Seller Tip: Pre-Listing Steps

If you really put the time and effort into getting your home ready to hit the market, it will be worth every minute of the work and sweat. This could be an incredibly long post so I will do my best to put the highlights in so that it doesn’t become too long winded.

Let me start by saying that this “ Prep Phase” may be a few weeks to months. I have worked with families in the past that worked for over a year getting their home ready to hit the market . Sometimes families that have lived in a home for 30 plus years have a good deal of organizing and “ clearing out” to do. Make sure that the realtor that you have chosen is willing to advise you, work with you, and be patient during this process. This is not a “ one and done” project typically.

Some of the top “ To Do’s” that I would recommend putting on your list would be the following:

  1. Create either a hand written list or word document itemizing all of the improvements that you have made on your home since ownership. If you can’t remember the dates that’s ok. They still need to be on the list.

  2. If you have a basement, is it fairly well cleared out? It’s ok to have things in the basement but buyers should be able to safely walk through it and all of your mechanicals should be easy to access ( i.e. electrical box, furnace, oil tank ) I have come into homes to find oil tanks covered with personal items, clothes, etc …yikes!

  3. Have a pre-listing inspection ! I cannot recommend this enough. You can ask your realtor for a list of names of local home inspectors that they would recommend. The purpose of doing this is to be well aware of items that may come up in the buyers home inspection that you may not even be aware of. You can then decide whether you want to repair those items prior to listing your home, adjust the sales price, or offer to escrow money to the buyer at closing for the repair. Some buyers may even opt to buy your home inspection report and pay a small fee for the inspector to meet with them personally to go over the report.

  4. If you have public sewer, have a sewer line scope and be sure to get an invoice from the contractor who did the scope stating that the line looked clear. If you are on private septic, we will save that prep info for another post.

  5. Collect your utility costs for the prior 12 months . Even if you can give your realtor the average cost per month for electric and heating costs this is hugely helpful and a common request from buyers. If you have solar panels, create a list of your savings and rental agreement ( if you don’t own the panels)

  6. Have your furnace serviced! Especially if your system is oil based, be sure that you have a service tech come, clean, and check it once a year. Also, be sure that they LEAVE A SERVICE TICKET. That way, it shows the buyer that they were actually there. They can also opt to call them and continue service with them if they buy the home by having their contact information on the ticket. Just because you have it serviced does not always mean a ticket was written for the work done. October is a great month to have this done.

  7. Make a list or write a quick note about what you favorite parts of living in your home have been . Is it something about the home? Neighborhood? Proximity to shops etc? These may be highlights that your realtor wouldn’t know without you conveying those details to them.

  8. Check your “ Curb Appeal” How does your home and yard look from the street? Is your garden overgrown? Is your walkway filled with weeds? Is there a good deal of debris around your yard and garage? Does your exterior need a paint job or power wash if you have vinyl siding?

Last but not least, decide how much energy you are willing to put into getting your home ready. It can be a lot of work but it can give you such a huge return!

As always, questions on this post drop me a text or email!

Tanya

Market Report: Dalton Sales First Quarter 2019

This report was a quick one to run. There were 16 total closed sales in Dalton for January through March. The properties featured are single family homes. I did not include condos, multi-family, or land sales.

As always some key things to look at in the report are the following:

  • Average Days on the Market

  • Original Listing Price vs Final Selling Price (% difference)

  • Location of home

If you have any questions about the report or have another town in the Berkshires that you would like to see featured in the next market report, just let me know.

First Quarter Sales: Dalton

Have a great day!

Tanya

Seller Tip: Interviewing Your Realtor

I want to open this post by saying that hiring a realtor to sell your home should be like any other interview for a job. This is such an important job and you want to make sure that the realtor that you choose is not only the best choice for selling your home but is also the best choice for you and you will be working so closely together during the process.

I personally work mostly by personally referral ( i.e. family, friends, and past clients refer business to me that have already worked with me ) Based on this, I would recommend asking your most trusted friends and co-workers for a name of a realtor that they would recommend. If you’re not sure where to start on this and don’t live in Berkshire County, you can still reach out to me as we have a huge network of realtors that we refer business to and can find the best fit for you.

Once you have chosen a realtor or several to meet with, there are some questions that I would recommend asking them and things to look for on their first visit:

  1. Are they full time? Make sure that they are truly dedicated to the business and have the time to focus on your sale. ( a side note, 16 years ago I had to start in the business part time to build it up so not to say that there aren’t wonderful “ rising stars” that are part time. Just be sure to ask them who will cover showings and appts if they aren’t available. They may have a great team that can work with them on your property)

  2. Is your home in an area that they are familiar with? I am fairly adamant about this and have always made it a practice to refer business out if I have requests in areas that I really can’t service ( i.e. areas that I am not familiar with the neighborhoods, school systems, shops and highlights) We aren’t doing any favors by taking listings in areas that we aren’t well versed in.

  3. What is their marketing plan? Make sure that your expectations meet theirs. Will they be holding Open Houses or is your property best suited for private appointments?

  4. Express to them what your expectations are for communication and how you prefer to be contacted. The biggest complaint that I hear from clients is the following :” They put the sign up in my yard and then I never heard from them again” How often would you like to hear from your realtor? Once a week, once a month, every day? How would you prefer for them to stay connected with you? I have so many clients now that really prefer a text to anything else but I certainly also have clients that love to get an actual phone call.

  5. Go with your GUT! Is it a good match person to person? You will be working VERY closely with this person and likely have your most valuable asset in their hands. If you can’t wait for them to leave after this interview, IT IS NOT THE RIGHT FIT!

