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Buying & Selling Tips

 

Click on the links below to read the corresponding article.

 

Selling Tips        Buying Tips
Consider This Advice    Ask For Documentation
Advertising Your Home    Closing Costs
Setting The Asking Price   Home Warranties
Maximizing Your Home's Appeal   Home Inspections
Selling A Home Yourself    Making An Offer
   

      *These tips are provided with permission by the authors and are to be viewed as advice only.

No misinterpretation or misrepresentation is directly implied.

 

Click Here to read our FAQ's pages which has more information pertaining to home sales

 

SELLING TIPS

SELLERS -  CONSIDER THIS ADVICE
When selling your home, there are many variables that are involved that need to be considered. Neglecting these same variables can possibly cause your home to be on the market for a longer time frame than need be.

 Price for your location - Amount of Advertising - Home's Appearance - Sales Tactics - Negotiating the Sale - etc...

1) Sale Price - Pricing comparable homes in your immediate area helps give you a better idea of what price to ask for your home. "Comparable" is a word that a lot of sellers confuse with "similar"...  Similar homes are not quite comparable - total finished square feet, age, updates, lot size, garage size, amenities, and many other factors must be considered when deciding if the home is a "comparable" property. 

If you cannot find a comparable property in your immediate area, consider getting an professional appraisal of the property. Even though you are going to have to spend some money to have this done, a professional appraisal will aid you in setting the price as well as give you a tool when bargaining with the potential buyer. A homeowner that has had a recent appraisal, can state "Price below appraisal!" or when a potential buyer makes an offer, the homeowner can let the buyer see the appraisal and therefore reassure the buyer that the home is priced correctly. * A note about appraisals vs fair market analysis - An appraisal is much more valuable than a fair market analysis. When you receive a fair market analysis, it cannot be used to replace the appraisal value a loan institution will demand when the homeowner has accepted an offer. The appraisal will need to be done and it's results will be one of the major determining factors if the bank will loan the buyer the money for the home. All too many times have I seen a sale go bad because the appraisal was lower than the sale price. There are instances where the appraisal was higher than the homeowner's asking price - thus letting the homeowner consider selling at a higher price and making the best of their investment.

2) Avoid Ego driven sales tactics - Unfortunately we all would like to believe our home is worth more and that it's appearance is appealing to everyone. This is not always the case (Sometimes, it is). Ask friends to be completely honest with you about the appearance and price you have chosen. Let them know that you will not hold it against them, rather you trust their opinion and would like their advice. Do not take what they say as an insult if their views are different from your own. They are your friends and generally will not mislead you....get several opinions (as they will vary). If they let you know that your kitchen is dark and gloomy - consider painting it a bright color or adding lighting to complement the room. Constructive criticism can be very helpful.

3) Trying to sell without spending any money (or little money) - The reason  people sell by owner is to save money. If you are selling by owner, you must understand that it takes advertising to help bring potential buyers to your door. If you were to use a professional's services, one of the first things they are going to do is spend money advertising your home (This can accumulate to a good portion of their commission depending on how long the home is for sale). Most professionals will put ads in the local newspapers, flyers in an info-tube, place a sign in your yard, arrows signs directing traffic from local streets, add your listing to the MLS database, and have your home photographed and presented on the internet. They will also hold several open houses on weekends. 

So if you are going to try to sell your home by yourself - you will gain the best results by advertising the exact same way the professionals do. Experience has proven to them that this is most effective. The only thing you cannot do is add your home to the MLS database. If you are saving thousands in this way, you need to consider spending a portion of what you are saving to get the results you need.

Select your advertising carefully

Be sure to select your advertising carefully - there are several ways to advertise your home without spending a small fortune. Always ask if the advertising company has restrictions or a contract that may take some of your options away. You'd be surprised - some of these companies have very ridiculous contracts that restrict you in the worst ways...

