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Below is an extensive amount of information that should provide you a tremendous amount of insight into selling your home. If you have any questions about any of the information listed on this page feel free to contact me .
Hints for Sellers:
Selling Your Home
Why you should choose me to sell your home
For most families, selling your home is one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever make. The process can be daunting, with many important questions that need to be answered. Choosing the best real estate agent to market and sell your home can make all the difference, turning an otherwise difficult, stressful process into a comfortable, informed experience that you are in control of. As a top Branson area real estate agent, I will make sure that you get the best price for your home, in the least amount of time.
# I analyze and determine home values in the Branson market every day. As a top real estate expert in this market, I can help you determine exactly what your home is worth in the current market. Then, as an experienced professional, I'll market your home and negotiate on your behalf to sell your home at the best price possible.
# I will aggressively market your home not just locally, but on a national basis. Through my professional contacts and affiliations, as well as my advanced technology tools, I can instantly put your home listing in all of the places qualified buyers are looking. Within minutes, I can alert every real estate agent in theBranson area, as well as national firms that specialize in helping people relocate to new areas.
# I will come to your home and personally advise you of how to best prepare your home to get the highest price, in the shortest amount of time.
# I will protect your best interests throughout the entire process. You can leverage my years of experience as a top real estate professional to answer all of your questions about every aspect of the selling and closing process. You will be informed and in control, every step of the way. It's my job to make sure your home selling experience is as comfortable and painless as possible!
If you'll fill out this form, so I know a bit about you and your home, I can get back to you right away.
How Much Is Your Home Worth
If you are thinking of selling your home, you'll need to know exactly what it is worth before putting it on the market. As a Branson area real estate professional, I analyze home values and determine market prices every day. By comparing your home to recent sales and other, similar homes on the market I can quickly tell you what your home is worth. This analysis is known as "Comparative Market Analysis", or CMA. Just fill out the form to give me the information I need and I'll be glad to perform a CMA for your home and provide you the results for free.
Types of listing contracts
A listing contract is an agreement between you and a licensed real estate broker authorizing the broker to represent you in selling your home. By far the most common type of listing contract is the “Exclusive Right to Sell”, but there are several other types.
Exclusive Right to Sell Listing
This is the most popular type of listing with sellers and brokers. Under a right to sell listing contract, the broker is the only one authorized to sell your home. If another agent finds a buyer, your broker earns a commission. If you find a buyer on your own, your broker still earns a commission. This arrangement gives your broker the most incentive to spend time, money and energy marketing your home. Especially to the other agents in the area who can show your home to their buyer clients. Only with an exclusive right to sell agreement can you expect to get a full service marketing effort from your broker, since it is the only listing type that assures a broker will get paid for his marketing expense and efforts when the home sells.
Exclusive Agency Listing
This is similar to the right to sell listing, with the significant difference that you reserve the right to sell your home yourself and not pay the broker a commission. The broker only gets paid if your home is sold through a licensed real estate professional. If you find your own buyer and sell the home yourself, you pay no commission. On the face of it, this might sound like an attractive arrangement. But it's not a popular listing type with brokers, and for good reason. Under an exclusive agency agreement, the broker is exposed to the risk of putting forth considerable effort and expense marketing your home, only to come away empty handed. The attraction to the seller of this type of contract of course, is the possibility of finding their own buyer and not paying a commission. This puts the seller and broker in competitive roles, which usually isn't in the best interest of either party. Since the broker stands a good chance of not reaping any reward, it's unlikely that any effort or expense will be put into marketing an exclusive agency listing.
The open listing is a non-exclusive contract. It gives the broker permission to show potential buyers your home, and the broker will only earn a commission by bringing in a client who buys the home. Since the open listing isn't exclusive, sellers can sign these listing agreements with as many brokers as they want. The bottom line with an open listing is that no broker has any incentive to market the home at all. They won't even place the home on the local MLS service with an open listing. Further, it's up to the seller to field all phone calls and coordinate all showings etc…. Generally, the only people who use open listings are FSBO's (for sale by owner) who are willing to pay a partial commission to an agent for finding a buyer. You shouldn't expect any marketing or advertising at all with an open listing contract.
