Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Bet You Didn't Think to Stage This!

stage your refrigerator Details, homebuyers tend to be somewhat detail oriented and scrutinize even the smallest items. So when you are cleaning and prepping your home for buyers, think about your refrigerator. Especially if it is conveying with the home. What will your potential buyer see when they open the door?

The condition and contents of your refrigerator may say a lot about you. It might even have a negative effect. Are the shelves sticky and over-stuffed? Do you have expired vegetables in the drawers? Bad smell?

Recently, the New York Times ran an article on the overlooked refrigerator. The author wrote about how he was getting his apartment ready to sell and suddenly realized his refrigerator was a mess. He went back and forth about buying staging items to put in it like fresh orange juice, bottle milk instead of cartons, watermelon chunks, olive Tapenade and champagne. Then he realized he needed to limit the expense of the items placed in the fridge. Do you want to appear cosmopolitan or foolish? You want to give a good impression, but don't want buyers to think you have so much money that you can buy expensive cheeses or burrata for $8 a container.

Keep this in mind, if you, the seller, are leaving the refrigerator behind than stage it in a condition that you would be proud to show off to your guests. Give that ole' fridge a good "spring" cleaning. Get rid of items that have been sitting for a year, you know the ones. Also clean the shelves so they will sparkle if possible. Using apple cider vinegar in your cleaning bucket will cut some of those old smells. Put in a refrigerator box of Arm & Hammer baking soda when you're done to help control any lingering odors and freshen it up.

Then use some common sense and add in some of those items we all want to see in our refrigerators like fresh fruit on the day of the showing. Or some gourmet condiments and mustards. Just enough that gives a good impression. Remember presentation is everything, even inside your refrigerator.

stage your refrigerator and kitchen

Monday, August 19, 2013

More Questions to Ask Your Realtor Before You List

Last week we covered some of the more pressing questions you would ask your Realtor ®. Here are a few more follow up questions or thoughts.
    more questions to ask your realtor before you list
  • Ask for a copy of their sales record. Ask the agent you are interviewing if you can see a copy of their sales record for the previous few years. This is something that most MLS's have as an option to print. The number of homes sold and the price range of the homes sold will give you a clue about how serious the agent is about their career. You want to hire a agent who is all about real estate.
  • Read their reviews and testimonials. Every agent should have a reviews or testimonials page on their website. Click over to that page and read what their past clients have to say. You may also ask the agent if you can contact a few of their past clients by phone or email to ask questions.
  • Check out their online presence. In this day of electronic devices find out what kind of online marketing your agent is doing. Do they have a web site, do they have social media accounts, do they have online accounts where you can leave a review, do they have a national listing service. The better the agent markets themselves the easier it is for potential buyers to find your home.
  • Have a conversation. And finally, have a conversation with your potential agent. Consider personality matches. Ask yourself, can I easily work with this agent? The better your relationship is with your agent, the better the communication will be between each of you.

If you have any questions that I didn't cover here, feel free to leave me a comment below or email me at Feel free to check out my Selling a Home tab on my web site for details on how the Victoria Cottle Real Estate Group works for you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Questions to Ask Your Realtor Before You List

questions to ask your realtor before you list

Thinking about listing your home for sale? Well here are some questions you should ask your Realtor® before you sign the listing agreement.
  1. What is the market value of my home? In order to get your home sold in a timely manner, you and your agent need to list the home at the right price the first time it goes on the market. To help accomplish this task, ask your agent to perform a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis. To get the data for this report, your agent needs to examine the local real estate market and do an analysis of what current prices the market will handle. Your agent should provide you with a multiple page document which contains sold, pending and active comps for the area you are selling. Several details about your home such as beds, baths, square foot, age, improvements, etc factor into the results of this report. Most agents have access to a CMA creation system through their MLS or by using third-party programs.
  2. How long will it take to sell my home? In addition to pricing the home right, your agent will also analyze DOM or Days on Market for your type of home. Many factors can affect this number. Your agent will give you a professional estimate of the time needed to market and sell your home. If you have a pending deadline make sure your agent knows about it and can make a reasonable attempt to meet it before you sign.
  3. Can you help us find a new home? If you are relocating in the same area, most agents depending on state laws should be able to represent you not only on the sale of your home but assist you in buying a new home. If you are relocating out of state, ask if your agent belongs to or has through their company a relocation referral program. That way the agent whom you trusted to sell your home can help you find an out-of-state agent who is just as good.
  4. Do you have a marketing plan or guideline? Don’t be afraid to ask your agent if they have marketing or listing plan for selling your home. Ask if you will receive regular updates on listing activities, showings and other events during your listing term. Communication is very important between you and your agent but having a plan or guideline can be just as important.

These are only some of the questions you should be asking your Realtor®. Next week we will explore a few more. In the meantime, feel free to check out my Selling a Home tab on my web site. I have some details on how the Victoria Cottle Real Estate Group will work for you.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Home Inspection - Yes or No?

home inspections on victorias corner blogThat is the question isn't it. Do I need to get a home inspection or not? This question is on the mind of both home buyers and home sellers. Some other questions, do I get my home pre-inspected? Am I responsible for the repairs? Do we ask for inspections before we buy? What things does the inspector check? If you are like lots of home buyers and home sellers, these questions have crossed your mind.

Let me help you with some answers.
  1. A home inspection is a tool that both the home buyer and the home seller can use during negotiations.
  2. Interview your home inspector before you hire one, ask about qualifications, scope of inspection, length of inspection and the type of report you will get.
  3. The main areas of the home the inspector will inspect are construction quality, foundation integrity, plumbing condition, electrical, cooling and heating systems.
  4. Check to see if the Inspector is a qualified structural engineer if issues with the foundation are reported. If not , the inspector may tell you that you need a structural engineer to inspect those issues which will add another inspection fee.
  5. An inspector will make no warranties or assurances that an item that was working fine at the time of the inspection won't later break or malfunction.
  6. The inspection company should provide you with a comprehensive report of the condition of the home and any issues they caught and suggested fixes.
After you, the home buyer or home seller, receive the report you must decide how to proceed with the results. As a home buyer, you can ask that the home seller make repairs to items found in the report. I would suggest asking only for repairs that affect the function of a device or that are mechanical or structural in nature. Stay away from cosmetic repairs.

As a home seller, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to make repairs and how much you want to spend. Concentrate on major issues that could make or break your sale. Get estimates from local contractors on cost of making the repairs and set your budget. Most buyers will want to see a copy of a paid invoice as proof that the repairs were made and completed by a professional.

Remember that the home inspection is there to protect both the home buyer and the home seller. The results of the inspection report can help you, the buyer, decide if you really want to buy a home and what issues are your make or break items. As a buyer, ask if an inspection has been done on any home that you view, but only pay for an actual inspection on a home on which you place an offer. Speak with your real estate agent for advice.

As a home seller, a clean home inspection works in your favor as a great sales tool and piques the interest any potential buyers. Using the home inspection as a pre-listing tool gives you a heads up on any issues with the home and gives you the opportunity to get the repairs done before any buyers see the home. Remember to keep all receipts/invoices as proofed of work performed.

My recommendation, whether you are a home buyer or home seller, is to make the home inspection part of your transaction process.