Home selling process
Preparing your home for sale

Preparing Your Home for Sale

It is important for a property to make the best possible impression on
prospective buyers. These tips will help your house look its best every time
it is shown.

The EXTERIOR:
 Lawn: Make sure the yard is neatly mowed, raked and edged.
 Trees/Shrubs: Prune and shape them to compliment your house.
 Flowers: Consider adding seasonal flowers or potted plants.
 Sidewalks/Driveways/Patios and Porches: Sweep and wash to remove
debris, dirt and stains. Repair and patch any cracks. When possible, park
vehicles in the garage or on street, leaving the driveway clear. Put away bicycles
and other toys.
 Painting: Check your home for any needed maintenance just as a buyer would.
Repaint or touch up as necessary. You can’t find a better investment when you
are selling your house! Don’t let the outside turn buyers off before the inside
turns them on.
 Doors/Windows: Check to see that all doors and windows are in good working
order. Clean and paint doors if necessary, wash all windows and replace any
broken or cracked window panes. Screens should be free of any tears or holes.
Inspect all locks to ensure they are functioning properly. Lubricate any squeaky
hinges or storms that stick.
 Roofs/Gutters/Downspouts: Check for loose or missing shingles. Clean out
gutters and down spouts. Touch up any peeling areas on gutters and repair any loose brackets.

The INTERIOR:
Atmosphere: When placing yourself in the potential buyer’s shoes, you will want to
consider the overall atmosphere of your home. Keep color, lighting and smell in mind
as you go through this check list. Create the atmosphere of your home as a shelter, a
place that is safe, comfortable, warm, and in good condition.
 Smell: A clean-smelling house creates a positive image in the buyer’s mind. Be
aware of any odors from cooking, cigarettes, pets, etc. that may have adverse
effects on potential buyers.
 Color: Be cautious about selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting.
The key is to promote your home to the largest segment of the buying market as
possible. Bold or decorator colors may limit the appeal.
 Lighting: Take advantage of natural light as much as possible by cleaning
windows, opening shades, blinds and drapes. Add lamps and lighting where
necessary. Be sure that all fixtures are clean and have functioning bulbs.
Increase the wattage of bulbs used in the basement and other areas with poor or
limited natural lighting.
 Walls: Check for peeling paint, loose wallpaper. Consider replacing unusual or
bold colors with neutral tones.
 Floors: Clean all wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs. Clean and polish
linoleum, tile and wooden floors. Consider refinishing wood floors if necessary.
 Closets: Empty closets of off-season clothing – this is a good time to begin
packing for the move. Organize closets to demonstrate the most efficient use of
space. Leave as few items on the floor or shelves as possible.
 Furniture: Arrange furniture to give the rooms as spacious a feeling as possible.
Consider removing furniture from rooms that are too crowded. Avoid clutter.
Pack up knick-knacks – both to protect them and to give the room a more
spacious feel if necessary – but leave enough items to give the home a personal
touch. If you normally display quite a few family photos, you may want to
consider packing some away to better help prospective buyers visualize their family in your home.
Dispose of or pack away unneeded items. Store large furniture, if necessary.
 Woodwork: Clean and polish all woodwork, if necessary. Pay particular
attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.
 Bathrooms: Cleanliness is the key! Make sure that all surfaces are spotless and
remove non-skid decals that are in poor condition. Replace worn or dirty shower
curtains, clean and repair caulking, store all personal care products out of sight.
Repair any faucets that leak or do not function properly. Clean off mineral
deposits with vinegar or commercial products. Clear off the countertops. Clean
and organize all cabinets and drawers. Launder throw rugs. Consider bringing
out your best soaps and towels. Add a plant for color and freshness.
 Fireplace: Sweep and clean the fireplace. Place a few logs on the grate to
create an attractive appearance. You are welcome to have a fire going during
showings – it creates a great atmosphere. In warm weather, consider using a
decorative screen or floral arrangement.
 Appliances/Light Fixtures: Clean, bright, sparkling and shiny!
 Dining Room: Consider adding fresh or silk flowers, or setting the table with an
attractive arrangement.
 Kitchen: Avoid clutter – store small appliances whenever possible to maximize
the appearance of work space. Clean and organize all storage space. Sinks,
cabinets, appliances and counter tops should be clean and fresh.
 Basement/Attic: The basement and attic should be cleaned and organized. Be
sure that the stairs are cleared, well-lighted and that the handrail is secure.
Remove and dispose of any items that will not be moved with you. Pack other
items neatly in boxes.
 Garage: Sweep and wash the floor to remove dirt and stains. Organize tools,
garden equipment, bicycles, etc.
 Items not included in the sale: If possible, remove, and replace if applicable,
any items that will not be included in the sale of the property (such as light
fixtures).

