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? ​

Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, Offer & Acceptance, Preparing to Sell, The Buying Process, The Selling Process, Tips For the Buyer

Navigating A Home Sale Contingency

If you own a home and need to sell your home in order to qualify for the purchase of a new home, you will need to satisfy the “home sale contingency.”  Here is some information on them.  Your attorney can assist with it, answer questions as can your agent!

If a Buyers Property is Listed & Under Contract:

If the buyers property is the subject of a contract of sale, the buyer will need to:​

  1. Provide a copy of the contract of sale to the Sellers agent and to the seller at the time of signing the offer.​
  2. Notify agents of any changes in contract of sale through the process.​
  3. Notify the sellers real estate professionals of the established closing date within 3 days of setting the  closing date.  That way you can align however it is needed. ​

If a Buyers Property is NOT Under Contract Nor listed:

  1. Buyer will list the property with a licensed real estate broker within 5 business days after the attorney review period is completed OR if the contract is disapproved within 5 business days after parties agree to the contract.​
  2. A copy of the executed listing agreement needs to be provided within 3 business days of execution.​
  3. The buyer agrees to use their best effort to sell the property including listing it at a Reasonable price on reasonable terms and submitting it to the MLS.​
  4. Once a contract is entered into, the buyer will furnish the contract within 3 days of the fully executed contract and update of any changes throughout. ​
  5. Furnish closing date within 3 days of it being set to align the dates as needed.​
  6. If the contract is voided and doesn’t work out, notify the seller ​
  7. Set time of performance dates to adhere to.​

If you have a home sale contingency, note that…. 

  1. The Seller can/will continue to market the property​
    looking for non contingent buyers.​
  2. If an offer is submitted to the seller, seller shall notify​
    buyer and give 2 business days time to allow the buyer ​
    to deliver a way to drop the contingency​

Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Buying Process, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing, Tips For the Buyer

Should I Hire An Attorney

  • To protect your interests, it is advised to conduct your real estate transaction with a NJ Real Estate Attorney.  The attorney will:​
    • Review your contract of sale agreement within your 3 day right of review period.​
    • Assist in negotiations of the conditions of the sale.​
    • Revise the contract of sale agreement to protect you and your money.​
    • Assist in inspections reports and negotiations.​
    • Ensure the contract of sale is followed and satisfied per all deadlines and that all conditions are met.​
    • Assist the Title company and real estate agent with closing proceedings.​
    • Attend the closing to represent your interests.​
The Buying Process, The Selling Process

6 Signs a Home Seller Isn’t Serious About Moving Out

When homeowners round up a Realtor®, list the house, and stick a sign on the front lawn, it’s pretty clear they’re serious about selling their property. Right? Well, not always.
Just as there are home buyers who better belong in the window-shopper category, there are sellers secretly ambivalent about moving out. But until MLS listing sheets include fields for the seller’s state of mind (“It’s complicated”), all a buyer can do is look for some of the signs that, just maybe, the would-be seller isn’t exactly dying to make a deal. When homeowners round up a Realtor®, list the house, and stick a sign on the front lawn, it’s pretty clear they’re serious about selling their property. Right? Well, not always.Just as there are home buyers who better belong in the window-shopper category, there are sellers secretly ambivalent about moving out. But until MLS listing sheets include fields for the seller’s state of mind (“It’s complicated”), all a buyer can do is look for some of the signs that, just maybe, the would-be seller isn’t exactly dying to make a deal.
Heed the indicators that something is amiss—and you might just save yourself a whole bunch of delays and dashed hopes.

Sign No. 1: The asking price is off the charts

“If a property is listed for well above the price of all the other comparable homes, the seller is most likely trying to test the market and see if someone bites, but isn’t very serious about selling,” says Daniel Bortz, a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
In the current market, most homes that are priced correctly are flying off the shelves, adds Abigail Harris, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker residential brokerage in the Boston area. Harris says that listing a home at $50,000 over the price that similar homes in the community fetched is a clue that “maybe the seller isn’t going on the market for the right reasons.”
Still, there is an exception to consider. A person selling his property without an agent may just not know what listing price makes sense for the market in his area. Of course this may also be another indication that he’s not committed to selling.

