Category Archives: selling your home

Selling your house can be a complicated process. Contact RE Platinum to work with professional realtors who know your local area, and the industry

Why hasn’t my home sold yet?

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for sale sign at home ready for showingYou did everything you’ve read and heard about getting your home ready for the real estate market. You listed during the spring.  You mow your lawn on a regular basis to make it look well-cared for.  You think your home is a diamond in the rough. So why hasn’t your home sold yet?  Here are 10 reasons your home may not have sold yet—and what you can do about it.

Price

What: A realistic selling price is one of the most important factors in a quick sale.  Don’t use what you owe on the property or what you think your property is worth to set the selling price for your home.

The fix: This is one of those situations where experience counts because the best local agents use their experience with local real estate markets to price a home right.  To find out what that perfect home sale price is, contact a local experienced agent for a free consultation.  They’ll walk through your home and give you a custom fair sales price that’ll get your home off the market.

Cleanliness

What: Nothing sends potential buyers out the door faster than a dirty tub, or dodging creepy crawlies during the home tour.  Instead, your home should be clean during every showing, with the rooms clutter-free, floors cleaned, and every inch of the kitchens and bathrooms scrubbed down (more tips for a clean home for showings here).

The fix: Give your home a deep clean before you put it on the market, or make the cleaning a work-in-progress.  If you choose the latter option, start cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms which are the most important rooms to many buyers.  Another option is to hire a cleaning service to give your home a deep clean; if you want to go this route, choose an experienced realtor who can connect you to local, affordable cleaning service.

Location

What: Train tracks, a cemetery, electrical lines, where you are in town or a lot out in the country—all these different factors impact the value of your home.

The fix: While you can’t change many of these factors, you can improve your home so potential homeowners are so impressed by the home they forget about the train tracks across the street or the electrical lines nearby.  Improve your home within reason; you don’t want to “over improve” your home so that the improvements are beyond what local neighborhood values dictate (to find out where that line is, contact a real estate agent who knows your area and can give you information).

Curb appeal

What: Curb appeal is potential buyers’ first impression of your home: your front door, the cleanliness of your walks, your driveway, plantings, etc.  Any lapses in curb appeal can sour your potential buyers’ opinion before they even step in the front door.

The fix: Use our curb appeal checklist to make sure you’ve created a favorable curb appeal, or contact a local real estate agent for their opinion.  Ask for their honest opinion of your home’s curb appeal, and how you can make buyers want to come inside.

Repairs

What: A crack in the ceiling, an uneven driveway full of cracks, water damage stain on the wall—all of these items (and more) can make buyers walk away from a property that’s less than turn-key.  Even if you’ve promised to make these repairs at the time of sale, potential buyers may turn away at the sight of repairs.

The fix: Talk to your real estate agent when you list about what should be repaired before you list your home.  Make repairs to the home now while you can control the cost of the repairs.  If you don’t know where to start with repairs (or if any repairs need to be made), ask your real estate agent for a list of home inspectors who can tour your property and give you a pre-sale inspection.  This simple step saves you the headache of surprises—and can fast track your home sale.

10 Tips for Prepping Your Home for a Showing

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Young woman screaming in excitement because of a home showingYour real estate agent just called.  Someone wants to view your home.  Yikes!  How do you prepare your home for the showing?  And not just ready your home for a showing, but get it in tip-top shape so it sells?  Here are our top 10 tips from real estate agents who have been through hundreds of home sales.

Start outside.

Potential buyers start judging your home from the second they pull up to your home.  Driveway cracks, peeling paint, damaged shingles…any of these items can keep potential buyers from stepping in your door.  Be thorough when tackling your home’s curb appeal; we’ve given you a full list of curb appeal tips to create an excellent first impression on potential home buyers.

Keep your home clean.

