AUTHOR GENI MANNING - INDUSTRY SECRETS THAT GET YOUR HOME TOP DOLLAR!

INDUSTRY SECRETS THA Y SECRETS THAT GET YOUR HOME TOP DOLLAR!

AUTHOR GENI MANNING

Table Of Contents

1.

Introduction

1

2.

First Steps To Home Selling

5

3.

Pareto's Principle

29

4.

Creating Curb Appeal

37

5.

Staging With Purpose

43

6.

Upgrading With ROI In Mind

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7.

The Three D's

75

8.

How To Market Your Home

87

9.

Common Seller Mistakes

111

10. Learn From Other's Mistakes

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11. Finding Buyers

135

12. Be A Power Negotiator

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13. The Dos And Don'ts Of Negotiating

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14. Bargaining Chips

173

15. Why Hire An Agent?

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PREFACE

When I first ventured into the real estate industry over three decades ago, I did so with the hope of helping sellers, like you, avoid the headaches so often associated with the home-selling process. I watched sellers painfully struggle with their inexperienced agents, who were unable to succeed with getting offers, or, when they did, were unable to negotiate a good price and terms for their sellers. I felt their pain as they stressed their way through inspections, repairs, and appraisals. Watching the difficulties sellers were going through strengthened my desire to help even more and to show sellers the changes they needed to make to reach their goals. In my 39 years of experience, I helped alleviate the stress of home selling for thousands of clients. I also accumulated decades of knowledge to help them work through all the complex issues that can arise through a real estate transaction, which enabled them to fulfill their objections of getting more money for their homes in the least amount of time. I decided to share some of my expertise with my current and potential clients, and that is why you are receiving this book. I want to help you have the best possible experience selling your home. By that, I mean I want you to avoid the headaches most commonly associated with the home-selling process. Think of this book as my gift to you. It contains selling secrets and insider advice on the selling process of your home. I acquired over decades of helping sellers and buyers to achieve their ultimate real estate goals. I have included in this book:

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• Secret strategies to sell your home for more money, • Marketing techniques used by me and other top agents, • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers, and • Much, much more. If, after reading through this, you want to hire me to help you sell your home, I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a specific and personalized plan and strategy to reach your goals.

Happy reading! Geni Manning

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About GENI MANNING

Geni Manning is a native Texan, who was raised in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth metroplex with three sisters and a single mom. As a child, Geni aspired to be an Attorney or a Private Detective. She always had a passion for helping those being wronged or in highly important life changing events, , and discovering a solution to their issues. Never in a million years did she think she would stumble into the real estate industry--but you can’t always predict where or when you’ll discover what you’re meant to do in life. Geni is now using that same passion and discovery skills to collectively provoke new insights, connections, possibilities, and direction to help her clients resolve their real estate matters and to provide expert advice and creative solutions to their objectives. Today, Geni’s reputation and her network of professionals in real estate and connected businesses has grown throughout the State of Texas and beyond. It is unlikely that there is a situation in real estate that Geni has not dealt with or does not have a contact she can reach out to for advice. Her contacts are deep in every profession, including legal, financial services, taxes and accounting, probate and estates, family and divorce, appraising, home inspection or repair and construction. This is why Geni is referred to as a true Master of Residential Real Estate. Geni was taught by her Mom at a young age that if you want something in life, you must work for it, and her life and work ethic reflect just that. Her values, integrity and tenacity have brought her the recognition as one of the Top Real Estate Professionals in North Texas.

As the years went by, Geni worked her way from being an

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Insurance Agent and Estate Planner to a Residential Lighting Specialist. She never wavered in her resolve to become the best version of herself with each career move. It was in the lighting industry she met her husband, who was the 2nd largest Home Builder in the state of Texas. Geni’s deeply rooted love for architecture and design led her to start her own custom home building business in Colleyville, Texas in 1980. Her success was a product of her diligence and persistence in researching the best locations and developments for buying the lots, drawing her own innovative floor plans, and staying abreast of the latest trends and features that Homebuyers are looking for in their high-end homes. The culmination of this experience led her to a decision that was inevitable; to pursue a full-time career in the real estate business. In 1982, Geni received her real estate license and became rookie of the year at the second largest real estate office in Tarrant county. In addition to that, she was their top producing agent for three consecutive years. In 1985, Geni opened a new RE/MAX office for a local Broker, where she hired, trained, and managed the agents. When the real estate industry crashed in Texas in 1987, Geni saw an opportunity to venture out on her own and start specializing in Foreclosures. However, it was then that she realized the value of a team of experts working together for a common goal. With her leadership skills, she put together a first-class group of highly skilled Realtors & real estate professionals and created a unique culture of collaboration and growth, where each member of the team worked together and shared their knowledge and resources. And that is how the Geni Manning Real Estate Group began. One little idea, became one great big result. Throughout the years, Geni has been a leader in the real estate industry and consistently displays her service-oriented attitude! Many buyers and sellers have noted, through hundreds of Five

