1 Million Homes | One Just For You

Los Angeles is made up of 114 neighborhoods and Rena specializes in navigating them all to find the perfect solution for you.

No matter where you are in the home buying or selling process, Rena wants to make sure you have the right tools for success. Explore our resources curated especially for home buyers and sellers below.

Buying A Home

Get answers to the most frequently-asked questions from home buyers.

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, and 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.

  1. If you are paying rent, you very likely can afford to buy
  2. 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
  3. The lack of a substantial down payment doesn’t prevent you from making your first home purchase
  4. A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home
  5. The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now
  6. Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated – there are many professionals who will help you along the way

2. Hire Rena as your Realtor
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 several other individuals whose actions and decisions should be orchestrated to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is my responsibility as 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 as your real estate agent –

A Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:

  1. Educates you about the 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 real estate 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. Submit 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.

Contact our preferred Lender with over 25 years of experience: www.MoniquePeace.com

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 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:

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

5. Make an Offer
Now that you’re writing an offer, you need to be a businessperson. You should 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. Your offer should fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. I’ll review the market research with you and will guide you through this process.

Terms fall under six basic categories in a real estate offer:

  1. Several events must 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, however 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 Deposit – this protects the sellers from the possibility of your unexpectedly pulling out 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 homeowner’s insurance and property inspections are so important.

A homeowner’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 should expose any issues a home might hide so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign your closing papers.

As your Agent, I suggest to have the following inspections completed within 10 Days of your offer acceptance: Primary Home Inspection, Sewer Inspection and Termite Inspection.

  • You may be concerned about structural damage, major systems working properly.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things that are easily fixed can be overlooked.
  • If you have a big problem show up on your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist. If the worst-case scenario turns out to be true, you can negotiate with the seller or withdraw your offer to purchase the home.

7. Close
The final stage of the home buying process is the lender’s confirmation of the property 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 lender will keep you posted throughout the transaction.

You may have a few pre-closing responsibilities:

  1. Stay in control of your finances.
  2. Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
  3. Communicate with your Lender regularly.
  4. Several days before closing, confirm with your lendert that all your documentation is in place and in order.
  5. Obtain certified funds for closing.
  6. Conduct a final walk-through with your Agent

On closing day, with the guidance of Escrow, Title, Lender and Agent, you’ll sign documents that do the following:

  1. Finalize your mortgage.
  2. Pay the seller.
  3. Pay your closing costs.
  4. Transfer the title from the seller to you.
  5. Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.

If 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.
7. Protect your Investment
Throughout the course of your home-buying experience, we’ve probably spent a lot of time together and have gotten to know each other well. Let’s continue our rapport and keep in touch.

Even after you close on your house, you may need additional help / information:

  1. Closing statement for your taxes.
  2. Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.
  3. Help your friends find homes.
  4. Keep track of your home’s current market value.

Attention to your 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.

You may need to contact your Home Warranty company for repair or replacement of issues within your home.

Deciding How Much House You Can Afford

How Much House You Can Afford?

Your lender decides what you can borrow and you decide what you can afford.

Lenders are careful, and they make qualification decisions based on averages and formulas. They won’t understand the nuances of your lifestyle and spending patterns quite as well as you do. So, leave a little room for the unexpected – for all the new opportunities your home will give you to spend money, from furnishings, to landscaping, to repairs.

Historically, banks use a ratio called 28/36 to decide how much borrowers could borrow. An approved housing payment couldn’t be more than 28 percent of the buyer’s gross monthly income, and his or her total debt load, including car payments, student loans, and credit card payments, couldn’t be more than 36 percent.

As home prices have risen, some lenders have responded by stretching these ratios to as high as 50 percent. No matter how expensive your market though, we urge you to think carefully before stretching your budget quite so much.

Deciding how much you can afford should involve some careful attention to how your financial profile will change in the upcoming years. In the long run, your own peace of mind and security will matter most.

We encourage you to work with a qualified, knowledgeable and professional Lender.

