I often have people tell me that they just don’t understand why their home didn’t sell. They stuck a sign in their front yard, expecting someone to show up at their door with a briefcase full of cash, to pay them exactly what they were asking, and for some reason, that never happened!

Let’s take a look at common mistakes people make in selling their home. One of the biggest ones is not hiring the right Realtor. You need someone who will help you set a realistic list price on your home, and someone who will do the necessary marketing to get your home sold. Hire someone with the experience and knowledge. I would caution against listing your home with someone who has more listings than they can give adequate time and effort towards. Some agents will take as many listings as they possible can. Doing so, in my opinion, is always a disservice to your clients. You can’t be accessible to potential buyers, and other Realtors who have potential buyers for your listings, if you have too many listings at a time. I know that for myself, more than 20 listings would be too much, especially if all of those properties are homes.

Another huge mistake is pricing the home incorrectly. A lot of factors go into determining fair market value of a home. “Location, location, location” are often said to be the 3 most important works in real estate. I would argue that price is often right up there with location, when it comes to most important. Condition is also very high on the list. But I like to say that price is the great equalizer. If you think about it, if something is priced too high, how much does location even matter? Along the same line of thinking, if condition is below average, but priced far enough below average, couldn’t something possibly still be worth purchasing?

All of this advice goes back to one thing: Hire the right Realtor! List with someone who will be honest with you to the point of telling you what you didn’t want to hear. Don’t take offense if they tell you that you need to paint a room that you like happen to like the color of. It’s nothing personal. It’s only to your own benefit in getting your house sold. If you like the wallpaper on your walls, don’t be offended if your Realtor recommends removing it and painting it instead. They aren’t telling you this to offend you. They are telling you this because wallpaper went out of style decades ago, along with paneling, and green and yellow shag carpet.

If you are thinking about selling your Fort Wayne area home, whether it be next week, next month, or next year, give me a call, or send me an email, and we can set up a no obligation consultation. I want to get your home sold for you. Just remember one thing, I will be brutally honest with you every step of the way!

Darren Schortgen, REALTOR
Advanced Realty
Phone: 260-385-7603
Website: www.DarrenSchortgen.com
Email: darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
Twitter: Schortgen Realty
Facebook: Darren Schortgen, Realtor

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What can I do to help my Fort Wayne, Indiana home sell faster?   Once you have made the decision to sell your home, you need to come up with a game-plan.   You need to look your home over, objectively, and determine what should be done to your property to make it appeal as well as it possibly can to your potential buyers, without a complete overhaul of your whole property.   It is also important to be sure as to not put too much money into your home at this time.   You have to remember that while almost any improvement made to your home will add value, very few improvements will add equal value when compared to their cost to you.   Also, consider that some improvements are intended to add appeal more than value.

The first aspect of your property that you need to look at is the exterior of your home.   Does your home appear to be in good visable repair?   Are the parts of your home that are painted in need of a new coat?   Wood trim often needs painted every couple of years.   Look at the siding and the roof on your home.   Do they look like they are in good shape?   How does the landscaping look?   Do you have good curb appeal?   You can improve greatly improve the landscaping of your home, without putting out a lot of money, if you are willing/able to put some work into it.   Using mulch or decorative stones are nice ways to add to your curb appeal.   Flowers and bushes can also add some nice color to your property.   One thing to keep in mind is that no matter how nice your home may look inside, it will be tough to get buyers into your home if they don’t like what they see from the outside of it.

When it comes to the inside of your home, be sure that it isn’t too full.   This can be a tough concept to grasp for many sellers.   Most sellers don’t tend to notice how crowded their house is.   The reality check doesn’t always come until they receive feedback from the first few showings.   Dated looking wall covering is a turnoff for most buyers.   Removing old wallpaper and painting the walls with a modern color is always a good idea.   Another thing to consider when looking at the interior of your home is the flooring.   While it doesn’t have to be brand new, it shouldn’t look worn out, either.   Like with wall coverings, dated flooring is a turnoff as well.

These are a few tips on what you can do to help sell your Fort Wayne, Indiana home sell faster.   If you are thinking of selling your Fort Wayne, Indiana home, and would like some more tips on how to help your home sell faster, give me a call, or send me an email.   I look forward to talking to you, and working for you, to get your home sold fast and at a great price!

The choice is easy, when it comes to your next Fort Wayne Real Estate sale or purchase.   Hire the Fort Wayne Realtor who will look out for you.   Hire me, Darren Schortgen.

