Sellers

8 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Every Home Seller Should Know - Real Estate News and Advice - realtor.com

If you’re trying to sell your home, you’ve probably scrutinized it, staged it, and scrubbed it down from floorboards to rooftop as if the folks from Architectural Digest were stopping by for a cover shoot. OK, so it’s in immaculate shape—but your home isn’t the only thing under scrutiny here. You are, too! That’s right: No matter how nice your home is, your behavior can also affect how buyers feel about making an offer.

via www.realtor.com


The Emotional Side of Selling

Jan 2016
Let’s face it. Selling your home is as much an emotional decision as it is a practical one.

Sure, in some ways, a property is a “product”. You want to sell that product quickly and for the best price, so you can buy your next dream home.

A home, however, is also a place filled with memories and emotional attachments. You’ll think of the rec room where the kids’ birthday parties were held; the dining room where you had countless family dinners; and the backyard deck where many afternoons were spent enjoying the sunshine.

That’s why managing the emotional side of selling your home is so important. Here are some tips:

  • Have your kids draw pictures of the fun they’ll have in their new home.
  • Remind your kids that they’ll be able to stay in touch with their old friends, while making new ones.
  • Visit neighborhoods where you’d like to find your next home. Walk around. Get a sense of what it’s going to be like to live there.
  • Consider taking a keepsake with you from your old home to help ease the transition.

Want more ideas for making your next move go smoothly? Call today.


Northwest MLS Brokers Swap 90,000 Keyboxes

NWREporter March 2015

Northwest MLS Brokers Swap 90,000 Keyboxes for Enhanced Devices

iBox

Technology is transforming many industries, with real estate being among the major ones. To accommodate expectations from members and their clients for tech-based security, convenience and accountability, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service recently replaced a tool virtually every broker uses-the keybox.
It was no small undertaking, according to Tom Hurdelbrink, the president and CEO of Northwest MLS. He said the task involved one-to-one exchanges of more than 90,000 keyboxes used by real estate brokers around the state.
The new, enhanced devices mean its mobile membership can use their Bluetooth® enabled smartphones to access properties using Bluetooth's wireless technology or infrared signals, without needing additional hardware. The devices allow brokers to simply point and beam their electronic key to interact with the keybox and related systems.
Northwest MLS, with assistance from Supra (a UTC subsidiary), its vendor, conducted the exchange over several weeks at 21 locations. The keyboxes are used by nearly 23,000 brokers in 23 counties. Hurdelbrink said the feat required months of planning to minimize disruption since it also affected keyboxes on active listings. Both the exchange process and the replacement devices were well-received, he reported.
The older boxes, while very secure, were about a decade old and showing signs of decreasing battery life. In addition to longer battery life, the new boxes have a larger key container for storing gate cards and keys. The replacements use Bluetooth® Low Energy technology and communicate with newer smartphones.
Supra has provided keyboxes to the real estate industry since 1955. The protective shell securely stores a seller's house key, making it easy for authorized users to access properties and for listing brokers to track activity at each home seller's property. The rugged devices have a steel shackle and include PIN-code security. Only authorized keyholders can open these boxes.
An online data record is created whenever the electronic keybox is opened so the listing broker can obtain real-time information about showings, including the name of the colleague who entered the home and the date and time of the showing. Every opening is documented both in the keybox and in the secure SupraWEB database.
Listing brokers attach an assigned keybox to a doorknob or other secure place where it can be opened by licensed Northwest MLS brokers and appraisers. These approved users open the keybox using a leased device called an "ActiveKEY" or by using the "eKEY" app service that can be downloaded to their mobile devices, including tablets. Members who use the eKEY app no longer have to purchase a key "fob" to open the keybox. Both the ActiveKEY and eKEY app are password protected and must be synchronized with the MLS keybox system daily in order to function.
Commenting on his experience at the exchange, Alan Addington said he was impressed by the amount of people and technology that were devoted to the project. "The throughput and customer flow were equally impressive. After waiting just 10 minutes, I got all my new boxes, with new shackle codes installed, and was on my way in less than 15 minutes," said Addington, who is with Action Realty Brokers in Everett.
Another member-broker contacted MLS staff "just to thank them," saying he too often calls and complains. "He asked me to send out an email to let the staff know how pleased he was and how efficient the keybox exchange went," reported the staff member.
Supra, based in Salem, Oregon, is part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corporation. Bluetooth wireless technology is the global wireless standard enabling simple, secure connectivity for an expanding range of devices and serves as the backbone of the connected world.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.


What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.

For more information, try the virtual home inspection at www.ASHI.org, the Web site of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room. 

Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:

  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems

 

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.  

Fireplaces: They’re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.

Source: American Society of Home Inspectors (www.AHSI.org)


Does Moving Up Make Sense?

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. 

3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district. 

4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.

6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


Closing Documents You Should Keep

On closing day, expect to sign a lot of documents and walk away with a big stack of papers. Here’s a list of the most important documents you should file away for future reference.

 

  • HUD-1 settlement      statement. Itemizes      all the costs — commissions, loan fees, points, and hazard insurance —associated  with the closing. You’ll need it for income tax purposes if you paid  points.

 

 

  • Mortgage and  note. Spell out the legal terms of your mortgage obligation and the agreed-upon repayment terms.

 

  • Deed. Transfers ownership to you.

 

  • Affidavits. Binding statements by either party. For example, the sellers will often sign an      affidavit stating that they haven’t incurred any liens.

 

  • Riders. Amendments to the sales contract that affect your rights. Example: The sellers won’t move out until two weeks after closing but will pay rent to the buyers during      that period.

 

  • Insurance      policies. Provide a record and proof of your coverage.


Sources: Credit Union National Association; Mortgage Bankers Association; Home-Buyer’s Guide (Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, 2000)

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


What’s a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is a service contract, normally for one year, which helps protect home owners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. Coverage is for systems and appliances in good working order at the start of the contract.

Check your home warranty policy to see which of the following items are covered. Also find out if the policy covers the full replacement cost of an item.

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Furnace
  • Water heater
  • Heating ducts
  • Water pump
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Stove/cooktop/ovens
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Washer/dryer
  • Swimming pool (may be optional)

 

Source: American Home Shield, www.ahswarranty.com, REALTOR® Benefits Partner


8 Reasons Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®. 

1. Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

3. Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.

4. Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5.  Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Someone who speaks the language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, homebuying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

 


5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.

2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin. 

4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.

5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?

 

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.