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Seller Resources

Selling your property shouldn’t be a stressful ordeal. Making the smart move of choosing a Royal Fine Homes agent is your first step to ensuring that your investment in your property pays off. Our services and experience allow you to focus on your move while we manage your home sale from our initial consultation to the closing table and beyond. We pride ourselves on repeat business and hope you’ll come to understand why.

Here you’ll find helpful information and tips for selling property in Westchester…specific, local, useful information. Remember… It is a great time to sell! Buyers can now afford buying because interest rates are low and the home buyers’ tax credit is back. Contact us today to take full advantage of these benefits and our extensive experience and knowledge.

Curb Appeal Draws Buyers

Making a good first impression is as important when selling your home as when meeting a business associate. We call it “curb appeal.” And it’s what draws a potential buyer out of their car and into your home.

Begin by taking an objective look at your home. When you drive up, what’s the first thing you see? Is it an inviting setting that encourages buyers to stop and take notice? Or is the first thing you see your brother-in-law’s old boat, children’s toys strewn around the yard, or overgrown landscaping? Here are some tips for ensuring your home makes a good first impression:

Nice landscaping: Prune overgrown trees and bushes. Pull weeds and dead or diseased plants. Fertilize and mow your lawn to make it look green and healthy. Consider planting flowers along walkways or in pots along the sidewalk to bring eye-catching color to your landscaping. Spread mulch or beauty bark around trees, shrubs and flowers to give your front yard a clean, well-kept look.

Attractive front entry: Polish your front door handle and other hardware. Paint or stain your front door if needed. Consider hanging a pretty wreath or floral swag. Set out pots of flowers near the front door and/or where potential buyers are likely to notice them. If you have a front porch, set the mood by featuring a charming bench or chairs with a table and flowers. Keep all sidewalks, porches and walkways swept. Buy a new front door mat in neutral tones. Clean and polish light fixtures.

Less is more: Just as you would inside the house, make sure your front yard does not look cluttered. Move cars into the garage and out of the driveway whenever possible. Keep the kids’ bikes, toys and other play equipment out of sight. To minimize distractions, keep lawn and garden ornaments to a minimum. In other words, create an environment that invites buyers into your home and allows them to picture themselves enjoying your front yard.

Considering Offers

When reading an offer, keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you. If you focus solely on the price, you may overlook terms that could be favorable to you as a buyer.

Some terms that may work in your favor:

  • higher-than-market-interest in a second mortgage for your home

  • the buyer will pay for most or all of the closing costs

  • the buyer will take care of any repairs

  • quick close – the buyer is pre-approved and ready to close in a time that best suits you

  • all-cash deal

  • When reading through offers, remember to look at the whole package. Take the time that you need to assess what is being offered and if it meets your needs.

Finding the Right Agent

Not all agents work the same way. The most important attribute of an agent is that he/she is well connected to the real estate industry. He/she should know the market and provide information on past sales, current listings, his or her marketing plan, and at least 4 solid references. In addition, you also want to look for an agent that is honest, assertive, and one that best understands your needs.

Use a Royal Fine Homes agent. They can better serve your needs; they are familiar with what the local market condition is, the local prices are, and what’s hot or not in your community.

Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time

In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.
The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should be adjusted to reflect the market, and the property’s worth. The key is to get many people checking out your property at a fair price instead of having no buyers because your price is set too high.

Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks ready to be sold. Fix any defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks, stains, etc.) Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions. Not only should you fix any defects, but consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a financial response.

Learn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor which may be adjusted to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer to the buyers, for example, improvements you’ve made, or even offering seller financing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. Convince them why they should be paying the price you have set.

Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a Royal Fine Homes agent that ensures your house is listed on the MLS and on the Internet. On your own, get the word out. It should be visible to passerby’s that your house if for sale, whether it be signs, local advertisements or you telling friends, family, and acquaintances.

Insist on a Home Inspection

A professional home inspection protects both you and the buyer. It allows both you and the buyer the opportunity to learn about the property’s defects.

A home inspection usually covers the following:

  • Plumbing conditions – if there is leakage or clogging

  • Roofing conditions – the extent of deterioration, if there is leakage

  • Electrical conditions – if there are inadequate circuits or potential fire hazards

  • Structural problems – if there are problems with the underlying foundation of your home

As a seller, the home inspection reports protect you because it establishes the actual condition of the property at the time of sale.

Know Why You are Selling

If you know exactly why you are selling, then it is easier for you to set the right plan of action to get what it is that you want.

If you are a seller who needs to close a sale as quickly as possible, then you should know that getting the highest price possible is not one of your priorities. It does not mean that you won’t or cannot get the highest price, but it means that the price is not the deciding factor. A buyer who can give you a quick closing time will appeal much more to you than a buyer who can offer you more money but the negotiation and closing time drag on.

It’s always good to know how low you will go, in terms of selling price. This will help to eliminate some of the offers that you find simply offensive or ridiculous. Even though you should consider all offers seriously and take into consideration the terms of each offer, sometimes, if you know the bottom line and are strict about it, you can save yourself time.

Once you know what your limits and reasons are, discuss them with your agent so that they can help you set your goals realistically. If you decide to list your home on your own, make sure you do research on the current market, and you get the proper advice you need in terms of legal issues, etc. The key is to be realistic and to know what your goals are so that they can be met.