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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I really hate the term “Best” when other Fort Wayne Realtors use it to describe something about one of their listings.   I can’t believe how often another Fort Wayne Realtor try to tell me that their listing has the best this, or the best that, in the neighborhood.   Why can’t my fellow Realtors understand that “the best” comes down to a matter of opinion.   Let me give some examples.

I’ve had agents tell me that their listing has the best lot in the whole addition.   As a matter of fact, I have had 4 different agents tell me this in the same addition that I was recently showing houses in.   The interesting part is that the lots were all quite different from each other.   One was heavily wooded.   Another had no trees at all.   One had a rolling terrain.   Another had as level of a yard as you will find.   Each of these might be the best lot to someone, however, none of these would be the best lot to everyone.

Floor plans are the same way.   I have heard so many times about a house having the best floor plan.   The thing is, the best floor plan is what works best for the potential buyer for the home.   It’s not a universal thing.   Some people love split bedroom floor plans, while others like their bedrooms all near each other.   When you throw in different styles of houses, which can often range from one to 3 levels, you can have all sorts of floor plans to choose from.   And this extends to other rooms, too!

When it comes to Fort Wayne Real Estate, the best this, or the best that, comes down to what is best for you, the client.   Your Fort Wayne Real Estate needs need the personalized service of a Fort Wayne Realtor who will work to find what is the best in your eyes.

The choice is easy, when it comes to your next Fort Wayne Real Estate sale or purchase.   Hire the Fort Wayne Realtor who will look out for you.   Hire me, Darren Schortgen.

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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Selling Fort Wayne Real Estate is never a dull life!   As a Fort Wayne Realtor, not much shocks me anymore when it comes to a real estate deal.   Today, was interesting, to say the least.

I received a call from the mortgage loan officer who is working with the Buyers on one of my Fort Wayne Real Estate listings.   This was my first conversation with her, concerning this transaction.   She pointed out to me that our contract was originally written up to close by the end of May, but in a counter offer, it was negotiated to close by the middle of June.   She asked me if we could still close by the end of May, because it would save the Buyers money by doing so.   Was she ever shocked when I told her that the only way we would close by then is if it’s in the best interests of the Seller, because that is who I represent.   She seemed shocked by what I had just told her.   Hello?   What part of the obligation as a Fort Wayne Realtor to put my clients best interests first did she not understand?

When it comes to choosing your Fort Wayne Realtor, do you want to work with someone who puts your best interests first? My clients know whose side I am on.   I cooperate with the others involved, to ensure as smooth of a transaction as possible, but I never do anything that compromises my client’s best interests.

The choice is easy, when it comes to your next Fort Wayne Real Estate sale or purchase.   Hire the Fort Wayne Realtor who will look out for you.   Hire me, Darren Schortgen.

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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Before you make any improvements to your home, call me, your Fort Wayne real estate expert.   I am not a licensed residential contractor, nor am I offering to do your remodeling work.   The reason that I am asking you to call me, first, is because I can offer you something that those contractors and handymen can’t.   I can help you to determine what improvements will help you get the best return on your money, when you are ready to sell your current home.   This is important to take into consideration, whether you are looking to sell this year, or this decade.

One of the big advantages that I can give you has to do with the fact that I show Fort Wayne real estate on a regular basis.   By having seen similar homes to yours, I am able to give you the best insight on what appeals to most potential buyers, and what the homes that will be your home’s competition in the future, have to offer.

Another big advantage of calling this Fort Wayne Realtor, first, is that I can give you references on people to hire to do the home improvement work that you don’t plan to do on your own.   Having sold Fort Wayne real estate for the past 12 years has allowed me to see the work of many residential contractors, handymen, painters, plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling installers/repairmen, and a host of others involved potential home projects that you may have a need for.

A good rule of thumb is that if you want your home to stand out, top all who drive by, do it with your landscaping.   Too bright or too bold of colors on or in a house are generally a bad idea, even if you personally like them.   Sticking with earth-tones is always the safest way to go.   If you want some bold, bright colors that everyone can see as they drive by, I suggest that you plant some bold, bright-colored flowers.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.   If you have any questions, or could use my services, just give me a call or send me an email.   This Fort Wayne Realtor is here to help!

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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I don’t want to be the #1 Realtor in the Fort Wayne Real Estate market!   You are probably asking yourself, “Did I read that right?   Was that a typo?”.   Trust me, you read it correctly.   It is true.   I don’t strive to be the Fort Wayne Realtor who brags about listing 100+ homes each year(to probably sell 30 or 40 of them).   That’s not my business plan.   My business plan is to sell each and every home that I list, and to sell a home to each and every buyer that I work with.

