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6 Big Turnoffs When Selling a Home

 

A real estate agent’s job entails more than assisting clients with the nitty-gritty details of buying or selling a home. Good agents also tour as many homes as possible. Knowing the local inventory gives them an edge over the competition and provides great value for future buyers and sellers because those agents know the market — their product.

Having toured hundreds of homes through the years, agents have come to loathe certain sights. They sometimes leave houses wondering whether the seller even knew a showing was scheduled for that day.

Here are five huge turnoffs agents and their buyer clients see when touring homes and how to avoid them:

Pets and their stuff

Pets bring so many great things to a family and home. But no potential buyer wants to see a dirty cat litter box next to the breakfast table or Fido’s bitten, saliva-filled bone on the sofa in living room.

When your home is for sale, nobody needs to know that a pet lives there. Potential buyers who are allergic to dogs or cats will be turned off immediately, and the mere presence of a pet will send some buyers right out the front door. Have a plan in place to keep the pet remnants at bay, the home tidy and your pet’s stuff out of sight. It may seem like a burden, but if you are serious about selling, this is of utmost importance.

Toys and baby supplies

Selling your home when you have children — especially a newborn — can be trying and stressful. For the most part, buyers can appreciate that keeping the home tidy under such circumstances is a challenge, and they are forgiving. But it is important to make an effort before showing the home.

If possible, have a toy chest or large closet dedicated to storing your kids’ stuff. Also keep in mind that buyers have a hard time with the more sanitary or personal items associated with infants. Leaving breast milk, a breast pump or dirty baby bottles on the kitchen counter could make a buyer feel that the home isn’t clean or sanitary. If you have a newborn, put a plan in place and allow 20 minutes to store baby items before a showing.

Cluttered counters and dirty dishes

Kitchens and bathrooms help sell a home. Most people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen, and buyers will want to spend some time in yours.

If the counters are crowded with the blender, coffee maker, toaster oven and other items, it will appear that there is little counter space, or worse, that your kitchen lacks cabinet space. And last night’s meatloaf caked onto plates sitting in the sink is sure to turn buyers off. Clear the countertops and put away the dishes before leaving home for a showing.

Personal items and toiletries

Don’t stop with the kitchen; the same holds true for bathroom countertops as well.

Clean the toothpaste off the sink and put away your prescriptions, open body lotion containers, toothbrushes and dirty towels. Buyers want to feel clean in the bathroom, and although it’s clear that they won’t be the first to use this bathroom, they don’t need to be reminded that they will be taking over a “used” bathroom.

Toilet and toilet seat

Imagine a serious buyer touring your home. They’ve fallen in love with the chef’s kitchen and are already planning where they would put the television and how their sectional couch would fit in the living room. Then, they stumble upon your bathroom to find the toilet seat up and not clean.

The last thing anyone wants to see is a dirty toilet, so make sure the toilet seat is down at all times. Will buyers be scared off otherwise and not move ahead with an offer? Probably not. But you want them to fall in love with your home, not be turned off.

Accessability

Getting the buyer in the house can be the most important thing of all. 

  First the ease of making an appointment.  When the seller works odd hours and must sleep during the day, buyers and buyers agents will wonder whether the seller is really interested, as it takes longer to set appointments, and the buyers schedule is at the mercy of the seller.  Having a sick person in the home is a turnoff to a buyer.

The lock box must be mounted in an obvious location to make entry for the buyer and agent as smooth as possible.

Seller must accept that people will be in the house.  It is not a good idea for the seller or children to be present in the house as the buyer is going through.

Having a locked door to a room or closet to keep it from being accessable is not a good idea.  It is often necessary to either rent storage space or make arrangements with relatives while the house is on the market.

Neighbors that park in front of your house and limit parking and access can be a prolem.  Neighbors that are unkept.  The buyer will want to feel that the neighbors also have pride in the neighborhood and will help keep the resale value of the properties as high as practical.

Most home sellers won’t make these mistakes, but for the 20 percent who do, these six turnoffs could mean the difference between a full-price or lowball offer — or worse — an offer on a competing property.

 

 

 

 

 

POWERFUL TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOME

           

Maybe you're moving to a larger home to accommodate a growing family, relocating for a new career opportunity, or purchasing a townhouse for retirement.  Whatever the reason for the move, you'll need to take the necessary steps to sell your home for the best possible price, within a reasonable amount of time.  Where do you begin?

           

If you're like most people, you'll start by seeking assistance from a professional.  A local real estate sales associate, who knows your neighborhood, can help you determine a fair market price.  The sales associate should also recommend the extent to which you should make repairs or improvements to your house.

