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Selling your home: Where to begin?


First Impressions
Remember what first attracted you to your house when you bought it? What excited you about its most appealing features? Now that you're selling your home, you'll need to look at it as if you were buying it all over again.

A spruced up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. An attractive property grabs their attention and makes them excited about finding a house that looks and feels well-cared for. Because buyers know they’ll encounter fewer problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing and stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home correctly, you’ll save time selling it when it’s on the market.

A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels. It’s not just the way your house looks to potential buyers, but how it feels and smells to them, how their friends and family will react, how they imagine it would be to live there.

With simple improvements throughout your house, you can grab the attention of potential buyers and help them see why your house is right for them.

Download the full report below which includes checklists to keep you on track to get your home in tip-top shape to sell!

Selling Your Home - Where Do you Begin?
A spruced up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. It can be as simple as cleanliness that will help sell your home faster and for more.
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Selling First Impressions


Selling First Impressions

When selling your home there are no guarantees that a buyer will simply walk through the front door. In many cases you may have to bring your home to the buyer!

Certainly effective marketing will help ensure that your property receives maximum exposure to attract a ready, willing and able buyer. But the appearance and overall condition of your home contributes to a buyer's crucial first impressions.

Appearance and condition apply to the outside of the home as well as the inside. So stand across the street from your house and review its “curb appeal.” Then walk into your home with inquisitive eyes of a home-buyer. Try to see your home as a buyer would, and take action accordingly.

Tips to improve your curb appeal:

  • Sweep front walkway and driveway. Pressure-washing the front walkway and driveway will make them look like new!
  • Remove newspapers, bikes and toys.
  • Park extra cars away from the property.
  • Trim back the shrubs.
  • Apply fresh, clean paint throughout.
  • Clean windows and window coverings throughout.
  • Keep pet areas clean.
  • Keep plumbing and all appliances in working order.
  • Maintain all sealant (window, tub, shower, sink, etc.) in good condition.
  • Make sure roof and gutters are in good condition.
  • Mow the lawn more frequently, and plant flowers.

Tips to consider for the interior of your home:

  • Kitchen and bathrooms should shine.
  • Quick once-over with the vacuum. Carpets should be clean and free of spots.
  • Place fresh flowers in the main rooms.
  • Put dishes away, unless setting a formal display for decoration.
  • Make beds and put all clothes away.
  • Enhance the spaciousness of each room.
  • Open drapes and turn on lights for a brighter feel.
  • Straighten closets. Clear out floors of closets to make them appear more spacious.
  • Put toys away.
  • Turn off television.
  • Play soft music on the radio/stereo.
  • Keep pets out of the way, and ensure pet areas are clean and odor-free.
  • Secure jewelry, cash, prescription medication and other valuables.

Other important reminders and suggestions:

  • Potential buyers usually feel more comfortable if the owners are not present.
  • If people unaccompanied by an agent request to see your property, refer them to your real estate professional for an appointment.
  • Leave a number where you can be reached if you are leaving town, even for a weekend.

Follow these tips to create the best first impression of your home. Improving your home’s curb appeal and interior appearance can minimize your home’s days on market and maximize your financial result!

 


Selling for Top Dollar


Selling for Top Dollar!

 

Did you know? The best chance for selling your property is within the first seven weeks! Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less financial return the seller will net.

There are 5 main factors to achieving your goal of getting top dollar for your property.

 

Factor 1: PRICING

It is very important to price your property at a competitive market value right when you list it. The market is so competitive that even over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could mean that your house will not sell. I have found your first offer is usually your best offer.

 

An overpriced home:

 

Minimizes offers

Lowers showings

Lowers agent response

Limits financing

Limits qualified buyers

When you think about it, 80% of the marketing is done when we decide on what price to list your home.

 

For people unwilling to list a property at current market value, I usually recommend holding off on putting the property on the market for awhile.

 

Factor 2: CLEANING

Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanliness or odor when buying a home. Sellers lose thousands of dollars because they do not adequately clean. If your house is squeaky clean, you will be able to sell your home faster and net hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more.

