4 Quick Tips for Showing Your Home in the Summer

  1. 72°.  Keep the interior temperature of your home pleasant during the dog days of summer.  Homes that are too hot (or too cold, for that matter) make potential Edmond, Oklahoma home buyers uncomfortable, inevitably shortening their visit.
  2. Mitigate odors.  Summer heat can magnify animal odors inside the house as well as in the back yard.  Clean and deodorize interior surfaces and carpets, and if Fido uses the back yard as a rest room be sure to clean up doggie piles frequently.  Garbage cans normally kept in the garage or outside next to the house should be moved well away from any potential visitor foot traffic.
  3. Keep your lawn manicured.  Curb appeal is everything, and if your lawn is overgrown or has unsightly brown spots you may be chasing buyers away before they ever spend any time inside your home.  Take care of the lawn, put away children’s yard toys, fix the fence, and by all means get that beater car down off those cinder blocks and off your driveway!
  4. Clean your windows.  All home buyers prefer more natural lighting.  Make sure windows sparkle so buyers can discover all the wonderful features and benefits that make your home special.

Summer Moving Tips (Part 3)

This is our final installment of summer moving tips.  Check out this list for more information on making your summer move as painless and stress-free as possible.  Here we go…

  1. Children.  If summer heat is difficult on adults working outside while moving into their new Edmond, Oklahoma home, think about how it affects children.  Best advice, especially for younger children is to set up a babysitter to take care of your toddlers during moving day.  This way they won’t be underfoot among a forest of adults, and are less likely to be stepped on or to suffer adversely with the summer temps.  If babysitting is not an option, why not set up a safe play area in one of the bedrooms for children to stay put and keep themselves occupied?  How about assigning one of the older children to be the playroom monitor just to keep an eye on the others while adults get down to the business of loading and unloading the moving truck?
  2. Pets.  Summer heat is hard on our domestic pets too, but unlike children, they can’t tell us necessarily when something’s wrong.  Do you have a pet-sitter option available for moving day?  Is there a safe, cool place for Rover and Felix to be so they’re not in the way on moving day?  The last thing you want is for one of your animals to get loose outside at your new home before they become acclimated to their new surroundings and neighborhood.  No pet-sitter options available?  Just like with children you can set up one safe-zone room for your pets, or even cage them if necessary.  And lastly, with children and pets, make sure they have plenty of water, snacks, and potty breaks.
  3. Take pictures of all your electronic device wiring hookups BEFORE you unhook them prior to your move.  Make it easy for yourself when setting up shop in your new home.  DVD players, flat screen TVs, stereo systems, video gaming consoles, etc. can become their own little nightmare at the end of a long day of laboring with furniture and heavy boxes.  The last thing you want to do when you just want to sit down and turn on the tube is to struggle getting everything wired and working correctly.  Take a few quick snapshots of your wiring beforehand and setup at the end of your move will be a snap.

Summer Moving Tips (Part 2)

Here’s our next installment of summer moving tips:

  1. Transfer Utilities.  The last thing you want during a hot summer moving day is for the electricity to be turned off when you arrive at your new home.  Communicate with all utility companies to be sure everything is turned on at your new Edmond, Oklahoma home prior to move in day, and that everything will be shut off and accounts closed at the old home after you move out.  Shutting the utilities off too soon at the old home while you’re still loading the moving truck will make you just as cranky as not being able to turn on the air conditioner when you arrive at your destination to unload.
  2. Communicate your new address.  Email your new street/mailing address to everyone who may need it including family, friends, the office, and venders and service providers.  Drop off a change of address notice at your local post office to make sure you don’t miss any important correspondence or bills.  Any transitory mail will now be forwarded to your new location.  And finally, keep an eye out for mail labeled by the post office as having been forwarded, then communicate your new address to the sender so your next bill, letter, or magazine will come to you direct.
  3. Consider moving insurance to cover full value of your belongings.  This is not as much a summer moving tip as it is pertinent to all seasons and every family’s relocation.  Other insurance covering 60% of value will not replace some of your property that is more likely to be damaged in transit like large flat-screen televisions.  Evaluate your need for insurance and move in peace.

Summer Moving Tips (Part 1)

The last four months may or may not have posed some seasonal issues for folks packing up and relocating.  Now summer’s practically here and some of you are contemplating making a move to a new Edmond, Oklahoma home, and June, July, and August moves, however, tend to have their own set of unique challenges for a family including heat, dehydration, and overall planning.  Never fear!  Submitted for your review is the first part of our list of top summer moving tips.

