home selling tips

5 Strategies to Keep in Mind When Selling a Condo in Kingstowne VA

 

Homes for Sale in Kingstowne VA

 

This year is a great year for condo owners to sell their homes. Although home prices across the United States have seen a consistent rise in recent years, more and more buyers who want to downsize their homes still rush to buy homes for sale in Kingstowne VA because they want to take advantage of low mortgage rates.

 

If you are a condo owner and are thinking about selling your condo, this may be the best time to do so. However, selling a condo is not exactly the same as selling other types of homes so you need to take a lot of factors into consideration before making any decision.

 

Here are five important things you should keep in mind when selling your condo:

 

Know the DOM range for condos similar to yours

One of the first things you should do before deciding to sell your home is to look for condos for sale in Kingstowne VA that are comparable to yours in terms of unit type, floor location and square footage. Listings usually indicate the DOM (days-on-market) of properties, which refers to the number of days it takes for a property to find a buyer. By considering the DOM of homes similar to yours, you will be able to determine a reasonable timeframe for your condo to sell. 

 

Know everything about your condo

 

Condos for Sale in Kingstowne VA

 

If you want to sell your condo fast, you must be prepared to answer all the questions your potential buyers might ask. You may also need to review the HOA (homeowner association) rules to determine which parts of your unit you need to work on. HOA rules help you know which flaws fall within acceptable standards or need some improvements.

 

Decide which repairs or improvements are worthwhile

Since renovations involve money, you have to determine which improvements are worthwhile and which are not. Of course, you need to prepare your home before officially listing it, but you can’t just do a total makeover without giving it some thought. 

 

Try to reduce listing costs

While there are plenty of ways you can save on listing costs when selling a home, never skip the standard commission of a real estate agent. Having an agent to represent you in your transactions will make it much easier for you to find potential buyers for your property. Some of the ways you can reduce listing costs while working with an agent include staging your home yourself and hiring a contractor that can do repairs at a much lower rate. 

 

Reviewing the clauses in your buyer’s first offer

One of the most exciting things sellers look forward to when selling a home is receiving their first offer. Although receiving an initial offer for your property can be truly exciting, don’t get carried away immediately. Screen the clauses of the offer, especially the timeframe for the buyer’s obligations, closing adjustments and other addendums. 

 

Are you planning to sell your home in Kingstowne VA? Then contact me today at 703-431-3755 and I’ll help you get started! I am Amanda Davidson, Kingstowne’s top REALTOR!

 

In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view 5 Strategies to Keep in Mind When Selling a Condo in Kingstowne VA on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCqK5f8g8PM&feature=youtu.be.

 

 

How Can I Increase My Kingstowne VA Home's Value?

 

 

If you are planning to sell your Kingstowne VA home soon, you are likely thinking of ways to increase its value. One of the most common questions I get from my clients is “How can I increase my home’s value?”

 

How to choose the best project When you want to boost your home value, the best answer is to update and renovate your house. There are many home projects you can do like upgrading the kitchen, renovating the bathroom, adding a bathroom, installing a deck, and more.

 

However, there's a caveat. Home renovation cost a bit of money and not all remodelling projects pay off.

 

How will you know what's the best project to undertake? This is where I can help you.

 

As your real estate agent, I can give you the best advice on what home improvement projects will pay off for your home. Together, we can decide on the best home updates that will add features buyers love and increase your home’s value.

 

Years and years of working with buyers has taught me what they want and I will use that knowledge to help set your home in the best light so that it stands out and impresses buyers.


Best affordable improvements for resale

If you will be moving out and selling the house soon, some general sprucing up and cleaning can do wonders for the house. Minor updates don't cost a lot but can go a long way in making the house look amazing.

 

Here are some affordable updates you can do.

1. General home repairs. The moment you decide to sell your house in Kingstowne is the moment you should start listing down the basic repairs the house needs.

 

Most buyers prefer move-in ready homes. They've just spent a lot of money on buying a house, so any possible repair projects may turn them off.

 

Fix the broken window, replace the leaky faucet, reinforce the kitchen cabinet, do all the minor repairs needed to get your house ready for sale.

 

2. Paint it. When the necessary repairs have been completed, it is time to paint. Painting is one of the most cost-effective ways to beautify the home and increase its value.

