USING AN AGENT TO SELL YOUR HOME
Your home may be your single biggest investment and one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make.
When selling, you want the best price and most favorable terms. There are a myriad of marketing options, legalities and details that go into a sale, from the time you set the price to closing.
When we market your property, you benefit by receiving our customed approach, tailored just for you. We assist you in all aspects of marketing, from preparing your house to sell to advertising.
PREPARING YOUR HOUSE FOR SALE
When selling, you want the best price and most favorable terms.
There are a myriad of marketing options and details that go into a sale, from the time you set the price to closing.
When marketing your property, if it is properly prepared for showing an interested buyer, it will bring the best price, terms…and ultimately sell in the shortest time frame.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR PREPARING OR STAGING INCLUDE:
- Remove clutter from the yard
- Cut and edge grass
- Trim hedges and weed gardens
- Paint, fix or wash railings, steps, storm windows, screens and doors
- Clean gutters
- Wash windows
- Straighten up garage
- Paint, wash and fix garage doors and windows
- Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets
- Replace all burned out light bulbs
- Repair faulty light switch
- Remove clutter
- Oil door hinges, tighten door knobs
- Carpet professionally cleaned or replaced if in poor condition
- Give home a through cleaning
SHOWING YOUR HOME
How your property appears from the outside is important. To make a good first impression on a buyer, a clean driveway, a freshly mown lawn or a trimmed hedge will work wonders. Do a critical inspection of the exterior of your property, paying special attention to the condition of your windows, shutters, screens and gutters. One of the first things a buyer will notice is the need for painting. If your property looks like it needs painting, many buyers will form an unfavorable impression. Elsewhere, little things count. Make sure the front door is spotless, including the doorknob, and that the windows gleam.
Once inside your property, one of the key factors that influences its appeal to a buyer is cleanliness. Most important is front hallway, the kitchen and the bathrooms. Do a room-by-room cleaning, and don’t forget any out-of-sight areas because that’s often where a discriminating buyer will look first. The state of the carpets can also be a determining factor. At the very least, have your carpets cleaned, and if they are worn, it’s wise to replace them, or remove them if there is hardwood underneath.
Less is More
Clutter makes a poor impression. In closets, cabinets, kitchen countertops and other storage areas like basements, remove anything not needed for daily housekeeping. To make each room in your property look larger, get rid of or donate unnecessary furniture. Walk through your property and think: “Less is more.”
Make sure everything is in good working order. Dripping faucets, squeaky steps and loose doorknobs can easily create a bad impression and reduce the value of your property. A few hours spent on repairs, whether by yourself or a tradesman, can pay big dividends when an offer is made.
Little Things Count
It’s easy to improve the appearance of any room. You may want to replace worn rugs or small pillows, put new towels in the bathroom or brighten up a room with a vase of flowers.
Get all the members of your household to pull together when it comes to getting – and keeping – your property ready to view. By getting everyone into the habit of spending a few minutes tidying up every morning for an afternoon showing, you improve your chances considerably.
Scheduling the Showing Coordination is the key
Before showing or previewing your property, all sales associates from our firm or a cooperating broker will contact you to schedule an appointment. You will then be notified of the timing, and, if it’s acceptable, the appointment will be confirmed. If you can’t be reached, the showing will proceed on the understanding that you wouldn’t want to miss any chances for interested buyers to view your property.
Ordinarily, you’ll get plenty of notice about an appointment request. Some buyers, however, may ask to see your property as soon as possible. In such cases, a showing could take place within an hour or so. If a buyer requests a change to the timing of a scheduled showing, you’ll be given as much notice as possible.
Any special instructions you may have given to your listing agent, such as information on pets, parking or security, will be listed in your property file and thoroughly explained to the sales associate who requested the showing. The Showing If you’re not on hand during a showing, the sales associate will use the property’s lock box to enter. If you’re available, sales associates will introduce themselves and give you a business card.
The fewer people around during a showing, the better. It’s also a good rule to let the buyer roam freely and discuss the property with the sales associate without interruption. A properly briefed sales associate will know the buyer’s needs and will be able to point out the features that meet the requirements.
If you’re not going to be available to approve an appointment request, it’s important to notify your sales associate. By leaving a telephone number where you can be contacted, you can be notified immediately about an offer.
Occasionally, sales associates may schedule an appointment to view your property without a buyer. By familiarizing themselves with what’s on the market, they will be an excellent position to alert a buyer to a property that fits the bill.
Ask any people who show up to view your property without an appointment to telephone the listing agent to request a showing. Even if the person identifies himself or herself as a licensed sales associate, an appointment request must be made first through your listing agent.
