Learn About Selling

Step 1: Creating a Marketing Plan

 We can help you build a marketing plan for your home that will help to improve your chances of selling it at the best price possible, in the shortest amount of time. 

 Much of an agent’s work is quiet, behind the scenes – and important. Promoting your home involves several outreach efforts, including scheduling, marketing and hosting open houses, following up with open house visitors, having conversations with ad respondents, and posting photos and virtual tours on the web. Being your guide and confidant is part of the process as well.Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies, and your agent will develop a plan especially for your home, which will help set it apart in your local marketplace and attract buyers. Once listed, it's likely that the home will be quickly entered into the local  Multiple Listing Service (MLS), displayed on century21.com and distributed to over 500 national and local real estate websites, where most buyers begin their search for a new home.

TIP: A marketing plan will help sell a home at the best price possible in the shortest amount of time. Find out how a CENTURY 21® Princeton Properties Agent can help. 


 

The Top 10: Tips to Add Value to Your Home

1. Clean, organize, and neutralize your space: Unclutter your house to make it look bigger and cleaner. Buyers need to be able to envision their own belongings in the home; so, avoid using bright colors and too many personal effects.2. Keep Your Lawn Green: Get your lawn in shape. A patchy lawn takes away from the home's overall appearance. Your local hardware store has supplies to re-seed those unhealthy areas.3. Add insulation to save energy: The most inexpensive way to increase your home's energy is to add insulation, which can reduce heating and cooling costs by more than 25%.4. Update kitchen appliances: The kitchen is often the room that buyers gravitate towards first, and an updated kitchen can help sell your home. You don't have to remodel your kitchen to give it a new look. Updating your appliances to the current standard and replacing cabinet doors and hardware can make a big impact at a relatively low cost.5. Update bathroom fixtures: A little change can go a long way when it comes to the look of your bathroom. Updating simple fixtures such as your sink and faucet can give any outdated bathroom style.6. Build a fence: If you're trying to sell a house, the appearance of a fence adds value to the home overall. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the privacy and security of an enclosed backyard.7. Repair the gutter: Ensuring that your gutter is clean is crucial in protecting your home against water damage.8. Light up the outside: An easy and inexpensive way to increase your home's outdoor space is to add lighting. It makes it more appealing and safer.9. Store and organize: Ample storage space is a plus, especially when it comes to garages and closets. Efficient closet structures can help keep your clothes organized and can save space.10. Polish off the basement: Rather than adding an additional room, it is more cost-efficient to remodel your basement. This adds value and usable space.11. Consider a home warranty. A home warranty, such as a Century 21 Home Protection Plan, issued by American Home Shield, can help distinguish your listing from others on the market and boost buyer confidence. 

Step 2: Setting the Price

 A key part of your marketing plan is setting the list price. Quite simply, if a home is priced too low, you miss out on potential profit. If a home is priced too high, qualified buyers will look elsewhere.To determine the best asking price, review the prices of recently sold, comparable homes in the area; evaluate the competition, and study marketplace trends. CENTURY 21® Princeton Properties Sales Professionals have ready access to this information, and can provide the big picture to help you determine the right asking price.It is also helpful to discuss with your agent other terms and conditions that can be included in the sale of the home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. For example, an owner can offer to pay points or complete a major repair – such as a new roof – to make the deal more appealing to a qualified buyer. A home warranty such as the Century 21 Home Protection Plan is another useful marketing tool, providing protection if an appliance or other covered item fails after closing. Home warranties are a relatively inexpensive way for a seller to add value to a property.Other factors to consider:

  • Real estate is local. Your CENTURY 21® Princeton Properties Agent can explain current market factors in your community, including what's selling, what isn't selling, and why. This information is critical to setting an optimal price and terms.
  • If your house is located in a desirable area you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area.
  • If a house has amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it will bring a higher price. Your CENTURY 21 Princeton Properties Agent can help identify top trends.
  • A house that has been better maintained and “shows” better will always sell for more than one that has had deferred (neglected) maintenance and needs work.
  • Buyers expect everything to work. It’s an important trust factor, and worth the time and expense to make basic repairs.
  • Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low and the local job base is growing, it's great to be a seller. But when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow.

TIP: A formal written appraisal can be useful if your property is unique, or there hasn't been much activity in your area recently. It’s also helpful when co-owners disagree about price, or there is any other circumstance that makes it difficult to put a market value on your home. 

Step 3: Showtime

 You want potential buyers to feel at home from the minute they walk up the driveway. Give them a canvas to fill. It’s showtime!

Start with a good cleaning, eliminate clutter, put away the knickknacks and add fresh coats of a neutral-colored paint to brighten rooms. Oh, and tidy up the yard. Your CENTURY 21® Princeton Properties Real Estate Agent can give you all sorts of tips to help boost your home's curb appeal and impress potential buyers once they're inside. Here are a few basics:

  • If the weather permits, open the windows (if there is too much noise outside, close them). If it's cold enough to wear a sweater to stay warm, turn on the heat. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on hot or cold days!
  • Light a fire in the fireplace, have chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, or use lightly scented aromatherapy – such as lavender – to set the scene for a tranquil home.
  • Open all the window coverings to let in light. If a particular window overlooks undesirable scenery or obstructed views, keep the blinds partially closed.
  • Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
  • Play soft background music.