Please contact our preferred mortgage lender:

MORTGAGE LENDING

Monique Peace an expert in her field of Real Estate Mortgage Finance. She brings over 25 years’ experience and knowledge to our team.  She truly understands the objectives of her clients and assists them in reviewing their loan options to choose which loan product is best for them. American Capital Corporation is a Direct Lender and Mortgage Banker founded in 1994, and is one of the largest independent mortgage Bankers/Brokers in California. CABre#01064171 & NMLS#26242

Monique Peace | 310.476.7931 | Monique@MoniquePeace.com

Creating Your Home Wish List

Creating Your Home Wish List

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

Features:

  • 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?

Amenities:

  • 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

Location, Location, Location

Where you buy not only affects the home’s current and future value, it also affects your lifestyle. We 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 us so that we can assist you in locating a home that fits your criteria.

* 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

Opting For New Home Construction

New Home Construction

Whether to buy an existing home or have one built is yet another decision to make during the home-buying process. If you decide to go with new construction, We can be a powerful advocate in your corner as you negotiate upgrades, a move-in date and other terms with the home builder.
Below are some basic pointers to prepare you for the journey ahead.

Selecting a Builder
Shopping for a large production or custom home builder can be a daunting task. Start by defining what architectural styles appeal to you and then seek out the builders in your area who offer those styles. Due diligence is essential. Ask friends for referrals to get firsthand accounts; verify the builder’s state license status, if applicable; and check whether they’re certified by the National Association of Home Builders.

The Builder Representative and your Real Estate Agent
A builder representative’s goal is to sell you a home. Their role is to provide a wide range of information to help you in your decision-making, from building restrictions, roads and easements to inspections, warranties, rebates and upgrades. A real estate agent knowledgeable in new-home construction will be able to help you wade through all the data and point out the downsides and upsides of each line item. Your agent also can look out for your interests in reviewing the builder’s contract, which often contains more legal jargon than consumer-friendly language.

It’s all about Timing
Market conditions greatly dictate a builder’s incentive to make a deal you cannot refuse. When a builder has inventory on his hands, his carrying costs start adding up. When this happens, a builder might be more amenable to strike a favorable deal, whether it’s throwing in upgrades or taking a bit off the asking price. A real estate agent can help you know when market conditions are right for these benefits. Also, watch for builder close-out sales. Builders promote these special events when a new subdivision is near completion but empty inventory remains.

A Word about Paying Up
While there are always exceptions, most builders require a deposit when a purchase agreement is signed. They also require that the buyer pay for any upgrades prior to closing. If you back out prior to closing, unless the agreement states otherwise, you will lose that money. Make sure you understand every detail in the builder’s contract before signing it.

How can a real estate agent help me?

Role as a 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

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 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?

Selling A Home

Get answers to the most frequently-asked questions from home sellers.

Eight Steps to Selling Your Home

Eight Steps to Selling Your Home

1.Define your Needs –

Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move, also include your time frame to sell. As your Agent, we will work together to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.

2.Name your Price –

Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. You should consider the condition of your home, what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for, and state of the overall market in your area. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so your real estate agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step.

As your Agent, I will know what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average time those homes are sitting on the market. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This typically costs a few hundred dollars. Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3% of their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller may drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.

3.Prepare your Home –

Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer. First impressions are the most important.

I can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers. A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized decor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs. Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer’s first impression. Clutter is a big no-no when showing your home to potential buyers. Make sure you have removed all knick-knacks from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible.

4.Get the Word Out –

Now that you’re ready to sell, I will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including: internet, yard signs, open houses, media advertising, agent-to-agent referrals, direct mail marketing campaigns.  In addition to listing your home on the MLS, we will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. I will structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.

5.Receive an Offer –

When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, I’ll review all offers and check to make sure the buyer has been prequalified or preapproved to buy your home, or if it’s a cash purchase, make sure that the buyer has adequate proof of funds to purchase. We will review all offers, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction.

The contract, though not limited to this list, will include the following: legal description of the property, offering price, down payment, financing arrangements, list of fees and who will pay them, deposit amount, inspection rights and possible repair allowances, appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home, settlement/closing date, contingencies.

At this point, you have 3 options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counter offer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with me right away.