 

Choose neutral colors to paint your home. As much as you would love to paint your living room that vibrant red, restrain yourself and go for something that is classic and simple. Neutral toned colors are easy on the eyes and make the home look more inviting and spacious.

 

3. Update the light fixtures. An easy way to give the home a new look is to update the light fixtures. Not only does getting new light fixtures add more life to the living space it also makes the room appear brighter.

 

 

 

4. Add storage spaces. Most buyers prefer homes with storage spaces. Cramped storage spaces are a major turn off. Adding a closet space in the bedroom or several storage areas in the garage will go a long way in making your home more functional.

 

5. Update your kitchen. If there is one room in your house you should update, it is the kitchen. Small, cost-effective renovations like replacing an old and worn out countertop or installing new floor tiles will make your kitchen look modern and well-maintained.

 

6. Upgrade the bathroom. Next to the kitchen, the bathroom is the second room in the house that increases the home’s value when updated. If you have a stained old sink, it is time to get a new one. You can also make the bathroom look new by applying fresh caulk and grout.

 

7. Add a low maintenance landscape. Create a great first impression and add value to your home by improving your landscape. Landscaping is one the three most effective home improvements that have the biggest returns.

 

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to boost the value of your Kingstowne VA home for sale. Minor updates will do a lot for your home without busting the bank.

 

There are so many more home selling tips I can share with you. So before you start taking out any walls and making home updates, give me call so I can help you decide on the best updates that will increase your home value.

 

When you need a real estate agent with superior local knowledge, professionalism, and outstanding service to help with all your real estate needs, call me, Amanda Davidson, at 703-431-3755.

 

In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view How Can I Increase My Kingstowne VA Home’s Value? on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbDjTOqkQLA&t=0s&index=5&list=PLloCCxd1NYon2n9y4l6HZ6UzDuET_jCU7.

9 Do's and Don'ts in Selling Your Kingstowne VA Condo

Moving out of your condo?

No matter how much you love your Kingstowne VA condo, the time will come when you'll have to move out and sell your place.

Selling a condo is not the same as selling a single-family home. There are some unique challenges in condo selling that make it considerably more difficult than selling a home.

 

Things you need to remember when selling your Kingstowne VA condo

If you're planning to put your condo up for sale, here are nine tips to make your property stand out in the market.

 

1. DO know how much your condo is worth.

Price is one of the most important factors buyers consider in looking for a condo. When you price your condo too high, it scares off buyers, causing you to lose a lot of potential buyers. When you price it too low, you'll lose a good amount of money, which is not a good idea.

The good news is you'll always have comps when it comes to condos because there are plenty of units in the building that are the same size. If you live in a condo complex which houses two to four condo buildings, you get a lot of comps, which makes pricing easier.

Granted, there will be slight differences in price because end unit condos are considered quieter and can command a higher price, but with the help of your real estate agent, you can get a very good estimate of your condo's worth.

 

2. DO hire a real estate agent who is experienced in selling condos.

One of the worst mistakes you can do in selling your home is hiring someone who has limited knowledge and no experience in condo selling. While a condo may not be as big of an investment as a home, it’s still a large financial investment. As such, you can't place it in the hands of just anyone.

Consider the task of hiring a real estate agent for your condo a serious matter. Ask questions about his or her experience and skills. Ask for references.

Make sure that you are placing your trust in the right person.


3. DO know your condo's rules regarding condo selling.

Condos are managed by the condo association, and they have a long list of rules and regulations when it comes to condo living, as well as condo selling. Make sure you know what these rules are so you’re able to follow them. Signage is a big one when it comes time to sell.

 

4. DO keep all your documents in one place.

Listing contracts, condo rules and regulations, receipts of any home improvements you've done, etc — keep everything together and put them in a safe place. Doing this helps make the selling process easier because you know where to find important papers.

 

5. DO highlight your assets.

Condo units are pretty much all the same — in size, features, and amenities. Over the years, you've probably made some updates to make your home more appealing.

Perhaps you've replaced the bathroom tiles and kitchen countertop. Maybe you've had backsplash installed. Perhaps you replaced the carpet with hardwood floor.

When you plan to sell your condo, list down all its assets as well as the updates you've made. Doing this will help the buyer easily identify what makes your condo more appealing over others.

