FAQ's

How do I find a real estate agent?
Getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good agent. Be sure to ask if they would use the agent again. You also can call the managers of reputable real estate firms and ask them for recommendations of agents who have worked in your neighborhood. In any case, whether you are a buyer or a seller, you should interview at least three agents to give yourself a choice. A good agent typically works full-time and has several years of experience. If you are a seller, you should expect to review a comparative market analysis, which includes recent home sale prices in your area, when you talk to a prospective agent.

How do I prepare a property for sale?
First and foremost, put it in the best condition possible, especially if you are in a market with few buyers and lots of properties for sale. That means taking care of any major repairs that could deter a buyer (such as replacing any broken windows or replacing a leaky roof) if you can afford it. Next, work on your property’s curb appeal. Make sure your landscape is pristine. Mow the grass, clean up any debris and weed the garden beds. Plant a few annual flowers near the entrance or in pots to be placed by the door. Other quick fixes that don’t cost a lot of money but can help you get top dollar for your property: Clean the windows and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Be sure that the doorbell works. Clean and freshen up rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. Make sure that bathrooms and kitchens are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Replace leaky faucets and frayed cords. Eliminate the source of any bad smells, such as the kitty box. Use air freshener or bake a batch of cookies before showings to ensure that the property smells inviting. Invest in a couple of vases of fresh flowers to place next to any information about the property you have prepared for buyers.

What are some tips on negotiation?
The more you know about a seller’s motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called “motivated sellers” include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home. Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller’s asking price stacks up. Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all.

What is the difference between market value and appraised value?
What is the difference between list and sales prices?

The appraised value of a property is a certified appraiser’s opinion of the worth of a property at a given point in time. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees vary. Market value is what price the property will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker. Either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to determine what your property is worth. The list price is how much a property is advertised for and is usually only an estimate of what a seller would like to get for the property. The sales price is the amount a property actually sells for. It may be the same as the listing price, or higher or lower, depending on how accurately the property was originally priced and on market conditions. If you are a seller, you may need to adjust the listing price if there have been no offers within the first few months of the property’s listing period. The experience of your real estate professional is crucial in determining the listing price.