Sellers Guide: Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time

In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.

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The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should be adjusted to reflect the market and your property’s worth. The key is to get as many people as possible checking out your fairly priced property. If your property is not priced fairly, there will be no buyers because your price is set too high.

Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks ready to be sold. Fix any defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks, stains, etc.) Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions. Not only should you fix any defects, but consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a financial response.

Image result for negotiatingLearn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor that may be adjusted to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer to the buyers. For example, improvements you’ve made or even offering seller financing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. Convince them why they should be paying the price you have set.

Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a hot agent that ensures your house is listed on the MLS and on the Internet. On your own, get the word out. It should always be visible to passersby that your house is for sale, whether it is through signs, local advertisements or you telling friends, family, and acquaintances.

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Downsizing: What you need to know

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It probably feels like it was just yesterday that you moved into your new home, ready to start a life, a family. We all know how quickly time flies, and by now your youngest kid is off to college, or maybe starting their first job in the “real world.” And once you realize that they are really gone, that is when you start to think about what to do with all that space.

Some couples enjoy finally being alone in their homes, but for others, it’s just way too much space. In the past and even to an extent in the present, societal constructs have dictated that the home is as much of a status symbol as it is a place of dwelling, and because of this many people don’t want to downsize. However, a lot of people these days view downsizing as a step forward, rather than a step back. There are many benefits to downsizing, and this article will help explore whether or not this may be something for you.

How to know when to downsize

Many people choose to downsize simply because their home is just too big for them anymore. This happens most often when when children grow up and move out. But other factors can play in, such as wanting a home that is easier to maintain, or closer to a more urban area with lots of fun things to do. Sometimes downsizing isn’t even a choice, due to things like an unexpected financial setback.

A couple of questions to ask yourself

Will you miss your more spacious home?

You really have to ask yourself and visualize how your life would change were you to move into a smaller home. For instance, some people like having more spacious rooms, or higher ceilings. They like having a large yard, pool, spa, etc. If you move into a smaller home, you wont have many of these things, but you also don’t have to do any of the maintenance work required with having them either. For example, those who might have spent 8-10 hours or more of work each week cleaning the home or the yard in their larger house now only spend about an hour or two, maybe even less.

How will unexpected life events affect your smaller home?

One of the more common issues that can happen after you downsize is adult children moving back into your home. One way to prevent this from happening is to make sure they are comfortably settled into their new life before pulling the trigger on downsizing a little too soon. With the job market as terrible as it is, especially for young college graduates, you shouldn’t assume that your child will have an easy time finding, and keeping, a job after they graduate. Having an extra bedroom at your new place just in case, either for kids, relatives, or guests, is never a bad idea.

Hidden costs

It may seem very cut and dry, moving to a smaller, less expensive home means more money for you. Sometimes this is true, however there are a few factors to consider that you may not be thinking about.

A major component of downsizing that many people don’t think about is what to do with all of your belongings.

5 Home-Selling Tips Everyone Hears and May Want To Ignore

a15b18aec3b1e388baf2fe361bc9d778w-c0xd-w685_h860_q80.jpgOne of the hardest parts of selling your home is all the unknowns: Who will buy your place, and for how much? How long will it take? That uncertainty might make you particularly eager to soak up advice from just about anyone who’s willing to share. Problem is, just because your sister or co-worker swear by certain rules that worked for them, it doesn’t mean they’ll be a magic solution for you, too.

Fact is, a lot of the real estate advice circulating out there is outdated, region-specific, or just plain wrong. As proof, check out this list of tips that many home sellers hear … then learn how these words of wisdom don’t always hold water. Let this serve as a reminder that when selling a home, you should take everything you hear with a huge grain of salt.

‘You should always list your home in the spring’

Common knowledge says home-buying season starts in the spring and goes through the fall. Not true, says Melisa Aponte, a real estate agent with the Keyes Group in Miami, FL.

“January is a great listing month,” she points out. “People are back from the holidays and ready to start looking.”

Well, at least in places that don’t have a nasty winter, like Miami. Which makes a larger point about real estate advice in general, Aponte says: Every market is different, and what’s great advice in one area can be terrible advice in another.

Besides, when it comes to deciding when to list a home, there are two sides to the coin. Busier times mean more buyers, but also more sellers and more competition. Listing your home when inventory is low could snag the right buyer quickly. Life is unpredictable, and there will always be buyers looking in the “off season,” too.

