Local Selling Tips

Listing Your Home

Home Selling Tips & Advice

Once you’ve made up your mind to sell your home, you need to do your “homework” – and century21  is a great place to start! Getting a signed contract is a great accomplishment, but that's only half the journey. The typical home sale today involves more than 20 steps after the initial contract is accepted to complete the transaction.1

A real estate professional can provide the experience and local knowledge to guide you through the entire process, and selling your home within the ideal time frame and at the most effective price point. As the representative of your best interests, I have state-of-the-art marketing resources to showcase your home’s best assets, and help you determine what improvements will make the biggest difference.

Much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of appraisers, loan processors, attorneys, and inspectors. My role also includes coordinating those responsibilities, helping to ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly.

Many steps between contract ratification and closing involve the cooperation of both buyer and seller, and attentive real estate professionals on both sides of the transaction will troubleshoot and keep everyone on track.

1Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Creating a Marketing Plan

Much of an agent’s work is quiet, behind the scenes – and important. Promoting your home involves several outreach efforts, including scheduling, following up with prospective buyers & buyers agents, having conversations with ad respondents, and posting photos and virtual tours on the web. Being your guide and confidant is part of the process as well.

Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies, and I will develop a plan especially for your home, which will help set it apart in your local marketplace and attract buyers. Once listed, the home will be quickly entered into the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), displayed on century21.com and distributed to over 500 national and local real estate websites, where most buyers begin their search for a new home.

Adding Value to Your Home

Following these 10 tips will help to add value to your home and increase your chances of a sale.

1. Clean, organize, and neutralize your space: Unclutter your house to make it look bigger and cleaner. Buyers need to be able to envision their own belongings in the home; so, avoid using bright colors and too many personal effects.

2. Keep Your Lawn Green: Get your lawn in shape. A patchy lawn takes away from the home's overall appearance. Your local hardware store has supplies to re-seed those unhealthy areas.

3. Add insulation to save energy: The most inexpensive way to increase your home's energy is to add insulation, which can reduce heating and cooling costs by more than 25%.

4. Update kitchen appliances: The kitchen is often the room that buyers gravitate towards first, and an updated kitchen can help sell your home. You don't have to remodel your kitchen to give it a new look. Updating your appliances to the current standard and replacing cabinet doors and hardware can make a big impact at a relatively low cost.

5. Update bathroom fixtures: A little change can go a long way when it comes to the look of your bathroom. Updating simple fixtures such as your sink and faucet can give any outdated bathroom style.

6. Build a fence: If you're trying to sell a house, the appearance of a fence adds value to the home overall. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the privacy and security of an enclosed backyard.

7. Repair the gutter: Ensuring that your gutter is clean is crucial in protecting your home against water damage.

8. Light up the outside: An easy and inexpensive way to increase your home's outdoor space is to add lighting. It makes it more appealing and safer.

9. Store and organize: Ample storage space is a plus, especially when it comes to garages and closets. Efficient closet structures can help keep your clothes organized and can save space.

10. Polish off the basement: Rather than adding an additional room, it is more cost-efficient to remodel your basement. This adds value and usable space.

Setting the Price

A key part of your marketing plan is setting the list price. Quite simply, if a home is priced too low, you miss out on potential profit. If a home is priced too high, qualified buyers will look elsewhere.

To determine the best asking price, we will review the prices of recently sold, comparable homes in the area; evaluate the competition, and study marketplace trends. This information will provide the big picture to help you determine the right asking price.

A home warranty is another useful marketing tool, providing protection if an appliance or other covered item fails after closing. Home warranties are a relatively inexpensive way for a seller to add value to a property.

Other factors to consider:

  • Real estate is local. Your CENTURY 21®Agent can explain current market factors in your community, including what's selling, what isn't selling, and why. This information is critical to setting an optimal price and terms.
  • If your house is located in a desirable area you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area.
  • If a house has amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it will bring a higher price. Your CENTURY 21 Agent can help identify top trends.
  • A house that has been better maintained and “shows” better will always sell for more than one that has had deferred (neglected) maintenance and needs work.
  • Buyers expect everything to work. It’s an important trust factor, and worth the time and expense to make basic repairs.
  • Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low and the local job base is growing, it's great to be a seller. But when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow..