  1. Decide if you’re going to do it yourself or hire a moving company.  Depending on your budget and motivation you may consider hiring a company to take care of all or part of the move for you.  If you’re hiring, get estimates and compare them to make sure you’re getting the service level you really need at a fair price.  You may decide you’re going to pack everything yourself but hire a company only to load the truck, drive your belongings to your new home, and unload the truck.  If you’re doing the job or any part of the move yourself make sure to have plenty of refreshments, including water and sports drinks for both your volunteer helpers and the hired hands.
  2. Start packing early.  This is especially important if moving day is in the middle of the summer heat.  Starting the packing job early accomplishes many things.  First, the more work you get done while the weather is milder decreases the amount of work you’ll have to do when the thermometer is reaching for the sky.  Packing early also helps to de-clutter your current home, which is a great boon especially if you don’t yet have a buyer lined up for it.  This leads us too…
  3. De-clutter.  This one is important.  Since you’re starting to pack well ahead of moving day, why not take the time to get rid of any of those old belongings you’ve been meaning deal with for so long.  Moving is the great opportunity to have a garage sale or donate useful items to charity.  There really is no sense moving all that clutter from one home to the next.  And if there’s anything whose usefulness is long past try to recycle it.  As a last resort, if it won’t recycle escort it to the trash.  Don’t take it to your new home!

The Price is Right (Part 2)

Piggybacking on our last blog, here are five more tips to help you price your Edmond, Oklahoma home right for your market:

  1. Beware Real Estate agents who promise they can get you the highest price.  All too often those are agents desperate for business who will tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear just to get your listing.
  2. Dismiss pricing irrelevancies.  How much you paid for your home ten years ago, how much you think you need out of the sale of the home, and the many great memories of family holidays together while you lived in your home have nothing to do with how much your home is worth today.
  3. Do not over price.  You will end up significantly delaying your home sale and eventually reducing your price to reflect current market conditions anyway.  Plus, home buyers will now wonder what’s wrong with the property since it has been for sale for so long and will adjust any potential offers downward even further.
  4. Do not under price, expecting to facilitate a bidding war for your home.
  5. Chose a proven, trustworthy Realtor to work with.  Speak to family, friends, and neighbors.  Get referrals to agents they have had successful results with.  Interview agents with the plan to get to know their business philosophy, communication style, and experience.  Here’s a great list of interview questions you can use.

The Price is Right (Part 1)

The number one factor in selling your Edmond, Oklahoma home quickly is price.  Thanks for reading, this is the end of the article…

Ok, but really.  Price is it.  So to help you with this one critical piece of the home seller puzzle here is the first part of our top ten tips for successful home pricing:

  1. Look at the comps.  Taking a look at what similar homes in your neighborhood are currently on the market for, and more importantly, at the actual price of recent completed sales will give you a great idea of what your home will ultimately sell for.
  2. Tour your competition.  Drive by some of these comps.  Check out their curb appeal.  If there’s an open house, go for a quick tour.
  3. Price your home with the appraisal in mind.  Appraisals are based on recent sales.  If your appraisal eventually comes in below your contracted price your buyer will have issues with their mortgage lender, delaying or prohibiting a closing.
  4. DO NOT pay for your own appraisal.  This might seem counterintuitive to number 3 above, however, you can get all the information you need from a reliable local Realtor to complete your own comparable study.
  5. DO NOT rely on the price per square foot valuation method alone.  Every home is NOT created equal.  Price per square foot can be used in conjunction with other pricing strategies to support your decision making process, but as a stand-alone method can end up costing you.

Interview Questions for Your Realtor

You’re ready to start interviewing Realtors to help you sell your Edmond, Oklahoma home.  Following is a list of questions to ask during each Realtor’s presentation to make sure you get all the information you need to make an intelligent and informed decision on who will help you with one of the most important transactions in your life.

  1. How many sales did you complete last year?
  2. What is the price range where the majority of your sales take place?
  3. What was the average difference between the final sales price and original list price of homes you listed for sale? While this depends on your local market conditions, a Realtor who often sells homes well below list price may not be advising sellers to price their homes correctly or may be inadequately marketing homes.
  4. What is your marketing plan for my home? How many websites will include information about my home? Where will you look for buyers?
  5. Do you have advice regarding the condition of my home? Do you have expertise as a home stager or do you recommend that I hire a professional stager?
  6. Can you recommend contractors and moving companies?
  7. How often should I expect to hear from you when my home is on the market?  How will you communicate with me during the entire process?
  8. Will you provide me with regular feedback and updates about potential buyers?

A good Realtor will answer most if not all of these questions during their presentation.  Be wary of the agent who is unprepared for your questions.  How can they help you successfully sell your home if they can’t effectively sell themselves?

2 Do’s and 1 Don’t for Choosing a Listing Agent

If you’re currently (or soon to be) interviewing Realtors to represent you and the sale of your Edmond, Oklahoma home, here are a few tips to help you find the best qualified agent to assist you with one of the most important transactions in your life.