‘You’ll find your buyer at an open house’

Open houses are exciting, akin to a debutante ball where your home makes its fresh-faced appearance to scads of suitors all at once. And that’s fine, but don’t expect this to be the venue where you find “the one” who makes an offer. While that can occur, open houses are more like parties, filled with swains who aren’t ready to settle down, says Anita Clark, a real estate agent in Warner Robins, GA. Serious home buyers will more often request a private one-on-one showing instead.

Of course, you don’t want to skip the open house entirely. It’s a great way for people to browse, and hey, you never know. Maybe your looky-loo neighbor has a family member who would love to buy your place after all. But it’s time to let go of the idea that an open house is a key step on the road to your ultimate buyer.

‘You can save money by paying less in commission’

Reluctant to fork over the 6% commission that real estate agents typically request to sell your home? Sure, that may seem like a lot of money, but what you might not realize is just how much work an agent does behind the scenes.

“A lot of people don’t understand that an agent’s job is more than just listing the home on the MLS,” says Aponte. Agents’ commissions pay for their time and for marketing materials. Posters, flyers, broker open houses, and yard signs all come from the money you pay your agent.

But beyond that, “it gives your agent the power to offer money to other agents who have qualified buyers,” she explains. That’s because the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the commission.

Though in an ideal world, buyers’ agents would show them every property in their price range, regardless of commission, unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way, says Aponte.

“So if there are a lot of properties on the market and you’re only offering 2% commission, there are agents who won’t show that property,” she says.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for, and a higher commission can often justify itself in the sense that you can reel in tons of buyers, and (hopefully) spark a bidding war that’ll fetch top dollar.

‘Price your home high—and hold out for a buyer who’ll pay it’

Of course you want to get the most you can for your property. Still, pricing it sky-high and hoping a gullible buyer will fall for this aspirational sum? Not a great plan.

“I want to sell your property for a million dollars too, but I would be doing you a disservice to price it that way if the comps are saying $500,000,” says Aponte. Home buyers are highly sensitive to overpaying, and will quickly steer clear. And the longer your house sits on the market, the more buyers will begin to think something’s wrong with it … and lob you a lowball offer.

The best way to avoid this debacle is to price a house right from the start—not too high, not too low—and then seriously consider any offers that roll in, even if they aren’t as great as you’d hoped. To start things off, you can enter your address in a home value estimator to get a ballpark figure of how much your home is worth, then fine-tune that number with an agent’s help.

‘Here’s what the market is going to look like next year…’

Sure, it makes sense that real estate professionals will make educated guesses to help guide buyers’ and sellers’ decision-making. The operative word here is “educated.” Fact is, nobody really knows what the market is going to do; if they did, the housing crash of 2008 would have looked a lot different!

“Beware of ‘future’ predictions that don’t come from a reputable source,” says Dillar Schwartz, a real estate agent in Austin, TX. Sure, your brother-in-law or best friend might be trying to help, but keep in mind that their armchair philosophizing about the future of real estate is just an opinion—nothing more.

What Dog Owners Should Know When Buying or Selling a Home

(Guest Blog By Medina James at DogEtiquette)

 

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Image via Pixabay

 

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, if you’re a dog owner, there are some special preparations and precautions you must take. It may be one of the last things on your mind during this busy and stressful time, but real estate dog etiquette is extremely important. Here are some tips for both buyers and sellers who have to deal with canine friends throughout the process.

For sellers – your house smells more like dog than you think

When we live with certain smells for years, we get used to them. We all know that everyone’s house has a particular scent – and if you’re trying to sell your house you don’t want that scent to be eau de pooch. The natural way to get dog odor out of carpets and furniture involves baking soda and vinegar, but there are also plenty of sprays, shampoos, and other products you can purchase to help. Plug-in air fresheners work for the final touch. Also remember to pick up any dog poop in your yard. Here is a good article about removing pet odors from a house.

For sellers – make arrangements to have your dogs out of the house

This goes for scheduled showings and for open houses. You’ll want to make arrangements to have your dogs out of the house – and not just out of the house and in the backyard. You’ll want your dogs to be completely gone. Either board them for a day or ask a friend or neighbor to watch them for a few hours.

For buyers – ask ahead for dog visits

Some pet owners want to take their dog to a potential new home to see how they interact with it. Older dogs with mobility issues may have trouble with certain design elements of a home, and you may want to see if they can handle stairs, decks, porches, etc. before committing to purchase. If you want to do this, you need to ask. It’s rude to bring a dog into someone’s home without first clearing it. People have allergies, fears, and even other pets you must consider.

For both – think about moving day

Moving day is stressful for your pets, so it may be best to board them (here are some tips on that) or have them stay with a friend. If you can’t arrange this, it’s smart to put them in a “safe room” in your house and instruct the movers to move that room last. This is simply safer for the movers and for your dog.