Newspaper ads are typically old fashion. With the internet's ease of use, virtually unlimited space capacity, and low overhead - print advertising just isn't what it used to be. Most buyers are turning to the internet to view numerous photos and information about properties for sale. Sites that build a good presentation of your home will give the potential buyer far more information than could be reasonably accomplished by a print ad. Although you may still obtain a lead or two via newspaper advertising, if they do not allow you to work your internet advertising together with the print ad - they are not keeping your best interests at heart. Certain papers view internet advertising as competition and will not allow you to add the internet address to your ad. At that point, you have to ask yourself if you believe it is worth spending a lot more on that small print ad compared to your internet ad. Other papers have developed their own internet advertising site that you can add your own photos & details. This comes at a price.. and you have to look at these sites very carefully. If they do not offer free professional photography with initial purchase, or write the descriptions for you - your ad may fall short of it's objective "Building the intrigue to bring potential buyers to the home". The photos & details are the most important part of advertising - they must create an inviting taste to do their job. Amateur photos & descriptions can hinder or actually "do more harm than good".

The same careful consideration needs to be made when selecting a company to place photos and details of your home on the internet. Some of these companies will have you sign a contract that restricts your options such as listing with a realtor or advertising on other websites. These companies are not looking out for your best interests - only their own. There is no need for a contract when placing your home on the internet. No advertising company should ever be so bold as to tell you where you can and cannot advertise nor do they have the right to take away your choice of listing with a realtor if you choose to do so. These companies are the same ones that drive their business with deceptive statistical banners, over exaggerated hit counts, and claims of selling millions of dollars worth of homes. They do not sell homes - they advertise homes! In most states it is illegal to claim to have sold homes without a real estate license or brokers license. Unfortunately,  these companies use their contracts and deceptive hype to drive their business - they are not working to help you sell your home - they are working to make money - any way they can - regardless of your misunderstanding of their restrictions and banners - period.

Our site does not require a contract, nor will we ever tell you that you cannot list with a realtor or advertise on other websites. We work for the client - advertising in order to help sell the home! If you choose to list with a realtor we will change your contact information over to that of your realtor. You will not loose any advertising time you paid for. Advertising your home on our site is cost effective - non restrictive - and you will know we are honest about our profession. We are here to help you - not restrict you. 

4)  Ask yourself questions  - Will you accept a contingency? What will be your rock bottom price be? Will you sell on contract? Will you give an allowance for any repairs? How long are you willing to wait to sell your home? How much are you willing to spend on advertising and for how long? Are you willing to put forth the time and effort of having open houses, keeping the home's appearance up, and providing constant advertising?

5) Make a Plan - Create a schedule that you can live with that will indicate it is time to amend your sales tactics.

Examples: "In two weeks if our home is still for sale - Have Open Houses every weekend"

                   "After one month, if our home is still for sale - "Reduce price $X amount of dollars"

                   "After two months, if our home is still for sale - Offer an allowance to help with closing costs or overdue repairs."

*These are only examples of a schedule and should not be a guideline for your personal circumstances. 
"You" know what you are willing to do to get the sale completed. "You" should determine what must be done and when.

6) Negotiating the Sale Price - If you have an offer on your home that you cannot live with, do not be insulted. The buyer may simply be using the "Insult first - get bottom price" tactic that we all know they sometimes use. Instead, consider a counter bid that is either lower than your asking price or maybe include the appliances in the deal. Maybe offering an allowance for an overdue repair.

I ran into a situation a few years ago where a seller was given an offer and she was so insulted, she hung up on the potential buyer. After telling me this, I advised her to call the people back, apologize, and present a counter offer (A price she had already known she would sell for). Needless to say - They signed papers accepting the counter offer that night. 

Be pleasant to your potential buyers - even if they are not pleasant to you. This is business - no personal emotions should be involved.

Summary:

You can be successful in selling your home if you are willing to put forth the time and effort necessary. 

Price your property effectively, Advertise, and try to keep your emotions out of the deal....

