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10 Details You Can't Overlook When Preparing Your Kingstowne VA Home for Sale

Homes for Sale in Kingstowne VA

Is it your first time selling a home in Kingstowne VA? If yes, then be prepared. Buyers are not only pickier these days, they also have more tools in their belts to make sure that they only end up with the property that is best for them. 

With hundreds of properties vying for homebuyers’ attention, how do you make sure that your Kingstowne VA property stands out among the rest? 

When it comes to selling a home, first impressions are everything. A prospective buyer forms this impression in as fast as a tenth of a second, and this impression is what makes him decide whether he likes your home or not. Considering that, ensuring that your home is able to make the best impression possible is a must. 

Here are the details you shouldn’t overlook when preparing your home for sale: 

1.    Curb Appeal

While some home sellers tend to attach less importance to this part of the home, you shouldn’t. When selling a home, it is imperative that you clean up your yard because that is what prospective buyers see first before they enter your home. Make sure that your curb is not only clean but is visually appealing as well. 

2.    Paint

Paint is another very important detail you shouldn’t overlook when selling your home. Since first impressions are key to attracting buyers, you need to make sure that you give both the exterior and interior of your home a fresh coat of paint. If you fail in this part, chances are you won’t be able to get prospective buyers to buy your home. 

3.    Homey Feel

When checking out a home for sale, most homebuyers try to picture themselves in that home. If your home is full of clutter and too many personal details, a prospective buyer might not be able to see your home as his future home. 

4.    Closets

Homebuyers want closets that are spacious and functional. As you prepare your home for sale, make sure that you have organized your closets, especially in the master bedroom.

5.    Front Door

Since most homeowners are accustomed to paying more attention to the interior of their homes, they tend to forget that their front doors accumulate dirt as well. Buyers usually stare at the front door as they wait for it to be opened during a visit, so make sure that it is always clean. 

6.    Neutral Art Pieces

Pack all those personal, brightly colored art pieces in your home and replace them with neutral ones. With less personal details, it will be easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in your home.

Houses for Sale in Kingstowne VA

7.    Fresh Smell

One of the things that initially turn prospective buyers off is a foul smell inside a home. Buyers love scents, so you might want to put some air fresheners in your home to make it smell more inviting. Nothing too strong, just a welcoming aroma.

8.    Clean Surroundings

Remember that even before prospective buyers get into your home, their first impressions begin as they drive towards your property. Make sure that you keep your yard trimmed all the time and that your surroundings are not littered with trash. 

9.    Garage

Your garage tells a lot about how you maintain your property. If your garage is full of junk and is a complete mess, prospective buyers might think that the seemingly well-maintained interior of your home is just a façade. 

10.    Professional Photos and Listing

You can never underestimate the value of appealing photos when selling a home, especially nowadays. With the advent of technology, homebuyers research homes for sale in Kingstowne VA online first before checking out locations in person. Hire a professional photographer to take photos of your well-staged home and ask your agent to create an appealing listing online before actually showing your place to prospective buyers. 

These tips may sound simple to you, but missing out on any of them can make or break the sale of your home. If you want to sell your home fast, pay attention to these details and make sure that you don’t overlook any of them. 

Looking for help with your real estate needs? Contact me at 703-431-3755 and I’ll be glad to assist you! I’m Amanda Davidson, your top real estate agent in Kingstowne VA!

 

In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view 10 Details You Can’t Overlook When Preparing Your Kingstowne VA Home for Sale on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H6xuQm3upQ&feature=youtu.be

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

Selling your home might look and sound easy on the surface but, behind the scenes, it’s complicated with a lot of details and hurdles to work out. Far too often I hear of someone who hired a real estate agent only to be completely unsatisfied, let down, or downright angry with how the sale turned out for varying reasons.
 


