Archives For Sellers

  1. Find a listing agent
    1. Check out our Preferred Agents for trusted experts in your area.
    2. Meet a few different agents before deciding on one.
    3. Ask them questions about the services they will be providing and experience.

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  1. Assess the market
    1. Check out comparable properties for sale in your area. See how much they are listed for and how long they have been on the market. Create a property alert by signing up with My Househappy to show you when comparable properties are listed in your area. Make sure selling now is financially smart and fits with your timeline.
    2. Evaluate the state of your own neighborhood.
    3. Consider the time of year it is. The hot seasons are spring and summer, but sometimes off seasons can work in your favor.
  2. Cleanup your house
    1. Purge any items you are not going to take with you to your next home.
    2. Freshen up the exterior of your home.
    3. Fix any known major damages.
  3. Price your house
    1. Your agent should provide you with a comparative market analysis.
    2. Try not to let your emotions get involved when you price your home. Be wary of agents who might suggest listing your house at a high price; they could be doing this just to get you to sign with them.
  4. Stage and show your house
    1. Remove all clutter and organize the rest.
    2. Hire a stager to reorganize your furniture or bring in rented items to showcase the room.
    3. Lighten it up. Remove busy wallpaper. Paint the walls with light neutral colors. Make sure all the light fixtures are working properly and provide ample light to every room. Remove heavy or outdated window coverings.
    4. Remove any traces of your pets.
    5. Deep clean the house.
    6. Take professional photos. According to PR Newswire, professional photography sells homes 32% faster.

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  1. Prepare for the open house
    1. Lock up or store valuables.
    2. Take down family photos or personal items.
    3. Make plans to be outside of the home while the house is being shown.
  2. Stay informed and close the deal.
    1. Keep regular contact with your agent on the status of the sale of your home.
    2. Go over any offers presented with your agent and work with them to negotiate the terms or counter offer.
    3. Once you have accepted an offer, you will enter into mutual acceptance with the buyer.
    4. Depending on the terms of your deal, you may have to complete repairs on the house. Check out our Marketplace to find services in your area.
    5. Work with the escrow company, the real estate agents and lenders to ensure the transfer of ownership goes well for both you and the buyer.
    6. Celebrate once it is all over and congrats on selling your home!

If you’ve got your house ready to show but you’re still living in it, things will invariably end up out of place. Take 15-20 minutes and follow the checklist below to make sure everything’s in shape before you leave your house for a showing.

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Security/Valuables:

  • Keep all keys, mail, and documents with personal information out of sight.
  • Store alcohol and prescription drugs out of view, preferably in a locking cabinet.
  • Password protect desktop computers, lock up laptops or take with you.
  • Lock up small valuables like jewelry, watches, mp3 players, tablets, etc.

Cleanliness/Clutter:

  • Remove dishes from the sink.
  • Clear counters and tables, store small kitchen appliances out of sight
  • Rinse sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets clean.
  • Store toiletries in cabinets or drawers, straighten hanging towels.
  • Place laundry in covered hampers or otherwise out of view.

Kids/Pets:

  • Put toys away – have a bin at the ready for quick pick-ups.
  • Secure pets in kennels or preferably out of the house.

Tip – get into the habit of running through this list before you leave the house every morning so you won’t need to worry if someone wants schedule a tour while you’re at work.

If you  are putting your home on the market anytime soon, safety should be a top priority. Below we outlined a few tips to help you prepare.

  1. Make sure valuables are locked up or off-premises during showings and open houses. Jewelry, cash, liquor, checkbooks and credit cards, prescription drugs, keys and other small valuables should all be out of reach when your home is being toured. Safeguard your personal information, too – lock your computer and filing cabinets and don’t leave bills that might show your account numbers lying out.
  2. Choose an agent who uses an electronic lockbox system. Modern electronic lockboxes restrict access to licensed real estate professionals and track every time someone uses the lockbox to enter your home.
  3. Don’t show your home by yourself. If you wouldn’t normally let a stranger into your home and show them around just because they asked, adding a For Sale sign to the yard shouldn’t change that. Direct any inquiries about the property to your real estate agent, who will pre-screen buyers and collect contact information before bringing anyone through. If you opt to sell your home without the help of a real estate agent, this still applies – insist that all showings be prescheduled, collect contact information and verify drivers licenses of potential buyers before they come for a tour, and try to have someone else there any time you are showing your house.
  4. Either take your pets with you or keep them penned during showings. This prevents both the possibility of your pet getting loose during the showing and/or attacking an agent or potential buyer. Even usually calm animals can sometimes get defensive when unfamiliar people are in their space and you could be held liable for any injuries.petsemail
  5. Check that your home is securely locked up after showings and open houses. Doors and windows might be left unlocked unintentionally by distracted buyers trying to take in everything about your home, or would-be-thieves who intend to come back and use the entry later. Either way, you can help keep your home safe by doing a quick walk-through to check the locks after any tour.
  6. If you are selling a vacant home, consider a home staging service. Staging a home can help keep it from looking empty to a casual passerby and decrease your chance of a break-in. Use timers on the lights to boost the illusion that someone lives there. Bonus: According to the National Association of Realtors, “staged homes sell 80% quicker, and for up to 11% more money than non-staged properties.”

