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5 Considerations for Valuing Your Home

One of the hardest parts of putting your home on the market is determining how much the property is worth. Pricing your home properly is essential. If you set the price too high you risk having the home sit on the market for months while strangers troop through open house after open house. If you price the home too low, you will get a quick sale, but you will also miss out on thousands of extra dollars in profit.

Determining a fair price for your home means looking at a number of factors and taking a number of things into consideration. Here are 5 of the top considerations for valuing your home.

#1. The Size of the Lot

The size of the lot is a big consideration for buyers. If your home includes a larger than average lot or additional acreage, be sure the brochures and other marketing materials prominently highlight that fact.

A large lot means a big back yard for growing families, and space to move around for young couples. All other things being equal, a home with a large lot will fetch more than a similar one with a smaller lot.

#2. The Condition of the Home

The condition of the home will obviously have a large impact on its value. If your home needs a lot of repairs, you will need to take that into consideration when setting a price. Sometimes it is worth spending a few thousand dollars on repairs and upgrades in exchange for a higher asking price.

Likewise, a home in excellent condition will likely fetch a higher price, so make sure the Realtor® knows about any recent upgrades or renovations. Things like a new roof, a remodeled kitchen or bathroom and an updating heating and air conditioning system can make the home more sellable and increase its resale value.

#3. The Presence of Desirable Amenities

If your home is packed with amenities buyers crave, you can probably get a premium price when you put the house on the market. Some of these in-demand amenities include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, steam showers, hot tubs and extra storage.

If you are selling an older home, making a few strategic upgrades now could boost the sale price substantially. Just research the cost of the upgrade and compare it to the increase in resale value that could result.

#4. Comparable Sales

Knowing what other homes in your area have sold for is essential, and a great way to accurately value your home. You can use a number of online resources to check the sale prices of neighboring properties, but your real estate agent will have access to even more information. Always ask your Realtor® to check comparable sales, and keep checking those sales as you set the asking price.

#5. The Current Real Estate Market

This one is out of your control, but it is still important. The current state of the real estate market will have a profound impact on home prices, and you should take it into consideration when pricing your home.

If you are lucky enough to be selling in a hot market, you will probably be able to fetch top dollar for your home. If the marketing is softening, or worse yet, collapsing, you may need to adjust the price lower to attract a qualified buyer.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent



.Selling your home is a complicated matter, and it is important to have the right professional in your corner. Before you put your home on the market or set an asking price, you need to interview local real estate agents and choose the one you think will do the best job. Here are a few things to think about as you interview real estate agents.

Local Expertise

There is no substitute for local expertise when selling a home. The real estate agent you choose should have extensive knowledge of the neighborhood and the surrounding area.

Ask the agents you interview how long they have lived in the area and assess their familiarity with the region. The more they know about the neighborhood where your home is located the easier it will be for them to attract would-be buyers.

Proper Licensing

Real estate agents are required to be properly licensed, but the licensing requirements vary from place to place. Research the laws in your state, and always make sure the agent holds the proper licenses and accreditations.

Experience

Even the best training cannot prepare real estate agents for every potential scenario. That is why it is so important to work with an experienced real estate agent who understands the area and the local real estate market.

Always ask potential real estate agents how long they have been in business and how many years of local experience they bring to the table. It is also a good idea to look at industry awards and accolades, since they are generally given to the best and most expert agents.

References

Asking for, and checking, references, is an essential part of the vetting process for real estate agents. Always ask the real estate agents you interview for a list of their most recent clients, and contact those clients as soon as possible.

Ask lots of questions when interviewing those former clients. Find out what they liked about working with the agent, and what they thought the agent could have done better. The honest feedback of former clients is an essential piece of information - and one you should make the most of.

The Commission Schedule

Always ask how the agents are compensated for their time and expertise, and make sure you understand all the costs of selling your house before you make a final decision.

Your choice of real estate agent will have an impact on everything from how long it takes to sell your home to how much you can get for it. The tips listed above can help you choose the best agent and get your home sale off to a great start.

Questions to Ask a Realtor®



Whether you are buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, you need to have a reliable and experienced professional in your corner. Finding the right Realtor® is not an easy task, but it is an important one.

