Archive for April, 2009


1.       LOAD AS MANY PHOTOS AS POSSIBLE into the MLS…. Come on! We all know that buyers go online and look through these listings for hours and hours… give them something to look at! If your home only has a few photos loaded, you are missing a big opportunity! If there are no photos at all, most buyers will assume that there is something terrible or gross inside the house…. Use photos!!

2.       USE GOOD PHOTOS!!! Use a flash on the camera for goodness sakes! Don’t put dark and blurry photos online!! If there aren’t enough features inside/outside the house to photograph, then take pictures of the local park, or the Fox River, or the entrance to the subdivision… anything!

3.       CLEAN OUT THE HOUSE! If you have already left, then make sure that home is spotless! Don’t leave the old paint and the rusty mower in the garage… if you don’t want it, chances are very good that a new homeowner isn’t going to want it either! Vacuum up the dead bugs every month! Pick up the newspapers out of the driveway and the doorhangers off of the front door…

4.       PUT NEW LIGHTBULBS IN! For any rooms that do not have overhead lights, leave a floorlamp for showings.

5.       HAVE YOUR REALTOR UPLOAD ALL OF YOUR DISCLOSURES TO THE MLS! This is SO EASY to do, and it makes it easier for the buyer’s agent to just go online and print them out, so they can submit them with the offer to purchase your home!!

6.       BE PREPARED FOR SHOWINGS!           We know that the market is not very dynamic…. That’s been proven. However, if there is an outside chance that a buyer will choose to see your home, then you better be ready. If there is a sign in your yard and a keybox on your door, then you better have the ability to show your home within about 15 minutes of a phone call! If you are in a neighborhood where there is a LOT of inventory, sometimes a buyer won’t choose yours from the listings online, for some reason, but when they are out with their Realtor in your neighborhood, suddenly your home is one that they’d like to see…. LET THEM! Be ready!!

7.       LISTEN TO THE FEEDBACK… It’s difficult to just keep throwing money at a house and hope that some of the negative feedback will go away. However, if there are little things that come up again and again, that you can easily change, do it. Whatever obstacles you can remove or overcome will only help you to sell quicker!

8.       ENCOURAGE YOUR REALTOR TO PAY OUT A WHOLE COMMISSION…. What I mean by this is, many Realtors will take a listing and put it into the MLS as   2.5% to buyers agent, minus $150”… why, oh why, do they do this?? Come on, if you have a Realtor listing your home and they have to take $150 out of the commission for the buyer’s agent, so they can pay for a virtual tour or for fliers etc, then maybe you have chosen  the wrong agent or company… I would think that many Realtors who are out showing property aren’t going to want to sell the one where they are automatically going to make less money!

9.       PAY ATTENTION TO THE COMPARABLES! This isn’t rocket science… it’s brutal out there in the market right now! If there are 10 homes in your subdivision, you do NOT want to be the most expensive! In this market, almost every buyer will take the stance that they are not going to pay for the most expensive home in the neighborhood! Be smart about your strategy…..

10.   DO NOT REFUSE TO GIVE A COUNTER OFFER ON A LOWBALL OFFER!!!!! This is the hardest item on my list, and the one I have had the most experience with in the last 12 months! I just sold a listing last week that came in at an absolutely insulting price! I counseled my sellers, however, to ignore where it came in and try to get it to where it can go out….. I feel incredibly fortunate to have those sellers as clients, as they were very realistic about what has happened to our economy and our housing market since they listed their home. This same buyer low-balled a different  seller before they came to us, and that seller was so mad he didn’t even acknowledge their offer. By the time he got over his temper-tantrum, those buyers were all signed, sealed and delivered to my seller’s door-step!!  There are not enough buyers out there right now to purchase the inventory we have. If you are fortunate enough to get an offer, you just can’t turn it away. Chances are, especially if it’s the first offer you have received, that it will be the best offer….. It’s unfortunate when the price is extremely unpalatable, which more often times than not, it is However, it’s even more unfortunate to turn down a buyer and then watch a listing in your price range close on their home 30 days later!


Good luck,  and happy selling!


Teresa Keenan



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Monday morning market… in Geneva!

Stone tower for sale sign photo

Welcome back to Monday morning market, where Geneva’s resident expert analyzes the stats from the last 7 days… single family homes only (detached)… here goes:



·         Active listings=                                  253 in number, priced from $135,000 to $3,499,000

·         Listings under contract=                  5 in number, priced for $199,900 to $619,900! 3 of the listings that are under contract right now are under $249,500, with one being a short sale

·         Price changed listings=                     12 in number, with the greatest drop going from $330,000 to $306,000…a majority of the rest of the price drops were right around $10,000.

·         Closed listings=                                 2 in number! Interesting numbers however, as one of the listings that closed went out at $220,000 and the only other closing in Geneva for last week was closed at $870,000! Not bad! Commissions notwithstanding, this is great to see as it means that a move-up buyer actually got to move up! No foreclosure or short sale…. Just a savvy buyer who got to take advantage of today’s interest rates and the great bargains out there right now.

