Selling? Avoid these Pitfalls! Part II

Photorealistic Money Pit

Plan ahead and consult your Realtor to avoid potentially expen$ive mistakes during your home sale. This article is Part II in my series on Avoiding Pitfalls when Selling your Home.

1. Clean = Green.

A tidy home will impact the final sales price; so will a cluttered or dirty home. If your aim is top dollar, talk to your agent about staging or consider consulting a professional stager. Leaving all your tchotchkes and doodads out for potential buyers to trip over – physically or visually – means leaving dollars on the table, too. Clear away clutter, have carpets and windows cleaned, and depersonalize your space. A small investment of time and dollars on the front end will impact the sales price of your home.

2. Buyers want to Envision Themselves in “Their” New Home – so get out of their way!

All things Broncos. The color red. Vintage paintings of clowns. Angel figurines. Commemorative plates. Fake flowers. Oh – the things we love to collect! While you are decluttering your space, consider how much of your personality is infused in your home. You’ve loved your home, and really, truly lived in it. The memories are wonderful – and you may have to live with those for awhile and let go of that Jimi Hendrix poster. When Buyers walk into your home, they aren’t looking at “your” home – they are seeing what their lives will be like in this home – and you aren’t part of the picture. Don’t let your personality, family pictures, sports memorabilia, religious paraphernalia or taste in color turn away Buyers. Again, your Realtor and/or a professional home staging professional will be able to guide your choices in this department.

3. Selling a Home is not about Convenience

Know why you are selling your property, and cling to that motivation when things get hairy. You will be interrupted by a showing in the middle of dinner. You may have to wake earlier than usual to vacate the premises for showings. Your dog/cat/scorpion will probably be in the way and have to be moved when potential Buyer’s are dropping by. Bathrooms will need to be kept clean, the sink free of dishes and beds made. Consider how you would keep your home if royalty was visiting today – then behave that way. The person(s) who buy your house are King and Queen for a day; in fact, for the entirety of the transaction. You’ll need to be on alert and keep the house ready (or close to it) throughout the showing process, and often beyond. Remember – there is a reason you are selling this home. Remind yourself of this often.

4. Onerous Odors Can Stink Up Your Sale

Do you smoke? Have pets? Cook spicy foods? Light highly scented floral candles? You adore Fluffy and Fido (and that cigarette after dinner!), but scent evokes powerful emotion – especially in a potential Buyer about to plunk down a large investment on a home purchase. When cleaning your home, include carpets, drapes, furniture, bedding – anything likely to soak up potentially unpleasant scents. Invest in plug-in air filters, move the litter box to an out-of-the-way spot if possible, smoke outside only for a month + in advance of listing your home, and hold off on cooking foods that will leave strong odors behind. And PLEASE – don’t light stinky candles in every room to cover up less pleasant smells. Stink + Phony Flowers still stinks. *A lightly scented vanilla, citrus or cinnamon candle in the kitchen or a small bathroom (if seasonally appropriate) can be a nice touch, but covering up stinky problems with overpowering perfume is not a solution – it simply draws more attention to the problem. *Be sure to practice safety and common sense whenever using lit candles at home.  

5. Little Undone Projects could Cost You BIG TIME

Deferred maintenance becomes a costlier problem once a potential Buyer catches wind of it. Repairs can be red flags in the Buyer’s mind, causing him/her to wonder what else you have left undone. At Inspection Objection time, the Buyer is likely to pad the amount requested to cover repairs to account for the concern that it may be a costlier repair than anticipated, or because they are worried they’ll uncover other issues once they move in. Save yourself the headache – and the cost – by taking care of necessary repairs before you list your home. There are exceptions (talk this over with your Realtor), but most maintenance issues will be a drain on the sale of your home and should be tackled before your Listing goes live.

Stay tuned for Part III of this series, and drop me a line with your questions about Buying, Selling or Investing in Real Estate.

Jack Meyers
Twitter: @jackestate 


Selling? Avoid these Pitfalls! Part I

Money Pit

Plan ahead and consult your Realtor to avoid potentially expen$ive mistakes during your home sale.

Congratulations! You’ve decided to sell your home. Contacting an experienced Realtor was hopefully your first step, now it’s time to educate yourself about the process and potential pratfalls of a home sale. Collaborating with a licensed professional to represent the sale of your home means you have an expert guide along the way, but picking up a few tips from a guy who’s been there – can’t hurt.

1.   Work with a Mortgage Pro to get qualified for a mortgage on your next home – before you sell. 

If it’s been awhile since you purchased your current home, it is a good idea to scope out your credit standing and officially qualify for a home loan before you sell your current digs. If it turns out you don’t qualify for a new loan or the loan amount you desire, you may need to rent for a while or settle for something less than planned after the sale of your current home.

Be prepared – both financially and logistically – for the possibility that your home will sell quickly. In the Metro Denver housing market, houses are not languishing on the market. The process from Listing to Under Contract to Closing takes time regardless of how quickly an offer comes in, but know what you’ll do next if you receive a great offer requesting a quick close.

2.   Know your Loan Payoff.

Don’t ballpark the remaining balance on your mortgage – call your lender and know exactly what you owe, whether your loan carries prepayment penalties, and any other details before you field offers. You’ll be able to provide pricing and marketing feedback for your Realtor more effectively when you know what you owe.

3.   Listen to Reason – and your Realtor – when it comes to Pricing Your Home

Any Realtor worth his or her salt will provide a Current Market Analysis (CMA) during the process of Listing your home for sale. You’ll be able to see current homes in your price point and neighborhood with similar features like square footage, number of bedrooms, landscaping, location – and you’ll be able to compare both Active Listing, most important – Sold Listings to your own home.

Overpricing your home at the start will lead to a sluggish sale, price drops and turned off buyers. Price it right the first time with the help of your Realtor.

4.   Plan Ahead for Closing Costs

You’ve accepted an offer, passed inspection, passed appraisal and it’s full speed ahead! You are already counting the proceeds from the sale of your home, right? Hold on a minute! You’ll get a Settlement Sheet detailing the costs involved in the sale of your property from the title company, but it is worthwhile understanding what those costs are up front so you know what to expect.

A typical Real Estate sale, on the Seller’s side, will include:

Real Estate commission (you will pay your Listing agent, as well as the Buyer’s agent)                                                                             Title Fees – including the fee to the closing agent                                                                                                                                               Excise/Gains tax for the sale                                                                                                                                                                                     Prorated expenses for year-to-date fees such as HOA fees, utilities, and property taxes                                                                             Other fees as agreed in the sale – repair fees, concessions of any kind, buyer’s closing costs if agreed upon, etc.

Don’t panic about these numbers! Once you have an accepted offer and your transaction is under way, your Realtor will be able to provide a close estimate of your Seller closing costs.

5.   Understand Earnest Money

The Earnest Money deposit your Buyer presents with a qualified offer will be held by the Title Company for the entirety of the transaction. At no time are these funds available for personal use by the Seller. Earnest funds are exactly that – funds to prove that the Buyer truly intends to purchase your home – that their purchase activity is “in earnest.”

The Contract to Buy & Sell will dictate what happens with the Earnest Money during the transaction, and what will happen to the funds if the transaction doesn’t close.


Stay tuned for Parts II and III of this series, and drop me a line anytime with your own questions about Buying, Selling or Investing in Real Estate.

Jack Meyers
Twitter: @jackestate