Choosing a Realtor
Everyone is different. Luckily there are all different types of personalities, styles and attitudes out there so you have a wide range to choose from when selecting a Realtor. Pay attention to your individual needs and what makes you and your property different. Many Realtors have specialties and are experts in certain properties.
You are selling your home…
Your house is too small. Your house is too big. It’s in the city and you want to live in the country, or it’s in the country and you want to live in the city. Whatever reason there is, you want a ‘for sale’ sign in your front yard. You probably will never sell anything more valuable than your home. This means you’ll want to get the most from your long-term investment.
Here are some checklists to get you started:
The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “de-personalize” it. A house can be a place to eat, sleep, park your car and put all your “stuff” (including other family members). A home is where you feel comfortable, warm, safe and protected. A home is where you live. De-personalizing your home allows a potential buyer to perceive your house as their potential home. Removing family elements such as photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks and souvenirs allows the buyer to picture it with his “stuff”, thereby putting his “brand” on the home. You might want to store these prized family items in an air-conditioned storage.
Cleaned out closets and cabinets, washed windows, new paint on the walls and freshly cleaned carpets, along with shiny new faucets and replaced light bulbs – the inside of your home sparkles as it entices potential buyers to “take a look”. But we’re not quite finished. Before the buyer steps over the threshold, will he or she need to walk through the un-mown grass, step over the kid’s bicycles or dodge the game of kick ball being played on your front lawn?
Your potential buyer’s first impression of your house will be based on his or her view of the house from the inside of their agent’s car. So, it’s back to work!
Take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at the houses nearby to see how they compare to yours. If yours already looks better, then you are several steps ahead of the game.
Is your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If not, buy a few bushes and plant them. If you have an area for flowers, buy mature colorful flowers and plant them. Flowers add a splash of vibrancy and color, creating a favorable first impression.
Your lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered and free of brown spots. If there are problems with your lawn, you should probably take care of them before working on the inside of your home. This is because certain areas may need to be re-sod, and you want to give it a chance to grow so that re-sod areas are not immediately apparent. Plus, you might want to give fertilizer enough time to be effective.
Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings.
Choose a color that fits well in your neighborhood. Of course, the color also depends on the style of your house, too. For some reason, different shades of yellow seem to bring out the best response in homebuyers, whether it is in the trim or the basic color of the house.
As for the roof, if you know your house has an old leaky roof, replace it. If you do not replace a leaky roof, you are going to have to disclose it and the buyer will want a new roof, anyway. Otherwise, wait and see what the home inspector says. Why spend money unnecessarily?
Remove anything with a personal nature, plaques, doormats, name plates, etc. The idea is again, to let your potential buyer visualize the home as his.
Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a homebuyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from the lock box to unlock the door. A sticky lock can cause a ‘sticky situation’.
Compare your home to others close in age, style, size, condition and location. Timing is all-important. If market demand is high, you should be able to increase the price. Sales prices of homes are published in local or regional sections of newspapers.
Be careful what you guarantee. You cannot be sure the roof won’t leak, the heating system won’t go out or any other number of such assurances. Once the property is sold, you are no longer responsible for it.
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 difficulties 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.
- 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.
- 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.