Allen and Jean Batson

DRE No: SA638668000


(602) 680-2791

Real Estate Tips

                                                                                                          

www.AlandJeanBatson.com

 

BUYER AND SELLER TIPS

 

How YOU can help us market YOUR home – TIPS FOR SELLERS

            Your home is going on the market – as difficult as it may be, now is the time to let go of your emotional attachment to the house and look at it from the viewpoint of a prospective buyer.  In this market there are so many other properties for buyers to look at so you want yours to stand out and make a great impression so agents will want to show it more than they want to show the others in the area. Here are a few thoughts on how to turn your home into a Buyer’s dream.

 

  1. The first hurdle is to be realistic about the price.  Overpricing a property will leave it on the market for months and months without offers.  The comparables based on your area’s sales are the figures an Appraiser will use when the buyer is seeking a loan.  If your home is currently worth $300,000, pricing it at $350,000 is unrealistic. Buyers don’t care if you need more money – they will only pay what it is worth at today’s values. Realtors often don’t even show over-priced properties because they wonder is the seller is unreasonable to work with.  Even if you found a buyer, if it doesn’t appraise, it probably won’t close escrow unless the seller is will to negotiate based on actual value.  So, read the statistical information we provide you. Before advising a sales price, we will take into consideration any remodeling, the condition and location of the property. Remember, we’re on your side and want you to get the absolute maximum dollars possible so you can move forward.

  2. Look at your house from the curb as if you’re seeing it for the first time….is the paint peeling?  Does the landscaping look clean and fresh?  Does the front door look good?  You get only one chance to make a good first impression.

  3. We get it – it’s no fun having your house on the market!  You never know when a prospective buyer/agent will call and want to see your home so it needs to be in tip-top condition ready to show on a few minutes’ notice.  No dirty dishes in the sink, beds made, clothes hung in the closet – you get the picture.

  4. Clutter – you’re moving anyway so if your possessions might distract buyers from visualizing the space while mentally placing their furnishings in your home because they’re looking at your “stuff,” then why not pack it up and get some of your possessions out of the way. You may not see your home as being cluttered – just think: minimal is the maximum look.  Too much furniture?  Put some of your items in storage awaiting your next move.  We can’t emphasize DECLUTTERING too much. Your rooms will look larger and more attractive….and you’ll have some of your packing completed.  WIN/WIN 

  5. The Kitchen is the heart of the home so please keep counter tops free of items you’re not using at the moment.  It gives the vision of spaciousness. 

  6. Be certain all appliances, plumbing, lighting and electrical systems are operating properly.  Your buyer will require these repairs anyway so go ahead and get them done so you can list those items on your disclosure as DONE.

  7. If the dining room fixture is a family heirloom and you want to take it with you, remove it and replace it before showing your home so the buyer doesn’t fall in love with it – and it becomes a point of negotiation.  Be specific in the listing process about anything that does not convey with the property.

  8. Closets – buyers look into closets to gauge if there is enough room so if it isn’t tidy, it probably isn’t giving the message you want them to receive – and that is that your home has lots of storage space.

  9. NOTE:  If you don’t have the time to declutter and organize, we can recommend a service that will help you sort/toss/donate/keep/pack your treasures. The same goes for cleaning services. 

  10. Is your house sparkling clean?  Bathrooms and kitchens sell houses – do they look up-to-date and clean.  And be sure it smells fresh and clean.

  11. Be sure everything is clean and orderly if you’re serious about selling your house.

  12. The garage – be sure it too is tidy.  Clean up any oil stains on the floor. Make sure everything is stored in an orderly manner

  13. The back yard is as important as the front.  Be sure there are no weeds and, dead leaves/branches are cut off plants/trees and if there is a pool – that is clean and working well.

  14. Pets – you love your pets but perhaps a buyer doesn’t so be sure to keep kitty’s box out of the way and fresh and make sure Fido is on a walk or confined when buyer’s visit your home. 

  15. A Disclosure of your property is a requirement so if you’re aware of any repairs that will come up either in the Disclosure or when the buyer hires a Home Inspection Service – go ahead and make them and save that hassle later on.  

  16. Now that you’ve decluttered both the inside and outside, it will be worth the small cost of putting all of those things in storage to better stage your house.

 

WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU WANT YOUR POTENTIAL BUYER TO GET?

You want them to see your home as their new home – you want them to visualize their furniture and family living there.  You want them to get the sense that your home is move-in ready.  Buyers who see a home that isn’t well maintained on the surface will fear they don’t know what lurks beneath the surface regarding maintenance. You DON’T want them to fear they can’t move in unless they have to redo the yard, make repairs,

 

paint, replace carpet and so forth.  Your message should be that your home is well-priced and maintained.  Make them want to select YOUR home to make that offer.