The quality of the representation you receive from your Realtor® will impact every aspect of the home purchase, from how easy it is to obtain financing to how quickly you find your dream home. Asking the right questions can help you find a qualified professional to smooth the way and make buying a great home as easy as possible. Here are some questions you should be asking a potential Realtor®.

Can You Provide References?

The best way to assess the quality of a Realtor® is to talk to the people they have represented in the past. Always ask for references when interviewing a real estate agent, and follow up with those former clients to gather as much information as you can.

The more information you gather the easier it will be to assess the professionalism of the Realtor®. One or two disgruntled clients could be a fluke, but a line of unhappy home buyers is definitely cause for concern.

Are You a Solo Agent or Part of a Team?

Some real estate agents work on their own, while others operate as part of a larger team. It is important to find out which category the agent fits into and make your decision accordingly.

If you are comfortable working with a solo agent, by all means do so. If you would rather work with a team of professionals, you may be happier working with a Realtor® who is part of a larger group.

Can You Provide Me with a CMA?

You will be relying on the Realtor® to help you get a great deal, so it is important that they have a firm handle on the local market. The CMA, or comparative market analysis, is the gold standard for determining home values, so you will want to make sure the agent you interview has one available.

It is also important to discuss your budget with any real estate agents you interview. A good Realtor® will be willing to work within the budget you have established and help you find a home that meets your needs.

How Many Clients Are You Currently Working With?

You cannot realistically expect the undivided attention of the Realtor® you choose, but an agent with dozens of clients may not be able to give you the time you need. Always ask the agent how many clients they are currently representing and make your decision accordingly.

Buying a home can be an intimidating experience, but having the right professional in your corner can help a great deal. Asking the right questions can help you find that qualified professional - and then find the home of your dreams.

This article has been written for a private request.

Ten Tips to Selling Your Home



Selling your home can be a challenge, especially when the real estate market suffers a downturn. No matter what the state of the market, you want your home to sell quickly and for the best price possible. Here are 10 tips for a quick and profitable sale.


1. Clear out the clutter. No one wants to see a cluttered home, least of all a potential buyer. Have a yard sale, sell your unwanted items on eBay and Craiglist, even rent a storage locker. Just do whatever you have to and get rid of the clutter.

2. Give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Repainting your walls is the least expensive yet most effective way to spruce up your home and make it look like new. You will be surprised at the difference a fresh coat of paint can make.

3. Do your homework. If you want your home to sell fast, you need to know what buyers are looking for. Attend a few open houses in your area and talk to buyers about what they are looking for. Adding a few new amenities to your home could make a world of difference and speed the sale.

4. Price your home fairly. You have a wealth of information on home values at your fingertips, so do your homework before you set a price. Do not rely on the recommendations of the Realtor® alone; check recently sold listings yourself and use that information to set a fair price.

5. Let the Realtor® handle the open house. You might want to hang around and answer questions from potential buyers, but it is best to let the professional take the reins. Just gather up the kids, and the pets, and clear out for the duration of the open house.

6. Enhance your interior and exterior lighting. No one wants to see a dark dank home, so spruce things up with extra lighting. Open the curtains and windows before every showing, and turn on the lights to make the rooms look larger and airier. Installing additional exterior lighting will also make your home more attractive and enhance its curb appeal.

7. Give your landscaping a once-over. Curb appeal matters, and if would-be buyers do not like what they see they are unlikely to look further. Weed the flower beds, spruce up the exterior of your home and give the front door a fresh coat of paint. These simple and inexpensive upgrades will make your home more attractive and enhance its curb appeal.

8. Get the neighbors involved. The folks who live next door and across the street have a vested interest in the sale of your home, and they can be instrumental in making that sale happen. Invite the neighbors to your open houses, host a block party for interested buyers and ask your friends to spread the word.

9. Engage on social media. Your Facebook friends may not be interested in buying your home, but you never know where that well-timed post will ultimately land. Just post a quick video or fun letter about your home and share it on social media - you will be surprised at the results.

