Give Your Home Curb Appeal and Watch it Attract Many More Buyers

Curb appeal is all about bringing out the beauty of the front part of your home. Curb appeal is that subtle quality that makes your home welcoming, inviting, warm, fresh, appealing and interesting. It is what makes a potential buyer want to see more of the house as he/she looks at it for the first time. There are countless stories from real estate agents of buyers refusing to get out of the car to view a house simply because the outside was not well kept. If you have already given the inside of your home a makeover, it is time to deal with the outside so that it does not drive potential buyers away.

It is true that money is not easy to come by, but do not hold back on giving the outside of your home a beauty treatment. You do not have to put yourself in a financial bind to give your home curb appeal, but do not neglect it or buyers will go on to the next house on their list.

The first thing you should do is walk outside and view your house objectively. Try to find the above-mentioned qualities…welcoming, inviting, warm, fresh, appealing, etc. If you cannot see them, then it is likely that no one else will either. Try to remember what attracted you to your home when you drove up and looked at it for the first time.

Perhaps you saw an attractive front door with a well-painted door frame. If the paint on your front door and door frame has faded and/or cracked, then it is time to sand it down and repaint it. If your door is natural wood, then clean and varnish it again. You will be surprised how your wooden door will glow with a good cleaning, treatment and varnish.

Artists use focal points in their artwork to draw the viewer’s eye. No matter how modest your house is, you can find a focal point or something of interest to draw attention. There are details such as shutters, brackets, moldings, eaves, windows and window frames which can be used to draw potential buyer’s eye. You should use contrasting, not too bold, colors that show attention to detail.

People walking up to your home will look at your lawn, and they will notice any worn, brown or missing patches. Make sure you take care of those and also make sure that you mow the lawn. While you are at it, fill your planters with bright flowers if you have them. If not, you may want to go to your local flea market and find some planters to fill. And while you are at the flea market, pick up some hanging pots and plant flowers in them.

You do not want your house looking like the rest of the houses in the neighborhood and strategically placed flowers will make sure that it does not. The idea is to make your house say look at me, without going over the top with colors that will detract rather than add to its beauty. Look at the other houses in your neighborhood and then make yours different and more attractive. That is curb appeal, and it will make your home look much better and it will hopefully sell much faster.

Buyers Guides Vs Unbiased Product Reviews – Why More And More Consumers Are Preferring The Latter?

If you are on the look out for a buyers guide before going on your next shopping spree, here’s something that can help you make a smarter choice! We all know there are buyers guides written and compiled by product experts that are served along with the newspapers and magazines. You can get a buyers guide for buying a new lip color to a new car. Usually these buyers guides tell you everything about your new buy and aren’t you excited at these when they talk about the best features of a new Nokia phone or a new motorbike that is just launched? There isn’t any doubt that these guides are packed with information and still are very powerful tools in today’s markets. Often these guides are compiled by a publishing house and sponsored by manufacturer of products for which the guides are meant for. But let’s keep in mind that most of the time these guides are nothing short of adverts in disguise.

There are several compelling reasons for these buyers guides to mimic an advertisement. One is most of the time the guides are sponsored directly or indirectly (through advertisements) by product manufactures and so the authors cannot really write against the products and therefore have to toe the line of the manufacturers. And since there is no way that the primary players of the buying and selling game, i.e. the buyer, manufacturer or an existing consumer of the product can interact it becomes basically a one-way conversation where the buyer gets to hear all good things about the product. This is more of a biased representation of the products which it features and in most cases the authors of the guides are the company representatives or other hired people having an interest in promotion of the product.

Appropriately a buyers guide, as the name suggests should be buyer or consumer-centric and primarily cater to the betterment of the consumers. If we think hard, we would know that customer satisfaction goes a long way to strengthen the business. So a true buyers guide will not only help the consumers but also the manufacturer of the products in the long run. Once a buyer criticizes a product it actually presents an opportunity for the manufacturer or the sellers to rectify that defect or lacuna or respond to the changing taste of the consumers. But unfortunately such buyers guides are not abundant in circulation and still the vast majorities are the one-way communication types where reporters and paid experts write a product review more as a part of a business deal than a critical review. Probably the authors and publishers of the buyers guide failed to realize the need of the consumers; the consumers are looking for more than brochures in the buyers guides.

