Selling your home is one of the most significant transactions of your life. I take my responsibility very seriously and approach this task with sensitivity, concern and highest professionalism. With the internet there is a world of information out there about real estate. However, the average American will buy or sell a home every 5 to 7 years. As a full time REALTOR®, I’m involved in the buying and selling of homes each and every day. There is a lot more involved in a real estate transaction than what can be found on the internet or learned from your family and friends that have gone through the process. As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through the “Keys” to successfully selling your home.
Keys to Success When Selling Your Home
Finding the right
The Art of Pricing Your Home to Sell and Contingencies
The Offer, Due Diligence
Setting the Stage, Quick Fixes Day
Preparing for Closing
Finding The Right Listing Agent
What do I offer that makes me different?
I am a REALTOR®! What is The REALTOR® Difference? Not every licensed agent is a REALTOR®. The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. To earn the designation, a REALTOR® has taken coursework and demonstrated specific skills, performance and knowledge in a particular area of the real estate industry. There are around 50,000 active agents in the state of Georgia, less than half are REALTORS®. Why am I a REALTOR®? Because, I choose to differentiate myself, set higher expectations and provide my clientele with the best experience possible in a real estate transaction.
As a REALTOR® I have access to Georgia specific legal contracts. This will give you peace of mind knowing your transaction is in complete compliance.
I hold designations as both ABR (Accredited Buyers Representation) and SRS (Seller Representative Specialist). It’s important to understand the mind of a Buyer when you’re representing the Seller. Whoever you hire, make sure the carry both the ABR and SRS designations. There are only a couple of 1000 agent’s in Georgia who hold both. The annual cost of professionalism, of being a REALTOR®, ABR, and SRS is minimal when compared to its impact on my business and my industry. If a licensed agent can’t or won’t invest in themselves each year, what makes you believe they would invest the resources necessary to properly market your home?
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you! Thank you in advance for your trust!
Services I Will Provide as Your Listing Agent
- When you list your home with me, I bring my professional photographer along to take pictures while we complete the paperwork. The sign goes in the yard and lockbox on the door. Your listing information and professional photos are entered into two multiple listing services, FMLS (First Multiple Listing Service) and GAMLS (Georgia Multiple Listing Service) within 24 hours of signing the listing agreement. From there the listing is syndicated out to hundreds of other online sites.
- Help you determine the best listing price
- Extensively market your home in order to maximize the optimal exposure
- Provide advice on how to prepare your home to show and sell for top dollar
- Connect you with a full network of trusted vendors to assist you with any home related services you need
- A weekly report will be provided to keep you up to date on the current market and competition in your area. Once you have received the report via email, I will be contacting you by phone to review and discuss our strategy for the upcoming week.
- Keep you updated as marketing products such as post cards and e-flyers are sent out.
- Report to you all feedback received from showings
- As soon as an offer is received you will be notified. I will assist you in evaluating all terms and conditions of the offer.
- Negotiate the highest possible price and best terms for you.
- Once your home is under contract I will keep you up to date on the Buyers progress and additional steps you should be taking during that time.
The art of pricing your home to sell
Together we will review the current real estate market and I will assist you in determining the best list price for your home. Ultimately a house is worth what a seller is willing to sell for and what a buyer is willing to pay. In some cases where there are not enough comps, I may suggest a pre-listing appraisal to determine market value. A home priced too high will not attract many showings and could possibly keep away qualified buyers. In addition an overpriced home could also add to the number of active days on the market which would result in a stale listing.
Most buyers in today’s market are already working with a real estate agent who has set them up on a home search, if your home is overpriced, it would keep it out of the home search for a potential qualified buyer. For example: If a buyer is searching homes with a maximum price point of $350,000 and your home is over priced by just $5000.00 at $355,000, your listing would not show up in their home search.
Over pricing could also attract over qualified buyers who will not be interested in your home after viewing homes that are actually worth your list price.
Agents and buyers will look at days on the market. If your home is overpriced this can result in too many days on the market, making it a stale listing and discouraging buyers from previewing the home. Both agents and buyers will get the impression that something may be wrong if this home has not sold.
Pricing your home correctly can be the difference in your home sitting or selling!
Setting the Stage, Quick Fixes
This could be the most important steps of the process. Keep in mind that buyers may be pre-viewing multiple homes in one day. Sometimes 10 to 12 or more! Therefore, you must do everything possible to make your home stand out above all the homes they see that day. Put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. If you were previewing this home, how would you rate it? Would you want to make an offer? Your home needs to be the one they just can’t stop thinking about.
Home inspections are not just for buyers. As the Seller you may want to consider having a pre-listing home inspection. This could help motivate a buyer knowing that you have already had an inspection and made repairs. Of course the buyer can still have their own inspection done, but having a pre-listing inspection could eliminate a lot of hassle during due diligence and even save the deal. There is nothing more overwhelming to a buyer than to receive a laundry list of items that need to be addressed.