For both – it’s best to leave your dog out of the process (no matter how cute)

You love your dog. Strangers may also love your dog. Most everyone you meet may love your dog. But somewhere there is someone who just doesn’t like dogs. Maybe they’re afraid or maybe they’re allergic. Whatever the case may be, some people just aren’t dog people. So why take the risk that a potential buyer/seller is in this small minority? Even if your dog is incredibly well-behaved and cute, it’s best to leave them out of the process altogether. Ask a friend to watch your dog, or hire a dog walker if the dog just needs to be out of the home briefly for a single showing.

Even dog lovers don’t really want to deal with other people’s animals during the home buying process. It’s not only considerate of others to leave dogs out of the process, but it’s better for your dogs too. Many dogs are stressed out by tons of strangers and new environments, so it’s best to protect them from the chaos that is buying or selling a home.

7 Tips For Selling Your Home When You Have Children

Selling a San Diego home is a complex process. When you add children to the mix, there are a few special considerations that you will want to take. Read on for our 7 Tips For Selling Your Home When You Have Children!

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Make Sure Your Kids Know You’re Selling Your Home
This may be surprising, but many parents do not inform their children about selling the home. Make sure you clearly explain the situation and the process. Many children don’t realize that they get to bring all their toys and possessions with them to their new home and that their family is going too. And if you’re moving locally, they could keep the same friends and even go to the same school! Removing your child from a familiar and comfortable sanctuary can be hard on them, but by taking the time to prepare your child for the change, you can often make the process easier.

Prepare Your Home For the Market!
Whether you have children or not, preparing your home for market is an important step in the sale process. First impressions are lasting so it’s a good idea to paint over the crayon scribbles that never went away, install new carpet, fix the broken drawer that’s been on your to-do list, replace any burnt out lights, and get those fingerprints off the windows with a professional cleaning!

Stage Your Home
Make sure to clear and tidy up playrooms and children’s rooms. You want a potential buyer to imagine themselves living in your home…even if they don’t have kids of their own! It’s a good idea to hire a professional stager to give your home that on-trend look buyers are looking for, even if they just stage the common areas.

Secure a Storage Unit
Families with children tend to have a lot of stuff! Between the sports equipment, the toys, the books, and the art supplies, it’s a good idea to secure a storage space. The less cluttered your home, the better it will show. But be sure and let each of your children keep a few of their favorite toys or books so they don’t feel deprived. This will go a long way towards keeping them on board with the whole home selling process.

Choose Optimal Times For Open Houses
If you choose to have open houses, you will want to make sure the whole family is out of the house! Give yourself enough time before the start of the open house to tidy up and get everyone packed and ready to go. Open houses are a great opportunity for a family outing – go to the beach, watch a movie, go on a hike, or visit one of San Diego’s great museums.

Prepare Your Home For Showings
Between showings, make sure your home stays clean. Enlist the help of your children during this process. Make it into a game to earn points for making their beds before school, putting their toys away nearly, and helping Mom and Dad with the rest of the house.

Have a Game Plan
The most important tip for families during the home selling process is to have a game plan. Have regular family meetings to make sure everyone knows the schedule and understands what’s going on with the house. Children like to be included in the affairs of the family so keep them involved from listing to sale!

Selling a home usually means that a new chapter is just beginning. Take time to embrace the change with your family and prepare for the years of new memories you will make in your new home!

 

Tips For Selling A Home With Kids

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No matter how many times you have done it before, the home selling process can have its challenges. As hard as it may already be, selling a home with kids is even harder. That is why we’ve compiled this guide: to inform homeowners with children of special considerations they will need to make in order to keep the process as smooth as possible.

Make sure your kids know that you’re selling your home: One of the major mistakes that people selling their house with kids make is either hiding or being indirect about the fact to their kids. The kids will figure it out at some point, and this can be very upsetting for them. They may have grown up in your home, and they will sure have a lot of memories from your home. They may also have a lot of friends in the area. This being said, you don’t want them to find out about it the hard way as that may cause an adverse reaction. If you bring it up to them well before of it actually happening, it will give them more time to adjust, and will give you more time to try and get them excited about the new move by doing things such as showing them the new neighborhood/area and what is so great about it.

Prepare your home for the market: Preparing your home for market is a very important part of the selling process, and if you have kids, it can be even trickier. You want your home to appeal to everyone, not just people with kids.  You will want to depersonalize your home so that buyers can envision themselves living in the home when they come to see it. Painting the walls a neutral color, taking down the artwork from the fridge, and putting away all stuffed animals and toys are some examples of depersonalizing your home.

