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Selling

Sleeping On The Floor and Mentally Preparing For Selling

Below is an excerpt from my book “Just Sold: Selling A Home In Any Market“. In the book’s Introduction, I tell a slightly embarrassing story of when I sold my Atlanta condo.

What I don’t mention in the book is that during my last night in my condo, I played a variety of songs. One of those songs was Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”. Years later, the song still reminds me of the emotions I felt that last night. People do develop an emotional attachment to property.

Selling a property often represents the closing of a chapter. For me– Although I had been happily married for years, selling my condo represented the last page of my independent life. My condo was where I went when the world treated me unfairly or exhausted me. Standing on my 10th floor balcony is where I convinced myself that ANYTHING in life is possible. It was where I started my first brokerage firm. It was where I celebrated with friends. It was where I entertained my husband (then my boyfriend) in the midst of long distance dating.

You have all of these experiences in a single locale and then it’s time to sell. Of course it’s emotional. Corny, but real. The story and my tips are below. Anyway here goes…

Just Sold: Selling A Home In Any Market

Excerpt from Just Sold:

A few years ago I traveled to Atlanta to move out of my condo and attend the closing.  Not just any condo, but the first home I ever purchased and the property I owned the longest. As I boarded the plane in Washington, DC, I was overcome with emotion. My DC to Atlanta track had become a bit of a ritual. It was like going to visit an old friend, but this time you know that this will be the last visit. To some this may sound a little weird and seemingly an unusual analogy. But this is the type of anxiety many people have when selling their home– including a very experienced real estate broker. 

When you purchase the right property it really becomes home, your refuge, your safe haven. And in a world filled with so much chaos, this is a must have.

I owned this property for almost 13 years. The first six years I lived in the property full-time. The remaining years I spent increasingly less time in the property and more time at my new home in Washington, DC. It may be further unusual that this condo was so special to me considering that my home in DC is almost 10 times larger. 

Once I arrived in Atlanta, I met with the movers to move the last of my items into a storage unit. The closing was the next morning. I pondered whether to book a hotel room close to the condo or closer to the closing attorney’s office. Ironically, I chose neither. I chose to spend one last night with my old friend. With all of the furniture moved out, I gathered a couple of pillows and a blanket and slept on the hardwood floor. It was comfortable. I was home for one last night. 

Washington DC real estate

Selling is emotional. I know this. Not just based on my 20+ years of selling experience, I know this personally.”

— Dana Ash-McGinty

Selling is emotional. I know this. Not just based on my 20+ years of selling experience, I know this personally. During this emotional time period, you need an experienced, trusted real estate professional. In my book, “Just Sold: Selling A House In Any Market“, I share with you the ideas and techniques that I have developed over a long career in real estate. These are ideas that work, ideas that can save you a lot of time. This book will show you ways you can get your property sold and to do so in a way that your house will sell more quickly and for more money, no matter what the market is doing. 

I can promise you it will all work out well in the end. Your house will sell, regardless of the market. Unfortunately, I can’t promise you you won’t decide to grab a few blankets and sleep on the floor the night before closing.

As the proverb says, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”. Here are six tips that I share with our clients. These are the strategies that I have personally found helpful when we are mentally preparing for a challenge, especially the challenge of selling a home.

6 Tips To Mentally Prepare For Selling Your Home

  1. Do Some Research – I find the more I’m informed (and prepared), the more confident I feel and the less anxiety I have. 
  1. Be Positive – Yep, this can be tough to do particularly if you are selling out of necessity; however, it is imperative that you remain positive. Be conscious of any negative thoughts that may enter your mind and quickly dispel them. Maybe you can even give up watching the local news during the selling process!
  1. Seek Support – Confide in a family member or a close personal friend (with a level head). Spend a few minutes a week discussing your thoughts and feelings. Your real estate agent will also be able to help coach you throughout the process. 
  1. Visualize the final outcome – If you are moving by choice, spend some time seeing yourself and your family enjoying your next home. If you are moving out of necessity, realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel and see yourself in that better light (living within your financial means, new future opportunities, etc). 
  1. Meditation – Studies have found that meditation is very beneficial when facing a stressful decision. Try spending 15 to 30 minutes in meditation each day.
  1. Journal – Write it down! Getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper, is a very freeing exercise. This will come as no challenge to those that are currently journaling. Others may find it easier to record their thoughts using a smartphone app. Even if you simply voice your thoughts (speaking them aloud), it will help (sounds weird, right?). Ask yourself questions like “what do I enjoy or not enjoy about this process?” or “what do I expect for the future in what I am doing now?”

[An excerpt from “Just Sold: Selling A Home In Any Market“.]

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Condos Selling

Questions To Ask Your HOA Or Board Before Selling Your Condo

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Updated 03/06/2021

There are a few challenges with selling a condo. A certain experience level and skill set is needed to sell condos and co-ops. It is very different than selling a single family detached house. The reason is that often you can’t put a sign in the front yard (by the homeowner rules—see below), you may have trouble getting your buyers into the complex, and you will be required to target buyers that understand and desire the shared lifestyle.

Thinking of selling your condo?

Here are few questions you (or your agent) should ask your HOA or Board before you get started:

Do you allow signs on the property?

Since the front of a condo is typically owned by everyone in the association, you may not be able to put a sign in front. The reason is that many condominium bylaws preclude you from putting a “For Sale” sign for your condo in any common area and that includes the exterior walls, on doors, or in the windows of your own unit. (Such rules can be hard to enforce, but strict home- owner association boards may try.)

Therefore, as soon as you’ve determined that you want to sell, one of your first trips should be to the homeowners’ association or the board of directors to find out about their sign policy. If it’s strict, you may want to try and fudge a little. (You didn’t hear me say that.) Try putting a sign in the window of your unit. Most people won’t complain about that and at least it will help direct a potential buyer to your unit. Sign restrictions are also a good reason to use an agent. The agent can meet buyers at the gate or entrance and then bring them by.

Are there any restrictions on buyers?

In the very distant past some homeownership organizations would attempt to restrict buyers on the basis of religion or race. That is outlawed everywhere in the United States today (thank goodness!) and, in addition, buyers cannot be restricted in terms of health, gender preference, or national origin.

Most HOAs are quite progressive and wouldn’t dream of discriminating against anyone. The same holds true for most co-op boards. However, with a co-op there are special considerations when it comes to finances. Many co-ops do restrict buyers in terms of their income levels or their ability to pay their monthly fees. The reason is that the co-op may have a single, large mortgage covering the entire building. If one unit owner fails to pay, then the others must make up the difference. Thus, the other members, through their board, have a vested interest in seeing that your buyer is financially sound. By first talking to the board, or the property manager, you will be able to get a sense of what the board is looking for financially in a new buyer, and save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort in bringing in someone who’s not fully qualified.

condo docs

Are there any restrictions on showing the property when selling a condo?

