When Selling, Don’t Overlook the Details

There are so many things to do when you are selling you home: making sure the house is clean all the time; making sure you answer all the calls from agents wanting to show it to prospective buyers; finding somewhere to go when showings take place; and so on and so on.

A very important part of the marketing process (a detail), is the listing itself. Don’t forget to ask your agent (hopefully me) to show you the listing submitted to the Multiple Listing Service. I’ve noticed that some agents take tons of pictures and many of them do not show the best features of your home. A townhouse listing I was looking at had ten pictures of the outside stairways, the front door, and even a picture of a neighbor’s dumpster! It’s not the number of pictures, it’s the pictures themselves. Also, we are able to label the pictures, and they should all be labeled. If your property has a view of the ocean, coastline or city lights, there should be good photos of the view, not extensive verbiage about how spectacular the view is. If the listing reads, “spectacular, panoramic views of the ocean and coastline”, and a prospect sees the home and notices that there is only that view if you are out on a deck with a telescope, he may be so disappointed that he will pass on your home. However, if the description is accurate, or maybe even under-played a little, the prospect may just fall in love with the view, and the offer to purchase will be put on the table. Unless your bathrooms are simply spectacular, there should not be pictures of them. If you have a large yard, as long as it is well kept, include pictures that show how large it is.

If the showing appointment times are limited and your home is difficult to show, it will be difficult to sell. Perhaps asking for offers “subject to inspection” may be an option.

I’m sure I haven’t covered all the little details, but remember that “the devil’s in them”.

How to Price Your Home to Sell

Getting the price right is the most important factor when you are putting your house on the market.  Here are some hints for setting the price just right:

1.  Look for information about similar homes that have sold and closed escrow, those that are in escrow, and those that are presently on the market.  The location, condition, amenities should be close to those of your house.  We are in an area where many homes are custom and have unique floor plans.  Even the best comparable homes are not just like your home.  Only in a tract or condo development will the homes have identical floor plans.  I usually look at homes of similar square footage, using a range based on the size of my client’s home.  If the subject property is 2500 square feet, I would probably search in sizes ranging from 2100 to 2900 square feet.  Some of the homes found will have additional bedrooms and bathrooms and I will make adjustments to the price based on statistics obtained from the Multiple Listing Service.  The presence of an ample backyard is a big factor.  A swimming pool, I have found, is a feature that usually does not add value or subtract value for most buyers.

2. Time on the market is an important factor.  In a normal market homes should sell within thirty days if they are priced correctly.

3.  When pricing your home, try not the be at the top of the price range for similar competing homes; this is a factor often overlooked by homeowners and agents.

4.  If you put your home on the market and you are having a lot of viewings, but no sale, your price is probably too high.  If you are getting very few showings, there may be something wrong with the property itself.

5.  If your home is not in escrow within the first thirty days on the market, I recommend cancelling the listing and re-listing it, rather than simply lowering the price.  Homes that are new on the market, or appear to be new on the market, always get more attention and are many times e-mailed out to prospects put into the system by their respective agents.

6.  Look at the situation often, as new houses come on the market and hopefully many are selling, as well.

Contact me for a complimentary market evaluation of your home!

Homebuyer Do’s and Don’ts When Getting a Loan

  • DO continue to make payments on time for current mortgages, cars, credit cards, etc..
  • DO paper trail, document, and explain any large or unusual deposits or withdrawals into accounts such as checking, savings, stock, etc.
  • DO keep pay stubs, bank statements, tax forms, etc., in case the lender needs to update the documentation prior to closing.
  • DO ask questions if something is unclear about the loan program, fees, and/or loan conditions.
  • DO let the loan officer or mortgage broker know if anything changes, for example, your employment, income, assets, credit history, etc.
  • DO document that the earnest money deposit has cleared your account; obtain a copy of the cancelled check and/or statement that reflects the funds have cleared.
  • DO lock-in the interest rate.  These are ordinarily thirty to sixty days and definitely worth it if rates are trending upward.
  • DO have homeowner’s insurance agent information available and provide updated documentation (pay stubs, bank statements, etc.) in a timely manner so as not to delay the closing.
  • DO NOT increase credit card balances and/or loan balances.
  • DO NOT apply for additional or new credit or put balances on a paid credit card.
  • DO NOT ignore late payment and/or collection notices that are received during the loan process.
  • DO NOT purchase anything that is “same as cash”, as it will show on the credit report as a new debt.
  • DO NOT buy furniture, a new car or appliances on credit until after closing.  This is the most common “don’t” action that has occurred during my sales.
  • DO NOT lend money to family members or friends if the money is needed for closing.
  • DO NOT store money at home; place it in a bank account so it can be documented as savings throughout the loan process and can qualify as assets on hand.
  • DO NOT have overdrafts on a checking account.
  • DO NOT quit or change jobs during the loan process.