Stage your home: Staging your home is one of the most important aspects of the home selling process and can make a big difference in the speed of your home sale and the price you get. Potential buyers want to see your home as theirs. Work with an experience stager who can edit what you already have or bring in totally new furniture and furnishings to create an emotional response in a potential buyer.

Secure a storage unit, facility, or space: If you have kids, you know how fast things can accumulate. If your home is way too cluttered with toys and other belongings, you will want to consider removing some of the excess until your home is sold and you are moving into your new home. You can either designate a space for storage or rent out a storage unit or something similar. If you don’t want to rent a storage unit or POD, think carefully about where you will store your extra stuff. You shouldn’t store belongings in areas that are commonly used such as the bedrooms or the living room, but somewhere that buyers probably won’t see. A few good areas might be:

  • Shed
  • Attic
  • Garage

Lastly, make sure to organize the items you’re storing neatly and use labels. The last thing you would want to happen is to realize you need something that you packed away and then not be able to easily find it. Make sure to set aside at least a couple of your child’s favorite toys as well as anything they will truly need while your home is on the market, like school supplies and seasonally appropriate clothes.

Prepare your home for showings: Make sure you choose a real estate agent who has plenty of experience in selling homes with kids. This will make your life a lot easier during the process.

One of the reasons why we suggest to have all the clutter removed from the beginning is because this will make it much easier to clean and get your home ready for a showing. The longer you need to get ready for a showing, the less of a chance you will have to sell your home. In this day and age, everyone has a busy schedule. Someone might want to see your house, but only be available during a certain window. If it takes you three or four hours to get ready for a showing, you could miss a potential buyer. If your children are old enough to assist, have them help prepare your home before the family leaves each day. These are a few things you want to make sure you have always taken care of:

  • Beds Made
  • Toys Cleaned Up and Put Away
  • Clothes Picked Up and Put Away
  • Floors Cleaned
  • Counters Cleaned
  • Sink Free of Dishes
  • Home Free of Unpleasant Odors, Including Pet Smells

It is also very important to check the outdoor areas of your home. You never know what might be left laying around and it is very important to have it look as clean and well-kept as possible.

Plan things to do during showings: With your home is on the market, you may need to find that you need to leave the house during a time you would normally be home. If that should happen, here is a list of a few good activities to do while you’re out:

  • Go to the store / mall
  • Go to the library
  • Go to a friend’s house
  • Go to a park / playground
  • Go to the movies
  • Go to the beach
  • Go miniature golfing / bowling

If your kids are on the younger side, make sure you have everything they might need in a bag or sack. This prevents you from scrambling last minute and forgetting something that your child may need.

Decide if you want to do open houses: An open house can be a great way to find a buyer for your home. Ask your agent about the pros and cons of doing an open house to determine whether or not you think it would be worth it.

Sometimes it comes down to how convenient it is for you to have the open house. You’ll need to be out of your house for anywhere from two to five hours. If both your kids have soccer games or you already plan to be gone for the weekend, an open house can be a great opportunity. But if your baby naps during the afternoon and you find it too hard to leave the house for several hours at a time, it may be better to have your home shown by appointment only.

Conclusion: Selling your home can be a stressful experience, without adding kids to the mix. But with preparation and your Realtor’s expertise, it can be as stress-free and easy of a process as possible!

Preparing Your Home For Showings

You’ve listed your home for sale. Now you need to get it ready to be shown. Overwhelmed by where to start? Our 9 tips will help you get your home ready for buyers!

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First impressions are lasting. The front door greets the prospect. Make sure it is fresh, clean, and scrubbed looking. Keep lawn trimmed.

Use your agent. Show your home to prospective customers only by appointment through your agent. Your cooperation will be appreciated and will help close the sale more quickly.

Can you see the light? Illumination is like a welcome sign. The potential buyer will feel a glowing warmth when you turn on all your lights for an evening inspection.

Repairs can make a big difference. Loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers and other minor flaws detract from home value.

Stage for a quick sale. Faded walls and worn woodwork reduce appeal. Why try to tell the prospect how your home could look when you can show them by staging your home to look like a model.

Makes closets look bigger. Neat, well-ordered closets show space is ample. Arrange bedrooms neatly. Remove excess furniture. Use attractive bedspreads and freshly laundered curtains.

Bathrooms help sell homes. Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers. Make this room sparkle.

Turn off the music. Let the agent and buyer talk, free of disturbances. Pets underfoot? Keep them out of the way – preferably out of the house.

Let the sun shine in. Open draperies and curtains and let the prospect see how cheerful your home can be since dark rooms do not appeal.