There may be. Usually these restrictions are the same that apply to any guests. The guests may need to park in special areas and may be limited to certain hours. Since these are usually quite liberal, there probably won’t be a problem. Checking with the HOA or board first, however, can’t hurt.

Can I allow buyers in the front gate/door?

This can present a problem. If your unit is directly accessible from the street by anyone, then there’s no need to be concerned. However, if there is a locked door or gate, then getting potential buyers in becomes more difficult. You probably won’t want to hand out the code that opens the door/gate because then almost anyone can come in. And waiting at home all the time so you can open the door/gate for potential buyers can also be tedious and time consuming.

Of course, one method may be to list with an agent who will have the access code and who can show the property. However, your problem is not unusual and your HOA or board may have suggestions on how to handle it.

If there is a guard or doorkeeper, he or she can be instructed to allow people in to see your unit. Or there may be a special one-time access code that can be used. Be sure to check before simply giving out your own access code to everyone who wants to see your unit.

selling a condo, sell my condo fast, black real estate company

Can my agent show the property when I’m not there?

One of the big advantages of having a real estate agent is that he or she can show your property for you at any time. Presumably your agent has a key to your front door as well as access to your building or development. Just be sure there’s no problem with this from the board or the HOA. Normally there isn’t, but sometimes someone on the board or the HOA has been sensitized by a bad incident that happened to them and they will want to restrict access by agents. You may have to argue hard and long to overcome this sort of bias. Yikes!

Can I put a lockbox on my door?

Usually you can. A lockbox allows not only your own agent, but other buyers’ agents to access your home. If your unit is directly accessible from the street, then a lockbox should work fine. If, however, the agents must get through a locked door or gate, the same problems will occur as when buyers themselves want to come by (see above). See how your board/HOA feels about agents other than your own coming by. Most are quite liberal. However, if yours is very strict, you may need to make special arrangements.

How can the buyer get a list of architectural restrictions?

It’s important that buyers be provided with a list of architectural restrictions. This is to keep them from coming back later on saying they were duped into buying your unit by thinking they could add on or change it only to find out that they are prevented from doing so. It’s a good idea to not only see that they get the architectural restrictions, but you get a signed and dated receipt from them.

How can the buyer get copies of the CC&Rs, rules, and bylaws?

As with the architectural restrictions, you’ll also want to be sure that potential buyers get copies of the conditions, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that affect the deed. Remember that these are often far more restrictive for a condo or co-op than for a single-family home.

As part of your disclosures you will want to see that the buyers receive the CC&Rs and that you get a receipt. However, you will first have to get them from the board or HOA.

Most states now provide that these must be given to you. However, you can be charged for the service. Many associations and boards now prepare packets to distribute and typically charge about $100 or more for them.

Are there any active lawsuits pending?

Nothing deters buyers (and their lenders) more than a lawsuit pending against your association or co-op. In recent years many condos and co-ops have become involved in lawsuits of one sort or another.

Sometimes it’s the owners suing the builder over defects. Other times it’s the board or HOA suing an owner for failure to pay fees. Or an owner suing the development over restrictions. Or owners suing owners over grievances. Depending on who wins and who loses, all of the members of the development might be asked to pay a sometimes sizable judgment. Thus, if you have a lawsuit pending, it could scare away a buyer, or make it difficult for that buyer to obtain necessary financing.

Therefore, it’s important that you declare to a buyer all lawsuits. This is to protect yourself from that buyer coming back later on trying to get out of the deal and saying you withheld important information about your unit.

However, before you can disclose, you must become informed. It’s a good idea to consult with a member of the board or association to learn what’s out there and to get some background on it. Thus, when your buyer is alarmed about a lawsuit the board has against the builder, you may be able to explain that it’s over leaking roofs and that the insurance will cover most of it, but the board is trying to recover the deductible.

Are there new assessments pending? 

This is of particular concern with older developments.

For example- It may be time to re-roof the complex to the tune of $600,000. However, the reserve fund for roofs only has $100,000 in it. That means that board is going to have to come to the members for the remaining $500,000 as an assessment, which means that monthly fees could skyrocket. It may turn out that this has been a matter of discussion for 6 months; however, you never attended board meetings so you didn’t know. At the last meeting it was voted through and will take effect within 2 months.

Wouldn’t that come as a shock to a buyer who had assumed a low monthly fee only to have it quickly become much higher? And you should have disclosed it because it had already passed the board! Checking with the director of a board or HOA member could keep you out of this pickle.

Questions About Selling A Condo? We are are here to help. Contact us to answer any questions or complete the form below:

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Selling

Price Your Property To Sell For Maximum Profit

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We all want to know how to sell your home for more money.

Let’s discuss how to increase your home value.

The asking price you set for your home significantly affects whether you will profit in the sale, how much you will profit and how long your home will sit on the market. Your real estate agent’s knowledge of the overall market and what’s selling – or not selling – will be invaluable in helping you determine the price. The objective is to find a price that the market will bear but won’t leave money on the table. 

Here are some points to consider: Time. Time is not on your side when it comes to real estate. Although many factors influence the outcome, perhaps time is the biggest determinant in whether or not you see a profit and how much you profit. Studies show that the longer a house stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell for the original asking price. Therefore, if your goal is to make money, think about a price that will encourage buyer activity (read: fair market value).

Value vs. Cost. Pricing your home to sell in a timely fashion requires some objectivity. It’s important that you not confuse value with cost – in other words, how much you value your home versus what buyers are willing to pay for it. Don’t place too much emphasis on home improvements when calculating your price, because buyers may not share your taste. For instance, not everyone wants hardwood floors or granite countertops. 

Keep it simple. Because time is of the essence, make it easy for the buyers. Remain flexible on when your agent can schedule showings. Also, avoid putting contingencies on the sale. Though a desirable move-in date makes for a smoother transition between homes, it could cause you to lose the sale altogether. 

Questions about how to sell your home for more money? We can help! Contact us about selling a property.

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Selling

8 Steps To Selling Your Home In 2021

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Here are a few tips for selling your home:

1. Define Your Needs

Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move.

For your goals, write down if you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale

2. Name your price.

Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers.

You will need to take into account the condition of your home, what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for, and state of the overall market in your area. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so your real estate agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step.