 

6. DO prepare your condo for the sale.

Cleaning is the cheapest way you can get your condo ready for the market.
Get rid of any excess stuff so you can make your living space look bigger. Clean your windows so more natural light can come in and make your home look brighter.

Do all necessary repairs to make your condo as move-in ready as possible. Buyers prefer homes with little to no repairs needed because it is more convenient

 

7. DO stage your condo to make it more attractive.

Set up your condo in a way that will make it look inviting and relaxing. If you don’t know how to stage, seek help from your real estate agent or consider hiring a professional stager.

 

8. DON’T make costly improvements before selling.
 
If you’re planning to sell your condo, don’t make any major improvements unless absolutely necessary. Simple cosmetic updates like painting, replacing door knobs and lights will provide a better ROI.

 

9. DON’T let your emotions control you during negotiations.  

One of the common mistakes I see sellers do is getting too emotional when they think the condo is being criticized by a potential buyer, and in the process lose out on a good deal. Remember that selling a home is a business transaction, and while you may have an emotional investment in the condo, the buyer does not.

Selling your condo can be a great learning experience. Follow these rules to successfully sell your condo in Kingstowne.

For more home selling tips, visit http://www.AmandaDavidson.com.

Planning to sell your condo soon? Call me, Amanda Davidson, at 703-431-3755.

 

Should I List My Home In The Winter Or Wait Until Spring?

Is The Winter A Good Time To List My Home
 

 

A question I frequently receive this time of year from sellers is should I list my home now or wait until spring. My answer is it depends – the decision should be based on your personal circumstances and what the current market conditions are in the area your home is located.

There are a lot of sellers that think waiting until spring is best but, if you know you want to sell in the spring it is a good idea to contact your agent now and find out what the local market conditions are in your area.

What if very few homes are for sale? It’s proven that when there’s less of something available it sells for more money and homes are no exception.

The myth that homes don’t sell during the winter seems to continue and the truth is that’s just not accurate. Real estate doesn’t stop during the winter. I think because in our area it gets cold and people spend more time inside it causes sellers to think that it’s not a good time to sell. This just isn’t accurate and it may even be easier to sell between January – March than it is in June – August.
 


Things To Consider When Selling Your Home In The Winter

If you are going to sell your house listing in the winter can lead to favorable results. The holidays are over and life isn’t as busy as it was for the last month giving you a little more time to decide when to list your home for sale. Before you decide to list your home in the winter there are a couple of things to consider.

 

Inventory Is Often Lower In The Winter

Let’s think about how many sellers wait until spring to list. More homes on the market equate to more competition for your home. Inventory in Kingstowne and many other areas in Alexandria is extremely low right now. Fewer homes for buyers to choose from plays in your favor.

Homes that are listed in the winter often sell quickly and for an excellent price; all of which are factors to consider when determining if you want to list before April. All markets are local but, speaking on Kingstowne I have found listing just before the spring rush is a great time to sell.

Many sellers are convinced that winter is a bad time to sell and that impacts how many homes are on the market. There are also homes that never sold during the summer and even the fall that have been pulled from the market with the intent to be relisted. Some even state in the remarks they’ll be relisted in the spring.

Our MLS requires a home to be off the market for 90 days before the days on the market will reset and the majority of the sellers who withdrew their home will wait for the 90 days to pass to reset the days on the market.
 


Buyers Are Motivated In The Winter

Keeping the cold temperatures in mind and the overall decline in activity that comes with winter in our area – buyers who are out and about looking for a home during the winter are more motivated than many of the buyers who are out on a beautiful and warm spring day.

Buyers are working with their own agent and they know that winter isn’t the most popular time for home sales but, yet there’s a reason they’re still out looking. Maybe they’re relocating, they may be motivated by the recent decrease in interest rates, and they may have a life change that causes them to need a bigger or a smaller home. There’s an endless list of reasons they could be out looking but, it’s safe to say a nice day to cruise around and enjoy the beautiful weather isn’t one of them. They are serious about purchasing a home.
 


It Gets Dark Early In The Winter

You might be thinking what the heck does that have to do with selling my home. Once it gets dark it’s not a good time for a buyer to see a home. I’m not saying you won’t have some appointment requests after dark but, you’re far less likely to have late evening appointments during the winter than the spring and summer. When I’m representing a buyer I discourage showings after dark because without light you can’t truly see all of the home or get a feel for it.

