|SELLER'S INFORMATIONAL BLOG|
WHAT BUYERS HATE ABOUT YOUR HOME
You think you live in a palace. Your home is your kingdom but when it comes to selling your home buyers may not be in agreement. In today's market, buyers are pickier than ever and may be literally turning their nose up at your home.
Here are a few things that buyers hate about homes:
Buyers don't like homes that have a strong smell especially bad smells. Make sure to get rid of any source of odor. The biggest culprits of strong smells are smoking, pets and cooking with strong odors. If you have pets or smoke have the carpets, drapes and all professionally cleaned. If you have a cat make sure the litter box is clean and kept out of the way. You will also need to refrain from cooking things with strong odors. Stay away from strong spices like curry and foods like fish.
2. Dirty bathrooms and kitchens
They say bathrooms and kitchens sell homes, just as easily they can prevent a sale. Concentrate on keeping the bathrooms and kitchen spic and span. Keep the floors vacuumed, the counters clear of clutter, and make sure the sink is free of dirty dishes. Keep freshly cleaned towels available for the showings.
Keep the clutter at bay by investing in some inexpensive wicker baskets. Putting clutter in baskets can be a quick way to pick up toys, store laundry and catch all the mail on the kitchen counter.
4. Poor lighting
Who wants to live in the dark? Replace all burnt out bulbs with high efficiency, bright bulbs. Buy some lamps to bring light into poorly lit rooms. Make sure to open all the blinds and pull back the drapes and let as much natural light in as possible. Cleaning the windows will also help show off the light. If you are able turn on all the lights in the home before a potential buyer walks through.
6. Bold colors and wallpaper
You may love the bright pink room or the living room clad in wallpaper but chances are a buyer does not share your style. Try to neutralize rooms with creams and off-whites. These colors can also make a room feel larger and brighter. If your home is covered in wallpaper consider removing it. Buyers are often deterred by the thought of having to remove wallpaper.
7. Man's best friends
You love Fido the dog and Mittens the cat is just so cute but buyers may have allergies or even be afraid of your pets. Keep the pets away from the home or crated when buyers are looking at your home.
Believe it or not you do not help the sale. The buyer wants to be able to view your home without feeling watched or pressured. If you are in the home or the driveway the buyer will not take the time they need to view the home properly. Leave the selling to the professional
5 THINGS TO DO BEFORE PUTTING YOUR HOUSE ON THE MARKET
1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.
2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.
3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.
4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.
5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?
HOW TO GET AN OFFER ON YOUR HOME
1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.
PRESENTING YOUR HOUSE FOR SALE
You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the first impression you make on a buyer can influence their decision on whether to purchase your house or not. It is important to spend time preparing your home to ensure it is shown in its best possible effect. Here are some tips on how to prepare your home for sale.
• House number and tidy letterbox in easy-to-see position
• Driveway – concrete cleaned (water blast if necessary)
• Paint work in good repair and looking new – discuss with sales consultant if major work is still to be done
• Spouting cleaned and in good repair
• Garage/carport clean and tidy
• Rubbish tidy or cleared away
• Cracked or broken windows repaired
• Hedges and shrubs pruned, edges and lawns cut
• Garden weeded
• Splash of colorful flowers added to the garden
• Fences in good order
• Dust and cobwebs removed
• Entrance way is clean, neat, tidy and uncluttered
• Doorbell works
• All chipped paint, cracked plaster and wallpaper repaired
• Door, window, cupboard latches all open and close easily
• Walls, floors and windows are clean
• Lights work – if needed leave some lights on to create atmosphere
• Cooking and pet odors absent
• Home heated/cooled to pleasant temperature
• Halls/stairways are tidy and uncluttered
• Drapes open
• Carpets freshly vacuumed
• Unnecessary items cleared away to make rooms look bigger, without leaving the rooms looking sparse – discuss this with your sales consultant
• Dishes washed & put away
• Taps, doors and drawers repaired
• Sinks, taps & bench tops cleaned & polished
• Appliances cleaned
• Small appliances put away
• Benches cleaned & polished
• Cupboards and pantry neat & tidy
• Mirrors, fixtures, taps & surfaces cleaned & polished
• Taps in good working order
• Seals around bath and basin in good repair
• Floors cleaned
• Rubbish bins emptied
• Cupboards and cabinets neat and tidy inside
• Jewelry and valuables locked away securely or taken with you
• Valuables, such as art, vases, figurines, mementos, are safely situated or locked away
CREATING THE ‘RIGHT FEEL’
Try to make your home as warm and inviting as possible by using some of the following tips:
• Vases of fresh flowers
• Aroma of fresh baking
• Light background music
• A cozy open fire in winter
• Pets should be absent during showing
LOW-COST WAYS TO SPRUCE UP YOUR HOME’S EXTERIOR
Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips.
1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows or architectural details.