Your agent will know what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average time those homes are sitting on the market.

If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This typically costs a few hundred dollars. Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent of their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.

3. Prepare your home.

Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape.

The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer. First impressions are the most important.

Your real estate agent can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers.

  • A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized décor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs.
  • Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer’s first impression.
  • Clutter is a big no-no when showing your home to potential buyers. Make sure you have removed all knick-knacks from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible. 
how much do sellers usually come down on a house

4. The Marketing Starts!

Our office will get the word out. Now that you’re ready to sell, we will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home.

There are many ways to get the word out, including:

  • The Internet
  • Yard signs
  • Open houses
  • Media advertising
  • Agent-to-agent referrals
  • Direct mail marketing campaigns

In addition to listing your home on the MLS, we will use a combination of the above tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. We will structure the marketing plan so that the first week is the busiest. 

5. Receive an offer.

When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real estate agent will first find out whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction.

The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following:

  • Legal description of the property
  • Offer price
  • Down payment
  • Financing arrangements
  • List of fees and who will pay them
  • Deposit amount
  • Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
  • Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
  • Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
  • Settlement date
  • Contingencies

At this point, you have three options:

  1. accept the contract as is or
  2. accept it with changes (a counteroffer) or
  3. reject it

Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away. 

Just Sold: Selling A Home In Any Market
Get a copy of “Just Sold | Selling A Home In Any Market” by Dana Ash-McGinty. 

6. Negotiate to sell.

Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. We are well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest. Your agent also knows what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate.

Here are some typical negotiable items:

  • Price
  • Financing
  • Closing costs
  • Repairs
  • Appliances and fixtures
  • Landscaping
  • Painting
  • Move-in date

Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will prepare a contract

7. Prepare to close.

Once you accept an offer to sell your house, we will make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected and/or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers.

Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Important reminder:

A few days before the closing, we will contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also, we will assist as needed, arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so. 

8. Close the deal.

Closing refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Your agent will be present during the closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present. After the closing, you should make a “to do” list for turning the property over to the new owners.

These items may include:

  • Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services.
  • If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account.
  • Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances. 

Questions? Contact us. We will be happy to assist!

This page is for: tips for selling your home, tips to sell your home fast, need to sell my house asap, tips for selling a house, tips for selling your house quickly, tips for selling your home in the spring, tips for selling your home in the fall


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Selling

Should I Get an Appraisal Before Selling My House?

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Appraisers are rarely used to help set prices on residential real estate. They are used extensively by mortgage lenders to set valuations on which to base loans and to set prices on commercial and industrial property.

Using them for homes, condos, and co-ops is kind of overkill. Besides, in my experience more likely than not the appraiser will come in with the wrong market price! Yikes!

That’s not to say that appraisers don’t do a good job. They do. However, they typically only consider comparablespast sales of similar properties. Thus, by nature, their valuations tend to be conservative.

However, sometimes there are special circumstances, as when you have a unique house (it’s round instead of square, comes with a lot of acreage, could have industrial usage value, and so on) and an agent may indicate that an licensed appraiser could be worthwhile.

Appraisers have extensive educational courses in appraisal and usually have served an apprenticeship learning how to correctly appraise property.

But for must properties, a CMA (comparable market analysis) is sufficient. The good news is that virtually all agents offer a CMA for free.

Contact us for a FREE CMA.


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Selling

Set The RIGHT Price For Your Home From The Start

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how much do sellers usually come down on a house

Every seller wants to get as much money as possible when selling their home. The natural inclination for most people is to price high, thinking you can always come down in the future.

But a listing price that is too high can be a disaster, and frequently nets the seller LESS money then they ever anticipated—even after paying a real estate commission!

Why is this?

Because buyers will reject your home in favor of other homes in a reasonable price range. And if that doesn’t frustrate you, think about this: Buyers will use YOUR home to compare and justify the purchase of a similar, but correctly priced home. Yikes!

But the problem gets worse…

Sorry, but it’s a fact that 96% of all homes are sold by REALTORS® . So whether you sell your home yourself, or through a professional, you MUST be able to attract the REALTOR® community to your home.

This is what most FSBO (For sale by owner) books and websites fail to tell you.

Problem is, agents who otherwise would readily bring buyers through your home will automatically dismiss it because it’s priced too high. (Yes, we do this.)

REALTORS® don’t make money showing homes…we make money SELLING them.

We know market values in your area. And if your home is priced too high, we’re not even going to waste our time showing it. (Ouch!)

#realfacts

And word spreads like salacious gossip within the real estate community. If your home gets “branded” as overpriced, not only will agents NOT show it, BUT you’ll have to lower the price further than you ever expected…just to get them back!

[Breathe and read that last line again!]

Agents Simply Will NOT Show Overpriced Homes Because We Work By Commission. Showing Overpriced Homes That Will Never Sell Means We’re Working For FREE.

And this Tesla, botox injections and Mastros dinners don’t pay for itself. #realtalk

But we’re not out of the woods yet…

You see, your home is MOST valuable when it’s new on the market. And if you delude yourself into thinking you can price it high and come down later, you’re in for a big surprise.

Here’s what’ll happen (looking into my seeing in the future glasses)….

After months on the market without even a tiny nibble, you or your agent will decide to reduce the price. Even with your price reduction, there’s still little activity because your home has been “branded” as overpriced and is stale. Like previously delicious Maggianos bread that has been sitting in an open basket for weeks. (Hmmmm, I must be hungry…)

Anyway…

So, after a while longer you decide to lower the price a little more. Now you’re pushing the limits on what you wanted to receive in the first place.

Finally, you start to get a nibble or two.

Problem is, your home has been on the market for months now. And when you finally receive an offer, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to be discounted even further.

Why?

Because buyers usually want to know how long a home has been on the market before they decide how much to offer. And the longer your listing has been sitting unsold, the more desperate your home looks.

(And desperate ain’t cute…)

Like sharks smelling blood, buyers will see your home as prey.

And their offers are going to knock you over, flat on your back with no warning. But you’ll have little choice but to negotiate. You have no other options.

So… How could this all have been avoided?

EASY– By simply pricing your home correctly in the first place.

Homes That Sell Fastest Also Sell For The Most Money!

It’s a known fact: the very same reasons that make a home sell fast will make a home sell for the most money. Homes are best positioned to sell when they’re new on the market.

Here’s a little help for pricing your home.

The first thing you need is VALID local market information. Take a look at homes that have sold in your area. Compare the price sold as a percentage of list price. This will help you get a feel for the average discount in the area.

Generally, your list price will be within 2.5 – 5 percent of what you expect the final selling price will be. But be careful!

