Preparing For Sale, Selling Tips, The Selling Process

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Dectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Fire Extinguishers will be the subject of a certification the Seller of a home will need prior to closing.  In 2018, State Fire Marshalls have upped their inspections when an agent goes online to verify the existence of the proper equipment and location, prior to them handing over the certification.

 

State Fire Codes have been updated as of 1/1/19 to the following:

 

Per the fire code, Ten year sealed battery-powered single station smoke alarms shall be installed and shall be listed in accordance with ANSI/UL 217, incorporated herein by reference.  However, A/C powered single or multiple-station smoke alarms installed as part of the original construction or rehabilitation project shall not be replaced with battery-powered smoke alarms.

 

 

Choosing An Agent, Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Listing Process, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing

Did You Have A Failed Listing?

  • Why do you think your home didn’t sell?​
  • If you got feedback, what was it?​
  • How was your home marketed?​
  • Were any showings refused?​
  • Did you receive or refuse any offers?​
  • Was the price adjusted? If no, why not?​
  • Did you receive regular progress reports?​
  • Were there any public and/or broker opens?​
  • Did you have a professional photographer?​
  • Did you have a video walk through done?​
  • Are you still committed to selling the property?​
  • Have you made recent updates?​
  • What is the debt against the property? ​

Choosing An Agent, Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Listing Process

Top 13 Questions For Before You List

  • What drew you to this home when you bought it?​
  • What is your favorite/least favorite thing about this house?​
  • What is your favorite/least favorite thing about this neighborhood?​
  • What sets your home apart from others ?​
  • Why are you looking to sell?​
  • How soon do you need to move?​
  • Which is more important—price or timing?​
  • What challenges do you see in selling your home?​
  • Who do you think is the ideal buyer for this home?​
  • What is your plan if your home doesn’t sell in the time period you indicated?​
  • What qualities do you want in your agent?​
  • Do you have a ballpark price in mind? ​
  • Tell me about your home – how long you’ve lived here, what you like best about it and whether you’ve performed any renovations or major repairs.​

Choosing An Agent, Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Listing Process

The Role Of A Sellers Agent

The role of an agent is to guide and advise you through the process. We’re a team, working together! ​

  • Help you determine the highest possible selling price for your home ​
  • Present a list of suggested repairs or presentation tips, if necessary ​
  • Recommend reputable repair companies, if necessary​
  • Take professional pictures and video for marketing purposes ​
  • Share your home with our extensive global network ​
  • Enter your home in the local listing services​
  • Advertise your home to ensure the greatest exposure to buyers​
  • Arrange showings​
  • Gather and present feedback from showings​
  • Present and negotiate offers on your behalf​
  • Guide you through the contract and attorney review process​
  • Guide you through the home inspection & appraisal​
  • Guide you through township and state requirements​
  • Assist the attorney & title company in closing needs-iemonitor buyer’s loan and progress​
  • Assist you on the purchase of your next home, if necessary​
  • Be present at closing to ensure a successful transaction & to CELEBRATE!​

Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips

Preparing Your Home For Sale- Exterior

Improve Curb Appeal

  • The first view (and first impression) of your home comes when potential buyers drive by your home.
  • Keep the lawn manicured and edged.
  • Add a little fertilizer to turn your lawn a healthy green color.
  • Trim bushes so that they don’t cover your windows
  • Plant some flowers
  • Repair any cracks in the driveway
  • Repair and paint the fence
  • Freshly paint or touch up any bad paint areas.
  • Clean the gutters
  • Remove leaves

 

Reduce Any Outside Clutter

  • Consider moving any unused vehicles, campers or boats
  • Store trash cans inside the garage
  • Put children’s bikes & toys neatly into the garage or another storage area.
  • Remove old lawn decorations
  • Check bushes for hidden newspapers and ads
  • Clean out the garage.  Have a pre-moving garage sale!