Also called the “one time” agreement. This is an agreement whereby a FSBO agrees to let an agent show the home to an interested client and pay a commission to the agent if that showing results in a sale. The purpose being to prevent a seller from letting an agent show the property, then deal directly with the client, to avoid paying any commission.
The Listing Contract
Also referred to as a listing agreement, the listing contract gives a licensed real estate professional authorization to act on your behalf in the sale of your home. Listing contracts come in all shapes and sizes, but there are characteristics which are common to all. Among the elements of any valid listing contract are:
Writing - All real estate contracts must be in writing.
Employment - The listing contract is a personal services contract between you and the broker. It contains all of the terms and conditions of employing the broker and authorizing the broker to represent you in marketing and selling your home.
Compensation - For any contract to be valid, there has to be compensation. The listing contract will specify the amount and timing of payment to your broker. Typically, payment is an agreed upon percentage of the sales price, payable at closing. It is important to note that your obligation to pay your broker may not absolutely depend on a finalized sales transaction. For example, if the broker finds a bona-fide buyer who is willing to pay your asking price and agree to the terms you have offered, but you get cold feet at the last moment and decide not to sell, the broker has done his job and is entitled to be paid under the terms of the listing contract.
Title - All listing contracts will ask who has title to the property. Property can't be sold unless everyone with holds title interest in the property are part of the sale.
Termination date - You shouldn't sign any listing contract without a specific termination date. The most common duration is 180 days. If the contract has an indefinite duration such as until sold, or no duration specified at all, dont sign it. The listing contract is a legally binding document and you don't want to get locked into one with no clearly defined termination date. If the contract expires before your home sells and you still want to keep using the same broker, you can simply sign a new contract.
There can be and often are other elements to a listing contract. As with any legal document, you should read the listing contract very carefully and be sure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to before signing. If you have any questions about your listing contract it would be wise to consult a lawyer for clarification.
Setting the Sales Price
Before we set the sales price of your house, I'll run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will show the listing price of similar houses in the area as well as the prices at which the houses actually sold. Additionally, the analysis will give us information about houses currently on the market and about houses that were on the market but never sold.
Next, I'll ask you about your goals in selling the house. Everyone who sells a house has different goals that need to be factored in when calculating the selling price.
* Is your goal to get the maximum sales price for your house?
o If so, are you willing to have your house on the market for many months?
* Is your goal to sell your house quickly?
o If so, are you willing to sacrifice some of your potential profits to sell more quickly?
* Would you like to establish a balance between selling your house quickly and selling at the top end of market value?
Market conditions will play a role in setting the sales price of your house. I'll factor in how quickly houses are selling in your area, interest rates, the strength of the school system, and finally whether it is a buyer's or seller's market.
I'll then recommend a price at which to list your house to meet your goals in the local market.
Staging Your Home Checklist
# Remove all clutter from the house.
* Are countertops free and clear?
* Have you removed unnecessary furniture throughout the house?
* Remove the art gallery and coupon collection from the refrigerator.
# Check the bathrooms.
* Are the surfaces clean and clear?
* Are shower curtains and doors hung properly?
* Is the flooring clean and fresh?
* Are towels neatly hung?
# Check the walls.
* Is paint and wallpaper fresh and clean?
* Are the walls free from holes?
* Are there any colors or objects on the walls that need to be removed?
# Check the floors.
* Is the carpet clean and free from stains?
* Are hard surface floors clean and free from stains?
# Check windows and window coverings.
* Are all the windows clean?
* Are draperies and blinds clean?
# Pet check.
* Are there any signs that this is a pet's home? Be sure to clean and remove kitty litter, pet toys and bedding.
# How's the aroma?
* Try to air out the home prior to showings.
* If air freshener is necessary, use well before showings as a consideration to those with allergies.
# Set the mood prior to showings.
* Open draperies and blinds.
* Turn on the radio to a classical music station, set the volume on low.