Winter will provide you with a little more flexibility and peace of mind that you’ll be able to maintain your daily schedule, especially in the evenings than if you sell during the spring.

 

Corporate Relocation Peaks In January

Corporate transfers happen year round but, they peak in January. Buyers who are being transferred for work are not only on a set timeframe they’re also highly motivated. This won’t apply to markets where people don’t tend to be transferred to for work but, in our market, it’s definitely something to consider. The more buyers interested in your home the better, and knowing that January is the most popular month for corporate transfers can mean more potential buyers for your home.

 

Closing Thoughts

Real estate is local and every market varies so if you are trying to decide whether it’s best for you to sell your home during the winter or wait until spring you should consult with a local agent who has a proven successful track record selling homes in your area and who is someone you trust. Receiving the best advice based on your personal circumstances and local market conditions will ultimately help guide you on what decision is best for you.
 

Additional Resources 
Winter Curb Appeal Tips from multiple real estate professionals – article by Inlanta Mortgage

Tips For Winterizing A Vacant Home – article by RISMedia 

 

 

How To Make Your Home More Appealing To Buyers

How To Make Your Home More Appealing To Buyers

It’s the time of year that I’m frequently meeting with homeowners who are considering selling this spring. Each meeting varies with questions that come up with the exception of one and that’s always what can I do to make my home more appealing to buyers? Every seller understandably wants to know how to make their home standout and make buyers want to make an offer.

 

home exterior

 

There’s nothing I love more than when a seller takes the time to follow my advice doing the items that really make their home shine. Inventory is low in our area but, that doesn’t mean proper preparation isn’t imperative and the little details make a big difference. When your home makes the right first impression on buyers it will sell faster and for more money.

 

Donate and Purge
De-cluttering your home is something every seller has to do. You want your home to look spacious and organized; less is more. Buyers are easily distracted and having a bunch of items on your kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, in the shower, closet’s, under the bed and anywhere else you can think of that detracts from your home. Think about a model home as you go through each room in your house. You may even need to consider a storage unit – the garage and basement are not to be used for storage when selling your home. Every area needs to be ready to greet buyers and make the right first impression.

 

Keep It Neutral
Paint is the most common way to personalize a home 
but, when it comes time to sell personalized isn’t what you are going for. You want to appeal to as many buyers as possible and the best way to do that is neutral walls. Neutral doesn’t mean white, in fact you should stay away from white because it will make your home feel cold and uninviting. Stick to beige or gray tones.

 

kitchen interior

 

It’s The Little Things
When I mentioned above that the little details make a big difference I am talking something as small as a loose doorknob or kitchen cabinet handle or even just a burned out lightbulb. Every home has minor items that can easily be corrected and those little items add up in the eyes of a buyer. Go through each room and look for imperfections, pretend you’re a buyer walking through your home.

 

living room interior

 

Curb Appeal
Buyers see the exterior of your home first. I have a lot of buyer clients who drive by a home before contacting me for a tour. If they don’t like what they see from the exterior many never ask to see the interior. Pull the weeds, clean up any loose leaves, put some mulch down, and make sure the bushes don’t need trimming. Look at your front door, that’s where buyers are going to enter first. Does it need to be cleaned, painted, or replaced? Look at the gutters and roof to be sure they’re in show-ready shape as well. If you see shingles lifting or the gutters are loose have a qualified roofer in to repair them.

 

Select an agent with a proven successful track record and they will be able to go through your home with you and give you advice that’s custom to what your home needs. They have a trained eye on what to look for and recommend. Properly preparing your home to go on the market can’t be done overnight, it takes planning ahead and working closely with your agent. Allowing ample time to have your home show ready always pays off in the form of a faster sale for more money.

Additional Home Selling Information
Staging Your Home 

Prepare Your Home For Sale On A Budget 

 

 

Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

If you think taking a few random snaps of your home for sale is alright, then you might want to think again. Most of you might be thinking, "what matters is what the house looks like in person, not what it looks like in the photos." However, pictures can make or break a home sale. The first place potential buyers are going to see your home is online. Gone are the days that the first impression is when they pull up for a tour inside your home. I’d even venture to argue that the first showing for your home occurs online. Since we live in a technologically advanced era, people will take advantage of the convenience that the internet has to offer and check your home online first to see if it's worth their precious time. If buyers don’t like what they see online, chances are they’re not going to come to see a home in person. You want to make sure your home is staged and ready for picture day. Below are tips about how to prepare your home for photos as well as what key areas of your home you should be focusing on dolling up for potential buyers.
 