 

  1. In the listing process, the first things you’ll need to do is fill out a form called the SPDS (Seller Provided Disclosure Statement) which is nothing more than a list of questions regarding information you know about your home for the buyer to sign off on.   Then there is an HOA (Home Owner Association) Addendum wherein the seller personally contacts their HOA (s) to verify and fill out the amount of their homeowner fees, how often it is paid (monthly, quarterly, annually and so forth) and (critically important) what transfer of ownership fees are involved and/or what other fees the association may require at transfer.
  2. When we come to your home to list, we will need to take measurements and photographs as well as fill out the paperwork.  There are several documents of disclosure as well as the ER (Exclusive Right to List).  That means we represent you, your home will be placed on the Multiple Listing Service and will automatically go out on many internet websites for potential buyers to view.
  3. We will need a house key for access to show your home – it will be placed in the lockbox.
  4. A FOR SALE sign will be placed within a few days
  5. We will then market your home by having Broker previews, preparing flyers, going to meetings to promote your listing, send out an e-flyer announcement of your listing to all Realtors in the area so they know your home is available to show their buyers.
  6. Some sellers like to expose their home to ore potential buyers by have us hold Open Houses;  others don’t want to be put out of their home on weekends.  This choice is entirely up to you, the Seller.
  7. Of course, we will be with you through the entire selling and escrow process to make sure you get a successful closing.

 

 

BUYERS TIPS

 

If you’ve been the Seller, then you’ve already got an idea about the process.  Now that you’re buying, there are several things you want to have in mind to tell us, your Realtors, what home features are important to you in your home search:

 

  1. How much do you want to spend?  One thing that is important to confirm this fact is to visit with a lender or two giving them your financial background and the amount you want to spend (and the number of years you want the loan).  Note:  when presenting an offer, you will need to provide the seller with a lender provided Prequalification Letter. So, the first thing you need to do is to meet with a lender (unless you’re paying cash; then you need to provide proof of capability from your financial institute or advisor.)
  2. How many bedrooms do you need?
  3. How many bathrooms do you need?
  4. Do you prefer a one or two-story….or is either fine?
  5. Do you want a pool – or is either way fine?
  6. Do you have an approximate square footage range in mind?
  7. How many garage spaces do you need?
  8. Do you have a dog thus prefer some grass in the rear yard?
  9. Are you looking for move-in ready or are you OK with something that requires anything from painting to a full remodel?
  10. Do you have a specific community in mind? 
  11. Do you have a specific school district in mind?

 

We need to know what your wants and needs are.  If you want to know about certain neighborhoods months before you’re ready to buy, no problem, We can pull that information from the multiple listing service and send it to you either on a one-time basis, daily, weekly or monthly.

 

A key word of advice for most buyers seeking a loan to purchase is to be sure you don’t make any large credit purchases(i.e. a car, major appliances or anything that will show more debt) from the moment you decide to purchase until after the close-of-escrow.  Lenders thoroughly analyze buyer’s credit scores and debt.

 

Once you have your Prequalification Letter, we can start going out to look at properties.  We will generate reports that are the closest to your criteria for your review; then go visit the homes you wish to see. 

 

We’re ready to go look:

  • We will provide a clipboard and a report of each property we’re going to look at so you can make notes as we go.  Trust us when we say that by the third property, they’ll begin to run together in your mind.

  • If you walk in and know you won’t buy that home, cross it off to eliminate it while it is fresh in your mind.

  • Communicate with us as we go.  Let us know which ones are OFF the list and which ones you’re considering.  Tell us if you have any questions about the property.  If we don’t know the answer, we can get it from the listing agent. 

  • You might want to bring a camera/cell phone so you can snap pictures of any homes you especially like. 

  • Know the dimensions of your large furniture (bedroom set, couches, dining room table) so we can determine if it will fit in the space of a home you might be interested in.  Al always has a tape measure with him.

  • Look past the furnishings and décor.  So often we’ll see a home that has a great floor plan but shows poorly for any one of a number of reasons.  The paint might be a color you’d never choose but that is an easy fix. Or it may be decorated in a specific motif that you think is dreadful but your furnishings and personal touch can completely change the look.  Don’t miss that diamond in the rough.

  • Remember that the first house you look at could be THE ONE.  It has happened to us so we know it can happen to you.  In our case, we looked at the rest on the properties on the list to confirm it, but sometimes you just know.  It hits you.