The amount of discount should be dictated by real world FACTS from YOUR AREA, not some real estate agent’s guess on what he or she expects offers to come in at. If the selling market is hot in your area (like most areas in DC), there will be little or no discounting. There may even be bidding wars, and homes selling for more than list price. (I know you like the sounds of that!)

On the other hand, if homes are not selling well, you will need to be flexible.

Next, DO YOUR HOMEWORK to determine what your home is worth. Use an agent provided CMA and do a total market analysis.

When you narrow down your area, you need to correct values for distressed sales, divorces, remodeled homes, and other events that affect the value of other homes that have sold near you.

Each factor (distressed sale, condition, siting, location, etc.) will add to or subtract from the value of your home. And in most cases, the only person who can really give your this information is a GOOD agent—someone who has extensive experience valuing homes.

Not withstanding all your hard work, in the end…

The MARKET Is the Only Determinant Of The VALUE Of Your Home

There’s an old saying in real estate: “Sellers are NOT the deciders of what their home is worth, but they ARE the deciders of how quickly their home will sell.”

GOSPEL.

The REAL value of your home is what a willing buyer will pay for it, and what you will accept. Nothing more. Nothing Less.

But remember this: Markets and the economy change. If interest rates rise by a point, people who could otherwise afford your home may not be able to any longer.

This will ultimately affect the value of your home. So you may need to adjust your price over time. Stay on top of market events, both nationally and locally.

If the market’s declining, it’s best to discount your price up front. If the market’s rising, be prepared for full price offers, or even bidding wars. (Yeah, I know you like the sound of bidding wars!)


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Selling

5 Must Have Tips To Sell Your House Fast!

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Updated March 9, 2021

Selling your home fast can be a stressful process if not done properly. But it doesn’t have to be stressful! It can be a quick and easy process, especially in the current seller’s market we are experiencing.

Once you decide to sell your home, most of us want to get it sold right now, today, quick! Does that sound familiar? I’m sure. After all, are there any advantage in taking a lengthy time to sell? I don’t think so.

In the current market, homes on the market more than a week or two and certainly 30+ days are considered “stale”. Real estate agents and their clients often overlook “stale” listings/properties for showings. If they are shown, buyers often think there’s something wrong with these properties because they haven’t sold quicker, which encourages them to make lower offers. And as homes continue to stay on the market, real estate investors and wholesalers see them as low-ball offers opportunities. A chance to “steal” a home significantly under market value. 

On the flip side while your home is listed on the market for sale, you, as a seller, have to keep maintaining the property at peak appearance, making the monthly mortgage and insurance payments, and delaying your move to that next home. 

Of course, you don’t want to be in this position!

You want your home sold quickly, don’t you? But, you don’t want to give it away. Any agent will tell you that you can get a quick sale simply by lowering your price far enough. I’m sure you’ve seen the real estate agent’s advertising claiming they will personally purchase the property if it doesn’t sell. Which really means— If your property is significantly lowered, even the agent will buy the place! All the world loves a bargain. 

Yes, you want a quick sale, but you also want a fair price, hopefully the top price your home can bring. Hence, selling your home quickly is not your only goal. Your other goal is getting top dollar for that home. The real question is how do you get both—a quick sale and top dollar?

Over the years, we have helped hundreds of homeowners like yourself reach their goals and see a better future. Here are a few tips to get your home sold fast (and for top dollar)!

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Tips to sell your home fast.

Sell Your House Fast – 5 Tips

Make Necessary Repairs

One of the first tips I suggest to sell your home is to make necessary repairs! What are “necessary” repairs?

I consider necessary repairs to be things that need to be repaired that are easily fixable. Make sure to do these repairs before having any buyers look at your house. This could range from having a leaky faucet to having broken tiles to scratches in a wood cabinet. All of these repairs can be easily done and cheap! Make sure to check everything in your house including electrical wiring and plumbing so there are no surprises when the buyer inspects the house.

However, don’t over improve. Most people shopping for a house would rather plan their own major changes or updates, and you are usually wiser to sell them the potential at a price they can afford.

Don’t worry! I never advocate spending a lot of money to prepare your house to sell unless your home is in grave disrepair. (Hopefully that’s not you!) Typically, the time and money spent to get your home ready for market will be nominal. When you begin preparing your home, create a “to do” list as you go along keeping in mind the importance of first impressions.

In the event you do not have the time to do the repair work, consider hiring a professional: it could save you time and money later. And a few hundred dollars well spent might be the best investment you’ll ever make. Remember, you need to think like a buyer now and have a buyer’s critical eye.

Set The Price Right

Research has proven that price drives traffic (showings) and pricing a property correctly when first listed will attract the most potential buyers to your home. An overpriced property will result in fewer showings. Fewer showings will result in fewer opportunities to receive an offer for your home.

If you want to sell your house in a timely manner, make sure that you’re setting the price right! This is where you research what you think is fair compared to the market prices. Make sure to look at the prices of comparable homes in the area, especially with the different features in your home, you can price your house higher than others.

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Price can sometimes be a moving target. That’s why it is so important to understand what the market is doing and how the market is currently trending (shifting up, down, balanced, or staying flat). 

I’m sure you’ve heard of Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market. Simply put, a Buyer’s Market is when supply (number of homes for sale) outpaces demand, and a Seller’s Market is when demand outpaces supply. Put another way, in a buyer’s market there are more homes than there are buyers, and in a seller’s market there are fewer homes than there are buyers.

Price is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for a property. Ultimately, at the end of the day, market price is set by the buyer. Therefore, it is imperative to discover exactly what buyers are currently paying for a home as similar as possible to yours. 

Shave 15% Off The Selling Price

Another suggestion when selling your home is to shave 15 percent off of the selling price and you will have an abundance of bidders. You will create a buyers frenzy, especially in a strong sellers market. This strategy takes a lot of courage, however it could really pay off in the end.

Depersonalize Your Home

One of the best tips to sell your house is to depersonalize it! When buyers walk through and see all of your personal things in the house, it makes it harder for them to imagine themselves living there. What any person selling their home should do is take out 1/3 of your personal items out of the house. This includes family photographs, memorabilia, and other personal items. Hiring a home stager is a great idea too, as they will maximize your space by arranging furniture accordingly.

While decluttering, cleaning, painting, and minor repairs will prepare your home for sale, staging is the process of showcasing your house for sale. Homes that are professionally staged sell 79% faster than similar homes that are not. Staging works for one very simple reason. The vast majority of buyers can’t envision themselves in a property when they look at it. I’m talk- ing 80-90% percent of the population and maybe more! It’s just human nature! Remember, buying a property is an emotional decision for most people and this vast majority of buyers need help to see a house as a home they can live in. That help is Staging. 

