Tips on Selling your Home

When it is time to put your house on the market, I will go through your house with you to get it ready. In the meantime, there are a couple of things you can start doing to prepare. I know from experience that if you follow these tips you will have an advantage over most of the competition already on the market. A sharp "turn-key" home sells faster and for more money!

Do as many of the following as you can prior to the first showing:

Living Areas: 

  •  Clear all unnecessary objects/clutter throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture to a minimum.

  •  Rearrange or remove furniture if the room seems full. When it comes to selling we need to make the rooms appear as large as possible.

  •  Re-paint rooms that need attention.

  •  Clean all the windows, inside and out.

  •  Be sure that all curtains/drapes and the carpets are clean.

  •  Remove dated wallpaper and re-paint, preferably with a neutral color.

  •  Check all light bulbs and clean fixtures, make sure they all work properly.

  •  Re-grout tiles in kitchens and bathrooms, it's relatively inexpensive and gives everything a fresh new look.

  •  Repair any leaking/dripping faucets.

  •  Check the caulking around tubs and showers and replace it where needed.

  •  Replace or clean shower curtains.

  •  In bathrooms, keep only necessities on counters, and matching towels always add a nice touch!

  •  Creaking floors can turn off buyers, especially in townhouses, condos, or second story homes. Get the floors checked out and fix any problem areas.

  •  Clean and wax the floors throughout your home.

  •  All appliances (refrigerator, stove, sinks, etc.) should be spotless.

  •  Clean the exterior of the heating/cooling unit and compartment.

  •  Tidy up your closets, and remove seasonal clothing to make the closet look more spacious. All clothes should be neatly hung and shoes in place. Yes, buyers do look in your closets!

Outside:

  •  Keep lawns mowed and trimmed. Replace dead plants and trim shrubs, a gardener may be a great investment during the sale process.

  •  Check all faucets and sprinklers, make sure the sprinkler system works fine.

  •  Repair any torn screens or cracked glass, replace in necessary.

  •  Paint or touch up exterior of home where needed, especially the entry area. Hose down any dirt, spots, cobwebs or any other debris.

  •  Plant colorful flowers, or bright plants in the garden area. A nice color bowl on the front porch is a good idea if there is room.

  •  Clean the driveway.

  •  Repair any bubbling or cracking stucco.

  •  Eliminate clutter from view, which means any toys, garden tools, bicycles, etc.

  •  If you have a pool or jacuzzi/spa , keep them clean and make sure they sparkle.

  •  Keep the patio neat.

  •  Take a walk around the perimeter and make sure to declutter, discard debris and make sure everything is clean and neat.

Garage:

  •  Clean up the garage as much as possible, maintain it neat and tidy.

  •  If you want top dollar and have too much stuff inside the house or garage, consider a rental storage area.

Showing Procedures and Tips:

  • Some people are afraid of pets, so attend to your own. It is helpful to move your pets into a kennel or have them stay with friends during this process, and if that is not an option, make sure to have them separated during showings.

  •  Unpleasant odors can lose a sale. Try carpet cleaning or carpet freshener if needed, sprinkle cinnamon over oven burners just before showing, bake cookies or fresh bread, or try a drop of vanilla on a light bulb under a lamp shade.

  •  Open drapes during the day and allow natural light inside. This will make rooms seem larger.

  •  A well-lit home shows better, so for the entire showing, make sure all lights remain on.

  •  If you have a fireplace, always have it lit to show it works. Even during the summer!

  •  Soft background music is always a good idea for showings, have a radio playing in the background or set up an mp3 player.

  •  A lot of buyers nowadays are turned off by the odor of smoking. If you are a long-time smoker, you are not as sensitive to the odor. Try to smoke outside your home and always air out the house before a showing.

  •  Buyers feel more comfortable looking at a home without the owners present. Whenever possible, leave prior to the showing or find an excuse to leave during.

  •  Have a lockbox on your home, this will make it easier for agents to show your home.

  •  Leave the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.

  •  Have all the carpets vacuumed prior to a showing.

  •  Make sure the kitchen is clean and tidy. Wash all dirty dishes, clean countertops and put away all food.

  •  Make sure all the rooms are neat and picked up. Make the beds, remove dirty laundry and put everything in its place. 

The process of selling a home is not an easy one. You need to have your home ready for a showing (sometimes on a very short notice), but in order to increase your chances for selling please take these recommendations to heart. The better your home shows, the faster it will sell!

SellersChase Boulineau
Tips on Buying your Home

When you’re shopping around for a new home, there are probably quite a few questions that pop into your head… Let’s get them answered!

Should I start low and negotiate?

It's important to know the market conditions and details of the home at that present time first. Consider the question of whether there are competing offers? How long has the home been offered for sale? Ask these questions and more about the property, review comparable sales and then decide if this home fits your needs. Consult with me before making an offer, after all I am here to help!

Why do I need a broker/agent? Can't I do it myself?