 

Home Exterior Touch Ups

  • Check to make sure all railings, steps, gutters and antennas are secured.
  • Check house numbers to make sure they are visible from the street.
  • Check your mailbox for rust
  • Look for wear or fading on your front door
  • Wash the windows – inside and out
  • Polish any outside brass
  • Replace or repair your screens
  • Insure that the doorbell and outside lights work
  • Buy a new welcome mat!

Garage:

  • Now is a great time to clear away items you kept “just in case” you ever needed them!  If you haven’t used them/ needed them by now, you  may never will!
  • Is your garage a storage area for everything that doesn’t fit in the trash? Throw it away!
  • Old boxes / broken items / forgotten items?  Throw it away!
  • Give away or sell what you don’t need!
  • Sweep / wash the floor!
  • Dust everything standing still
  • Lawn equipment, bikes, toys and boxes should be tidy and well organized


Backyard:

  • Think of your backyard as an extension of your living space.
  • Nice weather? Display freshly scrubbed /newly painted patio furniture outside.  Place them in conversational grouping.
  • Flowering shrubs? Roses?  Accentuate them! Have outside furniture overlook them or other areas of interest.
  • Garden? Remove weeds / trim overgrowth.  Pull dead plants.

 

 

Preparing For Sale, Uncategorized

Decision: I Need to Buy A Larger Home in NJ

Since you purchased your home that you live in, situations have changed.  It was you and your fiance when you moved in, now it is you, your husband/wife and 3 kids.  The 3 bedroom home you are living in just isn’t cutting it.  The kids are sharing a room to sleep, the toys have overrun your home, the yard isn’t large enough for them to play with their toys.

Now that is a very common scenario.  You’ve decided to upsize.  Congratulations!  You are about to embark on a selling and buying journey.  So now that you’ve said that’s it, we are moving, what’s next?

Well, the first thing I would do is contact a professional real estate agent in your town.  Do a google search, ask a friend perhaps, and see who is the best Realtor in your town to assist you in the selling and buying process.  A top Realtor will be able to set you up with a finance member to assist you in establishing some boundaries and steps to take.  A top Realtor will also be able to guide you every step of the way from the first appointment to the closing table where keys to your larger home are in hand.

When choosing a Realtor, go on more than just the biggest name you recognize though.  Interview a few, don’t just settle on one.  You are on a journey together, so ensure you are comfortable in your decision.  Good luck and check out my tips and advice for buying and selling your NJ home from articles and blog posts right here on www.melissachristopherrealtor.com.

 

Buying Tips, Preparing For Sale, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing

Yikes! What If Your Home Inspector Missed Something Huge?

Your offer has been accepted, and there’s just one more obstacle between you and your new home: the inspection. It can be a stressful event for both buyers and sellers as they wait for the report, hoping no major issues will surface that could sideline the deal.

But what if you make it through that day, let out a big sigh of relief, seal the deal, and then a few weeks or months later find an issue in your new home—a bat infestation, a leaky roof, a CDC-level mold problem—that the home inspector didn’t catch? Just how much peace of mind does a home inspection really buy you?

 

Find out how you can protect yourself.

 

Start by finding the right home inspector

Sadly, there’s no insurance home buyers can take out to protect themselves from a faulty inspection. As such, the most important step home buyers can take to prevent that scenario is to select a reputable inspection company.

Make sure you choose a firm that has been in the residential inspection business for a while and has a strong reputation (real estate agents and lenders often have recommendations).

But most important, your home inspector should have adequate insurance.

Keith Balsiger, president of Balsiger Insurance in Las Vegas, says buyers should ask for a current certificate of insurance that shows the inspection company has both general liability insurance and professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance). This is what would potentially cover you as a buyer if there was a major “miss” on the part of the inspection.

If you want to be extra safe, you can call the insurance agency of the inspection company to confirm the coverage on the certificate is still valid.

You also want to closely examine the terms of the liability insurance. David Reiss, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, says some contracts will state that the company is liable only for the cost of the inspection, which won’t be much solace if you find yourself on the hook for repairs that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Ideally, you would not want there to be any limit on the inspector’s liability in case he or she was negligent in doing the inspection,” says Reiss. At the very least, make sure the limit exceeds the cost of the inspection alone.