6.Negotiate to Sell –

Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. I’m well versed on the intricacies of the contracts and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. I also know what each contract clause means and what you will net from the sale, and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some negotiable items:  Price, Financing Closing costs, Repairs, Appliances and fixtures, Landscaping, Painting, Move-in date. Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, I’ll prepare a counter offer.

7.Prepare to Close Escrow –

Once you accept an offer to sell your house, we will need to make a list of all the things you and the buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. I will spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some, or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue.

If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away (cancel the contract), open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Important reminder: Begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.

8.Closing –

Closing is when the property is legally transferred to the buyer. I will guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. If necessary, I will mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. Prior to closing, you should make a “to do” list for turning the property over to the new owners. Here is a checklist to get you started:  cancel electricity, gas, water, lawn care, cable and other routine services. If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account. Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances.

How to Price to Sell and Still Make A Profit

How to Price to Sell and Still Make A Profit

The asking price you set for your home significantly affects whether you will profit in the sale, how much you will profit and how long your home will sit on the market. I will share knowledge of the overall market and what’s selling – or not selling – this is invaluable in helping you determine the price. The objective is to find a price that the market will bear and won’t leave money on the table.

Here are some points to consider: Time. Time is not on your side when it comes to real estate. Although many factors influence the outcome, perhaps time is the biggest determinant in whether or not you see a profit and how much you profit. Studies show that the longer a house stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell for the original asking price. Therefore, if your goal is to make money, think about a price that will encourage buyer activity.

Value vs. Cost. Pricing your home to sell in a timely fashion requires some objectivity. It’s important that you not confuse value with cost – in other words, how much you value your home versus what buyers are willing to pay for it. Don’t place too much emphasis on home improvements when calculating your price, because buyers may not share your taste. For instance, not everyone wants hardwood floors or granite countertops.

Keep it simple. Because time is of the essence, make it easy for the buyers. Remain flexible on when we can schedule showings. Also, avoid putting contingencies on the sale. Though a desirable move-in date makes for a smoother transition between homes, it could cause you to lose the sale altogether.

Practicing Good Seller’s Etiquette

Practicing Good Seller’s Etiquette

Let’s face it, when your house goes on the market, you’re not only opening the door to prospective Buyers, but also sometimes to unknown vendors and naive or unqualified Buyers. As with any business transaction, there is an expected protocol to how Sellers, Buyers and their respective Agents interact. Should you find yourself in a sticky situation, alert me so that I can address and remedy the problem.

The Aggressive Agent:
When we List your home for sale and begin marketing, typically all promotional materials state clearly that I’m the primary contact for Buyers and Buyers’ Agents. However, sometimes a Buyer’s Agent will contact a Seller directly to try to either win over their business or cut the Seller’s agent out of the deal. This is not reputable behavior and you should report it to me immediately if it happens to you.

The Unscrupulous Vendor:
Have you ever started a business or moved into a new house and suddenly found your mailbox full of junk mail? Unfortunately, this also can happen when you put your house on the market. When you sell your home, it necessitates all kinds of new purchasing decisions and less-than-ethical vendors are keenly aware of this. Though MLS organizations enforce rules on how posted information is used, some companies have found ways to cull information from various sources to produce mass mailing lists. If you find yourself regularly emptying your mailbox of junk, let me know. I may be able to contact the appropriate sources to prompt an investigation into the matter.

The Naive Buyer:
Yard signs, Internet listings and other advertisements can generate a lot of buzz for your home. Some prospective Buyers, particularly first-timers will be so buzzed to see your home that they’ll simply drop by. If this happens, no matter how nice these unexpected visitors are it’s best not to humor their enthusiasm by discussing your home or giving an impromptu tour. Instead, politely let them know that your Real Estate Agent oversees scheduling tours and provide them with my contact information. If you attempt to handle these surprise visits on your own, you might inadvertently disclose information that could hurt you during negotiations down the road.

Understanding The Buyer

Understanding the Buyer

As a Seller, you can control three factors that will affect the sale of your home:

1) The home’s condition
2) Asking price
3) Marketing strategy

However, it’s important to note that there are numerous other factors that influence a Buyer, and you need to understand these consumer trends when you enter the Sellers’ market. The more your home matches these qualifications, the more competitive it will be in the marketplace. As your Real Estate Agent, I can advise you on how to best position and market your home to overcome any perceived downsides.

