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WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER BEFORE PUTTING YOUR HOME ON THE MARKET?

So, you finally got off the fence and decided to “make the move.” That’s great! Here are a few things you should consider prior to placing your home on the market.

First, schedule a meeting with your Realtor.  He/she will visit your home to discuss in detail your real estate goals.  Some questions they may ask will be … What has brought you to the decision of selling your home?  Is there a timeline you need to work within?  Will you be purchasing another home, or will you be renting?  Do you still have a balance on your mortgage?   If so, do you know approximately what that balance is?  If you are purchasing another home, will you need to pull the equity from your sale to put down on your new home purchase?  Have you spoken to a mortgage lender to get pre-approved if you are planning on taking out a mortgage? Do you plan to move local or to another state?

It is important that your Realtor have a good understanding of what your goals are, so together you are able to establish a plan of action which will allow you to set reasonable expectations that will enable you to move forward with better ease.

Your home’s value will play a large role in determining how you will move forward or not. If you are in negative equity situation for example, that is an important factor to know and consider in your decision-making process.  To establish the market value of your home, your Realtor will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis, taking note of all relevant factors that will come into play when establishing value. This includes reporting homes similar to your home with similar criteria such as town, style, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage year built and acreage. The condition of your home as it compares to the homes in the report will be evaluated in the analysis.  

Once the market value of your home has been determined and you have decided to move forward and put your house on the market, it is now time to get your home show- ready!  At this point, your Realtor would have discussed any items that he/she felt necessary to address prior to placing your home on the market.   If the home is in need of any major repairs or updating, that should be reflective in the price. For example – any suggested upgrades, mechanical, electrical or plumbing issues that may have needed to be addressed, or whether the home being sold “as is.”  

And lastly, first impressions matter!  Often, we will see curb appeal at the very top of the list as first impressions really do matter!  Freshening up the flower beds, a fresh coat of paint on the front door, if necessary, a few flowerpots and a welcome mat at the door is a perfect touch. A fresh coat of paint on the walls is an inexpensive fix and will do wonders if needed. Your Realtor may discuss staging the home if they think it would help in the sale of your home.

Regardless of it being a seller’s market, it is still important as a seller to give your home the best opportunity for gaining the most value once it hits the market.  If the potential buyer is not impressed when they first do their “drive-by” – the home showing may not even make it to their list. 

Helping buyers & sellers achieve their real estate goals.

THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING WHO REPRESENTS WHO IN A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION

Whether you’re a buyer or seller, understanding the different types of agency relationships when you are in the middle of negotiating your home purchase or sale is important.  You may not have even given this a thought – but these terms are something you should understand when selling or purchasing a home.

When hiring a real estate agent, it’s important to understand whose side he or she is on, so to speak. Most commonly are when you hire a Realtor to represent you in the sale of your home, we refer to them as a “Listing Agent”, and most always you will hire a Realtor to represent you in the purchase of a home which we refer to as a “Buyers Agent”. But there are circumstances where there will be variable relationships in between that you may not be aware of.  By knowing where your agent’s loyalties lie, you will know what you can tell them and what you should not tell them. For example, if you are speaking with the listing agent, one who represents the seller of a home you may want to purchase, you may not want to mention to them that you just love the home so much you would be willing pay anything to make the house your home.

Conversely, if you were a seller speaking to the buyer’s agent you would not want to tell him/ her you would accept less than your list price.

Below are the different types of agency representations to be mindful of when entering the process of selling or buying real estate.  

Buyer’s Agency

Buyer’s agent fiduciary duties are with the buyer and represents their best interest in their home purchase. Any information shared with the agent is strictly confidential, regarding price or motivation, unless otherwise instructed by the buyer.

Listing Agency

Listing agent acts on behalf of the seller and their fiduciary duties are with the seller on the sale of their home. Other than material facts, any information shared with the agent regarding price or motivation is strictly confidential, unless otherwise instructed by the seller.