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ADVERTISING YOUR HOME 
 

There are many ways to advertise your home on the market. You definitely want  to maximize your home's exposure.  Flyers, info-tubes, signs, and the internet are all tools to the home seller. Let's analyze each of these tools in order to ensure that you are using them the best way possible. 

  • Newspaper ads are typically old fashion. With the internet's ease of use, virtually unlimited space capacity, and low overhead - print advertising just isn't what it used to be. Most buyers are turning to the internet to view numerous photos and information about properties for sale. Sites that build a good presentation of your home will give the potential buyer far more information than could be reasonably accomplished by a print ad. Although you may still obtain a lead or two via newspaper advertising, if they do not allow you to work your internet advertising together with the print ad - they are not keeping your best interests at heart. Certain papers view internet advertising as competition and will not allow you to add the internet address to your ad. At that point, you have to ask yourself if you believe it is worth spending a lot more on that small print ad compared to your internet ad. Other papers have developed their own internet advertising site that you can add your own photos & details. This comes at a price.. and you have to look at these sites very carefully. If they do not offer free professional photography with initial purchase, or write the descriptions for you - your ad may fall short of it's objective "Building the intrigue to bring potential buyers to the home". The photos & details are the most important part of advertising - they must create an inviting taste to do their job. Amateur photos & descriptions can hinder or actually "do more harm than good".

 

  • Internet:  The internet is the wave of the future. Those who believe it is ineffective or a fad, are sure to be singing a different tune once exposed to it's potential. Once the television was "just a fad". Now it is a very effective tool in advertising. Unfortunately, television advertising can be expensive, and the average Joe does not wish to buy commercial time to advertise their home. The internet is the interactive television of tomorrow. Viewing homes on the internet is very popular and an effective way of showing off your home. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what will photos of every room tell the prospective buyer? EVERYTHING!  Quad City Home Show is serious about helping you advertise your home by offering the lowest prices and more options to advertise your home. You can be certain that we are honest, hardworking, and completely devoted to our jobs. There are no contracts, hidden costs, or deceptive practices.  Advertising on our site is the most cost efficient means of advertising you can purchase in this area. For as little as $1.67 a day, you can have your home listed with numerous photos and all the details you require, as well as a map indicating your home location, and a sign posted in your yard indicating it is listed on our site. Additionally, we offer other packages that include: panoramic photos, mpeg videos, as well as customized packages to suit you every need. We offer discounts for those utilizing other forms of advertising, and for those who advertise for an extended period of time.  For more information on our pricing and services, please visit our Services & Prices page by clicking here. The internet is here to stay, and it is a very effective tool in advertising and www.qchomeshow.com is your means to utilizing that tool.

 

  • Flyers: A properly setup flyer will aid you in passing along pertinent information of your home. Color photos, room dimensions, web address, phone numbers, and updates to the home, are the best way to effectively convey the nature and beauty of your home to the passer by. Recently we have began providing flyers to our customers at a reasonable cost. These flyers are placed on your listing and can be printed on a single sheet of paper. We provide the photos and details for the flyer if you have your home listed on our site. The flyer page is available during the duration you advertise with www.qchomeshow.com. Depending on your printer, these flyers can be printed for a fraction of the cost of color copies. You can place a flyer with your listing for an additional twenty dollars.  When placed in an info-tube, the flyer is like fly paper: Waiting for the driver's curiosity to peak enough to stop and retrieve your information. You may be surprised that even if your home is not on a busy street, that flyers will be missing from your info-tube. Visitor's to our site may print the flyer as well when scheduling their Sunday open house viewing. You may also consider mailing some of these flyers to local companies that have relocation services. If you have your home listed on www.qchomeshow.com, the information about our services has been already provided to most major companies in the Quad City Area. If you know of any such services that you feel we may have omitted, please email us and we shall get them the information a.s.a.p.