1. Make Buyers Feel at Home Declutter your house: Pack away personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental pieces. Make buyers feel like they belong in
the house. According to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.” Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that, “One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”
2. Keep it Organized Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized: Before buyers arrive, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers. Put out a scented candle or some cookies fresh from the oven. Buyers will remember the smell of your house.
3. Price it Right: When the competition in your neighborhood heats up, you’ll want to make sure your house is noticed. A key to selling quickly is ensuring your house is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI). This means you’ll be driving more traffic to your property and ultimately creating more interest in your listing.
4. Give Buyers Full Access: One of the top four elements when selling your house is access. If your house is available to tour anytime, that creates more opportunities to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one. Bottom Line If you want to sell your house in the least amount of time, at the best price
PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT
Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, together we’ll complete a purchase and sale agreement.
This is the contract in which you and the seller outline the details of the property transfer. The purchase and sale agreement usually consists of the following pages:
- Earnest money receipt
- Financing addendum
- Inspection addendum
- Conditions/disclosure addendum
- Contingency addendum-when appropriate
- Addendum outlining special conditions
- Lead-based paint notification-when appropriate
In selected areas, the following forms
will also be part of your agreement:
- Agency disclosure
- Property disclosure form
completed by the property seller
THE CHEMISTRY OF ESCROW
Closing Costs, Points, and Title Insurance
WHAT ARE CLOSING COSTS?
Closing costs are charges paid to various entities during the real estate transaction. They can include escrow fees, document preparation fees, the cost of an inspection, and lender fees.
WHAT IS A POINT?
A point is equal to one percent of the loan principal. Some lenders charge points, in addition to interest and fees, at closing.
WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?
Title insurance protects against loss from any defects in the legal title, liens against the property or other adverse claims. The lender usually requires title insurance.
When you’re ready to complete a purchase and sale agreement on a home, your offer will generally be contingent on a professional inspection of the entire property-including improvements.
The home inspector looks beyond the cosmetics to make sure that the home’s general systems operate properly. The inspector will also look for large repairs that are needed and report on the condition of the home.
The standard home inspector’s report will review the conditions of the home’s heating and cooling systems; interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation, basement and visible structure. The inspector will also look for cracks in cement walls, water stains that indicate leakage and any indication of wood rot.
A home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape.
As your agent, I’m familiar with home-inspection services and can provide you with a list of names from which to choose. Another good way to find a home inspector is to ask a friend, or perhaps a business acquaintance, who has had a home inspection and can recommend a home inspector they were satisfied with.
Remember, no home is perfect. If problems are found, I will help you negotiate through the process.
MOVING AND PACKING TIPS
Even under the ideal circumstances, packing up your life and home can be overwhelming and very time consuming. Unfortunately, if you are trying to stage and sell your home, trying to make your house look attractive while it’s littered with boxes and packing peanuts can seem downright impossible. Luckily, you can do several things to make your home look desirable while you prep, pack, and move to your new home.
Declutter Every Room
The first step that most people take before packing is to get rid of any unwanted and unnecessary items. If you weren’t selling your home, you would have the luxury of carefully going room by room. Unfortunately, because you must make your home desirable to buyers, you must start to declutter early and complete it before attempting to sell your home.
The best way to declutter your home is to go room by room. Go through each drawer, closet, box, nook, and cranny and take an honest inventory of each belonging. A simple rule to remember is that if you haven’t used or worn an item for six months to one year, you can live without it.
This rule doesn’t apply to seasonal items, such as winter clothing or holiday decorations. Box up the items that you are planning to keep but do not want to use for staging or aren’t necessary for everyday life. Any items that you are planning to donate and sell should be placed in separate boxes or totes.
If you don’t have anywhere to store items you’re planning to sell or donate, get them out of your home as quickly as possible. Finally, toss out or recycle any items that are broken, damaged, or stained. Eliminating as much clutter from your home will help potential buyers focus on your home’s features and not your belongings.
Pack Up Any Personal Items
If you’re like most homeowners, you house is filled with pictures, knickknack collections, and other items that are priceless to you but won’t be as attractive to potential homebuyers. Packing any personal items will help a potential homeowner see the space as a blank canvas, rather than another family’s home.
The best way to pack photos is to wrap each individually with newspaper or Bubble Wrap. Place the frames inside the box vertically, and fill any remaining space with packing peanuts or newspaper. Each knickknack should be wrapped individually with several sheets of newspaper or Bubble Wrap, as well. Place the heavier knickknacks on the bottom and fill any gaps in the box with newspaper or packing peanuts.