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Star Reviews, that Geni is a true professional, who is full of energy and enthusiasm with a keen understanding of today’s highly competitive market. Her outstanding achievements can be attributed to two simple facts: Geni cares and thrives on helping her clients achieve their goals, and she does not mind working hard to accomplish them. Combine that with her high standards of excellence and ethics, and you can be certain that, at the very minimum, you will be treated fairly and professionally. Geni has continued to set herself apart from other agents. As her career advanced, she found her stride working with sellers that were in particularly stressful and difficult financial situations. This real estate niche includes Expired Listings, Divorce, Probate, Bankruptcy, Pre-Foreclosures and Short Sales. She still assists her past clients and referrals throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but specializes in Collin, Denton and Dallas counties.

A Positive & Powerful Force in Today’s Marketplace!

Geni has been consistently respected and admired by her peers receiving numerous awards and honors, including: • Consistent Top Producer and Industry Leader • Expert Witness in Divorce and Probate Court • Radio Host and Real Estate Expert • Real Estate Trainer, Author and Speaker If you are like most people, the largest investment you will make in your lifetime is buying a home. An investment of this magnitude and significance demands the services of an experienced and competent professional. A Realtor who understands the need to assure clients they are getting the best representation, and who has the best education is very important to keep up with the ever-changing real estate trends, shifting markets and contract laws.

Since 1982, Geni has been an exceptional Realtor who committed

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staying educated and has the credentials to prove it. With hundreds of real estate courses under her belt, Geni has received the most coveted and nationally recognized real estate designations.

Geni Manning’s Real Estate Credentials and Designations

CNE – Certified Negotiation Expert designation is a National Association of REALTORS® professional benchmark in the skills of negotiations. These skills provide tools, approaches, techniques, and knowledge for negotiating better outcomes for clients. SRES – Seniors Real Estate Specialist have demonstrated the necessary knowledge and expertise to counsel clients age 50+ through major financial and lifestyle transitions in relocating, refinancing or selling the family home. CNHS – Certified New Home Specialist is recognized as Real Estate’s #1 certification representing professionalism in working with Builders & New Home Buyers. ASP – Accredited Staging Professional designation is the benchmark of excellence in staging homes. What once was most important ‘Location, Location, Location’ in real estate, is now just as important as ‘Home Staging’ to get a home sold Fast and for Top Dollar! ALHS – Accredited Luxury Home Specialist designation is a testimony to the agent’s commitment to knowledge of the up- scale marketplace and the needs of today’s affluent clients. The Designation also signifies the agent has a proven track record in the field of luxury properties, as demonstrated by verified closed escrows.

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CRS – Certified Residential Specialist a designation awarded by the Council of Residential Specialists. The CRS is the highest professional designation awarded and nationally recognized. CRS are acknowledged for advanced study in listing, selling, investment, taxes and a proven record of experience in applied residential marketing. ABR – Accredited Buyer Representative When you work with an ABR®, you will be served, not sold. Your interests become their interests. You will be working with someone who has gone the extra mile by completing specialized training in delivering the best in buyer-representation services. Plus, a REALTOR® who has an ABR® designation also has an established track record, with proven experience in representing the concerns of homebuyers. SFR – Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Expert is the only distressed property certification recognized & endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS®. The knowledge gained with this certification identifies the agent as having the highest standards to represent both buyers and sellers. GRI – Graduate, , REALTORS’ ’ Institute acknowledges REALTORS® with the GRI designation who have completed a comprehensive education program that provides practical real estate training. TAHS - “United Texas” Affordable Housing Specialist certification is given to professionals who take specialty courses that provide sound real estate advice relating to state & federal assistance programs & incentives that make homeownership affordable and sustainable. HES – Home Evaluation Specialist provides knowledge and expertise when walking a home for the initial listing appointment to point out to sellers what potential issues could arise in a home inspection, how to address the problems in advance, and how to

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negotiate repairs during the option period.

IBP – Certified I-Buyer Pro has the expertise and authority to make cash offers without inspections, appraisals, or repairs to home-sellers needing a quick close. CRES - Charitable Real Estate Specialists has the expertise to facilitate every element of a charitable real estate transaction on behalf of the donor, including granting the funds to the nonprofit(s) whom the donor wishes to be their beneficiary. ALC – Agent Leadership Council is made up of the top 20% of agents. They are involved in the leadership decisions that make the office more productive and profitable. 100% Club – Based on commission earned in a single year, membership is awarded only to a select group of high producing sales associates…TOP 10% Realtors nationwide. Simply put, the knowledge gained from this amount of education and experience has made Geni Manning a Master of Residential Real Estate, which helps her better represent the concerns of homebuyers and sellers, better negotiations, smoother processes, and successful transactions. Geni understands you want objective and responsible real estate investment advice from a competent and trusted professional - a ‘ fiduciary ’ adviser who can simplify the complexities of investing, guide and acquaint you with new and creative possibilities that you may not have considered--netting you higher proceeds, and/ or unblock any obstacles keeping the property from closing. Due to her vast experience and proven success as a Realtor, former Builder and Interior Decorator, Geni Manning is a Knowledge Isn’t That Expensive… But the Power It Gives, Is Priceless!