 

  • Info Tubes: Info tubes are attached to the top or side of your sale sign and are very effective. The casual drive by can lead to the sale of your home. If there is an info tube on the sign, people will not just drive by and wonder if the price of your is out of their range or not, their curiosity will peak and they will be inclined to stop and grab one of the flyers that are inside. Another advantage of the info tube is that once the flyer is obtained, the potential buyer will be able to consult his or her spouse with knowledge of the home. Always consider the info-tube an effective way to catch the drive-by buyer.

 

  • Signs: Signs too play an important role in advertising your home. A properly sized and placed sign is imperative. Placing arrow signs leading to your home from an busy street will also assist you in increasing your drive by traffic. Using Open House signs on the day of or before the open house will also increase traffic. 

       Utilizing all of these tools together will give you better exposure. 

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Selling A Home Yourself

Selling a Home on Your Own

The following is general information on selling a home on your own:

When you sell your own home, you will be selling a valuable item and you will want to get as much for it as you should. By all means, plan carefully so that you bring as much expertise to it's sale as possible.

Following are general considerations when you sell your own home:

  • ·        Check the appearance and condition of your home. Consider what needs to be done in order to maximize the value of your home. If you need a fresh coat of paint that will cost you $300.00, but will add $1000 to the value of your home, it is worth considering. If the task is a major undertaking or expense, consider giving the potential buyer an allowance to repair the particular problem. Many times a home seller will give an allowance for carpeting and other items that need to be done to the home. This gives the buyer the opportunity to select the style and color they would like to choose. (A great way to appeal to the buyer). The buyer gets this allowance typically at closing time and it is written to them in a form of a check from the seller. This way the allowance is incorporated into the loan, but used for renovations in case the buyer does not have the financial means to use their own savings to implement the renovation.
  • ·        Estimating market value and setting your asking price are important considerations. If your asking price is too high, good prospects will be turned away and your house will be on the market for a substantial amount of time. Conversely, if your asking price is too low, you will not get the price you should. Consider the area, school district, and the comparable homes nearby. If there has been another home nearby that is comparable to yours, find out what is sold for and try to consider the differences between the two homes when setting the asking price. Always consider the lost opportunities you may suffer by believing your home is worth more than the appraised price. Ask as many people as you can what their opinion is. Ultimately, the best way to figure your home's value is to have an appraiser come appraise the value of your home. The cost of such a service may be more than you really want to spend, but it very well may mean more money for you if you had priced your home less than the real value!
  • ·        Visit your local financial institution and talk to the loans officer. Have them explain to you what you should do if the buyer asks about securing a mortgage in the present market. However, do not presume that you are an expert after your discussion with the loans officer. Refer the buyer to the loans officer, because they are the ones who must complete the mortgage application form.  
  • ·        If you do not use a real estate agent and are not trained in law, you should see an attorney experienced in real estate matters before you place your house on the market. They will advise you on legal procedures regarding selling, including how to enter into a sales agreement, what it should contain, and what taxes are involved in transferring real estate. Money spent in advance on an attorney's fee could save you many problems and much more money later.  
  • ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE......
  • Utilize all the advertising tools available to you. Click here for more info.
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Setting the Asking Price

What is important to remember when setting the asking price?
All too often, the asking price of a home is decided upon without good planning. In fact, the greatest mistake made in real estate is poor pricing. The asking price must accomplish three primary goals.

Pricing With The Competition

Realistically it is buyers who determine what your home is worth. How do buyers determine value? Buyers learn about value by inspecting and comparing homes that are for sale during the same time period. This process of comparison is used when buyers decide which homes they want to see. If your home is not priced in accordance with similar homes, you will not get as many showings as those homes that are competitively priced. When attempting to price your home with the market, don't rely on hearsay or rumor about recent selling prices.