Sign No. 2: The house is a mess

“People know that cluttered and dirty houses don’t attract buyers,” says Bortz. “So if the seller still lives in the home but the property shows horribly, he may not be fully committed to selling it.”

Sign No. 3: The seller won’t budge on price

Just like the adage says, time is money. And if a property has been on the market for more than 30 days without any reduction in price, that’s usually an indication that the homeowners aren’t gung-ho about selling it, reveals Bortz.
And the bar is set even higher in certain white-hot markets. “The rule of thumb around Boston is that if there’s been no activity for two weeks, no offers, or even an inkling of one, the Realtor will have a conversation with the homeowner about lowering the price,” Harris says. “If the owner isn’t willing to budge, that shows he isn’t really motivated to move.”
Such rigidity is also a red flag for other behavior that could burn buyers. Bortz says, “Someone who won’t reduce the price in this situation is probably the type of seller who will also refuse to make any requests for home inspection–related repairs.”

Sign No. 4: The listing has many stops and starts

What’s not to love about a do-over? Well, lots when it comes to buying a home, Bortz reveals: “If you see someone lists a property, takes it off the market, puts it back on, then takes it off again, they’re simply not very serious about selling.” The reason: This fickle approach proves they can’t commit to a plan of action; so odds are they won’t commit to you, either.

Sign No. 5: Negotiating is off the table

A good way to tell if a seller is not serious is if he rejects a very reasonable offer, says Harris. What’s reasonable? “One that’s a couple of percentage points below full asking,” she says. Some might even reject an offer at asking price, hoping for a bidding war. Still, though: Isn’t the whole goal of an asking price to get what you asked for? (You don’t have to answer this.)

Sign No. 6: The seller drags things out

Any time that a homeowner insists on an extension on your offer, be warned. “When a seller is dragging his feet like that, he’s not thrilled with the offer and is likely thinking, ‘What will tomorrow bring?’” says Harris. “So he says that he’s ‘in the process of reviewing the offer,’ but really he’s buying time to get a better offer. It’s so cruel to the buyer, but frankly the seller has the control. He has what the buyer wants and can hold the process up pretty much at every turn if he wants to.”
That’s why lawyering up is an essential fact of life in the home-buying process. “An attorney can draw up language saying that, ‘We’re not going to let you drag this out,’ and that the seller has until a certain date to respond or you’ll walk away,” says Harris. “Legal reps who put the heat on tend to speed things along.”
 After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:
Some people toy with the idea and aren’t ready financially or emotionally.  In the industry we refer to it as testing the waters with a high price for example.  A seasoned real estate agent that is a top agent in your area, will be able to tell based on how the transaction is going and guide you.


The Selling Process, Uncategorized

Last-Minute Visitors? Clean Your Home in 5 Minutes (or Less)

It’s the call every home seller loves to hate: Your listing agent phones to say she’s got a hot prospect in her office, and wants to know if she can bring them by right now.  Of course you shouldn’t refuse, but your dog just barfed in the kitchen, your husband’s golf clubs are littering the entryway, and, all in all, your home looks like hell. This is hardly the first impression you want to give buyers, right?


While you may not have time to clean your home from roof to basement, there are some easy ways to fake a polished abode in record time. Try a few of these tactics to whip your home into showing shape by the time the buyers pull up in front of your home.

Clear counters

The kitchen is key, says Heather Walker, a professional organizer and founder of Functional Spaces Organizing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 “Remove everything from the countertops except for the appliances and maybe a fruit bowl,” she advises.

A side benefit of this activity? Your bare countertops will appear bigger. This is critical for potential buyers—who may want to imagine baking cookies in your (now very organized) kitchen with their kids. Keep a basket handy and swipe everything into it—bills, catalogs, kids’ art projects, and pesky permission slips. Done!