 

 

De-clutter Your Home

Consider this list of creative ways to de-clutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes: Put at least twenty-five items away in five minutes.  If the item does not have a home, or is no longer needed, place it in a donation box.  2. Give away one item each day. This is manageable de-cluttering, simply done one item at a time.  3.  Fill one trash bag: This is an easy way to process excess papers and packaging that is no longer necessary.  When the bag is full, you are done with that task.   4.  Try the Closet Hanger Experiment: To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction.  After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction.  After six months, you will have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard.   5.  Take the 12-12-12 Challenge: A simple task of locating twelve items to throw away, twelve items to donate, and twelve items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize thirty-six things in your house. You can select a smaller number for children to process.  6. The Four-Box Method: As you set out to de-clutter an area, set up four boxes:  trash, give away, keep, and relocate.  Each item in every room is placed into one of the four categories.  No item is passed over; each is considered individually.  Some projects may take an hour and others may take days or weeks but the technique and principles remain the same.  No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these six or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it.  There is a beautiful world of freedom hiding behind that clutter.

Taking Care of an Empty House

Often we have listings of homes for sale or lease that are vacant for a few months.  Sitting vacant is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a house.  I make sure I or the owner visit empty listings at least once a week.  Here are some things to be sure to check.

Run the water: Every time I show the home or am checking the home, I run the water in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, etc. and flush all the toilets.  If this is not done sewer gases will accumulate in the drains and when someone occupies the house and starts using the shower or toilet, a very foul odor will permeate throughout the house.

Run the garbage disposal: Some garbage disposals tend to freeze up when not used; run the disposal when you turn on the kitchen faucet.

Toilet lids: Another thing to be aware of is that if the lids on the toilets are closed, mildew accumulates in the toilet bowls and is unsightly for a prospective buyer or lessee.  Put the seats down but leave the lids up is my advice.

Air out the house: Open windows and doors periodically to get rid of that vacant house smell.

Check the smoke detectors: If you hear a chirping noise it is probably one of the smoke detectors needing new batteries; this is an aggravation for people viewing the house as well as being a possible breach of safety.

Be sure to lock all doors: One of my worst fears is that someone will move into a vacant home; it can take years to get them out.  Plus, think of how scary it would be to enter a house and find someone there.

Check the yard: Sometimes, the sprinklers get out of whack and some parts of the yard are not getting any water.  This leaves dead grass areas that are unsightly.

Check the gutters: Take a look at the rain gutters to make sure they are not full of leaves and other debris.  If the gutters are full and there is a rain storm, water will flow over to the edge of the roof and can cause a lot of damage.

Check around the front door: Remove any free newspapers, magazines or door hangers that have been delivered since your last visit.

Check the lights: Most showings are during the day, but some are after dark, and it can be pretty creepy for the agents and their clients if there are some lights that do not operate.  Usually, a light bulb just needs replacing.

 

 

Taking care of your empty house will likely bring a higher price in a shorter time.

 

Interesting 90275 ZIP Code Facts

The 90275 zip code is the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  There are 15,633 households of which 76% are owner occupied; 66% are married; 39% have children.   The median home sales price is $845,000.  The median age of the inhabitants of this zip code is 32.37 years; 33% have bachelor degrees and 23% have graduate degrees.  82% are white collar workers, mostly in service industries and most commute by car thirty-one minutes to their places of work.

This information was obtained from the Realist tax portion of our Multiple Listing Service and though believed to be accurate, is not guaranteed.