Showing Your Home

You want potential buyers to feel at home from the minute they walk up the driveway.  Start with a good cleaning, eliminate clutter, put away the knickknacks and add fresh coats of a neutral-colored paint to brighten rooms. Oh, and tidy up the yard. Your CENTURY 21®Real Estate Agent can give you all sorts of tips to help boost your home's curb appeal and impress potential buyers once they're inside. Here are a few basics:

  • If the weather permits, open the windows (if there is too much noise outside, close them). If it's cold enough to wear a sweater to stay warm, turn on the heat. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on hot or cold days!
  • Light a fire in the fireplace, have chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, or use lightly scented aromatherapy – such as lavender – to set the scene for a tranquil home.
  • Open all the window coverings to let in light. If a particular window overlooks undesirable scenery or obstructed views, keep the blinds partially closed.
  • Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
  • Play soft background music.

Move your cars to an alternate location, and allow your real estate agent to conduct the tour: potential buyers usually feel more comfortable – and less pressured – when the owners are not present.

The Sale

Negotiating the Real Estate Deal

Successful negotiating encompasses the acquired ability to use certain skills and techniques to bring about coveted win-win results. Your CENTURY 21® Agent can help you stay focused, objective, and not let your emotions rule.

  1. Start with a thoroughly researched, fair price.
  2. Respect the other side's priorities. For example, a buyer with an urgent move-in date might be willing to pay a higher portion of the transaction costs or forgo some major repairs. Or, they may prefer to push out the closing date, in order to be more confident that there will be no unanticipated additional expenses.
  3. In any case, be prepared to compromise: "win-win" doesn't mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some

Home Inspection

A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of the home and property. It removes any questions about the condition of your home for you and a potential homebuyer, improving the speed, price and likelihood of a sale.

The inspection process usually takes two to three hours, during which time the house is examined from the ground up. It includes observation and, when appropriate, operation of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems, as well as structural components, such as the roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors and windows.

Some home sellers elect not to correct every defect found in the inspection report. Instead, they acknowledge the defects to buyers and explain that the asking price has been adjusted to reflect the estimated cost of repairs. Such candor tends to shorten negotiation time, because buyers have fewer objections.

In addition to facilitating the sale of a home, an inspection helps the homeowner comply with full-disclosure real estate laws, governed by state laws. By focusing on the condition of your property, you are less likely to overlook a defect or material fact for which you could later be held liable.

A thorough home inspection covers more than 1,000 items, everything from the foundation to roof and takes two to three hours depending on the size of the property. The report should reflect the condition of about 400 items.

The Closing

Closing can also be referred to as settlement or escrow.  In general, the closing process begins with the acceptance of an offer. Prior to closing, all conditions of sale (also known as contingencies) must be met. The most common is the buyer's ability to secure a new mortgage.

A title company is usually hired to conduct a search for any recorded documents that affect the deed to the property. Examples include easements, liens, tax assessments, covenants, conditions and restrictions, and homeowner association bylaws. The buyer and lender must approve the preliminary title report prior to closing.

Once the conditions of sale have been met and the preliminary title report has been approved, all parties will agree to sign closing documents. The preliminary title report then becomes the final title report, on which any applicable title insurance is based. After the documents have been signed, notarized copies will be forwarded to the lender, funds will be released, and the sale will be recorded at the local recorder's office.

Closing is also the time when "adjustments" will be made. For instance, suppose you've pre-paid taxes four months in advance. At closing, you will be compensated by the buyer for the prepayment.

Tips for Moving

Whether you have moved once or a dozen times, it never seems to get any easier. Here are some hints that we hope you will find helpful as you prepare for moving day.

  • Make agreements with buyers about possession of the home and moving date.
  • Start planning early. From the moment you decide to put your home up for sale, start sorting through your current possessions. Toss (or give away, sell at a yard sale or online) anything that you don't want to take with you.
  • Make a list of important items you will need to buy for your new house, such as drapes, blinds, shower curtains, etc. Having these things with you on the day you move helps you settle in more comfortably.

Start packing early. Anything that you are sure you will not be using before moving day should get boxed.  Organize like items together and mark every box and carton. This makes it easier if you find you need an item before you move, and much simpler after you move. Unpacking tends to be a gradual process--this simple step will help you find the items you need when you need them.