Selling Tips | CENTURY 21

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Seller's Checklist

As the seller, you have relatively little to do at this point. Avoid common glitches by keeping abreast of progress on both sides.

Be aware if the buyer is having trouble getting a loan on the terms specified in the contract. If he/she is turned down, it could jeopardize the whole deal, and your house could be put back on the market. A day or so before closing, make sure all the necessary papers and documents have been gathered and are in the hands of the right parties.

Things can go wrong. Documents can be misplaced, delayed or lost. However, common last-minute glitches can be avoided.

  • Parties who should be present at closing need to be informed of any change in the date, time or place. They should be reminded a week before closing and again the day before.
  • Everyone named on the deed under which you hold title must sign the new deed by which you grant title.
  • Know when and how you will be paid. Don't expect to walk away from the settlement table with a check in hand.
  • If you are buying another property, consider having both closings at the same office scheduled back-to-back. That way, the timing of the disbursement is not a problem. You sign a paper authorizing the title company or attorney to assign the funds from sale to purchase.

The papers you'll need

  • A copy of the sales contract and documentation showing that any contingencies have been removed or satisfied.
  • All documents needed to complete the transfer of title. This may include certificate of title, deed, correcting affidavits, quitclaim deeds, survey and title insurance policy or binder.
  • Homeowners insurance policy. If the buyer plans to take over the unused portion of your hazard insurance, you'll need to make arrangements in advance for all paperwork to be completed on time.
  • Prorations for ongoing expenses such as insurance premiums, property taxes, accrued interest on assumed loans and utilities (if not shut off between owners).
  • Receipts showing payment of the latest water, electric and gas bills.

A certificate from your lender indicating the mortgage balance and the date to which interest has been prepaid.

Ten Questions You Must Ask a Real Estate Professional Before You List or....You Could Lose Big!

Most of us sell only a small number of homes in our lifetimes. With limited experience in real estate how are we to be capable of maximizing the profits from our home sale? Many home sellers make the critical mistake of thinking all Real Estate Professionals are the same. They list with the first agent who comes along. Does it make good business sense to put the responsibility of selling your home with someone who has no plan or qualifications? This special report will educate you with valuable information that will help you make the best decision concerning: Which real estate agent should you list with? 

Start by doing a few hours of research. Ask around... get to know who has the most signs, ads and marketing material in your neighborhood. Who’s the most active agent? Compile a list of agent names and use these questions to help you determine which agent is right for you.

  1. Could you send me some information about yourself? - You can often get a good idea of which agents are the most professional by looking at their promotional materials. If their own materials aren’t professional, how well are they going to market your home? Track how long each agent takes to respond to your request and how quickly they follow up. If they don’t respond efficiently to your listing requests imagine how they’ll handle potential home buyers. 
     
  2. How many homes have you listed and how many homes have you sold in the last six months? - Look for an agent who has experience with homes similar to yours and is active in your area. If your home has special features look for an agent with experience in those areas. Your agent should have a good record of selling homes, not just listing them. After all, this is your ultimate goal. 
     
  3. What is your average length of time from listed to sold? - Don’t automatically assume the shorter time on the market the better. That could reflect selling homes quickly at lowball prices. Look at what the asking price was compared to the selling price. An agent who sells close to the asking price and quick is effective at helping clients determine the right price and helping them get it. 
     
  4. How long have you been in business and what professional organizations do you belong to? - The length of time a real estate agent has been licensed is not a sure fire sign that they’ve been an active seller. They may have been in business for 10 years but only part time, whereas an agent who’s been in business for 2 years may be a real top producer. So take into account what professional organizations they belong to. The minimum should be a licensed professional who’s a member of the local real estate board and multiple listing service as well as the state and National Association of Real Estate Professionals. Local community groups and associations are also pluses in terms of networking and commitment. 
     
  5. Do you have an assistant or support staff? - By employing someone to handle the details of their business the agent can spend more time servicing your needs. However, make sure you know how much time an agent will spend and how much time their assistant will spend on the sale of your home. It may be fine if the assistant does most of the legwork as long as the agent is there at the most critical times of the transaction period. 
     
  6. How often will you hold open houses? Will they be public or by appointment only? - Simply putting a sign on your lawn and holding open houses every Sunday will not sell your home. Too frequently open houses make the property a target for low ball bidders. Look for an agent with a specific plan for each open house. The plan should be just one facet of a complete marketing plan. 
     