* If you have time, cook a batch of cookies to have the warm, welcoming aroma permeating the home.
Neighborhood Sales Alert
Find out the sales price for the house down the street. With my free "Neighborhood Sales Alert," I can give you the sales prices of all recently sold properties in your neighborhood. Or, I can give you the sales price of a specific property. Or I can even tell you the prices of homes in the Branson area.
Reasons why homes don’t sell
If you have had your home on the market for several months and haven’t seen much activity or any offers, chances are that one or more of the reasons below are to blame.
Your price is too high
No doubt about it, the most common reason for a home not selling is that the asking price has been set too high. The reasons for setting your price too high to begin with are many. Ranging from over enthusiastic listing agents to unrealistic seller expectations. Regardless of the reason though, if you’ve priced your home too high, you’ve set yourself up for a number of obstacles to selling your home. Even if you do get an offer for the overly high asking price, the deal may fall apart before closing because the buyer may have problems financing at too high a price. Look at other homes for sale, ones as similar and as close to yours as possible. If they are going for less than you are asking, you may be priced too high. The fact is, your home is competing against those other homes, and what buyers are willing to pay is what will determine final sales prices.
The condition of your home
There is a lot of competition out there to sell homes. Your home has to compete against other similar homes for sale, as well as competing against shiny brand new homes. The more you can do to make your home look appealing to a buyer, the better your chances for a quick sale. Look at your home with a critical eye – put yourself in the buyers position. A buyer doesn’t want to have to do anything except move in. Your best “bang for the buck” in improving the condition of your home are paint and flooring. Make sure that all of the paint is in great condition, both inside and out. Repainting doesn’t cost too much, and will usually make the biggest impact on buyers. Make sure all of the flooring looks good too. You may want to consider putting in new carpet. Again, it’s not that expensive but it sure does make an impact on buyers coming to look at your home.
Location, location, location
It’s the oldest cliché in the world, but it’s true. When it comes to real estate, it’s all about location! When it comes to homes, things like how good the schools are, crime rates, visual appeal of the neighborhood and noise or the smell of pollution can all effect how desirable the location is. If you’re in a bad location, a good real estate agent may help to minimize some of the impact by suggesting improvements to the house. But the only really reliable way to overcome a bad location is with a lower price. Simply put, an identical home in a bad location won’t sell for as much as the same home in a better location.
Your marketing campaign is out of steam
The best listing agents all use an aggressive marketing plan to market their listings. If your listing agent isn’t making sure your home can be found easily on the internet, isn’t actively touting his or her listings to other agents in the area, isn’t running ads in the local newspapers and real estate publications, then it might be time to change agents. The best agents might even run radio or television ads for their listings. If all your agent has done is put a sign in your front yard and add your home to the local MLS, then that agent isn’t coming close to doing all that can be done to effectively market your home.
The market is slow
You’ll hear it described as a slow market, or a buyers market, or maybe a cold market. But it all means the same thing. That home sales in the local area, or market, are slow. That there are too many homes for sale and not enough active buyers. There are several things you can do to combat a slow market. The most effective strategy is to sell at a lower price. Buyers are expecting to find bargains during a slow market. You can also help yourself by offering to pay some concessions to help a buyer that might not have a lot of cash. The ultimate way to beat a slow market is to simply wait it out. But that’s not always an option for many sellers.
Your home isn’t easily accessible
To get your home sold quickly, it’s important that other agents in the area show it to as many potential buyers as possible. When a busy agent is compiling a list of homes to show a buyer, the agent will naturally tend to show those houses that are easiest to gain access to first. Many homes on the market have “lock boxes” on them. The lock box is a device which holds a key to the home, that only qualified local agents can access. Homes that are listed as being “lock box, no appointment needed” will get shown more often than homes listed as “agent has key, call for appointment”. If at all possible, you should let your agent put a lock box on your home for easier showing. If not, you should do anything else you can to make it as convenient as possible for agents to show your home.