Let in the light

There’s a reason phrases such as “lots of light,” “sun-drenched,” and “huge windows” pepper listings: Dimly lit homes feel small, dirty, and depressing. So, take 10 seconds to maximize light by opening drapes and shades wide, which not only lets in the sunshine, but also shows off your lawn, trees, and/or flowers. (No view? You may want to think about getting a second layer of sheer curtains.) If it’s dark out, do the next best thing: Turn on every single light in your home.

“Everyone wants to walk into a house that’s well-lit, so if you don’t have natural light, pull out a couple of lamps from the closet and plug them in,” suggests Walker.

Stash stuff under the bed

Many home sellers make the mistake of stashing things they want to quickly hide in their closet. Bad idea: Any home buyers worth their salt are going to check out your closets, and the more you store in there, the more cramped they will look. So what’s a better alternative? Under your bed. Few will stoop so low as to check under this furniture, so feel free to quickly stash clutter here.

“Buyers seldom look under the bed, especially with the use of a bed skirt,” says Patricia Loria, principal interior designer of the Loria Design Group in Northport, NY. Under-bed storage is key for a quick cleanup in the bedrooms, especially in children’s rooms (think toys, picture books, clothes).

Purge pets

“We all love our pets, but people have very different tolerances,” Loria says.

You can’t exactly drive the cat to the kennel every time you get one of these be-there-in-five-minutes calls, but you can eliminate most signs of your pet. For starters, scrape out stinky wet food from your pet’s bowl, toss toys in a basket or drawer, and stash the pet bed in a closet (or under the bed!). Don’t bother dragging out your heavy vac; instead, grab the hand-held version and suck up dry kibble as well as tufts of hair on the kitchen floor and couch cushions.

Check the bath

You don’t have time to reglaze the tub or scour grout (but definitely do these at another time). What you should do is make a fast pass over the faucet and sink with a sponge and disinfectant and swab the toilet with a squirt of cleaner.

A dirty bathroom will send a buyer running in the other direction. Let’s be honest: No one wants to visualize a stranger going through their hygiene routine, let alone witness any evidence.

Straighten up

There’s something to be said for right angles, so create them in your wake as you zip through the living and dining rooms. Push chairs in, stack magazines carefully, and fluff up throw pillows. Spritz a bit of furniture polish on a rag and run it over any wooden furniture surfaces.


What’s the harm in having a few family photos up, or artwork from your kids on the fridge? Such personal touches make it clear to home buyers that this home is yours, not (potentially) theirs.

“Prospective home buyers need to envision themselves in the space, but this can be difficult to do if the home is unkempt or too personalized by the current owner,” Loria says. So take a moment to stash these items in a drawer.

Banish bad smells

No matter how great your home looks, it will all be for naught if your home has some kind of smell, whether that’s a whiff of dog or the lingering odors of lunch. So whether or not you suspect your home is haunted by a slight funk—it’s hard to tell if you’re already in it—play it safe and open all the windows, turn on the vents, and light a scented candle. Or at the very least, splash some cleaning fluid in the sinks for that just-cleaned smell.

Get out of the House

There’s one last thing you need to clear from the premises: yourself! Much as you may think it’s helpful to hang around to answer questions or explain the great features of your home during the showing, now is the time to let it speak for itself.

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

It may not be perfect, but it’s a showing that you are able to accommodate!  By using these tips in conjunction with the other tips we’ve provided you here on this NJ real estate blog, you should have a good handle on how to handle showings.

Offer & Acceptance, The Selling Process, Uncategorized

Get a Lowball Offer? Here’s How to Turn It Into a Home Run

A seller’s worst nightmare is, of course, not being able to sell his home (it’s right up there with having his front yard designated as a Pokemon Go gym). But also scoring very high on the would-be disaster list is getting a lowball offer—as much as 10% to 30% below list price—from a buyer who is in serious need of a reality check.

So what’s up with that? Did the buyer not see the gorgeous kitchen you remodeled? Or the beautiful landscaping in the backyard? What about the awesome home fitness center you built? Heck, this home is worth every penny that you’re asking for!

