THINKING OF SELLING?
UNITED COUNTRY DIFFERENCE . . .
Why sell your property with United Country Real Estate? Simple. No one can locate buyers better, bringing to bear more than 90 years of marketing experience, to get you the best price in the shortest time possible.
To sell property in the country, you need more than a “For Sale” sign and a local newspaper ad. Buyers have a harder time finding your property. That’s why you need the benefit of United Country’s professionalism and exclusive, proven marketing tools. We expose your property locally, regionally, nationally (and even internationally) from the first day.
— United Country’s network of 3,500 targeted, owned websites with 3 million+ visitors from over 150 countries per month.
— Top-ranked websites that achieve page one results of many popular searches.
— Advertising on over 200 selective 3rd party.
GETTING YOUR PROPERTY READY TO SELL
NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE FIRST IMPRESSION . . .
When you put your property on the market, you want to achieve the best sales price you can get, and do so within the time-frame that meets your needs. Nothing is more important to most buyers than the first impressions they receive.
PAINTING —At the top of the list for creating good impressions. Inspect interior walls as well as the exterior including trim, gutters, downspouts, mailbox, etc.
YARD —In addition to proper cutting and edging of the lawn, trim landscaping and weed flower beds. Also check for dead branches in trees and shrubbery debris. Store all outdoor lawn equipment and toys.
SPRINKLER SYSTEM —Check for defective heads and for proper water coverage over entire lawn.
FENCE —Repair where necessary and paint or stain if needed to give your yard that well-maintained appearance.
GARAGE —Check garage doors and opener to see if they are in good working order. Inspect doors for painting or staining. Remove and reorganize garage items.
DRIVEWAY —Check for grease and oil spots. When showing the property, it’s best not to have vehicles parked in the driveway.
PATIO/DECK —Clean patio and arrange outdoor furniture.
POOL —Have pool sparking clean. Store equipment and chemicals out of the way.
ROOF —Check for loose shingles or broken tiles. Make sure eaves are cleared of leaves. If mildew has occurred, consider professional cleaning.
FRONT ENTRANCE —Front door should be clean and all trim painted or stained. Check doorbell and outside light to see if they are operating properly.
AIR -CONDITIONING—Certainly, the air-conditioning system must be functioning at top performance, but also check for proper draining, install a new filter, and clean exterior unit.
WALLS —When checking for cleaning and possible painting of interior walls, look closely at wallpaper for repair or replacement, if needed.
DOORS —All interior and exterior doors should be cleaned, hardware tightened and oiled for smooth opening and closing.
CARPETING AND TILE —Steam cleaning is the best answer for most carpets. While it’s a hassle to rearrange furniture and be disrupted, this is one item that can’t wait until after the sale. Also, repair or replace damaged tile.
WINDOWS —Repair or replace all broken windows or screens. All windows must be cleaned to show the home at its best. Check blinds and draperies for cleanliness.
ELECTRICAL —Repair all switches and outlets that are not working. Good lighting through adequate wattage in garage, hallways, and closets will brighten up your home.
PLUMBING —Leaking faucets always raise questions about plumbing. Clean stains from stainless steel sinks and check enamel for repair.
APPLIANCES —All appliances should be in good working order and CLEAN. In particular, oven and stove top, refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave.
KITCHEN —A bright, cheerful kitchen is a must. Clean all surfaces, check for loose knobs or sticky drawers, clean exhaust hood and organize drawers and cabinets.
BATHROOMS —Clean mirrors, shower doors, curtains, tub caulking, and flooring. Just when you decide to clean the bathroom “later” is when the prospective buyer rings your doorbell.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR HOME
GET PREPARED FOR THE QUESTIONS THE BUYER WILL ASK . . .
It is important to gather information pertinent to your property. It will take time to coordinate this information from old bills, tax statements, work receipts, service contracts, and warranty documents, but it pays off when you sell your home. Prospective buyers ask questions about your home and property. The following questions can be expected and you should have the file of information to answer them:
— What do you pay in property taxes and when are they due?
— How much does it cost to heat and cool your home?
— What do you pay for gas and electricity?
— What do you pay for water and who supplies it?
— How old are various structural components and systems, including the roof, water heater, furnace, and plumbing system?
— How old are any appliances that will stay with the house?
— Do you have any guarantees or warranties on appliances or components of the home, such as siding or roofing, and are
these warranties transferable?
— Are there any fees for municipal or private services, such as garbage pickup, and what are those services?
— Is your house located on a flood plain? If so, what kind of insurance is required?
— Have you had water problems in the basement or through the roof? (If so, you must show the buyer that you have rectified
the problem.) Do you have warranties or guarantees on the work?
— Where are the local schools, and what is their quality?
— What is the availability and cost of mass transit?
— Where are the places of worship in the area?