Interior Tips For Picture Day

Furniture

Although having plenty of furniture inside your home might look appealing for you, it's actually not as appealing as it is for potential buyers. Rooms that are packed with furniture will not only appear small in photos, they’ll also appear small for showings. Less is more. Work with your agent or your stager to determine which pieces should stay and which pieces should be removed. Anything you remove for picture day should stay out of the house for showings as well. Leave the task of filling up the room with furniture for the buyer. It's your job to make the house look like a beautiful blank canvas for them to paint on. 

 

Countertops

Countertops photograph best when they’re clear. Again, this creates the illusion of space and cleanliness. For the kitchen, this means small appliances, paper towel holders, cutting boards should be the only things visible. Clunky items such as knife blocks need to be removed or stored away. In the bathroom, take the toothbrushes, soap, makeup, lotion, and any other personal items off the top of the vanity and put them out of sight. The same goes for nightstands and dressers – have their surfaces clear. The fewer clutter countertops have, the more appealing they are for potential buyers. Think of it this way, if you were the one viewing your home, do you think it is necessary to see all those objects placed randomly all around the house?
 

 


Refrigerator

No magnets, photos, artwork, or calendars allowed. Have the exterior of your fridge completely clear to give a clean and classy impression of your kitchen. It should stay this way the entire time your home is on the market, as well. While it doesn’t have to be done for picture day, don’t forget that when it’s time for showings, the inside of your refrigerator needs to be organized and clean. No one wants to see the leftover meal you had from two days ago. It's just downright unhygienic. 

 

Cabinets

Make sure the exterior of all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are clean. Wipe them down as needed prior to the photographer arriving. Pay close attention to spills, drips, and dried toothpaste. Potential buyers never want to see a dirty home as this would entail that they would have to clean up more once they decide to buy the house. 

 

Showers and Bathtubs

Shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap, razors, and anything else inside the shower or tub need to be removed. Showers and bathtubs should be completely clear including anything hanging on the wall. If you have glass shower doors, wipe them down and remove any soap scum or water spots. Again, you'd want your house to look as if it's brand new for its next owner. 
 


Lighting

Go through your entire house and replace any burned out lightbulbs. Consider replacing bulbs that don’t put off bright light to achieve better lighting the day of photos. On picture day, turn on every light in your home. Lights on ceiling fans should be on too but, the fan itself should be off. Better lighting would result to better photos. Better photos means better chances of reeling in a buyer. 

 

Throw Rugs

Entryway, hallway, and bathroom rugs need to be removed for picture day. Having them on the floor causes rooms to look small and cluttered. It also gives the impression that the house is untidy which is why there's always a need for throw rugs. 

 

Loose Wires

Lamp, TV, and electronic device wires should all be concealed. If that’s not possible, at the very least, they need to be wrapped neatly and zip tied to avoid being an eyesore in photographs. Imagine, if you get irritated at the sight of unruly wires from your computer or television, what more would potential buyers think? Also, loose wires tend to accumulate dust and dirt. We wouldn't want those to show in the photos. 

 

Beds

Every bed needs to be made, not just your everyday make-your-bed routine. Take time to make sure the sheets and blankets aren’t showing from under the comforter. Smoothen the comforter out and ensure it’s even on all sides. Add a throw pillow to the end of the bed for an added touch. Fluff and arrange all of the pillows. Getting a bed ready for photos isn’t a quick task. Allow plenty of time to arrange these during the morning when the pictures will be taken. You'll want the potential buyers to view your home as a relaxing space. What better way to give them that idea than to fix the bedroom? 
 


Toilet Seats

This one is a pet peeve of mine anytime I see it in photographs of a home for sale. Make sure toilet seats are all down. Nobody wants to see what the inside of your toilet looks like, regardless if there's nothing there to see. If you have a professional photographer, they’ll likely put them down for you or if your agent arrives prior to photos commencing to walk through your house, they probably will too. But, regardless of who takes care of it, just make sure it gets done.
 