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knowledgeable and trustworthy source of information for both buyers and sellers. Geni puts service, integrity, and creativity at the core of her business and demands the same from everyone at Geni Manning Real Estate Group. She aims to provide the highest level of service to her clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals with expert advice and real solutions! Geni’s Specialties Include: Certified New Home Specialist, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, Divorce and Probate Real Estate Specialist and Certified Home Staging Expert. The Geni Manning Real Estate Group is a full-service real estate brokerage. A group of professionals that share a common commitment to excellence and possess a wide range of education and expertise in both residential and commercial sales, leases, and property management throughout North Texas. Geni Manning and the Geni Manning Real Estate Group operate in strict conformance with the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) Rules & Regulations, the Texas Real Estate Licensing Act, and the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors. On A Personal Note…Geni is a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who experienced the Super Bowl, movie making, and world traveling while part of the Dallas Cowboy's organization. Today Geni continues to enjoy serving ‘senior’ communities and participating in many other philanthropy causes as an alumni of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and NFL Alumni Association. Geni lives in Plano with her dog, Prince. In her free time, she enjoys public speaking providing inspirational and encouraging words of hope, Bible studies, pickleball, tennis and golf.

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You can read more information on Geni Manning Real Estate Group and all their services, at www.GeniManning.com

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Five Star Reviews for Geni Manning or Geni Manning Known for Her Customer Service. Loved for Her Results! I’m very proud of the Service and Results I provide, but don’t take my word for it. Find out what my clients have to say about their experience and how I make every experience exceptional!

Real People. Real Stories.

“I had my home listed with another Realtor that just wasn’t getting the job done. I kept getting marketing material on homes that Geni was selling in the neighborhood, so I called her. I told Geni that I needed my home sold quickly & she delivered…it sold in 7 days for ABOVE market value! I knew from the very beginning, based on her knowledge and marketing plan, that I could have confidence & trust what she said. She made everything so easy! I would highly recommend that if you need your home sold quickly, that you call Geni today!” – Joseph Alan and Jasmine Lafon “ When it comes to any area of personal finance one must discern who has the talent to help them achieve their goals. One area people often overlook when blinded by someone’s talent is their character and integrity. Geni Manning has been a powerhouse in the DFW Metroplex Real Estate Market for many years, but what puts her in an elite league in her field is very simple: Her level of integrity. It’s one thing to be talented at what you do, it’s an entirely different level when one has genuine care and love for the clients, they do business with, wanting what’s best for their well-being as if they were her close family. This is what separates someone with “just talent” from the very few that have the heart to coexist with that talent. That is the rarest commodity of all in this world we live in today! This is one admirable lady with very

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wise and discerning clients!” – Shane Boldin – Director of Mortgage Lending at Sublime Financial “As a builder of $1,000,000+ homes our customers are highly sophisticated, knowledgeable, and expect a lot from us and the product we provide. Geni you have exceeded the kind of service they expect and deserve, and we are proud to have you represent us. We highly recommend you and want to thank you for your professionalism and all that you do. We look forward to doing more business with you in the future!” -Tom Bolen - Vice-President, Cresswell Custom Builders “Geni Manning is by far the MOST knowledge, professional, and sincere real estate agent I know! She is a seasoned Realtor who has earned the respect and loyalty of not only the Dallas/Fort Worth home buyers and sellers, but her industry colleagues as well. Geni’s knowledge in every aspect of the real estate market was invaluable to me this year when I sold an investment property and did my first ‘seller financing’—an idea Geni brought up that I had not even thought about and one of the smartest decisions I have made. I was so grateful to have her experience every step of the way and cannot recommend her highly enough!! You will not be disappointed. You are in good hands regardless your needs!!” - Linda Churchwell – Author and Speaker “Geni is truly the best we have ever seen. Our home sat on the market for over 9 months until we switched to the Geni Manning team. Once Geni was on board our home sold within days. We even got MORE than our asking price! Geni has a vast resource of connections as 80% of the showings were from her agents. Geni is the only Realtor that we would ever refer and ever use. She has sold two houses for us now and both experiences were great! Thanks, Geni.” -Alan and Lynn Rush

