Helpful Seller Info

Ramp Up Your Curb Appeal and Sell, Sell, Sell

Ramp Up Your Curb Appeal and Sell, Sell, Sell

When you’re preparing your house for sale, remember the importance of first impressions. There’s an old saw in any business that says “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”, and in real estate it’s an absolute given.  Buyers can be turned-on and turned-off by the strangest things … more than half the houses I’ve sold are sold when the buyers get out of their cars. So stand across the street from your house and imagine yourself pulling-up and seeing the house for the very first time. What do you see?

Here are some easy things you can do to ramp-up your curb appeal.

Outside

* Sweep front walkway

* Remove newspapers, bikes and toys

* Park extra cars away from the property

* Trim back the shrubs

* Apply fresh, clean paint throughout

* Clean windows and window coverings throughout

* Keep pet areas clean

* Keep plumbing and all appliances in working order

* Maintain all sealant (window, tub, shower, sink, etc.) in good condition

* Make sure roof and gutters are in good condition

* Mow the lawn more frequently and plant flowers

Inside

* Clean until the Kitchen and bathrooms shine

* GIve a quick once-over with the vacuum, carpets look cleaner

* Place fresh flowers in the main room

* Put everyday dishes away and set a formal dining room display for decoration

* Make beds and put all clothes away

* Enhance the spaciousness of each room

* Open drapes and turn on lights for a brighter feel

* Straighten closets

* Minimize live house plants … keep only the most beautiful/favorites

* Put away all silk flowers and fake plants

 * Put toys away

* Turn off television

* Play soft music on the radio/stereo

* Keep pets out of the way and pet areas clean and odor-free – place cat litter boxes in out-of-the-way places and refresh the litter often

* Secure jewelry, cash, prescription medication and other valuables

Important Reminders:

1. Potential buyers always feel more comfortable if the owners are not present.

2. If people knock on your door to see your property, refer them to your real estate professional for an appointment. Never let them in.

3. Leave a number where you can be reached with your agent if you are leaving town, even for a weekend. Keep your cell phone on and forward your house phone to it.

In closing, The Appearance of Overall Excellent Condition = Buyer Offers

What does “AS IS” mean in real estate?

What does “AS IS” mean in real estate?

The real estate industry has its own unique language that can sometimes be confusing. One term that comes up a lot, especially in these times of bank-owned properties, short sales, and foreclosures, is “as is” and its variations “where is”, and “in its present condition”. There are some agents who feel that part of the reason we see “as is” cropping up more and more is because more buyers are being coached to use the home inspection as a reason to reopen negotiations (sometimes justified, sometimes not) and that sellers and their agents, who may have already lowered the price several times, are using it as a tactic to close the door on this practice.

This is not a term to be used lightly by sellers, because there are costs as well as benefits, and if you don’t know what it really means, you shouldn’t use it. Sellers commonly mistake “as is” as a way to avoid making any repairs, rationalizing that a lower asking price will reflect the condition and eliminate expectations. Buyers, however, tend to interpret “as is” differently.  There are two common negative reactions that have serious consequences to a seller’s ability to sell: first, buyers sometimes take it as a sign of blood in the water and think that they can bargain way down from the asking price because they are now suspicious that many things are wrong with the house; and second, they will be very wary of “as is” houses and even avoid viewing them or putting in any offer for fear of hidden defects that will require a lot of time or money. You might be better off without using that clause and instead having your agent stress that at the agreed selling price the home inspection will probably not result in repairs or a price reduction on the part of the sellers.

“As is” is actually a legal term and concept used to disclaim liability for the condition of the house being sold. It says that the seller is selling and the buyer is buying the house in whatever condition it presently exists, and that the buyer is accepting the house “with all faults”, whether or not immediately apparent. It is most commonly (and correctly) used in estate situations, selling rental properties or when banks or relocation companies own the property … the sellers have never/not recently lived in the house and have no first-hand knowledge of any issues/defects. In Massachusetts, the seller and their agent must disclose any known defects in the property in an “as is” purchase, but they don’t have to disclose what they don’t know. Seller’s gents are generally very good at disclosing known defects, but buyers should know that agents are required by law to answer direct questions honestly and to the best of their knowledge, so when in doubt – ASK THE QUESTION.

And last, when buying any home the buyer must take the time to thoroughly examine the home before accepting it, but buying a home in “as is” status is the ultimate “buyer beware” situation. That means obtaining expert home inspection(s) and legal advice and doing what their experts recommend. It also means checking with your mortgage broker to make sure their institution will finance an “as is” purchase – many won’t.

In closing, buyers should clearly understand that their contract to purchase any “as is” home is contingent upon acceptable inspection(s) and that they can take the house or walk-away but the seller is under no obligation to re-negotiate or correct any inspection issues no matter how severe.

I have represented many sellers and buyers with “as is” homes and done right the transaction can work out amicably for both parties.

Using Zillow? You Might Be Surprized.

Using Zillow? You Might Be Surprized.

Why Zillow can get your home value wrong

While I personally believe that Zillow is an awesome product and enjoy the creative thinking that has surrounded it, there are a few things that you need to know when using their estimates of home value, or what they call “zestimates”.

They use public records instead of multiple listing service data. Depending on the town or city your home is located in, the public records are notoriously inaccurate, especially when it comes to finished area and living area.

Multiple listing service data is entered by realtors who are responsible for the accuracy and while it can also be imperfect, the MLS data is much more likely to be correct.

Because the algorithms in Zillow are heavily reliant on living area and cost per square foot, these public record inaccuracies can introduce a statistically significant degree of error into their estimate of home value.

They use a radial distance from the house location to select comparable home sales in the vicinity.

In other words, they will select all houses within a half-mile radius of the subject property that have been sold within the last 6 months.

While this makes absolute sense, mathematically, it doesn’t make sense in the real world.

The reason is, that if a property is on the edge of two different zip codes of highly differing socioeconomic strata and real estate values, the results will introduce a statistically significant degree of error into their estimate of home value.

For example, a house in South Wayland commands considerably more in price than a house in North Framingham, but Zillow will include houses in North Framingham that are within a half-mile of the Wayland house when figuring their “zestimate”.

Zillow is very good at analyzing quantitative factors (facts) but doesn’t yet have the capacity to include qualitative (feelings) factors, what we realtors call the full 360 degrees.

There are a number of highly subjective factors that help to determine a home’s value, and these factors are constantly changing with trends and popularity of … colors, materials, lifestyles and family makeup, just to name a few.

And last, just as you can check-out a car on many great websites, commercials, movies and in pictures, you don’t really know how you’d like it until you drive it.

Imagine yourself test-driving dozens of cars and then comparing them with someone else who’s only looked at them on websites, who’s opinion of value/drivability/comfort do you think would be more accurate?

So in summary, I believe that Zillow is a great website and I think it is very good at coming up with a blazingly fast sweeping generality of a home’s value. But in its present form, it will not replace the complete market analysis of an experienced, full-time professional realtor.

For a really accurate market analysis of your home by Mike Hunter contact me, I’ll be glad to help you.

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