REAL ESTATE SUCCESS TIPS


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Purchasing and selling real estate can be complex and confusing if you are not properly prepared and informed about the process.


On this page and those that follow I will share helpful tips that can help prevent you from getting into a difficult real estate situation that is not in your best interest.


As a real estate professional and financial planner with over 20 years experience I have gathered and formulated these tips over the past twenty plus years in an effort to help consumers make home buying and home selling decisions that are good for THEM.





RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE TIPS




Seller Tips




Price your home right the first time 


CURB APPEAL:




  • Maximize curb appeal by trimming up and landscaping outside
  • Make sure bushes, Shrubs and trees are trimmed
  • Make sure plants are trimmed, Flower beds are weeded and mulched.
  • Make sure lawn is free from weeds and debris, trimmed, edged and cut
  • Plant flowers, shrubs, and trees at least 12 inches from your house. Plant flowers, shrubs and trees with the mature size (maximum size) in mind and plant them further from the house based on expected maturity size.
  • Sweep all walkways, patios, and decks
  • Mow and green up your grass with fertilizer
  • First impressions are lasting impressions
  • The longer your property sits on the market the less likely it is to sell at or near asking price so it is important to get these tips implemented before your property goes on the market.
  • Make sure roof is clear of moss, debris and obstructions.
  • Make sure the gutters are secure and clean
  • Make sure windows and shutters are clean and in good repair
  • Make sure siding is clean and secure
  • Make sure that there is no peeled paint inside or out
  • Make sure doors and hinges are clean and oiled




INSIDE APPEARANCE:



  • Use neutral paint colors inside (touch-up where necessary)
  • Neutral colors are easier to sell
  • Each room should be clean of clutter
  • Each room should be well lighted and free of odors
  • Make sure you open drapes or shades to brighten room
  • Make sure you keep toys, shoes, clothing and other inappropriate objects off the floor
  • Make sure you clean your carpet—replace if necessary
  • Make sure bathroom and Kitchen is especially clean—eliminate clutter
  • Make sure you keep trash to a minimum inside
  • If your home needs work—do it to maximize sales price
  • Make sure potential buyer is pre-qualified (or preferrably pre-approved) for a home loan
  • Make sure you get pre-qualified(or for more bargaining power pre-approved) before you start your home search—unless, of course you intend to pay cash.
  • Make sure you dust furniture and clean all windows
  • Make sure you turn off TV or better yet don't be around when your home is being shown as most real estate agents and potential buyers are uncomfortable when the seller is present.
  • Make sure you keep pets out of the way—preferably outside when house is being shown
  • Realize that the first offer you get will normally be your best offer—however use your best judgement
  • Make sure rooms are freshly painted and bright (neutral colors are usually best).
  • Make sure light switches and covers are clean.
  • Make sure screens are repaired and cleaned.
  • Make sure chandeliers and glass covers are clean
  • Make sure carpets have been professionally cleaned or replaced with neutral carpets.





Depending on your home and your market area--it may be wise to have rooms staged for maximum appearance and space!




  • Make sure clutter is removed.
  • Try to insure that closets appear as large as possible (Remove items and store at another location if need be).
  • Make sure you remove all clutter, garbage, and boxes
  • Make sure you remove family photos, mementos, knickknacks and personalized items.
  • Make sure you repair leaky faucets.
  • Make sure that the bathrooms and kitchens are especially clean. Clear any excess items so the rooms appear as large as possible.
  • Make sure you fix or replace worn or damaged tile, countertops, door knobs, bathroom grout, lamps, lampshades, light switches/covers etc.
  • Make sure you replace any worn entry rugs or door mats.
  • Make sure you check for odors, water stains and the like and correct.
  • Make sure cupboards, closets and pantry area is neat.
  • Organization and cleanliness gives the potential home buyer a feeling that the rest of the house was well cared for.





More Seller Tips...




  • Make sure you install new bulbs outside and in
  • Make sure you check bricks and pavers for cracks---replace them and reset any that are loose
  • Make sure you patch worn or cracked asphalt or cement in the driveway and walkway
  • Make sure you edge grass and remove weeds that may have grown over driveway and walkway
  • Make sure you repaint the front door and freshen up chipped and peeling paint trim
  • Make sure you clean and polish the brass on the doorknobs and locks, replace them if needed
  • Make sure you replace any cracked/broken glass panes and missing window screens
  • Make sure you clean out gutters and downspouts
  • Make sure your mailbox is upright, steady, and has a desirable look
  • Realize that a side or back entry garage will usually do better at resale than a front entry garage.