  7. What listing price do you recommend and what is that price based on? - Pricing is the most critical step to selling your home. Take great care in choosing an agent with the knowledge to price your home effectively. Keep in mind the selling price should attract prospective buyers to your home, get you top dollar in the current market and reflect the condition of your home. Be realistic and avoid ‘yes agents’, who will say ‘yes’ to any request or price while your home languishes on the market. Lowball agents will try to talk you into an artificial price simply to sell as fast as possible. 
     
  8. What does the listing agreement entail, what are the beginning and expiration dates, and what are the fee amounts I will be paying? - Have your agent go over every detail in the listing agreement with you until you understand it completely. Make sure the beginning and ending dates are on the agreement; a good standard for length is three months. Know exactly what fees you will be paying and remember that less is not always better. If the agent stands to make very little commission you can bet it will be reflected in the amount of time and effort that is spent marketing your home. If the agent reduces their commission to get the listing it may mean they intend to spend very little money promoting the property. The normal commission is between 5 and 7 percent. 
     
  9. What disclosure laws apply to me and what do I need to be aware of? - Make sure your agent helps you with locating professional inspectors for the various mandatory home inspections required in your area. Create a home marketing file including a property fact sheet, a property transfer disclosure statement, pest control report, applicable C.C.& R’s , applicable study zones report, structural engineering report, property profile from the title company, plans for alterations or additions, and special equipment report for pools, spas, sprinklers and alarm systems. Your agent should be able to handle this for you.
     
  10. What types of things separate you from your competition and will you give me some feedback? - How effectively will they advertise? Do they have 24-hour advertising capability? Will all the leads be followed up on by your agent’s team or will they go to other agents who may have other listings they would prefer to show? Agents who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting home buyers will measurably outperform agents who rely on methods of the past. Marketing effectively in the 90’s and beyond requires progressive strategies that add value and service for both buyers and sellers!

Sell Your Home at the Highest Possible Price

Making a mistake in selling a home can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost profit. Often home sellers make the same mistakes over and over. Avoiding these mistakes is easy and takes little time and effort on your part. Take the time with your home sale and follow the guidelines in this report.

  1. Distress Selling: At times, selling quickly is unavoidable. That’s when knowing the right techniques to sell your home without looking desperate and making yourself a target for low bidders really pays off. Know all there is to know about the market before listing and work hand in hand with the right real estate professional. Ensure that you are not settling for the first offer through the door. 
     
  2. Best Home in the Neighborhood: Your home is one of your most personal possessions. Don’t be blind to flaws and needed cosmetic improvements. This will cause overvaluing of the home, hurting it’s chances to be sold. Listing with the right agent gives you a well informed third eye that will help you price your home at a fair market price. 
     
  3. Limited Home Viewing: Buyers want to view a home on their own time schedule. Unfortunately their time schedule does not always coincide with your time schedule. Leave a lockbox or key with your agent so your home can be shown when you are not around. You never know if the one who got away was your buyer. 
     
  4. Restrain Emotional Decisions: Don’t allow a few hundred dollarsto ruin a sale. That money will mean very little to you in the long run. Take a look at the big picture and react rationally. Use sound business judgment! 
     
  5. Make Cosmetic Improvements: Prospects make up their minds within the first twenty minutes. First impressions can make all the difference in selling your home. Spending $1,200 on new carpet might add another $4,000 to the price of your home. Get an objective point of view from your real estate professional. They can provide you with a list of items that will maximize the profit of your home sale. 
     
  6. Disclose Property Flaws: Property disclosure laws require sellers to list any flaws required by your state. If you are unaware of flaws or attempt to cover them up, you risk losing the sale and finding yourself in court. Get professional assistance from your agent who can introduce you to qualified inspectors and ensure the smooth sale of your home. 
     
  7. For Sale By Owner: Most homeowners who decide to sell their own home do so because they believe they can save the commission paid to the real estate agent. Everything has a price and selling a home carries a high one. The enormous amount of time and effort required to sell a home often surprises the "For Sale By Owner." Furthermore, many costly mistakes can be avoided with the right guidance. 
     
  8. Refusing to Trust Your Agent: Would you tell a physician that you’ve decided to run your own tests and come to your own diagnosis? By choosing the right Real Estate Professional, you can relax and trust their judgment. The right agent is a valuable team member who will protect your best interests and make your sale as profitable as possible. 
     
  9. Know Your Market: Most homes that do not sell in their first listing period are priced too high. Conversely, most homes that sell quickly are priced too low and cheat the homeowner out of profits. You need to understand the market and evaluate the value of your home based on fact, not gut instinct or conventional wisdom. A professional agent knows the market, just as you know the market for your business. 
     
