- Preparing Your Home
- Pricing Your Home
- Marketing & Advertising
- Internet Marketing
- Negotiating Contracts
- Closing Costs
With buyers, first impressions count. A small investment in time and money will give your home an edge over other listings in the area when the time comes to show it to a prospective buyer.
This is the first impression! Make it a good one!
- Cut lawns
- Trim shrubs
- Weed and edge gardens
- Flowers added makes a good first impression
- Clear walk and driveway of leaves
- Repair gutters and eaves
- Touch up or repaint exterior of house
- General Maintenance
Here’s some ideas for inexpensive repairs and upgrades that can make your home much more attractive to prospective buyers. Painting and Flooring are two of the most productive improvements you can make.
- Repair windows and doors
- Tighten doorknobs
- Repair old and cracked plaster
- Repair any plumbing leaks or running toilets
- Repair light fixtures, or replace if outdated
- Consider painting interior a light neutral color
- Consider installing updated moldings and trim
- Clean or, if necessary, replace carpeting and flooring
The Clean and Spacious Look
Reducing clutter and cleaning will greatly enhance the appearance of your home. Buyers want to live somewhere that they feel has been well maintained.
- Clean, Clean, Clean
- Clean Patio and yards
- Clean Kitchen appliances
- Clear stairs and hallways
- Remove excess items from counters and furniture
- Store excess furniture
- Make closets neat and tidy
Pricing your home properly is the most important decision you will make in listing your home for sale. Overpricing is the most common mistake that sellers make, and can be disastrous, especially in a market in which prices are decreasing.
See your home through a buyer’s eyes
Buyers are looking for a home that gives them a specific feeling, which can be related to layout, neighborhood, cleanliness, or how the home has been updated. The expensive tile entryway or whirlpool bath you’ve installed may mean more to you than to a prospective buyer. Don’t expect to recover all costs from amenities you’ve added. Some improvements will have more appeal and value than others. Take a step back, walk through your home as a prospective buyer might and be realistic about your home’s shortcomings. View your home as an investment and try and put your personal feelings aside.
View the Market Analysis with the proper perspective
All real estate agents prepare some kind of a market analysis when evaluating a listing price recommendation for a home. This information is invaluable, but should be viewed based upon market conditions. In the rapidly rising market we’ve seen over the last few years, it has been wise to pay more attention to the prices of available homes and pending sales to estimate value, as they would be more likely to show the current increases than properties sold. In a stable or declining market, the opposite is true, and properties actually sold will give you a much more valid estimate of your home’s value.
NEVER choose a realtor by the “price” they say they can obtain. Some real estate professionals know that many home sellers will choose an agent simply by who gives them the highest price. The key to selling your home at the highest possible price is to price it properly based on an accurate market analysis and to expose it to the greatest amount of potential buyers in the shortest period, through proper marketing and having an agent who is motivated to get your home sold for the best possible price and terms! Any of us can agree to a listing price of your choosing.
The correct selling price of a home is the highest price the market will bear. To assist you in determining the correct asking price, we will provide you with a comprehensive market analysis of comparable properties that have been recently offered for sale in your neighborhood.
This analysis is based strictly on homes that can be considered similar to yours, and has been specially prepared for you over the last few days.
This ‘Comprehensive’ property analysis is divided into four categories:
- Similar properties that are currently listed
- Similar properties that have recently sold
- Similar properties that have sales pending
- Similar properties that failed to sell
By carefully studying the comparable property locations, features, and the terms under which they are offered, we can develop a clear picture of the potential market for your property.
By looking at the properties currently listed, we can see exactly what alternatives a serious buyer has to choose from. We can be certain that we are not under pricing the property.
By looking at similar properties recently sold, we can see what homeowners have actually received over the last few months. This is the acid test that is used by lending institutions to determine how much they will be willing to lend a buyer for your home.
While we naturally want top market value for the home, we can agree that there’s a point where the price would be too high. By looking at homes that didn’t sell, we can accurately determine that price point and be careful not to get too high. By doing our homework diligently, we can get maximum dollars in a reasonably short period of time.
Staging is the process in which we take a home from “living in” mode, to “sale ready” mode. It is the concept of furnishing and decorating your home to show off it’s best qualities, while minimizing it’s negatives.
We will begin by doing a thorough walk through of your home, identifying any areas where repairs, painting, or replacements to items are suggested. Next, we can arrange any necessary professionals to complete any work or upgrades you agree to. When any repairs or upgrades are complete, we will come in and arrange furniture and accessories to show your home in the best light. See some examples of rooms we’ve staged:
Once we have staged your home for showing, the following guidelines will help keep your home looking “sale ready” during the market period:
- Keep room draperies and shades open to let light in and make rooms appear larger
- Neatness makes a room look larger.
