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Home Seller Checklist - How to Know You’re Ready to Sell

by The Hat Team

It’s a seller’s market right now folks. Demand for homes is high and inventory is low.  So, it seems like the perfect time to list your house, right? Slow down. The market may be prime for selling, but you need to look at your personal situation. Before you put that for sale sign in your yard, it would be wise to consider all the factors that will determine if you are ready to sell.

Here are signs that you are ready to sell your house:

  • You have positive equity.  It’s vital that you are financially prepared to sell your house.  If you have built up equity, that means your home is worth more than you owe on it. Ideally you want to have enough equity to pay off your current mortgage and to make a down payment on a new home.  It’s even better if you have enough to cover closing costs and moving expenses.  If you don’t have positive equity, it is a bad idea to sell.
  • You have cash in the bank and zero debt.  It’s important to have all your financial ducks in a row before selling your house.  Remember, you’re not just selling a house, you are likely buying one as well.  Take time to analyze your finances and budget. If you have paid off your non-mortgage debt and have funds saved, you are ready to enter the home selling/buying process again.
  • A home that better suits your needs is within your reach.  Perhaps you are downsizing, but you want a nicer home or you are looking to move up into a larger home for your growing family. Either way, there is no point in selling your current home if you can’t afford a new one that better suits your needs.  Remember that, ideally, your mortgage payment should be no more than 28% of your income.
  • You are aware of the extra costs involved in moving.  It’s exciting to get approved for a mortgage. Chances are you will get approved for more than you thought you would.  But there is a lot to think about before deciding to sell.  Remember that you will need to probably do some work on your house to get it ready to put on the market.  You will also have to pay the moving expenses.  Make sure consideration of these costs go into your decision-making process.
  • You are emotionally ready to sell. Hopefully you are selling for the right reasons. You have to be ready to put the work into your home that it will take to sell it.  You must be committed to keeping it “show ready” for as long as it takes.  You must be prepared for what might be a tough negotiation.  And finally, you need to be ready to let go of the home where you have created memories with your family.
  • You have an experienced Realtor.  Real estate transactions should be handled by experts. The professionals at Hat Team Realtors understand the market and can provide you with a clear picture of what goes into selling a house. Their advice will assist you in making this very important decision.

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Archive/Page/1?c=Selling

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Dont-Let-These-Deal-Breakers-Ruin-Your-Home-Sale

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Preparing-to-Sell-Your-House-Getting-Organized

Don’t Let These Deal Breakers Ruin Your Home Sale!

by The Hat Team

When trying to sell your house, you want to make the best possible impression on potential buyers.  While some buyers will say that they knew a house was right for them the minute they walked in the door, other buyers will tell you they knew immediately that a house was NOT right for them. Sometimes deal-breakers are personal, but often they apply to many and can damage your chances of a profitable sale (or any sale at all).  Avoid these deal-breakers to get the best deal when you sell:

  • Pests - It seems obvious that people would be turned off by seeing bugs in a home, right?  But sometimes homeowners get used to having “bug problems” and don’t think about how they might negatively influence buyers.  Seeing one or two bugs, like maybe a fly or random little spider, might not be that big of a deal. But if a roach crawls out while people are looking at your house? Forget it.  They are out of there!  If you have any kind of infestation, you need to nip it in the bud before you start showing your house.
  • Pets - Just because you love your pets and consider your home very “pet friendly” does not mean other people feel the same way.  There are a myriad of reasons why having pets can ruin a home sale. Sometimes it’s simply that animals make people nervous.  Taking your pets out of the home during showings can solve that problem.  But other things, such as visible food bowls, kitty litter boxes etc. can turn off people who don’t live with animals.  And any kind of pet odors can do a lot of damage as well.  It is a good idea to make sure your house is free of any pet paraphernalia and pet odors before opening it up to buyers.
  • Small/Outdated Kitchens - Big, open kitchens are one of the most desirable features for homebuyers.  If you have a cramped, closed off kitchen, updating it before you put it on the market will be well worth it.  Not only will you be able to sell it faster, you will get a better price for it and odds are you will likely recoup the money you spent sprucing it up and then some.
  • Cheap Upgrades - Poor quality shows.  While you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a house that you are leaving, you also don’t want to hurt your chances of selling it by making cheap upgrades and repairs that are poorly executed.  Unless someone is looking for a “fixer upper”, they are going to lose interest quickly if they see a lot of shoddy upgrades.
  • The Roof - A roof in bad condition will scare away potential buyers quickly.  The idea of buying a house and immediately having to foot the bill for a new roof is not appealing.  If your roof is old or in need of repair/replacement, take care of it before putting your house on the market.  Otherwise, expect to have to lower your asking price. If your buyer is obtaining a loan, the lender may well require you replace the roof before closing.  A new roof will not only improve resale value, it will also boost curb appeal, both of which will increase your chances of selling and getting the best price possible!