Selecting the right agent to sell your home is a very important decision. Many people work with the first agent they come across with, and that’s recipe for disaster. When you’re talking about selling (or buying for that matter) one of life’s biggest investments, you want to work with the best of the best. Selecting a real estate agent because they’re a family member, friend, or any other reason that isn’t tied to their skill, level of service, and how they conduct business is a mistake. Ask for recommendations, do your research and conduct interviews to find an agent you not only know is qualified for the job but, who is also an agent you like and trust.

One of the signs you should be looking for when looking for a quality real estate agent is the questions they ask you. Chances are, the more the real estate agent knows, the more questions they're going to ask you. 

In return, you should also be asking them questions on how they plan on selling your home. Here are some of the most important questions you should be asking them:
 

How Will You Market My Home?

I’m not talking about putting a sign in the yard or putting your home in the MLS. Those are basics. You want your home to sell for top dollar in the shortest time possible and that means you want an agent who has a custom marketing plan for your home. Ask to see what the agent has done to market their past listings. Seeing examples of their work will show you if it’s the quality of marketing you want for your home. Check to see how they market homes. Do they use direct email campaigns? How often would they advertise your home? What kind of photos would they use to make the home you are selling more appealing to potential buyers? Are the photos high quality with the right lighting? Photos are essential since these will be the primary visuals that potential buyers will see before they decide to visit your home for viewing.

How would the staging be? Staging is also important since this would be the initial preparation of your home to make a lasting and positive first impression on potential buyers. 

Do they have a well-established blog that ranks well with Google? Having a highly visible blog on Google will definitely increase the chance of your home to be bought in no time. The more visible the real estate agent's site is, the more people will be able to view the home you have for sale. 

Do they target market on social media? Aside from online marketing, a good real estate agent would think of other things to increase the visibility of your home. They could set up an open house so that potential buyers can get a better look and feel of the house that's for sale.

Have they thought about who is likely to buy your home? If you have a 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo, the odds of a family with children purchasing it aren’t high so you need an agent that knows who and how to target. Marketing is not just throwing things against the wall to see if they stick. Effective marketing should be planned out from start to finish, and a good real estate agent will be able to see the potential problems you could encounter along the way. 
 


What Do You Think My Home Is Worth?

Next up is determining a suitable price for your home before you put it up for sale in the real estate market. Pricing is a key component of a listing agent’s job. In order to determine the proper price for your home, a real estate agent must create a comparative market analysis. This would help them gauge the worth of your house by means of comparison with other homes for sale nearby. Having a comparison, you will have a better idea of what your house is actually worth, and how much people are willing to purchase your house.

An agent has to price your home just right and that means they need to understand the current market and be able to thoroughly research and correctly interpret data. Data is readily available to the public but, data is worthless if you don’t know how to analyze and correctly interpret it. Ask the agent why they think your home is worth the amount they tell you. If they’re a great agent, they’ll be prepared to show you the data and then explain it in detail.

And please, do not just go with the agent who gives you the highest number. Although a high price does sound attractive for you financially, remember that your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay and if an agent gives you a number that isn’t supported by market data, your home isn’t going to sell. There are unfortunately some agents who will tell you what you want to hear just to get you to agree to list with them and then you’ll be facing a price drop when your home doesn’t sell.
 

 


What Is Your Average Sale To List Price Ratio On Past Listings?

Determining a real estate agent's ration depends entirely on the market. If you are comparing agents and ask this question, you will get an idea of how accurate the agent is on pricing a home and how well they can negotiate. Remember, a good real estate agent has the capability to haggle sales prices that are close to the list prices. Be sure to ask for the ratio from the original list price. Working with an agent who has a strong sale to list price ratio average can be the difference in thousands of dollars. For example, with an average sale price of $500,000 - if one agent has an average sale to list price ratio of 95% and another agent has one of 97% that’s a difference of $10,000!
 

What Type Of Communication Will You Provide?

