OPINION | Melanie Coker: A good starting price can make any real estate deal - or sink it

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Pricing your home too high can actually lead to a lower sales price.  This week's Livingston Parish News column explains why. 


Melanie Coker: Want your home to be a cut above the rest on the market? Stage it

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I’ve always been a bit of a cynic on the importance of staging a home for sale. While I’ve always thought it was a good idea and could contribute to getting a home sold, my mantras have always been, “Price sells homes,” and “you have to look beyond the fluff to the important stuff.” Like so many things in life and real estate, I gained some perspective when the shoe was on the proverbial other foot.

Part of my job as a real estate agent is to see past the fluff, so when I am helping clients, I am logical and practical when looking at houses. “You know it’s not going to look like this without all this stuff,” and “these features are just cosmetic and don’t justify the price being that high,’ are phrases I’ve often repeated to clients who just went starry eyed over gorgeous staging and have completely forgotten that the roof looks a little suspect and how old was that hot water heater again? I’ve seen staging convince people they really don’t need that fourth bedroom (yes they do) or a 45 minute commute to work won’t be THAT bad (yes it will.)

So when I was browsing a few houses for myself this weekend, I didn’t expect to be so easily swayed by nice smells, boxwood wreaths, and fluffy pillows, but here we are. I bit, and I bit hard on a house that doesn’t really meet my essential checkboxes, but the staging was such HGTV perfection, I had already mentally moved in and was relaxing on the luxurious ivory sofa with my dog, reading a book while my kids were far, far away on the other side of the house, having fun playing Fortnite in the sunroom.

Luckily my significant other was there, playing the role of Melanie, real estate agent, saying “You know all this stuff isn’t going to stay in the house right?” and “Is this really the bathroom you want? The closet isn’t any bigger than the one you have now.” I reluctantly agreed that he was right, but I still went and looked at the house again. I’m trying to let it go, but I’m still thinking about how cute that “blessed.” wall art was in the dining room.

Staging works so effectively because it appeals to all the emotions that are wrapped up in making a place home. Marketing 101 tells us that most purchase decisions are based first on emotion and then justified by logic. So as a homeowner who wants to sell, appealing to those emotions is a powerful way to give your home an advantage. As a buyer, just make sure you bring along a cool headed real estate pro or a sensible significant other to help you balance those warm fuzzy feelings with practicality so you find the perfect mix of the two.

This post originally appeared as a column in The Livingston Parish News

Real Estate Disruption and the Law of Supply and Demand

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Do you think an oversupply of agents is driving down commission rates?  Our co-founder, Melanie Coker gives her opinion and what it could mean for consumers in her weekly real estate column for the Livingston Parish News.


Intelligent Toilets and Bad Milk

CES 2018

It's that time of the year when we realize we were promised Rosie the robot and flying cars by now, and still haven't gotten them.  It's the Consumer Electronics Show. CES 2018 is ending and let's take a look at a few of the items we can look forward to in 2018



With a double tap of the 29 inch screen on the new LG refrigerator, you can stare into the contents of your $4400 fridge and determine there isn't anything to snack on without having to open the door, but that's not all.  It will let you know when the milk, or any other food, is going bad, provided of course you put in the expiration dates. If I'm too lazy to open the door, I'm not sure that's going to happen, but we'll see.  So now that we've determined there's nothing to eat, don't worry Alexa is built in, just add it to the shopping list.

What?  The wash is done?  Yes, it seems that now your washer and dryer can send you an annoying text message right in the middle of HQ Trivia to let you know your underwear is dry.  In fact, just about everything in the kitchen can tell you what's going on.  Your oven is pre-heated, the popcorn is ready, and the dishes are clean. Did I mention that all of these smart appliances talk to each other also?  Yes, not scary at all. I don't think I'm hungry anymore.


Bathrooms are still pretty dumb. Honestly, little has advanced since Roman times in bathroom tech, but that's about to change.  We have reached the era of the intelligent toilet. If the term "intelligent toilet" is a little unnerving to you as it is to me, you'll be good with it when you learn IT CLEANS ITSELF! Yes, the Toto Neorest 750 Intelligent toilet can do a lot of things nobody cares about but it also can clean itself. Now if I could just remember where I left the remote to the toilet.  Dang it.

Want that shower nice and steamy warm, waiting for you. "Jeeves! I'm ready for my shower." Don't have a butler to draw your bath for you? No worries, just ask Alexa to do it. With the "U by Moen" smart showers, Alexa can start your shower and set it to your perfect temperature. Alexa, close your eyes, I'm getting in the shower.

Here at Property Sprocket we can't wait to list a home and be able to say, "This home has a stunning intelligent bathroom, and an incredible kitchen with state of the art appliances that might talk about you behind your back."

Real Estate 101 - Sellers - Declutter

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The process of selling your house starts way before you put the for sale sign out front.  One of the first things you should do is start the process of decluttering.  Few things turn potential buyers off more than piles of stuff everywhere. To accomplish your decluttering goals, we recommend the KonMari method app. This the official app developed in conjunction with the creator of the KonMari method, Marie Kondo and features checklist to help you move through your home, one category at a time.  Just search in your app store to find the app and download to get started.

Next week, our co-founder Melanie Coker will be sharing her experiences with the app on her personal blog as she works to declutter and reorganize her home after The Great Flood of 2016. Check back next week for the link to follow along.

Amazon Acquires Blink

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Amazon acquires Blink, the security camera and doorbell company that began as a Kickstarter just three years ago. The acquisition of Blink continues Amazon's move into connected home products, including the popular Amazon Echo and the recent launch of Amazon Key. Connected home products could bring big changes to the way real estate is bought and sold, especially in the way homes are shown to potential clients. What do you think? What kind of impact will these smart home products have on real estate?

The Buyer Always Rings Once


Early in my real estate career, a very successful and experienced agent told me to always make sure the doorbell worked before putting a house on the market. This may seem like a tiny detail, but I can't tell you how many potential buyers I've seen go straight for the doorbell when they walk in a house. And they definitely make judgements based on whether or not it works. It's a little thing you can do that makes a big difference. If you're thinking about selling your house, get in touch and I'll put all my pro tip knowledge to work to sell your home 😊 - @msbatonrouge10