Curb appeal – First impressions are the most important! You only have one chance to capture the buyer. If you don’t get their attention as soon as they pull into the driveway, they may not even get out of the car.
- Make sure the grass is cut and edged if possible
- Pressure wash home, drive-way and other concrete areas
- Freshen up pine straw or mulch areas
- Trim shrubs and remove or replace any dead or diseased shrubs
- Clean out gutters and make sure they are properly stabilized
- Replace or repair anything broken, damaged, worn or aged. For example: broken windows, missing screens, light fixtures, doorbell, rotten wood, fences, deck boarding, shutters or doors.
- Touch up exterior paint or if necessary re-paint
- Clean or paint front door
- Tighten loose door knobs and make sure the key easily unlocks and locks
- Buy a new “Welcome” matt for the front door
- Place some potted plants beside the front door
- Add seasonal color to existing flower beds
- Clean all outdoor furniture
Interior – Buyers are looking for a home that feels open and airy, provides adequate storage space and possible room to grow. You could be competing against new construction homes, so make sure your home is as close to a model home as possible.
- Remove any items you do not use on a daily basis. Pack them up neatly and store them in boxes or plastic tubs stacked neatly and organized in your garage or basement.
- Consider removing any oversized or extra furniture
- Limit yourself to one or two items on a table
- Clear off kitchen countertops and clean out cabinets and organize
- Clean out and organize closets to the bare minimum. Pack up out of season clothing.
- Fix or replace leaking faucets and toilets
- Repair doors that are off track
- Make sure all light bulbs are working
- Touch up caulk and grout
- Touch up paint on walls or consider new paint in light neutral colors
- Shampoo carpets and rugs or replace if necessary
- Make sure all appliances are in good working order
- Change furnace filters
- Clean garage floors
- Make sure the attic and basement are accessible for the home inspector
Walls, floors and hardware sell a home!
Walls – Warm light neutrals with white or off-white trim are ideal.
Floors – If at all possible, replace all carpet. Again, neutral colors are best. Buyers love new carpet! This gives them the new home feel they are looking for. Also, adds that new home smell! Polish and shine all hardwoods and tile. Refinish hardwood floors if needed.
Hardware – No gold or polished brass! This is something you can do for minimal cost that will make a huge impact on how a buyer sees your home. Remember, these buyers may be visiting new construction communities and they are seeing the latest styles in hardware. Replace light fixtures, door knobs & locks, cabinet knobs & drawer pulls, faucets and basically any metal hardware in your home with the latest designs. The most popular currently are satin nickel or oil rubbed bronze.
Professional cleaning – It’s been my experience in working with buyers that they will compare the cleanliness of a home with how well maintained the home has been. I have literally seen buyers run their fingers across baseboards to check for dust. Buyers may also be turned off by a dirty oven or dishwasher. Before your home is listed, while it is on the market and until closing, I strongly suggest that you have it professionally cleaned. A deep spring clean to start with followed by a bi-weekly cleaning service. Then one last cleaning after you have completely moved out.
Preparing for a Successful Home Showing
Having your home show ready every day can be exhausting but it will be well worth it in the end. When a buyer makes a purchase, the person must first make an “emotional” decision. Besides the price, the purchase must first appeal to our five senses. Here are some tips:
The most important thing is to try and reach all 5 senses of the buyer.
Sight – make sure all beds are made, laundry is put away, toys and extras are out of site. All blinds and curtains should be open, all lights and lamps turned on, toilet lids are down.
Touch – some buyers will open cabinets, open the refrigerator, run their finger across trim or base boards, make sure they are all clean. Make sure seating areas are clean as well. Some buyers like to sit and image themselves living in the home. Let’s make sure they can easily have a seat if desired. I cannot stress enough; the home should be clean, clean, clean!
Smell – make sure that trash is taken out every time you leave your home, place baking soda in refrigerator and kitchen areas as well as laundry room, and don’t leave wet towels in the bathrooms. It’s a great idea to bake some cookies just before you leave the home. There are some easy bake brands that can be cooked in as little as 10 minutes. Nothing says welcome home like fresh baked cookies!
Hearing – Soothing and light music completes the showing mood. Select easy listing music, lite rock or even jazz.
Taste – Offer candies or those fresh baked cookies right out of the oven. Potential buyers will also appreciate small bottled water on the counter beside the candies or cookies.
Have a plan for pets. Sellers should have a plan to keep visitors safe from pets and pets safe from visitors.
Create an environment that makes them feel at home! When one of my buyers says “there is just something about this home that makes me not want to leave” I know they have found their home! The buyer has now made an emotional decision.
The offer, Due diligence and Contingencies
There are several factors that will determine how soon we receive an offer for your home. Among these are current market conditions, strategic pricing and how well your home shows to potential buyers, just to name a few. Every listing is different and each week we will review and discuss any changes that may need to be made in order to get your home under contract and closed as soon as possible.