The way I look at things, a person can’t be everything to everyone.   In the Fort Wayne real estate market, being No. 1 means, more than anything else, looking out for No. 1.   If you list your house with me, it is not in your interests that it be just one of 120 listings I handle in a year.   Why? Because no one with that many listings can give your house the attention and effort that I do.   I, also, could not work with 20 buyers at the same time and be able to offer each of them the same great service, or even enough availability to serve their best interests.

Don’t be mistaken on one thing:   Not wanting to be the #1 Realtor in the Fort Wayne Real Estate Market does not mean that I am not competitive or aggressive.   As a former HS wrestler and HS wresting coach, being aggressive and competitive is right up my alley!   I will aggressively market your home to see that it gets the most listing exposure than it possibly can.   My competitiveness will come out in negotiation on the sale of your home, or in negotiations over the purchase of your new home.   No Fort Wayne Realtor fights harder for his clients than I do!

If you are looking for a mega-team of agents to work with, then I am not your Fort Wayne Realtor.   But if you are looking for an experienced Fort Wayne Realtor, who will put your needs first, and be there for you when you need assistance, then you’ve come to the right place!

I invite you to give me a call, or send me an email, so that we can discuss your current Fort Wayne Real Estate needs.   It will be a no pressure conversation.   We might even determine at the end of that conversation that it’s not a good time for you to buy or sell, and it that is the case, then that is just fine.   It won’t mean that I still won’t be there for you when you have questions between now and when the time is right for you.   While I am not looking to be the #1 Realtor in the Fort Wayne Real Estate market, I am looking to be #1 with my clients!

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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It always surprises me when someone calls after 6:00 in the evening, or any time on the weekend, who is looking to buy or sell Fort Wayne Real Estate, and the first thing out of their mouth, after a pause, is “I was surprised to reach you.   I thought for sure it would go to voice-mail”.   It amazes me that people are still surprised by this.

The majority of my clients work hours between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., although there are some exceptions.   In order to properly service the needs of those people, I realize that I have to be available during the evenings, and on weekends, to both list and show homes.   I often have clients who say that they don’t want to take up too much of my evening.   It’s very considerate of them, but actually, it’s just fine with me if they do.   That’s what I signed up for when I got into this business!

As a Fort Wayne Realtor, running my own Fort Wayne real estate office requires me to be accessible to clients, customers, other agents, title agents, home inspectors, surveyors, and a variety of other people, both during and outside the time frame of a normal business day.

Working as a Fort Wayne Realtor/Real Estate Broker is not a 9-5 job!   At least not the way I do business!

If you are interested in receiving personalized service from a Fort Wayne Realtor who puts you first, give me a call, or send me an email.   I am always there for both new and previous clients, both before and after the sale.

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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Buying your first home can be overwhelming for a lot of people.   You are entering unfamiliar territory.   After years of renting, and paying someone else’s mortgage, you are now ready to start paying your own mortgage.   But where do you begin?

The important first step is to go through the pre-approval process.   Choosing a lender can be a difficult choice.   You want to work with one that you can count on to help you through the process from start to finish, and to always be there for you when you have questions or concerns.   If there is an issue that is preventing you from being pre-approved, you want a lender who can advise you on the steps to take to get beyond the issue.   It is always good to get a recommendation from someone who has seen the work of the lender that you will end up working with.   You can ask a friend who has already closed a loan with the help of a lender, who had a good experience.   That might work out just fine.   But a better place, in my opinion, would be to come to a Realtor for that recommendation.   Why is that?   It is because while your friend can make a recommendation based on a closed loan, a Realtor can make that recommendation based on dozens of closed loans.

Making a choice of a Realtor to work with is also a big decision.   You want to choose someone, first and foremost, that you can trust, because this home purchase will, more than likely, be your largest purchase to date.   It is important to choose someone who is available to you.   You don’t want to work with someone who you can’t get ahold of, or that isn’t prompt when it comes to getting back to you.   Choosing someone with experience and knowledge is also very important.   You want to work with someone who has most of the answers for you, and has the resources to get the answers for you that they don’t already know.   It is also a good idea to choose a Realtor who you can mesh with, personality-wise.   You have to understand that you will be spending a lot of time with this person, often over a couple months or more, until this process is completed, and personality conflicts can lead to an unpleasant experience for all involved.