You have an agent nobody likes
Sounds almost silly, but it’s very true. If your listing agent isn’t liked or respected by other agents in your area, it could slow down the sale of your home. When an agent prepares to show properties to prospective buyers, the agent begins by talking to the buyer to find out what kind of home they are looking for. Then the agent searches the local MLS and other sources for homes that fit the buyer. If there are a number of good matches to choose from, and one of them has been listed by an agent that is hard to get along with, or arrogant, or has otherwise made himself unpopular, well… It’s just human nature to tend to skip over someone you don’t like.
For Sale by Owner
Before you consider selling your house yourself, ask yourself if you are going to have the time needed to sell your house - even if you just cover the basics.
* Complete an extensive research of local market conditions, including:
o the listing and selling price of all houses in your area for the last six months,
o the listing price of houses currently on the market, and
o the listing prices of houses that were on the market but did not sell.
Tips: Begin your research on the Internet. Follow-up by visiting the county tax records office to determine the selling prices of houses.
* Put together a marketing plan.
o How will you market your house to real estate agents? Most buyers use a real estate agent, so marketing to real estate agents is essential. At a minimum, you'll want to send a letter and sales flyer to all real estate agents within a 30 mile radius.
o How much money can you afford to devote to advertising? Call the local newspapers to determine how much it will cost for advertisements. You'll want to run daily and Sunday ads in the newspapers.
o Who will create your sales flyers? Buyers expect fact sheets to take with them when they drive-by or tour a house for sale.
o Where will you place signage? In addition to your front yard, is there areas leading in to your neighborhood where signage would be appropriate?
o How will potential buyers find information about your house on the Internet? You'll want potential buyers who begin their house shopping on the Internet to find your house. Be sure to build a website to help sell your house.
o Who will take inquiry calls and schedule appointments? You'll want someone to be available to answer inquiry calls and schedule appointments. Be sure to schedule showings as quickly as possible - even the same day.
Tips: Ask newspapers for a discounted advertising rate for multiple placements. Be sure to check with local officials to determine if there are any restrictions on where you place signs.
" Pre-qualify buyers before showing your house.
* Confirm that the potential buyer has pre-qualified for a mortgage loan.
o If the buyer is buying with cash, confirm that they have the necessary resources.
o If the purchase is contingent on the buyer selling their own house, confirm that the buyer's house is on the market. (You may also want to determine how long the buyer's house has been on the market.)
* Negotiations, Contracts and Closings
o Are you prepared to negotiate the contract?
o Do you know what the legal responsibilities of the seller are in your area?
o Who will write the contract? Will you need to hire an attorney? If so, what will be the attorney's fees?
Tips: In addition to the sales contract, you'll need to complete a Seller's Disclosure and a Lead Based Paint Disclosure.
The popularity of living in gated, or private communities has been rising in recent years. It used to be that gated communities were thought of as being only for the rich. But today they are becoming more and more popular with middle and upper middle class families. Security is usually given as the biggest reason for choosing to live in a gated community. Among the other reasons people are attracted to living in these communities are protecting property values and lifestyle.Many gated communities are designed with amenities built around a particular lifestyle, with golf courses, tennis, swimming pools, or equestrian facilities.Gated communities are usually located on some of the most desirable land in the area. Prime land, combined with careful planning and HOA rules create an environment where home values hold up extremely well.
Aside from the gates or walls, the second most defining characteristic of gated or private communities is the Homeowner’s Association (HOA).The HOA is made up of all the owners of the development. The HOA is responsible for collection of the Association fees and making and enforcing the “rules” of the community.It is often also responsible for maintaining the public aspects of the community, such as streets, security, parks, etc.
The rules set by the HOA can vary a great deal, depending on the individual development.Typically the HOA will have rules pertaining to upkeep and appearance of homes within the development, specifying the colors of paint on outside walls, types of fencing, guidelines for landscaping and storage of boats or recreational vehicles.
Gated communities aren't for everyone.But with strong protection of property values, increased security, less traffic and amenities for your specific lifestyle, they are appealing to more people each year.
Which home improvements give the best payback?
