Sell Your Own House and Pocket the Profits

So you want to sell your own house? Perhaps you want to save money on a commission that would be paid to a broker. Perhaps you are one of those individuals that believe that selling a home is a simple process because it appears so easy on TV. I understand it’s probably not as difficult as performing a root canal on yourself, but if attempted without preparation it might feel like you attempted the aforementioned.

The first thing to consider when selling your own house is to determine what the current market is like in your local area. This does not mean you should buy a copy of the Wall Street Journal and try to extrapolate what your local market is like based on national or worse yet, international trends. Some markets never experienced a large up or down over the last decade despite what was going on elsewhere. So how can you find out information that is pertinent to the local area? One way is to contact a local real estate agent and ask, but that can bring on some unwanted pressure to list with them instead; which I actually suggest for the vast majority of homeowners. Another way is to check local papers that may disclose certain statistics such as average days on market, a comparison of sales prices to listing prices (they are rarely the same, except perhaps in a hot market), and local interest rates. Now what do you do with all this information? For now hold onto it, as we will be using it to help price your home.

Once we have gathered some basic data the next step is to start finding some comparable properties. A comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to price a „normal“ home. It may not be the best way to assess the value of a new home, historic home, income property, or commercial property. What you will want to do is gather the SOLD price of at least SIX comparable homes, that have sold in the last 6 months. If you use home sales older than that, you risk the comparison not being very accurate. Comparable homes should be as similar to your home as possible, but do not have to be identical. These homes should be in the same school district, zip code, and if possible same housing complex if applicable. Explaining exactly how to do this process can be very verbose, so what I will say is that for an amateur analysis make sure your home is priced less than homes offering greater amenities and size and greater than homes offering less size or that are not as updated. Knowing exactly how much these differences effect the price of your home from the comps takes market knowledge that most homeowners don’t have. Remember that money spent on renovations does not correlate 100% to an increase in value.

Ok, so we now have an idea about the list price. The next thing we need to do is go back to what is happening in the local market. If homes are selling fast, I would suggest sticking near your estimated price for a quick sale of your home. If homes are selling at an average rate 3- 6 months (again average is different depending on location) I’d consider sticking at your estimate list price or as much as ten percent less if you are hoping for a quick sale. If homes are not selling on average in less than 120 days, as a for sale by owner you will need to price yourself well below the competition 10% or more. My reasoning for this is that highly marketed homes are not selling, where your home will have a fraction of the advertising versus those listed with a broker. You will need an edge to beat out the competition.

Well, we accomplished step one; pricing our home. This is actually one of the easier tasks we will have to do. Step two will be determining our budget for marketing the home. This is actually the main reason I suggest hiring a broker, since advertising if done haphazardly can cost MORE than hiring an agent. Now you can advertise on sites that cater to for sale by owners, but honestly the traffic they generate is simply pathetic compared to many of the better known sites. If you are serious about this, I suggest you list on a big name site. As far as advertising in the local paper goes, it certainly does not hurt, but realize that more buyers find their home online than through the local paper. The local paper though does appeal to the older generations and can help with a cross generational marketing campaign. Another consideration is that according to the national association of REALTORS 89% of surveyed home buyers in 2011 used an agent to buy. That means, whether you want to or not, you will likely have to deal with and or pay an agent. As a for sale by owner you can offer to pay an agent for bringing a buyer to you. This may help you save some money compared to having an agent list it as well. A good number to start with is offering a 2-3% commission to any buyer’s agents. This will ensure that the 89% of buyers searching for a home with the aid of an agent will not totally avoid your home. Another marketing tool you can use is a yard sign. These can be obtained relatively cheap from a local printer or online. If you are gutsy enough to let total strangers roam through your home, you can also host an open house. It is estimated that nearly 5% of home purchases are done on impulse, so it cannot hurt your sales effort. I would like you to consider that bringing strangers in your home can be unsafe so proceed with caution.

Alright, we are moving right along to getting our home sold. We have a price, we know how we are going to market it, and we are ready to list right? No, I’m sorry we still have some work to do. The next thing we have to do is complete a seller’s disclosure form to give to potential buyers. This form can be obtained from a local housing authority or online. In addition, we need to provide potential buyers with a lead-based paint disclosure act if your house was built in 1978 or earlier, thanks to a 1992 law. In addition, this is the time to neutralize your home, fix peeling paint (trust me, fix peeling paint), and complete any other small maintenance tasks that need done.