Pricing To Negotiate

Traditionally, in the home selling business, most buyers expect to negotiate. Everyone likes to think they got a "deal". In order to satisfy this need to negotiate, you should price your home so that you will be willing to accept somewhat less than the asking price. Although market conditions will certainly affect the amount of negotiating, most homes sell within 5% of the asking price. A poor market will make this percentage larger while a strong market may experience more full price offers and sometimes offers above the asking price. Do not raise your price an additional 5% in order to compensate for this. You may push your home out of the competition and therefore leave yourself saddled with a long wait. As stated earlier, you may want to have an appraisal done in order to realize your home's value.

Pricing For The Highest Return

Although pricing for the competition and for negotiation are important, the asking price must deliver the highest financial return for the seller in a reasonable period of time with the least inconvenience. Believing you can start high and then drop the price every so often is a strategy that is very similar to a roll of the dice. You may not be in a position to afford the time lost for this strategy. The amount of time you have your home on the market may effect your ability to purchase the home you are planning to move in to. If you do not have a limit on the time you can have your home on the market, you still have to consider if you will be pricing competitively, as well as if you might loose a serious buyer. 

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Showing Points

What can I do to maximize the appeal of my home during showings?

Cleanliness

Inspection every room. This is imperative! Cooperation from all family members is important during the entire time that your home is for sale. Even though your try to give yourself adequate time when setting appointments to see the home, it isn't always possible.  The two areas needing the "most" attention are the kitchen and bathrooms.

Lighting

Your home should have a bright and cheery appearance. Lighting plays an important role in displaying your home to its best advantage. Whether it is a sunny day or after dark, turn on many lights as possible throughout the house. If your home is on the dark and dim side, consider purchasing a few halogen lights to increase the lighting.

Odors

While your home is for sale, it may be necessary to temporarily avoid odors. If you have animals in the home, have a game plan for where they can be during a showing and be sure to have all litter boxes, etc out of site and smell. If the animal is a long-haired animal, make sure the hair is vacuumed up and all carpets have had a deodorizer used on them. If possible, have a friend or relative that does not frequent the home much walk the home and give it a good sniff test.

Noise

All stereos, television sets, radios, and record players should be turned off while the home is being shown. Many homeowners feel that soft background music enhances the sale. Not so. Any noises may tend to distract the potential buyers from concentrating on the features of your home. A home that is virtually deprived of any source of noise from children, animals, and likewise, will definitely be a plus.


What are some points to remember when negotiating the sale?
This step requires good instincts and valuable experience. Some of the items that are usually included in the negotiations are price, type of financing, closing date, occupancy date, amount of deposit, and a recitation of those things that will be included in or excluded from the sale.

The ability to remain emotionally objective is essential in order to have a successful negotiation. As a matter of fact, most negotiations that fail do so because one or both parties become angered by the actions of the other. A seller can be offended by the original price being offered by the buyer. A common reaction by an offended seller is to decide that if their buyer wants to buy the house, he or she will have to pay the full price. Buyers also can get hurt feelings when a seller decides to exclude drapes or lighting fixtures that the buyer expected to go with the house.

Whether you are the buyer or the seller, you cannot let your emotions undermine your success when negotiating the purchase or sale of real estate. Here are some simple rules of negotiating to remember:

Before making an offer or counter-offer, ask yourself how your decision will affect the emotions of the other party

Before entering into negotiations, clarify what your objectives are and how far you are willing to go.

All effective negotiations require trust between the parties. Be straightforward and above board in your actions. Be friendly and cheerful. If the potential buyers find you likable, you will get better results.