Make Sure You Have Curb Appeal

The last tip to selling your house is making sure you are giving a great first impression. Make sure to have curb appeal. This is a very easy task and can be done by simple things including mowing the lawn, keeping the sidewalks cleared, painting your front door, and making sure the numbers to the house are visible and easy to read.

It’s estimated that more than half of all homes are SOLD before buyers even get out of their cars. Try this — Stand across the street from your home and review its “curb appeal”. Are there any things you can do to improve the very first impression?

An exterior photo is typically used as the main and initial listing photo for your home. Buyers typically will see this photo first, so you want to entice prospective buyers from the very start. From the very first photo.

Here’s my curb appeal go-to list:

  • A little bit of landscaping goes a long way. Boost your home’s curb appeal by trimming back your shrubs and greenery, planting flowers or low shrubs, and mowing the lawn.
  • Go outside your property lines. Give some attention to the sidewalk or alley near your home. Take a few minutes to clean up any debris.
  • Give your door a cleaning or a fresh coat of paint.
  • Replace the welcome mat.
  • Upgrade your house numbers . (There are various modern options available at Home Depot and Lowes.)
  • Make front porch attractive. A potted plant can breathe new life (and color!) into an otherwise dowdy entry or doorway. Replace any dated-looking outdoor furniture with something new and fresh or consider spray painting dated furniture. 
  • Light up the walkway. Lining your front walkway with solar lights can help brighten the experience of anyone who looks at your your home in the late afternoon or evening.

These five tips are easy things to do and will tremendously help anyone selling a home!

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Preparing Your House For Sale Selling

Quick Tips For Preparing and Showing Your Washington, DC Home

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Create a Fantastic First Impression

You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression! A home that stands out among similarly priced houses is the one that sells. The following suggestions for preparing your home to sell are worth the special attention:

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Exterior

  • Lawn carefully mowed, edged, fertilized and watered.
  • Trees and shrubs trimmed; flower beds edged, weeded and cultivated.
  • Driveways and walks free of snow or grass clippings.
  • Exterior house paint in good condition and clean, especially the front door.
  • All door locks open properly and easily.
  • Roof in good condition.
  • Screens and screen doors repaired.
  • All exterior lighting in working condition, with fresh bulbs.
  • Absence of clutter in yard and driveway.

Interior

  • Walls clean and unmarked, preferably freshly painted with neutral colors.
  • Windows clean inside and out.
  • All light fixtures working and fresh bulbs in each.
  • Plumbing in good repair.
  • No cooking, smoking, pet or other objectionable odors.
  • Sinks and tubs stain-free; faucets in good repair.
  • Caulking in tubs and showers in good repair.
  • All clutter removed from closets, attic, basement, garage and other storage areas.
  • Ask your REALTOR® what should be boxed up to give your home a more spacious look.

Showing Your Home

When your home is to be shown, we will always attempt to make an appointment with you, giving you as much advance notice as possible. To help make the best impression during showings, we suggest you:

  • Open draperies and curtains.
  • Turn on enough lights to brighten every corner, day and night.
  • Remove dirty dishes.
  • Make beds.
  • Rooms dusted, vacuumed and clutter-free.
  • Kitchens and baths sparkling clean; no clutter on counter-tops.
  • Noise is distracting. Be sure TV and radios are turned off, although soft background music is acceptable.
  • It’s best to keep pets out of the house. Even the friendliest pets become anxious when strangers appear.
  • Put away valuables such as jewelry and cash, or remove completely.
  • Never enter into a conversation with a prospect. Let the REALTOR® who is showing your home answer any questions the prospective buyers may have. It is best for you to leave while the house is being shown.
  • If a prospective buyer comes by unexpectedly without a broker, get their name and phone number. FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION, DO NOT SHOW THE HOME. Have unescorted buyers call your REALTOR® for an appointment.

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Petworth Selling

3 Options For Selling Your Petworth Washington, DC Home Online

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Strategies For Selling Your Petworth Home Online

Petworth Washington, DC

Thinking about selling your Petworth DC home? There are three primary strategies for selling real estate online. The route you choose depends on your financial goals, your timeline and your willingness to put in some DIY work.

Option 1 – Sell your house with a real estate agent

When you hire a real estate agent, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll market your home online. Most agents, including myself, are members of their local MLS, an online database of professionally listed homes. The MLS syndicates to several sites, gaining exposure for your listing. The best agents are also savvy with other online channels including, Zillow, Trulia, and social media sites — that get your listing in front of more potential buyers.

Full-service real estate agents handle the entire online marketing and sale process for you. Typically, you can expect to pay 5% to 6% of your home’s sale price in agent commissions, with roughly half going to your listing agent and half going to the buyer’s agent (yes, the seller typically pays the buyer’s agent too). Despite these costs, 85% of sellers enlist the help of an agent to sell their home.

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Option 2 – Sell your house FSBO

When you sell FSBO rather than using an agent, you handle the online marketing — and everything else — yourself. Approximately 10% of sellers successfully sell on their own. Many FSBO sellers use FSBO-specific websites to gain maximum exposure and reach buyers. You can also use social media and online advertising the same way an agent would.

Selling FSBO can save the 2.5% to 3% in commission you’d pay your agent, but many FSBO sellers still end up compensating a buyer’s agent.

Option 3 – Sell your house directly to an iBuyer

iBuyers are a new way to sell a house online. When you sell to an iBuyer, you aren’t selling to a traditional buyer who intends to live in the house. Unlike traditional buyers who request showings, require financing, want to negotiate and may have specific restrictions about their closing timeline, iBuyers offer a streamlined process. There’s no listing required, and the cash offer you receive is typically based on an automated valuation model (AVM) that determines your home’s fair market value.

Comparing Selling Methods

It isn’t difficult to sell your home online. In fact, it would be much more difficult to sell your home today without going online — remember, almost 4 out of 5 buyers are shopping online. How challenging you find the process depends on the route you take, your level of patience, your financial goals and your technical chops.

Easiest method of selling a home online: iBuyer

When you sell through an iBuyer, you reduce back and forth and remove the potential stress of pre-sale home improvements. You’ll quickly receive an offer and can close on your timeline, freeing up your equity sooner. This is especially beneficial if you’re buying another home in the near future and want to avoid a home sale contingency:

  1. Submit home facts to iBuyer.
  2. Receive a no-obligation offer.
  3. Have a home evaluation completed.
  4. Accept the final adjusted offer.
  5. Go under contract and attorney review.
  6. Sign closing paperwork.
  7. Close.