  • By the same token, usually there will be something on your wish list that a home has that isn’t perfect so you need to determine how high on your list that feature is.  Are you willing to compromise?

     

    YOU’VE FOUND THE HOME – NOW WHAT?

     

    You’re ready to make an offer.  We will review the values in the neighborhood, the number of days on the market and the condition of the home to ascertain what you’d like to offer.  Is the property “priced-right?”   Is this the only house you’d consider buying?  If you offer much lower than the asking, you need to understand that you will likely get a Counter Offer.  If it is too low, some Sellers will Reject the offer.  These are all factors that play into the offer.  Writing the offer:

     

  1. Determine the price and terms (cash, new loan/length of term?)
  2. Indicate what your Earnest Money Deposit will be that will be presented with the offer (note: this check is NOT cashed unless the contract is agreed upon and escrow is opened.) 
  3. Determine the number of days to closing – usually 30-45 days when a loan is involved.  Or, you can write “45 days or sooner” to mean you’re fine with closing earlier if the lender can accommodate that.
  4. If the Listing says the appliances are included, we will write them into the offer to clarify your expectations (some buyers won’t want them).
  5. Home Warranty – if the home is older than a few years thus not under builder warranty, we recommend one.  The Buyer can either select to pay for it themselves or ask the Seller to provide.
  6. Everything is negotiable.
  7. The offer and other necessary documents will be signed (in person or via e-sign) and then we present it to the Seller’s agent. Assuming the Listing Agent has provided the SPDS (Seller Property Disclosures) and HOA Addendum (cost of home owner association (s) fees and transfer fees) for Buyer approval; they are signed and attached to the offer. We will present these documents electronically (including a copy of the Buyers’ Earnest Money Deposit check and Prequalification or Proof of Cash)

 

 

If the offer is well written and fair to both sides, it may be accepted.  More often than not there is at least one Counter Offer involved.  Usually this happens if the price is too low or the Buyer is asking for the Seller to pay Buyers’ costs or wanting to include items not mentioned by the Seller in the original listing.

 

  1. Once an offer is accepted by both Buyer and Seller, escrow is opened with the agreed upon Title company and the Earnest Money Deposit is cashed and held by the Title company
  2. Immediately the Buyer orders an Inspection.  We work with several excellent companies whose names we can give you (on our website under RESOURCES).  There is a ten day inspection period wherein the buyer has time to review the report provided by the Inspector.  The Buyer can either accept the home as it is or ask the Seller to provide repairs. At this point the BINRS is prepared for the Buyers’ signature by us.
  3. What is a BINSR?  It means Buyer Inspection/Seller Response.  If the Buyer sees repairs on the Inspection Report that affect warranted items (electrical, plumbing, working of doors/windows, appliances, lights, furnace/AC) those would be written in (for example, a leaking faucet).  The purpose is not to put the home in like-new condition but rather to be sure things function properly (furnace/AC).  Here is a poem one Broker wrote explaining WARRENTED ITEMS:

If it flushes or flows

Switches or glows

Has moving parts or

Should open or close

It has to be working, make sure everyone knows.

  1. Any other items of repair would be considered non-warranted.  So once you, the Buyers, sign the BINSR within that 10-day period then it goes to the Seller for response.  The Seller will either (a) accept your request, (b) agree to do some or all of the items* or (c) refuse completely giving the Seller the right to CANCEL.  There is a 5 day period allowing the Seller to decide. ( *If the Sellers agree to doing a few of the repair items, but not all, they will “counter” back with that information (another five days allowed). Very rarely will either Buyer or Seller take the allowed time to get the BINSR out of the way as they both want to know the escrow is in good shape to continue. 
  2. Once the BINSR is agreed upon (usually within a week or so), the next step, if a lender is involved, is for the appraiser to come out to evaluate the value.  In recent times of rising prices, the home usually comes back at least at the sales price.  If not, the Buyer and Seller will need to compromise to keep the escrow going.
  3. Once those steps are accomplished, it’s a matter of waiting for the Lender to complete their documentation for escrow to close.
  4. After a walk-through a day or so before closing…..that’s it!  The Title Company will have all parties come in to sign documents and they are filed with the County Recorder. 
  5. Upon recordation, the keys are handed over to the new buyer.  Congratulations

 

The most important thing to know is that while this sounds like an overwhelming process, we are here with you making sure everything is on track.  And while no Realtor can guarantee they’ll never be sick or out-of-town, we can say, we’ve got you covered.  You get two of us to begin with and when we can’t be there, we have a partner to cover for us.  We’ve got you!