How to Sell Your Home: Take the First Steps

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Now that the prime selling season is upon us, it is time for you to take action. Whether you are selling your first home or you are a veteran in the home-selling game, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before and during your listing.

Start from the inside-out.

You should make sure that your home is in the best possible condition before selling. To prepare your home properly, you need to begin by clearing out all clutter. Throw away or donate old clothes and trinkets, and eliminate or file away papers in your office or on your counters. Once you’ve effectively de-cluttered your home, you can tackle small jobs around your home to ensure that it will pass inspection. Stick to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Fix major issues like leaky faucets or broken down, old, or outdated appliances. Don’t waste time renovating if you are hoping to make a quick sell this summer, though. Your buyers can always make aesthetic changes to the home when they move in. But if you want to make small aesthetic edits to your home, try a new coat of paint. Once you’ve made your fixes inside, move outside to improve your curb appeal. Keep your lawn and flower beds tidy and trimmed back. You may even want to plant some colorful, eye-grabbing flowers and shrubs to really stand out from the crowd.

Be picture perfect.

Take photos that feature the best characteristics of your home. Try not to take pictures of works of art or of furniture in your home, since these are all things that will be going with you to your new home anyway. Take multiple photos that will reel buyers in. The majority of buyers start their home-buying process online, so photos can be a big part of selling your home. Make sure they are of the best quality possible and that they showcase your home in a way that persuades buyers to see it in person.

Be accessible.

Allow for buyers to access your property as easily as possible. Add your contact number to your listing and answer all calls that come so that you can open your property for all agents and prospective buyers. On your counters or dining table, leave some fliers or information for buyers and agents to look through. You can include in this information your contact information, seller’s disclosure statement, and information about the property and community.

Overall, be proactive and ready for anything on this journey. Whether you sell your home sells in two weeks or two months, be aware of ways that you can improve the marketing of your home and boost traffic so that you can get your home sold.

Getting Your Home Ready: What Projects Should You Take On Before Selling?

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Before selling your home, you may feel like you need to do some updates to your home or general maintenance projects before listing. There are definitely some things that should be updated or fixed before selling your home to help sell your home quicker or to ensure your home passes inspection. Be warned, though: only take on projects that are extremely necessary and that can be done in your budget.

Maintenance projects should be your priority.

Do you live in an older home? Maybe it’s about twenty years old or so, and you’ve started to notice some signs of aging or breaking down. The first, and possibly most expensive projects you should begin with, should be any kind of repair or maintenance projects. You should make sure that everything in your home is in proper working order before even starting to think about aesthetic projects. These projects could include roof repairs, sink and faucet repairs, HVAC repairs, etc. The best way to figure out what you should fix before selling is to go through a seller’s disclosure statement or consider what is checked during a home inspection and fix the most important things first. This will assure that your home will be able to pass inspection before closing, which is why these repair projects should be your priority.

Put your best front yard forward.

This has been said time and time again: curb appeal sells homes. It’s true. The first thing a buyer sees before even entering your home is the front yard, mailbox, driveway, and front door. First impressions are important. Wow your buyers from the minute they drive up by sprucing up your front yard with some colorful flowers and greenery, pressure wash your driveway, and repaint your front door. Improving your curb appeal will make a huge difference, and it should be the next project after your required maintenance projects.

Clean and de-clutter.

During your preparations to sell your home and consequently to buy a new home, cleaning and de-cluttering your home will be one of your saving graces. Getting rid of junk and unnecessary belongings from your home will eliminate a lot of the clutter that can distract buyers when looking at your home. Moreover, you won’t want to bring any of that junk with you on your move anyway, so throw away all of the papers that clutter your counters, donate old clothes or toys that fill your closets and rooms, and store personal items away. You want to create a clean, depersonalized space for buyers to imagine themselves making their own space in your home.

Take on aesthetic projects last (if you have time and money for them).

These projects should be saved for last. Oftentimes, you should assume that your buyers might want to renovate to their liking. But painting or carpeting certain rooms can give a nice, fresh new look in your home without going to any renovating extremes.