If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, or finishing your basement, you probably want to get your investment back when you sell your home. But when it comes to payback value of home improvements, some are definitely more profitable than others. As a general rule, kitchen and bathroom projects usually get a nice return on investment, typically 90% or more.Things like adding rooms or finishing basements tend to pay back the least.Finishing a basement usually returns less than 50%, so it’s not a project likely to show profit at selling time.
There are a number of factors that go into determining how well a project will pay back. Payback value depends a lot on the current market conditions in your area. If the market is hot and homes are selling fast, you can expect a higher payback value than you would get in a slow market.
The type of project you do and how it fits in with other homes in the area can have a big influence on payback too. If you put your money into the wrong type of improvement, you won’t get your money back. But if you're smart about what you do, you can make money. The payback will be better on improvements that are in demand and conform to neighborhood standards. Adding a second bathroom in a neighborhood where most homes have two bathrooms will give a high return on investment. Building a large addition that makes your home twice as big as the other homes on the block probably won’t pay back very well. Likewise, the popularity of a project will factor into how much it pays back. An improvement heavily customized to your wants and needs won’t pay back as well as something more common to other homes in the neighborhood.
Another factor to consider is the cost of the improvements. If you can do the work yourself, you can save significantly on the cost of the project and greatly improve the chances of getting a good return on the investment.
The list below is compiled from several published surveys and shows typical payback for some popular remodeling projects:
* Kitchen remodeling – 90%
* Add a bathroom – 90%
* Bathroom remodeling – 80%
* Install central heating – 90%
* Install central air – 75%
* Add a deck – 70%
* Replace windows – 70%
* Add a room – 55%
* Build a pool – 45%
* Finish a basement – 40%
Should you paint?
There are many factors involved in marketing and selling your home. You can't control most of them. The curb appeal of your home plays a big role in the sales process, and it's one of the things you can have direct control over. You'll never get another chance to make a first impression of how your home looks from the street. If your home exterior needs new paint, potential buyers might not even get out of their car to come in and look. Putting fresh paint on your home, both on the outside and the inside, is usually the one thing you can do that pays off the fastest. You'll get more buyers looking, and they'll like what they see more, translating into a better chance for a quick offer at a higher price.
Try to stick with light, neutral colors. These seem to resonate best with buyers. A fresh coat of light beige on interior walls will freshen up your home and make it more marketable.
Simply put, new paint is usually the most profitable improvement you can make when getting your home ready for sale. So unless your paint is already in like new condition, you probably should paint.
Plumbing and Fixtures
There are several good reasons to make sure all of your plumbing and fixtures look good and are in good working order before putting your home up for sale. When potential buyers come to look at your home, they are likely to turn on faucets and flush toilets “just to see”. This is no time to make a bad impression with grungy old fixtures, leaks or stained sinks. Before showing your home, you should make sure that all faucets and knobs are clean and shiny. If needed, buy new ones. They don’t need to be expensive. An inexpensive but shiny and obviously brand new fixture will make a far better impression than an expensive but old and stained one. Another good reason to look after these items before putting your home up for sale is the likelihood of a home inspection prior to closing. Most savvy buyers will insist on allowing an independent contractor to perform a home inspection before closing. The inspector will be checking for leaks, pressure and making sure any appliances included with the home are in good working order. If the inspector finds any problems in these areas, it could easily cause a delay in closing.
Flowers for instant curb appeal
The experts all agree that curb appeal is one of the most important aspects to consider when selling your home.When selling, it's the appearance from the street that will very often determine whether potential buyers come in to see the inside, or never get out of their cars.
Flowers are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make the front of your house look inviting and instantly increase the curb appeal of your home. Without any real landscaping at all, flowers can transform a rather drab and dreary looking front yard into one that looks colorful and lush. Especially during spring and summer, you should take advantage of the season by planting pots and flower boxes.
You should choose colorful flowers that will be in bloom during the time you're selling your home. Planting the flowers in planter boxes and pots is easier than planting them in the ground and lets you more easily place them where they can have the most visual impact. You don't need to have a green thumb, or spend a lot of money to get great results either. Visit your local home improvement center or nursery and they will be happy to advise you of the best flowers and plants for your purpose. You can put together several very nice planter boxes and pots of flowers for well under $100. And it's easy!