The advantage of having a good real estate broker/agent far exceed the costs of the commission they receive. Sales commissions differ depending on property type and conditions, and an agent/broker will always negotiate a better deal and protect your interests through the transaction. And as a buyer you don’t pay my commission, the seller does.  So you get free professional advise guiding you though every step of the process looking out for your interest.  

I know the ins and outs of real estate. I know how to save you money, and can prevent any unnecessary mistakes or expenditures.

How long does closing usually take? 

Escrow and closing can get lengthy, usually between 30 - 45 days, and every transaction has a different timeline.

What is a home warranty? Do I need one?

With a home warranty, you're covered against a mechanical breakdown of a covered component for a full year (such as electrical or plumbing), beginning on the day of closing. You pay only a standard deductible for each claim.

I highly recommend having a home warranty for your purchase. In most cases I can negotiate to have the seller pay for it.  A home warranty provides coverage generally not offered by homeowners insurance, connects you with a network of qualified contractors, has standard deductibles that limit your costs and can always be renewed for subsequent years so you can enjoy the protection for as long as you own your home (eligibility subject to underwriting criteria).  

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from a loss that may occur from matters or faults from the past. Unlike car or life insurance, that cover any losses in the future, title insurance does not cover future faults. You pay a one-time premium, and the title insurance protects you from risks or undiscovered interests that effect the title of the property. 

There are two principle forms of title insurance, a lender's policy for the lender and a homeowner's policy protect the buyer (new owner). 

What is a Lender's Policy?

A lender's policy protects the mortgage holder. If there is a fault in the tittle that results in a loss, the mortgage holder will be paid back.

What is a Homeowner's Policy?

A homeowner's policy protects you, the purchaser, against a loss that may occur from a fault in your ownership or interest you have in the property. You should protect the equity in your new home with a title policy.

What does a Homeowner's Policy provide?

A homeowner's policy provides protection from a financial loss due to demands that may be charged against the title to your home, up to the cost of the title policy. It also protects from payment of legal costs if the title insurer has to defend your title against a covered claim and a payment of successful claims against the title to your home covered by the policy, up to the cost of the policy.

There are many insurance companies to choose from, so make sure to ask your attorney, escrow company or real estate agent to help you make the right decision.

BuyersChase Boulineau
Transaction Terms Glossary

During your real estate transaction, there are probably going to be a lot of terms you aren’t familiar with. I’ve taken the time to curate a list of most of these terms so you’re more in the know!

Let’s get started!

Amendments: A change - either to alter, add to, or correct - part of an agreement without changing the principal idea or essence.

Appraisal: An estimate of value of property resulting from analysis of facts about the property; an opinion of value.

Assumption: Taking over another person's financial obligation taking title to a parcel of real property with the buyer assuming liability for paying an existing bite secured by a deed of trust against the real property.

Beneficiary: The recipient of benefits, often from a deed of trust, usually the lender.

Close of Escrow: Generally the date the documents are recorded and title passes from seller to buyer. On this date, the buyer becomes the legal owner and the title insurance becomes effective.

Comparable Sales: Sales that have similar characteristics as the subject real property, used for analysis in the appraisal. Commonly called "comps".

Deed of Trust: An instrument used in many states in place of a mortgage.

Deed Restrictions: Limitations in the deed to a parcel of real property that dictate certain uses that may or may not be made of real property.

Earnest Money Deposit: Down payment made by a purchaser of real property as evidence of good faith; a deposit or partial payment.

Easement: A right, privilege or interest limited to a specific purpose that one party has in the land of another.

Hazard Insurance: Real estate insurance protecting against fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc. depending upon the policy. Buyer often adds liability insurance and coverage for personal property.

Impounds: A trust type of account established by lenders for the accumulation of borrower's funds to meet periodic payments of taxes, mortgage insurance premiums and/or future insurance policy premiums, required to protect their security.

Legal Description: A description of land recognized by law, based on government surveys, spelling out the exact boundaries of the entire parcel of land. It should so thoroughly identify a parcel of land that it cannot be confused with any other.

Lien: A form of encumbrance that usually makes a specific parcel of real property the security for the payment of a debt or discharge of an obligation. For example, judgments, taxes, mortgages, deeds of trust.

Mortgage: The instrument by which real property is pledged as security for repayment of a loan.

PITI: A payment that combines principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

Power of Attorney: A written instrument whereby a principal gives authority to an agent. The agent acting under such a grant is sometimes called an "Attorney-in-Fact".

Purchase Agreement: The purchase contract between the buyer and seller. It is usually completed by the real estate agent and signed by the buyer and seller.

Quitclaim Deed: A deed operating as a release, intending to pass any title, interest or claim which the grantor may have in the property, but not containing any warranty of a valid interest or title by the grantor.

Recording: Filing documents affecting real property with the County Recorder as a matter of public record.

BuyersChase Boulineau