Finding the right real estate professional requires doing a little research and asking a few questions.

You need to know everything about the selling process.

  • What is the marketing strategy?
  • What kind of advertising will be done?
  • Is the realtor capable and willing to communicate effectively?
  • Can the realtor effectively present and sell the less-noticeable assets of the property

Real estate professionals also need to be knowledgeable about the community. They need to have a feel for the history of the area and the approximate price that people will be willing to pay. Also, real estate agents should know what the competition is and how much it will effect your sale.

NEVER choose a realtor on price alone. Remember that a realtor cannot magically raise the selling price of the house. Consider the buyer. The purchaser won’t willingly pay too much; it’s most likely that he or she will do research on the market and try to find the best product for the best price. The facts simply cannot be changed, no matter which realtor you select. In spite of these unchangeable factors, the realtor you select must still be diligent and knowledgeable.

If your property does not elicit attention within several weeks, the cause can most likely be attributed to one of these three factors: location, condition, and price. The location obviously cannot be changed. You should consider examining the conditioning of your property and reevaluating the marketing strategy. Ask your realtor to offer an explanation of the competition and your pricing strategy.

Some helpful tips on how to improve
the overall impressionof your home.

Look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.

  1. Open the draperies, pull up the shades and let in the sunlight.
  2. Create a positive mood. Install higher wattage light bulbs to show your home brightly. Turn on all lights – day or night.
  3. Create the illusion of spaciousness. Remove unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks, hobby items, children’s items, etc.
  4. If you have a fireplace, highlight it in your decorating.
  5. Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.
  6. Have an emergency “game plan” to get the home in order quickly if necessary.
  7. Air out your home one half hour before the showing if possible. Lightly spray the room freshener so that it has a chance to diffuse before the buyer arrives.
  8. Create a master “suite” effect in your decorating.
  9. Make sure that beds are made and the linens and curtains are fresh and clean.
  10. Organize your closets, remove unnecessary items and put them in storage.
  11. Bathrooms should always be kept spotless.
  12. Recaulk if the caulking is not sparkling white!
  13. Put out fresh towels and decorative soap for showings.
  14. Highlight the potential of your dining room by setting a grand dining table!
  15. The kitchen should always be kept spotless.
  16. Expand your counter space by removing small appliances.
  17. Highlight an eat-in-area in your kitchen with a table set for dinner.
  18. Shampoo all carpets and vacuum them daily. If the carpet does not clean up well you should REPLACE IT!
  19. Try to avoid creating a “sterile” look environment.
  20. Remove all grease from range hoods, ovens, stovetops, walls, etc.
  21. Clean rubbish out of the fireplace and keep it clean in the winter.
  22. Remove all unnecessary items from the attic, basement, garage, tool shed, and especially from the storage area if you have one.
  23. Rent a storage area for these items or have a yard sale.
  25. Invest in a new doormat.
  26. Make sure the front door, storm door, screen door, etc. work wonderfully!
  27. Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorating accents, mirrors, rugs, etc.
  28. Clean everything in your home from top to bottom! — from attic to basement!
  29. Wash all windows – inside and out!
  30. Clean all light bulbs, light fixtures and chandeliers to brighten the home.
  31. Remove posters and adhesive from walls and doors and putty any holes resulting from nails or other mishaps.
  32. Depersonalize teenager’s rooms and decorate in a neutral temperament.
  33. Clean or paint the basement walls and floor.
  34. Paint all inside walls with off-white paint. Use two or more coats to cover bold, bright or dark walls.
  35. Repair or replace all doors, closet doors, and/or windows and screens so that they open with ease.
  36. Repair or replace banisters and handrails.
  37. Repair or replace broken tiles on walls, floors or in showers/tubs.
  38. Repair or replace loose or dangling wallpaper.
  39. If the basement shows any signs of water or structural damage, it may be necessary to obtain a structural engineer’s report.
  40. Replace all toilet bowls if you cannot get them spotlessly clean.
  41. Replace shower curtains and keep them clean.
  42. Replace the washers in faucets and remove rust stains from basins.
  43. Water and prune all plants.
  44. Use plants in transitional areas of your home between inside and out.
  45. Either get rid of dying plants or keep them out of sight.
  46. Remove any excess extension cords and exposed wires.
  47. Open doors to areas you want the potential buyer to see such as walk-in-closets, pantries, attic, basement, etc.
  48. Close all other closet doors and cabinets.
  49. Make the most of your attic’s potential. Air it out, and decorating if possible.
  50. Add visual appeal to stairways – especially in unfinished stairways to the basement.
  51. Keep the yard mowed, raked, fertilized and watered at all times!
  52. Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unsightly patio furniture, trash, etc. from the yard.
  53. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed.
  54. Lawns and gardens should be weeded at all times.
  55. Use flowering plants to dress up the yard, walkways, and patio.
  56. All hoses and garden equipment should be neatly out of sight.
  57. Outdoor furniture should be kept clean and/or repainted if necessary.
  58. Firewood should be neatly stacked or out of sight.
  59. Mailboxes should be evaluated with a critical eye.
  60. Paint and repair the mailbox or replace it if necessary.
  61. Make all those minor repairs to the exterior.
  62. Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept and in good condition.
  63. Paint all entrance doors.
  64. Shades and awnings should be in good condition. Replace if the color has faded. Remove windsocks.
  65. Create an outside living/dining area with furniture and plants.
  66. Keep trashcans deodorized, covered and out of sight.
  67. Highlight your pool area, water garden, etc. with lighting, benches, planters, flowering plants, etc.
  68. Take nighttime photos of decorative yard lighting systems.
  69. Take pictures of your flowering mature landscaping now if you are planning to sell your home later in the season.
  70. Display these photos in your home in the wintertime.
  71. Clean, repair and paint all gutters and downspouts.
  72. All roof shingles, tiles, etc. should be secured or replaced. If the roof leaks – FIX IT!
  73. Make sure the garage door opens easily. Fix and paint the garage door if necessary.
  74. Paint chimney and replace broken bricks or stones.
  75. Arrive at an equitable asking price using an appraisal.
  76. Don’t be afraid to accept the first offer.
  77. Never volunteer information!
  78. Obtain a floor plan of your home if possible.
  79. Assemble house records for buyer perusal.
  80. Provide a map of the area and highlight special interest items.
  81. Only consider written offers by leader-prequalified buyers.
  82. Enlist the service of a professional marketing agent such as Karen Ingalls to market your home. Together we can develop a marketing plan to get your home sold.