Stop, take a deep breath, and focus on the patch of blue in this stormy sky.

“A lowball offer can lead to a successful sale if the seller plays their cards right,” says Kimberly Sands, a broker at Coldwell Banker Advantage in Apex, NC. After all, you’re the one who ultimately decides whether to accept or reject the bids that come your way.

In other words, the ball (or rather, lowball) is in your court. So take these steps to turn a bunt of an offer into a home run.

First, don’t get insulted

Just because a buyer starts with a low offer doesn’t necessarily mean the person is trying to take advantage of you. She might be moving to the area from a market where lowball offers are the norm, or where home prices are substantially lower than they are in your neighborhood.

“There’s a natural tendency to get upset when you receive a lowball offer,” says Sands, adding that the initial bid is a starting point. “There’s usually room for negotiation, so I never tell a client to reject an offer outright.”

Respond gracefully

A little gratitude—even if you’re not exactly thrilled about the size of the offer—can go a long way.

“It doesn’t do you any good to let the buyer know that you think their offer is rubbish,” says Sands. Indeed, responding in a negative tone can potentially kill the deal for good. “It sounds like common sense—don’t piss off the buyer—but many sellers get caught up in their emotions,” says Sands.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: Would you want to raise your offer for a rude seller? Probably not. Thus, when sending the buyer your counteroffer, cushion your response. Try: “We greatly appreciate your offer and we’d love to work with you. Here is our counteroffer.”

Write a strategic counteroffer

Assuming you priced the home well, don’t feel pressure to drastically slash your asking price.

“Some people feel so eager to sell their home that their counteroffer is actually too low,” Sands laments. It’s OK to give up some ground, but you don’t need to meet the buyer halfway.

Offer the buyer a slight price reduction—$5,000 to $10,000 for a $300,000 home, or $10,000 to $20,000 for a $1 million home—and briefly explain your reasoning. You could provide information on the comparable properties that you used to determine your list price (you did look at comps, didn’t you?). Another option: Have your agent draw the buyer’s attention to some of your home’s great features (e.g., your new energy-efficient HVAC system).

Expect a counteroffer to your counteroffer

Agreeing on a purchase price can feel like a chess game: You make one move and the buyer makes a countermove (in this case, a counteroffer).

“When a buyer comes in with a lowball offer, the buyer and seller might go back and forth for a while before both parties agree on a sale price,” says Sands, adding that sellers need to remain patient throughout the process.

Negotiate other terms

Having trouble settling on a sale price? There are other ways to sweeten the deal in your favor. Depending on your timeline, you could ask the buyer for an earlier settlement date. If you’ve already purchased your next home, for example, settling in 30 days instead of 45 would reduce the amount of time you’ll need to carry two mortgages simultaneously.

You could ask the buyer for fewer contingencies. One that would help you save money: Persuade the buyer to make her home inspection contingency an information-only inspection, which basically means that you won’t be asked to make any repairs.

Another negotiating point: Get the buyer to increase her earnest money deposit. This would give you greater assurance that the person is serious about purchasing your home.

“As a seller, you always want the buyer to have more skin in the game,” says Sands.

The bottom line: No seller dreams of getting a lowball offer, but with the right strategy you can turn a mediocre bid into a great sale.

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Real Estate Agent has the following insight:

Every seller wants top dollar and every buyer wants bottom dollar.  Negotiating is where you will find the common ground.  Yes, the low offer may offend you because your home is personal and you value it higher than anybody else will because of the blood, sweat and tears you’ve poured into it, but think about what the buyers are thinking.  They want your home, so feel flattered.  Just try and find a common ground to where you both walk away getting something you want.

The Buying Process, The Selling Process, Uncategorized

What If Your Home Appraisal Is Too Low?

You have signed a contract to purchase a house. Your potential lender has qualified you for the mortgage loan, on the condition that the house will appraise high enough to support the loan. Now you have learned that the appraisal has come in too low, and the lender is not prepared to commit the loan.

You have a number of options.

