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Seller Tips

Table of Contents

Ready To Sell Your Home

So, you’re ready to sell your home! Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place. I belong to one of the strongest real estate brokerages in the area, I have great confidence in our brand and you can too. I’m proud to be a sales associate for a company that demands excellence from its agents at every level.We have established a rock-solid reputation for impeccable customer service and marketing strategies. When you entrust the sale of your home to me, you are putting your faith in my entire network of experts in:

  • Real estate sales
  • Real estate purchases
  • Loan processing
  • Marketing

One of the most important things I can offer you is buyer confidence. Because we have a wide network of buyer sales associates, we have access to many motivated buyers who trust their agents to find their dream homes.

Our managers and their sales associates work hard to keep their fingers on the pulse of the real estate market, noting fluctuations and corrective strategies that make your home sell-able in any market. We can help you decide how to price your home to sell with the best possible advantage to you.

Relax. We’ve covered all of your bases. As a Realtor®, I’m confident you and I can find the right buyer for your home.

You need to start with a comparative market analysis of your home. This will show what your home should sell for. Click the ‘I Can Help’ button above and fill out the form to receive a comparative market analysis of your home.

Get Yourself Ready to Sell

Selling a home is a huge decision. You need to get yourself ready to sell. You will want to prepare yourself for the decisions to come. There is a lot to learn. I hope this helps you.

One way to prepare for a selling your home is to learn the market. The MLS (multiple listing service) provides an easy way gather data all over the valley.

When you know the market you make intelligent decisions on the value of your home. If you think your home is worth say $300,000….look at other homes selling for $300,000…they are your competition. Does your home really compete?

I can provide you a portal to view all activity in your neighborhood. You will see what has just listed, just sold or changed its price. We can structure this in many ways depending on your interest.

There are several companies that offer home searches…Zillow, Realtor, Trulia…but these are not live searches. The estimates of value they give are questionable they may be 5, 10 or 20% of the final sale price. In all honesty even they recommend you go to a Realtor before you put your home up for sale. They cannot go into your home and evaluate it. Some things need to be done by people not an algorithm.

I offer a website with lots of information about the home buying process and a live MLS feed. I have many single click searches created or you can custom design your own search.

You have the option of using this MLS search as a ‘drop in’ visitor or as a registered user. If you choose to be a registered user we can save a search of your neighborhood with all the active, UCB, pending and sold for the last 3 months or for the whole year. Obviously you can’t save that information if there is no account to save it to. Go to HomesWithJean.com to start you search. Contact me to create the search with the closed properties. This is a terrific way to learn the market. ENJOY!!

Do your homework and be ready to sell.

Be Mentally Ready

Part of the “getting ready” phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, the other part is mental. This is a good time to ask yourself why you really want to sell. You need to be mentally prepared to move on. You need to know what your motivation to move is and focus on that.

Perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space have motivated you. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it’s important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the REALTOR® who lists your home.

The first step is to remember this is a business transaction.

Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

  • Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a merchandise to be sold. It a business deal.
  • Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
  • Picture yourself handing over the keys to the new owners!
  • Say goodbye to every room.
  • Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.

What will a Realtor Do for You?

What does a Realtor do for you? A Realtor will give advice, help set pricing, market, give you security, negotiate, and handle the details of closing your home.

A Realtor will give you advice on preparing your home for sale.

In order to get top dollar for your home you need to prepare. I can give you advice on repairs and preparation that needs to bee done for your home to compete on the market.


The selling process generally begins with a determination of a reasonable asking price. I can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.


The next step is a marketing plan. Marketing includes the exposure of your property to other real estate agents and the public.

I act as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service,and direct contact with agents. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients. All my conversations are targeted with your interest in mind.

I hire a professional photographer. Most people start their search on line and photos are the first impression you will make on a prospective buyer. We need to make a good first impression. Think of it as the first date. You need to look sharp!

Advertising is part of marketing. The choice of media and frequency of advertising depends a lot on the property and specific market. For example, in some areas, newspaper advertising generates phone calls to the real estate office but statistically has minimum effectiveness in selling a specific property. Overexposure of a property in any media may give a buyer the impression the property is distressed or the seller is desperate. I will know when, where and how to advertise your property. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82 percent of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts.

Additionally I use press releases and social media to attract potential buyers.


When a property is marketed with my help, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. A licensed realtor will pre-screen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.


The negotiation process deals with much the same issues for both buyers and sellers. I can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. I can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

Monitoring, renegotiating and closing

Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. I am the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).

A Realtor does WHAT?

Get Yourself Ready to Sell

Selling a home is a huge decision. You need to get yourself ready to sell. You will want to prepare yourself for the decisions to come. There is a lot to learn. I hope this helps you.

