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Tips For Selling a Home
Extra Thought Can Mean Better Sales Price, Less Time on Market

A little paint here and there, shampoo on the carpets, some spackle and voilà! Your house is ready to go on the market, right?

Even if you've kept your home in mint condition over the years, a little extra thought can mean thousands more in your sales price. It can also mean the difference between a week and a couple of months on the market.

Here are some projects to take care of before your home goes on the market.
Deep cleaning of the bathrooms and kitchen, which includes replacing old toilet seats and other worn-out fixtures;

Locate and replace rotted wood; clear overgrowth in the yard;

Clean windows and replace carpeting, if necessary;

If a roof is in obvious need of help, such as leaks or visible damage, make necessary repairs.

By postponing roof, wood rot or other necessary repairs, a seller can lose twice - first in a lower sales price and later when a lender requires repairs for closing.

A little paint here and there, shampoo on the carpets, some spackle and voilà! Your house is ready to go on the market, right?

Even if you've kept your home in mint condition over the years, a little extra thought can mean thousands more in your sales price. It can also mean the difference between a week and a couple of months on the market.

Here are some projects to take care of before your home goes on the market.

Deep cleaning of the bathrooms and kitchen, which includes replacing old toilet seats and other worn-out fixtures;

Locate and replace rotted wood; clear overgrowth in the yard;

Clean windows and replace carpeting, if necessary;

If a roof is in obvious need of help, such as leaks or visible damage, make necessary repairs.

By postponing roof, wood rot or other necessary repairs, a seller can lose twice - first in a lower sales price and later when a lender requires repairs for closing.


Seven Selling Mistakes You Don't Want to Make!

Mistake #1 -- Pricing Your Property Too High

Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her product. Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to list your product at an excessively high price! A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. As a result, overpriced properties tend to take an unusually long time to sell, and they end up being sold at a lower price.

Mistake #2 -- Mistaking Re-finance Appraisals for the Market Value

Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may have been stated at an untruthfully high price. Often, lenders estimate the value of your property to be higher than it actually is in order to encourage re-financing. The market value of your home could actually be lower. Your best bet is to ask your Real Estate Professional for the most recent information regarding property sales in your community. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property value.

Mistake #3 -- Forgetting to "Showcase Your Home"

In spite of how frequently this mistake is addressed and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean. Make sure everything functions and looks presentable. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will surely lower the selling price of your property and will even turn away some buyers.

Mistake #4 -- Trying to "Hard Sell" While Showing

Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. As a result, you should try to allow prospective buyers to comfortably examine your property. Don't try haggling or forcefully selling. Instead, be friendly and hospitable. A good idea would be to point out any subtle amenities and be receptive to questions.

Mistake #5 -- Trying to Sell to "Looky-Loos"

A prospective buyer who shows interest because of a "for sale" sign he saw may not really be interested in your property.

Often buyers who do not come through a Real Estate Professional are a good 6-9 months away from buying, and they are more interested in seeing what is out there than in actually making a purchase. They may still have to sell their house, or may not be able to afford a house yet. They may still even be unsure as to whether or not they want to relocate.

Your Real Estate Professional should be able to distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. Real Estate Professional should usually find out a prospective buyer's savings, credit rating, and purchasing power in general. If your Real Estate Professional fails to find out this pertinent information, you should do some investigating and questioning on your own. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people. If you have to do this work yourself, consider finding a new Real Estate Professional.

Mistake #6 -- Not Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities

It is extremely important that you are well-informed of the details in your real estate contract. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing. Not being aware of the terms in your contract could cost you thousands for repairs and inspections. Know what you are responsible for before signing the contract. Can the property be sold "as is"? How will deed restrictions and local zoning laws will affect your transaction? Not knowing the answers to these kind of questions could end up costing you a considerable amount of money.

Mistake #7 -- Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property

Your Real Estate Professional should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your Real Estate Professional should also be committed to selling your property; he or she should be available for every phone call from a prospective buyer. Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours, so make sure that your Real Estate Professional is working on selling your home during these hours. Chances are that you have a job, too, so you may not be able to get in touch with many potential buyers.


Curb Appeal Draws Buyers

Making a good first impression is as important when selling your home as when meeting a business associate. We call it "curb appeal." And it's what draws a potential buyer out of their car and into your home.

Begin by taking an objective look at your home. When you drive up, what's the first thing you see? Is it an inviting setting that encourages buyers to stop and take notice? Or is the first thing you see your brother-in-law's old boat, children's toys strewn around the yard, or overgrown landscaping? Here are some tips for ensuring your home makes a good first impression:

Nice landscaping: Prune overgrown trees and bushes. Pull weeds and dead or diseased plants. Fertilize and mow your lawn to make it look green and healthy. Consider planting flowers along walkways or in pots along the sidewalk to bring eye-catching color to your landscaping. Spread mulch or beauty bark around trees, shrubs and flowers to give your front yard a clean, well-kept look.

Attractive front entry: Polish your front door handle and other hardware. Paint or stain your front door if needed. Consider hanging a pretty wreath or floral swag. Set out pots of flowers near the front door and/or where potential buyers are likely to notice them. If you have a front porch, set the mood by featuring a charming bench or chairs with a table and flowers. Keep all sidewalks, porches and walkways swept. Buy a new front door mat in neutral tones. Clean and polish light fixtures.

Less is more: Just as you would inside the house, make sure your front yard does not look cluttered. Move cars into the garage and out of the driveway whenever possible. Keep the kids' bikes, toys and other play equipment out of sight. To minimize distractions, keep lawn and garden ornaments to a minimum. In other words, create an environment that invites buyers into your home and allows them to picture themselves enjoying your front yard.