Let’s take this example. Your contract price is $500,000, and you are seeking a loan which will be 80 percent of the purchase price — or $400,000. Such a loan will help you avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums. However, the lender has appraised the house for only $480,000, and will only lend you $384,000.

Here are some of your options.

1. Cancel the deal. Read your sales contract carefully. Do you have a financing contingency, and do you still have time to terminate the contract if you cannot get the financing spelled out in the contract. If you have any questions about this, check it out with your attorney. Did you include a contingency for obtaining an acceptable appraisal? Read your contract carefully.

2. Put up more cash. You originally intended to put down $100,000 of your own money and get a $400,000 loan. Since the lender is only willing to lend you $384,000, you can — if you have the cash and want to use it — put up the additional $16,000 (or $116,000), and still buy the house. However, if the appraisal is truly accurate, give serious thought as to whether you may have overbid on the price. And don’t forget to plug into your equation closing costs — such as title insurance, recording taxes, title search, etc.

3. Change the terms of the loan. Obtain a first trust in the amount of $400,000, and a second trust in the amount of $16,000. This will help you avoid PMI. Talk with your lender about this; not all lenders like to use this approach.

4. Challenge the appraisal. You have the absolute right to obtain a copy of the appraisal. Read it carefully, and discuss it with your attorney and your real estate agent. You should then talk with the appraiser and/or the lender. If you believe there were errors in the appraisal, demand that the appraiser return to the property, and reevaluate the situation.

Keep in mind, however, that appraising property is not a science; at best, it is an attempt to determine what a piece of property is worth, based on a number of different methods of evaluation. While appraisers use such benchmarks as square footage, replacement value and other similar concepts, the bottom line in my opinion is that appraising a house is a very subjective exercise. Since no two houses are really similar, there has to be a lot of subjectivity involved in any assessment.

The best test of market value: what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept for the house.

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Real Estate Agent has the following insight:

In real estate, until you have the keys in your hand, at any time something can pop up to put a wrench into the transaction.  This is a case where the listing may have been priced higher than it should have been OR the local market is changing.  Whatever the reason, there are ways to go about proceeding, it will just depend on the amount it differs and the buyers cash flow.  From the sellers perspective, if the deal falls through with this buyer, your real estate agent will sit down and discuss obviously re-pricing the home to market towards other buyers.

The Buying Process, The Selling Process, Uncategorized

5 Scary Home Inspection Deal Breakers (and 2 That Aren’t)

In an ideal world there would be charming neighborhoods full of houses so perfect you wouldn’t even need to check the water faucets, much less hire a highly qualified home inspector. You could just comfortably make an offer on the house you liked the best and be done with it. Sweet.

OK, welcome back to reality! In the real world, every house needs an inspection before you buy and almost every inspection report is going to come back with at least one very black mark. That means you’re probably going to end up agonizing over the eternal home buyer question: To bolt or not to bolt? Fish or cut bait? Go for the deal or run for the hills?

The answer depends a lot on your tolerance level, but there are a few issues that Realtors† and home inspectors agree are total deal breakers. If you spot these, proceed with extreme caution.


1. Major foundation issues

Foundation issues are a huge undertaking to repair, and our experts agree it tops the list of home-buying deal breakers—especially if you’re a first-time buyer without the extensive funds needed for a lengthy and costly repair.

“Foundation cracks, bulges, and other irregularities can be extremely expensive to repair, and may even involve excavating the soil around the house to stabilize the walls,” says Welmoed Sisson, a home inspector with Inspections by Bob in central Maryland. “So correcting the problem can also mean extensive landscaping repair.”

The problem is, some foundation issues might be minor. The only way to tell is by hiring a licensed structural engineer to get to the root of the problem.

“It’ll be the best $500 you ever spent,” Sisson says.

2. Aluminum wiring

Aluminum wiring, which was popular during the Vietnam War era, isn’t terribly common these days. But if your potential home has it, it could mean big trouble.

“It was cheaper than copper, and builders used a lot of it,” Sisson says. “Problem is, aluminum expands and contracts in the heat more than copper, which causes the connections to loosen up, and then you get fires.”

