Selling a Home

Deciding To Sell

So you have decided to sell your property. Before anything else, it is a good idea to sit down and clarify your motivations and draw up a basic time frame for the selling process.

Why Are You Selling?

Why have you decided to sell your property? Do you simply want to find a larger property, or do you plan on moving to an entirely different neighborhood, school district, city or state? Your reasons might be obvious to you, but it would do well to consider all the implications of every option regarding your lifestyle, opportunities, and finances. When you are clear about your intentions for selling it will make it easier for us to determine the most best option for your personal lifestyle, financial, and real estate goals.

When Should You Sell?

You should immediately decide on your time frame for selling. If you need to sell very quickly, we can speed up the process, and give you a complete market analysis and action plan to attain all of your goals. If, however, there is no immediate need to sell, you can meet with one of our expert real estate agents to review all the current market conditions and find the most favorable time to sell for you.

How Does The Market Look?

When you work with us, you can rest assured that you will have our knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills on hand for you to find the best market prices and terms. We will constantly update you on what is happening in the marketplace at all times; and the price, financing, terms and conditions of any competing properties. With us, you will know precisely how to price and when it would be best to sell your property.

How Do I Best Optimize My Finances?

When you decide to sell your property it requires a serious consideration of your current financial situation and your future possibilities. With our expert agents, you will be able to effectively assess the cumulative impact of any changes, estimate all potential proceeds of selling your property, and plan effective tax savings and estate planning methods. We will make sure that you take full control of your finances, and use them to their full potential

Choose An Agent And Decide On The Price

Why choose Garry

You may decide you want to sell your property independently. There are many good reasons, however, why you should select us to assist you in this important task. We will make sure that you maximize your opportunities in the real estate market in which you are trying to sell. With our extensive network of contacts which we have developed through all the national and international organizations, where we are members, as well as our clients, we will utilize the best marketing and advertising strategies for your property. We will also help walk you through the complicated paperwork involved, from the initial agreement to the final documents on closing.

Choosing An Agent

Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding on a listing agent:

What Is The Value of Your Property?

Without an agent on hand, most private property sellers tend to overestimate the value of their own property. You can avoid this easily by consulting with one of our experienced real estate listing agents.

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Get Ready To Sell

You can do a lot to increase the appeal of your property and to create a lasting impact on potential buyers.

 

What To Do To Get Ready

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when listing your property for sale:

1. The Curb Appeal

Maintaining your landscape to a pristine state, and adding sall creative touches to your yard, like colorful annuals, will create an immediate impact on any passers by and your potential buyers.

2. Repairing The Property

Simple improvements to your property like window repairs, a fresh coat of paint outside, and inside in the most frequently used rooms will instantly brighten up the property.

3. Cleanliness And Staging

Keep your property neat, smelling sweet and well lit from on all floors. Be particular about details: put away the kitty litter, gather the pet toys, place some fresh flowers near the entry, bake a batch of cinnamon rolls in the oven, clean your carpets. Your agent will look over the property before it is listed to be sold to find any ways with which you can improve on the staging of your property.

4. Disclosures And Inspections.

We are thoroughly familiar with all the legal processes involved in disclosures and are ready to help you create a detailed disclosure statement that will benefit both you and the buyer. We will also suggest any home improvement measures before placing your property on the market (like termite and pest inspections).

5. Time To Show.

Presenting your property before potential buyers is something that we will take care of for you. Buyers usually feel more comfortable discussing the property with the agent, if you are actually not there. Also, your agent, as your representative, will know what information will be most useful to your interests when speaking with prospective buyers.

Accepting The Offer

Not Every Price Is Right.

The well known adage “The higher the price, the better the offer,” is misleading. Price is not always the main determining factor when accepting an offer for several very important reasons: as a rule, the initial offer is usually not final, and there are a number of terms and conditions that may determine the final outcome of a price. You can trust our agents to help you thoroughly evaluate and peruse every proposal without compromising your  position as a seller.

Negotiating The Correct Way.

It is our ethical responsibility of fairly negotiating contractual terms, and we take that responsibility very seriously. It is our job to find the win-win agreement that is beneficial to all parties involved. You may have to deal with several different offers before deciding on the one you judge to be the most appropriate for you, and as your agents, we always guarantee a thorough and objective assessment of each offer to help you make the correct choice.

Inspection and Appraisals

Most buyers will have to have the property inspected by a licensed property inspector within the timeframe that was agreed upon in the effective purchasing contract. Some buyers may choose to have the property inspected by different kinds of inspectors, they may wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roofing, HVAC). If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution through a third party. This is usually done so that the lending institution can confirm that their investment in your property is accurate. Buyers of commercial properties may also have a complete environmental audit performed and/or a soil test, if so required by the lending institution.

