Things you should consider when making a decision to sell your home:
*Why am I selling my home?
*Are there things I would need to do to ready my home for market (i.e. upgrades, repairs, etc.)?
*Where we will move to?
*Will it cost me more to move to a new home than to stay in my current home?
*Will I make more money by staying?
*Is the timing right?
*What effect will selling have on my children’s education, my employment opportunities, my retirement plans?
The Value of Your Home
In a neighborhood of similar homes, why is one worth more than another? That’s the question that has teased Buyers and Sellers for ages, but the answer is Simple.
Every home is different. When a home is sold, a willing Seller and a willing Buyer have just announced to the world the value of that home. From there, other similar homes are bench marked, but other factors come into play.
The most important are:
Location :: the closer a home is to jobs, parks, desirable amenities, recreation, transportation, schools and community services, the more desirable it is. Lake access, lake views or lakeshore on an in-demand body of water also add value.
Size :: Square footage impacts home values because they are built using more materials. Larger lot sizes mean more privacy.
Number of Bedrooms & Baths :: over time, median homes have grown larger. Decades ago, household members shared bedrooms and baths without complaint, but today, families want more privacy. The median home purchase today is a three-bedroom, two-bath home.
Features & Finishes :: Features such as outdoor kitchens and spa baths make a home more luxurious. A home finished with hardwood floors and granite countertops is going to cost more than a home with carpet and laminate countertops.
Condition :: The closer a home is to new construction, the more it will retain its value. It’s perceived as more modern, up to date, and perhaps even safer. Homes that are not updated or that are in poor repair sell for less. It is a good idea for homeowners to keep their homes updated and in top repair.
Curb Appeal :: From the street, the home looks clean, fresh and inviting. Fresh landscaping and flowers won’t change the size or location, but they certainly add charm.
When two homes are identical in the same neighborhood, a higher price may come down to something as simple as views or paint colors or the overall taste of the homeowner. Valuing a home will never be an exact science but if you buy wisely, keep your home updated and in good repair, you should recoup most if not all of your investment.
Intelligent Pricing and Timing
Pricing a home for sale is as much art as science, but there are a few truisms that never change:
1. Fair Market Value attracts buyers, overpricing never does;
2. The first two weeks of marketing are crucial; and
3. The market never lies, but it can change its mind.
Fair Market Value is what a willing Buyer and a willing Seller agree by contract is a fair price for the home. Values can be impacted by a wide range of reasons but the two largest are location and condition. Generally, Fair Market Value can be determined by comparables – other similar homes that have sold or are currently for sale in the same area.
Sellers often view their homes as special which tempts them to put a higher price on the home, believing they can always come down later, but that’s a serious mistake. Overpricing prevents the very Buyers who are eligible to buy the home from ever seeing it. Most Buyers shop by price range, and look for the best value in that range.
Intelligent pricing isn’t about getting the most for your home – it’s about getting your home sold quickly at Fair Market Value.
Ask The Ritter Team for a free, confidential Comparative Market Analysis and consultation so that you may determine what price is the right price for your home.
Make a First Impression That Lasts
Most Buyers form their first impression of your home before they even get out of their cars. This is “curb appeal”, or the view from the curb that tells the Buyer how attractive and well-maintained your home is compared to other homes. In a comparative market, it takes more than trimming the hedges and planning a few flowers to create curb appeal. The exterior of your home must be in pristine condition—freshly painted, cleared of clutter, with no visible repairs needed. A broken step, overgrown shrubs or abandoned toys in the yard can spoil the appearance and your Buyer’s first impression. Other general helpful tips include:
Walkways/driveways :: Make sure walkways are clear of snow, weeds, or debris. Repair or replace cracked steps or pavers. Driveways should also be clear of vehicles, toys and debris. Park cars in the garage.
Landscaping :: Keep your lawn mowed, edged and watered. Prune dead branches and plants. Weed flower beds and replace leggy, thin landscaping with fresh plants and flowers.
Exterior :: Replace loose or damaged roof shingles, clean gutters, and paint and caulk window trim and doors. Repaint the front door an eye-catching color that complements the rest of the exterior. Replace broken windows.
Entry :: Power wash siding, brick, windows and porches. Repaint or replace furniture such as rocking chairs or porch swings. Replace mailboxes, light fixtures, door knobs or any other fixture that looks less than fresh. Put out a welcoming new floormat. Some parts of your home may require more work than others, but it’s well worth it to get Buyers eager to see what’s inside! The Ritter Team is highly skilled and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to making suggestions to assist you in improving the curb appeal of your home!
