arbor Real Estate Experts

Keller Williams Realty

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Kathy Toth and Team are Washtenaw County, Michigan real estate experts who will guide home buyers and sellers through the entire real estate process. Our extensive knowledge of Washtenaw County areas, combined with decades of expertise in the local real estate market is extremely valuable to helping you achieve your goals. For quality service and personal attention during your real estate transaction, contact Kathy Toth and Team for all your home buying and selling needs.

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Free Professional Home Staging Consultations for Toth Team Clients!

Free Professional Home Staging Consultations for Toth Team Clients!

Home staging is a strategic advantage that attracts strong offers and a quick sale. Studies published by the Real Estate Staging Association show that staged homes spend about 50% fewer days on market. Independent surveys by HomeGain show that staged homes typically provide a whopping 343% return on a $500 investment.

Despite this, home sellers often have the impression that home staging is only for high-end properties, or that it’s too expensive and difficult. Not anymore! The Toth Team is proud to offer free home staging consultations by the certified professionals at MKW Staging and Redesign!

Home sellers who list with the Toth Team will be offered a personal home staging consultation and preview, up to one hour in time. During this preview, a professional MKW consultant will do a complete home walk-through, and provide immediate suggestions for staging options.

Sellers who wish to go further with home staging will be provided a quote for additional services. For example, the two-hour “Power Staging” appointment includes hands-on staging using materials and furnishings that the homeowner already has. The results are impressive and immediate! This service is only $250, and it’s ideal for occupied homes up to 2,000 square feet. Larger homes may require longer staging appointments.

The Toth Team provides Washtenaw County home sellers with unique sales strategies and innovative marketing. By partnering with MKW Staging & Redesign, the Toth Team brings professional home staging services to seller clients in every price range. Contact the Toth Team for expert home selling guidance!

More information on staging your home can be found at


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12 Tips to Selling Your Ann Arbor Home Before the Holidays

Winter is upon us in Ann Arbor, and that means cold and snow. It can be difficult to drag potential home buyers out to your property to give it a look, so you need to do everything in your power to make your home as appealing as possible. While the task is daunting, get in the spirit of the season and you can accomplish wonders in just twelve days. Here are 12 tips to selling your home before the holidays:

Ann Arbor Real Estate

Day 1: Find an Agent & See How They Can Sell Your Home

Finding the right real estate agent is complex and subjective, but it’s the first thing you should do. Interview possible agents and find out how successful they are, how much of a commission they command and what methods they use to market your home. Starting things off with the right agent makes everything that much smoother.

Day 2: See What Your Home is Worth

Your agent can help with this step. Combine their recent market analysis with your own research into recently sold homes. Look at the sale values for homes of a similar size and location as yours. This should give you an idea of what prices you can expect to draw interest.

Day 3: Decide on a Listing Price

If you set your price too high, you’ll fail to attract any buyers at all. Set it too low and you’re throwing away money. Talk with your agent to set a competitive price that will attract buyers to leave the comfort of their current homes to come check out yours.

What is my home worth in Ann Arbor MI

Day 4: Make any Necessary Repair

Broken tiles, leaky faucets, warped floorboards, chipping paint — these are all common in older Ann Arbor houses, and they’re all problems that require time and money to solve. Invest this money yourself and you’ll make your home look more enticing to buyers. People want to buy homes that are in good condition, not fixer-uppers.

Day 5: Clear the Clutter in Each Room

No, you can’t just shove your stuff in a closet. Closet space in older Michigan homes is at a premium, so buyers will check to see what you have available. Clear out as much as you can, either boxing up, selling or donating what you don’t need. You’re moving once you close the sale, and clearing out clutter helps prepare. Also, you should get rid of any clutter lying around the house, including toys on the bedroom floor and papers stacked in the home office. Minimize things and your home will appear more spacious — a quality home buyers look at.

Day 6: Arrange Furniture in a way that sells

Avoid cluttered rooms. Never leave a room empty. Make sure traffic flow works. The layout in some of these old homes can be odd, so play around with furniture until you get a layout that feels right.

Day 7: Stage the Bathroom

No one lives with a spa bathroom, but everyone wants to think they can. Spice up your bathroom to attract buyers. Hide or remove your personal items, clean everything up, and spruce up the decor. A little hardware goes a long way.

Day 8: Stage the Kitchen

What applies to the bathroom applies to the kitchen. Clean up the appliances, hide your counter-top machines and display the selling points. If it has a window, emphasize natural light. If it’s cramped and small, make sure it’s well lit and gleams.

Day 9: Enhance the Curb Appeal

If it snows, clear the driveway and sidewalks, salt them, and avoid marching through the yard. Make it as picturesque as possible. If it hasn’t snowed yet, clear leaves and make the lawn look neat.