If the house does have aluminum wiring, an electrician can add copper near the outlets—but that’s akin to putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. Odds are, you’ll need to have all the wiring replaced, and that can cost thousands of dollars.

3. Buried oil tanks

Before electrical heating came along, some homes had oil tanks buried in the backyard to funnel propane to the house during winter. Sound scary? It is! And there’s more: Those tanks might still be under the ground, just waiting to wreak havoc.

“These are environmental time bombs,” Sisson says. “If there is any evidence of leaking, the costs to remove a tank can easily exceed $10,000.”

Buried oil tanks are more common in the Northeast, where winters were harsher, but they can be found anywhere—and finding them can be tricky. If they’re active, you’ll see two pipes coming up from the ground. If they were shut off, there won’t be any outward evidence.

4. Polybutylene plumbing pipes

These pipes had their heyday as a cheap alternative to copper in the ’80s, but it didn’t last long.

“They were found to degrade due to the chlorine in municipal water supplies, and would spontaneously leak and cause terrible flooding,” Sisson says.

So all smart homeowners got rid of those pesky pipes, right? Nope—if the pipes haven’t leaked, homeowners tend not to be so quick to replace them. Sisson sees it all the time.

And while the current owners might have skirted by without waking up to an indoor swimming pool, you might not be so lucky.

“The damage is from the inside out, so it’s not visible until it fails and starts spewing water all over your basement,” Sisson says.

The only fix? Total pipe replacement to the tune of $10,000 and up.

5. Upgrades without permits

If you’re buying an older home, odds are someone did some upgrading before you came along. That’s usually a good thing (hello, granite countertops!), but it can be a very bad thing if the homeowner in charge had a DIY streak and a problem with authority.

Most upgrades require a permit from the local county or city. If the homeowner skirted the permit step and something goes wrong later (say, a fire from shoddy wiring or a flood from a busted pipe), you might run afoul of your homeowners insurance company.

“The insurance company will find out the work was not permitted and will most likely deny the claim and cancel the policy, leaving the homeowner on the hook for all the damages,” Sisson says.

But what about mold?

Most of us are worried about mold. Very, very worried. But mold might not be an automatic deal breaker.

That dark stuff you see around the grout lines in your bathtub? Yes, that’s mold. But there’s no reason to go running scared.

“In general, there’s a horror around mold that is unnecessary,” says Joshua Jarvis, founder of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, GA. “The challenge is that there is mold that can kill or at least make you sick, so you never want to downplay it.”

If you do encounter the nasty stuff, the best thing to do is have it identified by a qualified inspector. Many mold problems aren’t reason enough to not buy a home, but then again, some are. Have the experts tell you what category this house falls into.

What about bugs?

No question: Bug infestations are intensely gross. No one is thrilled to see roaches running around their potential new kitchen, but very few bug problems are a big deal—with one notable exception: termites.

“They can literally eat your home,” Jarvis says.

If the problem isn’t termites, plan on hiring a good exterminator before you move in and possibly having to deal with a few follow-up treatments.

Inspections cost money, and no one wants to be out the cash and a new house. But do it anyway—even on brand-new builds. You might spend a few hundred upfront, but you could save yourself thousands down the line.

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

The seller is holding his breath waiting to get the all clear, no issues, no repairs, as is the buyer.  Don’t be surprised if a couple things come up on the report.  But not all are deal breakers.  Depending on the home inspector, they may point out door handles that need adjusting which is minor or they may point out one of the above.  Clearly the above are much more money than a door handle.  The home inspection is the one area that can kill a deal very fast.  The buyer may not have any more cash flow to invest in more repairs, the seller may not either depending on their financial situation.  Trust the inspector that is hired and call in professionals in the area in which they recommend.  A home inspector is not qualified for certain elements such as electrical repair and what it would entail and costs.

The Selling Process, Uncategorized

Signs a Buyer Isn’t Serious

If all those excited home buyer declarations like “This place is just perfect for us” and “I have to have it!” were binding, selling houses would be a breeze. But, as with everything in life, it’s not what people say, it’s what they do that really matters.