It’s easier to get your home clean enough for a showing when you keep your home clean.  Try to wash your dishes every night, pick up any piles, and do anything else to minimize the amount of cleaning you need to do before a home showing.  In an ideal world, you’d get a ton of notice before a home showing—unfortunately that’s not always going to happen, so it’s best to always be ready.

Rid your house of repulsive odors.

Don’t break out the onions right before—or even hours before—a home showing.  If the weather allows, open the windows to air out your home.  Bake cookies before your showing, or use another air freshener to keep your home smelling great.  Don’t overdo it, though, or your potential home buyers could have an allergy attack.

Deep clean your bathrooms and kitchen.

You don’t want potential buyers to be disgusted by your home; that’s hardly going to lead to a smooth home sale at top dollar.  Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes, and so does the cleanliness of these important rooms.  Take special care to deep clean your tiles, showers, counters, sinks, tubs, and toilets.  If the buyers believe they have to replace any part of your bathroom or kitchen, they are going to offer a lower sales price to accommodate their budget.

Exterminate any unwanted visitors.

Just a small sign of roaches, ants, or mice can kill a potential home sale.  Take steps to exterminate any pests, such as rodents, bugs, and other creepy crawlies.  If you use traps, make sure you check each trap, remove any dead or dying varmint, and put your traps out of sight.

Take any “clutter” along.

Pets, baby swings, toys, bassinets…anything that takes up floor space and makes your rooms smaller should come along with you when you leave the home during a showing.  Have your pet carriers and a basket available to pack those extra items easily and quickly even on short notice.

Don’t block your selling points.

Make your rooms feel bigger by minimizing the amount of items on the floor, on tables, and on shelves. The same goes for closets—don’t hide your home’s storage!  If needed, rent a storage unit to hold your personal items.  Remember, “less is more” during a home showing.

Make sure all your lights work.

Believe it or not, whether your lights work or not is a direct reflection on how you care, and have cared, for your home—at least in the eyes of potential home buyers.  Check your external and internal light fixtures, and replace any burned out bulbs.  To eliminate any unwanted surprises once your home is under contract, get a pre-listing home inspection so you can complete (and control the costs of) any essential repairs.

Get the “dump” out of your “dumping ground.”

If you have an area of your home where all your miscellaneous items go, it’s time to do some quick organizing and de-cluttering.  Whether it’s a spare room, your basement, or attic, rid your home of all those “extras” that keep your buyers from seeing the full space—and potential—of your home.

Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions.

You hired your real estate agent for a reason (hopefully).  Ask for any tips or recommendations from your agent as to how you can make your home show better.  Your real estate agent should have the experience and expertise that can help you prepare for a showing—and a quick, and smooth, home sale.

5 Tips for Keeping Sane When Selling Your Home

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sell your homeWhether your home is on the market for a day or a year, selling your home is a process—at times, a taxing and draining process. From the uncertain length of time for the sale to the financial stress, selling your home can be a very trying time. But there is hope for homeowners ready to put their house on the market if you follow our tips for maintaining your sanity during this very trying—and exciting!—time.

Choose the right real estate agent

A good realtor is worth their weight in knowledge, profit and savings. That’s why it’s vital to choose the right realtor that can educate when needed, communicate with you on a regular basis, and knows their stuff. It sounds generic, we know, but the right realtor is an important part of the home selling process—along with a mortgage lender and home inspector, which we wrote about in a recent post.

So how do you choose the best? Read our article about how to select the right real estate agent. Look at their reviews on social media. Ask around. Check through local sales to see which real estate agents are selling properties. A good real estate agent has the experience and knowledge to see you through your sale, from the day you put your home on the market until the sale is finalized.

Get a pre-listing home inspection

If you want to minimize surprises while selling your home, a pre-listing home inspection is for you. A pre-listing home inspection is an inspection of your property by a licensed home inspector BEFORE you put your home up for sale. A pre-listing home inspection can locate potential red flags (even the not so obvious problems) before your home hits the market—and before a buyers’ home inspector finds them. This also gives you the opportunity to control who makes the repairs and the cost of repairs. If your home inspector finds an issue with your property during the pre-listing home inspection, you, as the home owner, can choose what professional and price you pay for repairs. If a potential buyer finds the issue, they can require that you use their home repair professional which may cost you more in the long run.

