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When Is It Time To Contact Your Realtor?

If you are thinking about making the call (or text or email), it’s probably time… even if you aren’t planning to actually make the move for another six months or even longer. Sellers should call earlier than buyers, sometimes even a year or more before planning to make the actual move.

The bottom line is, contact your Real Estate Exchange agent whenever you have a question or need some help… that is what we are here for!

SELLERS

Contact your agent before doing any improvements to sell your home… focus on decluttering, cleaning and basic repairs first, then call your agent before doing anything else. Your realtor knows your market and can advise you on what changes will have a positive impact for your specific home… what is and isn’t recommended may surprise you. Also start going to open houses in your area to get an idea of how your competition is preparing, staging and pricing their homes.

Some things you should discuss with your Realtor when you get together at your home are…

  • Current market, what your house might sell for and your estimated net proceeds… possible variations based on potential impact of improvements you  may be considering
  • If you will be buying after you sell, what is available for you to buy… maybe make a ‘buying’ tour of homes. Does it financially make sense to make the move? Do you have special requirements with limited property choices so it makes more sense to buy first if you can?
  • If you decide to move forward, your Realtor can help you make decisions on what you should do to make your home have greatest appeal… improvements should match the market, for your particular home and neighborhood
  • Your Realtor will likely also bring in a stager to help make decisions on things such as paint colors and decor… staging is very different from decorating, and sets the stage so buyers want to picture themselves living in your home
  • If where you live requires a city inspection before you sell, be sure to have that completed before hiring anyone to come in and do any work… coordinate required repairs to be done at the same time

Stay in touch with your realtor as you make progress on your plan. The two most difficult parts of getting ready to sell are often… de-clutter, then de-clutter again, then de-clutter again!… and CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN every nook and cranny including closets, drawers, cupboards, garage, ceilings and light fixtures, and mostly importantly kitchens and bathrooms.

BUYERS

  • Not surprisingly, 93% of buyers start looking for homes on the Internet… a good way to initiate the shift from dream to reality is driving by properties of interest in different neighborhoods to start defining location. Location is so important because that is something you can’t change and it can have a profound impact on how happy you are with your new home.
  • After you initial digging, it’s a good idea to contact your Realtor even if you aren’t ready to buy yet. Have them set up an automated Search for you of different neighborhoods of interest to get a sense of what kinds of properties are available at what price. Start going to open houses to actually get inside the homes.
  • It is a good idea to also contact a lender at this point to help you focus in on price range… and also find out if there are things you can do to assure you get the best interest rate, such as tips to improve your credit score or correct errors on your credit report.
  • Once you are about 4-6 months from your target closing date it is time to meet with your agent, more clearly define what you are looking for and start actively looking… also get your financing pre-approval. Average time to find a home is about 3 months, plus another 1-2 months from purchase agreement to closing.

Finding the right home is a process, which I find usually starts fairly broad and narrows focus as we start actually looking at properties. Contact your Realtor whenever you have any questions about a property or a neighborhood or find a property you simply must see… I usually recommend seeing at least one other property in the neighborhood for comparison with properties in serious consideration.

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The First Step In Preparing Your Home For Sale

STEP ONE : DE-CLUTTERING

What is often the hardest step in getting ready to sell your home is de-cluttering and getting rid of your excess ‘stuff’. Face it… we tend to fill the space we have, sometimes to the point of overflowing. Whether it’s messy clutter… or very neat but just too much… it has to go so potential buyers can focus on how they would use the space.

When you list your home for sale you want to wow your potential buyer so they can see themselves living there… so they want to live there! You want enough ‘stuff’ so they can see how to use the space… but not so much that they focus on your ‘stuff’ rather than the house. After all, you are selling your house, not your things!

This de-cluttering step can be so hard that it sometimes stops the process before it ever gets started. If you have a lot to do, accept that it’s ok to ask for help… from family and friends, or hire an expert to help… just ask your Realtor for a recommendation.

Especially if you plan to downsize, de-cluttering can be the longest part of the process of getting your home ready to sell… and may be the most difficult. If you have lived in your home for a long time, your things are likely associated with many memories over the years… a good reason to share some of those treasures with people dear to you. A good place to start can be going through your things and selecting what you want to keep first… then giving things away to family and friends, donating to a worthy cause (for a tax deduction) or having an estate sale for the rest.

De-cluttering to get your home ready for staging often takes multiple sweeps… going through it an initial time… then again… then again… You want to get down to the basic structure of your home so potential buyers can experience the space… and visualize moving in their stuff.

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The Second Step In Preparing Your Home For Sale

STEP TWO – FIXES & UPDATES 

Once you have de-cluttered and removed all your excess stuff, it’s time to move on to the next step…fix ups, updates and painting. You may discover some fixes that you were unaware or have simply forgotten about. The most important part of this step is not to become overwhelmed. As your Realtor, we are always happy to assist in this process with years of experience in what buyers are looking for!

If there are any inspections required prior to selling where you live, this is the time to have it done, such as a Title 5 Inspection.  Some sellers also have their own buyer’s inspection done at this point so they aren’t surprised by things that turn up after getting an offer.

Whether your city requires an inspection or not, the state of Massachusetts does require smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarm be inspected by your local fire department. Now is the time to take a look at your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are updated and working properly.