So what is the choice before the consumer in the absence of a true buyers guide? Consumers gradually are learning to differentiate between biased information and true feedback. They cannot be just fooled anymore and already many consumers are turning their back to these sponsored guides. They are increasing relying on fellow consumers for information about products and services. Gone are the times when a company can form a consumer opinion by clever advertising and influence buyers to select their products. The consumers in the 21st century have a very powerful tool within their reach and that is internet. There are already hundreds of blogs which anyone can access and these online journals tell us the real consumer experience about products and services. They also narrate the harrowing experience that some consumers had to face due to unscrupulous companies and or inferior products. The information is voluntary and not paid for and so people perceive them as authentic as compared to the adverts. There are positive feedbacks too which are actually recommendations and consumers are taking cues and choosing smartly.

But the battle against biased information that seek to influence and misguide consumers can only be won if there is a larger participation. It is time for consumer action that makes sure consumers reclaim their rights and their voices are heard. Also they deserve timely action as they are tired of the slow and often ineffective consumer forums that have a very poor record in India. In the backdrop of a weak consumer rights protection system and many vested interests only consumers can help fellow consumers and they can do so without spending any money or much effort. There are already few websites available where a consumer can find out feedbacks about a product and also write a review for others to read. But again discretion should be applied as some of the websites contain many bogus reviews and also paid inserts. Consumer blogs are also very good source of unbiased and authentic information. The best part is that a consumer can also interact with the author and can ask specific questions before making a buy decision. So if you are a smart consumer better listen to your folks than an expert when you want to buy a product next time. Don’t worry too much about the experts, you can be an expert overnight and all you just need is to write product reviews which are eagerly waited by other consumers who want to read them.

Are the Most Popular Fuel Economy Cars in the United States Outselling Its Truck Rivals in 2008?

Although the price for gasoline has come down over the past months, the one question that keeps protracted in car buyers mind is the direction of gasoline prices for the coming months and years ahead. Although no one can predict the future prices at the pump, but with the current recession in the works, many doubts that it will be anywhere but up.

Running a check at U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices indicated that from July 2008 until November 2008 the country is currently enjoying the lowest average gasoline prices of $1.93/gallon (regular grade) in November 2008. The second lowest gas price was back in January 2007 at $2.15/gallon. It then rose to $3.22/gallon in May 2007, down to $2.75/gallon in September 2007, up again in March 2008 at $3.30/gallon before reaching its peak of $4.12/gallon in July 2008.

However can we assume that sale of fuel efficient new and used cars are tied to the price of gasoline. You will be surprised by the findings below!

Let’s take a look at the most popular cars and trucks sold in January to April 2008:

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS FROM JANUARY 2008 TO APRIL 2008

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Chevrolet Silverado
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Honda Civic
  6. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Chevrolet Impala
  9. Dodge Ram
  10. Ford Focus

From January to April 2008 above, the list contain all the familiar faces but if you look at the list of Top 10 Most Popular Cars and Trucks in May 2008 below, you’ll find a wind of change was forthcoming.

While the prices of gas fluctuate during a period of uncertainty, American drivers are not only using less gas but they are not taking any chances by also changing their vehicle as well. Just take a look at America’s favorite Ford F-Series trucks that have been the top selling brand for the past 2 decades. By May 2008, it has dropped by 5 ranking while the fuel efficient Honda Civic took over the top spot. More importantly you will notice that cars are overtaking trucks as the best selling vehicles during the period in comparison. There is no surprise here as car buyers reacts according to the cost of gas.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS IN MAY 2008

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Ford F-Series
  6. Chevrolet Silverado
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Ford Focus
  9. Chevrolet Cobalt
  10. Chevrolet Impala

Now, let’s tracks the most popular cars and trucks sold in July 2008 when gasoline prices were at its peak during the period in our review.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS IN JULY 2008

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Toyota Camry
  3. Honda Accord
  4. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  5. Chevrolet Silverado
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Dodge Ram
  9. Honda CR-V
  10. Chevrolet Malibu

