Aug 5 2010

Top 10 Home Selling Mistakes That Can Cost You : HGTV FrontDoor Real Estate

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Avoid these common slipups to sell your home fast and for top dollar

By Shannon Petrie, FrontDoor.com

Don’t think spring is the only time you’ll be able to make a sale — people buy homes during every season.

Mistake #10: Waiting until spring to sell

Sure, spring is traditionally the busiest time for real estate sales, but people buy homes 365 days a year. Plus, off-peak season buyers tend to be more serious, and fewer homes on the market means less competition for sellers.

Don’t be daunted by the thought of selling during the summer, winter or fall. Instead, draw in buyers by playing up your home’s seasonal amenities.

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May 23 2010

Choosing an Agent: Tests to Apply

Here are a few tests to apply when judging a broker:

Does the broker explain your state’s law of agency at your first meeting and make it clear for whom he or she is working?

Does the agent return phone calls promptly? This simple question is a good screening device, whether you’re looking for a broker, lawyer, or plumber. In these days of cell phones, pagers, voicemail, and e-mail, there is no excuse to be out of touch. Does the agent explain things so you can understand them? This attribute is especially important for first-time buyers. If you can find an agent who is a born teacher, you are in luck. (The fact is, many brokers are former teachers.)

Does the agent seem ready to invest time in you? Where the broker is holding an open house that’s on the market, does he or she just wave you through, asking as you leave whether you’re interested in that house and letting it go at that? You want someone who, if not busy with other prospects, shows you the house in a professional manner, asks questions about your needs and wants, and offers to sit down and discuss other places on the market if you’re not interested in the house you’re touring.

Does the agent seem to have knowledge of the Internet? Some agents carry a laptop computer with them wherever they go and are able to pull up pertinent information and new listings on the spot. A computer has become a valuable hi-tech sales tool and a convenient and ready resource for savvy brokers these days. If Internet communication is important to you, ask agents if they e-mail their clients with information on new listings as they appear.

Does the broker suggest an initial session in the office, rather than simply meeting you at the house you called about? To get good service, you need a sit-down financial analysis and discussion of your whole situation in a confidential and professional setting.

Does the agent ask questions about your finances soon after meeting you? This may not be proper etiquette in ordinary society, but it’s the mark of an efficient broker who aims to give you good service. Suggesting a prequalification or a full loan preapproval is better yet, so that you have placed yourself in a position of strength and credibility as a buyer. If you haven’t already spoken to a loan agent, the agent may suggest someone with whom he or she has a track record of success.

Does the broker explain up front if he or she is acting as a seller’s agent? In most states, this information must be given to you in writing upon first contact.

When suggesting potential houses for the first time, did the agent show you listings that convince you that he or she has been listening and understands what you are looking for? If you’re shown houses with the wrong number of bedrooms or ones clearly out of your price range, this may not be the agent for you.

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