2. Mow you lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawn sparkle.
3. Put a pot of bright flowers (or small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
4. Install new doorknobs on your front door.
5. Repair any cracks in the driveway.
6. Edge the grass around walkways and trees.
7. Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight.
8. Clear toys from the lawn.
9. Buy a new mailbox.
10. Upgrade your outside lighting.
11. Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.
12. Clean your windows, inside and outside.
13. Polish or replace your house numbers.
14. Place a seasonal wreath on your door.
5 FEG SHI CONCEPTS TO HELP A HOME SELL
To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind.
1. Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.
2. Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.
3. The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue and lavender.
4. The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.
5. The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.
FORMS YOU WILL NEED TO SELL YOUR HOME
1. Property disclosure form. This form requires you to reveal all known defects to your property. Check with your state government to see if there is a special form required by your state.
2. Purchasers access to premises agreement. This agreement sets conditions for permitting the buyer to enter your home for activities such as measuring for draperies before you move.
3. Sales Contract. The agreement between you and the seller on terms and conditions of sale. Again, check with your state real estate department to see if there is a required form.
4. Sales contract contingency clauses. In addition to the contract, you may need to add one or more attachments to the contract to address special contingencies – such as the buyer’s need to sell a home before purchasing yours.
5. Pre-and-post-occupancy agreements. Unless you’re planning on moving out and the buyer moving in on the day of closing, you’ll need an agreement on the terms and costs of occupancy once the sale closes.
6. Lead-based paint disclosure pamphlet. If you home was built before 1978, you must provide the pamphlet to all sellers. You must also have buyers sign a statement indicating they received the pamphlet.
12 TIPS FOR HIRING A REMODELING CONTRACTOR
1. Get at least three written estimates.
2. Check references, if possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.
3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.
6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.
9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations.
10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.
12. Don’t make the final payment until you are satisfied with the work.
CHECKLIST: 17 SERVICE PROVIDERS YOU'LL NEED WHEN YOU SELL
1. Real estate attorney
3. Home inspector
4. Mortgage loan officer
5. Environmental specialist
6. Lead paint inspector
7. Radon inspector
8. Tax adviser
9. Sanitary systems expert
10. Occupancy permit inspector
11. Zoning inspector
12. Survey company
13. Flood plain inspector
14. Termite inspector
15. Title company
16. Insurance consultant
17. Moving company
Used with permission from Kim Daugherty, Real Estate Checklists and Systems, www.realestatechecklists.com.
5 PROPERTY TAX QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK
1. What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller’s tax bill to help you determine this information.
2. How often are properties reassessed, and when was the last reassessment done? In general, taxes jump most significantly when a property is reassessed.
3. Will the sale of the property trigger a tax increase? The assessed value of the property may increase based on the amount you pay for the property. And in some areas, such as California, taxes may be frozen until resale.
4. Is the amount of taxes paid comparable to other properties in the area? If not, it might be possible to appeal the tax assessment and lower the rate.
5. Does the current tax bill reflect any special exemptions that I might not qualify for? For example, many tax districts offer reductions to those 65 or over.
WHAT TO HAVE ON HAND FOR NEW OWNERS
• Owner’s manuals and warranties for appliances left in the house.
• Garage door opener.
• Extra sets of house keys.
• A list of local service providers – the best dry cleaner, yard service, plumber, etc.
• Code to the security alarm and phone number of the monitoring service if not discontinued.
• As a courtesy, you could provide numbers to the local utility companies.
• If it’s a condo, leave information on how to contact the condo board.
Ever feel like things pile up in your home? Maybe on the kitchen table or counter, your dresser, or nightstand? Well a little organization can turn your home from full of clutter to nice and neat without having to throw everything away. Here are a few things to keep in mind when improving the organization of your home.
Everything needs a place - if every item in your home has a place to be stored, you are less likely to just drop it anywhere. If an item shouldn't be sitting on your counter top, then it should have a home.
Maximize your storage space - If you feel like you are lacking storage space, think again. A closet with no shelves can't store as much, and those spaces you aren't using, like under your bed, can be transformed into storage places too. Setting up the places that you have to store items so they can be fully used is key to making sure everything can be stored.
Label - If you can find where something goes, you are more likely to put it there. Having boxes stacked into a closet, and not knowing what's in there, doesn't help you organize. But having storage containers, shelves, drawers, etc that are labeled for easy finding does.
Shelves and containers - Having the right assortment of storage is key. Not everything is stored well on a shelf and the same goes for in a container. Make sure you have a variety of what you need; everything from small to large containers, baskets, drawers, shelves and hooks. You want to make sure that where you are putting something can be easily found and accessed.
Get into the routine - Old habits die hard so when you first organize you might find you still leave things hanging around. Getting into the new habit of putting things away can take time but an easy way to start is to set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to put everything where it belongs. Before you know it, you will be doing it throughout the day!