While looking through the numbers this morning, I also noticed that we have a couple more “high-end” listings that came on the market today. Both are properties that were listed previously,  taken off the  market in the not-too-distant past, and coming back on now. Both properties are STUNNING, with one being on Batavia Avenue right downtown Geneva, for $1,795,000. This one is an architectural dream! Built in the 1920’s in a way that just doesn’t compare to today’s amenities! Phenomenal yard and fabulous appointments, that home at 909 Batavia Ave is a real, real treasure! The other is a dream home in Mill Creek, with all of the Havlicek specialties you would expect from any home he has constructed.  This particular home is on Willis Circle and has so much to offer that I couldn’t even put it all down here. The coolest part, for me (the avid gardener!!) is the “secret garden” that the homeowner had put in! A little gem in an unexpected spot…. Such a treat!

As agonizing as my job has been for the last 2 years or so, one of the most anticipated parts of what I get to do for a living is seeing the remarkable properties that I get to see each week. Don’t get me wrong with the post I am writing today…. I have seen some unbelievably special homes over the years that are little, tiny homes. I have a handful of homes tucked away in the little nooks of my brain, homes that I have gone through and have been unable to forget, for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s because of some charming aspect in the home that no other home has, sometimes it’s a fabulous location, sometimes it’s just plain good karma that I feel when I am inside, or outside, the home….The special qualities of many homes I see oftentimes have NOTHING to do with the price of the home. I have seen endless homes over a million dollars… most of them, in my honest opinion, very UN-INSPIRED…. Just the same old floor-plans, same cabinetry, same windows, same corn-field lots….however, sometimes I get to see something that’s a real treasure and it’s one that tends to linger a little longer in my mind….

As always, I hope you have enjoyed sifting through the numbers in our local market. If I can be assistance to you for any of your real-estate needs, please don’t hesitate to call! Have a great week everyone!


Teresa Keenan


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The sellers of this home couldn't be any nicer, and they will pay your closing costs!

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True stories from the trenches……

True stories with the names changed to protect the innocent

(or ignorant, whichever applies!)

Okay, sometimes I am a bleeding heart. Sometimes, I don’t know when to say “no”. And sometimes, just sometimes, I don’t know when to quit (see my business partner or my exercise partners for further clarification on this fact!) Which leads me to a story…..

Last year, I had a very good friend call me on the phone to tell me that a friend of hers was in trouble with her mortgage. She was on the brink of losing the house, and could I help her? I reassured my friend that I would do my best, and I went off to save the world!! I called the seller and set up an appointment. I raced over to her house the next day, as she was about 120 days from foreclosure. I have to say, the house was a mess!!!! I will not go into gory detail here, but let me lead you with a visual…. A few pets, one was a bird who did NOT live in his cage…..get the picture? One was also a cat who apparently did not believe in tidy litter boxes……..(SHOULD HAVE SAID NO!)

Anyway, I listed the house. I helped her clean the house, hired a virtual tour photographer and got everything up and running as soon as I could. In the meantime, the client got very, very nervous about the impending foreclosure and she ordered a “short sale” specialist from somewhere in Las Vegas (yes, it’s true!)to HELP her with her home in Geneva! Well, we got an offer and the “specialist” negotiated it and went off into cyber-land with our offer. After a month or so, we heard back from her and the deal was accepted… closing in 2 or 3 weeks. By then, it was time for me to head off on my family vacation to Yellowstone for 2 weeks. On my journey back from Montana, the cell-phone started ringing in South Dakota and apparently there was trouble brewing back in Kane County! My deal was falling apart! I called the other broker, who represented the buyers, and he was nowhere to be found… would NOT return a call! The seller panicked because she was so close to the foreclosure date, and she FIRED me and let the “specialist” handle the transaction from there on out! I wasn’t even in the state lines of Illinois and I was canned! How mad was I??? (SHOULD HAVE QUIT!)

I got back from vacation, unpacked the car and jumped back into the mix. The buyer met me at my office so that he could get his earnest money back. Typically his Realtor would request it and get all of the signatures on the proper forms, but the Realtor was LONG GONE, apparently bored with actually having to WORK to keep a deal together, so of course the buyer shows up on my doorstep to get his money back since it was my listing. SO, in the course of chatting with him while I was filling out the paperwork, he told me he still wanted to buy the property and did I have any suggestions?? So, I called the seller, who had fired me 3 days before, and asked if I could meet her to figure out a way to close this deal. We met at the house, which she had already moved out of and let the Las Vegas “negotiator” move into for a couple of weeks…… what a surprise we received when we met at the house and it had been ransacked!!! The ceiling fans were gone, the appliances gone, a couple of mirrors over the bathroom vanities were gone…hmmmm, coincidence? I think not! Anyway, after discussing the merits of the contract vs. the trauma of an impending foreclosure, we got the contract back together! Keep in mind here, that at this point I am still FIRED…as in, not getting paid when this deal closes! The deal that I put back together without the aid of the other Realtor! However, I just kept thinking that I was doing a good deed here, and it was a referral from my friend, so I didn’t want to let her down, and I wanted to satisfaction of seeing this transaction close successfully….So, we are back on track to close in about 4 days. Okay!