Seven Selling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make!

Mistake 1: Pricing Your Property Too High
Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her home. Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to list your home at an excessively high price! A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. As a result, overpriced properties tend to take an unusually long time to sell, and they end up being sold at a lower price.

Mistake 2: Mistaking Re-finance Appraisals for the Market Value
Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may have been stated at an untruthfully high price. Often, lenders estimate the value of your property to be higher than it actually is in order to encourage re-financing. The market value of your home could actually be lower. Your best bet is to ask your realtor for the most recent information regarding property sales in your community. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property value.

Mistake 3: Forgetting to “Showcase Your Home”
In spite of how frequently this mistake is addressed and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean. Make sure everything functions and looks presentable. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will surely lower the selling price of your property and will even turn away some buyers.

Mistake 4: Trying to “Hard Sell” While Showing
Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. As a result, you should try to allow prospective buyers to comfortably examine your property. Don’t try haggling or forcefully selling. Instead, be friendly and hospitable. A good idea would be to point out any subtle amenities and be receptive to questions.

Mistake 5: Trying to Sell to “Looky-Loos”
A prospective buyer who shows interest because of a “for sale” sign he saw may not really be interested in your property. Often buyers who do not come through a realtor are a good 6-9 months away from buying, and they are more interested in seeing what is out there than in actually making a purchase. They may still have to sell their house, or may not be able to afford a house yet. They may still even be unsure as to whether or not they want to relocate.

Your realtor should be able to distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. Realtors should usually find out a prospective buyer’s savings, credit rating, and purchasing power in general. If your realtor fails to find out this pertinent information, you should do some investigating and questioning on your own. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people. If you have to do this work yourself, consider finding a new realtor.

Mistake 6: Not Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities
It is extremely important that you are well-informed of the details in your real estate contract. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing.

Not being aware of the terms in your contract could cost you thousands for repairs and inspections. Know what you are responsible for before signing the contract. Can the property be sold “as is”? How will deed restrictions and local zoning laws will affect your transaction? Not knowing the answers to these kind of questions could end up costing you a considerable amount of money.

Mistake 7: Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property
Your realtor should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your realtor should also be committed to selling your property; he or she should be available for every phone call from a prospective buyer. Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours, so make sure that your realtor is working on selling your home during these hours. Chances are that you have a job, too, so you may not be able to get in touch with many potential buyers.