Standard method of selling a home online: hiring a real estate agent

Because you’re paying for the complete services of a listing agent, this traditional method of selling can be less work for the seller than other avenues. A full-service agent will handle all marketing, guide you through buyer negotiations and assist you with closing. Some discount brokers offer limited services in exchange for a lower commission, so you want to ask around if that’s what you’re looking for.

  1. Research agents.
  2. Interview and hire an agent.
  3. Discuss and agree on a listing price and have home listed.
  4. Clean and stage.
  5. Accommodate showings and open houses.
  6. Accept an offer.
  7. Go under contract and attorney review.
  8. Sign closing paperwork.
  9. Close.
sell your home fast

Most difficult method of selling a home online: FSBO

In a for-sale-by-owner listing, you are responsible for all the marketing, showings, negotiations and contract paperwork. Most difficult method of selling a home online: FSBO In a for-sale-by-owner listing, you are responsible for all the marketing, showings, negotiations and contract paperwork.

  1. Research the local market.
  2. Set a competitive price.
  3. Clean and stage.
  4. Take professional photos.
  5. Write a captivating listing description.
  6. Share your listing on Zillow, Trulia and social media.
  7. Accommodate and attend showings.
  8. Screen buyers.
  9. Negotiate offers.
  10. Accept offer.
  11. Go under contract and attorney review).
  12. Prepare and sign closing paperwork.
  13. Close.
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Home Improvement Selling

Get the Most Bang For Your Buck When You Sell Your Home

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What renovations offer the biggest impact on a home’s value?

Let’s see…

1. An Addition

Any type of home expansion, whether it’s a new bedroom, a new den or a larger living room, will have a huge impact.

2. Master Bath

The master bath should be as bright and large as possible. Potential buyers want lots of space in their master bath. A separate water closet and a spacious shower with multiple shower-heads are must haves. In the most luxurious homes, there is the new trend of a separate sink and water closet for each person and only sharing the shower.

3. Kitchen

Updating a kitchen with new appliances and plumbing fixtures is a must! The most popular kitchen features that are wine refrigerators, drawer-style microwave and dishwashers, commercial style ranges, and hidden electrical outlets.

4.Outdoor Living Space

Tap the outdoors for additional living space. A screened-in porch or a paved backyard patio- especially one that includes an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill and small fridge- makes a great additional entertaining area. These features are in demand.


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Preparing Your House For Sale Selling

Creating Curb Appeal to Get Buyers in the Door

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The National Association of Realtors states that 49% of all houses are bought based on one factor— Curb Appeal.

But, how do you achieve it? Here are a few quick ideas:

• Addresses aren’t just for mailboxes. Consider placing decorative custom numbers on your home. “You spruce up your landscape with plants, so why not liven your home address the same way?” suggests Angie’s List.

• Glam the front door. Elizabeth Arden was onto something with it’s Red Door brand. Likewise, painting the front door lipstick red is in, for those who dare. For those who don’t, or whose houses aren’t a neutral color, Forbes advises to “try a more muted shade like sea-blue, or sage-green, or even black.”

• Replace (or repair) your roof. By experts’ standards, 40% of a home’s curb appeal hinges on the condition of the roof. That’s the first thing potential buyers see from a distance.

• Pressure time. Using a pressure washer to blast away dirt and debris from your property can actually be fun. But as HGTV cautions: “Be careful not to dislodge, or get any water underneath your home’s siding.”

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Selling

Selling? ‘Catch Them At The Curb’

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‘Catch them at the curb’ isn’t just a catchy phrase. This should be the goal of any Seller.

A buyer’s first impression is created at the front of your house. Although over 90% of buyer start their search online, there are countless buyers that have lost into interest once seen in person.

How does a seller avoid this?

Here are 6 steps to prepare the exterior of your house for a quick sale.

1. Outdoor Lighting

If you have outdoor lights, make sure all lights are working properly. Add a few basic landscape lights. Buyers will and often drive by houses of interest at night. You want to show your property off at all times to potential buyers, even at night.

2. Front Yard

The lawn should be routinely mowed weekly. Mowing twice per week may be necessary in the spring. Be sure to also edge the driveway and walkway.

Prune any trees and/or shrubs if needed. Pay special attention to shrubs in front of picture and bay windows. (Once inside, large shrubs in front of windows obscure the buyer’s view to the outside and block natural light. Buyer’s love natural light!)

Freshen up and replenish any landscape elements such as mulch and rock.

If you have a dog, be sure to pick up after your pet in your yard during the sale. Although this goes without saying. failure to do so will create a very bad experience for a prospective Buyer.

3. Driveways

Because driveways tend to be big, any needed repairs will stand out. If you have any cracks, bulges or oil stains, make sure they are addressed. For serious cracks and bulges, replacing might be the best option.

4. Porches, Porticos, and Mailboxes

Verify that all hand rails and stairs are sturdy. Paint or re-stain, as necessary.

Make sure porches and porticos are clean and swept of any leaves. Any lights should not only work but, also look great. Weather permitting, make sure to display attractive outdoor furniture or replace if necessary.

If your mailbox has seen better days, replace it.

5. Front Doors and Shutters

Your front door is the social point of your entire house and your should stand out. If your your front door has not be repainted within the last year, repaint. Check the condition of any side panels.

Make sure your front door locks work like a charm. If you have locks that are in any way challenging or unattractive, replace the door locks and knob.

A new large front door mat is an excellent and highly recommended touch. (It also a good idea to place a mat at any door that leads to the outside or garage.)

Shutters need to be washed. Paint or repair as needed.

Don’t forget about the wasps nests and spider webs that like to build in door frames and window sills.

6. Garages

The garage can be a wow factor for Buyers. Make sure the garage is clean, organized and shows plenty of storage. If it is a single door 2 car garage, make sure the buyers can see how two cars can fit.

Need some help?
Yes, addressing these items may take a little of work but, it is important to resolve prior to listing your home for sale. feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any assistance determining which projects to tackle.

Just Sold: Selling A Home In Any Market
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Dana Ash-McGinty

Principal Broker | Realtor® | “The Real Estate Maven”

Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC based internal medicine physician. They are often referred to as “The Danas”.

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Selling

Preparing Your House For Sale With Fresh Exterior Paint

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The four components of exterior painting includes:

    Exterior Doors/ Shutters
    Trim
    Siding
    Decks/ Porches

A three-color paint scheme is fairly typical. One for doors/shutters, one for trim and and one for siding. Wood decks and porches will generally be painted or stained a color that matched one of the other colors used.

