How to Get the Right Appraisal for Your House

I spoke to an agent in southern California a couple of months ago. Asked him how he was able to get such a high asking price for a house I was researching. It was far above about 20 comps or so.

He said that he met the appraiser for the appointment and did the little things that mattered. He was polite, offered him something to drink. The most important thing that he did was point out all of the renovations, but also pointed out where the house was positioned.

It wasn’t positioned near apartment buildings, it wasn’t near any major streets. He simply spoke to the appraiser on a rational level and got the $589 per sq. ft. appraisal he wanted for the sale.

4 Ways You Can Tell You Picked the Wrong Agent

Here’s a little list of things to look out for when selecting an agent:

1. Your agent doesn’t work weekends.  Yikes.

2. You tell your agent where you want to move, and she says, “Where?” Hard to believe but some agents pretend to be experts in a certain area when they aren’t. :(

3. Your agent asks you for career advice. No kidding, my friend had an agent and she was asking him about how to become an appraiser like him.

4. Finally, your agent doesn’t return your calls promptly. You need someone who really wants your business.

Sign up at our site. We have the perfect platform for you to “date” your agent before actually hiring him/her.

3 Tips for Listing Your House During the Holidays

Ramp up for a slower selling season by focusing on the positives.  Here’s some things you can do to increase your chances of selling your house.

1. Be as tech-friendly as you can.  During this busy and extremely cold season, buyers won’t be too geared up to travel to multiple listings. Register your listing with every open house mobile app, keep sending messages to friends through social media, and list with websites that are all over the search engines, like Craig’s List.

2. Highlight your strengths. If you have the ability to move out quickly, before the end of the year, feature that in your listing. Let your agent know that you are willing to distinguish yourself in every way possible.

3. Don’t forget about international coverage. Find investor-related real estate sites and post your listing there. Foreigners don’t have the same buying habits as we do.  China had a large volume of sales during their holiday season. Remember, international investors buy at all times of the year.

Beyonce Had It Half Right

Remember the oldie but goodie, “Bills, Bills, Bills.” That song was hot waaaayyyy back in the day. I hate to criticize Beyonce, but she got it half right.

Can you pay my bills was cool for the 2000s. Now it’s more like, ‘can you get rid of my bills.’ I may be a tad bit delusional, but I’m tired of paying bills. Some bills I understand, but mortgage. Not so much.

I love when I hear a landlord say a low rent, utilities included, month-to-month. How can we get the bankers to say that? I don’t know. But for Plum Genius, we are doing our best. Rent-to-Own is the only way to go.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things!

This is like the best line ever. I watched a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond the other night. I love that show.

Anyhow, I love when the mother (forget her name at the moment) yelled at Frank and the boys. “This is why we can’t have nice things!” They were fighting in the house or doing some other kind of nonsense. As a mother, I can relate. Kids really tear your stuff up. So if you are selling your house, and your rugrats are still pre-school, consider staging your house.

They call it staging for a reason. You don’t want people to know how you really live do you? Seriously, if you have kool-aid stains on your sofa, or there are holes in your rugs, do yourself (and your realtor) a favor and spend about $2,000 staging the most important areas of your house. You shall reap if you sow.

We All Can’t Be Katy Perry

I listened to the guy who “discovered” Katy Perry give a speech one time. Cool guy. He discovered her because the two labels she was with before dropped her. He’s the one who got her signed at the label that helped her make it big.

Anyhoo, the story was inspiring. To know that Katy doesn’t have a magic spell and had to get her dough the old fashioned way. To know she had to work her way up like the rest of us really inspired me. So, it’s not too difficult to be extremely happy for her when you realize that the girl has it going on. She bought, count ‘em, two houses in LA recently.

I can’t sing that well so there really is no hope for me to get large amounts of dough the way Katy did. So for the rest of us, we need to spend our money wisely. Sorry to plug the website (but it’s my job!) but on Plum Genius, we work really hard to filter through the MLS to show you either the best houses on the market (most expensive) or the best deals (foreclosures, etc).  We work hard so you don’t have to waste time treading softly. Time is money after all.

Btw, we have a soft launch in a couple of weeks. Hope to see you there. :)


White vs Beige Walls

If you have decided to paint your walls because company’s coming over (a.k.a open house), then think about the current buyer. Today’s buyers may be coming with high expectations. Maybe they rented for a long time and had nothing but white walls and popcorn ceilings. Maybe they came from an old house with wood everywhere. Maybe they came from grandma’s house with wallpaper.

If you ever toured a high-end luxury apartment complex, you will notice beige-ish walls. I trust that they have done their research. I’m sure study after study told them that beige walls would rent faster than white walls. White feels impersonal and like a hospital.

If you can, go with a splash of color…neutral of course.

Your Agent Gets a Commission, So Should You

We are an innovative bunch at Plum Genius. We’re a little unique, we admit it. We have thoughts like, “make money from the sale of your house and from software.” Double dipping is the way to go.

Here’s how it works. License our software, and then make money from the temporary licensing fees you charge buyers. Microsoft has been doing this a long time so this is nothing new.

By letting buyers use the software to pre-qualify for your property (a.k.a. the terms and conditions/contingencies), and letting them have a transparent platform to make offers on, you can reap big rewards from the technology. You are providing a service and you should make a profit doing so.

Call us. We can talk about it.

Take Your Dog and Cat With You

As a first-time buyer, I’m pretty picky. I mean, buying a house is a HUGE commitment. A 30 year one to be exact. Not to mention it’s a huge commitment of money. So, I’m a little picky.

When going to your open house, make it a little easier on me please. Take your dog or cat with you when you visit grandma. Those adorable little creatures are easy on the eyes, but as a future homeowner, it makes me wonder how messed up your carpet is.

So if you want to save a little money on the negotiations (so I don’t ask you to pay for new carpet), take your pet with you while your agent shows your house. I don’t want to feel like I have to live with the aftermath of a pet I never owned.

Low vs. High Asking Price

It’s safe to say that homeowners love their houses. You lived in it, you decorated it and now you’re selling it. How should you price it?


As always, it’s best to get your agent’s advice but here’s a little tidbit from a current home shopper. I always, always compare the price per square footage before even clicking on the listing. If it has the highest price in the list, then it should have an updated kitchen, nice bathrooms and clean walls.


Remember that every shopper doesn’t have an agent yet. Some first-timers like me are investigating the market to see if anything catches my eye. If you want to get a little more traffic through your doors on open house Sunday, be realistic about the price. Low asking price is better than a high one. Even if your house competes well with the others, you always want to take the humble approach.


After all, pretty pictures only tell half the story. To get me to drive to your house, tell me a story about the price. By the way, I’m a huge fan of the HDR photos. They really make the pictures pop!