You’re entering into a relationship when you hire an agent to sell your home and while it might be tied to business it’s like any other relationship – good communication can be the difference in success and failure. As a seller, you need to be in the loop and be constantly updated with what's happening with your home for sale. Your agent should be able to tell you how often you can expect to receive updates, what hours of the day you can contact them, how long you can expect for it to take them to respond, and what methods of communication they use. Most of the time, real estate agents fail to give updates to their clients and would only contact them once an offer has been placed. Even though an offer hasn't been placed on your home yet, your real estate agent should be able to give you updates on what people are looking for in your home based on previous viewers. This way, you could make the necessary improvements in your home and be able to sell it as soon as possible. An excellent agent is going to ask you what methods of communication you prefer because they’ll want you to feel comfortable and well informed. Some real estate agents would offer to send you emails, give you daily calls, while others are even willing to go as far as seeing you personally to let you know the status of your house for sale. 

Another question to ask about communication is if you will exclusively be working with the agent or if the agent has a team that will be involved. If you want to work with an agent who operates their business by providing exclusive contact with you this is an important question to ask. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s just a matter of what you are looking for in an agent. Not every agent operates their business the same way. 
 


Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

I think this is the most important question you can ask an agent. Anyone can ask how much you want to sell your home for, how many beds and baths it has, or even what you want in a new home but, an agent’s priorities and mindset are exposed by the questions they ask you. As with any other professional, not all agents are created equal. An agent who takes the time to get to know you, learn about your goals and what your priorities are is priceless. What differentiates a good agent from a rock star agent is their ability to learn, understand, and deliver the level of service you’re looking for.
 

There are still a whole lot of other questions you could ask a real estate agent before you decide to hire them. This is far from an all-inclusive list of questions to ask an agent when it’s time to sell your home. These items are here to give you an idea of where to start to get a dialogue going with the agents you select to interview. Do your homework and work with an agent who you trust and feel confident will not only provide your home with the best marketing but, who will also provide you with the best service.

 

 

Should Sellers Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

Should Sellers Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

A pre-listing home inspection is something I rarely see homeowners want to do. I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve had a client agree to one and while I see both sides of the story I think the benefits of having one outweigh the drawbacks. I’m not going to say one is needed on every single home but, more often than not I do recommend one be conducted.
 


The majority of the time a buyer is going to have a home inspection conducted, even if the market is competitive and it’s a void only contingency an inspection is highly likely going to be part of the puzzle that has to be put together before closing can happen. If you possess a solid idea of the condition of your home and the opportunity to fix any major problems before going on the market you lessen your risk of your home sale falling apart.

Let’s look at the pros and cons!

 

BENEFITS

Identifying Serious Problems Upfront

Surprises and real estate are not a good match. Finding out you have a serious moisture problem before you list is far better than finding out once you’re under contract.

 

Timing For Repairs

In Virginia, most homes close in 30-45 days and in a typical situation the home inspection contingency is 7-10 days after ratification. This puts pressure on sellers to get any agreed upon repairs done FAST. There’s no time to waste. If you know about them before you list your home you control the timing and can get multiple estimates and have the work done without the pressure of a closing date looming over you.

 

Cost-Effectiveness For Repairs

Timing also plays into the cost of repairs. Whether it’s a contractor of your choice or the buyers if you’re on a time crunch your options for who can do the work in the allotted timeframe may be limited. If there isn’t enough time to complete the repair or if the buyer requests a credit you can bet they are going to want more than what the actual repair costs due to the burden being placed on them to then coordinate the repair after closing.
 

Fewer Repair Requests

If you’ve already taken care of any deal breakers or large repair items it’s less likely you’ll get a laundry list of repair requests from a buyer. The overall condition of your home is revealed during an inspection and it can either leave the buyer feeling comfortable or make them want to run.

 

Trust

I’ve never met a buyer who didn’t appreciate a transparent seller. You can’t get more transparent than sharing your pre-listing home inspection along with repair receipts for any items you took care of. It sends the message to buyers that you’re not trying to hide anything.