- Have your home well-lit during showing. All lights should be turned on.
- Avoid clutter and keep the house as clean as possible on a daily basis.
- Keep toys put away. Bikes, wagons and skateboards should not be out in front; make them as inconspicuous as possible.
- Light music, such as jazz or classical playing in the background is recommended.
- Avoid cooking foods with strong odors that can linger.
- During an open house, allow your realtor® to show your home without you present.
- Refer direct inquiries about your house to your Realtor®.
- If you’re home during a viewing, leave the Realtor® alone to show your property. Be friendly and encourage people to make themselves at home. Answer questions candidly, but avoid questioning potential buyers.
- Keep pets outdoors or better yet, consider having them stay with friends if possible. Some buyers are turned off by pets, some could be allergic.
- Remove or replace attached items not included in the sale of your house prior to putting it on the market.
We strongly believe that our industry, like so many others, is being revolutionized due to advancing technology. We are committed to embracing this technology and the enhanced services it helps us provide. See more information about this important medium on the Internet Marketing Page.
Multiple Listing Service
The MLS is the way that most agents and potential homebuyers will be exposed to your home. The information from the MLS is uploaded to countless Broker and Agent websites, Realtor.com, and others. That makes it extremely important that the pictures placed on the MLS, as well as the home’s description and features are well laid out in the minimal space allowed. We understand the importance of using this tool to your best advantage, and attracting the highest number of agents and homebuyers to come and visit your home.
Some agents shy away from doing open houses. They spout statistics that open houses don’t work, or they say they only benefit the agent. The reality is there are two very important reasons why you should have your home held open:
- More buyers are starting their home search without an agent, since there is so much information available on the internet. Many of these buyers would prefer to do some of the footwork themselves, and open houses offer them that opportunity.
- Open houses offer you the opportunity to attract buyers that may not be immediately in the market to buy. Certainly you’ve bought something on impulse before. That’s why retail stores put items in the front windows, hoping to attract interest from those who may not have been specifically looking to buy. That happens in home sales as well.
We know the most active local realtors in the area and will contact those that are most likely to have potential buyers for the area and expose them to your home. The importance of networking with other successful agents is a critical step in giving your home maximum exposure.
Broker’s Tour is essentially an open house for the local area agents to tour around and see new properties on the market. Broker’s Tours in our area are usually conducted mid-day on Tuesday or Thursday for 3-4 hours.
Newspaper & Magazine
In the past, newspaper advertising has been well utilized. While we still use these mediums on occasion to showcase homes, we’ve found that we are much more productive focusing on online advertising, as that’s where the overwhelming majority of buyers are searching for homes.
No doubt you’ve pulled up to a home for sale in the past to get an informational brochure, and find that there’s either none there, or if there are some, that they are carbon copies off a copy machine. We believe that the marketing materials we put outside of your home reflect the care and pride you take inside. We only use professionally prepared color flyers, and check often to make sure copies are available in the brochure boxes inside and outside your home.
Direct Mail Advertising
Direct Mail is a highly targeted marketing strategy which allows us to focus on the neighborhood you are in, as many homeowners will attract friends to their area. We will also target renters in the area that may have an interest in buying.
A yard sign is an important tool for attracting buyers who otherwise may not be exposed to your home. Remember, potential buyers drive neighborhoods!
The right internet marketing can help sell your home. Most buyers these days are either starting their home search on the internet, or are using it along with their Realtor® to preview potential properties. Here’s how we make sure your home stands out when buyers are looking for a home online:
How your home shows up on the internet:
- When we upload your home information and pictures into the local Multiple Listing Service, it’s picked up by all real estate brokerage and individual agent websites through IDX data exchange. Your home will be featured along with all other available homes on most websites within 24 hours.
- Most real estate brokerages and agent websites have an “auto email update” feature that potential buyers and their agents have setup to get emails of new properties that meet their criteria the day they come on the market. Your home listing will be sent out to all potential buyers by email. Because of this, having all quality pictures and marketing materials ready and available at the time the property is listed in very important. Additionally, another reason to price your home properly – if buyers are only looking up to $500,000, and you’re overpriced at $510,000, when your market value is more likely to be around $490,000, potential buyers won’t even see your home listing!
- It’s imperative that this first impression is a good one – top quality pictures showcasing the best features of your home, correct listing information on size and amenities, and a short, but well written and descriptive narrative on your home’s features to capture attention.
- We can prepare a virtual tour of your property giving buyers a look through our outstanding pictures and where appropriate, panoramic or 360 degree views of certain rooms or features.