Ok, now we can go ahead and list the home. The easy part is done, we are moving onto the hard and hardest parts of selling a home. Now if you listed it yourself I suggest purchasing a land line phone number to use for advertisement purposes. There are many places where you can find one cheaply. When your first perspective buyer calls, greet them politely and share whatever information they need. As tempting as it may be, before having them over to view the house, make sure they have be pre-approved, or at least pre-qualified for a loan; ask them to bring their pre-approval letter. People have no problem wasting your time. If they refuse to bring any such paperwork, skip the viewing because it is likely they are not that interested in your house anyways. In fact, they cannot even make a real offer at this point. Show buyers around that have met the pre-qualifications, but refrain from harping about anything personalized within the home, as they will likely be envisioning how they can change your house to suit their needs. If they are interested in making an offer, please do not entertain a verbal negotiation of price. First, their offer is not legally enforceable by the statute of frauds and back and forth negotiations may elicit an emotional response on your part. Instead, insist on a written offer and binding contract. It is likely they will be working with an agent, so this is usually a mute point. When the offer is presented, remain emotionless whether it is more than you had hoped for, or less since most buyers will expect the savings you received from not paying a commission to be passed onto them (Now if you used my suggestion of offering a buyer’s agent commission you might find that you receive a more reasonable offer). You have two options; accept or reject the offer. If you reject the offer, you can always counter-offer. Some things to expect during this time is the buyers wanting you to purchase a home owners insurance warranty (which you should do to save yourself a headache 6 months from now when your water pipes burst or your furnace dies at only 4 years of age). The second is that they will likely place several contingencies on the offer, which are completely normal. These contingences may include a home inspection, land survey, title insurance, dye test, as well as several others.

Ok so you have found a buyer and your home is under contract. The coming 30-90 days will be the roughest yet, but hang on because you are almost there. During this time a home inspector after examining your home will come up with a list of several hundred problems that your house has. If you already disclosed these items in your seller’s disclosure there should be little concern, as they will not be items that your potential buyer could use to back out of the transaction. Now for the things you were unaware of, buyers may try to haggle the price even lower. I suggest for small ticket items, hold your ground. Bigger ticket items will likely require some concessions on your part. Your other option is to not give any concessions and try the whole process over again, disclosing the newfound issues. If things do progress past this point, prepare for yet more expenses at closing. You will need to pay transfer taxes on the property, as well as, prorated property taxes if you have not yet done so for the fiscal year. Again, there will be some other expenses and rather going into detail here, I suggest you take a look at a HUD-1 form to get a strong understanding of what expenses are dealt with at closing. If closing is not being taken care of by their agent, I suggest you hire either a transaction licensee or lawyer to handle the paperwork. DO NOT attempt to complete this stage on your own unless you are an agent or an attorney.

Well if you made it past closing, you have done what only 15% of for sale by owners are able to! Congratulations, and when you go to look for your next home use an agent.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Write a Home Sale Ad

Many people are choosing to sell their homes without a Realtor these days, a plan that can save you some serious money. Of course, your house has to actually sell before you can consider that strategy effective. Below are some tips and tricks for writing an ad that generates interesting in your house and, hopefully, leads to a sale.

o    Consider your ad options. Not very long ago, a real estate ad had only one purpose: to appear in your local newspaper. And while newspapers are still a great option, modern technology calls for a more far-reaching marketing strategy. The best place to start is by asking yourself where you would look if you were in the market to buy a home. The answer, for most people, is the Internet. It’s ideal becase you don’t need to leave your house to browse the selection, and it’s ready whenever homebuyers are. These are the same reasons you want your ad to be online, and there are plenty of for sale by owner (FSBO) websites that will be happy to run your ad. Newspapers, of course, are a tried-and-true option that shouldn’t be discounted, even with the Internet’s prominence. If you’re outside a major metropolitan area, make sure that your ad appears in your local paper, as well as a large daily in nearby cities; you never know when someone will want to move out of the city and into a more rural location.

o    Set the scene. It only takes a few words for homebuyers to grab the nearest phone and beg to see your home-or for those same homebuyers to turn the page without giving your house a second thought. Include basics such as the style (ranch, two story, etc.) and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but you also want to include descriptive phrases that help people imagine themselves living there. Make it easy on readers by spoon-feeding them gems like, „Spacious kitchen that opens into a great room-perfect for entertaining“ or „Remodeled master bathroom that recreates your favorite spa.“

o    Put a positive spin on things. It’s not okay to lie, but it is okay to make your house sound as charming as possible. If it’s not move-in ready, say something like, „Ready to be fixed up into the home of your dreams.“ And if you live in a neighborhood that has a less-than-desirable reputation-maybe it’s known for older houses without much space-be sure to convey how your house is different. Describe how your house sits on a big lot or the fact that you have an oversized garage that can be used as a workshop. Give homebuyers a reason to change their minds about the neighborhood.  

o    Create a winning headline. It’s the first thing people will read, so it has to grab them. Pick out the absolute best feature or characteristic of your house and make that the headline: „Upscale family living at a great price“ or „Sprawling country retreat with orchards,“ for example.

o    Include a photo (or two). While fabulous copy can create an attractive mental picture, there’s no substitute for an actual photo. When you have plenty of space-website ads and flyers, for example-include multiple photos of the inside and outside of your home. When you only have room for one photo, it should be the outside of the home, preferably taken on a sunny day. No matter what angle or space you’re photographing, the number one rule is „clean and tidy.“ Clear out all clutter before snapping a picture, and be sure the area is spic and span.

o    It’s all about the price. It’s astounding how many home sellers omit the asking price in their ad. Whether by accident or intent, it’s a mistake. It doesn’t matter how much someone loves your house, if it’s $100,000 over their budget, you’ve wasted your time and theirs because there’s no way they’ll be making an offer. Letting people know up front how much the house costs is both efficient and courteous. You don’t have time to field 20 calls a day from people inquiring about the cost, only to have them slam the phone down upon hearing it. You want to take phone calls from people who know the price, are comfortable with the ballpark, and want to set up an appointment to see it.

o    Keep it short and sweet. The paragraphs, that is. The best way to lose someone’s attention is to cram a lot of info into rambling paragraphs. Bullets are a great way to separate facts into easily digestible bites. 