The cost of painting these components will vary based on several factors:

    Prep Work Required
    Size of Project (Square Footage)
    Number of Coats of Paint
    Complexity of Project (Intricacy of Detail)
    Difficulty of Project (Heights or Difficult to Reach Locations)
    Type of Paint Required/Used

The most commonly ignored variable is the prep work. The amount of preparation required prior to painting can literally double the cost of the project. Preparation may involve things such as: pressure washing, caulking siding joints and seams, scraping old paint, caulking nail holes, etc.

Below are general figures that will factor into exterior paint pricing. Don’t use this as a direct pricing formula, but this should give you some idea of the costs:

    A typical mid-grade quality paint will cost about $20-$40 per gallon.
    Materials will cost about 20% of the total cost of the project.
    Prep work will generally add between 50-150% of the cost of the project, depending on how much work is needed prior to painting.
    Due to the intricacies involved, painting trim will generally cost about 50% more than painting siding.
    Hand brushing will generally add 25% or more to the cost versus spraying. (Hand brushing provides a longer lasting paint finish.)
    One coat of paint is typically enough for the exterior but, if you are going from a very dark to a very light color (or vice-versa), you may need two coats of paint or a coat of primer prior to painting.
    An extra coat of paint will generally add 25% or more to the project cost.
    Prices are generally lower between October and March when fewer people are considering exterior painting and painting contractors have lighter schedules.

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Selling

Prepping For Sale: 14 Tips To Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape!

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Are you in the beginning stages of preparing to sale your home and fretting about where to start? Well, here’s a starting point from the Ash McGinty & Co. team.

We have prepared “14 Tips to Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape Prior to Selling”. If you are preparing to sale your home or need assistance with the home staging process, please feel free to contact us for assistance.

14 Tips To Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape Prior to Selling!

Many clients want to know the secret to receiving the highest bid for their home and how to successfully appeal to buyers. The following tips will answer those questions plus more to help you prepare for the sale of your home.

1. Paint the Interior! Most buyers appreciate a fresh coat of paint and this will instantly help enhance your property’s value. It will also help brighten your rooms giving them a new clean and fresh appearance. Try to stay away from bold and bright colors and focus more on lighter and softer earth tone shades. This will help make the rooms feel more spacious and more appealing to a larger group of potential buyers.

2. Paint the Outside. Curb appeal is very important and there is nothing worse than for a real estate professional to try and market a home that has peeling paint or is in desperate need of painting. Depending on the time of the year that you are selling your home, you may run into seasonal weather conditions. However despite those circumstances if possible paint the exterior of your home. As noted with the interior suggestion of choosing soft lighter neutral colors follow the same rule of thumb for painting the outside of your home. Stay away from bright colors that others may not like.

3. Pick Up Any Outside Debris, Trash or Clutter. First impressions hugely impact the decisions of potential buyers. Should your property have unwanted clutter at the initial showing of your property to buyers, it will absolutely take away from the marketing and selling of your home. A little raking, cleaning and picking up odds and ends could add “thousands” to the sale price of your home. Yes thousands.

4. Reduce Extras and Odds and Ends From Your Home. Rooms with too much furniture or decorations can often detract from the showing of your home. Usually too much décor can make the rooms look smaller and hurt your chances of selling your home. Store unneeded furniture or items that you can do without during the marketing stage of your property listing. Your goal is to make your property look spacious and comfortable. Buyers also want to see rooms that appear and feel spacious to them.

5. Replace Light Bulbs. Switching light bulbs to a higher wattage can help brighten rooms giving them a more open and accommodating feel. Always check the light fixture and the maximum wattage and do not add bulbs above the recommended usage. You can also add a drop of vanilla extract as a nice touch to bulbs on lamps to provide a fresh welcoming scent to rooms if needed.

6. Remove Any Heirlooms or Keepsakes. Many times sellers will want to keep certain items that have sentimental value to them such as a light fixture or wall mirror that has been affixed to the real property. If you have any items that you plan to keep then you should replace it prior to any showings. Once buyers visit your property and begin making serious offers to purchase, it is generally hard to negotiate these items off of the offer to purchase.

7. Clean the Gutters. You never know when your property may be shown and if it is a rainy day the last thing you want to portray is a house where the water is gushing over the gutters and downspouts. Making sure that the gutters are cleaned and that the extensions move the water away from your foundation is always a good idea for the continued maintenance of your home and it shows buyers your commitment to caring for your home and keeping it in tip-top shape.

8. Hire a Home Inspector. Let’s face it you want to sell your home. So it is probably not a bad idea to have a home inspector look at your home and make a list of repairs or items that need to be fixed prior to marketing your property. After all many homebuyers will have an independent home inspection performed too. Your pre-inspection can help remedy any potential problems that a future inspector may have had to correct in advance. Additionally, most buyers will get “cold feet” if their inspection shows too many needed repairs. By being proactive and fixing these issues ahead of time you can ward off these potential problems down the line.

9. Make a “I’ll Miss List”. There are several items you will probably miss when you leave your home. These items are normally excellent marketing features to promote to potential buyers. Take the time out to make note of the things you enjoy and will miss the most once the sale of your home is completed. Items and features that you appreciated are items someone else will enjoy too!

10. Have Your Carpets Cleaned. It is a good idea to have your carpets cleaned and your hardwood floors polished or waxed. This is can be costly. However doing so can add lots of appeal for potential buyers.

11. Purchase New Linens and Towels for Bathrooms. This can help give a bright new appearance to your bathrooms.

12. Recent Repairs. Most borrowers need to know about any recent updates or repairs or additions you have made to your home. For example, a new roof, furnace or central air, hot water heater and etc. are all very important repairs to note. If you have had any recent repairs, be sure to include the cost, installation date and include who performed the repairs. These are all noteworthy features to have for buyers and agents when selling your property. Any repaired or newly added items during your occupancy should be listed on a separate sheet if at all possible. It is also a good idea to provide copies of paid receipts of the items you had repaired or installed in order to validate those costs. It is a great idea to place all of this information in a binder and use it as a presentation/marketing feature to show buyers and agents.

13. Hire an Agent that can assist you with staging! Staging can amplify room appeal and add immense value to your residence. Feel free to contact Dana to assist you with staging your home!