- There’s a number of very popular websites that don’t get fed information from the local MLS, and for those, I make sure each one is uploaded as soon as possible with your home’s information and pictures. Those websites include Postlets, Zillow, Facebook, Trulia, and of course our website:
- Additionally, on our website, prospective buyers can have access to more information about local schools, area services, neighborhoods, and other more detailed information about your home. When they have an interest, buyers will typically locate the page on our website after viewing the property initially on one of the sites listed above, so we strive to make our website a place to really put your home on full display, as people viewing the property here are generally quite interested and may have already come to view your home.
Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
Asks specific questions about the condition of the property. It will be necessary for you to disclose any recent repairs, knowledge of easements or common areas shared with other homeowners among other issues. This form is required by law in all residential real estate transactions of 1-4 units. See a sample of this form here:
Seller Property Questionnaire
Supplements the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement. It is a form to be completed by the seller in an effort to give a buyer a more comprehensive understanding of the property to be acquired. The four pages of questions can often prompt a seller to remember something about the property that they otherwise may not have remembered or may not have considered important enough to disclose. The questions ask for the seller’s actual knowledge not a warranty regarding the property’s condition. See a sample of this form here:
Lead Based Paint Disclosure
If the home was built prior to 1978, the you must give the buyer this disclosure, which tells them any of your knowledge of any lead-based paint on the property.
Natural Hazard Disclosure
Will disclose to the buyer whether the property is in a Special Hazard Zone, such as a Flood Zone or Earthquake Fault Zone. If the home does fall into some of these categories, the lender might require the buyer to purchase additional insurance coverage. These reports are furnished by an outside geological firm, and typically cost $100—$150. See a sample of this report here:
“Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms Inspection Report”
If there are issues identified from this report, they will be one of two types:
Section 1 items are where active infestation exists from either termites or other wood destroying organisms. If any Section 1 items are discovered, it is recommended that the seller have those items properly repaired per the specifications in the report. Most contracts will stipulate that the seller correct any Section 1 deficiencies prior to close of escrow.
Section 2 items are items that could lead to a Section 1 condition, such as faulty caulking in a bathroom or kitchen area or a leak in a pipe. Most contracts specify the buyer taking responsibility for these minor problems, but it is always prudent to evaluate these items as to how they might affect the saleability of your home. See a sample below:
The buyer may have any inspections done on the home that they choose, at their own expense. This might include:
- Home Inspection
- Roof Inspection
- Chimney Inspection
- Swimming Pool Inspection
- Soil Stability/Engineer’s Report
- Furnace Inspection
Any concerns that the buyer has after conducting these inspections can be negotiated between the buyer and seller. The seller is generally under no obligation to repair items found by these other inspections. The buyer can choose to cancel the purchase if, within the specified time limits, they have a concern that the seller refuses to address.
Price may not be the most important issue in the contract. Terms, timing and tax issues may become more important towards your bottom line and should be carefully considered. Price and terms become a function of each other – terms will influence the price.
Understanding the Purchase Contract
We will take the time to explain all areas of the eight page purchase offer to you. Our goal is to give you the best, accurate information with which to make informed decisions. No surprises.
Many of the costs associated with selling your home are negotiable with the buyer and specified in the purchase offer. We will explain each of those costs to you in determining your net proceeds based on the terms specified.
If a buyer is unable to fulfill the terms of the contract, you have wasted precious time that your home could be marketed to qualified buyers. We will insure that any prospective buyers are fully qualified to complete the purchase of your property.
Responding to Offers
You have three options when you receive an offer on your property: Accept, Reject or Counter. We will spell out all the alternatives in detail and explain the consequences of any decision fully.
If your home receives more than one offer, we will show you the positives and negatives of each and help guide you to insure that you will get the best possible price and terms with the least possible amount of risk.
Typical Seller Expenses:
- Wood Destroying Pest Inspection – $175-$225
- Natural Hazard Report – $100-$150
- County Transfer Tax – $1.10 per $1000 of sales price
- Home Warranty for Buyer – $300-$450
- HOA Transfer & Document Fees, if any – $200-$600
- Recording, Notary & other misc. fees to Title Company – $250-$350
- Real Estate Brokerage Fees – 4%-6% of sales price
Typical Buyer Expenses:
- Escrow Fee – Depends on Sales Price, typically $700-$1000
- Owner’s Title Insurance Policy – Depends on Sales Price, typically $1200-$2000
- Lender’s Title Insurance Policy – Depends on Loan Amount, typically $400-$1000
- New Loan Fees & Points – Determined by buyer’s lender
- Recording, Notary & other misc. fees to Title Company – $250-$350
- Home Inspection – $400-$500
- Additional Inspections – Varies