If you have an inspection, make that the start of your ‘to do’ list and then go through and add to your list room by room. You’ll want to look at the ceiling, floors, walls, corners, closets, windows and coverings, light fixtures, doors, plumbing, etc with a critical eye. Visualize yourself seeing each room for the first time and note what stands out. Keep in mind that buyers usually focus first on the kitchen so this is an important area to consider when thinking about any updates or fixes.

Most people do at least some painting and often some flooring when getting ready to sell. Focus on getting a good, consistent flow of color throughout the house can maximize the feeling of spaciousness. Your Realtor can help you with suggestions for this or point you in the direction of a stager, someone who specializes in showcasing your home using your temporary furniture, decor, etc. 

Finally, don’t forget to also look outside… curb appeal includes condition of the property itself, as well as landscaping and accessories. You can prevent a buyer from even coming in the front door if they don’t like what they see outside! It sets the stage for what they expect to see inside.

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5 Signs That It’s Time For A Price Reduction On Your Listing

You have prepared your home so it is in good condition, it is well staged and has a good Internet presence… but it still hasn’t sold… now what?

Here are five clues it may be time for a price reduction…

1. You aren’t getting many showings

2. You are getting showings but consistent feedback is that the price is above market value

3. You are getting showings with feedback that buyers are interested, but don’t get any second showings or offers

4. You are getting showings that say your property is in good condition and shows well, is priced at market value, but… they don’t like the location, the floor plan is awkward, the rooms are too small, etc

5. Your price per square foot is higher than comparable properties that have sold recentlyPrice is the most important factor in the sale of your home because it takes everything into account. You can’t control the market or where it is located, but you can control the price.

Remember…

  • Your Realtor will compare your price to recent comparable sales, not just active listings…..active listings that haven’t sold.
  • Price overcomes objections so consider this when discussing a price reduction.
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What is a Comparative Market Analysis?

What Exactly is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and why do I need one?

Known in the real estate business simply by its acronym, a CMA is a powerful tool that rounds up similar properties in your area to help determine your home’s value.

Since no two homes are the same, a well-executed CMA is equal parts art and science, comparing raw data, such as your square footage and home address, with the less tangibles, like your home’s proximity to noisy streets. It’s an absolute essential when nailing down an initial asking price, and important for buyers making offers, too.

Your realtor will prepare a CMA by examining several properties that are comparable to your own home in location and size to figure out an appropriate asking price. Getting a CMA from your realtor is often one of the first steps you’ll take in listing your property.

The importance of pricing your home right the first time can’t be understated.

There are obvious downsides to listing a property too low, but too high can be detrimental to the selling process. Buyers will often conduct their own CMAs and will be able to easily spot an incorrectly priced listing. This could result in your home sitting on the market longer than is needed and thus causing even fewer buyers taking an interest as time goes on.

What Makes A Good Comparative Market Analysis?

The Comparative Market Analysis Starts With Location, Location, Location

The most important step in a CMA is accurately defining your neighborhood. One common mistake is drawing a perfect circle radius around your home, but that’s not always the most accurate approach. If you go across a set of train tracks or even over a few streets, it’s easy to see that often the homes or area is priced very differently. Your realtor can always explain why this may or may not be the case.

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Signs That It’s Time To Make An Offer

Wondering if you’ve found the right home? Here are some signs that it’s time to make an offer. 

1. It feels good as soon as you enter… as you go through it you find that instead of looking for reasons not to buy, you are looking for affirmation that it continues to feel good and this is the right home.

2. You get the flutters… it’s like the feeling you get when you fall in love, wait a minute this IS falling in love, but with a home!

3. You forgive flaws… every home has flaws, but you find yourself making excuses for the flaws in this home, willing to overlook them because the rest of the home feels so good.

4. You find yourself mentally moving in, arranging furniture, changing paint colors, making updates… this is an important sign that you feel like you could live here, and you are ready to fix it up to truly make it yours.

5. You remember every detail… after seeing tons of houses most of them blur together, but this one stands out and is emblazoned in your memory.

6. You feel happy… rather than worrying, you relax and breathe a sigh of relief that this feels like home and you would be proud to live here.

7. You can’t imagine someone else moving into ‘your home’. When you get to this point, it’s time to make an offer!

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The Benefits Of Owning A Home

Owning a home has always been part of the American Dream. For many it still is! There are many benefits for owning a home -some are financial and some are emotional. It represents stability, shelter, wealth and pride. When you buy your first home, it feels awesome to be able to say you are a homeowner!

Some of the benefits are financial – here are a few of them:

-Appreciation – your home has been going up in value, it doesn’t always happen but in the long term, you will gain equity in your home.

-Forced savings – with each payment you make, you are lowering the amount you owe and gaining equity in your home. If you rent, you are making your landlord richer by helping make his house payment.

-Net worth – for most homeowners, their net worth is higher than someone that rents.

-Tax benefits – talk to your CPA about expenses you can write off, you may be able to save money on your tax bill by owning a home.

There are other benefits that you don’t always think about:

-Civic participation – when you own your home, you tend to take better care of it. You may also be more concerned about your community and neighborhood.

-Public assistance – many homeowners use their equity in their homes to pay down debt and avoid using public assistance.

-Pride of ownership – your home is yours – you can decorate it how you want, you can plant a garden, you can paint walls, you can make your home yours. When you rent, you need to get permission to paint, etc.

The American Dream of home ownership is alive and well – there is something about buying your first home and knowing it’s yours! It’s exciting to know you hold the keys! If you are thinking about buying, let us know – we would love to help you with your dream of home ownership!