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Preparing-to-Sell-Your-House-Getting-Organized

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Having-an-Open-House

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Items-to-Throw-Out-Before-You-Move

Preparing to Sell Your House: Getting Organized

by The Hat Team

If you are planning to put your house on the market, there is no time like the present to start getting organized for the process of staging, showing and moving out of your home.

Begin now by following the tips listed below and you won’t feel so overwhelmed when it’s time for that first open house!

  • Eliminate Piles before you sell.  Some of us suffer from "flat surface syndrome" .  If there is a flat surface, it’s covered with “stuff”.  Now is the time to eliminate any of the “stuff” cluttering the horizontal surfaces in your home. Things such as mail, magazines and other odds and ends that are piled on the tops of tables, desks and shelves should be removed. 
  • Clear out storage areas.  If your closets, bookcases, pantry, and other storage areas are overstuffed, this is a red flag for potential buyers that screams, “not enough storage!”.  Keeping a minimum number of items in your house will leave the impression that there is a generous amount of storage in your home.
  • Get rid of excess. Eliminate or pack up items that you won’t need before you move.  For example, only keep enough dishes, towels, sheets, toys etc. that you will use during the time your house is for sale. Why have ten sets of sheets in your linen closet when you will only need one or two?
  • Remove seasonal items.  Pack away things that are only used during other seasons.  If you are selling in the fall/winter, pack away your spring/summer clothes.  You can also pack away off-season holiday items. 
  • Throw things away. If it’s worn out, broken, rusty, stained, torn or incomplete, it is time to let it go.  If your belongings look shabby and old, your house will look that way too.  Don’t hesitate to throw such items away.
  • Donate items you no longer want or need.  When you are cleaning and sorting items, if you come across things that you don’t use now and won’t use in a new home, donate them.  There is no point in packing and moving something you will never use.  But if it’s in good shape, someone else will get use out of it.
  • Sell before you sell. If you find that you have many items to eliminate from your home, think about selling what you don’t store, throw away or donate.  You can sell at a yard sale, bring items to a consignment shop, or list items online.  But have reasonable expectations regarding how much money you can make; don’t overprice.  Remember the goal is to dispose of as many things as possible.
  • Rent a storage unit.  Move large items/equipment that you don’t use often to a storage unit.  It can also provide space for packed boxes to give you a head start in preparing for your move.
  • Improve curb appeal.  Remove any clutter (toys, lawn ornaments, garbage bins) from your yard.  The outdoor spaces provide the first and last impression for potential buyers and as such, it is important that they look neat and tidy.

Moving can be stressful, so don’t wait to start preparing.  Get a head start before putting your house on the market!

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Choosing-a-Self-Storage-Unit-What-You-Should-Know

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Items-to-Throw-Out-Before-You-Move

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Organizing-Your-Home-Made-Simple

Tips for Keeping Your House Ready To Show at Any Time

by The Hat Team

So you have your house on the market and you are eager and ready to sell it as quickly as possible?  Here are a few tips for keeping your house ready to show at any given moment throughout the day or night. 