Develop a strategy for keeping your home ready for showings

Even if you ask your realtor for 24 hours notice before all showings, inevitable short-notice showings do come up occasionally. If you want to sell your house, it’s best not to turn away a potential buyer away, so it makes sense to come up with a plan. This may mean hiring a cleaning service to give your home a deep clean, and follow up appointments to keep your home clean for showings. If you have a lot of personal items that hide the size of your room or one of your home’s features, rent a storage unit so you don’t have to repeatedly remove and take items with you during showings.

Set a fair selling price from the start

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. 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. 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.

Stay focused on the goal

The process of selling your home can feel like a roller coaster; it’s vital for your sanity to keep your eyes on the goal. Educate yourself so you’re ready for the home buying and selling process, and don’t be afraid to take some time to relax during the process. Remember, there are some aspects of your home you can’t change (like location), but there are parts of your home you can ready for the market, such as cleanliness, condition and curb appeal. Do what you can to your home and choose the right professionals for your home selling process: an excellent mortgage lender, real estate agent and home inspector (we’ve given you tips on how to do so here). Keep your eyes on the goal; all of your due diligence is for a reason: so you can get a fair price for your home and move on.

3 Real Estate Professionals That Can Make or Break Your Home Sale

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home saleWhether you’re buying or selling your home, it can be the little things that make the sale: an open floor plan, size of the yard, the garage…the list can go on and on. Just as much as those little things can make you want to buy or sell your home, it’s the big things—the professionals involved—that can make the sale go smoothly or fall apart. That’s why it’s so important to select the real estate professionals you want to be part of your home sale carefully.

Mortgage Lender

The first step in any home sale is to contact a mortgage lender to set the budget for your new home, and, if you are a seller, to discuss your financials after you sell your home. We cannot possibly stress enough the importance of a good mortgage lender in your home sale. A good mortgage lender gives you not only a loan, but an education and a smooth home sale process. There are a lot of options for mortgage lenders, so start sifting through your home lending options by asking yourself these questions:

  1. How much do you know about mortgages? Are you a first-time home buyer or a seasoned real estate (or financial) professional? Or a household that has bought and sold many homes?
  2. Do you need someone to educate you about your loan options (i.e. the pros and cons of fixed rate vs. adjustable mortgages)?
  3. Are you more comfortable meeting with someone face-to-face or comfortable with phone and online interactions?
  4. Who do I know—and trust—to refer their mortgage lender to me? Or who can I talk to about a lender they would not recommend?
  5. Which lender offers the best customer service? What are their response times?

Once you know your preferred mode of communication (face-to-face vs. virtual), and the amount of assistance you need navigating through the home buying process, make a list of possible mortgage lender possibilities and screen them by asking these questions.

  1. What are your current mortgage rates (be aware that mortgage rates, even fixed rates, do change over a period of time and that buyers get different rates based on their credit)?
  2. Can you get me a complete (COMPLETET) list of fees?
  3. What kind of loan is the best option for me? (If you are interested in a loan specifically for veterans or think that a HUD loan is the best option, be aware that not all lenders can assist you.)
  4. What kind of documents do you need to approve my loan (if I decide to proceed with you)?
  5. How long does the home sale process take? What can I do to expedite the process?

Let’s make one thing clear: though you do need to apply to get the exact mortgage rate, you do not need to apply to get possible mortgage rates and a list of fees. If you want more information on local mortgage lenders, ask your real estate agent about their experiences.

Real Estate Agent

A good realtor is worth their weight in knowledge and savings. From defining terms like foreclosure and short sale, to identifying home repairs that can sell your home, to assistance with pricing and negotiating, to finding a solution that fits your needs after a bad home inspection report, a real estate agent’s first priority is to assist you through the home selling and buying process. Real estate agents offer local connections to professionals you need during the home sale process, and the objectivity to help navigate a fair deal. So how do you find the best of the best real estate agent?