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“Geni has established an impeccable reputation over the years due to her hard work for her clients. Geni is personable and has the knowledge that allows her to keep her clients best interest in mind at all times. I would not hesitate to recommend Geni’s services to any of my friends or colleagues that might be needing assistance in buying and/or selling a personal residence. Geni is also a noted expert in the total relocation process. Geni is an agent who can cover any and all of a consumer’s real estate needs.” - Jimmy H. Jackson - MAI P n - MAI President/CEO J t/CEO Jackson Claborn, Inc. “Geni helped me with a complex real estate transaction and I couldn’t have been happier with her attention and expertise! Geni always made herself available to me and worked for months in order to make my deal go smoothly. She had my best interests at heart and worked diligently to have a successful outcome. I would HIGHLY recommend Geni to anyone looking to buy, sell, “Geni is a perfect role model for the word “Professional.” Her expertise in the real estate world is unmatched as is her character. It is very rare to find someone who possesses Geni’s focus and drive as well as a servant’s heart. I can testify firsthand where Geni selflessly offered her assistance and her efforts have changed lives. Geni is extremely well respected by everyone she encounters. I am honored to share this recommendation!!” – Trent Culler – Executive at Hyatt Regency DFW “Losing my last parent, and being faced with losing my Mom’s home, (that my grandfather built in 1949) was a difficult time for my family–Very sentimental with happy memories for 5 generations. Geni Manning has been a very important part of our family since childhood. When we told her about the state wanting restitution through Medicare for medical purposes in or lease a home. She is one of the best!” – Dr. Jennifer Hamorsky - DDS, FAGD

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the amount of $73,445.15, Geni immediately jumped in and took over. Working with Geni is like watching an angel at work. She knew exactly what we needed to do and how to start. With love and compassion, she walked us through the steps and even staged our happy little home. Within two days we were blown away at the response we received and the multiple offers. Geni worked hard negotiating the best price and making this experience as smooth and comforting as possible. Our home sold for much more than we could imagine! We are forever blessed with our special agent, friend, and to me an angel sent to be in our lives. Geni Manning is a hardworking, passionate, and caring individual who will make your story of selling or buying a true blessing. Geni restored my belief in honest human nature.” -The Eller - Rudzewicz Family “Geni has been and is currently assisting me and my company acquiring real estate for our REIT pool and private acquisitions. Her level of expertise, PATIENCE, and all-around knowledge of the market help tremendously in making correct insightful purchase decisions. I highly recommend her and her team and give them 5 Stars!” – Kevin Sheridan – KCET Consulting Advisers “My husband and I were looking to move to the McKinney area and didn’t know many people so, when we started looking to purchase our first home, we simply went with the first Realtor we met. We had hoped that she would guide and direct us as we were unaware of the process and all the details that go into purchasing a home. While it was a unique situation, we found ourselves very concerned about the closing of our home. At that point, I was introduced to Geni Manning who swooped in without hesitation and began to review all of our documents to ensure that we were

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safe to proceed with our closing. Even while she was very busy with her own appointments and closings, she still spent time walking through all the documents and procedures with me. In less than 24 hours, Geni was a God sent who put to rest all the concerns and anxieties we had about purchasing our first, new home. Geni knows this industry and I would absolutely recommend her to anyone looking to invest in Real Estate; and of course, she will be my one and only Realtor next time we are in the market. Thank you, Geni for having a servant’s heart and going above and beyond for us. I am confident she will do the same for you!” – Courtney Ward “Geni has done a fantastic job on selling several homes for our family. The first one, (in a down market) Geni was able to get us MULTIPLE contracts within 2 days…and making $10,000 over our asking price! That is what I call knowing the market and having an effective marketing plan! When we bought a Builder’s home, she was very effective in negotiating a GREAT price and got many upgrades for free! She is a true professional, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and most importantly she delivered the services promised…100% Satisfied!!” – Dr. Marcus & Angie Rodriguez - Chiropractor “I was referred to Geni Manning from several people and we are so glad we were. As a mortgage broker, I work with Realtors every day and she went above & beyond everything we expected. Geni was always available for us and her assistant always kept us informed of the process. She is a great negotiator, and her market strategy works…our home sold within days and $2,000 more than list price! She did a great job and we will refer her to everyone!” – Harold & Shannon Martin - Mortgage Broker

“Geni, we wanted to thank you for doing such an outstanding job

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in selling our home. Your marketing strategy really works! We never thought we could get $5,000 more than our asking price and do it in less than 2 weeks. We’re glad we trusted you and will

recommend you to others.” – Charles & Diane Packard

"I was very happy to have Geni help us sell our house. She made everything so easy with her knowledge in the Real Estate business. She was very informative and gave us lots of useful “Staging” tips. She understood and handled our needs and concerns very courteously and professionally. If there were ever problems, Geni understood and handled our concerns courteously and always returned our calls promptly. Geni delivered the services that she promised, and her great negotiation skills definitely showed while selling our home. She is a very hard-working and professional at what she does. To sum it all up, Geni is very knowledgeable, and very experienced in selling homes. I will recommend Geni to everyone. I put my full trust in Geni and her team. My overall experience with the Manning Team and their staff has been second to none. Thank you for everything!” – Boris Safir “I was referred to Geni through friends. Geni sold their home in record time. Their experience with her was outstanding. I knew immediately after meeting Geni that she would do the same for me. Geni is very professional, knowledgeable, and very experienced in selling homes. I will recommend Geni to everyone. The relationships with builders paid off for me as well. We got a great home for a good price too! Working with Geni’s assistant, has also been a great experience. She always returns phone calls and gets you the answers you need. Geni referred me to a loan officer, who was also the ultimate professional. I put my full trust in his recommendations throughout my transaction. My overall experience with the Geni Manning Team and her staff

