About the Expert
Vanessa Van Trease started her career in corporate America with a national staffing company and transitioned into real estate in 1996. Being a female minority business owner has afforded great opportunities to discover new challenges while focusing on her clients’ interests and desires. She’s constantly drawing on her corporate background to forge new relationships and partnering with other service-based business owners with similar clientele.
What advice do you have for sellers who need to make improvements to their home before listing?
The best thing they can do is put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. Sometimes I take sellers to other homes I have listed and show them how they look staged to sell. Then we go back to their house and try to walk in the front door as a buyer seeing it for the first time.
Do all those things on your honey-do list. Hire a handyman if you need to. Do a deep clean and touch up the paint. A lot of stagers advise removing personal pictures, but I don’t — not all of them. This is a home where someone has lived. Let them see pictures of a birthday party in your living room or your backyard filled with guests. Keep a bird feeder up and a few plants on your patio. Make things warm and inviting. It might be worth renting a storage unit and getting rid of clutter. But we don’t want to erase all evidence of this being a happy family home.
What’s your operating real estate philosophy?
It’s important to know your client. Don’t assume anything but find out what matters to them. If I’m talking to a first-time buyer, for instance, they’re excited, they’re scared, they probably have a small budget, and they’re afraid of making a mistake. Is your client selling because they lost their job or lost their spouse? Are they downsizing because they lost their portfolio or selling because they’re moving up?
You’ve got to know their “why.” Why are you selling? Why are you buying? If they’re not tech-savvy, take paperwork to them. Stop pushing your agenda and really listen to their needs and preferences. Beyond that, know the industry, know the other Realtor, and know your market.
How do you arrive at a suggested listing price?
This comes back to knowing your current market. I attend city council meetings to find out what large corporations are moving here. These are organizations who do extensive market research before they invest in an area. If they’re moving to DFW, that speaks to a robust market. Look at the developments being built and major restaurant chains flocking to the area. It’s our job to observe all of this and then advise our clients. Beyond that, you’ve got to know everything about the house and the community.
What are some trends you see in real estate today and in the future?
Everything comes in waves. Right now, comps are out the window. People are paying over asking price. Homes are receiving multiple bids and selling in hours. Buyers are throwing out appraisals and inspections just to be the winner of the multi-bid situation. If the market goes up, it will come back down, the question is when. But when I take into account all that’s happening around DFW — and especially around the airport — I don’t see it coming down anytime soon.