Testimonials

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

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 home 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?”

A good real estate agent can also connect you with other professionals you need in the home sale process, such as a home inspector, contractor, or landscaper.

Home Inspector

A home inspector is invaluable to both a home buyer and seller. A good home inspector can spot potential issues that need repair, and can also educate home buyers on home maintenance. We’ve seen home inspectors that have saved home buyers and sellers thousands of dollars, so be selective about the home inspector you choose. A good home inspector has past experience in construction, can provide samples of their home inspector report, is a member of a professional association, and can provide testimonials from past clients.

For a seller, a pre-listing home inspection can be the difference between a quick sale and a dragged out process. A pre-listing home inspection can locate potential red flags before the home hits the market, putting the seller in control of choosing who makes the repairs and the cost. If you’ve located and made all the repairs found during the pre-listing home inspection, you don’t need to worry about delays during the sale process or any renegotiations on price because of issues found during a potential buyer’s home inspection.

Many a buyer has been tempted to waive the home inspection in their offer, either because they think they’ve found the perfect home or because there is strong competition for the property. Fight the temptation. A good inspection is invaluable for buyers for several sound business reasons:

Avoiding a money pit

Some of the most expensive repairs can be hidden, such as structural and electrical issues. Buying a home is a sound investment, and should remain as such. You don’t want to sick more money into the property than you have, or than it’s worth.

Outside verification of the previous homeowner’s work

Did you know the wall that the previous owner removed caused structural damage? Or that the person who flipped the home did not have any experience installing plumbing? A home inspector can tell you if work done by the previous owner—even if you can’t tell the work was even done—was done correctly, or can recommend professionals that can inspect the structure or foundation.

Still have time to ask for a seller to make repairs

If you do find issues, don’t panic. Until you close on the home, you have time to renegotiate with the owners (visit our previous post to find out what your options are). You can go back to the owners and ask for funds to fix the house, or ask them to fix the damage. If your offer is contingent on the home inspection, you can also back out of the sale.

The opportunity to look ahead

Home inspectors can not only give you insight into the quality of past repairs, but can also give you a list of repairs that need to be made and a timeline. If the house needs a new roof, for example, he can give you his opinion on the damage and when it needs to be repaired or replaced. The most important item that any home inspector can give you is peace of mind and an education about your future investment.

Want more information on your home sale process? Contact a local real estate agent who has years of experience assisting other home buyers and sellers through buying and selling their home.

5 Terms to Know Before You Sell Your Home

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sell your homeThinking of putting your home up for sale? Before the sign goes up in the front yard, it pays yourself to educate yourself on some key real estate terms that could play a key part in your home sale. A little bit of knowledge, and a good real estate agent, can be the key to selling your home quickly and saving thousands of dollars in the process.

Comparable home sales

A fair sales price is one of the most important factors in determining how fast your home sells. A home priced too high is a home 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 property?” “Why has it sat on the market so long?”).

So how do you determine a fair sales price? The fair sales price of your home should not be set by the amount you purchased the home for or by what you owe on the home. Instead, your real estate agent can do a market evaluation from comparable home sales in your area. Your real estate agent uses the actual sale price of other homes that are similar to yours—not the price that the home was listed for. Comparable home sales should include properties that are comparable. 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.

Condition Report

In 1992, Wisconsin became one of the first states requiring sellers to fill out a document disclosing defects that could affect the value or structure of a property. The Condition Report needs to be part of all transactions involving 1-4 properties and has more than 20 categories of disclosures, including important items such as unsafe well water, roof defects and problems within the electrical system. If the property does not have a defect in that category, and has never suffered damage as a result, the seller can indicate that the property is clear in that area.