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has been second to none. Thank you for everything!” – Andrea Endicott

“We wanted to express our appreciation for all you did during the sale of our home. If it were not for your tenacity in helping us get a clear title, we stood the chance to lose our buyers which would have been devastating to us. Also, when we canceled our contract with our Builder, your clout and magic in the Real Estate Industry swayed the upper management to refund virtually all of our earnest money, which was a substantial amount. This was “after” we had been told it was non-refundable by the salesperson. We look forward to you representing us for the fourth time. We would not hesitate to recommend you and the Manning Team to any of our friends in need of a top agent. It’s no wonder your Keller Williams office is ranked number one in the Nation.” – Mr. & Mrs. Duhon “Using Geni Manning to sell our home was definitely the best way to go. Her knowledge of the Real Estate business made everything so easy. She would answer our phone calls promptly and always have a resolution to problems that we had. Geni was extremely understanding and very courteous and professional. She delivered all the services she had promised. We can easily say that she is diligent and hardworking. Geni’s great negotiation skills were shown while selling our home. She got us 100.03% of our list price, that’s 5,000 dollars more than we asked for! Geni always does what it takes to get the job done. To sum it all up, Geni is very experienced in selling homes; there is nothing else to say. We will recommend her to everyone. Geni’s assistant was awesome…She is very professional and would always return phone calls and get us the answers we needed. The rest of Geni’s team has also been a great experience. We fully trust Geni and those on her Team. We really appreciate the help form the Geni Manning Team to make our relocation so much easier.

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Thank you so much!” – Cedric and Suzanne Callins

“We Love the Geni Manning Team!!” Geni is hardworking & a very knowledgeable professional. We were very satisfied with the entire transaction (buying & selling)! We got an unbelievable deal on our dream home! The builder’s lender that we chose to use created havoc, the ‘Team’ was able to handle the problems quickly & efficiently. Geni was very effective in getting the price we wanted and sold our house within our time frame. Everyone on the “Team” was very accommodating and worked hard to make our transactions smooth. They gave us top-notch service! We highly recommend them!” – Pat & Rebecca Barrows “Geni and team were available to our side, every step of the way, down the stretch. This was a very challenging sale, given the particular house in the given neighborhood (one of the biggest houses in this development) and given the state of the market. Ultimately the house was sold via ‘Short-Sale’ thus avoiding a possible foreclosure situation. The house was under contract 3 times (with a likely fourth contract, if the third had not gone through), and this was due to Geni’s tenacity and excellent negotiating with the buyers’ agents.” -Mourad Oulid-Aissa “Being new to Dallas, not knowing the market, and having just a few days to make a decision on a house, I knew it was critical to find a competent Realtor I could trust. Geni came highly recommended by both the top executive of a firm I was going to be working with and another Realtor. I bought the third house Geni showed me. That is because Geni really did her homework after I filled out her questionnaire. Knowing exactly what I wanted, she did not waste my time showing me houses that I wouldn’t be interested in or couldn’t afford. Geni is a tough negotiator and through every step of the way she was looking

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out for my best interest. Geni turns the usual ‘profit to hassle ratio’ into more profit, less hassle. Geni also found me an equally competent Mortgage Broker and Title Company.” – Rick Hill, Owner – Hillbrand Consulting “I am proud to have been friends with Geni Manning for almost 20 years, and have never had a situation, where she did not handle herself with the utmost professionalism and integrity. She cares deeply for her clients, as well as her friends, and I have recommended her many times to people looking to buy or sell homes. The DFW market is flooded with good, professional Realtors but Geni, to me, has always been at the top of that list because of her grace, empathy, and morals in dealing with one of the most emotional processes that a couple can go through.” –Eric White - CEO - EB e - CEO - EBB Group, Investment Banking “I called to get information on a home in Frisco that Geni had for sale. To my surprise it was $1,789,000. But what was more surprising is that when I told Geni I was looking for a home around $80,000, her enthusiasm to help me did not change. She was willing to show me houses further out in an area she did not normally work, in a rainstorm. I had shown interest in a home that had structural problems (and a bonus to the selling agent) but Geni was more interested and concerned about the future resale of my home. She suggested we take time to look at more homes. That is what I call “putting your customer first!” She is truly a Realtor that cares about her clients–rain or shine, no matter what price range!” – Josh Anderson, Owner – Aqua Attitude Pool Service “Geni is someone you can trust personally and professionally. She sold my home within a few weeks and found a builder to build my new home. With her building and interior design background I felt very confident in using Geni. She accompanied me to the design center and assisted me in picking out all my colors, saving me hours and a lot of headaches–that’s going the extra mile!