One way to prepare for a selling your home is to learn the market. The MLS (multiple listing service) provides an easy way gather data all over the valley.

When you know the market you make intelligent decisions on the value of your home. If you think your home is worth say $300,000….look at other homes selling for $300,000…they are your competition. Does your home really compete?

I can provide you a portal to view all activity in your neighborhood. You will see what has just listed, just sold or changed its price. We can structure this in many ways depending on your interest.

There are several companies that offer home searches…Zillow, Realtor, Trulia…but these are not live searches. The estimates of value they give are questionable they may be 5, 10 or 20% of the final sale price. In all honesty even they recommend you go to a Realtor before you put your home up for sale. They cannot go into your home and evaluate it. Some things need to be done by people not an algorithm.

I offer a website with lots of information about the home buying process and a live MLS feed. I have many single click searches created or you can custom design your own search.

You have the option of using this MLS search as a ‘drop in’ visitor or as a registered user. If you choose to be a registered user we can save a search of your neighborhood with all the active, UCB, pending and sold for the last 3 months or for the whole year. Obviously you can’t save that information if there is no account to save it to. Go to HomesWithJean.com to start you search. Contact me to create the search with the closed properties. This is a terrific way to learn the market. ENJOY!!

Do your homework and be ready to sell.

Be Mentally Ready

Part of the “getting ready” phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, the other part is mental. This is a good time to ask yourself why you really want to sell. You need to be mentally prepared to move on. You need to know what your motivation to move is and focus on that.

Perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space have motivated you. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it’s important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the REALTOR® who lists your home.

The first step is to remember this is a business transaction.

Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

  • Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a merchandise to be sold. It a business deal.
  • Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
  • Picture yourself handing over the keys to the new owners!
  • Say goodbye to every room.
  • Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.


Another way to say prepare your home to sell, is to call it staging, Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process. If you need help, maybe you have a talented friend or hire a stager to help.

Check out the competition.

The first step to selling success is to find out what you’re up against. Before and during the selling process, visit other property open houses to see how your home measures up.When you’re out, here are a few things to note

  • Property condition
  • Highlighted features
  • Move-in readiness
  • Staging tactics that will work for you

Start with a clean slate

The first step of staging is cleaning. Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nit-picky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

  • Clean inside and out.
    Everyone thinks they know what “clean” means when it comes to their own home. Here’s where an agent or professional stager can be super helpful. Invite them in to get an outsiders opinion on how to make the nooks and crannies you’ve forgotten about glisten. Also remember, the best selling homes tend to have garages, basements, side yards, and other outdoor spaces that are just as immaculate as their kitchens, bathrooms and master bedrooms.
  • Dive into the trim and details early.
    It’s tempting, when staging, to do the big jobs-painting walls, polishing floors, moving furniture-and to run out of steam and cash before the little details get handled. Some of the least expensive home staging projects can carry the most powerful buyer-impressing payload. Here are few details to tackle to make your listing standout

    • Clean or paint baseboards and other trim
    • Ensure locks, doors, and drawers work properly
    • Paint or replace outdoor accents like house
      numbers or mailboxes

Stow away your clutter

Another step of staging is de-cluttering. It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

  • Eliminate the excess.
    Before you head out to buy new accessories to “spruce up your home,” focus first on items you can remove that will enhance a buyer’s experience.The best signs of things you should eliminate are the things that you aren’t using and those you’re planning to get rid of before you move.
  • Pre-pack personal items.
    Depersonalizing and decluttering are the most critical steps of staging, but they can be a challenge. To make it easier,start by pre-packing and storing away the items you won’t need until after the move and anything personal (like family photos) that might prevent buyers from envisioning the home as their own.
  • Clear off the counter space.
    When it comes to the tops of your tables and counters, less is more. Clear off your counter spaces except for the occasional decorative or functional pieces (clocks or vases of flowers). Remember, your goal is to help buyers see themselves in a home and they can’t do that with your stuff in the way.

Scale back on your furniture

Another step of staging is minimizing. When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

Rethink your furniture placement

Now we get to what most people think staging is….but without the earlier steps this is not too effective. Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

Float furniture away from walls, reposition it into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in the room is obvious. In most cases, this means keeping the perimeters clear. “When you place furniture in a room, envision a figure-eight or the letter H in the middle, with clear pathways around it.” Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, it will open up the room and make it seem larger.

Give yourself permission to move furniture, artwork and accessories between rooms on a whim. Just because you bought that armchair for the living room, for instance, doesn’t mean it won’t look great anchoring a sitting area in your bedroom. Or try perching that little-used dining room table in front of a window, top it with buffet lamps and other accessories and press it into service as a writing desk or library table. And as for that now-empty dining room? Flank an ottoman or cocktail table with a loveseat and comfy chairs for an instant conversation nook.

