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10 Best Kept Secrets For Selling Your Home

Selling Secret #1: Always be ready to show your home!

You never know when your next buyer is going to walk through the door. Be sure your home is “show-ready” at all times – You will need to accommodate potential buyers schedules and be available whenever they want to come see the place. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the floors clean, bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dishes in the dishwasher. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.


Selling Secret #2: The buyers first impression says it all!

Buyers will judge your home before they walk through the front door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel welcome and safe as they approach the house. Clean and spruce up your home’s exterior with new brightly colored flowers and plants. Entryways are important so you will want to add a welcome touch by adding a sitting bench or fresh flowers.


Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first.

Your kitchen can make or break a potential sale – That’s how important it is! If your kitchen does not have a wow factor, consider remodeling your kitchen to appeal to buyers. The best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. Consider a few thousand dollars to replace countertops to prevent a buyer from knocking $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. If your budget does not include a complete remodel try the most cost effective way to upgrade – new paint and cabinet hardware. If you have a small budget available, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.


Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house.

Its very important to de-personalize your home before selling. The more personal items in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Remove a large percentage of items like family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Staging your home can be very effective and helps showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.


Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade right before selling.

Quick fixes before selling is a great strategy that will pay off. Large makeovers, may not help you in selling your home faster. Getting your money back if you do a large improvement before you put your house on the market may not happen. As an alternative, do upgrades that will pay off and get you top dollar. Consider putting a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Replace door hardware, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix any plumbing issues and clean the tile grout.


Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters.

You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.


Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field.

A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.


Selling Secret #8: Let the light in.

Brightening up a house can work wonders for its size and charm. According to a survey conducted by, lighting up a room typically costs less than $400 and adds a $1,500 boost to the final sale price of a house. Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Clean dirty windows, update lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.


Selling Secret #9: De-clutter and empty your closets.

This is the time when you go through your belongings and discover that there isn’t anything worth keeping. Ideally, your rooms should look open and kind of empty (marketers call that spacious) Storage is something every potential buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Remove half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize the remainder. It’s commonly known that buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.


Selling Secret #10: Find the value of your home and price it right.

Find the value of your home by consulting with a realtor, then consider taking 15 to 20 percent off the price. You may be swapped by buyers with multiple bids — even in down markets — and they may bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Double, double toil and trouble…

It has finally cooled off in the Phoenix area and, as we head into Halloween and the rest of the holidays, our market is still shifting.  We continue to add more listings which adds more inventory and we are seeing a steady drop in sales (since April).   This is great news for buyers as the current conditions allow for more successful negotiation.  Buyers are in an even better position as interest rates are anything but scary at the moment.  Sellers are needing to bend a little to get the sales these days.  The reason is simple, there are more choices out there for buyers.  The sellers that are realistic with price vs condition are still selling successfully and quickly.

Curious as to what your home could sell for in this market?  Visit:

New Listings Active Listings Sold Listings Months Inventory
Sep/2014 8,680 26,256 6,286 4.18
Aug/2014 8,389 25,924 6,474 4.00
Jul/2014 8,705 26,643 6,841 3.89
Jun/2014 8,945 27,520 7,254 3.79
May/2014 10,053 28,714 7,491 3.83
Apr/2014 10,305 29,297 7,638 3.84
Mar/2014 10,863 29,478 6,684 4.41
Feb/2014 9,908 28,897 5,494 5.26
Jan/2014 11,117 27,115 4,817 5.63


Eight Steps To Buying Your Home

1. Decide To Buy
Although there are many good reasons for you to buy a home, wealth building ranks among the top of the list. We call home ownership the best accidental investment most people ever make. But, we believe when it is done right, home ownership becomes an intentional investment that lays the foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice. There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home, and, among these, equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits stand out.

  • Base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.
  • If you are paying rent, you very likely can afford to buy.
  • There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. All you need to do in the short run is find a good buy and make sure you have the financial ability to hold it for the long run.
  • The lack of a substantial down payment doesn’t prevent you from making your first home purchase.
  • A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home.
  • The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now.
  • Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated, there are many professionals who will help you along the way.


2. Hire Your Agent
The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals, insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.

Seven Main Roles Of Your Real Estate Agent

A Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:

  1. Educates you about your market.
  2. Analyzes your wants and needs.
  3. Guides you to homes that fit your criteria.
  4. Coordinates the work of other needed professionals.
  5. Negotiates on your behalf.
  6. Checks and double-checks paperwork and deadlines.
  7. Solves any problems that may arise.

Eight Important Questions To Ask Your Agent
Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective.

Use the following questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed, professional real estate agent:

  1. Why did you become a real estate agent?
  2. Why should I work with you?
  3. What do you do better than other real estate agents?
  4. What process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
  5. What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
  6. What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
  7. What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
  8. Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?


3. Secure Financing
While you may find the thought of home ownership thrilling, the thought of taking on a mortgage may be downright chilling. Many first-time buyers start out confused about the process or nervous about making such a large financial commitment.

From start to finish, you will follow a six-step, easy-to-understand process to securing the financing for your first home.

Six Steps To Financing A Home

  1. Choose a loan officer (or mortgage specialist).
  2. Make a loan application and get preapproved.
  3. Determine what you want to pay and select a loan option.
  4. Submit to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.
  5. Get an appraisal and title commitment.
  6. Obtain funding at closing.


4. Find Your Home
You may think that shopping for homes starts with jumping in the car and driving all over town. And it’s true that hopping in the car to go look is probably the most exciting part of the home-buying process. However, driving around is fun for only so long, if weeks go by without finding what you’re looking for, the fun can fade pretty fast. That’s why we say that looking for your home begins with carefully assessing your values, wants, and needs, both for the short and long terms.