  1.  If you are a busy working person in society it is likely that you don’t have time to keep your house spic and span twenty four seven.  However you CAN make the house look as if it is clean all the time by simply getting rid of some of the clutter.  Two of the main rooms you should concentrate on to accomplish this are the bathrooms and the kitchen.  Make sure that all counter space is clean and free from any clutter in each of these rooms.  Also a good way to make the kitchen look less cluttered is to take any and all items you have posted on your refrigerator off while you are trying to sell your home. 
  2. Another way to keep your house ready to show at any time  is to clean eye catchers first.  Items you should clean first are such things as the ceiling fans, floors, countertops, stovetops, ovens, trash cans and bathroom fixtures.  These places can get dirty quickly and will be noticed by folks who come to tour your home so make sure they are clean at all times. 
  3. Do a few extra things like adding a touch of color to each room with pillows to make the space pop.  Also if there are any beds left unmade or any areas of the house that need a quick pick me up do your part to make that happen on a daily basis before you head out the door.
  4. Another tip for keeping your house ready to show at anytime   might be to use an essential oil diffuser in the main room of the house so that it always smells fresh and clean. 

These are just a few tips for keeping your house ready to show at any time of the day or night.  You never know when you might get a call to show your house at the last minute and by doing these simple things you will always be ready.  This doesn’t mean you will be guaranteed an offer by any means but it does mean that your chances may be greater!

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

How To Not Let Your Pets Ruin Your Home Sale

by The Hat Team

When you have pets and you are trying to sell your home there are a few ways that you can avoid your pets ruining your home sale.   Many times folks love animals but that doesn’t mean they want to see evidence of your pets in your home when they are trying to envision themselves living there.  Below are a few ideas on how to not let your pets ruin your home sale.

  1.  Vacuuming your home is a great idea before you have someone tour your home for a showing but it is essential if you have pets.  Pet hair and tufts of fur can find their way into your guest’s noses and faces if you aren’t careful and that is not going to be good for your potential sale.  If you have someone who happens to sit on your furniture during their home tour you don’t want pet hair to get all over them.  A good way to insure that this doesn’t happen is to run a damp sponge over the furniture before they arrive. 
  2. As you already know pets are bad about leaving little surprises for you on your floors especially if you are gone during the day.  Pet stains are not a welcomed sight to anyone that might be interested in buying your home.  Think about it, would you want to see someone else’s pet mess when touring a home?   I think not.  Do your best to remove any types of these stains before your potential buyers come to tour your home even if you have to spend some money to get things cleaned and stains removed by professionals. 
  3. Pet odor is another thing that can ruin a potential home sale.    You are likely use to the way your pet smells and may not even be aware that they have an odor but they do.  Those folks who may come to tour your home will likely be able to smell it as soon as they enter the house.  Spraying odor neutralizing sprays can help with pet odor as well as perhaps having just baked some cookies for your guest to enjoy.  Whatever you have to do to get rid of the odor is what you need to do. 
  4. If your pet has a bed in your home it is best to stick it in the closet or to remove it from the home before your home tour begins. 

These are just a few ideas on how to not let your pet or pets ruin your potential home sale.  Hopefully they will get you thinking in the right direction so that you may be more able to walk away with an offer.  

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Real Estate Listing Photo Mistakes

by The Hat Team

There are many kinds of real estate listing photo mistakes that can be made when listing your home for sale.  Realtors know these mistakes and will do their part to make sure these types of photos do not end up in the advertisement of your house, however if you are going it alone doing a for sale by owner you will need to learn these and avoid them at all costs.  Below are some real estate listing photo mistakes that you need to be aware of so that you don’t make them.