Day 10: Add Seasonal Touches

A few ornamental Christmas items can go a long way towards putting your buyers in the right mood. A couple of candles, lit before they arrive, can make your home smell inviting and pleasant. Be subtle and non-denominational, not garish.

Day 11: Prepare & Host an Open House

Advertise early and leave the rest to your agent. Having the seller present distracts buyers and leaves you prone to making excuses. Your house should be staged by now; trust your agent to handle the rest.

Day 12: Review Feedback from the Open House

If you don’t have a serious buyer, it’s time to revise your strategy. What made your house less appealing to buyers? Do you need to reduce the price? With the aid of your agent, you can use the open house feedback and repeat the process until your home sells.

Selling Your Home in Ann Arbor, MI

If you’d like more information about selling your home in the Ann Arbor area, read our free home seller’s eBook:

Home Sellers eBook

3 Reasons to get a Seller’s Home Inspection

If you are an Ann Arbor homeowner looking to sell your property, you’ll most likely benefit from the significant rebound in the area’s real estate market in recent years. However, this still a competitive environment, so why not consider another way to get a competitive edge as you put your home on the market? Getting a “seller’s” home inspection before you decide to list your home for sale can help you identify any problems with your property (before any buyer ever finds it) and help you set yourself up for success. The last thing you want is to have any surprises during a purchase deal and drive off the buyer — all because there was something wrong with the house.

Here’s why you should get a seller’s home inspection before listing for sale in Ann Arbor:

Ann Arbor Homes for Sale
by Epiphany Kitchens

1. It’s a Proactive Approach to Problems

Should a home inspection uncover one or more issues, you and your agent can carefully consider strategy without the pressures that arise when an offer to purchase has already been signed by the parties. A seller may decide to fully rectify the problem by paying for a repair. The advantage with the seller’s inspection is that you’re not suddenly performing a repair under duress. Instead, you have the time to shop around for a proper combination of quality and price.

2. It Provides Pricing Advantages

If, on the other hand, your home inspector comes back with a clean report, this can work to your advantage. Armed with the good news, a seller may be more confident in asking a bit more for his or her home. Also, your agent can use the existence of a clean home inspection as a marketing tool. Many prospective home buyers feel the pressure of the process as it is. Many will actually gravitate toward homes that have been recently inspected by a professional.


3. It Helps Avoid Last Minute Surprises

It can be a huge advantage for a seller to not get caught “off-guard” when the buyer’s inspector returns with a report of problems. Buyers don’t like surprises any more than sellers do. In some cases, a bad result during the home inspection may cause them to walk. Although Michigan’s “full disclosure” laws mean that sellers mostly do disclose defects that they are aware of ahead of time, a buyer may nonetheless feel like they’ve been misled. Perhaps this explains why, in many cases, a buyer will try to reduce the price of the property by double or triple the actual cost of the needed repair. This can result in difficult and sometimes rancorous negotiations between the agents.

The alternative is to get a seller’s inspection at the outset, and to get everything out in the open from “day one.” Just the peace-of-mind gained can be well worth it. And finally, hundreds spent on a home inspection may translate into thousands of dollars more in your pocket at closing. Working out the costs of any problems uncovered in advance almost always turns out better for the seller.

Selling Your Ann Arbor Home

If you’d like more information about selling your Ann Arbor home, contact us or read our free home seller’s eBook:

Home Sellers eBook


Myths & Facts About Ann Arbor Home Appraisals

When it comes to selling your home in the Ann Arbor area, you’ll be faced with tons of paperwork, home inspections, and a home appraisal. Often you won’t fully understand the process, which is why the home appraisal is one of the most hotly disputed parts of the process. Homeowners can feel that the bank or lender is trying to help the buyer rather than them — since their home is being judged on quality and value. To help separate fact from fiction, here are some common home appraisal myths debunked:

Downtown Ann Arbor MI

Myth 1: The Appraisal is Designed to Help the Buyer

One myth is that the main purpose of an appraisal is to ensure the buyer does not pay more for the house than what it is worth. In fact, the appraisal is meant to protect the lender. Lenders do not want to own an overvalued house any more than they want to give money for one. They want the best value like all other consumers.

Myth 2: Appraisers Use Formulas to Decide Home Values

Another myth is that appraisers use specific formulas like price per square foot to determine property value. In actuality,appraisers take several factors into consideration to judge a property. These factors include the property’s size, lot area, and the proximity of desirable community facilities such as good schools.


Myth 3: Clean Homes Get Better Appraisals

Realtors who want to sell might put in a lot of time “staging” the property. Staging means putting up new curtains, ensuring the house is swept and dusted, and using furniture to enhance the appearance of the property. The fact is, this does little to improve the appraisal of the house. Appraisers are trained to look for structural details, such as paint cracks, secure sink and lighting fixtures, and the condition of floor boards or carpeting.