— It is helpful if the seller provides a copy of their original title or abstract to the listing agent and title provider. This assists in
identifying ownership in the property and can expedite a title search. It also assists the listing agent for submitting
information to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that buyers know how to submit their contract offers.
— Is a copy of the survey and floor plan available?
— Have available a copy of the Condominium Documents (if applicable).
— Are there any special assessments? If so, what are the special assessments and when are they due?
— Is the current property tax for “land” only, due to the house being newly constructed? What are estimated new tax amounts,
including the house?
— Have you filed for a homestead exemption?
— Are there any Homeowners Association (HOA) dues? Who is the HOA management contact? What are the fees for and when
are they due? Are the fees transferable?
— Does the development have an “additional” HOA fee for boat storage, golf/tennis membership or pool facilities? What are the
fees and when are they due? Are the fees transferable?
— If the property is being sold as an investment property, provide a copy of the tenant’s lease (if applicable).
— What services are available for communications? Cable, wireless, satellite? Do you know who the service providers are? Is
the house wired for cable access to the internet?
— Do you have a well or septic system? Can you provide information about the inspector and the last inspection completed?
— Are there any parking permissions or restrictions?
— Are there any storage restrictions? Examples: Boat or RV must be stored in garage. No sheds over a certain size.
— Are pets allowed? Are children allowed?
— Is this home in a “retirement” area, where a minimum age is required?
— If your property is in a rural area, is an aerial photo available?
— Have you had any environmental studies done? If so, please provide copies of reports.
PRICING YOUR PROPERTY – EMOTION VS LOGIC
A STATISTICAL APPROACH TO PRICING YOUR PROPERTY . . .
Want to sell your property quickly? Certainly! When you decide to sell it, you want it done as soon and as painlessly as possible, but at the same time, you want to receive as much cash equity from the sale of your property as you think it’s worth. You bought your property at its base price.
You added some things immediately to provide the comforts that you were looking for; items such as blinds and custom drapes, paddle fans, a microwave and a garage door opener. These all add to the value.
How about that swimming pool the family convinced you to put in? How much was it: $15,000…or was it $16,000 when you added that extra decking?
Did that wallpaper in the bedrooms and kitchen cost $1,300, or did that include the blinds? Other improvements include upgraded landscaping, more trees, shrubbery and flowers, a sprinkler system, fence and a unique mailbox up front. Now that you’ve itemized all of your improvements, you’re thinking, “How much is a new home like mine selling for now on the current market? Well, I’ll take what I paid and add in all of the above improvements, include appreciation for each year and that’s what I’ll ask for my price.”
Unfortunately, pricing your property in this manner may give it an inflated value. Your property that you’re so proud of and which is worth so much to you, may just sit with a “For Sale” sign for a long period of time, with a lot of lookers but no buyers. Then, by the time seven or eight months go by, you realize that your price is too high and drop it accordingly. But now the buyers that may have been interested have bought elsewhere, the agents stop bringing prospects, it has been on the market so long it has lost its appeal, there must be something wrong with it for it not to have sold by now. You then get to the point where you’re going to have to price it for less than it should sell for just to move it and get on with your life at your new location.
This can all be eliminated by logical thinking as opposed to emotional thinking. You’ve put blood, sweat and tears into your property. You’ve treated it with TLC (tender loving care) and it’s been great for you and your family. Logical thoughts include:
1) The benefits and pleasures your family has already derived from these improvements for which you will not recover full value.
2) Check out the properties presently on the market in your area that you’re going to compete with for sale, and their price.
3) Check the price of properties comparable to yours that sold within the last six months and determine how long they were on the market.
4) Remember, we may not have been enjoying the appreciation rate you expected over the entire period that you’ve owned the property.
This logical, statistical approach is used by appraisers and agents when arriving at a fair market value price for your home. Your agent should prepare the Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) using this logical approach. In doing so, you’ll receive a professional estimate of value to help price your property in a sale range that will best meet your overall objectives.
SHOWING YOUR PROPERTY AT ITS BEST
HAVING PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP WILL SELL
YOUR PROPERTY QUICKER . . .
The most saleable properties are those that show pride of ownership, with attention given to every detail. If you are looking to sell your home in the near future, we hope this checklist will be of assistance. Even if you’re not planning to sell, it may be helpful as a checklist for spring cleaning or file away under “house papers” for future reference.
TEMPERATURE —Keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Air-conditioning is a must on warm days.
FRESH AIR —Keep air smelling fresh. Air freshener, candles or fresh flowers are nice, but don’t over - do it.
LIGHT —Have sufficient lighting. If it’s daytime, have draperies drawn open. In the evening, turn on the lights prior to showing. Light makes rooms look larger and more appealing.
MUSIC —Soft music can be nice, but loud radios, stereos, or television should be off during the buyers’ inspection.
VALUABLES —Having valuable possessions displayed in your home is only inviting trouble. They’re best placed out of sign, or out of the home.