 

Sometimes it seems as if you need to be a psychic to make money in the real estate market. And while that would certainly help, knowing when to put your home up for sale is more about understanding your local market than it is about magic. So with that in mind, here are four things to consider as you decide when to sell your home.

  1. Research Your Local Market: The media gives us the impression that housing is tied directly to the health of the American economy. While this is true in a broad sense (home sales tend to be good in strong economic times and bad in poor economic times), local factors also have a strong influence on sales. So even during recession, there can be pockets of hot sales activity. The key local indicator is housing inventory, which is a measure of supply and demand. For a market to be considered healthy, the inventory should stand at 4-6 months. That means it would take between 4 and 6 months to sell every house on the market. Anything less than 4-6 months is a sellers market, with a low home supply and competition between buyers. Anything more than 6 months is a buyers market, allowing consumers to be pickier with their purchases. The best way to understand you local housing inventory is by consulting local Realtors. They’ll have their finger on the pulse of your local market.
  1. Check Interest Rates: Interest rate are the biggest determining factor on the affordability of home loans. An increase of just a few points can translate into hundreds of extra dollars in payments per month. If interest rates are low or are dropping, that may spur more consumers to enter the Real Estate market and begin to swing housing inventory in the sellers favor. You can check current interest rates here.
  1. Consult Your Calendar: Data shows that homes sell faster if they’re put on the market between mid-March and mid-April. This is tied to the school calendar, as parents want to shop for home in spring and make a move once the school year ends.

  1. Run the Numbers: When you’re deciding to sell, it’s also important to understand your investment position in your current home. Check your payoff amount and compare it to the price qualified Realtors have set for your home. Once you have that balance, subtract excise taxes, realtor fees, and moving costs. What’s left will be your profit. And don’t forget, in competitive housing markets buyers won’t pay top dollar for homes in need of upgrades or major repairs. Those costs will come out of your asking price one way or another. A good realtor will help you understand what’s required to be competitive. Taken together, these numbers will help you determine what you stand to gain or lose through a sale.

While these tips are good indicators, there really is no perfect answer for when every person should enter the Real Estate market. Housing needs are so personal that even in a perfect market, a potential seller might decide to wait. In the end, it all comes down to what your family needs and the lifestyle you desire. When you understand those factors, and act accordingly, you’ll make much better decisions.

Spring is here—or at least in most parts of the U.S.—bringing with it warmer weather, flowering buds, and fresh starts.

So how do you infuse your home with new life? Apartment Therapy rounded up 10 sources for pretty yet inexpensive decorative accessories.

The right pop of color can hint at sunnier days ahead, while a blossom in a petite bud vase signals growth—a slight refresh can make the difference between “for sale” and “sold.”

Home stagers, agents, and homeowners can find other tips for budget style in Apartment Therapy’s post.

Images: via Apartment Therapy

 

Is it possible to take a selfie of a house? Not only is it possible, it’s imperative—88% of prospective homebuyers say that they want to see photos first.

Instagram has set the bar for visual inspiration, with tastemakers, celebrities, and brands posting to the photo-driven social network. So it makes sense that sellers and agents look to the platform for tips on how to best represent homes online.

We rounded up the five most important tips for achieving the ultimate “house selfie.”

1. Snap the details. While it’s important to include major features and overall rooms, it’s also helpful to include details that make the house unique. Whether it’s crown moulding, built-in shelving, or luxe fixtures, show why your home stands apart.

2. Take lots of photos. Taking the “perfect” photo creates a lot of pressure. Once you get into the flow, it’s easy to snap dozens of pics. The more, the better—you’ll find that it’s easier to experiment with composition and lighting when you know you have a large reserve of shots.

3. Be a ruthless editor. Since you have so many photos to choose from, it will be easy to narrow down the best images. Consider diversity when selecting photos to represent your home, both in terms of style and what is shown. Ask for input from trusted sources when reviewing your final selection.

4. Frame, don’t filter. It’s important that the images you choose don’t create a “bait and switch” scenario for prospective buyers. To that end, don’t use filters to enhance your photos. Instead, rely on images that frame the house

5. Follow influencers for inspiration. If you feel unsure of what makes a good photo, follow some design influencers on Instagram to learn more. Here are just a few of our personal favorites:

Bloggers

Old Brand New

Apartment Therapy

The Design Files

Bright Bazaar

Design Sponge

Interior Designers/Architects

Grant K. Gibson

House of Honey

Kelly Wearstler

Jasper Conran

The Architext

Image: @thedesignfiles

Is it O.K. to allow pets and their stuff to be seen during showings? According to The New York Times, the answer is no.

Stefania Cardinali, an associate real estate broker, explains that not everyone is familiar with dogs and cats. Plus, there’s always a chance that Fluffy won’t like having new people in the home and might bite, claw, or jump on the potential buyer. Fur and dander can also be a problem for prospective buyers with allergies.

When it comes to pet toys and accessories, the fewer the better says Joan Dineen, an architect and dog owner. Dineen’s advice is to leave only the accessories that work with your décor, which means hiding the giant cat trees. (Unless if you have a cute cat pod, like this one from Hepper.) Another recommendation? “De-fur” all the surfaces.

Source: NY Times

Photo: John Burcham for The New York Times