Why buyers should attend the home inspection

As an added safeguard, buyers should be physically present during the inspection. If an inspector balks at this idea, that’s a red flag. Make sure to find out what is covered by the inspection, and if there’s anything you want the inspector to scrutinize in particular (say, you know the boiler is old or the basement has water stains, suggesting flooding issues), state that upfront.

“It’s a buyer’s job to make the most of the home inspection,” says Bryant Dunivan Jr., a real estate and consumer protection attorney in Brandon, FL. Here are some things to watch for during the inspection:

  • The inspector is working off a checklist of items that was in the contract.

  • Major systems (air conditioning, heating, water, etc.) are tested.

  • The inspector actually enters attic and crawl spaces.

  • A report complete with pictures is provided.

What to look out for in a home inspection

Robert Pellegrini Jr., president of PK Boston, a real estate law firm based in Boston, says a typical red flag disclaimer on the inspection report is a statement that there was a problem with “access” to roofs, eaves, and areas behind locked or blocked doors or crawl spaces.

“That serves to absolve the inspector of any liability,” Pellegrini says.

Urge the home seller to remove all barriers that might prevent an inspector from doing a thorough job. Some home buyers even take the process into their own hands and hire drones or robots to view inaccessible areas.

Uh-oh! You’ve closed, but there’s a problem

No matter how many precautions you take, the nightmare scenario does happen: You move in and then discover a problem. A big one. Can you bring it up with the seller? After all, sellers are required to disclose any known issues about the home.

Well, here’s the rub: Proving the seller knew about something after the fact is nearly impossible, and the legal cost involved in trying to prove it is often too steep to make an attempt.

Which brings us back to the home inspector. If you encounter a problem, bring it up with your inspector. As long as you used one with decent liability insurance that covers more than just the cost of the inspection, odds are decent you’ll be compensated for any damages. Again, you’ll have to prove it. For example, if the inspector said the roof was in good condition, but there was a leak months later during a big storm, you would have to prove that nothing happened in the intervening time that damaged the roof.

“Bottom line: You would probably need pretty clear facts on your side to win,” Reiss says.

Problems and repairs are just par for the course when you become a homeowner, but hopefully you won’t have to deal with them the minute you step in the door of your new home.

 

Julie Ryan Evans is an editor and writer who has covered everything from politics to pop culture and beyond. She loves running, reading, cold wine, and hot weather.

Follow @julieryanevans

http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/home-inspector-missed-something/

Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, The Selling Process, Uncategorized

Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ Reveals 5 Top Home-Staging Mistakes

Few home renovation reality show hosts are as enjoyable to watch as Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” And for good reason: One, let’s face it, they’re a cute couple. Two, as the show’s before-and-after pics make clear, Chip (a contractor) and Jo (a designer) are a potent combo when it comes to transforming humble hovels into gorgeous homes.

And now fans craving more about this pair can get their fill with their first book, “The Magnolia Story,” out Oct. 18. This biography reveals how they first met (at an auto repair shop), the highs and lows of raising their “babies” (four kids and their home remodeling business, Magnolia Homes in Waco, TX), and plenty of lessons learned along the way about renovations, real estate, and relationships.

One of the keys to a successful home sale, says Jo, is home staging, where you arrange your furniture and décor (or some rented stuff) in a way that entices buyers to make an offer. Yet home staging is a highly misunderstood practice, one where home sellers can easily make missteps that can undermine these efforts.

Here, Jo reveals the top five home-staging mistakes she’s seen, so you’ll know to avoid them when selling your home.

Mistake No. 1: Purging all your family photos

“You’ll hear staging experts say to take down your family photos, kids’ artwork, and anything personal, so that a potential buyer can picture their family in your home, rather than seeing yours everywhere,” says Jo. “Personally, I love knowing that a house is well-loved, and seeing those personal touches displayed reminds me that my family would be happy there, too.”