Leave Out Pieces for Staging
If you’re not familiar with the process, staging your home refers to arranging furniture and decorative items in a specific way to make your property more desirable to potential buyers. Here are a few items you should keep out of moving boxes and in your home to help you successfully and inexpensively stage your home:
Throw pillows and throw blankets
Choose items that are neutral, work well with your home’s color scheme, or would be appealing to a wide variety of potential buyers. For example, lighting candles is a great way to make your home smell amazing and feel inviting, so choose a scent that is not overwhelming or too peculiar.
When it comes to furniture, choose pieces that won’t overwhelm the space, and hang mirrors on the walls to help make the room feel bigger.
SETTLEMENT–WHO PAYS WHAT
During the negotiation stage of the transaction, a mutually agreed-upon date for closing is determined. “Closing” is when you and the seller sign all the paperwork and pay your share of the settlement fees, and the documents are recorded.
Settlement obligations vary widely due to specific contract language, local laws and customs.
Prior to closing, the closing agent (usually an escrow or title company or attorney) will complete a detailed settlement statement for both buyer and seller.
THE BUYER WILL RECEIVE:
- Earnest money deposit
THE BUYER PAYS:
- One-half of escrow or legal fees paid to the attorney or escrow company for preparing the closing (In California, the party paying escrow fees varies from county to county)
- Document preparation fees
- Recording and notary fees
- Title search and title insurance (paid by either the seller or the buyer)
Local transfer taxes, if any
- Repairs or inspections the buyer has agreed to pay for
- Loan fees
- Appraisal fees
- Credit report fees
- ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGE (ARM) interest rates on this type of mortgage are periodically adjusted up or down depending on a specified financial index
- AMORTIZATION a method of equalizing the monthly mortgage payments over the life of the loan, even though the proportion of principal to interest changes over time. In the early part of the loan, the principal repayment is very low, while the interest payment is very high. At the end of the loan, the relationship is reversed
- ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE the actual finance charge for a loan, including points and fees, in addition to the stated interest rate
- APPRAISAL an expert opinion of the value or worth of a property
- ASSESSED VALUE the value placed on a property by a municipality for purposes of levying taxes. It may differ widely from appraised or market value
BALLOON PAYMENT a large principal payment due all at once at the end of some loan terms
- CAP a limit on how much the interest rate can change in an adjustable-rate mortgage
- CERTIFICATE OF TITLE a document, signed by a title examiner, stating that a seller has an insurable title to the property
- CLOSING the deed to a property is legally transferred from seller to buyer, and documents are recorded
- CLOSING COSTS see “Settlement” or refer to “Settlement–who pays what” in this guide
- COMMISSION a fee (usually a percentage of the total transaction) paid to an agent or broker for services performed
- COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS (CMA) a survey of the attributes and selling process of comparable homes on the market or recently sold; used to help determine a correct pricing strategy for a seller’s property
- CONTRACT a binding legal agreement between two or more parties that outlines the conditions for the exchange of value (for example: money exchanged for title to property)
- DEED a legal document that formally conveys ownership of a property from seller to buyer
- DOWN PAYMENT a percentage of the purchase price that the buyer must pay in cash and may not borrow from the lender
- EQUITY the value of the property actually owned by the homeowner: purchase price, plus appreciation, plu
- FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE interest rates on this type of mortgage remain the same over the life of the loan. Compare to “adjustable-rate mortgage”
- FIXTURE a recognizable entity (such as a kitchen cabinet, drape or light fixture) that is permanently attached to a property and belongs to the property when it is sold
- HAZARD INSURANCE compensates for property damage from specified hazards such as fire and wind
- INTEREST the cost of borrowing money, usually expressed as a percentage rate
- LIEN a security claim on a property until a debt is satisfied
- LISTING CONTRACT an agreement whereby an owner engages a real estate company for a specified period of time to sell a property, for which, upon the sale, the agent receives a commission
- MARKET PRICE the actual price at which a property sold
- MARKET VALUE the price that is established by present economic conditions, location and general trends
- MORTGAGE security claim by a lender against a property until the debt is paid
- MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS) a system that provides to its members detailed information about properties for sale
- ORIGINATION FEE an application fee(s) for processing a proposed mortgage loan
- PITI principal, interest, taxes and insurance, forming the basis for monthly mortgage payments
- POINT one percent of the loan principal. It’s charged in addition to interest and fees
- PREPAYMENT PENALTY a fee paid by a borrower who pays off the loan before it is due
- PRINCIPAL one of the parties to a contract; or the amount of money borrowed, for which interest is charged
- PRORATE divide or assess proportionately
- PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT a contract between buyer and seller that outlines the details of the property transfer; or refer to “Purchase and sale agreement” in this guide
- SETTLEMENT all financial transactions required to make the contract final. See “Settlement–who pays what” in this guide.
- TITLE a document that indicates ownership of a specific property
- TITLE SEARCH detailed examination of the entire document history of a property title to make sure there are no legal encumbrances