Trash Cans

All trash cans need to be hidden and that includes the kitchen trash can. Your home is the product you are selling, not trash cans.

 

Pets

Sure, your furry friends might be the most adorable thing in the world for you but who's to say that the potential buyer thinks so, too? Not all people are animal lovers. Some might even be allergic or traumatized just by seeing animals. So, no matter how cute they are, make sure that your pets are out of thr picture when taking a photograph of your home. It goes without saying to remove your pet the day of photos but, don’t forget to remove your pet's belongings too. Beds, bowls, and food storage should not be photographed nor should they be present for showings either. Some buyers do not want to purchase a home if its apparent pets live there.
 


Exterior Tips For Picture Day

Don’t forget the exterior when preparing for picture day. It’s equally as important as the interior.
 


Front Door

You might easily ignore the importance of the front door, but this is usually a key factor in sealing the deal with a potential buyer. Place an attractive flower pot leading up the walkway or on a pedestal by the front door; something with an inviting color that doesn’t overwhelm the space. Adding something by or near the front door gives a welcoming vibe in photos.

 

Landscaping

The surrounding environment of your home plays a huge part in its attractiveness. Having a beautiful and neat landscape would send potential buyers flocking from all corners. Make sure to trim trees and bushes, pull weeds, mulch flower beds, and mow the yard. If the weather hasn’t warmed up enough for the grass to grow and there are bare spots with dirt showing in the yard, have sod put down. Having a touch of gorgeous nature would give potential buyers the idea of having endless days of peace and relaxation. 

 

Cars

Remove cars from the driveway and garage. If you have any sports equipment in the driveway or in front of the garage, it should be removed as well. Always remind yourself that you are selling the home. You wouldn't want potential buyers to think that your car is up for grabs too, right? This would save you possible inquiries in the long run. 
 


Trash Cans

Even the trash cans on the exterior of your home need to be removed for pictures too. Buyers aren’t interested in photographs with trash cans in them under any circumstances.

 

Yard

If you have pets, make sure the yard is free of any calling cards they’ve left. If you have children, remove their toys – there shouldn’t be any random items left out in the yard on picture day. The garden hose is an item that is often overlooked and it should be put away if it's lying on the ground.

 

Windows

All the windows in your home should be closed for picture day – blinds, however, should be open. Don’t forget to clean them prior to the photographer coming. Having open windows would make your house look more welcoming. From the inside, it also gives off beautiful natural lighting. 
 


Preparing your home for picture day takes a lot of attention to detail. I make it a point to arrive 45 minutes to an hour ahead of the photographer so that I can go through each room of the home and make any final adjustments. It’s easy to overlook little things when you don’t prepare a home for photos every day and it’s a costly mistake to make. Think of the photos you’d share if you were creating an online dating profile, they’d only be your absolute best. The same mentality applies to your home. Take the time to go room by room and get it ready to shine on picture day!
 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Getting Your Home Ready For A Spring Sale via Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage of Madison

What Updates/Repairs Should We Do Before Listing via Joan Cox Broker-Owner House To Home in Denver Co


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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.

 

 

First Time Home Seller Tips

First Time Home Seller Tips

When it’s time to sell a home for the very first time it can be downright intimidating and stressful. Where do you start, what should you expect, how do you prepare your home for sale are all questions that pop into first time home sellers minds. Below are tips I recommend for first time home sellers to not only get your home sold but, to do it for the highest price possible with the least amount of stress possible.
 

Hire A Real Estate Agent

Not just any real estate agent, one that you trust and who you know has a proven successful track record. You’re going to have a lot of questions before your home ever goes on the market and you need a trusted partner to give you honest answers. According to The National Association Of Realtors for sale by owners (FSBO) in 2018 accounted for only 8% of home sales and the typical FSBO home sold for $200,000 as compared to $265,500 when represented by an agent.

 

Allow Yourself Plenty Of Time To Prepare Your Home For Sale

As soon as you start to think about selling your home is when I recommend making your hiring decision for an agent and then enlisting their expertise to give you guidance on what your home needs to be market ready. Rushing your home to get it on the market never turns out well. You want a polished and well-presented product and that takes time. Very few of us live in our homes the way we position them to sell. Which is why allowing plenty of time to prepare for your sale is important, it will mean less stress and a favorable outcome than trying to pull an all-nighter to get your home ready.
 