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Finally, during the final inspection Geni was able to spot items that needed attention even when my ‘engineer’ dad didn’t.” – Paula Osborn - Commercial Real Estate Broker “In my business, I work with Realtors every day. It was not hard to choose whom I would use for myself when it came to buying my personal home. Geni wrote the book on professionalism. She is very positive, with incredible follow up, and ability to solve problems when they arise. When you do business with Geni, you are not just doing business, you’re creating a lifelong relationship for success–she handles each client as though they are family.” – Deanna Phillips - Owner of Metro Marketing Group “We tried to sell our home ourselves, but finally realized because we had several objections that needed to be overcome, we decided to hire someone that was knowledgeable about the area & had proven success. The Geni Manning Team was understanding & supportive to our situation. We are so glad that we have this behind us & can move forward. We would be more than glad to refer Geni Manning to anyone needing real estate assistance.” – Jason & Debbie Crysup “As a home seller and buyer, you go with what is successful. That is why we are repeat customers of Geni Manning. We were going to take advantage of the guaranteed buyout program Geni offers, but it turned out that we did not need it because she sold our house in six days! That’s why we chose to use her again to sale our current home. Geni is also a great negotiator! She was able to get us much more than we expected from our builder on the home we’re building.” – Neldon & Robbie Duhon “Geni is a rare find. I have known her both personally and professionally for over 30 years. She has extensive knowledge and experience in real estate that surpasses almost anyone you will

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meet in this industry. She has great insight into your individual needs and delivers what she promises. She is a client advocate, creative thinker, and solutions developer. Her unique assets in today’s economy have served her client’s well. Geni, is not only beautiful on the outside but on the inside too…she is one of the most kindhearted people you will ever meet. I am happy to call her a friend.” – Tricia McLemore - Firm Solutions Consultant

More reviews at the back of this book and 100+ more at www.GeniManning.com.

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction

The largest investment most people make is their home. That makes selling your home — whether it is a single-family residence, townhome, duplex, or condominium — the single largest and quite likely the most complex transaction you will ever undertake. It involves new terms and concepts, financial expertise, and larger figures than normally dealt with. There are also many emotions at play that can affect good judgment. Many sellers think, “ Surely, my home, where I raised my children and made so many memories, is worth more than the bricks and mortar it contains.” Although the home may hold sentimental value to the seller, it does not increase the value of the home for the potential buyer. Real estate transactions involve dozens of decisions and substantial investment of your time, energy, and money, as well as a substantial amount of my time as your Realtor. When emotions are involved, it almost always leads to problems. This is a primary reason why I do not recommend hiring a friend, relative, or anyone that could become emotionally invested in the process, as your real estate agent. Although well-meaning, they could give wrong advice that could cause a monetary loss, delay, or even the loss of a sale. In addition, there is highly confidential financial and personal information that you may not want to be disclosed to someone with whom you are close. As a seasoned and professional Realtor, I am trained to remain objective and unbiased; I am bound by my fiduciary responsibilities and Code of Ethics to not disclose personal information regarding your finances or the sale of your home. As

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a Realtor, I am predisposed to meeting your objectives and goals without allowing emotions to drive me or the process.

When handling your biggest Investment… Don't call a friend. Hire an Expert!

Considering the ever-changing contract laws, real estate trends, and market shifts, would you choose someone who is part time or just an ‘agent’ with a real estate license—a friend, family, or neighbor? No, of course not. No prudent person would! Just like hiring a full time professional, such as a CPA to do your taxes, or an attorney for a legal issue, or even a doctor for a health problem, you choose a qualified person with the most knowledge and experience—You hire an Expert! As a home seller, your objective is to find that buyer who cannot resist buying your house at the highest price. To do this, potential buyers must be presented with a striking home sales presentation that outshines other homes on the market. This requires making a fantastic first impression, by creating for the buyers an instant feeling that they are ‘home’ and are traveling up the front walkway of their new home for the first time, not visiting someone else’s. It is about falling in love at first sight, from the curb. This brings me to my objective in writing this book – to convey to you as a prospective or active home seller, a better understanding of the home-selling process. I have also provided seller secrets , and actionable insight into how best to market your home, to avoid critical mistakes, and to maintain a proper focus. Most savvy sellers do not venture alone into selling their home but find it better to have an experienced real estate professional with whom they are comfortable and can count on.