10. De-personalize your home. You might love that modern art painting or picture of your family at the beach, but potential buyers may not share your enthusiasm. Remove as many personal items as possible before you start showing your home - you can always break them out and show them off in your new home.

Whether it is a seller's market or the buyers are in charge, the tips above can help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar. From learning proper home staging techniques to paying attention to buyer wants, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your chance of a quick sale.

Preparing Your Home for Sale



Whether you are selling a cozy cottage or a huge mansion, preparation matters. If you want your home to sell quickly and without hassle, you need to look at the property with the discerning eyes of a buyer. Here are some practical tips you can use to get your home in selling shape quickly.

Light Things Up

You may not realize how important lighting is, but the right lighting scheme can make a world of difference. If your walls could use a fresh coat of paint, replacing that old dark shade with a lighter one can make the entire room look larger and more inviting. Adding pole lights to the corners of the living room and new LED lights to the bathroom can also make a big difference, so feel free to light things up.

Do not forget about the exterior of your home when upgrading the lighting scheme. Installing solar lights along your front walkway or adding a new spotlight above the front door can make a world of difference and improve your home's curb appeal.

Clear Out the Clutter

A cluttered home creates a terrible first impression and makes your home look smaller and less inviting. Even the largest walk-in closet will look tiny and cramped when filled with unworn clothes and shoes. The time to clear out the clutter is now, before you put your home on the market or host your first open house.

Hosting a yard sale is a great way to clear out the clutter and make some extra money. Just go through your closets, storage sheds, basement and garage and pick out the items you no longer need. After the sale is over, you can donate any unsold items to charity and get a nice tax deduction.

Remove Personal Items

Removing personal items from your home is a smart move, and one that home stagers and real estate agents regularly recommend. Take all those knick-knacks, family photographs and vacation souvenirs and pack them away in a safe place. Replace them with more neutral items, like generic artwork, quality sculpture and the like.

De-personalizing your home may seem like overkill, but it can help your home sell more quickly. You want potential buyers to picture themselves in your home, and that is hard to do when surrounded by keepsakes depicting the current occupants.

It is also important to remove all traces of your pets before every open house. That means picking up the dog bowls, hiding the litter box and storing your pet's toys. Even if the buyers know you have pets, they do not need to be reminded of their presence.

Staging your home for a quick sale is not always easy, but there are some ways to make the process easier. The tips listed above can help you prepare your home for its first showing and increase your chances of a fast and profitable sale.

Tips for Picking a Real Estate Agent



Putting your home on the market can be a stressful process, but it does not have to be. Having a qualified professional in your corner can make the job of selling your home a lot easier and less stressful.

If you are getting ready to sell your home, the first thing you need to do is find the right agent to market the property and help you get the best price possible. Here are some practical tips you can use to find the perfect real estate agent to sell your home.

Talk to Their Former Clients

There is no substitute for direct experience, and the number one thing you can do is check with former clients of each agent you are considering. Always ask the agent for referrals, and contact their most recent clients for further information.

Ask a lot of questions when you contact those former real estate clients. What did they like most about working with the agent? What did they like the least? Did they get the price they were hoping for or did they have to lower the bar to sell the home? The answers to these questions will help you find an agent who is willing to work hard for you.

Look for a Track Record of Success

The best real estate agents have a strong track record of success through both good markets and bad. They are not intimidated when the market takes a downturn, and they redouble their efforts to help their clients succeed.

Look for a real estate agent with a long track record, one that stretches back to at least the last recession. An agent who was successful when the real estate market was in poor shape is likely to be a real asset no matter what the current state of the market.

Seek Out Local Expertise

Real estate is primarily a local business, and you want to make sure the agent you hire to sell your home has specific expertise in the area where your home is located. Talk to the agent about their history in the region and their plans to market your home.

A real estate agent with specific expertise in your area will be able to develop a marketing plan tailored to your needs and the property you have to sell. This local expertise is essential, and it should be a prime consideration when choosing an agent.

Whether you are selling your starter home and moving to a larger property or putting your dream home on the market in preparation for retirement, you need the best agent on your side. The tips listed above can help you find that agent and get your home sold quickly and for top dollar.