About The Closing Agent

Either a title company or an attorney will be selected for you as the closing agent, whose job is to examine and insure clear title to the real estate. After researching the entire recorded history of your property, they will certify that: your title is free and clear of any encumbrances (eg. mortgages, leases, or restrictions, liens) by the date of closing; and that all new encumbrances are duly included in the title.

A contingency is a condition that needs to be met before a contract becomes fully legally binding. For example, a buyer will usually include a contingency which states that their contract will be binding only when there is a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified inspector.

Before completing their purchase of your property, the buyer will go over every aspect of the property, as provided for by the purchase agreements and any applicable addendums. These will include:

Obtaining the financing and insurance; Reviewing all of the pertinent documents, such as preliminary title reports and disclosure documents; and inspecting the property. The buyer has the right to determine the accurate condition of your property by subjecting it to a wide range of inspections, like roofing, termite/pest, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, arborist, mold, lead based paint, structure, HVAC, etc.

How should you respond objectively and fairly to the buyer when a renegotiation is demanded, while acting in your own best interests? This is when a professional listing agent can make a real world difference in the outcome of the transaction. Having dealt with all kinds of property sales in the past, we guarantee our professional expertise and total commitment to all our customers, no matter what their situation is.

Loan Approval and Appraisal

We usually suggest that you accept buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval, approval letter, or written loan commitment, which is the best guarantee of loan approval than compared to a pre-qualification or no documentation from a lending institute. You should expect an appraiser from the lender’s company to review your property and verify that the price of the sale is appropriate.

Closing Day

There are still a few loose ends to consider once closing day has arrived:

Final Walk Through Inspection.

The final inspection usually takes place a day before, or the actual day of closing. The buyer will visit the property one final time to verify that everything is in working order, that everything is the same as the last time they viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind by the previous owner, and that everything included in your purchase is still there.

Home Services and Utilities

We will provide a list of all the numbers to deactivate all of the home services and utilities after the closing happens.

Be Ready For Any Surprises

We are there to help you should an unforeseen issue pop up, even at this stage. In case something at the property breaks or some other minor detail rises up there is no need to worry. These things happen, so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress free manner.

The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with what is called a settlement statement. The settlement statement summarizes and details all the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the buyer, or buyers will sign the statement together with the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice you give us. If you are receiving the funds to the transaction, you can choose to either have the funds wired electronically into the aforementioned escrow account, or receive a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. The seller will usually arrange to have all property keys and any other important information and items for you at the closing so that you may receive them at this time.

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Staging Your Home
In order to sell your home quickly, you will want to prepare it to make sure it is looking its best. This preparation is called ‘staging’ and is often the difference between a home selling quickly or instead languishing on the market for months. Staging a home takes a lot of hard work, care and attention to detail. The sooner you begin to prepare your house for the market, the more effective staging will be.
Three to Six Months Before Marketing Your House
Three to six months before you plan on putting your house on the market you will need to paint.  Choose neutral colors with only one or two accent colors to break up the monotony.  You will want to have all of the carpets and drapes cleaned or replaced.  Neutral colors and patterns are the rule of thumb here as well.  You will want to give the exterior a similar face lift.  Finally, be sure to fix everything in need of repair.  The dripping faucet, the broken drawer handle and the cracked light switch faceplate are a few examples of little touches that make a huge difference.  You want to present a house looking brand new rather than lived in.

One Month Before Listing Your Home
One month before listing your house, consider getting a home inspection.  Your buyers will do this anyway and it will help you to know what needs to be fixed up ahead of time.  A few hundreds spent in advance will pay off dividends in the long term.

This is also the time to de-clutter.  Pack away everything you can.  Less clutter will help potential buyers to have a vision of what their tastes and styles will look like in their new home. Try to remove everything which makes the house yours.  This will take a lot of effort, but it will help your house sell faster.  Remember, you want the buyer to imagine the house is their home.  That is not possible if the house already feels like it’s someone else’s.

One Week Before Showing Your Home
Your house must be clean.  Your house must be clean enough to pass the inspection of the most critical mother-in-law imaginable.  It needs to dazzle!  Consider hiring a cleaning service to come weekly until the house is sold.  A small investment upfront will be rewarded at the closing.  Have a kind, but honest friend come over and give your home a ‘sniff’ test.  Odors that you have grown accustom to will turn away a potential buyer.  Cigarette odors, pet odors and mildew are just a few smells that can seep into a home without you realizing it.  Finally, view your home from the street.  This will be your buyer’s first impression.  Try to look at your house with a stranger’s eyes.  What do you see?  Do you see any last minute improvements it needs?  Make sure you take care of them right away.