Myth 4: Anyone with a Clipboard and Business Cards can be an Appraiser

If you think anyone can be an appraiser, consider this. Each state has minimum requirements to become a property appraiser. In Ann Arbor, each appraiser must pass an exam and pay a licensing fee in order to become an appraiser. Some trainees have to complete 2,000 hours of supervised experience before they can be their own appraiser.

The Home Appraisal & Selling Your Home

If you’d like more information about the home appraisal or selling process in Ann Arbor, contact us or read our free home seller’s eBook:

Home Sellers eBook

Want to Sell Your Home? Clear the Clutter

One of the greatest challenges to getting a home sold quickly and for top dollar is clutter. Many homeowners don’t realize the impact clutter has on a home sale and in buyers’ minds. From a single first impression, the clutter stacked around your home could drive away buyers and leave your home sitting on the market. In order to get the best offers, here are some tips to help you get rid of the clutter and sell for top value:

Ann Arbor Cluttered Home
by Nicole Lanteri, On My Agenda LLC

Clean Out the Clutter

When a person is looking at houses they want to be able to see how their belongings will look in the new house and that can be a bit difficult if there is not a single space clear anywhere. Even a little bit of clutter can make home buyers lose interest in your home, so it is best to eliminate anything that you do not absolutely need before showing your home.

Depending on the season, since it does snow quite a bit in Ann Arbor, you may have shovels and salt on the front porch. these should be moved when showing your home to show exactly how much room is on your porch. It is very important to do a once over of the walkways before you put them away so that there is no ice for anyone to slip on. Even if you normally keep your coats and boots near the front door, they should be put away when showing you home because with them there, the first thing someone sees in your house is clutter.

Don’t Over Decorate

While it can be a great idea to place decorations around your home, more than a few vases of flowers and a few pictures would be over doing it. Tons of pictures on the wall and a vase of flowers everywhere possible may look great to you, but it may seem like you are trying just a little too hard to prospective buyers. And if it does not fit their taste there is a chance that they may not like it. It is best to let the house speak for itself.

Don’t Forget About the Garage

The inside of your home may be perfect, but do not forget that most prospective home buyers will want to see the inside of your garage to see how much room is in there. Many people just cram everything into the garage and don’t really worry about it. If you have too much stuff in there and you have nowhere else to store it, it may be a good idea to get a storage unit.

De-Cluttering Your Ann Arbor Home & Selling

If you follow these tips for de-cluttering your home you should have no problem getting your home to stand out from the massive amount of homes on the market. This will hopefully get your home sold quick for the price that you want. To learn more information about selling your home in the Ann Arbor area, contact us or read our free home seller’s eBook:

Home Sellers eBook

How to Set a Listing Price for Your Ann Arbor Home

Setting the right listing price for your home is essential as this predominantly dictates how fast you can sell the house. House prices that are set too high may repel prospects and may induce a rather lengthy waiting period. This could lead to gradual devaluation of your house as average market prices fluctuate. On the other hand, setting it too low will not allow you to maximize the potential value for your property. This is something to consider especially for those nearing retirement or is already retired and looking to pool in all their savings.

Ann Arbor Homes for Sale

Understand the Buyer’s Perspective

Look at it from the other side of the coin. Put your shoes in the situation of the potential buyers that come to view the property. Will you be pleased with what you see? Will you be convinced to pay that much money for it? If you have doubts on it or feel a hint of difficulty in putting a final price on the house, there’s a good chance that you are overvaluing the property and not really looking at it in the most sensible way possible. If you can’t even convince yourself to buy the property you are selling, how will you convince others to shell out loads of money for it?

Get a Home Valuation

Hire an appraiser. Home appraisers are often hired by the seller to determine the most accurate price possible. Home appraisers have extensive knowledge in the real estate market. They know current market conditions, average prices for different housing types, and so forth. They are usually inexpensive and the information you get from them is more than enough to compensate for this additional expenditure.

Talking to your real estate agent would also help, since they can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA). These documents provide an in-depth analysis for what other properties have sold for and the potential of what you could sell for. Real estate agents are also great experts at pricing homes competitively to get the most value and offers available.


Do the Necessary Legwork

Do your own research. You cannot blame anyone if you sell your property too cheap hence it becomes practical to do the research yourself. Look online for prices of houses that are similar to yours. This will give you a clear view of what price range to begin with. Another option you might have to get the listing price you want for your home is to add incentive. You can negotiate the contract between you and the buyer, or you can add in the furniture (so the buyers don’t need to get new ones).

Set the Price & Sell Your Ann Arbor Home

Determine how much time you have to sell the house. In some cases, patience is important to secure the best prices. If you immediately require the money, you may not have the time to wait for the best offers. To learn more information about selling your home in the Ann Arbor area, contact us or read our free home seller’s eBook:

Home Sellers eBook