FAQ for Top Dollar Sales

Q. Should I get an appraisal before placing my house for sale?

  1. Sometimes an appraisal prior to listing can be a benefit in marketing your home.   In the event your property is hard to find a true comparable sale or you have some extensive or unique upgrades; It lets us be aware of what an appraiser would value your property at.  Keep in mind that an appraisal is just one persons certified opinion of value; it does cost money; has a limited shelf life, and cannot transfer to the buyer directly to be used in conjunction with them obtaining their loan.  Therefore if the buyer is obtaining financing, a second appraisal would be in order and thus another possibly different opinion of value could be obtained.

Q. What can I do to prepare my house for showings?

A.  Thoughtful home staging is more than just tidying up and cleaning every room. It could mean a quick sale and higher selling price if done right. Here are six ways you can leave a positive impression on potential buyers.

1. Eliminate Clutter — Clear the clutter from around your home. It’s easy to overlook things you see every day, so try to approach all spaces with fresh eyes. Consider having a friend come over to help point out unnecessary items. Larger pieces like coat racks and side tables can make a room feel smaller.  Think about how model homes look at new home subdivisions.  You’re going to be moving, so start packing up excess items.

2.  Clean Out Storage Spaces — Make space in kitchen and bathroom cupboards, closets and other storage areas. Pack up items you don’t regularly use, and put them out of sight or donate them. Leaving these areas completely full may give potential buyers the impression that your home doesn’t have enough storage space for their needs.

3. Clear the Way — Make sure potential homebuyers can move obstacle free through your house. Remove furniture that blocks the natural flow of traffic or hinders sight lines into other rooms.  Ask yourself when you walk into a room, “Am I walking into the side of a dresser or pivot around furnishings?”  If so, consider eliminating some furnishings

4. Remove Personal Items — Family pictures, excessive refrigerator magnets, children’s artwork and other personal items should be removed down to avoid distraction. We want buyers to look at the house itself, not the contents inside your home.  Keep in mind, your personal belongings can make it hard for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.

5. Spic n’ Span & conduct that Honey-do List:  Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, declare war on dust,  …repair squeaks, that light switch that doesn’t work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these in a whole add up to a less than great overall showing and potentially end up to be deal killers and you’ll never know what turns buyers off.  Remember, you’re not just competing with other resale homes, but brand new ones as well.

6.  Remember Curb Appeal — Make a strong first impression by sprucing up your front yard and entryway.  Take an objective look if your house could use some paint; front & garage doors and wood eaves.  Replace the house numbers and exterior light fixtures if necessary. Keep the lawn mowed, the yard free of clutter and toys, and the plants well maintained.

Remember, I’m always willing to walk your home with you and assist in some of these tips.


Q.  Houses are selling quickly in my neighborhood, I’m considering my option to sell by owner. What would the benefit be to hire a realtor rather than doing it myself?

  1. According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed who sell their own homes say they wouldn’t do it again themselves.  Primary reasons include setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints.  If considering a Realtor, consider two or three to meet with.  All Realtors are not the same!  A professional Realtor knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a proven marketing plan, and will provide their background and references.  Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of their experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality.  If you elect to hire an agent, be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a good job on your behalf, as you will be talking with them a lot.  If you choose to sell on your own, you can still talk with a Realtor.  Like myself, many are more than willing to help For Sale by Owner sellers with paperwork, contracts, etc. and should problems arise, you now then someone you can readily call upon.


Q. My animals are very friendly and loving, and I wish to accommodate showings during the day while I’m at work.  Is it okay for me to leave them inside to greet the buyers?

  1. I would highly suggest against that. Some buyers have true fears when it comes to some animals, and the most friendly dog can become aggressive or excessively bark when strangers enter their home when the owner is out.  We want prospective buyers to leisurely view the home and not be eager to run out the door.  Animals also get sick and have messes from time to time, which could also create an odor issue.  A bad showing is worse than having someone come at a different time than they originally requested; a time when you are able to safely remove your pets and ensure the home is set for the best possible showing experience.