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Property Valuation – The First Step To Take Before Selling Your Home

When you are faced with the prospect of selling your home yourself, then be prepared for a world that works on a different set of rules. If you do not have prior experience of the real estate world, then you will see a world where everything is impatient and slow at the same time. The people look and talk like they know better than you and you will get advice falling all over you from everywhere. However, the best thing someone can tell you to do, before welcoming the chaos, is getting a valuation of your property done. Many certified professionals can do this job for you efficiently. Some charge money and some do not charge as much or at all, but the latter are the ones that usually come with a whole package and offer this first step for free.

Property valuation would help you know exactly what your property is worth of. There would be no higher than normal expectations from your side. Also, you would be able to save yourself from exploitation of the buyers, who assert that the property is not worth much. Even real estate agents, in some instances, are no better. They will tell you the property is worth a lot less just so that they can sell it to an interested buyer. In an attempt to keep both parties happy, they decide to exploit you. If you know better, then no one can dupe you. If you do not, then it is time to educate yourself. Keep tabs on the latest market trends and the property valuations done around your locality. You cannot rely on the newspaper ads that quote a certain amount for a ‚house for sale‘. The price that is eventually offered to them could be much less.

So, you need to talk to many real estate agents, appraisers and property surveyors. Get your property surveyed professionally, so, you can sell your house more confidently. You should keep an eye on the houses being bought and sold in the nearby area. There are certain factors that would be responsible for decreasing or increasing the value of your home. Additions, like a garden, garage, a driveway, etc, add to the asking price of the house. The location is always a prime factor. An ideal house has transport facilities, commercial arenas, schools, places of leisure, etc, in its proximity. A house located in the midst of all facilities and amenities that are needed for the basic lifestyle of people of all ages, is of the utmost importance. After all, who does not want to be in the vicinity of or right in the middle of convenience?

Then the age of the property too is a defining factor that could affect the house value. So, if you have an old house, then you should check for repairs and maintenance work and get it done beforehand to make the house worthy of a good sale. After the appraiser has given you an accurate valuation of your house, it would become easier for you to take the next step of selling it.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Homes For Sale: 5 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

When the market is down, homes for sale can sometimes sit longer than homeowner’s would like. Generally, lowering the price moves it quicker because buyers want to feel like they got a good deal. However, lowering the price isn’t the only option, and it is helpful for homeowners to learn tips to help them sell their home fast.

1. Create Curb Appeal

When you sell a house, it’s important to remember that appearance is everything, and so are first impressions. The first thing a potential buyer sees is the outside of your house. Make sure your yard is well-kept, clean, and uncluttered. Replace any old or faded shudders, give the house a fresh coat of paint if needed, and replace outdated or worn gutters. In short, make it look as nice as possible on the outside so potential buyers want to see the inside.

2. Differentiate From Your Neighbors

There may be several homes for sale in your neighborhood or on your block, and you need to set yourself apart from them. Start by making your home memorable, which should also increase its value. You can get custom landscape designs, high-grade windows, or a new roof. Just make sure that you don’t go overboard with pricey renovations that may not pay off.

3. Update Your House

In a down market, buyers have a lot of options, and they don’t want a house that they need to fix up after buying it. Your job is to make them feel like they can move in and hit the ground running with their new life. Ensure that the doors, appliances, electrical, and plumbing fixtures are in compliance and good working order. Change the batteries in the fire alarms, make sure the molding and baseboards look nice, and update anything that is outdated or unattractive.

4. Clear the Clutter

Potential buyers need to see themselves living in your home, and it’s difficult to do when it is cluttered. Go through everything and either get rid of stuff or take it to storage. You want your home to look simple and clean so buyers can easily picture themselves there. Consider hiring a stager to help you make the most of your space, and create the right image for potential buyers.

5. Sweeten the deal

You may not need to lower the price of your home to sell it, but buyers still want to feel like they got a good deal. In that case, consider some perks. Offer a credit to go toward closing costs or offer to pay closing costs outright. Check with your realtor to see if there are specific deals buyers want that you can consider in your offer, as well.

Selling a house in a down market doesn’t have to be difficult, and homeowners don’t have to immediately lower their price. Start with one of these tips to help you with your homes for sale, and increase your chances of selling it quickly.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Sell Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent

Considering the rapid rise in home prices over the past several years, home sellers are taking a hard look at the commission they have to pay to a real estate brokerage to market and sell their home. Real estate commissions vary across the country; they average in the four to seven percent range.