 

The Report

An inspection report is an excellent tool to have – not only does it allow you to advertise to buyers up front that your home has been professionally inspected it also gives you a great comparison tool to use when the buyer obtains an inspection as well.
 

POSSIBLE BENEFITS (keyword – POSSIBLE … not always going to apply)

Higher List Price

If you get an inspection done and based on the findings determine you need to replace your HVAC or have a new roof put on you may find your agent recommends listing higher than if they’re old and in need of replacement. This is going to apply to significant replacement items, caulking the bathroom isn’t going to make a difference on your list price so you’ll want to rely on guidance from your agent when it comes to what will impact the list price.

 

Faster Closing

The less there is to negotiate on the faster closing can occur. If repairs have already been identified and completed you’re setting yourself up to be able to close faster. Now, not everyone wants to close fast so I understand this might not be seen as a benefit for every buyer and seller but, even just knowing you’re waiting to close and everything is ready to go vs. worrying over repair negotiations and timing for repairs is a benefit.

 

Competition

Based on my experience the odds of another homeowner completing a pre-listing inspection are low. Think about if a buyer is torn between your home and another home. Knowledge of your pre-listing inspection could sway a buyer or even attract a buyer faster. There’s something to be said for peace of mind when it comes to the condition of a home and that goes for buyers and sellers.

 

DRAWBACKS
Cost

A pre-listing inspection is going to cost you somewhere in the range of $300-$600 depending on what size and type of home you have.

 

Doesn’t Replace The Buyer’s Inspection

Although it’s possible the buyer will waive their inspection if you’ve already had one done it's not likely. The majority of buyers will still want to hire their own inspector and quite frankly they should. The pre-listing inspection is provided to a buyer for information only, not in lieu of the buyer having an inspection conducted.
 

Variance

No two inspection reports are the same. Don’t expect for something new or different not to be found during the buyer’s inspection if you’ve had a pre-listing inspection. Inspectors are human and that factor alone means there’s going to be varying opinions and findings.

 

Disclosure

This is going to vary greatly by each state so I won’t go into much detail but, I will say in most states if you know of a serious issue with your house it needs to be disclosed. Some states require far more disclosure than others so this is something to check with your agent about.

 

This post was inspired by a comment from Jay Markanich, Northern Virginia Home Inspector who has also experienced the majority of homeowners opt not to have a pre-listing inspection conducted. Think about the confidence you could have when buyers come through the door of your home knowing that you’ve done everything you can to get your home ready to sell.

Have you sold a home before and conducted a pre-listing inspection? If so, were you glad you did?

 

 

5 Seller Tips For A Smooth Home Inspection

5 Seller Tips For A Smooth Home Inspection

Home inspections are a big part of the process when it comes to selling your home. Most homeowners understand that after a ratified contract there will very likely be a home inspection. While there are some cases where there isn’t, the overwhelming majority of the time it’s the first steps after coming to terms with the buyers.

There are many reasons why a home inspection is necessary. Often, these inspections are part of a real estate transaction. However, some inspections are also done on new construction, before a builder’s warranty expires, or as part of a home maintenance checkup.

No matter the reason, people who are involved in a home inspection process want it to be as smooth and as thorough as possible.

 


The seller’s anxiety commonly associated with the home inspection process can be significantly reduced by the cooperative involvement of an agent. Hence, certain steps have to be taken to prepare a home for inspection and reduce the occurrence of any discrepancies that may occur further down the road. A proactive approach to home inspection helps make the closing process much easier and prevent the home seller from losing a deal.

When it’s time for the inspection every homeowner wants it to go smoothly and not be a deal killer. Home sellers have enough to worry about without having to wonder if their property will pass the home inspection. Any person who is familiar with the nature of buying and selling real estate knows how much work flipping a home for profit requires, so inspecting a home to make sure the buyer won’t have issues to deal with is a must.

According to John Fryer, “owner of Fryer Consulting, “Whatever is wrong with your house will be found out anyway… If you disclose problems in advance and provide potential buyers with an inspector’s report, it can go a long way to diffuse anxiety and help the transaction go through.”  