Location:
Unfortunately, the most influential factor in determining your home’s appeal to Buyers is something you can’t control: its location. According to the National Association of REALTORS, neighborhood quality is the #1 reason why Buyers choose certain homes. The second most influential factor is commute times to work and school.

Size:
While some Buyers want to simplify their lives and downsize to a smaller home, home sizes in general have continued to increase over the decades, nearly doubling in size since the 1950s. Smaller homes typically appeal to first-time homebuyers and “empty nesters,” or couples whose children have grown up and moved out.

Amenities:
Preferences in floor plans and amenities go in and out of fashion, and I can inform you of the “hot ticket” items that are selling homes in your market. If your home lacks certain features, you can renovate to increase its appeal, but be forewarned: That’s not always the right move. Using market conditions and activity in your neighborhood as a gauge, I can help you determine whether the investment is likely to help or hinder your profit margin and time on the market.

Increasing Your Home’s Appeal

Increasing Your Home’s Appeal

Remember the 60-second rule: That’s all the time you have to create a winning first impression. Here are some simple to significant ways to maximize your home’s appeal.

Exterior

* Keep the grass cut and remove all yard clutter.
* Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds.
* Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.
* Tighten and clean all door handles.
* Clean windows inside and out.
* Powerwash home’s exterior.
* Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
* Paint the front door.
* Buy a new welcome mat.
* Place potted flowers near the front door.

Interior

* Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
* Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves.
* Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
* Shampoo carpets.
* Remove excessive wall hangings and knick-knacks.
* Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
* Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).
* Clean or paint walls and ceilings.
* Replace worn cabinet and door knobs.
* Fix or replace discolored grout.
* Replace broken tiles.
* Replace worn countertops.

Special details for showings

* Turn on all the lights.
* Open all drapes and shutters in the daytime.
* Keep pets secured outdoors.
* Buy new towels for bathrooms.
* Buy new bedding for bedrooms.
* Replace old lamps or lampshades.
* Play quiet background music.
* Light the fireplace or clean out the ashes and light a candelabrum.
* Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla.
* Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party.
* Vacate the property while it is being shown.

Photo Checklist

PHOTO SHOOT

To prepare your home for the photo shoot, we have provided a checklist so that we can obtain the best and most visually appealing photographs. Some of the items on the checklist may not pertain to your property. If you have any questions or concerns let me know prior to the photo shoot.  Thanks in advance for doing what you can to assist us with the photo shoot.

 

PHOTO CHECKLIST

  • Keep kitchen and bathroom counters clean and to a minimum of items, remove toothbrushes, shampoo, soaps, bottles, etc from counter, tub, and showers
  • If children and/or pets will be in the house during photography please make sure there is someone to watch them or a place for them to stay so they are out of the photos
  • Please make sure all dog/cat food & water bowls are out of sight as well as toys and litter boxes
  • Trash cans, paper shredders, fans in all rooms should be out of sight
  • PLEASE make sure ALL light bulbs and light switches are working inside and outside (all lights will be on for photos)
  • All window coverings (blinds, curtains, etc.) should be in working order and able to open/close
  • Driveway should be clear of all cars, motorcycles, RVs, trailers, toys etc. AND if possible keep street clear directly in front of house for best possible front exterior shot
  • Garden hoses should be either removed (preferably) or neatly rolled
  • Pool should be uncovered and clear of any pool toys, floaters, etc. and any filters and/or cleaning equipment and hoses put away, remove security gate if possible
  • For clearest view, windows should be cleaned prior to photography
  • Uncover patio furniture including table & chairs and barbecues
  • Mow lawn if needed, rake leaves, and trim bushes and trees – especially in front of entrance, doorway, and windows
  • Make sure all garbage cans, hoses, garden tools etc. are put away
  • Remove yard decorations
  • Remove clutter inside the home and put away toys, clothing, dishes, towels, etc.
  • Make the beds, items under bed should be out of sight
  • Remove personal items – photos, jewelry, money, wallet/purse, etc.
  • Remove any decorations or magnets on refrigerator
  • Put all the toilet seats and lids down
  • Remove floor throw-rugs from kitchen and bathrooms to show floors better

Eight Important Questions to Ask Your Agent

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?