What do sellers have to include in the report? Everything—and what was done to fix it. If a problem occurred on the property, even for an insignificant length of time, it needs to be included in the report. Include the issue, what was done to fix the problem, and that it never happened again. For instance, if the basement flooded with a foot of water for a just a few hours 10 years ago, the flooding needs to disclosed. Also write down that the problem was caused by a faulty sump pump that was replaced that same day. Same with that leak in the roof. Or the pipe that burst in the bathroom.

The report cannot be completed by a seller’s Real Estate Agent. Truly, the Condition Report is not protecting the Real Estate Agent, it’s protecting the sellers. That’s why sellers need to fill this important document out—and fill it out completely with full disclosure. A completed Condition Report is more than just a piece of paper. It’s a shield for sellers now—and after the sale is complete.

Curb Appeal

First impressions count, especially when selling a home. That’s why the curb appeal of your home matters, such as the neatness of your yard, the cleanliness of your home, even the condition of your roof and windows. This is your chance to make a favorable impression as soon as potential buyers pull up to the home, 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 home, so don’t skimp on the amount of work you put into the exterior of your home. If you would prefer hiring a professional to give your home the curb appeal (and maintain it), contact your real estate agent for a recommendation.

Offer

Once a potential buyer is serious about your home, they submit an offer (otherwise known as a purchase agreement). An offer contains a price and any contingencies, or conditions, of the sale. For example, a common contingency is a financing contingency which means the loan must go through for the sale to be final. Another common contingency is an inspection contingency where the home must pass a home inspection or both parties come to an agreement on how to handle an issue that arises during the home inspection. There are other contingencies that can be included in the offer; discuss the contingencies in an offer made on your home with your real estate agent so you understand the agreement. An offer is not a binding agreement until both parties have agreed upon the price and contingencies included in the purchase agreement.

Pre-listing home inspection

A pre-listing home inspection is an inspection of your property BEFORE you put your home up for sale. When you’re talking about a pre-listing home inspection, spending money upfront can save you thousands of dollars and time when selling your home, in more ways than one:

No surprises, or delays, during the home sale process. Replacing a broken window or repairing water-damaged drywall can be the difference between a quick sale and a dragged out process. Unfortunately, not all repairs are so obvious, and 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.

Opportunity to make repairs at a price you choose. A pre-listing home inspection puts you in control of choosing who makes the repairs and the cost. If your home inspector finds an issue with your home during the pre-listing home inspection, you, as the home owner, can choose what professional and price you pay for repairs. If a potential buyer finds the issue, they can require that you use their home repair professional which may cost you more in the long run.

Better selling price. If a potential buyer finds an issue during the home inspection, they can renegotiate the final selling price to accommodate the cost of repairs. The renegotiation can cut into your bottom line and lower the amount of money you make from your home sale.

If you have any questions about selling your home, or preparing your home for sale, contact an experienced real estate agent that can guide you through the home sale process. They can guide you through the preparations, give you a fair sales price, assist you with the paperwork, answer any questions you might have, and steer you through the closing process once your home sale is a reality.

What can I do if my house won’t sell?

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sold homeIt’s hard in a seller’s market to see your property sit on the market, but the fact is that it does happen. Selling your home is not a hard science; so many factors play a part in whether a house sits on the market for 30 days or 300 days: price, location, condition, home inspection issues, real estate market. While not all of those factors are under your control—you can’t control the real estate market—there are steps you can take to improve the saleability of your home:

  1. Clean, clean, clean. A deep clean is essential to a home sale. Take the white glove approach to tile grout, flooring (especially carpeting), bathrooms and sinks. Don’t leave out pest traps in visible areas; you don’t want buyers to be disgusted and not continue their home tour. If you can’t take on the task of a deep cleaning, ask your realtor for a recommendation for a cleaning company that can. It’s worth the investment.
  2. Consider minor home improvements. Don’t feel like you have to break the bank, but remain focused. Bathrooms and kitchens are the two main areas to invest your funds, such as in new updated counter tops and refaced cabinets. Ask your realtor for recommendations; they know the area and what prospective buyers expect in your locale. Remember, don’t break the bank making the improvements; you don’t want to invest money that you won’t get back.
  3. Improve your curb appeal. A well kept home on the outside is important; it gives prospective buyers the reassurance that you are keeping the outside and inside in good condition. Clean up any trash in the yard, and keep the walks clean. You want your house to look well-maintained and inviting. This is your chance to make a favorable first impression; good curb appeal starts that impression at the door, with the hope that it continues inside.
  4. Get rid of the red flags. When selling your home, first impressions do matter. Replacing a broken window or repairing water-damaged drywall can be the difference between a quick sale and a dragged out process. 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. Buyers are scared away by homes they consider money pits, even if the repairs are minimal.
  5. Reevaluate the price. This is the option no one wants to hear, but a high price tag is one of the hugest obstacles to a quick sale. Read our recent blog posts for tips on how to ensure your house is priced fairly; look at comparable sales in the area, and be realistic. A house priced too high is a house that is going to stay for sale for the long term.

If you’re worried about why your house won’t sell, talk to your realtor. Ask them for a recommendation on a realistic sales price and any improvements suitable for the area of your home. A good, experienced realtor knows what buyers expect in your area, and what they’ll pay. Be patient and be smart. Your home sale could be just a home tour away.

What is a fair sales price for my home?

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fair selling price for home“What’s my home worth?” and “how much can I list my home for?” are some of the most common questions we hear, and the most misunderstood. The final answer is also crucial to a quick sale, because an improperly priced house is a loss for everyone involved. 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?

Use comparable sales as a compass. The best way to determine the price of your home is to compare your home to all area homes for sale, or that have sold, with comparable lot sizes and square footage. A real estate agent can assist with the process, and use their experience to hit upon a fair sales price. Just remember to compare apples to apples, and oranges to oranges. Compare your 2,000 square foot home to another home, or your condo to another condo.

Replacement costs do not count. Just because you need $200,000 from your current home to buy another home does not mean you can ask that of your current home. In the same way, don’t factor the price you owe on your house when determine fair market value. While those numbers should be part of your personal financial calculations, those numbers mean nothing to potential buyers or the current real estate market.

Do not use tax assessments, or a previous sales price, as a guide. Even though your property tax form uses the term “fair market value,” the number is not applicable to your home sale price. That number is based on a formula created by the government. In the same way, whatever your house sold for previously—even just a year or two ago—does not factor into your sales price. To get the fair sales price, contact an experienced realtor who knows your area and local sales prices.

Be realistic. It’s hard to be objective when you’ve been in your home for many years, have raised children in your home, are attached to the property or have spent thousands of dollars in repairs. Unfortunately, none of that matters when agreeing upon a fair sales price for your home.

To get the most for your property, invest in a pre-sale home inspection. A pre-sale home inspection can save you money on repairs, give you a smooth closing process, and guarantee you a higher sales price for your home. We’ve written about the benefits of a pre-sale home inspection before, and would recommend it for any homeowner considering selling their home.

The first step to settling on a market price for your home is contacting a real estate agent. A real estate agent can give you their recommendation for a fair asking price, and list of expenses associated with your home sale. They can also answer any questions you may have about selling your home, and give you tips on preparing your home for the real estate market. The agent can also assist in the next phase of your home selling process—locating a home for the next phase of your life.