According to the 2004 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers fourteen percent of homes were sold by-owner. The NAR study listed the two most difficult tasks for for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) were preparing and fixing up the home for sale and getting the pricing right.

Invite three full-time mid to high producing agents to your home to give you an opinion of price. Understand that if the three price opinions are not what you think the property is worth, you should understand the danger of an over-priced property. Homes that are over-priced have been studied by large national real estate brokerages and over-priced homes take longer to sell and sell at a lower price as a percentage of the original list price.

Ask the agents to give you constructive feed back on what you should do to make your home visually appeal to the majority of buyers. Below are some staging tips to prepare your home for market.

1) Research how to „stage“ your home to maximize its appeal to homebuyers by creating a spacious and pleasant home environment for buyers.

·Start by removing the first thing that gets in your way.

·Take one or more major pieces of furniture out of every room to make it more spacious.

·Keep matching furniture pieces together to build uniformity in a room.

·Create seating areas where two or more people can talk.

2) Keep the eye moving when staging a room.

·Use furniture placement to direct the buyer’s eye toward a room’s features.

·Move large pieces of furniture away from windows.

·Place large furniture at entry end of room to lighten visual load at opposite end of room.

·Use area rugs to anchor seating arrangements.

·Have your dining table closed to its smallest size.

3) Use furniture placed on angles in a room to give it a quick update.

·Angle a bed in a corner of a bedroom to focus attention.

·Angle furniture in a V shape in living and family rooms.

·Angled furniture can help fill a room short on furniture and lend a designer look.

4) Create vignettes in rooms to set mood.

·Breakfast tray with coffee cups, newspaper, flower vase on bed.

·Set the dining room table with linen tablecloth, china, silverware,and stemware.

·Set up game table for chess, bridge, or backgammon.

5) Effective model homes focus on creating the right environment.

·De-clutter so buyers can overlay their furnishings and lifestyle.

·Clean, fresh, and new smell.

·Attention to detail. Clean rooms and landscaping trimmed.

·Subtle background music, classical, light jazz, or rock.

·Interior décor and wall colors accent home’s architectural features.

·Live plants or fresh flowers add finishing touches.

6) Understand decorating basics that can guide you to repositioning a room.

·Color. A little goes a long way.

·Scale. Do furniture sizes complement or overwhelm a room?

·Pattern. Easy does it to avoid distracting from room itself.

·Lighting. Use it to define dark corners. Helps to fill out a room.

·Focal point. Fireplaces, views, art, find one in every room.

·Texture. Adds visual interest, warms cold spaces and finishes.

Understanding and completing the paperwork in a real estate transaction was number three of the most difficult tasks according to the NAR study. Once your home is priced right and ready for market you should retain a real estate attorney to help you review contracts, disclosure forms and to help you qualify potential buyers of your home. An experienced real estate attorney can help you avoid the common pitfalls in real estate negotiations and will facilitate a smooth transaction.

Here are some cliff-notes on real estate contracts.

·Use an approved real estate contract by your state real estate attorney association or local Board of Realtors®.

·Real estate contract. A binding agreement between buyer and seller. It consists of an offer and an acceptance as well as consideration (i.e. money).

·Acceptance. Agreement by the parties of the terms of a contract.

·Contract length. Research customary contract lengths, the standard is 45 days from contract to closing.

·Have sold comparables properties on hand for prospective buyers.

·Comparable. Closed prices for similar homes in age, condition, location and size.

·Price. Study average sold prices as a percentage of lists in the last six months.

·Low-ball offers. Buyers should offer over 87% of list if they are serious, otherwise you will should not responding at all to low-ball offers.

·Counteroffer(s). The response to an offer or a bid by the seller or buyer after the original offer or bid. Request all counteroffers to be in writing.

·Require all buyers to present the highest level of mortgage commitment with their contract.

·Mortgage Commitment. A document by a mortgage lender that commits the lender to providing a loan at agreed terms and conditions.

·Mortgage term, rate and amount. Look for strong down-payments of thwenty-percent or more. Interest-only loans signal that the buyers could be stretching to qualify for a loan.

·Cash offers in lieu of mortgage financing should be confirmed with a letter from your financial institution stating funds are on deposit to close the contract.

·Federal law requires Lead-Based Paint Hazard disclosures.

·Lead-Based Hazard. A disclosure of reports or knowledge of Lead-Based Hazards. Buildings built after 1978 do not present Lead-Based Hazards.

·Read Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home by the US EPA.

·Real property disclosures required by the federal or your state Written statements by the seller(s) of a property disclosing any known defects.

·Local disclosures. Local requirements of disclosure that the seller provides and the buyer acknowledges, such as certificates of occupancy.

·W-9 form. An IRS form requesting taxpayer identification and certification numbers of buyers to receive interest on earnest money from delivery to closing.

·Subject to appraisal. Most contracts as part of the mortgage contingency require the subject property to appraise at a minimum of contract price.

·Appraisal. An objective third parties opinion of value by a licensed or certified appraiser.