Follow these 5 tips for a smooth home inspection.
 

Replace Burned-Out Light Bulbs

If a bulb has burned out between going under contract and the day of the inspection replace it. If the inspector comes across a fixture that isn’t working they’re going to note it and while they may say it could be just a bulb you can avoid the remark altogether if you’ve replaced burned out bulbs. This is by far one of the easiest tasks a seller can do to avoid remarks about faulty lighting.

As simple as it may sound, make sure all the light bulbs in your home are working. Remember, home inspectors are required to report everything. Do not think it is insignificant, because a burned-out light bulb may indicate more serious problems than you may think. It could be because of a wiring problem or something else. Before having your home inspected, make sure all your lights work accordingly.

Replace Filters

This is probably the second easiest thing a seller can do to prepare for an inspection. A home inspector is going to check every filter in your home and if they’re dirty they’re going to note it and include it in the report. While you’re at it, make sure they also fit securely, improper size or fit is also something that comes up frequently in reports and is easy to avoid with proper preparation.

Access To All Areas

Have a shed that you keep locked? Be sure to leave it open or leave a key for it to be accessed with the day of the inspection. Have boxes or furniture in front of the electric panel? Move it out of the way. Have a crawl space that’s tricky to locate? Leave instructions. It’s an inspector’s job to examine everything about your home and in order to do that they have to be able to access it.

Unlock all your doors prior to the arrival of a home inspector. Seeing as how the investor needs to view every area of your property, it makes sense to prepare every area for the home inspection. Unlock all the gates and doors to a garage, shed or crawl space.

Also, make sure to provide unobstructed access to the service electric panel, water heater and all attic openings and crawlspaces. If there is attic access in your garage, move your car out of the garage.

It is also necessary that you provide the home inspector all the proper access codes for your lockboxes. Make sure that the codes you provide operate properly by testing them in advance. There are times when an inspector will try to gain access to a property only to find out that the code does not work.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

They’re going to be tested; make sure they’re fully functional prior to the day of the inspection.
 


Minor Maintenance and Repairs

Homes take constant maintenance and while these really should be done prior to listing your home I see them come up in reports all too often. Cracked caulking around windows and doors, missing shingles, slow draining sinks/tubs, non-functional doors, missing or disconnected downspouts, cracked windows, broker shower diverters, and overgrown trees/shrubs.

In addition to the above items make sure your utilities are on and that you are prepared to be away from your home for a few hours. The time it takes for the inspection will vary by the size and type of home. If you have pets you’ll also need to remove them from the home for the duration of the inspection.
 


Being prepared for the home inspection and presenting your home in the best condition possible will decrease your chances of the buyer walking. The more you take care of upfront the less you’ll have to worry about or have to negotiate on in the future.

 

How Do You Find the Right Home Inspector?

You can’t underestimate the importance of finding the right home inspector as you prepare for a smooth home inspection process. Not all home inspectors are created equal—some are better in terms of knowledge than the others.

Here’s a list of the steps you should take to find the right inspector:

  • Find someone who wants you present

A good home inspector will always want the homeowner to accompany him throughout the home inspection process. That is because he wants you to get the most out of the experience, rather than just look at their report at the end.

  • Request for a sample report

Another good indicator of a good home inspector is the quality of his home inspection report. Since many home inspection agencies offer sample reports on their websites, you can check for clarity, formatting, and whether or not they include photos. If a home inspector can show you a good report, that’s a sign that he’s a good inspector.

  • Go through review sites

These days, reviews tell a lot about how good or bad someone or something is. If you want to know if a home inspector is a good find, Yelp, Google, Review and Angie’s List are great places to check for customer reviews. In addition to good ratings, a good home inspector will often engage with customers and address concerns.

  • Ask about experience and certifications

Interview the inspector regarding his work history, if he has certifications, as well as if he belongs to any professional organizations. This information can help you get a sense of his level of professionalism and commitment to his industry.