Showings and Open House Checklist
Once your home is on the market, agents may call to show your home anytime. Keeping your home “showtime” ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and/or pets.
Eliminate Clutter :: Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time consuming to sort through and expensive for your to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementoes, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months.
Keep, Donate, Throw Away :: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations than pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people.
Remove Temptations :: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.
Remove Breakables :: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.
Be Hospitable :: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.
Have a Family Plan of Action :: Sometimes showings aren’t convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about.
Get in the Habit :: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.
Clean out the Garage and Attic :: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is.
The Essential Five Minute Clean-up for Showings
Everyone gets their baskets and cleans up clutter. Check for hazards, like toys left on the floor. Make sure all toys, including bicycles, are put away.
Put Pets in Daycare, Sleep cages or Take Them with You! In the listing instructions, there should be a warning if there is a dog on the premises. Buyers with allergies also may appreciate knowing in advance if you have any pets.
Turn on the Lights! Open the drapes, turn on the lights so Buyers can really see.
Give the Buyer Privacy! The Buyer cannot come to your home without being accompanied by an agent. The Buyer can assess your home more honestly without your presence.
Receiving an Offer & Negotiating with Buyers when the Offer comes in
Once a Buyer makes an offer, the Ritter Team will assist you in assessing the offer and throughout the negotiation process. Negotiation is a fine art. The Ritter Team’s seasoned experience and expertise will assist you to ensure negotiations are timely and pleasant, kept to a minimum and in your favor. Remember, negotiation typically works best when both parties compromise to get what they want.
Preparing Your Home for a Home Inspection
These days most Buyers will elect to have the home they are purchasing inspected. The inspector is typically hired by the Buyer and the inspector’s services are paid for by the Buyer. An inspector checks the safety of the home and mainly looks at the structure and items such as the water heater, plumbing and the electrical systems and issues a written report of findings to the Buyer. To assist you in preparing for a home inspection, here is a short list of items to get ready:
1) Make sure the home is ready at the scheduled inspection time. Inspections typically take 2-3 hours and if they cannot begin on time they will either run late or need to be continued later.
2) Have all utilities on. It is very difficult to inspect a furnace that cannot be lit, outlets that have no power, and water lines that are dry.
3) Ensure pilot lights are lit. Insurance requirements prevent inspectors from lighting any gas appliances. There may include: fireplaces, older stoves, water heater, etc.
4) Provide working space. At least 3 feet of working clearance should be provided in front of the furnace, water heater, and electrical panel.
5) Leave all necessary keys. If an inspector cannot access a locked garage, it will not be inspected.
6) Provide access to attics and crawlspaces. The Inspector may not move Personal items stacked on the top shelf in the closet under the attic opening or on the floor covering the crawlspace opening so that he or she can access spaces for inspection. The same goes for cars parked under the attic access in the garage.
7) Provide access to inspection hatches. Bathtub controls, exterior water shut-offs, and the main water meter are all items the inspector would like to look at.
8) Remove personal items from appliances. Most inspectors will run the stove, washer, dryer, and dishwasher as long as they are empty. If you leave a note and a full soap dispenser, many inspectors will do your laundry or dishes for you as well!
9) Kennel any pets. Fido likes everyone….everyone, that is, except a stranger with an eighteen inch flashlight hanging off his or her belt. Your pets may be friendly, but the inspector is there to inspect the home, not chase the cat or dog around the neighborhood.
10) Have any receipts for recent work, completed building inspection forms, or installation instructions available for review. Many questions may be answered by way of verification if the proper documents are available to the inspector.
Keep in mind that nearly every inspection is going to result in some findings, and no matter how hard an inspector tries, there will be items that can’t be determined at the time of inspection. Most times these are simple questions that may be answered without any additional proof or documentation on the behalf of the Seller.
Preparing the home for the home inspection will not only allow the inspector to complete the inspection in a prompt manner, but will also results in a more thorough inspection and faster report preparation, allowing the sale of your home to continue on smoothly to closing day!
Preparing For Closing
As you are preparing for the big day you need to make sure that you have taken care of everything your closing company requires of you in order to close the transaction and that all documents, funds (if any), etc. needed for the closing are going to be available.
Moving out of your home can be an emotional and exciting journey. Whether you’re changing cities or neighborhoods, a move is not only a change of scenery; it’s the start of a new chapter in life. Yet, moving an also be very stressful, often seeming like one thing after another has to be done. By finding the right moving service and having a good, though flexible, moving plan, most of the common moving headaches can be easily avoided.