Showing Tips

A lot depends on why you are buying the house. Are you buying it mostly as a home or mostly as an investment? There is a difference.

For the most part, upgrades are high-profit items for builders. They aren’t designed to enhance the value of the house, but make you happier with the house you do buy.

If you are looking at your home as an investment, then you buy from the smaller to medium size in the tract and spend only a minimal amount on upgrades. If you are looking at your purchase as a home, then you select upgrades that will enhance your quality of living.

One rule of thumb is to always upgrade the carpet and padding.

Dangers of Overpricing

The Dangers of Overpricing

An asking price that is beyond the current market range can adversely affect
the marketing and sale of a property.

Time is Money … the majority of activity on a “for sale” property occurs within the first few
weeks of the listing. If a home is overpriced in the minds of potential buyers, there may be a
lack of private showings or poor attendance at Open Houses; or there may be showings, but
no offers.

If you don’t price your home competitively, you take the risk of encountering the following
pitfalls:

You will lose the excitement that a new listing generates. Most activity on a listing comes
within the first 30 days. An initial high price will discourage buyers, causing you to miss out on
pent up demand.
You will lose the most qualified prospects. Buyers will not “just make an offer” because they
probably will never see your property. They will view the properties that are priced within their
purchase power range, know that they cannot afford anything above their price ceiling.
Overpricing helps sell other, more competitively priced homes first. Your home may be
used to demonstrate the good value of other properties. Your objectives should be to enter the
market in a position that will attract prospects, not drive them away.
Your home may become stale on the market. Prospects may wonder why it has been on the
market too long or if something is wrong with the property, even after you lower your price. You
may even have to settle for less than market value. A house takes on a reputation surprisingly
fast, so don’t wear out your welcome mat on the market.
If you do get an offer, the contract may fall through because of appraisal problems. The
lender may not be able to justify the price as it relates to loan value, considering it a high risk and
refusing to lend the buyer mortgage funds
You lose a strong negotiating position when your home is on the market a long time, both
financially and mentally!! Prospects will not ‘rush’ to make an offer on overpriced property, and
you may feel compelled to accept less when they finally do.

Duties to all parties

DUTIES TO ALL PARTIES

In the State of Wisconsin, Realtors owe certain responsibilities to all parties in a transaction, these include both Customers and Clients. These responsibilities are:

  • Fair and Honest Treatment
  • Reasonable Skill and Care
  • Disclosure of Material Adverse Facts
  • Confidentiality
  • Accurate market condition information when you request it
  • Accounting
  • Objective presentation of offers

 

As a Buyer, if you choose to work with an Integrity Realtor without signing a Buyer Agency Agreement, you are a “Customer” and receive the service listed above. In this situation, the Realtor is working WITH you, not for you.

When you work with an Integrity Realtor to list your property for sale, or represent you in purchasing a home, you sign a contract for brokerage services and become a “Client”. At that point, you are owed these additional services:

  • Loyalty
  • Disclosure of Material Information
  • Obedience

 

If you choose to enter into either a Listing Contract or Buyer Agency Agreement, it means that Your Integrity Realtor is now working WITH you and FOR you. Ask your Integrity Realtor to explain all your options!

Commission is negotiable

Commission is Always Negotiable

But the percentage of commission you pay, as well as the percentage your
Realtor® offers in MLS, can have either a positive or negative effect on how quickly
your home may sell.