  • Double check his license and insurance

If you want to hire a good home inspector, make sure that you verify his license and insurance. Good contractors will always provide copies of these items even without you having to ask.

  • Know if he requires extra fee for additional items

Ask your prospect home inspector if he charges an extra fee for any areas that you want him to inspect that are not usually included in a typical home inspection, such as a septic system or foundation problems.
Additional Resources 
The Purpose Of A Home Inspection via Luke Skar with Madison Mortgage 

 

How To Prepare For A Home Inspection via Moving.com

 

 

 

How To Handle A Low Ball Offer

How To Handle A Low Ball Offer

Low ball offers are frustrating to homeowners and can be one of the top challenges when selling a home. Most, if not all homeowners have a certain amount they want to sell their home for and when an offer rolls in that’s $15,000 - $20,000+ less than asking it can be downright infuriating.

 


Real estate transactions have hurdles to work through and they’re not all easily put together. Negotiation is a part of real estate and it’s a regular occurrence for there to be back and forth between the buyer and seller before mutually agreeable terms are found. A low ball offer can be the start of negotiation but, it requires the proper steps be taken in order to turn that offer into something that’s acceptable for the seller and the buyer.

If you are selling your home and have received a low ball offer take a deep breath and consider the following advice on how to handle a low ball offer in real estate.

 

Why Do Buyers Make Low Ball Offers?

From trusting Zestimates or thinking the house isn’t worth what it’s listed for, to taking advice from their agent or family and friends there are a plethora of reasons buyers make low ball offers. Some buyers just like to throw something up against the wall to see if it will stick, testing the waters if you will.

 

How To Handle A Low Ball Offer In Real Estate

Control Your Emotions
Easier said than done, I know but, remind yourself this is a business transaction and emotions don’t mix well with business. Letting your emotions take control is only going to cause you more stress. A low ball offer might make you want to tell the buyer to pound sand however before you do that remind yourself that the offer is just a starting point.

The goal is to sell your home and if you tear up the low ball offer and trash it you’re not going to be any closer to achieving your end goal.
 


Always Respond With A Counter

If you don’t respond to a low ball offer you have zero chance of finding common ground and coming to agreeable terms. On the flip side if you counter there is always a chance through negotiation all parties will come to terms.

There are different strategies when countering a low ball offer.

Going back at full price is one that is very common to send a signal to the buyer that you aren’t messing around. This is not the best negotiation strategy in my opinion because it could deter the buyer altogether.

A strategy I’ve found to be more successful is to respond with the lowest and final price you are willing to accept. Taking this route can eliminate back and forth with the buyer and shows them you are serious about selling but, not at a low ball price.

Whatever strategy you opt to take always, always, always counter a low ball offer.
 


Review All Of The Terms In The Offer
Price is just one factor of an offer and while it’s an important one it’s not the only component to look at. There are other contingencies and terms in a purchase offer and when you’re deciding how to respond you want to look at each detail closely.

What other terms should you consider?

→Seller Concessions

→Earnest Money Deposit

→Inspection Contingencies (home inspection, radon, and termite in Virginia)

→Appraisal Contingency

→Financing Contingency or Cash Buyer

→Closing Date

 

It’s never just as simple as price when it comes to a purchase offer in real estate. An offer is a total package and while the price is often what you first look at it’s not the only term to consider.

 

Look To Your Realtor For Guidance
Low ball offers are just one of many reasons it’s imperative to hire a top Realtor to sell your home. If you are working with a pro a low ball offer is just another day at the office. Your Realtor will be able to guide you on how best to respond and remain calm and professional. Rely on your Realtor for advice and allow them to be your advocate.

 

Closing Thoughts On Low Ball Offers
You’re not the first seller to receive a low ball offer and you definitely won’t be the last. Take a deep breath and remove your emotions when it’s time to consider how you want to counter. Your end goal is selling your home and making that your priority is what matters most.