·Earnest money deposit. Money given to the seller at the time the offer is made as a sign of the buyer’s good faith.

·Research customary earnest money deposits as they vary. The larger the deposit, the increased motivation you buyers show to perform the contract.

·Refund of earnest money deposits. Contracts should provide for refund of the entire earnest money deposit within agreed contingency periods. Seller’s attorney should hold earnest money deposits.

·Attorney approval period. Your attorney reviews and makes changes to the contract, typically 5-7 business days.

·Property inspection period. The right under a contract for the buyer at their expense to discover the actual condition of the property. This period typically runs 5-7 business days.

·Well and septic inspections. These are independent of structural and mechanical inspections.

·Timelines for contingencies run concurrently.

·Contingency. A provision in a contract requiring certain acts to be completed before the contract is binding.

·Closing/ escrow date. The date of the end of the transaction process where the deed is delivered, documents are signed, and funds are dispersed.

·Possession date. The date agreed by contract when the buyer can occupy the property.

·Final walk-through. A property tour before closing or escrow that permits the buyers one final verification of condition, agreed repairs and personal property.

·Tax pro-rations. The amount of credit given to buyers at closing for unpaid property taxes, when taxes are paid in arrears. Pro rations should always be more than 100 %.

·Personal property. List and initial all personal property included with the sale, such as air-conditioners, appliances, and playground equipment.

·Home sale contingency. The contract is contingent on the sales of the buyer’s property.

·Buyers show motivation when including a home sale contingency by having their current property already on market.

·Home closing contingency. The contract is contingent only on the successful closing of an existing real estate contract.

Marketing your home to prospective buyers should include these methods.

·A professionally painted yard sign.

·Newspaper advertisements classified and photo.

·Public and broker open houses.

·Internet: virtual tour and at least eight photos.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Compelling Reasons to Hire a Realtor

Investing in a property is a big decision. To ensure that you have made the right choice, you will need all the help you can get. This is where real estate agents come in. They help you find your dream home with the assurance that this significant investment of yours is something that you can really call a tangible asset.

Why you should enlist the aid of a realtor? Here are compelling reasons to do so:

Greater Property Options

You can get access to a lot of properties for sale in the market. If you run through newspaper or Web ads, you might see a few potential properties. This makes investing take longer than expected. But with the help of a realtor, you will have greater options. From price point to features and location, you can discover properties that meet your needs. It is a more efficient approach to finding the right property.

Customize Listings

Realtors will spare you from spending much time on searching. They have access to properties that matches your requirements. This means you have better chances of finding the very home of your dreams. Whether you need a starter home or a two-storey house, a home in an upcoming neighborhood, a home in the suburb, a home near parks and schools, etc., their customize listings is complete. All you need to do is talk to them about your preferences and choose among the homes for sale in their listings.

Property Market And Their Knowledge

In your decision making process, the knowledge of realtors is very crucial. Just because a property is within your budget doesn’t mean that you should already grab it. Reasonably priced spacious properties are tempting to buy but there are other deciding factors to consider aside from price.

Realtors can answer you about what makes a property a good purchase. They know the property market well and are experienced in dealing with property buying and selling. They would let you know if the home is a seemingly underpriced because it needs some hidden repairs that could put you in the hole. They can guide you to make a thorough assessment of the property you have in mind before finally making the deal.

Owning a property gives you some security of having a place to live in permanently. This move however requires some careful planning on your part. It is hardly accomplished without professional help. To make sure that the home you’re buying really is a good investment, think about hiring a realtor.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Sell House – How to Sell Your House Profitably

Every home seller wants to sell the house fast for the maximum price. To achieve this it is important to know which repairs are absolutely necessary and how to price it competitively to sell the house in the shortest time. By planning carefully and sprucing up the house professionally to maximize first impressions you can ensure a quick sale. You must get marketing tips on how to find qualified buyers and attract many offers to sell the house.

Best time to sell

Real estate markets generally pick up in February and the wave usually lasts till the end of June. This period is considered to be the strongest selling season. Another strong period is from early September to late November. Late November sees the market slow down due to the holiday season.

Pricing

Avoid overpricing. The market situation also should be taken into account. The pricing should be in line with the prices of recently sold homes in the area as identified in the comparative market analysis report. Get purchase offers and make a counter offer and be prepared for multiple offers if you have priced the house right. After finding out what the house is worth by looking at the prices of other houses in the neighbourhood, you can price it 10% below them. This will help to sell your house in no time if it is the cheapest and newest in the market.

Marketing

The advertising to sell the house must have all the selling points. Quality photographs and virtual tour of the house online can increase the traffic and showings. Hiring a professional stager for staging your home is a good idea to impress the potential buyer.

