What's the best time of year to sell my home?
The common opinion is that putting your home on the market in the Spring or Early Summer is best, when kids are getting out of school, and the weather is nice, gives you the best opportunity to have the highest turnout of potential buyers.  The problem with that thinking is that there are also many other home sellers doing the same thing, meaning that you'll have a lot more competition for those home buyers in the marketplace.  Any time of year can be a good time to sell, depending on overall demand, and the inventory of available homes.  The only time it may be worthwhile to wait is during the last 2 weeks of December, when many buyers are too busy with holiday shopping and family gatherings to focus on home buying.


What kind of upgrades should I make to my home before putting it on the market?
Typically, the most profitable upgrades prior to selling are painting and flooring.  There are many upgrades that you can do to improve the value of your home, but the best values are found in relatively inexpensive fix-ups that will give a return of 150% - 200% on your investment.  Fresh paint on both the interior and exterior of the home can instantly turn the drab and dated into fresh and clean.  New carpeting, or certain types of vinyl and laminate flooring can have a similar effect, and tend to have the most positive impact on home buyers.  Moderate kitchen and bath remodeling is also a plus, including re-painting or refinishing worn cabinet doors, replacing damaged countertops, appliances, faucets and lighting can also add much needed character to your home.  The important thing to remember is not to go overboard, as major remodeling just to sell is generally not a profitable venture.  When you list your home with us, we will give you detailed ideas on profitable improvements, suggest and arrange professionals to assist in the work, and then stage your home to perfection to give you the best opportunity to come out far ahead.


What items do I need to disclose about my home to potential buyers?
The best advice to give here is to say, "If there's even a question about any items, disclose it."  Disclosures should cover anything that could have material effect on the property value, and should include, but not limited to, any repairs or replacements completed, remodeling work done with or without permits, past inspection reports, neighborhood noise problems or nuisances, and most importantly, your knowledge of any current or potential future problems with any of the major systems in the home.  When you list with us, we will prepare detailed questions and forms to document all possible disclosure issues to potential buyers, and limit your future liability.


What inspections should I have done prior to putting my home on the market?
It depends on the overall condition of your home, and if you are set on selling your home in "as-is" condition, meaning you won't consider doing any repairs for the buyers during escrow should they find a problem.  Generally, we strongly suggest having a professional Wood Destroying Pest Inspection prior to putting your home on the market, as these repairs are typically the most costly, and necessary to know before bringing a buyer to the table.  Other inspections, including a general home inspection, engineering, roof, furnace, and pool inspections, may be recommended based on your individual situation, however, it is more customary to have the buyer perform those types of inspections during the escrow period.  Please contact us to come and take a look at your home to discuss the best way to proceed in your individual situation.


Why not price my home much higher?  Can't I always reduce it later if it doesn't sell?
In today's market, there are buyers waiting on new homes to come on the market.  Home buyers want to feel excited and enthusiastic about purchasing a new home, and want to feel that what they are buying is "in demand".  When you price your home too high, and it sits on the market for awhile without any offers, potential buyers and agents will begin to question "What's wrong with this house",
"and many buyers won't see it as if wasn't in the price range they were targeting for a home similar to yours..  With a solid marketing plan designed to let any and all potential buyers and local agents know that your home is available, and showing your home in tip-top shape, is the best opportunity to get the greatest possible price and terms.     Especially in a buyer's market, you need to be especially careful not to overprice your home.   Our goal is always to price a home at the very top of what is reasonable based on market conditions to attract the highest number of potential buyers.  Remember, people that don't get to see your home, won't buy it!