5 Must-Follow Curb Appeal Tips that Sell Your Home

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curb appeal tips for selling your homeThere are so many things to worry about when listing your Wisconsin home for sale on the real estate market. It’s easy to focus on the inside, and ignore the outside—even though that’s the first thing a potential buyer sees when they pull up to your home. So how do you make a good impression on potential buyers so how they want to purchase your house? Use these must-follow curb appeal tips:

  1. Make sure your lawn, hedges and trees are well-trimmed. Get out your lawn mower, pruners and weed eater. It’s time to keep the lawn neat and mowed, remove those stray branches and get rid of the weeds. You want your yard to show that you take good care of your home. Remember this is your chance to make a good impression from the moment a potential buyer drives up; if you can’t keep up with the yard work, ask your realtor to recommend a yard service that can.
  2. Check for cracks. Inspect your driveway and sidewalk for cracks. Make repairs as needed, and replace serious cracks in concrete and asphalt areas. Seal your asphalt driveway to give your curb appeal a finished look.
  3. Wash or paint your house. Yes, your house is judged by the peeling paint or mold growing on the siding. Wash or paint your house, or ask your realtor for a recommendation of a good local contractor that can make your home look new again. Don’t forget to wash your garage door, which is easy to forget and can build up with dirt over time.
  4. Make sure your deck is ready to wow the buyers. If you have a deck on the front or back of your house, wash or stain your deck to make sure it looks its best. If your deck has been around for awhile, have an inspector check the deck during a pre-listing inspection. You don’t get any surprises when the buyers’ inspector finds cracking supports or sinking footings, which could delay your closing date or drop your selling price.
  5. Check your lighting. What does your outdoor lighting say about your house? Does it say, “I’m outdated on the outside, just wait until you get to the inside?” or “My owners didn’t check the light bulbs out here, so they must have forgot to do other maintenance?” The good news is that updating the lighting on the exterior of your house is pretty inexpensive (especially if you shop around). Make sure the lights inside the exterior light fixtures all work, so you can turn on all the lights for a night showing.

If you need any other tips, or want to get an idea of the value of your home before you list, contact one of our experienced real estate agents on Facebook. An agent can come to your home, give a realistic selling price and give you tips to increase the value of your home. They can also answer any questions you have about preparing and listing your home for sale, so you can get your house on the market—and get the best possible selling price.

Why a Pre-Listing Home Inspection Makes Cents for the Seller

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sold homeEvery penny counts when selling your house. That’s why it may seem counter-intuitive to even suggest spending money on a home inspection BEFORE you put your house up for sale. When you’re talking about a pre-listing home inspection, however, spending money upfront can save you thousands of dollars and time when selling your home, in more ways than one:

No surprises during the home sale process. When selling your home, first impressions do matter. Replacing a broken window or repairing water damaged drywall can be the difference between a quick sale and a dragged out process. Unfortunately, not all repairs are so obvious, and 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.

Opportunity to make repairs at a price you choose. A pre-listing home inspection puts you in control of choosing who makes the repairs and the cost. If your home inspector finds an issue with your home during the pre-listing home inspection, you, as the home owner, can choose what professional and price you pay for repairs. If a potential buyer finds the issue, they can require that you use their home repair professional which may cost you more in the long run.

Saved time during the negotiation process. You get and accept an offer from a buyer. Your closing date is set and you’re ready to close—until the buyer’s home inspector finds an issue. Suddenly, the closing date is pushed back—and even in question—because of issues found during the home inspection. That’s why it pays to be proactive with a pre-listing home inspection. If you’ve located and made all the repairs found during the pre-listing home inspection, you don’t need to worry about delays during the sale process because of issues found during a potential buyer’s home inspection.

Better selling price. If a potential buyer finds an issue during the home inspection, they can renegotiate the final selling price to accommodate the cost of repairs. The renegotiation can cut into your bottom line and lower the amount of money you make from your home sale.

In addition to repairing issues found during a pre-listing home inspection, a seller can also improve their chances of a quick sale and better sale price by preparing their home for sale:

Deep clean, or replace, that nasty flooring. A professional carpet cleaning or hard floor cleaner can often give new life to that old flooring. If you can’t get the stains out, shop around. Carpet remnants are an inexpensive way to make hallways, offices and small rooms look new without breaking the budget. Or upgrade your flooring by installing new laminate or hardwood floors which often adds value to your home.