Erase the Evidence of Pets

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Having pets can be one of the great joys of life, but not for everyone. When selling your home, having pets can actually be a hindrance. It is important to erase all evidence of pet inhabitants as much as possible so that any foul odors or stains won’t distract your buyers. Here are some tips to help!

Keep your pets out of sight.

First and foremost, if you are still living in the house you are selling, you need to make it known that pets live in the house as well. In any private remarks or showing instructions on your listing, you should require appointments or a courtesy call so that you can put your pets in the backyard, in a crate, or in a room with the door shut. It shouldn’t matter whether or not your pet is the friendliest or quietest pet in the world. Not all buyers are going to be animal lovers. Some buyers might even be scared of your big dog or slinking cat. Or, even worse, some buyers might be allergic to your pet and will be too busy sneezing and rubbing their watery eyes to really get a look at your home. So, as much as you love your pets, they should be out of sight whenever buyers come to visit.

Eliminate odors.

One of the best ways to keep odors to a minimum is to use baking soda, a natural odor absorber. Keep an open box out on the counter. You can even sprinkle some baking soda on fabrics and carpet or rugs. Sprinkle a little bit on any foul-smelling fabrics and then wipe clean or vacuum up. Another great way to eliminate odors is to change and clean your home’s HVAC filters regularly, since odors can get trapped in those filters and then circulate through your home. In general, try not to focus on covering up odors with air fresheners or candles. The trick here is to eliminate and neutralize. Other scents that you introduce in your home may be equally offensive to buyers or those scents will just mix with the pet odors that already exist. Avoid this at all costs.

Remove stains and pet hair.

Pets shed a lot, can be dirty, and are prone to accidents. Your carpet may show the history of your pets’ house-training days or rainy day adventures. Wipe down walls that your pets frequently rub up against, use stain removers on carpets and rugs, and vacuum frequently to remove pet hair. Consider using a wet vac to really give your carpets a good cleaning after vacuuming. If carpets are too far-gone, replace them. By cleaning or updating your carpets, you might even help with eliminating a lot of the odor. Also, if your walls are especially bad, painting can help with this issue as well.

Overall, you want to give buyers the impression of a pristine home.

Selling 101: Some Basics You Need to Know When Selling Your Home

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If you are selling a home for the first time, chances are you are feeling pretty overwhelmed by the journey ahead. Selling your home can be an incredibly stressful task, but there are some basic steps you can take to make this process as easy as possible. Whether you sell your home with Duffy Realty of Atlanta or with another agent, this process will be the same. Follow these steps to get your house sold asquickly and painlessly as you can.

Check your emotions at the door and make your home a product.

If this is your first home, chances are you have many memories attached to living in it. But you’ll need to distance yourself from this home because it won’t be yours for much longer. A good way to detach is by depersonalizing, cleaning, and making small updates to really make it a product. Make your home marketable so that all buyers can picture themselves in the home. Don’t waste time feeling nostalgic and emotional because this will only make it harder for you to sell. After you have gotten your home move-in-ready, take breathtaking photos to add to your listing to really  sell it. Your listing should be accessible in as many ways as possible, including real estate websites, the multiple listing services, and signs throughout your community.

Marketing is key.

Be forthcoming with information about the property. One of the easiest ways to expedite the selling process is by being available to answer buyers’ questions about the property, or by providing buyers with a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. You should be able to answer any questions about the property’s history that you know. Keep in mind that a Seller’s Disclosure is not an inspection, and that the inspection will confirm information on the property you have already given or expand on any information you cannot provide. Be willing togive your contact information out on your listing or in any advertising you do so that buyers or buyer’s agents can contact you if they have specific questions.

Review and revise all offers and attend closing.

This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes the process of reviewing offers can be daunting. If you sit down and read through all of the terms yourself, then you will begin to make sense of everything. Don’t psych yourself out. Review all of the terms in the offer, and if they are not acceptable to you, simply revise them and send them back to the buyer to agree upon. Once all parties have agreed to all of the terms, the final step is to attend closing directed by a closing attorney. Once you outline exactly how this process works, it seems a lot less complicated, which is exactly how we want it to feel!