We want to purchase a new home, but we need the equity from our current home for the down payment.  What's the best way to accomplish this?
There are a few different options you will have to complete the sale of your home and a purchase of a new one with the proceeds:
1.) Take out an equity line on your existing home, and use those funds for a down payment on your new one.  Once you locate and get your offer accepted on a new home, you can immediately put your current home on the market.  In a seller's market like we're in now, this is generally the most popular way to achieve moving your equity to your new home.  This does put you under the gun to get your home on the market quickly once you get your offer accepted, so it's important to have your home market-ready prior to beginning your home search.  There are some potential pitfalls with the all of the timing in this circumstance, so please call us to discuss this strategy in greater detail.
2.) Make a contingent offer on a new home.  By making any offer you place on a new home contingent upon selling your current home, you are protected from having two mortgage payments at once, and are in much better control of the timing of the transaction.  The downside to this method is that some sellers won't consider taking a contingent offer, and those that do will most likely expect a higher price and/or better terms in exchange for this consideration.
3.) Sell First.  In this strategy, you would market and sell your home first, before making an offer on a new home.  You can negotiate a "rent back agreement" with your new buyers, allowing you to stay in your home for as long as 60 days after closing, giving you time to locate and purchase a new home.  This strategy can make you feel quite rushed as well, especially if you are looking for a new home with specific, or unusual qualities that may take longer to find.


Why are you different from discount brokers, and how will hiring a discount broker affect my bottom line?
Discount brokers make their money by counting on there being a strong seller's market.  In that situation, they essentially don't have to market your home.  They just need to put a sign up, and presto, they have an offer for you, saving you big bucks on commissions!  It sounds great, until you realize that if you had a professional, experienced, full service agent that helped you stage your home, created a solid marketing plan, and aggressively advertised your home through the local real estate MLS, the internet, print publications, and open homes to both real estate brokers and the general public, you could possibly have received multiple offers for well over the asking price, surpassing any possible savings you would have realized from a discount broker.  In a buyer's market like we are in today, the prospects are worse when using a discount broker.  They will only do the very basics of marketing, give you very little, to no benefit of knowledge and experience and advice and while your home is compared with many others on the market.


Another agent told me I can get more for my house.  Why shouldn't I list with them?
In the real estate community, this is known as "buying a listing".  It works like this:  When an agent knows that you are interviewing multiple agents to list your home, they purposely give you an inflated value of your home's value to entice you to list your home with them.  After your home has been on the market for awhile, with limited interest, they will then suggest a price reduction.  Just remember that while we will give you our best recommendation of your home's listing price, in the end, setting the asking price is up to you.  Don't select an agent by the price they say they can obtain.  Choose the agent you think will best represent you in properly marketing your home, and negotiating the best possible price and terms.  Any of us can agree to a price.  While we all want the highest possible price for your home, there is a point we can all agree that the price is too high, regardless of market conditions. 


Do you have referrals and testimonials from your past clients?
Do we ever.  Please refer to our testimonial and referral pages to see what our past clients had to say about the job we did for them, and please don't hesitate to contact anyone on our list.  We take great pride in exceeding all of our client's expectations, and referrals are our best source of new clients.


Aren't I at a disadvantage by listing with you instead of a large firm, like Coldwell Banker, RealtySouth or Re/Max?
Actually, quite the opposite.  Understand that all real estate agents are essentially independent contractors with their own independent businesses that, in most cases, pay to be associated with a large company.  Virtually anyone with a real estate salesperson license can walk in to one of these large, national firms and get a "job" on the spot.  The corporation may do a minimal amount of sales training, usually with very little support.  That's one reason why 86% of real estate agents quit within the first few years.  Our philosophy is different. Agents in our company are experienced professionals.  By being a smaller, independent firm, we focus on quality, not quantity of sales, and all of our marketing and advertising dollars are spent in the local community, not by running national TV spots telling you how great our company is.  We have the same memberships in all local associations and Multiple Listing Services as our larger counterparts, and through our participation in IDX, the sharing of listing information through other brokerage firms websites, we can offer better exposure for your home than any other company.


Is staging my home important?
A professionally staged home has a distinct advantage over homes that have not been staged.  Staging is the process by which we arrange and accessorize homes to show off its best features, while minimizing less attractive features.  A professionally staged home is immediately appealing to the majority of buyers, and emphasizes making rooms appear more spacious and bright.