14. Price Your Property Right From The Beginning. Many buyers take the approach and attitude that they can always come down on the price. This can have an adverse effect on the sale of your home. Many buyers feel that if a home has been listed for an extended amount of time that there is something wrong with it. The best activity occurs during the first two to three weeks of the listing date. After a few weeks the activity will begin to taper off and showings will cease. If your home is priced incorrectly from the beginning it will not receive a lot of showings and the longer your home is on the market the more buyers will feel that it is tainted or something is wrong. Price your home right at the beginning to help generate the most activity and a quicker sale. Feel free to contact Dana to assist in pricing your home for sale.


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Buyer Tips Selling

5 Cool Real Estate Apps

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If you are currently looking to purchase or sell a home and would like to get a jumpstart on the process, check out these 5 handy apps that’ll help simplify your overall home buying or selling experience:

Zillow Real Estate & Rentals (Available on iOS & Android- Free)
The Zillow Real Estate app allows home buyers to search a huge amount of properties. Zillow currently has data on 110 million homes throughout the nation. The app allows buyers to sort properties by selected criteria such as home design and nearby top-rated schools, and offers features such as bird’s eye view photos, home value changes and much more including information such as if a home has been remodeled. Additionally the app gives “Zestimates” which is Zillow’s estimation of a home’s market value.

Trulia Real Estate & Rentals (Available on iOS & Android- Free)
The Trulia Real Estate & Rentals app allows you to easily search for homes on your smartphone offering such capabilities as maps that show top-rated schools, local features and more. Additionally you can contact an agent and save and share your favorite properties.

Homesnap Real Estate (Available on iOS & Android- Free)  
The Homesnap Real Estate app allows users to snap a photo of any home to find out more info about it.

iHandy Carpenter (Available on iOS ($1.99) & Android (Free)
The iHandy Carpenter app is excellent for home staging assistance. The app features the following capabilities:        

  • A plumb bob, the easiest way for you to verify the verticality of lines or walls*
  • A surface level, the best tool to level any flat surface
  • A bubble level bar, exactly as you can see in carpenter tool kit shops
  • A steel protractor, measuring angles from 0 to 180 degrees
  • A steel ruler, supporting both inches and centimeters

*Once calibrated, the plumb bob, surface level and level bar can also be used as an inclinometer/clinometer by reading the angles on the screen.

Docusign Ink (Available on iOS & Android- Signing is always free $10/month basic individual plan)
For those who prefer paperless and are always on the go, the Docusign Ink app allows buyers and sellers to sign essential documents needed to finalize their transaction.

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Selling

How To Save Thousands on Your Next Home Sale

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Are you thinking about selling your home? If so it is important to be aware of some of the following guidelines to help you get the most out of your real estate possibly saving you thousands of dollars in the future. Although this is not a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be followed when deciding to sale your real estate it is a great starting point of important items and details that we have compiled here at Ash McGinty just for you. The below guidelines can play a major role for most sellers.

  • Make sure you list your property with a REALTOR®. As members of the National Association of REALTORS® each member adheres to a strict code of ethics that provide a wide variety of benefits for both buyers and sellers. Not all real estate agents are members of the National Association of REALTORS®.
  • Have your real estate agent perform a competitive market analysis. Oftentimes real estate agents do not have the proper information, expertise and or knowledge of what other properties have sold for or what your current competition is. A real estate agent working for you will prepare a competitive CMA so that you can look at what other properties have sold for and see what other properties similar to yours are listed for.
  • Price your property competitively and accurately from the beginning! Although many sellers are anxious to get the most out of their property and have the outlook that they can always adjust the price at a later date. In reality the best and most qualified prospects will come early in the game when the for sale sign first goes up and your property first hits the local multiple listing service hot sheet. Oftentimes sellers who price their property higher in the beginning and then begin to lower their property over time receive less for their property than they would have if it had been priced correctly in the beginning.
  • Get a home inspection in advance. Normally a home inspection will not cost you a lot of money and can be a great marketing tool for your agent when selling your property. It is also good because any major issues or problems that may arise can be fixed in advance. Smaller items that can sometimes give the buyer bargaining room to reduce your cost can also be repaired beforehand and can generally save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars by taking care of them in advance.
  • Reduce clutter. It is important to remember that reducing clutter and as much furniture and other items in advance can help in the sale of your property. If you need to store things in boxes or pack things up and move them to another location or to another family member or friend’s property the extra room can normally be a benefit.
  • Give your home a fresh coat of paint. Generally a fresh coat of paint is very important in helping you sell your property. Normally painting your home will not cost much money and can add a great freshen up to your home.
  • Open drapes and turn on lights. It is always a great idea to allow as much light to infiltrate your property as possible. Turning on lights, adding new brighter light bulbs and opening blinds and drapes is a big plus for marketing your property.
  • Avoid music and avoid being home when your property is shown. Many sellers like to be present during the showing of their property. However being away during showings and open house events can help immensely in the marketing of your property. Buyers normally feel free to open closets and look at the property without sellers following them around or talking too much about the property. You might also say the wrong information or come off as desperate to sale by being present during the showing.
  • Provide copies of receipts on items you have purchased.  Always provide copies of receipts on items you have purchased for your agent and repairs you have made over the last couple of years. If you have installed a new roof and you have a copy of how much you spent for the roof that information can be helpful to put into a folder or book along with any other major expenses or expenditures you have spent. It is also a good idea to have copies of your taxes, insurance premiums, utility cost per month and any other important information such as surveys or plats that may be available to help your real estate agent during the marketing process.
  • Clean the front porch and front lawn of any debris. Clean the front porch and front lawn of any debris or any items that might be a turn off when people are driving by to look at your property. Making sure your grass is mowed and well-manicured along with a clean swept front porch without a lot of debris is very important in the marketing efforts of your property.
  • Make your home look like a magazine. Have your beds made, clothes picked up off the floor and tables straightened. Make your home fit for a magazine photo shoot! Making sure your home is at its absolute best can make your home a big hit with buyers when they tour your property.
  • Be open to listen to suggestions from your agent. It is always important to remember that your real estate agent is the professional and has the expertise or knowledge of how to effectively market and sell your property. Many agents will report back to your listing agent as to what buyers or other agents think about your property and discuss what needs to be fixed or changed. Be sure to always have an open mind and listen to any suggestions that your agent may have to improve the market ability of your property.

Again this is not a comprehensive list of what you need to do to sale your property but by incorporating these recommendations they will help tremendously in the marketing of your property and ensure that you get the most out of your real estate and have a happy and successful real estate closing. Feel free to contact Ash McGinty if you have questions.

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Dana Ash-McGinty

Principal Broker | Realtor® | “The Real Estate Maven”

Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC based internal medicine physician. They are often referred to as “The Danas”.

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