Let this book be your go-to resource for information, strategies,

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and techniques that can be put to work to sell your home quickly and at the best price. Take time looking through the chapters and master the secrets of successful home sellers. For example, discover why comparable homes sell for considerably different prices. As your Realtor, I will make certain that you are ready and confident about selling your home. You will know your home’s market value and exactly how that was obtained, and this will prepare you to decide the best listing price. You will know what negotiation tactics I will use for each offer we receive, and, additionally, any improvements that can offer the best Return on Investment (ROI). In Part 1, I will step you through the process and importance of preparing your home for sale: how we will be presented with top offers, the “80/20 rule,” along with which upgrades will make the most difference in Return on Investment (ROI). In Part 2, I dive into marketing your home with a look at the costly mistakes some sellers make, how to avoid those mistakes, and how to find qualified buyers. In Part 3, I show you the critical topics of negotiating offers — what to expect, and how they should be conducted — and finish with a look at what engaging a Realtor brings to the sale of your home, and why this is not a DIY proposition. After you become acquainted with the process, requirements, and the knowledge necessary to have a smooth transaction, you will see how a full time , experienced, financially astute real estate professional can vastly cut the time to sell and raise the economic value of your transaction. Reading this book is the first step to selling your home for the best price in the shortest time. My sincere hope is that, by sharing

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my 3+ decades of experiences and knowledge as a full-time Realtor, it helps you make the most of your time and efforts; and that this book will impart the wisdom to help you choose the BEST person to represent your interest. After you read this book, I will be standing by to assist you with a comparative market analysis and a solid marketing plan to fit YOUR specific plans and goals.

For Expert Advice and Real Solutions , I hope you will call me!

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CHAPTER 2 First Steps to Home Selling o Home Selling

I decided to write this book to provide you with some valuable insight and guidance on how, together, we can sell your home quickly and for potentially more than market value . Sound impossible? Well, it’s not, because I’ve done it many times before, and in some of the hardest markets we’ve seen in the last 39 years! The purpose of this chapter is to stress the importance of setting the listing price on your home. I believe it is the single most crucial consideration in real estate sales, properly pricing your home to sell. Novice (and not-so-novice) home sellers alike, must understand and know the considerations that determine a home’s price—which is why I spend so much time on this subject. Setting the price at which to sell your home is not a simple formula, nor totally mathematical. Many elements factor into the decision. Throughout this book, you will read examples of similar and similarly situated houses that sold for very different prices, along with the reasons for the disparities. You may be thinking ‘ houses are selling fast in my city ’, so you think yours will be easy to sell – and for top dollar. Never mind all that advice about curb appeal, because these days anything is selling, right?

Well, not quite.

Even in a seller's market – which many major U.S. cities are currently experiencing – some homes linger on the market for weeks or months, while the homes around them go into contract

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within days.

If you have not gotten an offer after six showings, you’ve got to go back and see where the weakness is. The answer almost always comes back to two variables: price and condition, though marketing also plays a strong runner up role. Question: What do homebuyers care about more than “location, location, location” in finding the house of their dreams?

Layout? No.

Amenities? No.

Luxury Upgrades? Sorry.

The answer is…

Price!

The first thing buyers look at in their home search is the price. No matter how perfect the house is, it’s a big “NO” if the price doesn’t line up with a buyer’s budget. Even if you miss the bar by only a thousand dollars, you could lose out on an entire pool of potential qualified buyers. In a recent study, 70% of top agents agreed that the biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their home. Real estate agents deal with this every day . Homeowners fantasize an ideal list price for their home even though it doesn’t align with the current real estate market. That’s why I’m here - to give you the dose of reality you may need. Below I will discuss the biggest myths you need to be aware of

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when pricing your home—especially if you want to sell it fast and for top dollar!

PRICING MISCONCEPTI CEPTIONS

Selling Secret : The worst misconception on what your home is worth is by Zillow. Their “Zestimates” are usually never correct—do not trust them. Before I get into what determines market value and how to price your home, we need to discuss what doesn’t determine market value. Let’s jump right into this dreaded conversation and get this first hurdle out of the way.

Factors That DON’T Affect Your Market Value

What you paid for your home, even if it was not long ago. What you need, to make it possible to buy your next home you already picked out. What you want, to pay off debts, to buy a new car or furniture, or to send your child to college. Unfortunately, none of these reasons determine the market value of your home.

What it costs to rebuild your current home in today’s economy. What your neighbor says their house, or your house is worth. What another real estate agent might say that is inexperienced or incompetent. None of these reasons influence market value . 7

What taxes you pay on the ‘value’ according to your county tax assessor . What Zillow and other online companies with limited knowledge about your home, neighborhood, past sales in your area and amenities say. And what sentimental feelings you have that bring you much joy, all unfortunately do not create the market value for the next buyer. For many sellers, the hardest thing to let go of is the value they put on the treasured memories they made and cherish in their family home. However, sentimentality has no dollar value . Although you have emotional connections to your home, the buyer does not. Most buyers are being shown many properties, and they do not expect yours to be “the one.” You will have to work to get them to that decision. Avoid letting sentiment play a part in pricing the property. Set all emotions aside during the selling process. Buyers look for cues to figure out your motivation to sell. It is understandably difficult to make business decisions about a home that holds these memories. Emotions can make it hard to have a realistic view of your home’s value. You must decide to accept advice from an expert Realtor with an open mind and be as objective as possible. A buyer of real estate is, in many ways, no different from a buyer of a painting or a bag of oranges. Both sellers’ and buyers’ perception of value will always have a prominent role during the sale. Perceived value and market value are not the same! Recognizing this helps avoid overpricing, a

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major factor that leaves homes languishing or unsold...and you an unhappy seller!