Maximize curb appeal. Contact contractors to get those broken sidewalks repaired, wood trim painted and the driveway sealed in the summer now before anyone else. Keep sidewalks clear and clean, and power wash your home to make it look its best. Make sure that all bulbs are replaced in your outdoor light fixtures.

De-clutter. You don’t have to throw everything away, but you may have to put some of your items in storage. Make sure that potential buyers get a clear picture of the space in your home. Too much furniture or décor in a room can backfire and make your home look smaller.

Paint, and paint neutrals. Paint over bold colors with neutral colors. A new coat of paint can go a long way to making a home feel new and clean when you list your home.

If you have any other questions about listing and selling your home, don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent. A real estate agent can make suggestions about preparing your home for sale, give you an idea of a fair sale price and recommend local home inspectors for your pre-listing home inspection.

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home Now

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reasons to sell your homeEveryone says spring is the time to list, and there’s good reason for that rationale: buyers typically prefer to search for a new home during our warmer Wisconsin spring, making it THE time to list your home. That’s never been truer than in 2015, and, as an added bonus, there are also four other reasons to list your home and get it out on the Wisconsin real estate market:

  1. Mortgage rates are low. Low mortgage rates mean a lower monthly payment for buyers, and another reason to buy now. The other part about low mortgage rates is the boomerang effect; mortgage rates tend to rise after hitting a low, making now the time to buy another property after you sell your home—and to list your home on the real estate market.
  2. Renters are looking to buy. Low mortgage rates and rising rent across the United States has led to a unique real estate market ripe for renters. Renters now have the opportunity to purchase a home for the same monthly payment, and are doing so in droves—giving you more potential buyers for your home.
  3. There are buyers looking for your home. Right now, there are more buyers than sellers in the Wisconsin real estate market. This makes an ideal seller’s market for any home owner looking to list their home; buyers are ready to jump into the real estate market and purchase your home. We’ve even seen home owners list and sell their home within 30 days.
  4. Better chance to get a higher sale price. Buyers are ready and willing to purchase, making this the ideal time to prepare your home for sale and list your home. Because of the abundance of buyers in the real estate market, this also gives sellers the opportunity to sell for a higher sale price due to a low inventory.

When you decide to list your home, call a realtor. A realtor can recommend a fair sale price and go through essential details you need to know when you list your home. They can also give you tips on preparing your home for sale, such as:

  1. Paint, and paint neutrals. Paint over bold colors with neutral colors such as a light grey or tan. A new coat of paint can go a long way to making a home feel new and clean when you list your home.
  2. Deep clean, or replace, that nasty flooring. A professional carpet cleaning or hard floor cleaner can often give new life to that old flooring, but if you can’t get the stains out, shop around. Carpet remnants are an inexpensive way to make hallways, offices and small rooms look new without breaking the budget. Or upgrade your flooring by installing new laminate or hardwood floors which often adds value to your home.
  3. Do all the repairs you’ve been putting off. Holes in your walls or ceiling do not give buyers a favorable impression. Now is the time to patch the drywall, repair water leaks and replace faulty electrical fixtures and leaky water faucets.
  4. Maximize curb appeal. Contact contractors to get those broken sidewalks repaired, wood trim painted and the driveway sealed in the summer now before anyone else. Keep sidewalks clear and clean, and power wash your home to make it look its best. Make sure that all bulbs are replaced in your outdoor light fixtures.
  5. De-clutter. You don’t have to throw everything away, but you may have to put some of your items in storage. Make sure that potential buyers get a clear picture of the space in your home. Too much furniture or décor in a room can backfire and make your home look smaller.

A realtor can also recommend local companies that can help you clean and make repairs so you can list your home in excellent condition. A good experienced realtor, like the realtors at Platinum Realty, has listed quite a few homes in southeastern Wisconsin and is an excellent resource when you decide to list your home. They can also help you take advantage of the seller’s market we have right now, and reach your goal of a successful home sale.