Move your cars to an alternate location, and allow your real estate agent to conduct the tour: potential buyers usually feel more comfortable – and less pressured – when the owners are not present.

TIP: One way to make a home more attractive is to purchase a Home Protection Plan. This insurance protects you, the seller, from paying repair or replacement costs of major items during the listing period. It also protects the buyer during their first year of homeownership.  


Step 4: Making the Deal

 Successful negotiating encompasses the acquired ability to use certain skills and techniques to bring about coveted win-win results. Your CENTURY 21® Princeton Properties Agent can help you stay focused, objective, and not let your emotions rule.

  1. Start with a thoroughly researched, fair price.
  2. Respect the other side's priorities. For example, a buyer with an urgent move-in date might be willing to pay a higher portion of the transaction costs or forgo some major repairs. Or, they may prefer to push out the closing date, in order to be more confident that there will be no unanticipated additional expenses.
  3. In any case, be prepared to compromise: "win-win" doesn't mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some

TIP: Become familiar with a typical real estate purchase and sale contract in advance of any negotiation. 


 If a seller helps to finance a real estate transaction, it is called seller financing. Usually sellers do this when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price. 

Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does a lender. Instead, it involves extending a credit against the purchase price of the home.  The necessary paperwork is prepared by the title or escrow company, after the terms are worked out between the buyer and seller. If you are a seller considering such an arrangement, it is critical to thoroughly evaluate the credit-worthiness of the buyer. 

It is important to consult with legal counsel and your accountant regarding the potential consequences of this type of arrangement. You can also contact the Internal Revenue Service for a copy of its Publication 537, "Installment Sales." Order by calling (800) TAX-FORM or visit www.irs.gov/formspubs

Seller financing offers tax breaks for sellers and alternative financing for buyers who can't qualify for conventional loans. If you are a seller, the risks you face are the same as those facing any lender: Is the borrower a good credit risk? Will the property hold enough value over time to allow for the repayment of all loans made against it? 

You should run a full credit check on the borrower, require hazard insurance on the property and include a due-on-sale clause. There also are financing, disclosure and repayment-term requirements that need to be met. Again, it is wise to consult an attorney when considering this type of transaction.


TIP: The interest rate on an owner-carried loan is negotiable, but is influenced by current Treasury Bill and Certificate of Deposit Rates. 

Step 5: Closing

 Closing - or settlement or escrow - is essentially a meeting where the closing agent (the party who conducts settlement) takes in money from the buyers, pays out money to the owner and makes sure that the purchaser's title is properly recorded in local records along with any mortgage liens. All papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders and lawyers. This paperwork reflects the sale agreement and allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests. For instance, buyers get the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records and state governments collect their transfer taxes. 

The closing agent reviews the sale agreement to determine what payments and credits the owner should receive and what amounts are due from the buyer. The closing agent also assures that certain transaction costs are paid (taxes and title searches). 

Closing is also the time when "adjustments" will be made. For instance, suppose you've pre-paid taxes four months in advance. In this case, the closing agent will compensate you for the prepayment at closing by having the buyer pay you additional money. 

It could also work in reverse. If you are behind on property taxes, the closing agent will reduce the money due to you at settlement by the amount of the unpaid taxes. 


 Whether you have moved once or a dozen times, it never seems to get any easier. Here are some hints that we hope you will find helpful as you prepare for moving day.

  • Make agreements with buyers about possession of the home and moving date.
  • Start planning early. From the moment you decide to put your home up for sale, start sorting through your current possessions. Toss (or give away, sell at a yard sale or online) anything that you don't want to take with you.
  • Make a list of important items you will need to buy for your new house, such as drapes, blinds, shower curtains, etc. Having these things with you on the day you move helps you settle in more comfortably.

Start packing early. Anything that you are sure you will not be using before moving day should get boxed.


TIP: Organize like items together and mark every box and carton. This makes it easier if you find you need an item before you move, and much simpler after you move. Unpacking tends to be a gradual process--this simple step will help you find the items you need when you need them. 

Home Warranty

  The CENTURY 21 Home Protection Plan®, issued by American Home Shield®, is a one-year service agreement that covers the repair or replacement of many major home system components and appliances that break down over time due to normal wear and tear.  Whether you are buying or selling a house, a home protection plan specifically designed for residential real estate transactions can give you one less thing to worry about.A wide variety of properties can be covered by a home protection plan, including single family homes, multi-family units (up to four units), new construction homes, condominiums/townhomes, vacation homes, and rental properties.Why Do You Need a Home Protection Plan?Unexpected repairs can be costly, and a home protection plan can help guard against some of the unexpected costs that come with repairing or replacing covered home system components and appliances.  The question isn’t whether or not a breakdown will happen; it’s when. Why Choose the CENTURY 21 Home Protection Plan?With a CENTURY 21 Home Protection Plan, you have access to over 40 years of American Home Shield’s industry leading expertise, and the commitment to customer service is top priority. Benefits of a Home Protection PlanFor Home Sellers

  • Distinguish listings from others on the market
  • Mitigate unexpected issues associated with covered items
  • Boost buyer confidence
  • Reduce worry about costly, covered repairs*

*Subject to $2,000 cap during listing period.   

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