Reasons Why Your Listing Might Not Be Selling

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Listings with Duffy Realty of Atlanta last six months, at which time the seller may choose to take the property off the market, or extend or relist their listing to continue the selling process. However, after six months on the market, many sellers get frustrated at the lack of action happening with their property. Don’t be discouraged! There are three main reasons your listing might not be moving in the first six months.

You have a buyer’s agent commission less than 3%.

If your buyer’s agent commission is less than 3%, you might want to consider raising it. When a property has a low buyer’s agent commission, there isn’t much incentive there for the agent to show the property to their buyers. You might think that raising your buyer’s agent commission will have little impact, but you’d be surprised at the number of showings you will have all of a sudden once you raise the commission. Give buyer’s agents a reason to show your home to their buyers. After all, money talks.

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You don’t have a lockbox or your showing instructions are complicated.

If you don’t have a lockbox, your showing instructions are more than likely already too complicated. You might require that agents and buyers make an appointment with you before any showing can happen. This is not a good plan. By the time the appointment has come around, they may have already seen several properties that have open access or a lockbox, and may have chosen to go in another direction. Don’t make seeing your property a difficult task. Obtain a lockbox that agents can access easily. If you absolutely must have a call from agents or buyers before your property is shown, include “courtesy call” in your showing instructions so that they can shoot you a call and leave a message that they are on their way. But ideally, having an accessible lockbox and open access is the best way to go. You want to provide buyers and buyer’s agents every opportunity to see your home. Consider attaching a sign rider with your contact information so that buyers or agents can contact you directly to let you know that they are showing your home.

You only have one photo, or you have bad photos.

Traffic at your property is generated first online. If you only have one photo, buyers might pass simply because they don’t have enough information. Think of selling your home as a competition. If the other homes that buyers are looking at online have several pictures, or better pictures, why would buyers even want to waste precious time on looking at a house that might have features they aren’t interested in? Make sure your pictures follow our recommendations to really entice buyers and generate the traffic you need to get your house sold! Don’t be discouraged if your home isn’t getting much traffic. It might be because of something that you can fix very easily.

Buying or selling: Real estate terms you need to know

Get the most from your home buying or selling experience by learning the meaning of these important real estate terms.

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Giving the Unemployed a Fresh Start

Three years ago, when Anna Murillo was homeless, living in a shelter, and hoping that potential employers would overlook her felony drug conviction, life looked bleak. Murillo saw little hope of landing a job, renting a home, and feeding her five children.

But FaithWorks of Abilene Inc., a nonprofit, faith-based, career-development center for the chronically unemployed, believes that such challenges can be overcome with skills, hard work, and faith.

Murillo took FaithWorks’ 13-week free class, which teaches everything from writing a resume to dressing for a job interview, using a computer, and understanding the Bible’s lessons about how to live fuller, happier, and more meaningful lives.Continue reading

Get Lawns Ready Now for Next Year!

Anybody who will be selling a property in the spring should get a jump on curb appeal by working now on beautifying the lawn.

Here are some key tasks that will lead to a green and healthy yard in the next selling season:

Calculate the total lawn area to learn how much seed and chemicals are required.
Treat weeds with an herbicide.
Test the pH level and, if indicated, add lime.
Plant ground cover like pachysandra and hardy ferns in low-light or slopping areas.
Before preparing, seeding and fertilizing the rest of the lawn, consider whether there are areas that might be better candidates for stepping stones or another attractive alternative to plantings.

Source: Charlotte Observer, Nancy Brachey (09/05/2008)

Seller Video of Great Property in Roswell

1265 Willeo Creek Dr, Roswell Georgia 30075

If you are a Duffy Seller, send your video to You Tube and let me know the URL. We will Post It.

Housing Marketing Heats UP!

Lenders are talking about it, we are seeing it and home buyers are anxious!

Interest rates and tax incentives are one of the many reasons that we are seeing the surge in interest in the real estate market.

Our preferred lenders are stating that they are having a great summer so far and anticipate that by Fall we may see another great year.

I think most buyers are realizing that years are passing and they are being left out from having what they have earned and feel that they can afford, thus they are seeking a “home”.

What are you seeing?

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