Selling Your Home
As a real estate seller, you can play an important part in the timely sale of your property. When you take the following steps, you'll help your RE/MAX Sales Associate sell your home faster, at the best possible price.
The easiest and most reliable way to improve the appeal of your home is to enlist a quality home service professional. The right professional can help real estate sellers get everything in order - from repainting the kitchen to arranging a thorough cleaning.
Guidelines For The Real Estate Seller
- Make the most of that first impression
A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch help real estate sellers put their best foot forward and make prospects feel welcome. So does a freshly painted - or at least freshly scrubbed - front door. If it's autumn, rake the leaves. If it's winter, shovel the walkways. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of the real estate seller's home, the better.
- Invest a few hours for future dividends
Here's your chance to clean up in real estate. Tidy the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor touch-ups and redecorating. Real estate sellers can benefit from updating the hardware on kitchen cabinets, adding new slipcovers to sofas and keeping a vase of fresh flowers in the entryway. These are some of the simple touches that can go a long way. If you're worried about time, hire professional cleaners or painters to help get your house ready. Remember, prospects would rather see how great the real estate seller's home really looks than hear how great it could look "with a little work."
- Check faucets and bulbs
Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned-out bulbs or faulty wiring leave prospects in the dark. Don't let those problems detract from what's right with your home.
- Don't shut out a sale
If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect's mind. Don't try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on the real estate seller's part can smooth the way toward a closing.
- Think safety
Real estate sellers learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller blades on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low-hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as safe as possible for visitors.
- Make room for space
Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They're looking for storage space, too. Real estate sellers should make sure attics and basements are clean and free of unnecessary items.
- Consider your closets
The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now's the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.
- Make your bathroom sparkle
Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. For added allure, real estate sellers should display the best towels, mats and shower curtains.
- Create dream bedrooms
Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a specious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must if real estate sellers want buyers to be able to imagine relaxing there.
- Open up in the daytime
Let the sun shine in! Real estate sellers should pull back curtains and drapes so that prospects can see how bright and cheery the home is.
- Lighten up at night
Turn on the excitement buy turning on all your lights - both inside and outside - when showing your home in the evening. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.
- Avoid crowded scenes
Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they're likely to hurry through. Real estate sellers should keep the company present to a minimum.
- Watch your pets
Dogs and cars are great companions, but not when real estate sellers are showing their homes. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everybody a favor: Keep Kitty or Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
- Think volume
Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. When it's time for a real estate seller to show the home, it's time to turn down the stereo or TV.
It's best if you're not there when your home is being shown. However if that's not possible, be friendly - but it's not necessary to force conversation. Prospects want to view the home with minimal distraction from the real estate seller.
- Don't apologize
No matter how humble your abode, never apologize for its shortcomings. If a prospect volunteers a derogatory comment about your home's appearance, let your experienced RE/MAX Associate handle the situation.
- Keep a low profile
Nobody knows a home better than the real estate seller. But RE/MAX Sales Associates know buyers - what they need and what they want. Your RE/MAX Associate will have an easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay in the background.
- Don't turn your home into a second-hand store
When prospects come to view your home, don't distract them with offers to sell those furnishings you no longer need. You may lose the biggest sale of all.
- Defer to experience - It's the Experience®
When prospective buyers want to talk price, terms or other real estate matters, let them speak to an expert - your RE/MAX Sales Associate. As the real estate seller, you might feel tempted to weigh in, but your two cents could cost you much more.
- Help your agent
RE/MAX Associates have an easier time selling homes if showings are scheduled through their offices. And real estate sellers appreciate the results.
Buying A Home
Whether you've spent years saving and preparing to buy a home, or you're unsure if you can afford it, the questions surrounding home buying can feel endless.
You can find the answers - and peace of mind - by working with RE/MAX, the industry leader in experience and service.
Here are some tips to help you become your own landlord through home buying.
- Hire a real estate professional.
An important first step is selecting a home buying professional to help you find your dream home and fine-tune your financial expectations. Working with a buyer agent is worth consideration because he or she is legally responsible for representing the buyer's interest in a real estate transaction. Before making a decision, however, have a REALTOR® explain the pros and cons of using a buyer agent versus a dual agent. Your RE/MAX Associate can guide you through every step of home buying.
- Shop for mortgage rates and terms.
A difference of even half a percentage point can mean a considerable savings over the life of a loan. For example, the difference in the monthly payment on a $100,000 mortgage at 8 percent vs. 7.5 percent is about $35 per month. Over 30 years, that's $12,600.
- Prequalify for a loan.
Also early on, you'll want to get prequalified for a mortgage loan, which determines how much you can afford. It allows you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious about home buying and can afford to buy the property.
- Outline what you want.
The next step in home buying is to create a realistic idea of the property you'd like to buy. What features are most important to you? Make two lists: one of the items you can't live without and one of the features you would enjoy. Refine the lists as you house-hunt. It is also helpful to search online to see what is currently available on the market. Your real estate professional can then show you houses that meet your expectations.
- Visit properties.
Now you're ready to visit houses. Ask your RE/MAX Associate to help in your home buying process by arranging showings. Be sure to keep track of the properties you've seen. Each time you venture out to see more properties, revisit your notes to immediately eliminate any that clearly do not meet your standards.
- Know the features that help or hurt resale.
In some areas, a swimming pool actually detracts from a home's value and makes it harder to sell. In neighborhoods with two-car, attached garages, a single-car or detached garage may affect the home buying prospects and future value. Your RE/MAX professional can point out features that hurt or help resale value.
- Rate the houses you tour.
After touring each home, write down what you liked and didn't like. Develop a rating system that will help narrow the home buying field. For example, pick the house you like best on day one and compare all other houses to it. When you find a better one, use the new favorite as the standard. Avoid trying to track more than four top choices at any given time since this can quickly become overwhelming.
- Make an offer.
Once you've pinpointed your dream house, it's time to get serious about the financial and contractual side of the purchase. Let your RE/MAX Associate guide you through this sensitive home buying process. Because you and the seller have different goals, rely on your RE/MAX agent's experience and expertise to bring order and calm to the process - and help both parties reach a favorable outcome.
- Arrange for a home inspection.
After your offer is accepted, set up a home inspection. It's common to find problems, including leaky roofs, cracked walls, insect infestations and foundation problems. Your real estate professional can help find a reputable inspector, and will negotiate to get you the most for your money once the inspector's report is final. If you negotiate repairs as part of the purchase, ask for a "walk through" before finalizing the home buying paperwork. Ask your real estate expert about home protection plans, which may save you money in the near future.
Before your closing date, make sure you've made all necessary deposits and completed the paperwork - including mortgage, title, homeowner's insurance and any other paperwork required by local or state governments when home buying. Your RE/MAX agent will be there to help you complete that closing checklist and avoid any last-minute snags. You deserve to enjoy every moment of the home buying process.
- Prepare for life in your new home.
Before rolling out the welcome mat, consider some moving basics: arranging for an alarm company, turning on electricity, water and gas, cleaning or replacing the carpet, and notifying your local post office of your new address. The best time for renovations is often before you move in.