  6. Lastly, ask BEFORE signing the contract what the termination policy is. There should be a mutual option for either the listing agent or the client to opt out of the contract . Is there a penalty fee? If you find that a month into the listing your realtor is not delivering what they had promised ( even if the listing hasn’t sold are they doing everything in their power to sell it?) Make sure to ask these questions now so that you have eyes wide open as to what your options are.

Hoping that you found these tips useful :) There is a video as well that pairs with this post. Just go to “ Tanyas Channel “

I am also always happy to answer any additional questions that you might have after reading this post. You can shoot me an email or text anytime!

Tanya

Motivation Minute: Getting Fresh Air Every Day

So, let me start by telling you something about myself that you may not know. I HATE BEING COLD !!!

When I say that I hate being cold, that is an understatement. I am the one that spends evenings at home with three layers of clothing sitting in my chair with a foot heater in front of me.

With all of that said, I did make a promise to myself before the winter started that no matter how cold it got, that I would force myself to walk up the road with the pup EVERY SINGLE day …. even if our walk consisted of taking 25 steps past the driveway and then turning around. Luckily, since he is a dog, he doesn’t chastise me for my wimpy ways on these brief walks. Many times if I’m lucky my two teenage boys will also join me for the walk and in that case, I do have to put my big girl pants on and at least make it up 5-6 driveways on the street.

The whole point of this “ experiment” was to see how it affected my mood by getting fresh air every day. If you are a Berkshire resident and reading this post ( or even a Northeasterner) then you know that our winters can be VERY long. Just when we think we see a sprout of green grass or a crocus popping up, we may find the next morning that it is covered in about a foot of snow.

I cannot tell you the difference it has made to get this “ Fresh Air Fix” every day. Surprisingly in addition to it making me feel good it had the following other bonuses :


  • Became a great way to clear my head after work

  • Gave me an opportunity to have some of the best chats with my boys with no distractions

  • A chance to see and meet my neighbors

  • Time to be out in nature and see some amazing sunsets, rainbows, and storms blowing in.


So, have I sold you on the idea yet????? I hope so because it took me a long time ( if you know my age then you know how long) to figure this out.

Hoping you enjoyed this post and that it adds a little bit of happiness to your life


Tanya

Buyer Tip: Making The Offer

So, you have found “ The One”!!!!! This part is hugely exciting and chances are, you knew it was the one after only a few minutes of being inside.

Now put your seat belt on as this part can get pretty darn stressful.

You now have a great realtor that is ready to fight for you and write the offer correct?

A few things to know about writing the offer:

  • It can become highly stressful and emotional so please know this before even getting into the negotiations

  • Decide on what your absolute “ Top” number is BEFORE you start the negotiations. I cannot stress this enough as it will keep you on track and when the whirlwind of back and forth with the seller begins, you may lose sight of where your limit is. It can also become highly emotional both for the seller and the buyer.

  • Decide how you will feel if you lose the house to a competing offer. This may seem like a silly thing to think about but I will tell you that sometimes when I ask this question, depending on the house the responses can range from “ I am totally ok with someone else getting the house. There were a lot of components that I didn’t love about it” to the opposite end such as “ I would be absolutely devastated. This is THE ONE!” This changes the advice that I would give a buyer regarding how high to go on their offer etc.

  • Remember that even after you make an offer and let’s hope it is accepted, you will still have time to negotiate inspection issues (unless you are in a state where the inspection period works differently) In our area, you are also allowed time to renegotiate the price if major inspection issues arise. I will get more into this in another post as there are several ways to negotiate inspection issues.

  • When you do have an accepted offer, ask your realtor what the next steps are that have to be done in the next 24 hours, 7 days, and two weeks. I am a huge fan of giving my clients a “ Calendar of Contingencies” so that they can see right on paper ( or in an email) what their deadlines are.

As always, I could go on and on with these topics. This is just some of the top tips that I would want any buyer to have in their pocket for this part of the process.

Happy House Hunting !

Tanya

Buyers Tip: Looking At Homes

So, you have now hired a realtor and are ready to start looking at homes! ( or land, investment properties, etc)

This I would say is by far the most fun part of the process. I still am never sick of looking at homes. Nice homes , small homes, and even the ones that might be in rough condition to start or the old “ Diamond in the Rough”

I am also a huge fan of taking notes as you look at each property. Believe it or not, they can begin to get jumbled together after you have seen a few in a row. My general rule of thumb is , 5 homes in one day at the most.

So now you have your notebook, what should you write down? Perhaps write down the “ highlights” of the house and also the “ negatives” Can you see yourself living in the home?

It has been said that most buyers know within the first few minutes of walking into a home that it is “ The One” Side note, depending on the market. We are entering a time now when the inventory is on the lower side so this may require buyers to be a little more creative with which homes they will consider. If you see a home that you can check most of your “ Must Have’s” , can you make the home work for you? Can you tweek it and make some changes so that it is a place that you can see yourself in 10 years?

Another VERY important component of looking at homes is to survey the area around the home. What do the abutting properties look like? Will they help support the value of the home or bring it down? Is the home that you are looking at the “ King of the Hill”?

Take time to drive around the neighborhood at various times of the day and see what you think.

Remember also that even if you drive by a “ For Sale By Owner” , you can still give your realtor a call and ask to see it ! Just give them the address and they will set up the showing for you so that you are sure to have an advocate and someone looking out for your best interests!

If there was something else that you can think of that I didn’t touch on in this post, always you can reach me via email, text, or phone . If you know me, you know if I can , I am always happy to help . If I don’t have an answer to your question, I will do what I can to find one :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tanya