It’s the night before the closing, and who do you think calls me???? SURPRISE! The other broker… he IS alive, he IS still selling real-estate and he IS looking for a big fat commission. He had the gall to show up at the closing and get his whole commission!! The buyer didn’t even throw him under the bus… he wanted the Realtor to get paid, even though he dumped the buyer, the deal and me, because his Realtor gives him back half of his commission when he sells these fixer-uppers to his client. Unbelievable-the power of the almighty dollar. The other party to receive the big windfall was the "negotiator" company… they walked away with over $20,000 that would have belonged to the seller if she hadn't signed on with them, the shady Las Vegas scoundrels……

Fast forward now, from September 2008 to March of 2009. The little house is all fixed up now, remodeled and re-habbed and really looking good. Yours truly (me) gets a call from the buyer, who is now a seller! Can I come over and look at the house and maybe sell it for him? YES!!! A chance to make some money? I’ll be there!! I went over to the house (it looks great), gave him a little feedback and my opinion on the price of his home. He tells me he’ll call me next week. I didn’t give him a chance, as I really need the business right now, and I called him first! He wasn’t quite ready yet, he will definitely call me next week. So, next week comes and I get the call…. He is going to list with his OLD REALTOR… the one who wouldn’t return any of his own client’s calls, or mine for that matter…. who blew the deal for everyone…. who showed up at the closing and got his FULL commission and gave half of it back to his buyer…  “He feels really bad about how he screwed us over last year and he’s listing it for free for us”. How clever! I am sure he will work real hard to get it sold, when he’s going to make NOTHING at the end.( I know how hard he worked on the last deal and he did have money coming at the end!!!) I saw the property come up as a new listing in the last week and boy, was I amazed!

Here’s what you get when your Realtor lists your property for “free”:

1.      Only 4 photos of the home on the MLS…. We all know how important photos are! That’s why the MLS lets the Realtors load up to 9 photos for each listing! These guys are SUPER LUCKY because their Realtor loaded 4 photos of their recently rehabbed house!

2.      The commission… whoever is the lucky Realtor to sell this listing will make their commission MINUS $299! That’s right… the listing agent listed a “minus $299” clause on the listing sheet in the MLS. That means that when a Realtor brings a buyer to purchase this house, the Realtor will make $299 less than almost all the other homes they could sell in that price range! Clever marketing strategy! (NOT!!)


4.      No showings being set up by the agent, and no feedback being chased down. All appointments go through the seller.

I hope these sellers put a “home monitoring” device on their Realtor so they can find him if they actually get an offer… I would be really worried that he will disappear into the background again if I were them! I guess what my mom always told me really is true…..  “You get what you pay for”….





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Monday Morning Market in Geneva…….

Stone tower for sale sign photo Welcome back to Monday Morning Market in Geneva… where the local real-estate expert evaluates the statistics for the last 7 days, for single family (detached) homes only- here goes:

  • Active listings=235 in number, priced from $135,000 to $3,499,000 ( I saw the $3,499,000 property last week- STUNNING!)
  • Listings under contract=8 in number,  with 5 of them being under $400K

  • Price change listings= 5 this week!The biggest drop this week was $337,000 to $308,000….

  • Closed listings=ZERO

Not a lot to report for the Monday Morning Market…. of course I hate reporting that there were NO closings for the week, but look on the bright side…. NO foreclosures either! Interest rates continue to be very, very good, and sellers continue to be very, very motivated. It is my feeling that if we unloaded some more of the inventory, that sellers will be a little more bold with their negotiations and perhaps at that point we would see some tighter margins on the list/sale ratios. Until the inventory reduces, however, sellers are at the mercy of the buyers, for the most part. I did have an interesting conversation a couple of weeks ago with one of my seller, who couldn't possibly be any nicer!When we were negotiating a contract on his home, he told me he was actually thankful that his home didn't sell last year, as he was planning on putting the proceeds into the stock market when that happened, and had he done that, there would be NO MONEY left… (maybe he was an AIG client???) Anyway, like Mom always told me, there really is a silver lining I guess…..

As always, if you need market information on anything related to property sales in Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles or Elburn, please don't hesitate to contact me! I would be delighted to help you in any way. Now I am off to spend the rest of the morning entering 3 brand-new to the market listings in our fabulous little hamlet of Geneva. Enjoy the rainy day!


Teresa Keenan


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