Moving Tips

Preparing your home for sale.

Clean up, Fix up, or Toss out - Tips to Remember

  • Today a home that stands out among similarly priced, competitively financed houses is the home that sells. Why? Because it makes a good first impression that lasts right to the settlement table.
  • The exterior of your home is what we call "curb appeal." A trim lawn, well proportioned shrubs all ad to the overall appeal. Remove garden hoses, lawn tools, doghouse, and toys from the yard.
  • The front hall is the first impression of what is deep inside. Aura and atmosphere help to entice the buyer of what is to come. Fix or replace all over head lighting. Replace light bulbs with stronger watts. In the evening make sure that all lights are on around the home, including lamps. Make sure that your doorbell works. And the home smells fresh and clean.
  • The Kitchen is one of the most important areas of the home when it comes to attracting offers from buyers. Appliances should be clean and spotless, ensuring everything works. Replace or repair any sticks, drips, or squeaks. Keep cabinets and counter space uncluttered.
  • The second most appealing room to a buyer is the master bedroom. Remove all unnecessary furnishings from the room to add to the overall feeling of spaciousness. Closets should neat and organized and remove any clothing, it is important to make the closets look large.
  • Bathroom areas should always appear fresh and clean. Adding potpourri for scent. Sinks, tubs, showers, floors, tiling and shower curtains should be immaculate.
  • When it come to your garage the key word is convenience. Once again make sure the garage is uncluttered and appears organized box up tools that are in the way. Clean any oily stains on the cement. The space should appear orderly and tidy.

Basement areas should also appear organized hang pegboards and hang tools, put things on shelves, Cure damp smell by placing a bag of limestone in the damp area. Clean water heater outside, change filter in the furnace. Brighten the basement walls with a coat of light paint.

Q) Should we redecorate?

a) The big problem in major redecorating arises because it is very difficult to anticipate the tastes of strangers. Best to stick to fresh paint in very neutral colors and present a sparkling clean house without the redecorating expenses.

Q) Is it possible to over improve?

a) Yes. Your landscaping may be divine; you may have the only cabana and swimming pool in the neighborhood, but it may be difficult to sell a $160,000 home in an area of $130,000 homes. Consult your listing broker or Reiss Realestate Office to determine if added improvement means added marketability.

Q) Are "fixing up expenses" tax deductible?

a) Yes. You can reduce your taxable capital gain by "fixing up," but only under strict guidelines. Check with your tax consultant for details.

Showing your home - Tips to remember

  • Too many people present during inspection may make the potential buyer feel like an intruder, which makes it difficult for selling broker and buyer to be at ease.
  • It's better that you and the kids busy yourselves in one part of the house or outside, rather than tagging along. The broker knows the buyer's desires and can better emphasize your home's features.
  • Let the broker and the buyer hear each other. Noise is distracting, so don't have the radio or TV going. Quiet is the ideal condition.
  • It's better to keep pets out of the house. Buyers may be timid around an unfamiliar animal.
  • Chatting with a potential buyer may dilute the broker's ability to present your home's features in the best light. If asked a question, respond honestly, but diplomatically refer questions to the broker.
  • The lived-in appearance makes it a home. There's no need to apologize for its appearance. Let the trained broker answer any objections.
  • Trying to dispose of furniture and furnishings to the potential buyer has lost many a sale. Wait until after the sale is made.
  • Your listing broker is most qualified to bring negotiations to a favorable conclusion. Do not discuss price, terms, possession, or other factors with the potential buyer.

Q) Should I let anyone in to see the house?

a) If a prospective buyer calls or comes by unexpectedly without a broker, get their name and phone number. Do not show the home. Explain that it is not a convenient time. Call your listing broker so that the buyer can be qualified and identified prior to showing. This is for your benefit and protection.

Q) If an offer is imminent, should we still show the home?

a) A property is either sold or available - there is no in between. However, if here is an acceptable contract that contains a contingency, and back-up contracts are invited, then this must be made clear, and the house should be shown. Refer selling agent to your listing agent for details.

Offers and Contracts

Q) Is it best to turn sown the first offers?

a) In any transaction, it's normal for the seller to wonder "Could I have gotten more?" and for the buyer to wonder "Should I have paid less?" When your reasonably priced house is put up for sale, the very first lookers may make and offer to buy. That does not mean you've priced your home too low. It means qualified buyers and their brokers have been looking - and waiting - for the right house to come on the market at just the right price. Your listing broker will advise you on all offers.

Q) Do buyers ever offer more than the listing price?

a) Rarely, but they do offer "above list" sometimes if they believe it makes their offer more acceptable than other competing offers. For the protection of all parties, it is best to include a separate statement signed by the buyers indicating the buyer's awareness of the list price and their reasons for the higher offer.

Q) What do I do if the Property does not sell?

a) The first step is to go over everything carefully with the listing broker. As to why the property did not sell. Usually price, items or conditions need to be changed. Study and analyze what has sold in your area and at what price. Then relist the house after adjusting for shortcomings.

Q) Does the sale of a property or a condominium within a Homeowner's Association (HOA) require any special action?

a) if your property is a condominium, in some areas, the buyer is allowed a specific period of time to withdraw after a ratified contract. Ask you listing broker how this "right of recission" can affect you. Also, the purchase offer for a condo sale or Homeowner's Association property will contain, in compliance with the law, a requirement that the seller furnish the buyer with certain disclosure information and documents. Ask your condo and Homeowner's Association for resale procedures in your area.

Q) If a buyer forfeits deposit, who gets the money?

a) If the buyer fails to make a full settlement, the deposited earnest money may be forfeited only after all parties sign a release. In the event of forfeiture, the deposit will be divided equally between seller and the real estate brokers, but not to exceed amount of commission, or according to the sales contract. In case of a dispute, either party may file a court action to assert their claim to the deposit.