PRIOR TO THE SHOWING:




  • Open all the drapes and curtains to maximize lighting and spaciousness.
  • Turn on all lights---even in the daytime.
  • Turn on soft relaxing background music---if you will be present.
  • Clean bathrooms and other rooms.
  • Scent all rooms with vanilla or another fresh pleasing smell.
  • Remove all pets!!!





AT THE SHOWING:




In today’s world, it is wise to be cautious. Make sure you know who is coming to your home! Beyond that, when the doorbell rings for showings you should politely answer the door. Once you have identified the agent you should then excuse yourself and go outside or at the very least not be in the same area as your potential buyers and agent.


If you remain nearby the potential buyer will feel uncomfortable and not spend the time they should looking at your house. Additionally, they will not feel comfortable looking into the cupboards, closets, attics etc., and asking their agent questions.





REMAIN FLEXIBLE:




Whether the home buyer or home seller time is of the essence. In simple definition, any delay, reasonable or not, slight or not, may mean the loss of a sale or a cancellation of a contract. Remain flexible on when agents can show your property.


Additionally, keep in mind that contingencies, specific moving dates and similar items that you hear of in contracts can often have undesirable effects. Consult your attorney and real estate agent. Be ready to negotiate whether utilizing a realtor or not.


Use a Realtor---Navigating the increasingly complex real estate transaction is much easier when buyers and sellers have professional help. 



Buyer Tips:




Always have an agent represent you---there is normally no cost associated and they can provide invaluable insight and potentially help you save thousands


Never go into a new home subdivision without an agent---if you do at least inform the sales rep that you have an agent---if you say no they assume you don't and they represent the builder's best interest---NOT YOURS


  • Know what type of siding is on the house and the year it was applied
  • Defective siding is not uncommon for homes built in the 1990's
  • Make sure the house does not have lead based paint
  • Does the house have Polybutylene piping
  • Be sure you know the age (how old) of the water heater, furnace, and air conditioner
  • Make sure you know how old the roof is.
  • Make sure you know how old the deck is.
  • Has the house been regularly treated for termites
  • Does the house meet your minimum needs based on your price range
  • Is the proximity to your job, schools and recreation appropriate for you
  • Have you been pre-approved for your home loan
  • Will you have a 6 month emergency fund after you purchase your home
  • Have you fairly compared what you are considering to pay versus the actual sold properties in the same subdivision or area
  • Do you have a quality code certified, licensed, and bonded home inspector
  • Make sure there are no big cracks in masonry, brick, and concrete
  • Make sure you look for water stains or evidence of previous water stains on the ceilings, under sinks, and any area where water enters or exits the house.
  • Make sure you consider a home warranty
  • Radon tests are a good idea in Georgia
  • In Georgia a termite bond retreatment repair bond is a good investment
  • Make sure you always purchase Buyers Title Insurance at closing




In the Atlanta area I have found Mortgage Lenders to be more effective than Mortgage Brokers in most cases




  • Make sure you use caution when considering the purchase of a home on a main road
  • Realize that a house on a corner lot is not always best
  • Make sure you are aware of utility easements
  • Something of concern---be sure to put it in writing in the sales contract
  • A creek or pond in a yard is not always a good thing
  • If you purchase in a lake community--at times of drought the lake may recede and you may have an unsightly view.
  • Know that in Georgia the closing attorney only represents the loan company---NOT YOU
  • Make sure you avoid dual agency when purchasing your home
  • Make sure that you are aware of past flooding in the area and never buy in a designated flood zone
  • Has the house been updated
  • Are there any upgrades that I can make
  • Determine your wants and needs before you begin your home search
  • Realize that your wants and needs may have to be altered depending on your loan qualification and area
  • Are you qualified to do any repairs or renovations
  • Location, location, location affects current and future value and your lifestyle
  • Know if quality schools and strong city or county management is in place
  • Know how long you plan to live in your new house (within reason---life can be unpredictable)
  • Know that it is your responsibility to determine if there are undesirable environment--or safety concerns in the area that you are considering moving to


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