What are the basic steps to selling my home?

  • Do your homework. Visit our website to size-up the homes-for-sale competition, read home selling articles on our site, consider reading a book on home selling, attend some seller's Open Houses in the your area (ask us or see the local newspaper).
  • Hire a specialist. As neighborhood real estate agents that specialize in listing in your area, we know what it takes to sell in this market. We welcome your call!
  • Set the price. Ask your agent for an analysis of the local market and an opinion of the best price range for your home.
  • Set a marketing strategy. Have your agent discuss a marketing plan and include the main elements in the listing presentation.
  • Get the house ready. With your agent, take a hard, objective look at your home. Prioritize what needs to be done, and decide how much you can spend in time and money to make it look its best before opening it up to buyers. Get rid of all clutter and put some of your stuff in storage to make the rooms and closets roomier. Put together an information packet on local amenities, your utility bills and other helpful information.
  • Consider finding a reliable real estate attorney. The attorney can help review all the paperwork.
  • Keep on top of the process. Stash some quick clean-up supplies close at hand, and do a fast run-through before letting a prospective buyer preview your home. Also, keep a notebook handy with a record of everyone who has come through (and their agents), and inform your agent after each visit. This can speed the follow-up that your agent will do.

What are the six biggest mistakes home sellers make?

Books and Apple Sadly, many sellers just don’t do their homework. If you’re like most people, your home is your most valuable investment. When you sell it, you’ll want to pocket the biggest possible net gain or profit. But, when you sell your home, you need to understand the competition. There are other home sellers in your area, and just like in any other competition, mistakes can be costly. Here are some common home seller slip-ups we can help you avoid:

  • Overpricing or under-pricing. By setting the price too high, you turn away the best prospects for your home. By asking too little, you'll probably sell faster but net less from the sale. We can do a comparative market analysis and help you set the best price for your home.
  • Selling "as is." In the competitive home sale marketplace, you need to show your house at its best. Your home should be in "move-in" condition from the first day it's listed. We can point out your home's chief assets and suggest how to highlight them, as well as help you identify which items need improving.
  • Over-improving. While clearing out clutter, cleaning and repairs are important ways to get your home ready for sale, undertaking a major project could cost more money than you would recover from the sale. However, some major repairs, like replacing a roof, should be done if they are needed.
  • Selling it yourself. Although doing your own marketing looks tempting as a way to save money, surveys show self-sellers often net less from the sale than sellers who use a real estate agent. And self-sellers find that agents do a lot more than most people think - from bringing qualified buyers to keeping things on track to settlement.
  • Failing to offer financial incentives. Special options can attract buyers without costing a lot. Often, incentives like a home warranty or paying points or some closing costs can be figured in when setting the price of the home.
  • Ignoring your agent's advice. As experienced professionals, we know what works and what doesn't. Let's discuss any advice you are uncomfortable with or disagree with, and together find the best way to sell your home.

Call or e-mail us when you’re thinking about selling your house. We’ll help you avoid costly mistakes.

Can a used house compete effectively against new construction?

Film Clapper In some boom markets, the well-orchestrated efforts of new-home developments can make selling a “used” home seem impossible. But you can direct your own award-winning performance, and truly compete in the home-selling business.

A successful builder designs homes and decorates models with specific “profile families” in mind. Every detail of a model home – from the name of the style to the decor of each room – is calculated to emotionally grab families who resemble the profiled family. “This is us!” the prospective buyers should say to themselves as they tour the home.

Then the builder arms a professional sales staff with a variety of easy mortgage plans, making possible an on-the-spot home sale.

New Isn’t Everything

To compete with this professional plan, “used” home sellers need a professional plan of their own. Work with your agent to:

  • Target prospective buyers. Decide who would be a likely buyer for your home and make sure your home is appealing to most any buyer but especially to the "profile family." Of course, you'll welcome an offer from any prospective buyer.
  • Apply elbow grease. Make your home shine like new, inside and out.
  • Put best foot forward. Ensure prospective buyers learn about your home's upgrades and unique features as well as the neighborhood amenities.
  • Research competition. Research the competing new homes and the builder's incentives, and offer to assist the buyer with points or other closing costs, as needed.
  • Provide a warranty. Buy a one-year major systems warranty.
  • Price realistically. Price the home to sell.

Remember, mature resale neighborhoods and properties have their own unique appeal. New isn’t everything. Set the stage, and get ready to yell, “Action!”

If I try to sell my home myself, I know I can save the sales commission. So what could I lose?

  • Time To get your home sold, you would have to advertise and then baby sit the phone, waiting for responses to your ad. We have an office staff to handle this and to sort out serious callers from others. We can also pre-qualify prospective buyers and make arrangements to show the house.
  • Money You're likely to attract bargain-hunting buyers who seek out for-sale-by-owner homes, expecting to get a lower purchase price because of the saved sales commission. We will advise you how to price the house to sell fast for the best price.
  • Access Self-selling limits exposure to prospects who see the yard sign, if one is used, or newspaper ads. We bring with us a network of contacts and a computerized listing service that puts every agent in town to work selling your house.
  • Peace of mind When selling by owner, the homeowner is responsible for negotiating a legal contract and seeing that every detail of the contract is carried out. We can screen out unqualified prospects, help arrange financing, and shepherd the sale to settlement.

How can a home warranty help me sell my home?

Hula Dancer You need more than clever gimmicks to sell a home these days. To clinch a sale, many savvy home sellers offer home warranties. Buyers love them because warranties pay for certain home repairs for a year after the sale. Many sellers love them, too, because warranties help get the home sold – and may bring in offers closer to the asking price.

Typically, home warranties cover the repair or replacement of a home’s heating, plumbing, and electrical systems and major built-in appliances. The cost often runs $350-$450, typically with a small deductible for each repair or replacement.
Shop For The Best Coverage
When shopping for home warranty coverage, compare the following:

  • Required pre-warranty inspections.
  • Coverage for appliances and systems.
  • Deductibles and service fees.
  • Dollar caps on total or individual replacement/repair costs.
  • Limits on number of repair calls.
  • Costs, including any initial or inspection charges.

Will the new lead paint rules affect my sale?

Paint Tray If you are selling a home that was built before 1978, you are now required to inform all buyers about the risks of lead-based paints. Buyers are required to sign a lead-based paint disclosure notice before signing a sales contract. The sale will not be processed without a signed lead-based paint disclosure form. Since 1995, federal law requires all sales contracts to have such a disclosure, and a pamphlet on the dangers of lead-based paint must be distributed prior to the signing of a contract.

For more information on ways to make your house attractive to prospective buyers, click on “Ask Your Own Questions” or call or e-mail us.