Something else important that I want to point out is that you, in general, are not paying anything out of your own pocket to work with a Realtor as your Buyer’s Agent.   In most cases, the Buyer’s Agent is being paid by the Seller, but indirectly.   Let me explain this.   When a Seller hires a Listing Agent to list their house for sale, they agree to pay the Listing Agent X% of the sales price for their services of getting their home sold.   If the Listing Agent belongs to a Multiple Listing Service(MLS), they offer a specified amount to any Buyer’s Agent who brings them an accepted offer on the property, provided it sells and closes.   For example, it is often 1/2X%.

I also want to point out something else that is a common misconception regarding Buyer’s Agents.   Some people say that they don’t need a Buyer’s Agent, and that they’ll just buy a home through the Listing Agent, thinking they will get a better deal.   That couldn’t be further from the truth!   The truth is that the seller is already paying the Listing Agent X%, whether the Listing Agent has to pay anything to a Buyer’s Agent or not.   Also understand that Listing Agent represents the best interests of the seller, not yours.   Which means that, often, not only will you not get a better deal, but that you will often get a worse deal.   Having your own representation is very important.

The Buyer’s Agent that you hire is a very valuable resource to you.   Finding homes that meet your criteria, and helping you have access to them is only the beginning. They help you by using their negotiating skills to help you arrive at an acceptable price, as well as acceptable terms to you.   Part of the work of a good buyer’s agent is to help you in the selection of a good home inspector.   Most of us are able to do this based on seeing the work of quite a few inspectors through the years.   Another aspect of what I do as a buyers agent involves coordinating the transaction, and making sure that everyone is getting their part done, in order to see that the transaction closes on time.   This involves working with the Listing Agent, Title Company, Lender, and anyone else involved that is necessary to see that your home buying experience goes as smoothly as possible.

If you have any questions on anything real estate related, or have the need for buyer representation in the Greater Fort Wayne Area, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.   I look forward to the privilege of helping you with your real estate needs!

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR        
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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I will start of by stating that I am not a fan of the government interfering with the economy.   I don’t believe that the “stimulus plans/programs” actually do what the people who push them claim they will do.   Some people will probably call me a skeptic for my line of thinking.   I will refrain from calling those people, anything, although I don’t think it would be too hard to come up with some choice words for them.

Here is what I see as the result of the “Tax Credit”:   There were a lot more homes on the market a year ago than there are today.   Actually, 25% more, in the greater Fort Wayne area.   Why was this?   Sellers knew that with the “Tax Credit” available to buyers, that it would clearly be a seller’s market.   They were right.   Up until the end of April, 2010, that’s exactly what we had in Fort Wayne.   Buyers were so concerned about being sure to get their hands on the free government money, that they often overpaid for houses.   I’m pretty sure that as you read this, you are understanding where I am going with this.   If these buyers who overpaid for these houses didn’t turn around and put the “Tax Credit” money towards their mortgage, and I will go out on a limb and suggest that very few did, doesn’t it cause to reason that many of these buyers could end up upside down in a house that they bought merely for the “Tax Credit”, and in many cases overpaid in doing so?

My conclusion is that the stimulus benefited Sellers, but did nothing to improve the state of the housing market.   Below, I have provided a link to a comparison between last February and this February.   I believe those stats back up this Realtor’s opinion.

http://ims.fwaar.com/publish/NewsReleases/2011_FebruaryMarketStatsRelease.pdf

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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Fort Wayne, Indiana offers some great things to do and see, but it’s really hard to find anything that tops the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.   The zoo first opened in 1965.   It has since grown by leaps and bounds.   Today there are 1500 animals that are part of the zoo.   The zoo contains 38 Acres of real estate in Fort Wayne’s Franke Park.   Over the last decade, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has been named one of the top tens zoos in America by two different magazines, Child, and Parents.

There have been a few major changes to the zoo over the years since it’s opening.   The African Velt was added to the zoo in 1976.   The late 1980′s brought the addition of the Austrailian Adventure.   In 1995, the Indonesian Rainforest Exhibit was added.   In 2007, the zoo saw it’s largest expansion to date, with the addition of the African Journey.

The zoo opens every year in April and closes in September.   While it is geared toward familes with young children, it is an enjoyable attraction for people of all ages!   You can find out more information through the link provided below.

http://www.kidszoo.org/

Darren Schortgen, Broker-Owner/REALTOR                                                                                                                  
Advanced Realty of Fort Wayne
(260)385-7603
Darren@DarrenSchortgen.com
www.DarrenSchortgen.com

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