 

If you are planning on moving, why not get rid of that old junk now so that your house will appear larger? Make more space!

 

Odors must be eliminated, especially if you have dogs, cats, or young children in diapers, or if you are a smoker. You may not notice the smell, but the buyers do! Most agents have a difficult time communicating to their sellers about odor. If you employ an agent to get the most amount of money for you, please don't take offense if he/she must confront you about odor problems.

 

Factor 3: ACCESS

Top selling agents will not show your home if both the key and access are not readily available. They do not have time to run around town picking up and dropping off keys. They want to sell homes! The greatest way to show a house is to have a key! When your home is being shown, be sure to do the following:

 

Keep all lights on, including exterior “coach” lights by your front door

Keep all drapes and shutters open

Keep all doors unlocked

Leave soft music playing

Take a short walk with your children and pets

Let the buyer be at ease and let the agents do their job

 

Factor 4: PAINT AND CARPET

Paint is your best improvement investment for getting a greater return on your money. Paint makes the whole house smell clean and neat. If your house has chipped paint, exposed wood, or the paint looks faded, it is time to paint.

 

If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated, or an unusual color, you may need to seriously consider replacing it. Many houses do not sell because of this problem. Don't think that buyers have more money than you do to replace carpet. They don't. They simply buy elsewhere.

 

Factor 5: CURB APPEAL

The first impression a buyer gets of your home is from the curb.

 

Your front yard immediately reflects the inside condition of your house to the buyer. People enjoy their yards. Make certain that the trees and bushes are trimmed so the house can be seen from the street. Have the grass mowed, trimmed and edged. Walkways should be swept. The front door should be freshly painted or freshly stained.

 

Clean away debris. Remove parked cars. This all adds to curb appeal.

If a buyer does not like the outside, they may not stop to see the inside!

 

Well, now you know all of the 5 main factors to getting top dollar for your property:

 

Factor 1: Pricing

Factor 2: Cleaning

Factor 3: Access

Factor 4: Paint and Carpet

Factor 5: Curb Appeal

If you carefully consider these factors, you will maximize your chances of selling your property within the first seven weeks for top dollar!

 

            


Home Buying Guide


Home Purchase Guide

Buying a home can seem like a frightening prospect. Whether it's your first home or your fifth, so much is at stake: your savings, your credit rating, and your financial freedom. It is difficult to find the courage to sign on the dotted line even if you want that home very, very badly.

How do you determine whether the purchase of a home makes sense?

What is the easiest way to examine the whole picture, from emotions to economics?

I want to share with you my Seven Steps For Success plan. If you read this plan, you will learn how to separate whims from true needs. You will discover how to prepare a game plan for your real estate venture, how to research effectively, choose wisely, finance appropriately, and survive the whole procedure with your smile in place.

SEVEN STEPS FOR SUCCESS

  1. Establish your needs and wants.
  2. Determine how much you can afford.
  3. Get pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender.
  4. Find a good real estate agent to help you.
  5. Find a home that meets your needs.
  6. Make an offer to buy a home.
  7. Save as much as you can on your initial investment.


 

STEP 1: ESTABLISH YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS

Begin your search for a perfect home by making a careful assessment of the kind of home you need and want. We recommend that you write it down. Take time, right now, to be as specific as you can about your particular requirements. First, make a list of “necessities” in your home. Next, list the features that you “desire.”


 

STEP 2: DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD

Set up a budget for yourself. Decide how much you can really afford to invest and be comfortable with, for your monthly house payment. Be realistic. Most lenders suggest that your payments be no more than 28 percent of your total monthly income. Don’t forget to include taxes and insurance if you plan to escrow.


 

STEP 3: GET PRE-QUALIFIED OR PRE-APPROVED BY A LENDER

You can save yourself time and heartache by meeting with a lender before you start your search for a home. A lender can let you know what specific loan programs would be best for you. He can also help you understand what it takes to qualify for the loan that you want. By taking a look at your financial situation and looking at your credit history, a lender can usually give you a good idea if you can qualify for the loan amount that you want. Many lenders call this ‘Pre-Qualifying A Buyer.’