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • What do I want my home to be close to?
  • How much space do I need and why?
  • Which is more critical: location or size?
  • Would I be interested in a fixer-upper?
  • How important is home value appreciation?
  • Is neighborhood stability and priority?
  • Would I be interested in a condo?
  • Would I be interested in new home construction?
  • What features and amenities do I want? Which do I really need?


5. Make An Offer
When searching for your dream home, you were just that, a dreamer. Now that you’re writing an offer, you need to be a businessperson. You need to approach this process with a cool head and a realistic perspective of your market. The three basic components of an offer are price, terms, and contingencies.

Price – The right price to offer must fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. Your agent’s market research will guide this decision.

Terms – the other financial and timing factors that will be included in the offer.

Terms Fall Under Six Basic Categories In A Real Estate Offer

  1. Schedule – a schedule of events that has to happen before closing.
  2. Conveyances – the items that stay with the house when the sellers leave.
  3. Commission – the real estate commission or fee, for both the agent who works with the seller and the agents who works with the buyer.
  4. Closing Costs – it’s standard for buyers to pay their closing costs, but if you want to roll the costs into the loan, you need to write that into the contract.
  5. Home Warranty – this covers repairs or replacement of appliances and major systems. You may ask the seller to pay for this.
  6. Earnest Money – this protects the sellers from the possibility of your unexpectedly pulling of the deal and makes a statement about the seriousness of your offer.


6. Perform Due Diligence
Unlike most major purchases, once you buy a home, you can’t return it if something breaks or doesn’t quite work like it’s supposed to. That’s why home owner’s insurance and property inspections are so important.

A Home Owner’s Insurance Policy Protects You In Two Ways

  1. Against loss or damage to the property itself.
  2. Liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property.

The property inspection show expose the secret issues a home might hide so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign your closing papers.

  • Your major concern is structural damage.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things that are easily fixed can be overlooked.
  • If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist.
  • If the worst-case scenario turns out to be true, you might want to walk away from the purchase.


7. Close
The final stage of the home buying process is the lender’s confirmation of the home’s value and legal statue, and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit and finance. Your agent will keep you posted on how each if progressing, but your work is pretty much done.

You Just Have A Few Preclosing Responsibilities

  • Stay in control of your finances.
  • Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
  • Communicate with your agent at least once a week.
  • Several days before closing, confirm with your agent that all your documentation is in place and in order.
  • Obtain certified funds for closing.
  • Conduct a final walk-through.

On Closing Day, With The Guidance Of A Settlement Agent And Your Agent, You’ll Sign Documents That Do The Following:

  • Finalize your mortgage.
  • Pay the seller.
  • Pay your closing costs.
  • Transfer the title from the seller to you.
  • Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.

As long as you have clear expectations and follow directions, closing should be a momentous conclusion to your home-searching process and commencement of your home-owning experience.


8. Protect Your Investment
Throughout the course of your home-buying experience, you’ve probably spent a lot of time with your real estate agent and you’ve gotten to know each other fairly well. There’s no reason to throw all that trust and rapport out the window just because the deal has closed. In fact, your agent wants you to keep in touch.

Even after you close on your house, you agent can still help you:

  • Handle your first tax return as a home owner.
  • Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.
  • Help your friends find homes.
  • Keep track of your home’s current market value.

Attention to you home’s maintenance needs is essential to protecting the long-term value of your investment.

Home Maintenance Falls Into Two Categories

  1. Keeping it clean – Perform routine maintenance on your home’s systems, depending on their age and style.
  2. Keeping an eye on it – Watch for signs of leaks, damage, and wear. Fixing small problems early can save you big money later.

Creating Your Home Wish List

Before the home search begins, your real estate agent will want to know as much as possible about the features and amenities you desire. To help your agent better serve you, analyze what you want and what you need in a home’s features and amenities.


  • Age – Do you prefer historic properties, or newer ones?
  • Style – Do you have a special preference for ranches, bungalows, or another style of construction?
  • Bedrooms – How many?
  • Bathrooms – How many? Are they updated?
  • Living and Dining Areas – A traditional, formal layout, or a more open, contemporary plan?
  • Stories – How many?
  • Square feet – How much space?
  • Ceilings – How high?
  • Kitchen – How big? Recently updated? Open to other living areas?
  • Storage – Big closets, a shed, an extra-large garage?
  • Parking – A garage or carport? Room for how many cars?
  • Extras – Attic or basement?


  • Office
  • Play/Exercise Room
  • Security System
  • Sprinkler System
  • Workshop/Studio
  • In-Law Suite
  • Fireplace
  • Pool
  • Hot Tub
  • Sidewalk
  • Wooded Lot
  • Patio, Deck, or Porch
  • Laundry Room

Location, Location, Location

Where you buy not only affects the home’s current and future value, but it also affects your lifestyle. Your agent will be able to conduct a more targeted home search if you outline your preferences in neighborhoods and nearby amenities. Here’s a checklist of items you should consider and communicate to your chosen real estate agent.

  • Urban, Suburban or Rural
  • Commute Time
  • School Districts
  • Desirable Neighborhoods
  • Proximity to the Airport
  • Proximity to Restaurants and Retail
  • Access to Major Highways and Thoroughfares
  • Access to Public Transportation
  • Health Care Facilities
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Length of time you plan to live in the home (Your agent should be knowledgeable about growth trends and projections that could affect your investment.)

Moving? Connect with Live Recommended Real Estate Agents in your target area.