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BUYING TIPS

Closing Costs

What are Closing Costs?   Closing costs are simply the fees, costs and taxes associated with the purchasing of a home, the borrowing of money and the preparation of necessary paperwork to finalize the sale. The total amount of your closing costs will vary depending on where your new home will be located, what type of property you are buying, the price of the home and the complexity of the transaction. Closing costs can easily represent thousands of dollars.   The main categories are:   Discounts Points to Buying Down the Mortgage  This fee is optional and can vary significantly from 0.5 to 3 points on the total of the mortgage. It is a one-time charge that is calculated based on the amount of the mortgage loan. A buyer would pay this amount up front to reduce the ongoing cost of the mortgage over the life of the loan. This charge is fully deductible as mortgage interest.   The Costs of Originating the Mortgage  These generally include a variety of fees such as the loan origination fee, the appraisal fee and the cost of credit reports. There are also other fees that you will be expected to pay at closing such as hazard and mortgage insurance and interest accrued on the mortgage between closing date and the end of the month.   Taxes and other Local Fees  These charges will vary according to the requirements of local governments. Some may demand that your property taxes be pro-rated according to when you will officially become the owner of the house. There can also be personal property taxes, homeowner's association dues, and other assessments that are specific to the area that you are moving into.   The Cost of Documentation  You will have to pay for any research involving public records and the title history on the property you are buying. This insures that the title on your property is unencumbered by other ownership or liens and can be delivered to you at closing. Other costs include Recording and Transfer fees that cover the legal recording of the deed to your name.  It is critical that you have a clear understanding of the total cost of your closing.  Consider contacting a loan representative about actual fact and figures. You will find they are extremely helpful! Consider speaking to one of the two individuals listed at the top of this page. They are professionals that can help you immensely.

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Home Inspections

Home inspections

Most prospective homebuyers hire an inspector after they are fairly certain that they have found a house to buy. The best time, therefore, is after making an offer.

An inspector ideally is an impartial examiner, who educates the buyer about the house's condition. He, or she, is not hired to give opinions as to whether or not to buy the property; forecasts on life expectancy of appliances; estimates about the value of the home; or suggestions on who to hire for repair work. A house will not "pass" or "fail" an inspection. It assists the potential buyer in making a logical decision based on possible conditions that may exist that they are unaware about.

The important point to remember is to hire an expert who is most familiar with the type of home to be inspected, and who has the practical experience and technical knowledge to assess the condition of the house.

A house inspector will go through the entire home looking for clues about its condition. They will not move furniture or boxes. Nor will they cause any damage to complete their inspection. An inspection should take 1 - 4 hours to complete. The prospective purchasers should accompany the house inspector on the tour. If the house is vacant at the time of inspection, ensure that all the utilities hooked up and available for testing.

Most house inspectors will provide the buyer with a written report that describes the house's: structure, exterior, interior, interior plumbing, and electrical, heating & air conditioning systems.

One way to find an inspector is to ask friends and associates who have hired one in the past. Check with the Better Business Bureau for a list of member house inspectors and for reliability reports. Another way is to check the yellow pages of your telephone directory under the heading "building inspection services".

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MAKING AN OFFER

Buyers want the lowest possible price - obviously. The problem with this is that they will not always get there with the tactics they use. Some buyers believe that insulting the homeowner with a price that is significantly lower will force the homeowner to counter with their lowest price. This is not always the case. Please consider the fact that most homeowner's are emotionally tied to their property and can be insulted easily (even though this is something that they should try to prevent)...

When you wish to negotiate the price of the home, be as pleasant and honest as possible. Remember, being polite, friendly, and honest will appeal to the owner. If the homeowner offers a counter bid that you cannot live with, do not hesitate to make yet another offer. Keeping the bargaining table open for discussion will help you avoid getting into a "Stale Mate"... Be reasonable and be ready to stick to a price you can live with. Do not always make the assumption that the owner is "desperate" or "unrealistic"... Bargains are nice, but they seldom come as a sacrifice from the homeowner.  If their counter bid is within a few thousand dollars - get advice from a loan officer as to how much more will that increase your monthly payments. You may be surprised to find out that it may only be a few dollars per month."?"

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ASK FOR DOCUMENTATION

When looking a home - ask the seller if they have pertinent documentation about the home as well as a disclosure statement. Any additional documents they can provide will help answer a lot of your questions about the property.

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