Monthly Archives: February 2017

7 BIG Mistakes Home Sellers Make Before a Showing


for sale sign at home ready for showingA cockroach. Disgustingly dirty tub.  The list of things that send potential home buyers running from a home is a list that you don’t want to add to when selling your home.  Here is the list of the most common mistakes we’ve seen home sellers make before a showing—and how you can avoid it.

Not clearing the walks.

Driveways and sidewalks that are full of lawn clippings, leaves, and snow block potential buyers from your home, and keep them from making an offer.

What you can do: Clean your sidewalks before every showing.  Because potential home buyers don’t always give you a lot of notice before they want to walk through your home, try to keep your driveway and walks clean at all times.  If you have to leave your home vacant, make a regular trip over to the property or hire a local company for periodic exterior maintenance.

Not worrying about curb appeal.

Buyers make a snap decision about your property from what they see on the outside.  Cracked driveways, overgrown hedges, obnoxious colors, or a rotting front porch can make potential home buyers not want to go in and see more.

What you can do: Your real estate agent can give you names of local home inspectors who can give your home a comprehensive once-over and identify any issues that could make a dent in the amount you take from your home sale.  Use our curb appeal checklist to make sure your home looks it best, and practically pulls potential buyers in the door.

Making your home smell too nice.

Some home sellers bake cookies, others use air fresheners or candles to make their home smell pleasant.  It is possible to overdo it, however, and leave your potential home buyers so preoccupied with their allergies that they don’t see your home as a possibility.

What you can do: Make sure your home has a pleasant smell, but be careful about the strength of the scent.  Strong odors can not only repel potential buyers, but make them think that you’re hiding a problem.

Not taking the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness” to heart.

A dirty toilet, tub, or countertop is pretty hard to look past—or can make your buyers wonder how low you’ll go so they can afford to replace any dirty items.

What you can do: Give your home a deep clean that makes your home look new.  If you don’t have time to take on all the scrubbing and elbow grease your home needs, hire a cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom.

Making your rooms look small.

Your prized knick-knacks and furniture may seem like a logical addition to any room, but can make your rooms look tiny because of the clutter.

What you can do: Clear your floors and shelves of all the “stuff” that takes up room.  You can leave a few items on shelves, but try to keep your floors clear to make the room feel larger.  Put any excess items or furniture in storage or in a friend or family member’s home.

Not checking all the light bulbs.

Home buyers make snap judgments about your home ownership from what they see as they walk through. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to check the plumbing, light switches, and windows to see if there are any red flags.

What you can do: Replace all light bulbs (interior and exterior) and make sure your faucets work properly.  Get any issues or major systems repaired before you put your home on the market.  Hire a home inspector that can check your home for any issues that could be a home sale deal breaker.

Not hiring an exterminator.

A dead mouse or bug—or even any sign of an infestation (i.e. droppings, traps, etc.)—can leave potential buyers wondering about the extent of the problem or heading straight for the door.

What you can do: You want potential buyers to be wowed by your home, not disgusted by it.  Hire an exterminator if you have an issue, and make sure your home is clean and free of any pests. If you want to make sure your home is ready and completely prepped for a showing, ask your real estate agent to walk through your home and make recommendations. An experienced local agent can also give you their recommendation of a fair selling price—everything you need to take your home from a good home showing to a home sale.

Home Buyers: 10 KEY Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent


real estate agent with small house on hand ready to help buy a homeReal estate agents can seem like a dime a dozen; you might even know one.  But when it comes right down to it, buying or selling a home is a big financial move.  Blind trust in a friend-of-a-friend or a cousin may seem like a wise decision, but can cost you big when you’re navigating your way through a major financial transaction like buying or selling.

If you want to choose the right real estate agent from the sea of agents, do your due diligence.  Contact the top real estate agents in your area and ask them some key questions that’ll help you weed out the right real estate expert for your home purchase.

How much experience do you have selling homes? Do you buy and sell full-time or part-time? How many homes have you bought? How many have you sold?

These are questions that give you important insight: the amount of time the real estate agent has spent buying and selling homes, what area (purchases or home sales) they have more experience in, and the number of clients they have assisted over the years.  Hiring a full-time agent can also be helpful when time is the only obstacle between landing your dream home or accepting a great offer.

Do you have any references?

Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research on your own, so you can find out what their past clients say.  Check out any their agency social media pages for reviews, and ask around to see if their past clients are satisfied.

Do you know our area?

What’s the difference between two real estate agents in towns just a short distance apart? Often, it’s their knowledge of the town.  A real estate agent that knows the area can give you key information about commute times, school district, and the values of homes in neighborhoods within your town.  The latter pieces of knowledge can be invaluable for home buyers and sellers both, so they are making smart financial moves based on the values around the neighborhood they are interested in.

How much does it cost to list or buy with you?

The difference between a percentage point may not seem like much, but it can mean a big difference in dollars when you are dealing with a huge real estate transaction.  On the other hand, you want to make sure you get the quality advice you pay for and hire the best agent with experience that can help you through the process.

Who else will I be working with?

Purchasing and selling a home is a team effort, so don’t be shy about asking for the other names of your team members.  Having a huge team of agents at your fingertips can also be a huge asset; if your real estate agent is not available, it pays to have another agent to show you a home or a friendly receptionist you can leave an urgent message with.

How are you going to contact me?  When will you contact me?

One of the top frustrations for home buyers and sellers is a real estate agent who stops…everything.  You meet with the agent, then never hear from them again.  To avoid this scenario, ask your agent how they will contact you—and be sure to hire an agent that communicates with you in the manner you are most comfortable.  Some people like phone calls, others are more comfortable with emails or text messages.  Ask them when they are going to contact you again so you know what to expect and don’t feel like your real estate agent isn’t doing their job.