In our area, the majority of homes for sale are listed in MLS (Multiple Listing
Service) which makes them available to be shown and sold by all member companies
in the State of Wisconsin. When a property is listed by one company and sold by
another, it is called a cooperative or co-broke sale.

In addition to a lower co-broke offering in MLS, a reduced commission may mean
a smaller budget for other marketing efforts. A seller always benefits from a multi-
faceted approach in order to expose the house to potential buyers.

We encourage you to contact one of our Realtors® to learn more about your options.

Why hire a realtor

Have you ever wondered if you need to pay your real estate agent when you buy a home? If so, you’re not alone. Lots of people aren’t sure how it all works.

Here’s the short answer: When you buy a house with me as your agent, you don’t have to pay me a dime. At least not in the sense of you writing out a check to me or my company. However, I will get paid.

It’s kind of confusing, right? If you’re not paying me…then who is?

It comes from the seller.

So the question becomes: Why would I work with you, for you, and with your best interests in mind, if you aren’t paying me?

Because that’s my responsibility…my fiduciary duty. Simple as that!

It wasn’t always that way, though. It used to be that all agents were essentially working for the seller, trying to get the highest price they could for the house.

That’s changed…actually quite a while back. But the way agents get paid has not.

The seller still pays the commissions, even though the buyer’s agent is representing the buyer’s interest, not theirs.

See, the compensation I earn comes from the equity in the seller’s house.

In order to sell a house, the owner needs to have equity. In other words, they have enough money to sell the house for a certain price, pay off any existing loans and other costs (like real estate commissions), and still walk away with money in their pocket.

(Yes, they can sell even without equity, but we’re not getting into that here. Those are short sales. And, yes, even then the buyer’s agent gets paid by the seller, even though there’s no equity.)

Bottom line?

You don’t have to pay me a dime to represent you.

Buyer Agency

Buyer Agency Makes a Difference

CUSTOMER Level Services

  • Treat you fairly and honestly
  • Assess your housing needs
  • Provide accurate general market information
  • Locate properties that meet your qualifications and needs
  • Show you MLS-available properties
  • Disclose adverse material facts

CLIENT Level Services

  • Treat you fairly and honestly
  • Assess your housing needs
  • Provide accurate general market information
  • Locate properties that meet your qualifications and needs
  • Show you MLS-available properties
  • Disclose adverse material facts
  • Notify you about new listings before notifying buyer/customers
  • Canvass a given area or advertise for a home specific to your needs
  • Show you unlisted properties, including FSBOs and lender-owned homes
  • Complete a CMA and a property “tracking”
  • Suggest techniques to strengthen your negotiating position
  • Act under your direction and in your best interest
  • Negotiate the lowest price the seller will accept
  • Help you to secure suitable financing
  • Work FOR you

 

Duties to all parties

DUTIES TO ALL PARTIES

In the State of Wisconsin, Realtors owe certain responsibilities to all parties in a transaction, these include both Customers and Clients. These responsibilities are:

  • Fair and Honest Treatment
  • Reasonable Skill and Care
  • Disclosure of Material Adverse Facts
  • Confidentiality
  • Accurate market condition information when you request it
  • Accounting
  • Objective presentation of offers

As a Buyer, if you choose to work with an Integrity Realtor without signing a Buyer Agency Agreement, you are a “Customer” and receive the service listed above. In this situation, the Realtor is working WITH you, not for you.

When you work with an Integrity Realtor to list your property for sale, or represent you in purchasing a home, you sign a contract for brokerage services and become a “Client”. At that point, you are owed these additional services:

  • Loyalty
  • Disclosure of Material Information
  • Obedience

If you choose to enter into either a Listing Contract or Buyer Agency Agreement, it means that Your Integrity Realtor is now working WITH you and FOR you. Ask your Integrity Realtor to explain all your options!

 

Home buyer priority list

HOME BUYER’S PRIORITY LIST

• This worksheet is designed to help you set priorities on location, architectural style, space requirements, interior and exterior features, and mechanical equipment and services.