Dual Agency

When a real estate company can be the agent of both the buyer and seller. Dual Agency arises when a Buyer’s Agent shows a property currently listed with the same brokerage. The real estate company can be the agent for both buyer and seller in a transaction providing the relationship is disclosed and is mutually agreed upon in writing by both parties. Dual Agents owe both parties fair treatment, advice, guidance and negotiations to mutual agreeable terms and conditions. Lastly, Dual Agents cannot share price, terms, or motivation of either party or disclose any confidential information without the permission of either the buyer or seller.

Designated Agency

This option is available in the event that either party is not comfortable with Dual Agency. In this case, an agent will be appointed to represent the buyer and seller separately in the transaction.

Understanding agency relationships while having an open dialogue and good communication with your Realtor can only result in a smooth transaction.

“Helping buyers & sellers reach their real estate goals”

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRICING YOUR HOME RIGHT

Fact remains, it is still a crazy real estate market.  The driving force … low inventory, and high buyer demand, makes for a perfect storm for this to be called a “seller’s market”.  Properties going at or over list, and under deposit in days of hitting the market! 

In a “typical” market” you should see the most activity within the first 30 days of your home hitting the market. Within the first two weeks, you should have a good gauge as to pricing and interest. If after 30 days of market time, you have not received an offer on the property, I will usually advise my sellers that we may need to revisit and reevaluate our marketing strategy and make any necessary adjustments, including price, based upon showing and agent feedback. If a home is priced well, it will sell regardless of condition, providing there are no major objections with the property. 

Having said that … if your home continues to sit on the market while other homes around you are going under deposit, you may need to ask yourself why this is happening.  Since we are still in a seller’s market, here are a few things to ponder on to possibly change that.

You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it count. Even in a seller’s market, you need to do the work necessary to make your home out-shine your competition. Start by making sure your outside space is warm and inviting and remove any clutter from inside the home.

Many times, I will suggest staging the home to impress your potential buyers. You need to be show ready at all times. Buyers are searching online, so professional photos are important to showcase your home at first sight. This will help your home sell faster.

You want to be as flexible as possible with showings. Buyers can’t buy what they can’t see. If there are pets in the house, remove them for the showing, perhaps take them for a walk or if need be, contain them in one place. You don’t want your pets to be a distraction to the buyer when they are viewing your home.

A word of caution – regardless of it being a seller’s market, don’t get crazy with pricing your home higher than where the price should be.  That strategy will actually hurt you.  Your inflated price is more likely to deter buyers from even taking a look at your home which can limit your buyer pool.  When you price your house right, you increase your home’s visibility, which drives more buyers to want to tour your home, that may ultimately create a bidding war. 

Before placing your home on the market, speak with a Realtor and have him/her do a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to determine what fair market value looks like to you in this market.  

Working with buyers & sellers to help them achieve their real estate goals!

Laura

THINGS BUYERS SHOULD KNOW BEFORE MAKING AN OFFER

Once you have made the decision to buy a house, whether you are a first-time home buyer or a buyer who will need to sell their current home to purchase another, it is important to speak with your Realtor to understand all the moving parts of the process in order to position yourself in the best light possible when presenting your offer to a seller.    

In this market, there is such a shortage of inventory, that the likelihood of there being multiple offers on a property is high.  First step in the process would be for you to speak to a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  This is a must!  Seller’s will not even consider your offer if you do not have an approval letter submitted along with your offer.  There is a short application process the buyer would need to go through to determine what mortgage they may qualify for based upon their own personal finances, which will tell them what their budget will afford them so they can begin their home search!  No sense in looking for homes priced in the $500,000 range, when you only qualify for a $400,000 purchase price.  You need to be prepared, to put forth your best offer to compete in this market. If you currently own a home, and are looking to upsize or downsize for example, the lender will help you determine as you go through the approval process whether your new purchase will need to be contingent upon the sale of your current home – that’s where things could get a little tricky in this market.  But certainly, still very common practice that a seller would need to sell their current home to purchase another.  Speak to your lender and your Realtor to get the guidance you need to be able to move forward prior to making an offer that may give you the competitive edge you need to “win the home” even in this market.