  10. Choosing a Real Estate Professional Based on Personal Relationships: Home sellers often pick a friend or family member as their agent. Choose an agent with a strong track record and aggressive Marketing Plan. A top producer knows the market well and can generate many buyers. Selling your home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make! Base it on good, sound business sense and the rewards will add up.

Before you make one of your most important decisions regarding your home sale shouldn’t you become as informed as possible? By aligning yourself with a top agent you ensure that all the important issues and seemingly insignificant but....very important....details are handled professionally. Your home sale should not be a grueling ordeal. The more informed you are, the better chance you have of making a sound business decision. 

What is Your Home's Value?

Have you ever wondered why the market value of your home differs from what your bank appraises it as? And what value is being used to set and/or increase your property tax bill? It's easy to be confused about the different valuations being used in the home buying and selling process, but knowing a home's value or worth in the real estate market will help you get a fair price.

There are generally three ways to determine the value of a home: through a Comparative Market Analysis, a professional appraisal or an assessed valuation. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), can determine a reasonable listing price for your home. When I prepare a CMA, I consider a number of factors including the home's size, age, location and amenities. I also research the list prices of properties that are currently for sale, have recently sold or expired in your neighborhood.

An appraiser (used by a lender) determines the market value of your home by looking at the supply and demand of like properties in the area, comparing your property with others that have recently sold, determining the amount of money it would take to replace your home at current material and labor costs and/or determining how much income a property would produce (this last approach is used more often for rental property, apartments and commercial property). Lenders frequently require a professional appraisal upon which to base your loan amount.

Local governments also perform independent appraisals to determine your home's assessed value, available on public record, so that your property is taxed fairly.

When comparing the CMA and the appraised values, don't be surprised if they do not match. There are a number of reasons that these differences occur.

The "market value" determined by the appraisal can be different from the "market price" determined through my CMA. In essence, the appraisal amount reflects the cost of replacing your home. But the goal of the CMA is to determine a price that someone will pay for your home. The sale price can be much different from the appraisal value, especially if there are multiple offers on the home.

Also, the real estate market is constantly changing. A home that was worth $100,000 last year may be worth $120,000 this year and possibly more next year. Meanwhile, all city and county property assessments are assigned an effective date, valid for that particular point in time. The more time that has passed since the appraisal, the greater the possibility for disparity in the values. For example, some governments appraise properties annually; others appraise properties once every four years.

I can help you determine the value of your home by researching its appraisal history and performing a Competitive Market Analysis. I can also recommend professional appraisers. Please call me to discuss the current real estate conditions that affect the market price of your home.

Attention: For Sale By Owners!
Why People Are Afraid To Buy From You!

Many homeowners believe that to maximize their profit on a home sale they should sell it themselves. At first glance, they feel selling a home is simple and why should they pay a broker fees for something they could do themselves? In fact, close to 25% of all the homes sold last year were sold for sale by owner (FSBO). 

However, close to half of the FSBO’s said that they would hire a professional next time they sold. Thirty percent said they were unhappy with the results they achieved by choosing FSBO. Why? 

Many FSBO’s told us that the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others, the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the amount of fees paid to outside consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyers, escrow and loan officers, marketing, advertising... they would have been better off having paid the broker’s fee which would have included many of these charges up front. 

Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money. Some FSBO’s discovered that the lost money as a result of poor decisions outweighed the commission. 

Before you decide to sell FSBO, consider these questions and weigh the answers of assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional. A little time spent investigating up front will pay off tenfold in the end. 

Questions To Consider:

Do I have the time, energy, know-how, and ability to devote a full forced effort to sell my home?
One of the keys to selling your home efficiently and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes have sat on the market much longer than necessary because the owner was unwilling or unavailable to show the property. Realize that a certain amount of hours each day is necessary to sell your home. 

Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBO’s as targets for low balling?
One of the challenges of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with lowballers. It often goes unnoticed... how much time, effort and expertise it requires to spot these people quickly. Settling for a lowball bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions. 

Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing?
One of the keys to selling, whether it’s a home, a car... anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. Think about the last time you purchased something of value, did you make a decision before you had all your ducks in a row? By offering financing options you give the home buyer the ability to work on their terms and open up the possibilities of selling your home quickly and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team, from lenders to title reps for you to utilize...they’ll be at your disposal. 

Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and necessary steps required in selling a home?
Many home sales have been lost due to incomplete paperwork, lack of inspections or not meeting your states disclosure laws. Are you completely informed of all the steps necessary to sell real estate? If not, a professional would be a wise choice. 