One of the nice things about using flowers in this way is that you'll see the results immediately. And so will buyers visiting your home!
Understanding real estate appreciation
Real estate appreciation refers to an increase in value of your home and the property. When your property "appreciates" you have greater equity against which to borrow, and you realize a greater profit when you sell. Property values fluctuate regularly for many different reasons, so how do you know the home you’re buying is going to appreciate over the years?
By and large, the economy is the driving factor of real estate appreciation in the U.S. That includes interest rates as well as the current employment rate, business growth in the area, housing supply and demand and affordability.
Regional economic and social factors also affect real estate appreciation. Many homebuyers choose to live in areas with the best and most convenient features for households to thrive, such as a close proximity to schools, jobs and commerce.
A good school district can also be an indicator of good home appreciation. It is believed that good schools help foster lifestyles associated with high levels of attainment at the individual, household and community level.
Demographics also play a role in real estate appreciation. For example, during the 1980s, much of the baby boomer generation (People born between 1946 - 1964) was buying real estate, causing homes to appreciate at a faster rate than inflation and made real estate a profitable investment. The group referred to as Generation Y – born roughly between 1980 and now – is the biggest generation since the baby boomers. Their contribution to real estate is expected to be far greater than their older siblings of Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979).
There are some aspects that significantly contribute to real estate appreciation, which you may want to ask your agent about when shopping for a home:
Recent sales. Ask your agent or retrieve public records on real estate sales in the neighborhood you wish to live in. How many home sales have there been in the past year? What are the asking prices? Do the final sales exceed the asking prices?
Appreciation history. Have home prices risen or declined over the past 5 to 10 years? Is the neighborhood considered desirable because of its location, amenities or affordability?
Local business economy. Is there a good mixture of business or does the area rely on one industry? Have any new industries moved into or out of the area? Is there a lot of new development nearby?Economic changes such as a large factory going out of business can dramatically affect demand for housing in a particular area.
It is important to note that while appreciation is nice to have, it should not be the reason you decide to buy a home in a particular area. Even if you buy a house in a rapidly appreciating area, there is no guarantee that its value will rise by the time you want to sell it. That’s why it’s best to pick a neighborhood – and a home – in an area that suits your own needs.
A home warranty pays repair or replacement costs for the mechanical systems and built-in appliances that break down in a home. Warranties can be purchased by either the buyer or seller. When the seller is paying for the warranty, it is usually paid for and goes into effect at closing. The coverage period is normally one year. There are a lot of companies offering home warranties and coverage of individual policies can vary widely. Usually, central heating and air conditioning systems, electrical, plumbing and major appliances are covered. It's important that you read the policy closely and understand what is and is not covered. The cost for a one year home warranty typically runs between $300 and $600, depending on the size of the home and the specific types of coverage. In addition to the policy premium, there is normally a deductible of $50 - $75 to pay when making a repair claim.
There are some very good reasons to pay for a home warranty when selling your home. Providing a warranty can help set your home apart from the competition. Buyers will appreciate having a warranty and will feel more comfortable about buying your home without worrying about hidden problems. Providing a warranty can even result in a higher price, offsetting the cost. Certainly it can make it easier for a buyer to make an offer. These assets make the home warranty an excellent marketing tool.
In addition to marketing advantages, you could also avoid getting sued down the road. When a major appliance, heating or air conditioning system goes bad shortly after a home is sold, it's not uncommon for the buyer to blame the seller. Unfortunately, this can and does lead to lawsuits. Providing a home warranty with the sale of your home can go a long way towards preventing these types of suits. In some areas where lawsuits are particularly common, almost all homes are sold with a home warranty included.
If you are buying a home and it doesn't come with a warranty, you may want to consider paying for one yourself. The first year after buying a home is a time when most people don't have a lot of cash on hand to cover problems that might arise. Having a one year home warranty in place can provide peace of mind during this time, and if something does break down, could really save your budget.