Critical Things you need to do that will sell your home quicker and higher
  1. It is important to make sure that the first impression is a favorable one. You’ll never have more activity on the home than you will in the first three to four weeks of the listing. The reason is simple: there are buyers out there who have seen everything available and for one reason or another, haven’t bought. They are just waiting for something new to come on the market. When that new property does hit the market, buyers and agents will scramble to look at it. It is common knowledge that the property will usually sell for the highest price during this time. After the initial surge of interest, the only people to look at it will be those buyers new to the marketplace.
  2. Make your home look and feel like a builder’s model home. Everything should look like it belongs even if it means storing some things until the home is sold. You are trying to create a feeling that makes potential buyers want to move in. Don’t wait to see if the house will sell first before making repairs or replacing items.
  3. The property needs to look good from the street, up the sidewalk, on the front porch, throughout the house, in the darkest closets, and even in the attic. You definitely want to give the impression of a well cared for home. You want the prospective buyer to feel that this home is quality all the way through, not just on the surface.
  4. You are competing with every other home that is currently for sale: new and pre-owned, your area and other areas, those listed with agents and those trying to sell themselves; even with the foreclosures in the market. Your property must appeal to owner occupants who will pay the highest price for the property because they are going to live there as their home.
  5. Buyers typically put all of their savings into the down payment and closing costs and don’t have anything left over to improve the home such as replacing old, worn-out things. If buyers have a choice of two comparable properties similar in price, they’ll choose the one in the best condition. Just as on the other hand, if two properties are similar in condition, the buyers will choose the one that is less money.
  6. Stand at the street and look at the house. If all you can see are trees and shrubs, you have some yard work to do. One of the easiest things to do is trim the shrubs that are overgrown. They should be lowered to a height near the bottom of the windows. If there is ivy growing on the side of the home, remove it. If there are tree branches hanging low in the yard, they need to be pruned. A simple rule of thumb is to have all the limbs high enough so that you can walk under the tree.
  7. Invest in a few flats of flowers such as petunias or periwinkles that will last the entire growing season. They will add color and beauty to the front of your home. Consider putting some nice looking flower pots on the porch with red geraniums or some other blooming plants in them.
  8. Look at the front door and the area around it. Give it a fresh coat of paint. If the doorbell is broken, replace it. Wash the mail box. Keep the porch swept. Get an attractive mat for people to wipe their feet.
  9. Air out the home. You are the last person to notice any peculiar odor in your home that may be blatantly obvious to visitors. Go on a search to find the offender. It may be a kitty litter box or a dog bed. It might even be a mildewed shower.
  10. Wash all the windows in the house, inside and out. While you’re at it, clean the window sills and the bottom of the window jambs, and wash the blinds.
  11. If it has been over a year since you’ve had the carpets cleaned, now is the time to do it. The bare floors should also be waxed or polished, even if they’re supposed to be “no wax.”
  12. Put bright light bulbs in every socket made for a bulb. Buyers like “bright and cheery” so you have to keep it from looking like a dungeon. You’ll also want to keep the drapes and shades open during the day, even if you’re not in the habit, because it will make the property look better.
  13. Clean out all of the closets, cabinets, and drawers. Get rid of things you haven’t used in the past five years. Pack up everything that you haven’t used in the last year. If you plan to toss or donate it, do it now. Don’t wait. Closets should look like they have enough room to hold additional items. You might need to box up off-season clothes to make it look that way. Get everything off the floor and don’t have the shelves piled to the ceiling.
  14. Even though it may be inconvenient, you will be far better off by selecting the furniture pieces that look best and putting the others in the garage, basement, or better yet, in storage. You can rent a mini-warehouse for a few dollars a month.
  15. Go over the kitchen like a health inspector. Clean the oven and keep it that way, even if it means eating out more often. After cleaning the range, put new drip pans under the burners, or at least, cover the old ones with foil. Clean around the seal of the door of the dishwasher.
  16. Bath tubs, showers and sinks should be freshly caulked. All the grout should be clean and in good condition. There are excellent cleaners that will do the job without tons of scrubbing. There should be no leaks in the faucets or traps.
  17. Keep children’s toys out of the front yard and off the sidewalks and front porch. Get the teenagers and children to understand the importance of keeping the house looking good while it is on the market. Take down the posters until the house is sold.
  18. Clean the ashes out of the fireplace during the season that it isn’t being used.
  19. Be sure there is a light in the attic so it is easy and safe for people to walk.
  20. If you don’t have time for a garage sale, consider donating things to charity. Make a list of all the items and their estimated value, and be sure to get a receipt. The donation is tax deductible and may be worth more to you than the time and effort you’d put into a garage sale.
  21. The pool needs to be sparkling and free of leaves.

Showing instructions for sellers

Just before a showing:

  1. When the agent arrives with the prospects, have the drapes and window shades open to let in as much daylight as possible. If it happens to be night, be sure that all of your outdoor lights are on, especially landscape and pool lights if you have them.
  2. Open all the doors between rooms to give an inviting feeling. Turn on all of the lights including the lamps. Tune the radio to some quiet, “elevator-style” music.
  3. Pick up any newspapers or magazines that may be lying around. See that the counters are free of unnecessary items and that any dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher. Take out the trash if needed.
  4. If you have pets, get them out of the way. Not everyone may share your love for animals. Some people may even be allergic to them.
  5. The beds should be made and clothes picked up. Bathrooms should be clean and the toilet lid down.
  6. When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, please leave it as if you know it is going to be shown. It’s difficult sometimes and might even mean you have to get up a little earlier in order to take care of these important items. You never know when the right person is going to look at it, so you must always be ready for them.

Pre Home Sale Inspection

Many home buyers and home sellers lose thousands of dollars on their home sale or home purchase by not having adequate home inspections completed. For the homebuyer, this is essential, because it will let them know of any problems that the property may have prior to the completion of the purchase or sale. This will certainly limit the number of surprises that many new homeowners have to deal with.

For the home seller, having your property pre-inspected prior to going on the market will let you know of any problems ahead of time. By having a clean inspection report to present to prospective home buyers, your home will be more saleable, you will spend less time on the market and typically get better offers.You will also avoid having to negotiate repairs during your escrow period, which can be both stressful and expensive.

When ordering inspections a pest inspection is the most important. An all-home inspection, in addition, will go into more detail with heating, electrical, appliances, etc.Do some research and find a reputable company. There are many reputable companies, but a less than reputable one could create some problems and cost you dearly. Get references!


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