• Rank each item based on the following scale:  3=Necessity, 2=Desirable, 1=Acceptable, but not at additional expense, 0=No interest to me or my family.

• Circle the number that ranks your preference most accurately.  Highlight every number 3 you rank.

PRICE: Separate Living rm 3   2     1   0
Within our price range 3   2     1   0 Bonus rm (home office/den) 3   2   1     0
Other: _____________________ 3   2     1   0 2 car Garage 3   2   1     0
Full Basement/Cellar 3   2   1     0
LOCATION (close to: ) Attic with easy access 3   2   1     0
Schools 3   2     1   0 Other: ___________________ 3   2   1     0
Day Care 3   2     1   0
Public parks, playgrounds 3   2     1   0 INTERIOR FEATURES:
Public Library/community services 3   2     1   0 Fireplace 3   2   1     0
Employment 3   2     1   0 Hardwood Floors 3   2   1     0
Health care facilities 3   2     1   0 Wall-to-wall carpeting 3   2   1     0
Churches/Synagogues 3   2     1   0 Tiled Bathrooms 3   2   1     0
Public Transportation 3   2     1   0 Whirlpool in bath 3   2   1     0
Shopping 3   2     1   0 Electronic security system 3   2   1     0
Fitness facilities 3   2     1   0 Garage door opener 3   2   1     0
Same-age children 3   2     1   0 Other: __________________ 3   2   1     0
Social activities (clubs, etc.) 3   2     1   0 Other: __________________ 3   2   1     0
Other: __________________ 3   2     1   0 Other: __________________ 3   2   1     0
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE OF YOUR NEW HOME: EXTERIOR FEATURES:
Traditional 3   2     1   0 Shingle/clapboard/siding ext. 3   2   1     0
Colonial 3   2     1   0 Storms and screens 3   2   1     0
Contemporary 3   2     1   0 Masonry exterior 3   2   1     0
Ranch 3   2     1   0 Deck, terrace, patio 3   2   1     0
Victorian 3   2     1   0 Swimming pool 3   2   1     0
Split Level 3   2     1   0 Ample play area 3   2   1     0
Cape Cod 3   2     1   0 Garden area 3   2   1     0
Other: _______________________ 3   2     1   0 Fenced Yard 3   2   1     0
Other: __________________ 3   2   1     0
SPACE REQUIREMENTS IN THE NEW HOME: Other: __________________ 3   2   1     0
# Bedrooms 3   2     1   0
Large BR Closets 3   2     1   0 MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES:
At least 2 full Baths 3   2     1   0 Type of heating system ________________ 3   2   1     0
Half or full BA on 1st floor 3   2     1   0 Type of fuel __________________________ 3   2   1     0
1st floor master BR 3   2     1   0 Separate water heater 3   2   1     0
Master BR with full bath 3   2     1   0 Electric heat pump (HVAC) 3   2   1     0
Master BR with walk-in closet 3   2     1   0 Central air conditioning 3   2   1     0
Eat-in Kitchen 3   2     1   0 Municipal water supply 3   2   1     0
Combined Kitchen/Family rm 3   2     1   0 Municipal sewer system 3   2   1     0
Separate Family rm 3   2     1   0 Septic or sewer 3   2   1     0
Importance of pre-approval

IMPORTANCE OF PRE-APPROVAL

In today’s market, your strength as a Buyer is greatly enhanced when you have taken time BEFORE you begin house-hunting to choose a lender and arrange for a financing pre-approval.

Being pre-approved will:

  • Establish a price range for your property search
  • Help Your Realtor identifying properties in your range
  • Strengthen your negotiating position with sellers
  • Give you an “edge” when competing with other buyers
  • Accelerate the process from Accepted Offer to Closing

Which Lender is the “Right” Lender?

When considering a Lender, ask questions about the services they offer, the cost of those services, the types of loan programs they specialize in, and their communication method. A Lender should fill the role of a trusted advisor, readily available to questions and guide you through the process from pre-approval to Closing.

Home buying process