Still, it’s hard for home sellers to not get their hopes up when a buyer’s gushing over their home—only to be disappointed when the buyer disappears without a peep.

So what are some signs a buyer isn’t serious about your home?

It’s a good thing experienced Realtors® can tell the difference between the buyer who means business and the one who has no intention of actually sealing the deal—and that these pros graciously agreed to clue us in.

Do any of the following red flags sound familiar? Keep each in mind, and you can save yourself the drama of dashed hopes.

Sign No. 1: The buyer is flying solo

If a buyer doesn’t have a real estate agent yet, he probably isn’t serious about shopping for a home.

“Buyer’s agents come at no cost to the buyer, since the seller pays the buyer’s agent’s commission,” explains Daniel Bortz, a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Do you think a shopper who can’t be bothered to enlist free expert help is motivated enough to start putting papers in motion? We don’t think so either.

To put things in perspective, consider this: 87% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, according to a survey conducted last year by the National Association of Realtors® of recent home buyers and sellers. You do the math!

Sign No. 2: The buyer just began shopping

The old adage that timing is everything applies to selling homes as well. Typical home buyers take three months to buy, so if a seller is entertaining interest from someone on Day 1 or Week 1 of her house hunt, chances aren’t good that she’s the one.

“Many buyers look at a number of houses before they decide what they want,” says Bortz. “And if they’re at the early stages in their search, you’re less likely to receive an offer.”

Sign No. 3: You meet the buyer at an open house

It’s also less likely that a seller will score an offer from a buyer at an open house. According to a report from the NAR, only half of home buyers visit open houses—and those who do may be trying to avoid too much attention by hiding in the herd.

Serious buyers, on the other hand, will conduct their home search online, then once they spot a home they like, request a private showing.

It’s like dating: Asking to see a home one on one carries more weight than asking someone, “Hey, wanna hang out in a group?”

Sign No. 4: No pre-approval from a lender

There’s no need to read between the lines of this sign.

“You need to include a pre-approval letter from your lender when you submit an offer on a property,” says Bortz. “Without one, there’s no indication to the seller that you can actually afford to purchase the home.”

Sign No. 5: A speedy visit

Buyers who zip along while they’re checking out the property aren’t likely to cross the finish line with you.

“Rushing through an open house is a definite sign of lack of interest,” says Abigail Harris, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker residential brokerage in the Boston area. Breezing through without asking questions, however, isn’t necessarily a bad sign, she adds. “Many buyers feel that they have all the answers and don’t need to ask questions.”

Sign No. 6: All promises, no action

Call it a bait and … stall.

“You can tell that a buyer is dragging her feet if she says she’s very interested in making an offer but it is taking days for her to actually submit one,” says Bortz, who has encountered this phenomenon a number of times. “Typically such buyers are seriously interested, but they’re also strongly considering making an offer on another property, so they might be weighing their options before they make an offer on one of them.”

Sign No. 7: A (really) lowball offer

Everyone wants to score a deal, but if a buyer offers an “unreasonably low” sum, says Harris, that’s a “sure sign that they don’t really want the property.”

“Serious buyers in today’s market make their best offer right out of the gate,” explains Bortz. “So I’m honestly not sure why someone would

throw out a ridiculously lowball offer. Maybe [it’s] just to test the waters?”

Sign No. 8: Lots of nitpicking

Even after the buyer has made an offer and you have accepted it, she still might not be 100% onboard with buying the property. Is she obsessed with finding faults and problems in the home?

“That’s a definite showing of disinterest,” says Harris. Bortz agrees, adding, “If she has a home inspection contingency and wants you to fix every single little thing that the inspector spots, such as a loose door knob, she might be looking for you to just give in and say, ‘No, I’m not fixing anything,’ so that she can back out of the deal.”

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

The same rules as dating apply to selling your NJ home! You will be able to weed out the serious from non serious by utilizing feedback from agents but also time and attention mixed with body language of potential buyers.