Repairs to be carried out

Find out which repairs and home improvement projects can increase the value to sell a house. Patch the cracks in the walls and replace the cracked floors and tile of the kitchen counter. Repairing and touching up kitchen cabinets can enhance the overall look of the house. Repair or replace door knobs, drawers etc. Leaky taps and faucets should be replaced in the bathrooms. The creaky floors and jamming drawers should be fixed. Make sure that the toilet seats are to be replaced. Repairing and replacing the missing shingles or tiles from the roof is also very important. Paint the exterior fixtures like the door frame, window trims, fence and the mail box. Polish door handles and rust spots and make sure to repaint the areas with peeling paint. Paint the exterior fixtures like the door frame, window trims, fence and the mail box. Polish door handles and rust spots and make sure to repaint the areas with peeling paint. Repairing faulty doorbell and sprinkler system are a must.

Preparing the house for sale

Once you have made the decision to sell your house the first thing to do is to dissociate yourself from it. Family heirlooms and personal photographs should be removed from the house. Removing all clutter is essential before showing the house to prospective buyers. De-clutter and clean off and organize everything on the kitchen counters and storage racks. Buyers tend to open to check kitchen cabinets and closets. If a potential buyer sees everything well organized, it would create an impression that you take good care of the entire house. Neatly arranged spice jars and dishes in the kitchen and arranging the shirts facing the same direction in the wardrobes and lining up the shoes in the rack are sure to create a good first impression. It is a good idea to have beds made, putting large furniture away, lock pets away and remove personal possessions etc.

House should sparkle

After deciding to sell the house, make sure the house looks spic and span. Remove cobwebs, clean fan blades and wash the windows thoroughly. Side walks and exterior must be cleaned with pressure washer. Wax the floors; re-chalk the tubs and sinks and showers. The sinks and wash basins must be stain-free. Chrome faucets and mirrors should be polished. Dust all furniture and light fixtures. Clean out the refrigerator and vacuum the house daily. Fresh towels must be hung and make sure there is no smell or odour anywhere. Replace dirty and worn out rugs and curtains. Switch plates should be cleaned and sticky windows must be made to open easily. Trees should be pruned to allow natural light inside. Clean up the oily floor of garage and keep the walks, patio and derive ways clean. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

History of Real Estate Agency Relationships

In the beginning, real estate brokers were known as middlemen and optioneers. Back then, the customary practice was for a middleman to know about a property for sale, but to keep it secret from other middlemen. It was difficult for these middleman to collect a fee for their services so they would resort to tactics that were not always in their seller’s best interest. Optioneers, on the other hand, were usually more successful in collecting their fees because they would tie up the seller’s property on an option to purchase, sell the property to a buyer at a price over the option amount, pay the seller the option price, and then pocket the rest.

The early real estate brokerage business was loosely organized and used methods of brokering that were often dishonest, subject to fraud, and that took advantage of sellers and buyers. Eventually, a newer concept with the real estate broker being an agent of and owing a fiduciary duty to the seller and receiving payment for his services was developed. This new concept forced the seller and broker relationship to a higher level of service and duty. It also allowed brokers to list property for sale using contracts. These contracts are what we now refer to listings. The earlier forms of listings we called open listings. The open listing is a type of non exclusive listing contract authorizing a real estate broker to offer a property for sale, find a buyer and get paid for services upon the closing of that transaction.

Other brokers could also have open listings for the same property, but only the broker who actually found the buyer would receive a commission. In addition, no broker would get paid a fee if the seller sold the property. The open listing discouraged cooperation between brokers, since each broker could obtain their own open listing. To solve the open listing problem, the exclusive agency listing became popular.

The exclusive agency listing is a type of listing contract wherein the seller offers only the listing brokerage compensation if the buyer is procured through the brokerage’s efforts or the efforts of other real estate brokerages. This means that in certain situations, such as For Sale by Owner, the listing brokerage may not receive compensation when the property is sold. In the exclusive agency listing, the listing brokerage or another brokerage working with the listing brokerage must procure the buyer in order to have a claim on compensation.

The exclusive agency listing encourages competing brokers to find buyers for listing, since the listing brokerage pays the selling brokerage’s fee. However, the seller still does not pay a fee when a seller finds the buyer. The exclusive agency listing eventually gave rise to the exclusive right to sell listing.

The exclusive right-to-sell agreement, the listing brokerage is offered compensation in the event of a sale regardless of who procured the buyer. The exclusive right to sell listing guarantees that the listing broker will get paid a fee, even if a competing broker or the seller sells property. It provides the most protection for the listing broker and is considered in the best interest of the seller because the listing brokerage will put effort and resources into marketing the property, since a commission is guaranteed during the term of the agreement.

Even after the exclusive right to sell listing became popular, there was little cooperation between brokerages, since a buyer who wanted to buy a specific property would have to deal with the broker who had exclusive listings of interest. It was also quite clear to all parties in that the broker represented the seller and that the buyer had no representation.

By the 1950s there was pressure for more cooperation between brokerages. As a result, a broker working with a buyer would contact competing brokerages to to learn of their inventory and possible matches for their clients. Deals often resulted where the selling agent did not know the seller or their agent and the selling agent’s only dealings were with the buyer. Suddenly, the concept that the selling brokerage owed its fiduciary duty to only the seller was no longer a neat and logical concept. However, it would take many years before the unworkable agency concepts would be sorted out and lead to buyer representation.

