So you’ve decided to sell your home.  Congratulations, that unto itself is a huge first step.  Now you need to think like a buyer and ask yourself what you would be looking for if you were in the market for a new home. What would create you to notice your home?  What makes it stand out from the other available properties? What do you need to know to make the process successful?

As a seller, you need to realize that the first impression of any given home generally becomes the lasting impression. Not only is it the impression your home makes, it is also the impression your neighborhood makes.  This over all impression helps create the value of your property. 

Step back and look at your home from the curb.  Is it appealing?  Is your front entry eye catching?  Are your front door and trim spotless? 

Below are some articles that you might find useful in the home selling process. Please feel free to click on one the links to read more.

Seller Articles

Determining the “Right” Time to Sell

Spring and fall have usually been considered the hottest home shopping periods, but the downside is that a large inventory of available properties make it hard for yours to stand out.  While your location can be a factor, some elements of timing remain constant.  For instance, the last week of December may never be a good time to show our house, yet if a buyer really needs to buy, you may find that your home stands out with the holiday decor and limited competition.  The most important factor to keep in mind is how your home stands out in the crowd.  Determine the outstanding points of your home and accentuate them.  Do you have a fabulous garden?  If so, enter your home to the market when your garden is at it’s best.  If you have a pool, go to market in the warm summer months.  If you have an outstanding view, make sure there are no obstacles in the way of buyers being guided to the windows with the view.  There are a number of subliminal aspects to determining the right time and the reasons for the timing.  Talk to your Realtor about all of this. 

Getting Your Home Ready

As you are preparing your home for sale, consider you are walking into your home for the first time (I know, that’s hard to do as this is your home).  Yet it’s an important first step.  Do you see clutter free rooms?  If not, maybe removing some furniture and collectibles are in order.  Do you see an expanse of kitchen counters?  If not, consider putting some of the small appliances, utensils, cookbooks, etc. in cupboards.  Are the bedrooms tidy and all personal belongs put away?  Now take a look at the closets.  Are they overly full?  Maybe storing some of the out-of-season clothing is warranted.  Is the garage clear of extra items and swept out?  Buyers want to know they can park their cars comfortably.  Once all this is done, take a look at the paint.  Does it need freshening up?  Are all the faucets drip free?  All the little touch up repairs make a huge difference in buyer’s opinion of the overall maintenance of your home.  The outside is equally important.  Sweep, mow, touch up paint, especially around the front door, plant some colorful flowers ... set the stage to make your home a WOW home!

Risks of Remodeling Without a Permit

Most cities require that homeowners obtain a building permit before making modifications to their residence. Which modifications require a permit vary by city. Also, some cities are more vigilant than others in enforcing permit laws.

In order for the homeowner to receive a permit, the homeowner or his/her designee are required to file plans and pay fees to the city. In addition, the improvements are given a value which could increase the value of the property and subsequently the property taxes. Inspections are often required for the work to be approved which entails scheduling inspectors to approve the work.  This process can be time consuming and inconvenient in the short run. It is for this reason that some homeowners skip the permit process. If a permit is needed and you fail to get one, a retroactive permit may be able to be obtained.  It could be significantly more expensive and more problematic than obtaining the permit at the commencement of the work.  If work is not done in accordance with city procedures or if the inspector is unable to determine if the work has been done properly, the homeowner could be required to open wall, floors or ceilings to obtain the neglected permit.

What is a CMA and Why Do You Need One?

CMA is real estate shorthand for "Comparative Market Analysis".  A CMA is a report prepared by a real estate agent providing data comparing your property to similar properties in the marketplace.

The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to inspect your property. Generally, this inspection won't be overly detailed and your home doesn’t not need to be staged and ready for showings.  Your agent just needs to be able to make an accurate assessment of its condition and worth, know it will be tidy and ready to show when the time comes. If you plan to make changes before selling, inform the agent at this time.

The next step is for the agent to obtain data on comparable properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple Listing Service), but a qualified agent will also know of properties that are on the market or have sold without being part of the MLS. This will give the agent an idea how much your property is worth in the current market, taking into consideration neighborhood trends and what the market it doing at that particular time. Please note that the CMA is not an appraisal. An appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser and will probably be performed in conjunction with the buyer’s financing.

The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for and what the market trends at that given time are.