Name: Patrick and Jennifer Skeen. Patrick, 52, is a civil engineer; Jennifer, 42, a group and personal trainer
The home: A six-bedroom, five-bath home with a finished basement built in 2002.
Why they sold: To downsize from their 6,000-square-foot home, after three of their four boys moved out of the home. Their 16-year-old son, Wesley, lives with them. Although they wanted a smaller home, they didn’t want an older home and desired energy-efficient features, Jennifer said.
Time on market: 48 days
Original price: $390,000
Sale price: $367,400
What it took: The couple used Total Choice Realty, which put the home into the Georgia Multiple Listing Service and First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS), which gives agents access to details about the property. But the Skeens scheduled their own showings and represented themselves during the negotiations, working directly with buyers’ real estate agents. If the homeowner chooses to represent themselves, Total Choice collects a half a percent of the sale price at closing, said owner Carolyn West. Sellers also can use Total Choice to negotiate and write the offer with the buyer (if the owner finds the buyer) or with the buyer’s agent (if an agent is involved) and mange the contract through closing, collecting 1 percent of the sale price at closing. The Skeens avoided paying part of the commission, by opting out of using an agent to represent them in the sale of their home, which had hardwood floors and a master suite with a sitting area. A commission - typically 3 percent - still needs to be paid if an agent represents the buyers.
The Skeens cut their space by more than half, by purchasing a new home in Kennesaw’s Kenyon Farms neighborhood, which has homes from the mid $200,000s. The builder, Azalea Homes, notes that features include framing techniques and air sealing to help reduce internal leaks and drafts, insulation techniques that enhance energy efficiency, and low emissive, or low-E, windows with protective coatings to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. The Skeens did work with a real estate agent in the purchase - Paige Slyman of Slyman Real Estate - and moved into their new five-bedroom, four-bath home in September 2012.
Potential stumbling block: The couple received an offer the day they put the home on the market, but the deal didn’t go through. As they prepared for other offers, the couple had to set a bottom line, in terms of how low they were willing to go for the sale price. She added that the home’s location, in a swim-tennis neighborhood, also attracted buyers. “When we listed it, we knew we had negotiating room. We were really pleased,” Jennifer said.
Seller’s hint: Keep the home clean and well decorated, if you are still living in the property. Real estate agents who brought their clients to the home commented to the Skeens that those aspects made the property stand out.