Landscaping Affects Property Value

Those trees in your yard provide more than just shade. According to a recent study by the U.S. Forest Service, trees can increase a home’s value by three to seven percent. Meanwhile, poor landscape design can actually decrease property values by up to 10-percent according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture.
[Sources: Miami Herald, Realtor Magazine Online and Money.]

Landscaping can be a smart investment; a buyer’s first impressions can often make or break a sale, and the exterior of your home is the first thing everyone sees. For a small investment of time and money, you can use landscaping to make your house stand out and be noticed. The following are aspects of landscaping you should consider before putting your house on the market:

LAWN: Your lawn should be well maintained. Mow often and set your mower higher: grass that is clipped too short will be more prone to drying out and weeds. Take the extra time and edge sidewalks and paths.

REMOVING PLANTS: Obviously, weeds should be removed. Overgrown plants and bushes should be pruned, and if they look too bedraggled, removed. If you have the time, some shrubs (like forsythia) can be brought back to life by cutting them back to a foot or so off the ground. They will grow back lusher and more full, but this will take time. Overgrown perennials can be dug up, divided, and used to plant new areas. If you have extra plants in areas that aren’t easily seen, move them to more obvious locations.

CHOOSING PLANTS: Landscaping plants, bushes, and trees all take time to establish themselves and grow. Of course, you can buy full-sized bushes and fifteen foot trees, but these can cost a significant amount of money, as well as needing specialized equipment to plant them. If your current landscaping is spartan or nonexistent, a wise choice is often to purchase one largish bush or small tree as a focal point, and surround it with smaller, cheaper plants. Annual plants (plants that die off each year) can provide a show of color and take less time to fill out than perennials. Annuals can also be significantly less expensive, especially if you grow them from seed. If you have a couple of months before you plan on listing your home, flower seeds like zinnias or alyssum grow quickly and provide a good show of color. Ornamental grasses can provide interest and height, and may grow faster than flowering plants or shrubs.

PLANT LOCATION: Choose a highly visible area for your planting; near the front of the house or next to a front path or stair is usually a good choice. Landscaping should match the style of the house: a small cottage will look good with a little plot of mixed wildflowers in front of the front porch, while a neo-classical or modern house may look better with a single sculpted evergreen and several smaller plants. Most smaller plants look best in odd-numbered groups: group 3 or 5 plants together instead of having one of everything. Plant smaller plants in front and larger plants in back. If your planting is not next to a house or wall, surround a taller plant with gradually shorter plants.

MULCH: Mulch can make all the difference when it comes to getting that manicured, landscaped look. Not only will a good layer of mulch keep the weeds down and retain moisture for the plants, but it can make the garden areas around your house look well cared for. If your planting areas border your lawn, use flexible edging to keep the mulch neatly in place.

HARDSCAPE: Hardscape refers to the non-living elements of your landscaping. If your property is overflowing with rocks, consider edging areas with stone, or if you have larger rocks, arrange them in a pleasing configuration and surround them with mulch. Add a ceramic bird or two for a dash of color and interest. If you live in a dry, arid climate, use Zen gardens for inspiration; arrangements of gravel, sand, and stone can be just as beautiful as plant life. Benches and bird feeders can beautify side and back lawns, especially when they are placed against a backdrop of taller plants. (A note on garden gnomes, ceramic ducks, plastic flamingos, and the like: while you may love and treasure these things, you should be aware that potential buyers may not be of a similar mindset. It is best to remove any inanimate objects that possess a face from your yard before showing your house.)

The trick to landscaping a house to sell is to get the most selling advantage for the least amount of money. Focus on the main areas: near the front entrance, along a path, and the front of the house. Choose one or two larger plants or shrubs, and surround them with smaller, cheaper plants. If you choose flowering plants, make a note of when they flower and how they look after flowering. A mass planting of tulips will look gorgeous while they are in bloom, and terrible later in the summer.

If you are completely lost as to which plants to pick or where to plant them, consult a gardener friend or ask advice from your local nursery. (Gardner friends are also sometimes a useful source of extra plants.) When in doubt, you should be pretty safe planting three different heights of plants next to a foundation wall, as long as you make sure they get the required amount of sunlight.

Making a Good First Impression

If you want buyers to be interested in your home, you need to show it in its best light. A good first impression can influence a buyer into making an offer; it influences a buyer emotionally and visually. In addition, what the buyer first sees is what they think of when they consider the asking price.

A bad first impression can dissuade a potential buyer. Don’t show your property until it’s all fixed up. You do not want to give buyers the chance to use the negative first impression they have as means of negotiation.

Ask around for the opinions others have of your home. Real estate agents who see houses everyday can give solid advice on what needs to be done. Consider what architects or landscape designers have to say. What you need are objective opinions, and it’s sometimes hard to separate the personal and emotional ties you have for the home from the property itself.

Typically, there are some general fix ups that need to be done both outside and on the inside. As a seller, you should consider the following articles in our section of Seller’s Tips: Preparing Your Property For Sale, Curb Appeal Draws Buyers, and Landscaping Affects Property Value.



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