As the 1950s and 1960s progressed, a more formalized cooperative brokerage system, known as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), was developed. Through the MLS, the concept of subagency evolved. Simply stated, this meant the listing broker was the agent of and represented only the seller. The listing brokerage would hire sales associates who were considered subagents of the seller. The listing MLS brokerage was required to make the listing available to all cooperating brokerage within their MLS. These cooperating brokerages were also deemed subagents of the listing brokerage, who were agents of the seller. If the cooperating brokerage had sales associates, they were subagents of the cooperating brokerage, who were subagents of the listing brokerage, who was the agent of the seller. During this period, an agency relationship with a buyer was not possible, since the agency relationship was always with the seller. The only duty a licensee owed to a buyer was to not lie when asked questions about a property. The concept of „buyer beware“ was truly the reality of how the brokerage business operated and buyers were always unrepresented.

The rise of consumerism, as manifested in numerous court decisions, put pressure on the brokerage business to be more concerned with the interests of the buyer. Because of that, licensees working with buyers had an affirmative duty to disclose known matters affecting a property. For example, if the broker knew that a roof leaked, he would have to disclose this fact. This disclosure concept was later expanded by the courts to include conditions about the property that the brokers should or could have known.

By the 1980s, a government study found that nearly three-quarters of all buyers thought the brokerage they were working with was representing them as a client. The same study concluded that nearly three-quarters of all sellers also thought that the cooperating brokerage represented the buyer’s interests. It soon became obvious the concepts of agency law that the industry and governmental regulators had attempted to impose in order to simplify and clarify the agency relationships had not worked. Continued pressure from consumer groups and the courts finally led to the buyer representation movement of the 1990s.

In 1991, the National Association of REALTORS® formed an advisory group to study agency representation issues. Testimony was received from real estate practitioners, industry experts, the public, and state regulatory authorities. The advisory group’s report made the following recommendations:

  • The NAR’s multiple listing policy should be modified to make subagency offers optional. If subagency was not accepted by a cooperating brokerage, then the listing brokerage was to offer compensation to the brokerage representing the buyer.
  • The NAR would encourage state associations to promote changes in real estate law and regulations in order to promote disclosure of agency options. These options would include seller agency, buyer agency, and disclosed dual agency. The purpose of this recommendation was to assist consumers in making informed decisions regarding representation.
  • The NAR should encourage real estate brokerages to adopt written company policies addressing the handling of agency relationships with its clients and customers.
  • The NAR would encourage education of all members on the topic of agency representation. State regulatory agencies would also be encouraged to include agency as a mandatory topic in continuing education requirements for all licensees.

As of 1992, the National Association of REALTORS® adopted the following policy:

„The National Association of REALTORS® recognizes seller agency, buyer agency and disclosed dual agency with informed consent as appropriate forms of consumer representation in real estate transactions. The association respects the need for all REALTORS® to be able to make individual business decisions about their companies‘ agency practices. Furthermore, NAR endorses freedom of choice and informed consent for consumers or real estate services when creating agency relationships with real estate licensee.“

These NAR changes to representation policy modified the way the industry practices. Exclusive Right to Represent buyer agreements now allow a buyer to contract with a brokerage to find, and negotiate, the purchase of real property. Generally, these agreements are for a specified period and require the buyer to pay a commission upon the closing of the real property transaction. As an agent of the buyer, the buyer’s brokerage owes all of the fiduciary duties (care, loyalty, disclosure, obedience, and accounting) to his principal, the buyer.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

4 Golden Rules To Get A Good Deal On A House In A Great Locality

Finding deals on houses are hard but not impossible. More often than not, the house and the deal you are looking for are right in front of you but you haven’t been able to find it. After reading these golden rules, you will be able to. Jump right in to discover what you have been missing.

Rule #1: A Great Deal May Be Impossible, But A Good Deal Isn’t

There are those localities in every city where property rates have not fluctuated, especially during a time of depreciation. This is the best deal you can get. No matter how good or bad the market is, the rates will stay the same, and this means your investment is safe. You need to be diligent enough to look out for these localities. A little research will help you with that.

Rule #2: The One Who Comes First Is Not Always The Winner

When you are looking for a house in a popular neighbourhood, you need to understand that a deal once made, will not stay on the table for too long. Usually, when two or more houses are introduced into the market, the one with better advertising and presentation takes the cake as it garners more attention. Now the rule is to go with the one that lost its bid as those houses will come at a marginally cheaper price.

Rule #3: If You Love The House, It’s Not For You

Yes, this is true. If you loved the house you visited, then there is a definite probability that most of the prospective buyers did too. These houses are specifically designed to appeal to more people, and it may well be out of your price range. In such cases, search for more affordable options while your competition is wasting time on lusting after an extremely expensive house.

Rule #4: If An Offer Is Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Real estate dealers use this strategy where they quote an obscenely reasonable price for a good house. This doesn’t mean that the house is available at this rate; it just means the listing agent has decided to increase the demand in the market for that particular house. If you see such ads, you should definitely stay away from it.