Different Ways and Reasons A Home’s Value Is Derived.

Familiarity with the real estate terms Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), appraised value, and tax assessed value are important . Knowing the difference, can save disappointment and frustration, and allow you, as the seller, to meaningfully engage in setting a home’s listing price. The guidance of an experienced Realtor can be priceless and the determining factor in not only whether your home sells quickly, but also whether your home sells for the highest price. Rejecting the advice of an experience Realtor or trying to sell on your own can be costly. Either decision places in the balance one of the most valuable assets you own. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) reports are created by Realtors to help sellers set listing prices for their home and, less commonly, to help buyers make competitive offers. It is an estimate of a home's value based on recently sold, similar properties in the immediate area.

Why Comparative Market Analysis vs Online Values?

A CMA is far more helpful and accurate than automated online values . Online values do not consider the “selling points”, including all amenities, upgrades, pools, views, etc. They do not calculate these additional values or deductions to the property’s final value in comparison to other properties in the neighborhood, which can often make a material difference in the value of your home.

An experienced Realtor will know how to make these

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adjustments. They will also answer any questions and recommend the most realistic price based on your goals and objectives, beyond getting the highest dollar in the shortest time. Along with an understanding of how the value of a home is determined, the current market must be considered.

Elements of A Comparative Market Analysis

• Active Listings – Your Competition • Sold listings – Past History • Pending Sales – Possible Comparable Sales • Expired listings – Market Rejects

Why look at Expired Listings ? These are homes that did NOT sell. Your Realtor should do research to find out why, so you can consider this while determining your price—you don’t want to make the same mistakes!

In Real Estate, History Predicts the Future!

The CMA is imperative to pricing strategically . When you ask for one from a real estate professional, be sure to review the analysis, ask questions, and get explanations! If completed correctly, this comparison report not only gives you a great listing price, but also reduces the chances of your home being under or overvalued. If you have a well-priced home, you should be showing your home within the first few days on the market and offers should come within days or weeks depending on the market. However, a word of caution – even a well-priced home if not promoted properly with a good marketing plan that give the home exposure across a broad cross section of the target

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demographic may not sell. People cannot buy what they cannot see! I discuss this other critical aspect of selling your home in Chapter 8 – How to Market Your Home . By utilizing an experienced Realtor, you can rely on proven expertise to market your home at the best listing price. I will be happy to provide you with a CMA. Please refer to the last page of this book if you would like more information on how to request a free Comparative Market Analysis . Appraised Value is an evaluation of a property’s worth performed by a licensed real estate appraiser at a given point in time. Appraised value is determined by only similar homes SOLD in your area. In the few brief paragraphs below, you will see what appraisers look for while searching for comparable homes. Appraised value is a crucial factor in loan underwriting and determines how much money may be borrowed and under what terms according to a mortgage company or bank. For example, the Loan to Value (LTV) ratio is based on the appraised value, where LTV is greater than 80%, the lender generally will require the borrower to buy mortgage insurance known as PMI, Private Mortgage Insurance. This insures only the lender in the event of a default on the mortgage. Consider a pre-listing appraisal Although the buyer pays for an appraisal after submitting an offer, some sellers pay for their own appraisal before listing. This can crop up when parties sell property during a divorce, or when comparable properties and market locations in your area may be tricky to determine. A buyer will not always trust a pre-listing appraisal, and the lender will require a separate one regardless. But this can help

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set your asking price and give you a heads-up about potential appraisal issues. An appraiser should be a qualified, licensed, and disinterested party in a real estate transaction, with expertise in your region . Their job is to determine an estimated value by inspecting the property, reviewing the initial purchase price, and weighing it against recent sales with the same purchase price. A residential appraisal will cost anywhere from $350 to $800 depending on the size and complexity of the home, and ease of finding comparable sales. An appraisal helps in various decision points. The seller can use the appraisal as a basis for a ‘listing price’. The buyer can use it as a gauge on which to base an offer. Lenders use appraisals to know how much money to lend to their borrowers. Tax Assessed Value is the amount local or state government entities have designated for a specific property and frequently differs from market value or appraisal value. This assessed value is used as the basis of property tax and when a property tax is levied. The assessed value of real property is not necessarily equal to the property’s ‘Market Value.’ The reason most homeowners do not watch their assessed value is because the market value fluctuates up and down. Most homeowners don’t dispute their assessed value if it is too high usually because they don’t know how to dispute it or know what the ‘real’ value should be. On the other hand, I provide ‘comparable sold properties’ each year to my clients (at no charge), so they can dispute the assessed value if in fact it is too high--hence why my clients pay lower taxes. The important factors that experienced Realtors and Appraisers consider in a home’s value are:

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