Regardless of whether you go all out on organization, or just do a little, you will find that with a couple of changes you can enjoy your space much more. And without all the clutter that has been left behind!
SELLING YOUR HOME WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS
Selling your home can be stressful enough but add messy kids to the mix and you have a challenge on your hands.
But it can be easy to sell your home when you have kids if you do some small things to remedy clutter:
•Go through the toys and limit the number of toys that the kids can keep out. Put the rest in storage, or donate toys that they don’t use.
•Clean out the closets. Kids grow out of clothes and shoes quickly. Go through the kids closets and donate clothes that are too small. This will also help the closet look bigger.
•If you have a baby store the large baby items out of the way. Large highchairs, playards can make your home look smaller.
•Clean out the diaper pail daily.
•Organize books and toys neatly in baskets, boxes, and bins.
•Keep a laundry basket by the door for last minute pick-ups. You can always throw the basket in your car if you don't have time to sort through it before the buyer arrives for a showing.
•Get the kids involved. Even small children can help keep the house tidy.
UPGRADING YOUR HOME
When spending big money on remodeling and upgrading your home, getting the most return for your investment is key. Spending $20,000 on an upgrade that isn't going to add value to your home may please you in the moment, but not when your trying to sell and get that money back. There are areas that are worth the investment and some that are not.
The basic ares of your home are important to focus on. Things like your roof, furnace, and siding are all big investments that bring a big return. Potential buyers don't want to buy a home that they will need to sink thousands of more dollars into right away. Having a leaky roof will only deter people from making an offer. But being able to show that these essential areas are recently upgraded will give buyers the peace of mind that big maintenance costs won't hit them abruptly.
The 2 rooms in the house that are always heavy hitters as far as return on investment is the kitchen and the bathroom. Making sure to upgrade these rooms to be both functional and beautiful is important. No one wants to buy a house that has a beautiful kitchen that doesn't have enough counter space, or the traffic flow doesn't work. Homeowners often find they get at least 100% return on investment in these 2 rooms.
Other things to consider are the curb appeal of your home, and adding space. Both are considered to be high in the list of things to remodel. Curb appeal is important because it's going to not only draw buyers in, but also give a sense of a well maintained home. If you yard is in shambles, your home probably is too. In regards to adding space, every 1,000 square feet adds about 30% to the value of your home, so additions can be well worth it. Homeowners are always looking for homes with extra rooms for things like hobbies or exercise equipment. The only thing to be aware of is you don't want to expand your home so much that the value supersedes those in your neighborhood, so keep the additions reined in.
Upgrading your home can not only make it a place for you enjoy even more, but also add significant value to it. But what you choose to spend the money on is key. Investing money in the wrong places will only leave you with wondering if you should have made a different choice.
CHEMICAL FREE HOMES
Did you know that indoor air pollution is actually worse than outdoor air pollution? Indoor pollution can in fact be 2 to 10 times worse depending on the materials in your home. Many of the materials in your home omit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's). According to the EPA, VOC's are in the air that you breathe and can have long term health effects, including liver, kidney and central nervous system damage and cancer.
Here is a list of some of the indoor air pollutants that you may want to reduce or remove in order to have a healthier home.
The things that clean your home may be making you sick. In fact, bleach is one of the biggest offenders. In order to have a truly clean home, remove all of these chemicals and start replacing them with natural ones. Check the labels of everything. Many sheets that are made for your dryer have formaldehyde in them. Some of the most dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus.
Air fresheners may smell sweet but their effect can be anything but. Some air fresheners can send chemicals into the air that contain VOCs. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology looked at plug-in fresheners and found more than 20 VOCs' and more than one-third were considered toxic or hazardous. VOCs can increase the risk of asthma in kids. At high enough levels, they can also irritate the eyes and lungs, trigger dizziness and headaches, and even lead to memory loss.
Believe it or not the place where you sit or sleep could be harming your health. Furniture is such a big part of our life, we eat on it, sleep and sit on it. Furniture also can emit VOCs. Furniture is often made with flame retardants, finishes, adhesives and foam cushions that give off harmful chemicals.
You often hear about the dangers of lead paint. You should also be worried about the brand new fresh paint you just put on the walls. Paint, paint strippers, varnish removers and floor stains all emit VOC's into the air. These chemicals don't go away once the paint has dried or once it stops smelling. The harmful chemicals can last for as long as two years.
That new carpet smell is not good for you. As pretty as it may look new carpet, wood floors or even linoleum flooring give off VOCs. Purchase flooring produced from renewable materials such as linseed oil, rosins, wood flour and jute. Look for wood flooring that is FSC Certified (it came from a Forest Stewardship Council Certified Forest which helps protect old growth forests from being clear cut).
For more information read about Sources of Indoor Air Pollution on the EPA site.