Surprisingly, Ford F-Series reclaimed the Top position again! During this period, Ford was facing high F-Series inventory resulting from unexpected drop in their sales from previous months, have geared up additional discount and promotion to ramp up sales. The result for July 2008 clearly showed that Ford has achieved its target amid lower sales. It also indicate that Americans are unfazed by the high gas prices and are not averse to high gas consumption when it comes to choosing their preferred vehicle especially when offered deals that are too good to pass up. The U.S. consumer love affairs with the popular trucks remain strong despite what the statistics says. On top of that, the car segment that have been anticipating higher demand due to high gas price but did not offer much incentive are not seeing any significant changes to their ranking. The result may have dampens demand for such cars instead. As gasoline prices continue to decline from July 2008’s peak, it was not surprising to see that demand for Trucks, continue to rise in tandem albeit lower sales due to the current ongoing credit crunch.

In my own thoughts, the discounts and promotions offered by car dealers for trucks could be large enough an incentive for buyers to offset against the imminent rise of gas. However, with gas prices continuing heading south, and buyers getting the best deals at the dealer, it seems truck buyers have won the bet this time round.

Automobile Dealerships – Valuing Blue Sky

Blue Sky is the intrinsic value of an automobile dealership, over and above the value of its tangible assets. It is sometimes equated to the goodwill of a car dealership.

Most articles regarding the blue sky value of new car dealerships cite a multiple of earnings formula, such as three times earnings, four times earnings, and so forth. The idea that “blue-sky” can be determined by anything times anything is just plain wrong.

Even NADA the National Automobile Dealers Association in its publication entitled “A Dealer Guide to Valuing an Automobile Dealership, NADA June 1995, Revised July 2000 bemuses, in part, with respect to valuing a dealership by using a multiple of earnings: A Rule of Thumb valuation is more properly referred to as a “greater fool theory.” “It is not valuation theory, however.”

In its Update 2004, NADA omitted its reference to “fool”, but referred to the multiple formula as rarely based upon sound economic or valuation theory, and went on to state: “If you are a seller and the rule of thumb produces a high value, then this is not a matter of great concern. Go for it, and maybe someone will be stupid enough to pay you a very high value.”

A dealership’s blue sky is based upon what a buyer thinks it can produce in net profit. If potential buyers think it cannot produce a profit, the store will not sell. If it can produce a profit, then variables such as desirability of location, the balance the brand will bring to other existing franchises owned, whether or not the factory will require facility upgrades, and so on and so forth, determine whether or not a buyer will buy that particular brand, in that particular location, at that particular time.

I have been consulting with dealers for nearly four decades and have participated in over 1,000 automotive transactions ranging from $100,000 to over $100,000,000 and have never seen the price of a dealership sale determined by any multiple of earnings unless and until all of the above factors have been considered and the buyer then decided he, she or it was willing to spend “x” times what the buyer thought the dealership would earn, in order to purchase the business opportunity.

To think otherwise would be to subscribe to the theories that (1) even though you think a dealership could make a million dollars, the store is worth zero blue sky because it made no money last year; and (2) if a store has been making $5 million per year you should pay say 3 times $5 million as blue sky even though you think you will not produce that kind of profit. Both propositions are absurd. If a buyer does not think a dealership is worth blue sky, then what he is really saying is that he sees no business opportunity in the purchase and therefore, in my opinion, he should not buy the store.

Each dealership is unique with respect to its potential, location, balance that its brand brings a dealer group, and condition of facility. The sale is also unique with respect to whether it is a forced liquidation, orderly liquidation, arms length, insider, or a case where an anxious buyer is trying to induce an unwilling seller. There are management factors to consider, length and term of leases, possibilities or non-possibilities of purchasing the facilities and whether or not the factory wants to relocate the store or to open a new store up the street.

In the car business it is impossible to pick a dealership or a franchise out of a hat, multiply its earnings by some mystical number and predict either what the dealership is worth, or what price it would sell for – and it doesn’t matter if you are talking about a Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, or any other dealership. At any given time one franchise might be considered more or less desirable than another, but they are all valued in the same manner.