Do I have the capability of handling the legal contracts, agreements and any disputes with buyers before or after the offer is presented?
Ask yourself if you are well versed in legalese and if you are prepared to handle disputes with buyers. To avoid any disputes it is wise to put all negotiations and agreements in writing. Many home sales have been lost due to misinterpretation of what was negotiated. 

Have I contacted the necessary professionals....title, inspector (home and pest), attorney, and escrow company?
Are you familiar with top inspectors and escrow companies? Don’t randomly select inspectors, attorneys, and title reps. Like any profession there are inadequate individuals who will slow, delay and possibly even cost you the transaction.

How to Get Every Dollar You Deserve....
By Getting the Full Value of Your House!

The ability to reap additional profits on the sale of your home can be accomplished easily enough if you make the right improvements. Many changes can provide the prospective buyer with enhanced feelings about your home. Feelings of more space, more light, more rooms, more closet space, greater privacy, warmth and security. Basic, simple and inexpensive improvements can provide an improved emotional response in a potential buyer. 

An example could be something as small as a crack in the paint on a wall. Simply by applying some plaster and touch up paint, you eliminated what may be an unstated concern that your home was poorly maintained. Though the feeling may be unconscious, it’s just as important that the potential buyer feel an overall desire for your home. If you are working with a small budget these simple techniques will work absolute wonders:

The Magic of Mirrors!
Mirrors can provide a greater sense of space and elegance when properly placed. Be careful not to overdo it, but when placed properly throughout your home, each area will seem larger to the potential home buyer. Try looking in your attic or basement for any old mirrors, but be sure they have a nice frame or at least give the frame a new coat of paint. You may also want to visit a local flea market or garage sale, you can almost always get a great deal on an old mirror or two. Putting one foot square mirrors on a closet door in the master bedroom is always an attractive touch. 

Adding Additional Closet Space
One of the biggest complaints heard from potential buyers is that there just isn’t enough closet space! Simply purchasing an inexpensive closet organizer and installing it in any or all of your closets can make all the difference. You can also try putting a rod across one corner of a bedroom for hanging clothes. Also you could try hanging a screen made from a variety of materials. The screen could match the material of the bedspread, drapes etc. The idea here is to be creative so that the "fake closet" looks as though it was a part of the room. 

Make a Bare Wall Beautiful
Wallpaper is inexpensive, quick and easy to do! The right wallpaper can brighten the room or hallway and bring it back to life. Be careful to choose something with a neutral design or pattern, remember you’re trying to move out. 

Bring Old Floors Back to Life!
Nothing turns off a potential buyer quicker than dull, dingy, disgusting looking floors. Whether you have wax, wooden or tiled floors do whatever you can to make them shine again! For wax floors, either rent a floor machine and do it yourself or, if it’s in your budget, hire a professional. Have a professional give you an estimate and explain exactly what they would do to bring your floors back to life. If you have them explain what they would do, it may be just as easy to do it yourself. If you have carpeted floors you should either have the carpet steam cleaned or install new carpeting. This may sound expensive but new carpeting can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home. 

Add Attractive Plants
Having plants in the house is not only healthy for you but you create a warm feeling with them. Many indoor plants are far less expensive then you might imagine. Attractive pots such as ceramic, brass or even designer plastic will add a designer flair to your home. Hanging plants such as Boston ferns are inexpensive, easy to care for and would go great in your new home wherever you move. 

Adding a Room Without Calling in the Contractor!
This simple but seldom used technique, can give a buyer the feeling there are more actual rooms in your house. Floor to ceiling room dividers are inexpensive and simple to install. When a buyer walks through your home, they will generally count the rooms in a subconscious manner. Each room will present an emotional response as they walk through your home. By dividing and designing each side of your room, you create a " separate room" feeling in the potential buyer. It may sound crazy but it works!

Clean Up the Bathroom
We’ve probably all heard that phrase a hundred times growing up as children! Well guess what? It’s still valid. Give your bathroom a face-lift if needed: fresh paint, decorative moldings, tile grout, new designer faucets are all attractive eye catchers. 

What is That Smell?
Though people don’t like to admit it, everyone's home has a certain smell to it. We just never notice it because we live with it day in, day out. Strategically placing fresh scent devices throughout the home will be pleasant to the nose of any potential buyer. As a matter of fact, an old Real Estate Professional trick is to pop some cinnamon rolls in an oven 5 minutes before a showing. I bet you thought all Real Estate Professionals just had a sweet-tooth!

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CENTURY 21 Community Realty

Clarkesville, GA   -  706.754.0021