Once an offer is received, I will assist you in evaluating all terms and conditions of the offer. At that time we will determine whether to accept or prepare a counteroffer. The negotiating process can at times take several days to come to an agreement between the buyer and the seller. Once the buyer and seller have reached an agreement and all parties have signed, we now have a binding agreement and your home is Under Contract!
Most contracts contain a due diligence period, which is typically anywhere from 7 to 14 days from the binding agreement date and expires at 11:59pm of the last day. The number of days will be determined during the negotiating process of the contract. There are times, although rare, that a buyer will elect not to include a due diligence period. During the due diligence period the buyer can inspect and evaluate the property and terminate the contract without penalty, receiving a full refund of their earnest money.
Home inspections are performed to evaluate the condition of the home. Other inspections that may also be done are termite inspection, septic system inspection, radon test, mold test, pool inspection and possibly a water test if your home is on well water.
Below are a few tips to help insure the home inspection goes smoothly.
- Make sure that areas around all mechanicals in the basement and attic are easily accessible for inspection.
- If your home is on a crawl space, make sure it is unlocked or leave the key to the lock.
- Place new filters in the HVAC system.
- Double check that all light bulbs are working so the inspector can test the light fixtures.
- All electrical outlets should be easily accessible.
- If you had a pre-listing home inspection, make sure to leave a copy of it out along with the list of repairs that have already been made. Also, leave a copy of the receipts from these repairs.
Once the inspections have been completed, most homes will have a few items that need to be repaired and/or replaced. At this time the buyer can submit an Amendment to Address Concerns with the Property and the negotiating begins again. The buyer may ask for repairs and/or replacements of some items, a reduction in the sales price or additional seller contributions. I will assist you in negotiating the fairest solution to keep us moving in the right direction. The buyer and seller must come to an agreement and the Amendment to Address Concerns signed by all parties prior to the end of due diligence. If no agreement is made, the buyer can either terminate the contract or purchase the home as is.
If the buyer is obtaining financing to purchase your home, the contract will also include a Financing Contingency and Appraisal Contingency. The Appraisal Contingency may or may not be included in a cash purchase.
The Financing Contingency and the Appraisal Contingency period will start from the binding agreement date and expire at 11:59pm on the negotiated date. The amount of days will be negotiated during the same time as the purchase and sale agreement. Typically they are both 21 days from the binding agreement, but may vary.
Financing Contingency – The buyer will have the negotiated amount of days of the financing contingency for the lender to determine if the buyer has the ability to obtain a mortgage. Although a buyer should have already been preapproved or at least prequalified before we go under contract, there are still conditions that the lender will ask to be met during the financing contingency. During the financing contingency period if the buyer is unable to receive conditional loan approval from the lender, the buyer will have the right to terminate the contract without penalty providing a loan denial letter from the lender.
Appraisal Contingency – The buyers obligation to purchase the property is contingent upon buyers receipt of an appraisal of the property, performed by a licensed Georgia real estate appraiser, showing the value of the property to be equal to or greater than the purchase price.
After the housing market did its thing in 2008, appraisals are handled much differently today. Lender’s can no longer have any type of relationship or contact with the appraiser. When the lender receives a copy of the executed contract, an order for the appraisal goes to the middleman known as an appraisal management company. Using this process they hope to prevent inflated appraisals and perhaps another housing bubble.
If the property does not appraise for a minimum of the purchase price, we then go back to another round of negotiating. The buyer does have the right to terminate the contract without penalty by providing the Seller a copy of the appraisal and written notice to terminate. The buyer or seller also have the right but are not obligated to, propose that the purchase price be reduced. The buyer may also chose, but again is not obligated to; pay the difference between the purchase price and the appraised value in cash at closing.
Preparing for Closing Day
During the days leading up to closing, be prepared that the buyers may want to make an appointment to revisit the home several times. This is an exciting event for everyone and sometimes buyers may want to measure for furniture, new carpet, appliances and so on.
Once we have made it through the due diligence period, it’s a good idea to go ahead and start packing and scheduling the movers. This would also be a good time to schedule the move out cleaning with your cleaning company. I suggest either the afternoon before closing or the morning of closing, depending on what time of the day closing is scheduled and when the movers will be completely finished.
Make sure to change your mailing address, this can be done on-line at www.usps.com. Call all of your utility providers to schedule for all utilities in your name to be turned off the day after closing. Also, contact your homeowner insurance carrier to cancel the insurance effective the day after closing.
Be prepared for the buyers to schedule a final walk through inspection just before closing. This walk through inspection is for the buyers to make sure that all items from the amendment to address concerns have been repaired and/or replaces and to ensure that the home is in the same condition as when they went under contract.
The day of closing make sure to bring your driver’s license and one other form of ID with you to closing. Also, remember to bring at least one house key to closing. The extra keys and garage door openers may be left in a kitchen drawer. If you have an exterior code box to the garage, please remember to write down the current code and leave it as well. The buyers may need this code to reset it with a new one. Leave all owners manuals for the home in the kitchen too.
Congratulations on successfully selling your home!