DO choose a Realtor who tells you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.  You may believe your home should sell for $250,000, and that may very well be a fair market price.  Any quality Realtor will show you comparable sales in your area that may or may not support your thinking.  If the comps suggest your home is currently closer to a value of $210,000, that’s the price you should be thinking about listing at.  If another Realtor comes in (maybe even with the same comps) but agrees to list your home for $40,000 more than it’s worth, what does that tell you about that Realtor’s negotiating skills?  That Realtor will gladly list your home, and over the next few months when the few showings you had come to a complete halt you will eventually realize you need to lower your price; you will realize you just wasted two, three, even six or more months of your time, and in Real Estate, time truly is money.  Find an honest, up-front Realtor who isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.

DON’T list with your best friend’s sister who just got her Real Estate License.  The sister may be a super person, and your best friend must be a great guy/gal, otherwise you wouldn’t have such a close relationship.  Likewise your best friend will be able to handle it when you gently decline their offer to interview the new wannabe Real Estate mogul.  Interview Realtors who have experience and a proven track record of helping people sell their homes for the most money, in the quickest time, with the fewest hassles.

DO be prepared with critical interview questions when interviewing Realtors for the job.  Far too many people who allow a Realtor to set an appointment and come in and do their listing presentations are wowed by the practiced performance without getting all the important information to make an intelligent decision on whether or not to work with the person.  What questions should you be prepared to ask interviewees?  Check out my next blog for the complete questionnaire!

Seller’s Closing Costs

Thinking about selling your Edmond, Oklahoma home this coming year?  Part of the successful transfer of Real Estate from the seller of a home to the buyer is avoiding surprises.  Surprises in Real Estate, especially on the day of closing generally translate to money coming out of someone’s pocket.  The best way to ensure you’re walking away from the closing table with what you expected to see on the bottom line of your settlement statement is to work with a quality Realtor who can help you accurately estimate the true costs of selling your home.  Here are some of the expenses involved for the seller to successfully get to the closing table:

  1. Loan payoff costs.  This is the fee involved in paying off, and closing your existing mortgage with your current lender and can include pre-payment penalty fees
  2. Real Estate commissions.  Generally the home seller pays commissions to both the listing Realtor (your Realtor) and the selling Realtor (buyer’s agent’s Realtor)
  3. Transfer taxes
  4. Title Insurance
  5. Notary
  6. Attorney fees if attorneys are used in the transaction

Five Home Buyer Turnoffs

If you’re thinking about selling your Edmond, Oklahoma or Greater Oklahoma City home this spring, why not start getting your house ready for the market now?  You say your house is already ready?  Really?  What about that distinct German Shepherd scent that practically knocks you over when you step through the front door, or the boxes full of Beanie Babies toys you used to collect but which have now entirely taken over one of the bedrooms?  What about the lime green stove and refrigerator in the kitchen that are older than your thirty-something children?

Selling a home does take time, effort, and energy, and all other things being equal between two houses for sale (same number of bedrooms, same number of baths, age of home, etc.) the one that shows better will sell quicker, and for more money.  So what to-do’s should you spend your time on to ensure your home is in tip top showing condition?  Why not just ask the experts who spend their time working everyday with home buyers what most turns off their clients when viewing homes for sale?  Good idea.  Following is a list compiled by Bankrate.com of the most troublesome turnoffs for buyers compiled from Real Estate Buyer’s Agents, home interior decorators and designers, and Real Estate marketing specialists:

  1. Dirt.  This one may seem like common sense, but sometimes it’s the easiest overlooked.  Dirty carpets, tile, walls, and disagreeable smells like pet odors and cigarette smoke can turn people off, and turn them away from looking at the finer selling points of your home.
  2. Outdated kitchens.  So you know you’ll have to give any potential buyer an allowance to purchase new kitchen appliances, right?  Why not go ahead and install new stainless steel equipment now in case buyers are unable to look past your dated kitchen?
  3. Wallpaper.  Nowadays wallpaper is a no-no.
  4. Personal belongings and clutter.  How can potential buyers see the true benefits and features of your home if they’re distracted by your extensive HO train set taking up the entire basement, or the stacks of magazines and newspapers they’re busy navigating just to get from room to room.  Pick up, pack up, put away, and de-clutter.
  5. Nosy sellers.  Yes, you!  When you do list your home for sale, and your Realtor calls to set up the appointment to show your home to potential buyers, be sure to leave the house during the appointment.  Sellers who stick around too long interfere with visiting buyers trying to imagine making your house their home.  Go for a walk or go for a ride, whichever.  You just need to be sure to go.