Q.  I just received my tax assessment evaluation.  Is what they are valuing it at what I’ll be able to sell my home for?

  1. I understand that those valuations can be confusing and some people think that they are a way of evaluating a home.  The difficulty here is that assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values and the current market, so they may not necessarily reflect your home’s true value.  I would be happy to provide a no obligation market analysis of your property to give you a better idea of today’s value.


Q. Can you provide me some tips to setting the price of my home for sale?

  1. Absolutely, when you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home.  As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible.  If you start out by pricing too high, you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and price too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.  Here are five things to consider while pricing your home.
  1. Understand why you are selling your home: Your motivation to sell is the determining factor and greatly effects your asking price.  For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, a more aggressive price may be considered, contraire if you want to maximize your profit, the sales process may take longer and hold up future plans.
  2. A good way to establish value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the market.  This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.  Also a trip to city hall can provide you with home sale information in it’s public records.  If you live in a subdivision; Your home is comprised of similar or identical floorplans, built in the same period providing a simple look at recent sales in your neighborhood to give you a good idea of your homes worth.  If you live in an older neighborhood; As neighborhoods change over time, each home may be different in minor or substantial ways.  Because of this many find that there aren’t many homes which truly compare to theirs, so be mindful of the individuality and functionality of your home.
  3. Do some home shopping yourself: The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open houses.  Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and other features.  Particularly note, not only the asking prices but what they are actually selling for.  Remember, if you’re serious about getting your home sold fast, don’t price it higher than your neighbors.
  4. Ensure you have room to negotiate: Before setting on your asking price, make sure you leave yourself enough room in which to bargain.  For example, set your lowest and highest selling price.  Then check your priorities to know if you’ll price high to maximize your profit or price closer to market value if you want to sell quickly.
  5. Keep your emotions in check:  Let go of the emotion you’ve invested in your home.  Be detached, using a business-like manner in your price setting.  Is your home really worth the price you are wanting after an unbiased review of what is selling?

Remember, I’m always willing to provide a no obligation in-home consultation to give you my thoughts on your market value.


Q. A buyer viewed our home and they said they loved it, but their offer came in lower than we could accept.  We countered their offer and they just rejected and moved on.  We are feeling like maybe we should we of accepted their offer?

  1. It’s hard to establish what would of been your best move without more information.  Hopefully you were empowered with the true market value of your home, not just what you were hoping to obtain.  I understand that there are emotions involved when buying and selling real estate.  When an offer comes in on your property, try to evaluate the offer objectively.  The better you know the buyers’ situation, the better you can use negotiation processes to your advantage.  As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money.  Knowing what motivates them enables you to negotiate more effectively.  For example, does the buyer need to move quickly?  Armed with this information, you are in a better position to bargain.  What can the buyer really pay? …Since their offer was low, Maybe your home was truly too high for what they can afford, so asking their realtor about the buyers ability to pay what the home is worth is important information…  Maybe they are not qualified to carry the size of mortgage the deal would require at a true market value. Inquiring about how they arrived at their figure and suggest they compare your price to the prices of homes for sale in your neighborhood.  Don’t be upset.  If the buyer was going to waiver that quickly from the property, they may not of been there at the end of the escrow process.  The last thing you want to do is waste valuable market time while under contract with a buyer that is not going to close the sale.


Q. I would like to be at the home for all showings to make certain the buyers know of all the upgrades that my home has and to make certain they don’t steal anything.

A.  It’s definitely best for you to be gone when you have showings and let the agent do their job.  The last thing you want is for prospective buyers to feel they are intruding into someone’s life and home; we want them to visualize themselves living there.  It’s best when you engage as little as possible with a potential buyer.  Information gleaned by a buyer from you could place you at a disadvantage in the negotiation process.  Realtors are licensed professionals.  They will walk their clients through the home, pointing out the benefits of your upgrades and being aware of something that seems unlawful.  I have never had anything taken from a sellers home, however, as a precautionary, I strongly suggest that you place valuables away and out of direct sight.