           

In order to select a real estate professional who's right for you, ask family, friends and neighbors for referrals.  Attend open houses and interview several sales associates to find out how professional or experienced they may be.  Get a written outline of how they plan to market your property and the services they will offer you.

           

Once you've identified a qualified professional, the rest is chemistry.  Is the sales associate someone with whom you would like to work closely?  Do you feel comfortable with the sales associate as your partner, working with you to give you advice and acting as your representative?  Does he or she practice a consultative selling approach, focusing on the long-term client relationship and on the importance of exceeding client needs and expectations or is he or she caught up in the proverbial 'hard sell?'

 

The brokerage firm that your agent is associated with is also important.  Research the firm's success rate and commitment to quality service.  Does it survey existing clients in order to ensure customer satisfaction?  What are the results of those surveys? How in tune are they with consumer needs?  Do they offer guidance with mortgages or any discounts for other home related or moving services?

 

Determining your home's fair market value is one of the most important decisions you'll make during the home-selling/buying process.  Your sales associate can help you set a fair price based on local market conditions.  For instance, she or he will provide sale prices and other statistics of homes similar to yours that have recently been sold.  Prospective buyers will be comparing your home to others on the market.  Therefore, setting a comprehensive price can determine if your property will or will not sell.

 

For the first offer made, it's rare that the prospective buyer matches the asking price.  If the offer is reasonably close to the asking price, carefully consider the offer before you consider turning it down.  Curiously, it's the first offer that can often be the best offer.  If the first offer is unacceptable to you, it may in your best interest to have your sales associate respond with a counter offer.  Whenever considering an offer, ask yourself if you would purchase the property for the amount being offered.  Always be willing to negotiate, especially if the prospective buyer is pre-qualified for a mortgage. 

 

Once you decide what terms are acceptable, let your sales associate negotiate with the prospective buyer to work out the best agreement for you.  You'll need to be patient while the buyer arranges financing and as the real estate company compiles and prepares pertinent data.

Careful planning and sound advice from a real estate professional can make selling your home a very satisfying experience. 

     

A Quicker Sale


 

1.      Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.

 

2.      Get your house market-ready for 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 on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.

 

4.      Be ready for 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, be prepared to lower your asking price.


Before You Sell


1.      Get estimates from a reliable repairperson on items that need to be replaced soon, such as a roof or worn carpeting, for example. In this way, buyers will have a better sense of how much these needed repairs will affect their costs.

 

2.      Have a termite inspection to prove to buyers that the property is not infested.

 

3.      Get a pre-sale home inspection so you’ll be able to make repairs before buyers become concerned and cancel a contract.

 

4.      Gather together warranties and guarantees on the furnace, appliances, and other items that will remain with the house.

 

5.      Fill out a disclosure form provided by your sales associate. Take the time to be sure that you don’t forget problems, however minor, that might create liability for you after the sale.


Make Your House More Salable


 

1.      Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.

 

2.      Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.

 

3.      Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.

 

4.      Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.

 

5.      Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.

 

6.      Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems, such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet, may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.

 

7.      Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.

 

8.      Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

 

9.      Clean your gutters.

 

10.  Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.

                

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Understanding Agency


It’s important to understand what legal responsibilities your real estate salesperson has to you and to other parties in the transactions. Ask your salesperson to explain what type of agency relationship you have with him or her and with the brokerage company.

 

1. Seller's representative (also known as a listing agent or seller's agent). A seller's agent is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a listing contract.

2. Subagent. A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's principal as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not representing the buyer as a buyer’s representative or operating in a nonagency relationship, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.

3. Buyer's representative (also known as a buyer’s agent). A real estate licensee who is hired by prospective buyers to represent them in a real estate transaction. The buyer's rep works in the buyer's best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the buyer. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's rep may be paid by the seller or by a commission split with the listing broker.

4. Disclosed dual agent. Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to the clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it's vital that all parties give their informed consent. In many states, this consent must be in writing. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both of them, is legal in most states.


5. Designated agent (also called, among other things, appointed agency). This is a brokerage practice that allows the managing broker to designate which licensees in the brokerage will act as an agent of the seller and which will act as an agent of the buyer. Designated agency avoids the problem of creating a dual-agency relationship for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties. The broker still has the responsibility of supervising both groups of licensees.

6. Nonagency relationship (called, among other things, a transaction broker or facilitator). Some states permit a real estate licensee to have a type of nonagency relationship with a consumer. These relationships vary considerably from state to state, both as to the duties owed to the consumer and the name used to describe them. Very generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.

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