Spring real estate market looks strong for sellers
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Michelle Gillespie, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Address: 57 East Main St., Westborough
Contact Information: 508-934-9818
How does the spring real estate market look?
“It’s fantastic. Inventory is very low, and it’s an appreciating market. Most of the homes I’ve listed since January have sold at or above asking price, and are not staying on the market more than five days,” said Michelle Gillespie, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices who specializes in residential sales in her hometown of Northborough and other Metrowest towns.
How do you achieve those results?
“I offer quality versus quantity. I spend time with clients, helping them get their house ready and professionally marketing it. I invest my own time in the property.
“I also do a lot of accompanied showings. Typically, agents put a lockbox on the door, and buyers look at the house with no one from the selling side there. When I accompany the showing, I go in ahead of time, turn on the lights, and greet the buyer at the front door. It’s not the buyer’s agent’s job to sell the house; it’s mine.”
What steps do you go through when someone wants to sell their house?
“I usually hire a home stager. If the seller doesn’t want one, we discuss what updates are needed. We often do what I call ‘thinning out’ the house, decluttering, maybe using some items differently to accentuate the house. Sometimes it’s as easy as removing drapes or a quick paint job in one room. When buyers preview the house, I’m not saying it looks like magazine quality, but it looks in really great shape.
“Nowadays, almost all buyers research a property online first, so the online impression is critical. I work with professional photographers to take exciting, bright pictures of all my clients’ homes to feature online.”
How do you convince sellers to make needed changes?
“I go in with a tiered approach. Everybody likes a choice, and I give the sellers options. If you want to make this much money, we need to do this; if you want to make that much money, we need to do that. The seller can decide whether to invest in upgrades and make more in the end, or whether to leave the house as is and just bring in a stager and reconfigure the look.
“What has made your house a home is all the personal possessions, but when you move out, it’s just the four walls, a floor and a ceiling that remain. The more you minimize your personal impact, the more buyers can begin to think about where their couch or desk is going to go.
“I take that time, sit down and really work with the seller before the house is listed, and then it doesn’t sit on the market or undergo numerous price changes.”
What experience do you bring to real estate sales?
“I’ve been on the Northborough Planning Board for 15 years and chair the design review committee. My knowledge of land use, zoning issues and design and materials sets me apart,” said Gillespie.
“I am relocation-certified. I understand how corporations move their people, the processes and the procedures that are required by relocation.”
Gillespie noted she is “the number one sales agent in our office, and out of all the Berkshire New England Prime Properties, Inc., (NEPPI) offices in New England, I’m number six.” She has been part of the Berkshire Presidential Circle for the past three years, and is at the emerald award level of the Central Massachusetts Realtors’ Association.