Overall, buying a house is a very serious decision that can affect the rest of your life. These golden rules will prevent you from falling prey to the clever strategies devised by realty professionals to deceive you in the home buying process.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

FSBO – What You Should Know About Selling Your Own Home

The key to selling your home yourself is being properly prepared. If you aren’t, your home may remain on the market longer than you expect because you aren’t attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. And this is where many homeowners become frustrated and start to think about giving up the dream of selling their homes themselves. However, some sellers are very successful at selling their own homes, and you can be one of them.

This report has been especially prepared to assist home sellers like yourself understand the process so you can sell your home quickly and for the price you want. To help you prepare, be aware of the following tips before deciding whether or not this is the right approach for you.

  1. Price your home correctly. Setting the correct asking price is critical. Setting the price too high can be as bad as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace, and not by your emotional attachment to your home or what you think your home is worth. To establish a realistic price, compare the price, features, and condition of similar homes in both your neighbourhood and locations where similar homes have sold in the last few months. It is also important to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale. Terms are often as important as price in the current market. Work up a careful budget of your selling costs, and prepare a net proceeds sheet to determine an informed estimate of what you can expect to earn from the sale of your home. Prospective buyers may request a similar analysis of buying costs.
  2. Prepare your home for sale. First impressions are crucial. Ensure that your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it, as objectively as possible, through the eyes of a buyer. Don’t ignore needed repairs and fix-ups: your prospective buyers certainly won’t! Your job is to make sure your home stands out favourably from the competition.
  3. Make sure you have all the necessary legal documentation. There are many important legal contracts and documents which you need to assemble, complete, and understand when selling your home. Below is a partial checklist of forms you will need for prospective buyers and for legal documentation.
    • Mortgage Payoff
    • Loan Application
    • Deposit Receipt
    • Property Profile Fact Sheet
    • Buyer’s Cost Sheet
    • Closing & Settlement
    • Personal Property
    • Exclusion List
    • Property Survey
    • Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation
  4. Market Your Home Effectively. Beyond the sign on your lawn, you need to find effective ways to spread the word that your home is for sale. You can reach local buyers with ads in a newspaper, but you will reach just a small part of the possible market. Be sure to include buyers who may already be working with a realtor. To locate them, notify as many top agents as possible in your market in case their client’s criteria match what your home has to offer. Out-of-town buyers are an important target too, so create a strategy to reach them as well. Above all, be very customer service oriented and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. That means making sure that someone is always available to answer the phone, respond promptly to messages, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as quickly as possible.
  5. Remain objective when showing your home. Be sure to keep your emotions out of the sale of your home. The best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, you’re better off counter-balancing this point of view by calling attention to the positives instead of becoming defensive.
  6. Pre-qualify prospective buyers. Don’t waste time entertaining buyers who cannot afford to buy your home. Research their financial situation with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.
  7. Negotiate effectively and knowledgeably. There are a great many details that need to be resolved before a sale is considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, and buyer concerns and objections, to name a few. You must fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can, in turn, explain the details and ramifications to the buyer, and make any necessary amendments to the sale. Have the contract you use thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, work to maintain the buyer’s interest in your home so it doesn’t wane during negotiations.
  8. Know your buyer. Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what’s motivating potential buyers. Do they need to move quickly? Can they afford to pay the asking price for your home? Answering these questions will give you an advantage in the negotiations: you’ll know what you need to do to get what you want.
  9. Do not move out before you sell. Studies show that selling a vacant home is more difficult than selling one that is occupied. A vacant home looks forlorn, forgotten, and simply unappealing. And it could even cost you money. If you move out before you sell, you’re also letting prospective buyers know that you have a new home and are motivated to sell quickly. That can, of course, give the buyer an advantage at the negotiating table.
  10. Understand why you’re selling, but keep your reasons to yourself. Just as important as understanding your buyer is understanding yourself. Your reasons for selling can affect everything from how you price your home to how much time and money you invest in preparing it for sale. And knowing your motivation helps you determine your priorities: the money you walk away with, how long your property is on the market, or perhaps both. Different goals dictate different strategies. Someone who prefers to sell without a real estate agent to save the commission would indicate that money is a primary considerations (see „How to Assess Your Net Gain“ below). Whatever your reasons may be, it is very important to keep them to yourself so you don’t put yourself at a disadvantage during negotiations. If anyone asks why you’re selling, simply tell them that your housing needs have changed.

How to Assess Your Net Gain

To find out whether or not you’ll come out ahead by selling your home yourself, consider that most buyers use real estate agents because it doesn’t cost them anything (the seller pays the agent’s fee). Be cautious: buyers, investors, and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owner properties are usually in search of a bargain. Low-ball offers from these buyers will usually net you a lot less in the long run. Determine for yourself the following:

  1. You need to be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings, and all legal matters.
  2. Calculate what it will cost you to effectively market your home and put together all the necessary materials, from the „For Sale“ sign to the contracts.
  3. What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner, minus the costs identified in number 2 above? Is this net amount higher or lower than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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