Stage It, Sell It, Profit!

Stage It, Sell It, Profit!

Turn on any popular home network on cable TV and you’ll find a program on staging.

Re-arrange your furniture, pick a soothing color palette, clear out the family photos, and your home will sell faster, and for more money. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! The soft and decorative side of staging is backed by hard facts. Real estate agents like great-looking homes because they are easier to sell. Why is that important?

  • An Agent’s job is to please their clients, and they will direct their Buyers to the homes they think they will buy.
  • Agents talk to other Agents who are also directing their Buyers to the best homes on the market. An attractive listing will be shown more often, meaning more market exposure, critical for a quick and profitable house sale.
  • Staging is non-negotiable in many parts of the country. Staging a listing for sale in an area where the concept hasn’t caught on can give you an advantage, particularly if there are many unsold listings like yours on the market. Buyers gravitate to listings that look good and are in move-in condition.
  • Buyers are looking for value. When prices are flat or on the decline, Buyers need to perceive that the house is worth the price.

Bottom line: Staging is more than an exercise in tasteful interior design. It is a business decision that can have a huge impact on your financial return and timeline.

I have referrals to professional Stagers and can assist with scheduling an appointment to meet with a stager to receive an estimate.

10 Questions to Ask Your Realtor about Selling a House

10 Questions to Ask a Realtor about Selling a House

1.Are you a full-time professional real estate agent? How long have you worked full time in real estate? How long have you been representing buyers/sellers?

Knowing whether or not your agent practices full time can help you determine potential scheduling conflicts and his/her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, however, it’s a good starting point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations

2.Do you have a personal assistant, team or staff to handle different parts of the purchase? It is not uncommon for agents who sell a lot of houses to hire people to work with them. As their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality service to more people.

You may want to know who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team. If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to your closing?

3.Do you have a Website that will list my home? Will my home have it’s own Website? Who responds to emails and how quickly? Many buyers prefer to search online for homes because it’s available 24 hours a day and can be done at home. You want to make sure your home is listed online, either on the agent’s Website or on their company’s site. By searching your agent’s Website you will get a clear picture of how much information is available online.

4.How will you keep in contact with me during the selling process, and how often?
Some agents may email, fax or call you daily to tell you that visitors have toured your home, while others will keep in touch weekly. Asking this question can help you to reconcile your needs with your agent’s systems.

5.What do you do that other agents don’t that ensures I’m getting top dollar for my home? What is your average market time versus other agents’ average market time?
Marketing skills are learned, and sometimes a real estate professional’s unique method of research and delivery make the difference between whether or not a home sells quickly. For example, an agent might research the demographics of your neighborhood and present you a target market list for direct marketing purposes.

6.Will you give me names of past clients?
Interviewing an agent can be similar to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works, and whether or not this style is compatible with your own.

7.Do you have a performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied with your performance, can I terminate our listing agreement?
In the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be difficult for an agent to offer a performance guarantee. If your agent does not have a guarantee, it does not mean they are not committed to high standards. Typically, he or she will verbally outline what you can expect from their performance. Keller Williams understands the importance of a win-win business relationships: the agent does not benefit if the client does not also benefit.

8.How will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I have that in writing?
In many areas, the seller pays all agent commissions. Sometimes, agents will have other small fees, such as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients, regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of costs from any agent you contemplate employing.

9.How would you develop pricing strategies for our home?
Although location and condition affect the selling process, price is the primary factor in determining if a home sells quickly, or at all. Access to current property information is essential, and sometimes a pre-appraisal will help. Ask your agent how they created the market analysis, and whether your agent included foreclosed homes and bank-owned sales in that list.

10.What will you do to sell my home? Who determines where and when my home is marketed/ promoted? Who pays for your advertising?
Ask your real estate agent to present to you a clear plan of how marketing and advertising dollars will be spent. If there are other forms of marketing available but not specified in the plan ask who pays for those. Request samples or case studies of the types of marketing strategies that your agent proposes (such as Internet Websites, print magazines, open houses, and local publications).