The Day Before Your House is Shown
Besides making sure everything is clean, walk through the house and remove any signature items. A baseball glove by the back door, paperwork on the desk, a DVD left out near the TV, must all be tucked away before the potential buyers rings the bell. Open all the curtains to provide as much light as possible. Consider one or two friendly accents like fresh flowers on the table or a seasonal door hanging on the front door. Stand in the center of the house. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Open your eyes and look around. Does everything look and feel clean and welcoming? Yes. Then your done. Your house is ready to meet it’s soon-to-be new owners.

Staging your home will take time, effort and money, but it will pay off when your house sells quickly and at the price you want.

Taking Great Listing Photos

Taking fantastic pictures of your home may be the single most important thing you can do to help sell it.  Almost all house hunts begin online.  During an online search, buyers focus on the pictures when paging through listings.  Once a picture has caught their eye, then, and only then, will they look at the printed information.  Recent studies show that listing your home with high quality pictures can shorten the amount of time it is on the market by several weeks. 

There are many ‘expert’ opinions about how to take photographs for a house listing and they all disagree.  Nevertheless, taking eye-catching, professional looking pictures is easy if you follow some basic guidelines.  Plus it can be a lot of fun.

When taking pictures of the inside of the house, it is best to concentrate on the main living areas.  Take pictures of the living room, dining room and other common areas.  It is advisable to skip the bedrooms unless one of them has some extraordinary feature like a fireplace or an amazing view.

When photographing a room, angle the camera to feature two walls.  The frame should include a window or an interesting aspect of the room.  Avoid getting too much ceiling in the shot.  Feel free to move furniture and ornaments around in order to stage a nice picture.

Getting the correct lighting is essential for taking a nice picture.  Take several shots with different lighting so you can choose the one that best shows off that particular room.  Try a few with all the lights one; then a few with just one or two and then a few with just natural light coming in the window.  Experiment with the flash on and off.

Photographing the exterior of the house has its own requirements.  Before you start framing pictures, tidy up.  Remove garbage cans.  Take down seasonal decorations.  Put toys and tools away.  You want your house looking its best.

One of the biggest challenges to outdoor photography is lighting.  Unlike indoor shooting it is impossible to control outdoor lighting.  When photographing the outside of your house it is important to get the light behind you.  If the light is coming from behind the house or from the side it will create a harsh glare.  If it isn’t feasible to get the sun behind you or if your house is heavily shaded, take pictures on an overcast day.  That will mute the lighting effects.

If there are any exceptional features to the exterior of your house be sure to photograph them.  Is there a pool?  A gazebo?  A breath-taking view?  Get a few shots of it.

Finally, here are a few general tips.  Take your time.  Take all day if you can or take a few pictures at different times of the day over several days.  Experiment with different angles and elevations.  Better to have a lot of pictures you do not need than to have just a few shots which really don’t do your house justice.  Do not photo edit your pictures.  Unless you are an expert, photo editing shows.  It will make the buyer suspicious of the rest of your pictures.  Take the best pictures you can and let the beauty of your home sell itself.

Taking the time to get the perfect pictures of your home will pay off in time and money.  Besides it’s a lot of fun.  So let loose your inner shutter bug and get to work.

10 Biggest Home Buying Mistakes

1. Not doing your homework. Knowledge is power. Tremendous information is available on the Internet. There is no excuse for entering the market unprepared.

2. Trying to make a shrewd investment. People need to buy based on what fits their family. Don’t try to guess what will happen to the market.

3. Choosing a poor location. Even within a neighborhood, location matters. Is it on the busiest street? Is there a shopping center out the back window?

4. Overlooking an inferior floor plan for an attractive exterior. It may have gorgeous curb appeal, but you don’t live on the lawn. No matter how attractive the exterior, you need a livable home.

5. Overlooking how the house will function for your family. How do you really live? Do you really need a formal dining room and living room? Would you be happier with an eat-in kitchen and a great room and a den to use as a home office? The house only needs to fit one family: yours.

6. Not having a professional home inspection by the most thorough, nitpicky inspector you can find. This is not the time for surprises. Get an inspection from a qualified, respected professional. If your Realtor has a referral, see #1 above.

7. Not checking out the builder’s reputation on a new home. Talk to three or four people who live in the builder’s homes and see what they have to say. If one builder did all the houses in a neighborhood, talk to the residents and get their input. It’s also a great way to see what your neighbors would be like.

8. Not getting what you want because you’re impatient. This is a big decision. You need time. Impatient decisions can lead to mistakes.

9. Waiting for a better market and interest rates. The rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield. 

10. Not buying at all. If you can afford a home and you don’t make that purchase, you’ll lose the benefit of tax deductions, building home equity and the appreciation in value.

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