CLOSETS —Clothes hung properly; and if used for a storage area, clean out. Of most buyers’ requirements, closet space is high on their list.
LAUNDRY —Keep fresh towels and washcloths displayed. Laundry should be done often to keep laundry area clean and fresh.
EXCLUSIONS —Remove or replace items you do not intend to include in the sale. Sure enough, the one item that you wanted to take with you (such as a certain lighting fixture) is just the item the buyers want to include – causing a delay in the negotiation process.
TRASH REMOVAL —Trash and garbage should be removed from the home and garage. Open containers are unsightly as well as giving off odors.
PREPARE FOR THE CLOSING
ADDITIONAL ITEMS MAY BE NEEDED AT THE CLOSING . . .
Discuss with our agent what items you’ll need to bring to the closing. While certain items will be helpful to the agent to have when putting your property up for sale, prior to closing, confirm any additional items necessary for you to bring to the closing.
KEYS —Gather all keys for the house, garage, doors, etc. Soon you will need to turn these over to the new owner.
OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS —All manuals and warranties should be kept in one place. These include instructions for the air-conditioning and heating equipment, all appliances, water heater, garage door opener, pool equipment, etc.
UTILITY BILLS —Have copies made of the previous 12 months of utility bills and a monthly average of each utility estimated for the prospective buyer.
HAZARD INSURANCE —Keep fire and extended coverage insurance on the property through the closing date or date of possession, whichever is specified in the contract. Please note that the “contents” portion of your policy may be inadequate during transit of household goods to the new home. Moving companies’ liability could be inadequate. You could make the cancellation date of your previous policy the same as the effective date of your new policy.
EXISTING MORTGAGE —Have existing loan information and payment book available.
TAXES —Copy of most recent tax statement.
HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION —Provide information regarding Homeowners Association and/or Restrictive Covenants.
FLOOR PLAN/SURVEY —Check real estate papers for availability of house floor plan and copy of previous survey.
LEASES —Provide the agent with a copy of any existing lease agreements currently in effect.
TIPS FOR A SMOOTH MOVE
PLANNING IS THE KEY . . .
Even if your move is within the same general area, there are several actions that can expedite the procedure.
— If you intend to use a moving company, make arrangements as soon as possible.
— A month before the move, fill out change of address forms for the post office, the IRS and any others that need to be
notified, including families and friends.
— Don’t wait to tell your children about the move. The sooner they know the better. Children need time to adjust to the idea.
Provide plenty of affirmation that the move is for the best.
— Notify doctors, dentists, veterinarian, and insurance agents. Obtain copies of important records. Fill prescriptions needed.
— Contact utilities, phone, and cable services regarding discontinuing services. Arrange for new services at new location.
— Make necessary financial arrangements, including transfer of accounts (checking, savings, other).
— Take inventory of your belongings before they’re packed in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible,
take pictures or videotape your belongings.
— Secure valuables, jewelry, safe deposit box items, and important documents to take with you.
— Empty fluids from lawn equipment, hoses, etc.
— Dispose of anything flammable, including gas cans, paint cans, chemicals, etc.
— If necessary, make special arrangements for transporting pets. You can take cats and dogs in your car, but remember to put
down newspapers or sheets to keep your car clean. Animals can get carsick and may require stops along the way, so take
along a leash, food and water. Other small pets, such as birds and hamsters, can easily be taken in the car. Cover their
cages to help keep them calm. It can be risky to move fish. Better get recommendations from your local pet store or other
expert on how to move your type of fish.
— Plants also need special care. You should prune your plants a couple of weeks before the move to facilitate packing. Place the
plants in cardboard containers with packing material to hold them in place. Use paper to cushion the leaves and place a wet
paper on top to keep them moist. Mark the boxes and punch air holes in the top before loading into your car. Unpack the
plants as soon as possible when you arrive. Remove plants through the bottom of the box to avoid breaking the steams.
— Pack for your personal move; clothing, linens, personal affects and items needed upon move-in.
— Empty refrigerator, clean and place baking soda inside to keep it smelling fresh.
Trash and garbage should be removed from the home and garage. Open containers are unsightly as well as giving off odors.
PETS —Try to keep pets outside during a home inspection.
AGENTS —Turn your house over to the agent for showings. Trust their professional abilities. All showings should be scheduled and documented through the listing agent/office.
PEOPLE —While all prospective buyers must be accompanied through the home, family and guests should leave when possible to allow the agent to show the home without the buyer feeling hurried. Should you be present during the showing, remain in the background. The agent should know your property and the needs of the prospective buyer and be able to answer any questions.
DON’T APOLOGIZE —Remember not to apologize for the appearance of your home. If you’ve done the best you can, buyers understand that they may be viewing the home at a time that may be inconvenient to you.
PICK UP EVERYWHERE —Keep clutter off counter tops, disregard old newspapers and magazines, remove excess furniture.