Pricing

Pricing is the biggest reason a home doesn’t sell and getting it correct from the very start is the best way to sell quickly and for top dollar. I always tell my clients no one pays top dollar for stale bread and if your home sits on the market for months on end that’s exactly what it will become. Pricing is unique to each home, its location, and updates. If you’re considering making updates before you sell it’s another reason to enlist the expertise of an agent early on in the process. A great agent who knows your neighborhood will be able to tell you what updates are going to give you a strong ROI and what updates aren’t a good use of your money. From there the agent will then be able to tell you where your home should be priced. If they’re really on top of their game they’ll be able to give you a comparison to show you where you can list if you do XYZ updates and where you can list if you opt not to make changes.

 

Put On Your Buyer Eyes

Speaking of updates, do you remember when you were touring homes as a buyer? What stood out to you, better yet, was there something in particular about your home that made you feel like it was the one? As hard as it can be, putting your buyer eyes on before you list your home and really being honest with yourself about its current condition will give you a lot of insight. Buyers like updated and turnkey ready homes and they’re willing to pay top dollar for them. If your home has maintenance issues, has become outdated, or even just needs some minor repairs the time to do them is before you list.
 


Timing To List

Knowing when to list your home for sale is not something that comes up as often as it should. Most homeowners contact an agent when they’re ready to list their home – as in get it listed as soon as possible. This all goes back to contacting an agent early on in the process. An agent can help you plan ahead and create and implement coming soon marketing if they have the lead time to do it. Think of a big motion picture, it doesn’t just pop into theatres one day unannounced. There is marketing dispersed to build curiosity and put it on moviegoers radar long in advance which of course boosts box office sales. Targeting home buyers before your home is for sale decreases the number of days it’s on the market and has them waiting and ready for it to go active.

 

Prepare For Photos

Updates and maintenance items are part of the big picture when preparing your home for sale but, then there are all those little details that come into play when preparing for photos. Any clutter has to go, it’s rare I see a seller who doesn’t have items to get rid of or donate that they no longer need. I recommend looking at it and asking yourself if you want to pay to move it. That normally helps with the decision making process. After you’ve de-cluttered then focus on de-personalizing. You want your home to feel welcoming and inviting but, not over-personalized. This allows as many buyers as possible to envision themselves living there. Some level of staging will also likely be needed, this is one to rely on your agent to assist with. The amount of staging needed for each home varies and it could be as simple as removing or rearranging furniture or as advanced as hiring a professional stager.
 


Prepare For Showings

When your home is active your daily routine is going to change. If you leave for work every day you’re going to need to allow extra time each morning to get your home show ready. Making beds, doing dishes, straightening pillows, opening blinds, cleaning off vanities isn’t something all of us do as part of our daily routine and it takes time to accomplish. If you have pets have a plan in place to remove them from the home for every showing and be sure to have their belongings tucked away. Be prepared to not be able to come home at your normal time and be flexible. Not all showings are going to give you a ton of advanced notice. I always suggest my sellers have a basket on hand to put extra items from the counter or bathrooms in quickly. If you get a last minute showing request you can either stick it somewhere out of site or better yet just throw it in the car and take it with you. If your house can’t be shown it also can’t be sold.

 

After You’re Under Contract

Once you’ve accepted an offer on your home you may then need to be prepared to allow the buyers in for a home inspection, or your agent to meet the appraiser. Inspections that are needed vary and will be in the contract you’ve signed. Your agent will guide you on the next steps. You’ll also want to arrange for your actual move once you’re under contract. Whether it’s hiring movers or renting a moving truck it’s best to do so in advance to ensure you can get the date and time that’s best for your schedule.
 


Selling a home is a big undertaking but, when you work with an agent you trust to guide you through each step you’ll find your home goes under contract quickly and that all of your preparation pays off.

 

Additional Resources

7 Crucial First Time Home Seller Tips via Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage of Madison

Tips For First Time Home Sellers via Bill Gassett with RE/MAX

8 Successful Habits All Successful Home Sellers Have In Common via Realtor.com

 

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?