  1.  One of the worst things you can do when listing your house is to show pictures of each room’s corners.  We all remember children having to be put in the corner in the olden days of school and therefore the corner is not a very friendly spot to show when listing your house pictures as it may have some negative connotations associated with it.   If you want to show how big a room is, be sure to include at least two corners of the room in the picture, not just one corner. 
  2. It is best to not take pictures of the outside of your house at night if you want to use it as a listing photo. The best time of day to take a photo of your home for a listing photo is when the sun is shining brightly and the entire house looks nice and inviting. 
  3. Taking a photo of your home with a distorted lens to try to make the room look bigger is an old trick that needs to stop. Everyone knows that the picture is distorted and that the room is not as big as you are trying to make it seem.  Do your best to make the photos give a clear representation of what the room actually looks like so that folks are not disappointed when they come for a tour. 
  4. Make sure when taking a picture of a particular room in your house that you don’t show more of the ceiling fan than the room itself.  These types of pictures can look very dated and make your home look less than stellar. 

If you do your best to avoid these common listing photo mistakes you will be well on your way to making the best impression of your home with photos.  When you make a good impression with photos, you are more likely to get a bit of interest in your home that may even turn into an offer! 

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

How to Choose the Best Offer When You Have Multiple Offers

by The Hat Team

These days’ houses are selling like hot cakes!  If you have ever thought about selling your house, now is the time to do so!  The only “issue” you are likely to run into is that you may end up with multiple offers.  While multiple offers may be a good thing, you still should know how to choose the best offer  in the event this happens to you. Below you will find a few ideas on how to best handle this particular situation. 

  1.  Finding out which of the potential buyers have the best financing available to them is a great way to help you choose which offer you would be best to go with.  If you pick someone who hasn’t got the financial side of it all worked out for themselves you will likely end up spending more time than you would like getting all the kinks worked out.  Choosing someone who has a reputable lender on the other hand and has already been pre approved will make the transactions go nice and smoothly for all involved.   
  2. Another way to choose the best offer  when you have multiple offers is if the closing date is good for you.  You may have one person that wants to buy your home that has to wait on their home to sell first while another person is ready to go right away.  If you want to and are ready to move out quickly you may want to go with the latter however if you are not quite ready to move that fast you may want to go with the folks that need to wait a while.  Choose the offer that best suits your own personal needs.
  3. Yet another way to choose the best offer on your house when you have been given multiple offers is to make a checklist of the pros and cons of each offer.  This will make sorting out the details a bit easier for you. 
  4. Be sure that you have peace about each offer and if you don’t feel a peace about a certain offer, take that one off the list of who to choose from. 

It is a good idea to go through all scenarios that may arise with each offer that is given before deciding which one to go with.  Once you choose the right offer, you can look forward to moving into a new chapter of your life! 

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Things to Hide When Selling Your Home

by The Hat Team

 

If you are currently trying to sell your home, you need to make sure you are doing all that you can do to make the sale a priority.  There are many things that people tend to leave out during a home showing that should definitely not ever be seen by a prospective buyer.  Below is a list of a few things you should totally hide when in the process of selling your home

  1. Taxidermy is awesome to avid hunters and their wives but when someone is coming to view your home, you don’t want to leave it out.  Dead animals hanging on the walls of your home are not what folks typically have in mind when coming to look at a potential home.  You don’t have to get rid of your taxidermy obviously but perhaps take it off of your walls and gently place them in the closet until after the showing.
  2. Another thing that you should likely hide when folks come over to your home to take a tour of it in the hopes of buying it from you is your shotguns and other weapons that you may use.  This type of thing being displayed throughout the house is likely to scare any potential buyers away in a hurry.  Do your part by placing these items out of sight during a showing. 
  3. If you collect dolls or anything that can be seen as creepy in any way, put them away until after the showing.  Better yet, put them away until after your house sells.  Collections may not only be creepy to others but they tend to collect dust as well and don’t look nice during a showing. 
  4. If you have political signs in your yard, especially right now and you want to sell your house, by all means take them down!  This election was a big one and folks have very big opinions about who should be elected.  Seeing a sign in your yard for the opposite candidate that your potential buyer wants may actually lose you an offer even before the folks make in inside of your house to look around. 
  5. If you have a ton of family photos around your house, you may want to hide them during a showing as well if selling your house is your top priority.   Folks want to picture themselves in your house and having your family pictures all over the place can make that task more difficult.  

 

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

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