To be absolutely certain that you can be approved for a loan, you may want to ask to be “pre-approved.” In the approval process, all of your documentation is completed and submitted to an underwriter. The pre-approval that you will receive is an actual loan commitment from a lender - your guarantee of loan approval.

It is important that you are 99.9% sure you will get the financing needed and your lender will be able to perform according to the time limits in a purchase contract. If not, you could end up in the middle of an escrow and find out otherwise. If this happens, you could lose your deposit, which could be as much as 3% of the purchase price. Ask for current references and check them. Ask references if there were any problems during escrow and did escrow close within 30 days?


 

STEP 4: FIND A GOOD REAL ESTATE AGENT TO HELP YOU

You can learn a lot about agents by just letting them talk to you about how they help their buyers. Within a few minutes, you will probably be able to determine if an agent’s style is in line with yours.

Ask as many questions as you can up front. Finding a good agent will save you huge amounts of time, effort, and frustration. Remember, a “buyer’s agent” is working for YOU!


 

STEP 5: FIND A HOME THAT MEETS YOUR NEEDS

To find a home that meets your needs, consider these tips for successful house hunting:

Keep an organized record of all your research data. Write down comments about the homes that you see. Keep track of your likes and dislikes.

Make sure that your agent is aware of your time schedule and your expectations. Do you like to look at one or two homes in a session? Four? Eight? Discuss all of this with your agent.

Tell your agent about any homes that perk your interest and those you'd like to know more about. Include those homes you discover as you explore the area yourself or those you see advertised in the newspaper.

If you want to spend time driving around looking at homes for yourself, ask your agent for a list of drive-by homes which you can consider first from the outside. Your agent can then make appointments to show you the interior of those that appeal to you.

Express your likes and dislikes to your agent after you see a home. Honest communication is essential. Some buyers are shy and hesitant to tell an agent what they really think of a house. They think the agent may take it personally. Remember, the homes don't belong to the agent! You must be straightforward about your likes and dislikes to enable the agent to do the best job for you.


 

STEP 6: MAKE AN OFFER TO BUY A HOME

Your real estate agent can help you make an offer to buy the home that you select. It is important that you decide prior to viewing homes whether your agent will represent you or the seller. Some agents work only for the seller. In this case the agent may not be able to advise you in making a fair offer.

By looking at homes selling in the area and the length of time it takes to sell, you should be able to get a good idea of value. Only a “buyer’s agent” can give you all the information necessary to make an intelligent offer in your best interests.


 

STEP 7: SAVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ON YOUR INITIAL INVESTMENT

There are only two major investments to consider when buying a home. These are the initial investment (including down payment and closing costs) and the monthly payment (including principle, interest, taxes, and insurance).

Here are some ways to save on your initial investment:

  • Choose a low down payment loan. You do not necessarily have to put 20 percent, or even 10 percent, down. You can put 5 percent, or even 3 percent, down on some loans. Ask whether or not your loan includes “private mortgage insurance” or PMI.
  • As part of your offer, ask the seller to pay some of your closing costs. Sellers are usually allowed to contribute to a buyer's closing costs. In many cases this is a negotiable item.
  • Shop around for your home insurance. A little shopping can save you a significant amount of money.
  • You can deduct money paid for discount points from your gross income before computing your tax, which would effectively reduce the cost to you. Always check with your CPA to find out specific guidelines in your area.

Keep your monthly payments low:

  • Get a loan with no monthly mortgage insurance premiums. You may be able to reduce or eliminate them by paying a little more at closing. By putting 20 percent or more down, you may be able to eliminate them entirely.
  • Choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. ARMs can be up to 3 percent lower than fixed rates.

Remember that interest payments on a primary residential mortgage are fully deductible in most circumstances. Your property taxes may also be deductible. Tax rates definitely favor homeowners.