I would be happy to take a look at your home and suggest ways to improve your home's curb appeal. Please call me if I may be of assistance.


Reject the Buyer's First Offer

This type of strategy works best in a normal to hot seller's market. Rejecting the first offer might cost you the deal but in the long run you could end up coming out ahead. Use this information as more of guideline than a rule.

In a cold market, depending on the number of offers, rejecting the first offer may not be the wisest choice. For example, the market prices are depressed. You have your first bite in six months. It is safe to assume that this may be your only offer and you should accept it.

Why should you reject the first offer?

A buyer's first offer does not always reflect the buyer's highest bid for your property. From the buyer's perspective, there are three goals in making the offer:

Buyer's Goals in Making an Offer
1. To get the property for the lowest possible price.
2. To get the best possible terms.
3. To "feel out" the seller to see how "motivated" he or she is.

All of these goals speak toward making a low initial offer. Why offer $300,000 to a seller that might accept $270,000? Always offer the lower amount first. If the seller doesn't accept it, you can always offer a higher bid.

When the Market's Super Hot

In some areas of the country and at different times, there is such a high demand for property but a shortage of land. Multiple Offers come in as soon as the property is listed (sometimes before the listing is even published!). In this situation, desperate buyers make their highest and best offer first. The seller has a choice again to reject the first offer. After all, someone else is likely standing in line to offer more!

Will the buyer Offer More?

In a normal market, the answer is "maybe." If the buyer low-balled the first offer, then indeed they will offer more. Even if the buyers offered what they considered their best, they might stretch and still offer more if they really want to buy your house.

The market is fluid and stands still for no one. You never know what a buyer's thinking, or what other properties a buyer is considering. In the time since the first offer was made, the buyers may have reconsidered. They may have decided that they really don't want to buy into another house. Perhaps they'll rent for a time. Maybe they've seen another house that they like better.

This is the risk you take when you reject any offer. You may not get another offer from this buyer. You may not even get this buyer to come back and honor the original offer. The consequences do sound scary but if you want the most for your house then this is the tactic to consider.

Counter Offers

If you don't accept the buyer's offer exactly as presented within the time frame it is offered, you've rejected it. Now it's time to make a counter offer.

You don't both accept and counter. The moment you make a counter offer for a different price or terms, it's a whole new ball game. The buyer is under no obligation to accept your counter offer and can now accept or reject it.

You should always counter any offer that you reject, no matter how frivolous the original offer may seem. I've been in a situation (in a normal market) where a would-be buyer came in with an offer that was 25 percent less than I was asking. The house was listed at $200,000 and the offer was for $150,000.

Now, that's an affront. It is insulting to be offered so much less that the asking price, particularly since the house didn't have any particular problems that could have knocked down the price. My gut reaction was to tell this would-be buyer to take a great flying leap and simply forget about him.

However, this is business and you never know what a buyer is thinking, So I counter back, at $5000 below the asking price, indicating that I was firm and would not budge. You know what? The buyer accepted! He had simply been low-balling me to see if I was a desperate seller.

The point here is even if you think the buyer is insulting you, even if you think the buyer is insulting you, even if you can't stand to think about this ridiculous buyer, always counter.

Once you've decided to reject a would-be buyer's offer, it doesn't cost you anything to counter. You can counter for close to your asking price, your actual asking price, or even for more than you're asking! What's important is that you not be the one to close the negotiations off. Keep them open by countering.

When Should You Accept the First Offer?

There are time when you should accept the first offer, and it doesn't always have to do with market conditions. You may be desperate to sell. It could be a matter of a financial crisis (you've lost your job and can't make the payments), a divorce, a transfer, or any of a dozen other problems that have cropped up. The point here is that you need to get out now, and you can't afford to dicker. When your back is up against the wall, you may not be able to risk negotiating for a higher price. You may simply have to accept what's on the table.

Hopefully, you'll never be in this position. But if you are, recognize the situation for what it is and act accordingly.

Never gamble if you can't afford to lose. Never reject an offer you can't live without.


Pricing Right Is Key To Selling Your Home

When you decide to sell your home, you want the highest possible return from its sale. Determining price is the most critical step in preparing your home for sale.

Obviously, pricing your property too low won't provide the best return. You are apt to be deluged with lookers and may get many offers, but you could lose thousands of dollars on your family's largest investment.

Likewise, pricing a property too high is risky. Homes priced too high miss their target market. Qualified buyers who might find the home just right for their needs won't see your home, or make an offer on it, because it is out of their price range. If they are shown an overpriced home during its early marketing stages and do not buy because it isn't a good value, they are unlikely to revisit your home once the price is lowered. Real estate agents will hesitate to show an overpriced home, unless it will make a competing property look like a better value.

Many home sellers make a mistake by implementing the 'let's try it and see' pricing attitude. But testing the market can be dangerous. A property receives its best exposure during the first three to five weeks on the market.

If your home is priced right from the outset, you maximize your opportunity of reaching the most qualified buyers. Buyers who have seen most available homes in their price range are waiting for the right house to come on the market.

This is why a well priced home often sells quickly once it is put on the market.

Multiple listing association statistics show that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the selling price. The home becomes stale and a price reduction results.

Pricing a home is part art and part science. It's based on hard evidence by looking at sale prices for comparable properties. But, no two homes are identical. That means the evidence must be evaluated by an experienced sales associate, like myself.

The right price really is the right price range to attract the maximum number of qualified buyers within a time frame that suits the sellers' needs. Pricing strategy depends on the market conditions at the time your home is put up for sale. It can best be determined by an agent who is active in the market, who constantly views homes and is monitoring the changing market conditions.

If you need help to determine the right price for your home, in order to sell your home in the least amount of time for the highest return, please contact me for a comparative market analysis and consultation.