We are in a fast-paced market, so you need to be a ready and prepared buyer if you are serious about purchasing a home.  I have been very successful in helping my buyers achieve their goal of homeownership … even in this market.  An experienced Realtor will know some of the creative ways to structure your offer to give you a leg up on the competition. 

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF STAGING A HOME TO SELL?

What’s News in Real Estate 

You only get “one” chance for a first impression – so make sure you do it right!  

Yes, even in this crazy market, it is still important for sellers to get their house “show ready” to achieve the best outcome when looking at their bottom-line sales price.  I have to say, that I have a new-found respect for sellers when it comes to preparing their home for the market having experienced this not only from my perspective as a Realtor, but having experienced this first-hand.  It can be a grueling and overwhelming task, but if you get organized and break it down it doesn’t have to be.  

Below are some helpful tips that will help you through this process and make your home one the buyers will keep on their “A” list.

First, walk through your home with “Buyer’s Eyes”, take note of any items that need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced.  

Make a checklist.  Prioritize your tasks.  Be sure to keep your list in plain sight so you can check off each item as you go – delegating tasks where you can.  Seeing your progress can help you feel less overwhelmed. 

First impressions matter.  A fresh coat of paint on the door and trim, (if warranted), a seasonal wreath and a potted plant at the front door is very welcoming to the buyer.  Tend to the landscape of the property, ensuring bushes are trimmed back and grass cut short. Pull weeds from flower beds and mulch as needed.  A good first impression only happens once, and it needs to start the moment the buyer drives by your home, as many will do prior to scheduling a showing.  Keep in mind, if the property is tired looking, it may not even make their show list.  

Cut the Clutter. Living in your home for a period of time, you can accumulate a lot.  You don’t realize how much, until you start “uncluttering the clutter”. Now is the time to sort through your belongings – box up what you plan to bring to your new home, the rest should either be tossed or given to Goodwill or charity.  There are many great social media sites that allow you to either sell or “gift” those items to someone who may repurpose or treasure them as you did.  The goal is to allow buyers to imagine their belongings in the home.  

If it’s broken – fix it. Repair anything that is broken or in poor condition.  Inexpensive things like, a leaky faucet, loose doorknob, or the like.  Make sure all light bulbs work, and the plumbing fixtures are in good shape.  Check to make sure mechanicals & small appliances are in good working order.  If you are not able to fix or replace the item, then it can be listed “as is.”

Paint can go a long way – Putting a fresh coat of paint on walls and trim can change a room dramatically.  Paint in neutral colors.  This at a minimal cost, but money well spent.  

Clean, clean, clean – Clean top to bottom and inside out!

Floors – Steam clean or shampoo carpets, and polish laminate, tile or wood floors.  

Be mindful to the sense of smell – The sense of smell strongly affects emotions.  Unpleasant aromas can overwhelm an otherwise perfect presentation.  

Wash windows – Windows let light and warmth inside and improves the view from any room.  Clean every window thoroughly and don’t forget the sills, sashes and any blinds, curtains, or other accents.

Inspect Driveways – Seal any cracks.  Pull weeds in or near these areas and trim grass along all edges.

Paint or clean exterior of the home – If time allows, a new coat of exterior paint, especially on window trim and accents can do wonders for your homes “curb appeal”. 

Having said that, addressing these things prior to placing your home on the market (if needed), shows the buyer how the home was well cared for, thus not putting any doubt of “what else” could be wrong.  These little items can save you a lot more money in the end.

Staged & Show Ready!

During showings, open all window treatments to maximize natural light, and if the weather permits, open a window for fresh air.  Turn on all interior lights, including those in bathrooms, hallways, and closets.

Following these tips, along with your Realtors pricing strategy, will put you a step ahead of your competition … getting your home sold for the most amount of money with the most favorable terms, in the shortest amount of time… Getting you where you need to go on time!