Monthly Archives: September 2015

What sells my house?


sold homeIt’s the million dollar real estate questions: “what can I do to sell my property?” and “how can I get top dollar for my home?” Though these questions sound complicated, the answer is easier than you think. What sells a house is fairly simple, and eerily similar no matter where you live:

Right Price

A house priced too high is a house that is going to sit on the real estate market, resulting in price reductions that send all the wrong signals to potential buyers (“Is there something wrong with the house?” “Why has it sat on the market so long?”). If your home is priced too low, you’re not going to walk away with the top dollar you need, and no one likes to feel like they got ripped off. So how do you determine that sweet spot, a fair sales price? Trust your real estate agent to do a market evaluation. The right price is determined by looking at purchase prices from comparable home sales in your area. Note the catch: from the actual purchase price (or sale price), not the price that the home was listed for. Also, make sure you are properties that qualify as comparable sales. Compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. For example, if you are selling a condo, find other condos for sale in your area. For more information on sales prices, read our blog post to guide you to the right sales price—the price that sells.


We’ve all heard the key to property values: “location, location, location.” You’ve heard it because it’s true. The location of a property is a key factor in determining the value and sales price of a home because location sells. A desirable location is worth its weight in gold in a buyer’s mind. A prime example of this is water front property. A house on a lake, such as Sinissippi or Fox Lake in Dodge County, has an edge for many buyers over a land-locked property. On the flip side, numerous location factors, such as a busy road or highway, undesirable commercial property (such as a factory with foul smell, loud noise or unkempt property), a landfill, unsafe neighborhood or a neighbor with a messy yard can negatively impact the value of your home. If your house isn’t in a desirable location, put your money in key areas to win buyers over, such as in a nice kitchen, clean bathrooms and excellent curb appeal.

Curb Appeal

First impressions count, especially when selling a house. This is your chance to make a favorable impression as soon as potential buyers pull up to the house, so make sure you pay attention to:

  • Driveway condition (no cracks or holes),
  • Clean (and no cracks) windows,
  • Well-kept yard & flower beds (if you have any),
  • Painted porch and porch railings in good repair (if applicable),
  • Powerwashed sidewalks and siding.

Buyers see a direct correlation between your lawn care and how well you take care of your house, so don’t skimp on the amount of work you put into the exterior of your home.


As the old saying goes, “cleanliness is next to godliness” especially when selling your house. If you don’t have time to scrub the grout and wash down the tub, hire a cleaning service that can give your house the deep clean you need. Deep cleaning also has another favorable side effect: the ability to remove any odors that could drive potential buyers away.


Unless you’re intent on selling a home as a fixer upper, and accepting the price that goes with it, condition matters. That means repairing the hold in the drywall, the water stains, the worn down shingles and the water leak. If you’re not sure exactly what repairs need to be made, schedule a pre-listing home inspection (we’ve written about the many benefits of a pre-listing home inspection here). A pre-listing home inspection can locate potential red flags before your home hits the market—and before a buyers’ home inspector finds them as well. The result: a smoother sale price, no surprises, faster sale, and higher sales price.

Have any questions about preparing your home for your upcoming sale or determining a fair sale price? Contact a local real estate agent with the experience and knowledge to help you navigate putting your home on the market, and the process of selling your home—smoothly and for a fair sales price you can appreciate.

What should I look for in a real estate agent?


what should I look for in a real estate agentChoosing a real estate agent is not a decision that should be made lightly. Buying or selling a home is one of the most expensive decisions of your life, so why you should you take choosing the real estate agent at the heart of the sale flippantly? Look at it this way: your real estate agent could be literally worth thousands of dollars in profit or savings in your wallet. This decision is important. So what should you look for when choosing the right real estate agent for your home sale?

Past clients

What do a real estate agents’ past clients say? Were they satisfied with the services they received? Did the real estate agent make their home sale smooth? Ask the real estate agent for references and look on social media to see what kind of rating they have received from their clients.

Knows your area

If you’re looking to buy a home, a real estate agent familiar with the area you are buying the home in can give you information about the area: commute times, school district, local neighborhood info. On the flip side, if you are a home seller, a local real estate agent knows what prices sell and don’t sell—one of the most important factors that sell (or don’t sell) your home.

Has experience

The magic number for real estate experience is five years (plus). Choose an agent that has a large amount of experience to assist you through your home sale. You can find this information by asking the real estate agent, or by requesting this information from the state license board.

Good (and prompt) communication

One of the top frustrations from home buyers and sellers is a real estate agent who drops off the planet. You sign the papers to put your house on the market, or enlist their services to find your next dream home and then….nothing. Or they don’t return your calls with questions. Either way, one of the questions you should ask your potential real estate agents is, “How will you communicate with me? Can I email you? Or call you?”

What factors shouldn’t you use when choosing a real estate agent? We wouldn’t recommend contacting a real estate agent because:

They’ll list your house for the price you want to sell

A fair price (and a price that sells) is not related to how much you owe or how much you want to make from your sale. Determine how to price your house by reading our recent blog post.

They are a smooth talker

This is a process where it’s important to look beyond the real estate agent’s presentation. Sure they’re a smooth talker, but do they have the experience you need when you hit a bump in your home sale? Do they have the follow up to contact you regularly and promptly?

They’ll hold a million open houses

Open houses are a tool for selling a home, but there is a limit to its effectiveness. Choose a real estate agent that can effectively market your home, not just stand at the door every week at another empty open house.

You saw their name on a sign

Choosing a real estate agent is too important of a decision to randomly contact an agent just because you saw their name. You’re real estate sale is more important than that. Be smart. Contact a real estate agent with the references, experience, local knowledge and follow-up skills to guide you through your important purchase. Remember, your real estate agent works for you—make sure you choose someone that does it, and you know can do it.