Mistake No. 2: Including too much furniture

“Trying to put too much furniture in one space makes it look smaller than it really is,” Jo explains. “Try to stick with three large pieces at most per room to keep the house feeling big and open.”

Mistake No. 3: Not cleaning up

“It’s true that leaving your house a mess can keep a potential buyer from seeing how beautiful your space really is, so a quick cleaning blitz before a showing can do a lot of good,” says Jo. “When the house is clean, buyers can see you love your house—and know they will, too.”

Mistake No. 4: Stuffing clutter into closets

On the other hand, “if you’re scrambling to clean up when a real estate agent schedules a last-minute showing, don’t stuff your closets full of laundry, toys, odds, and ends,” says Jo. “Potential buyers will definitely want to know how much storage space your home has, so no closet will be safe for concealing messes. If you’re in a pinch, a last-ditch effort to hide a mess is under a bed.”

Mistake No. 5: Ignoring your home’s exterior

“Simple touches like making sure the lawn is freshly cut, power-washing the driveway, or putting a few freshly potted plants on the front porch can make a big impact,” says Jo. “It’s all about reminding them that your house is cared for, so they won’t worry that you’re also ignoring what they can’t see.”

http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/home-staging-mistakes-chip-joanna-gaines/

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:

Great tips from a professional!  Most people don’t take the time to stage their home and that will impact the time it may take your real estate agent to sell your home.  Listen to the professionals in your area, as they prepare to market your home!

Preparing For Sale, Tips During the Listing, Uncategorized

6 Essential Steps for Selling a Home With Pet

We love our pets, whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, capybaras, hedgehogs, or pygmy goats—but that doesn’t mean that potential buyers want to see said pets (or any evidence of them) when looking at a home they’re thinking of buying.

“Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite—smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates.

Don’t want your precious property to be known as “that dog house”? Well, you need to pet-proof your place when preparing and showing it for sale. Here’s how, in six simple steps.

 

1. Check your insurance

Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable for any harm your pet causes, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.

However, some insurers will not cover anyone who owns what they deem vicious or aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls; and if they do provide coverage, it could be expensive. If you have such a dog (and even if you don’t), it’s best to keep him out of the house during a showing.

2. Prepare your yard

Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig.

Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by.

Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.

Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis—not a brown-and-yellow dustbowl created when pets pee on grass. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots. But if that doesn’t work fast enough, you can replace ugly patches with new sod. Then, train

Travis the Titan Terrier to use an out-of-the-way spot for his business. Or take him for very long walks.

3. Remove the odors

Removing the odors pets leave behind is one of the biggest challenges. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box. But it’s way harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.

If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, you might have to hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. (Perhaps you should consider this whether you are selling your home or not.) Often, however, the odor returns, so if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.

Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And make fish tanks sparkle; a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick.

4. Clean up the hair

Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.

Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.

If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.

5. Hide the evidence

Like kids, pets (or rather, their caretakers) tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters, and costumes for Christmas and Halloween (ladies and gentlemen: It’s canine Ken Bone!). But no matter how adorable you may think it all is, to buyers, it’s just clutter.

Make sure you stow pet paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. Put dry food bins in a laundry or mud room. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.

6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)

If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats, says Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, MI.

“Even purchasing a new exciting toy or treat just prior to company coming may keep them more preoccupied,” he says.

But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate for your pet before a showing, or to send him to Grandma’s for an extended stay. But remember that pets have emotions, too—especially when it comes to change in their routines.

When you stow their toys, move their water bowl, or put them in a crate when strangers inspect their home, some pets will feel confused and anxious. So before making any major changes in the life of a dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/sell-home-pets/

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor  has the following insight:

Not everybody is a pet lover.  Some don’t like the smell, hair or the appearance.  Some people don’t want their pets jumping on them with dirty paws, hair and some may love them.  Prepare your home for showings to show the home, not your animals.  When possible, board them, take them for a walk and hide evidence such as the big dog bed in the master bedroom.  It may make the room feel cluttered!