Add color to brighten your rooms

AAAHHHH the art of staging….color. Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

Let the sun shine in.

Let nature do the staging with sunlight! “We almost always take off old, heavy drapery and put something light, airy, and gauzy in its place.” This allows natural light to shine into a room and makes a closed-in space seem larger. Simple sheers on a tension rod are great for screening an unattractive view and providing a bit of privacy while still letting in lots of light and making a room look larger.

If you have lovely vistas from a window, try doing away with treatments altogether. If privacy is paramount, Roman shades will block the neighbors’ view of your bathtub but still let you gaze at the sky while you soak. Designed to Sell’s Lisa LaPorta favors bamboo or parchment shades and simple curtain panels made from fine cotton twill or translucent linen, because all let light stream in during the day, provide privacy at night and add touchable texture to a room. Or consider investing in home stager Christopher Breining’s favorite window treatments: Sheer fabric shades with built-in blinds (Hunter Douglas offers several options). “They look great and offer so much versatility,” he says.

Other window-treatment tips: If windows are narrow, extend curtain rods a foot or so on each side to suggest width. If your ceilings are low, hang rods at the ceiling line and consider window treatments with vertical stripes to create the illusion of height.

Light the way.

One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting design. As it turns out, many of our own homes are improperly lit. We either have too few fixtures, or our lighting is too dim, or it’s as harsh as a spotlight. To remedy bad lighting and make your home more inviting, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Then install dimmers so you can vary light levels according to your mood and the time of day. This is a relatively simple project for a do-it-yourselfer, or you can hire an electrician for a couple of hours to do several at once. And while you’re at it, be sure to replace those dingy, almond-colored light-switch covers with crisp white ones. New covers cost less than a buck apiece and are a quick, easy update.

Don’t depend on just one or two fixtures per room, either. It’s just as important to layer lighting as it is to have sufficient wattage, Breining points says. So go for ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, undercabinet, or reading), and accent (table and wall) lighting. “A combination of overhead, floor, table, and accent lighting creates great ambience,” the San Francisco stager says. “Having lights on different planes provides good illumination and makes the room interesting.”

One thing that’s always in Breining’s bag of tricks: uplights. “You can buy one for as little as $5 at home-improvement stores and hide it behind a potted plant — it creates incredible drama.” Another hint: Place mirrors, silver or glass bowls, or other reflective objects near lamps to bounce light around the room and make it glow even more.

Set the scene

Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home—such as a chess game in progress—to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

Make the entrance grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Be brutally honest with yourself.

When you think you’re done preparing your home, think again. It’s not overkill to go out on a Sunday afternoon,walk through a few Open Houses, get back in the car and drive home to walk through it like a buyer would. Ask yourself: What can you edit or declutter? What is distracting? What stops a buyer from seeing the possibilities for their own family here? If all else fails, take your agent with you. Arm him or her with a packet of post-it notes and give them free rein to stick one on anything that should be removed before showing the home. Then get that stuff out of there!

How Much is my House Worth

There are 5 primary factors that affect the Value of your today’s market— location, price, competition, timing and condition. So to know How much is my house worth you need to analyze these factors.


Location, location, location. This is the most important factor in determining the value of your home. Most buyers purchase based on where they most desire to live. There is nothing you can do to ‘fix’ your location


Pricing your home properly from the start is important in determining how long it will take to sell your home. Over pricing will cause your house to sit on the market. I will discuss pricing in another article.


What are other homes in the area selling for? Prospective buyers are comparing your home to other properties. The value of your home is based on what similar homes have sold for nearby and what homes on the market today are asking in the area.


Property values are affected by the current real estate market. This can vary from month to month. In Mesa July and August slow down.


The condition of the property affects the price and speed of sale. Buyers make their decisions based on emotion, the first impressing is very important… You must maximize the physical appearance of your home in order to maximize the buyers perception of value.

Time to Set the Price

So to evaluate how much your house is worth….

Abandon your personal point of view (I know this is tough). How much will a ready, willing and able buyer be willing to pay for your home? Buyers don’t care how much you paid for the home, or how much the house next door sold for last year or how many memorable moments you and your family shared in the home, or how much cash you need for the down payment on your next home or how much time and money you’ve invested in your home’s hardwood floors, fresh paint, lush landscaping or other improvements. The current market establishes the value of a home.

A “comparative market analysis” (CMA), shows the prices of comparable recently sold homes, on-the-market homes and homes that were on the market, but weren’t sold. The homes used in the CMA should be as comparable as possible.

What makes a good comparable home?


The closer the better. Ideally the houses used will be in your neighborhood. Appraisers will use houses a bit further out (if necessary) if there are not 3 comparable homes that sold in the neighborhood they will use a 1 mile radius, if there still are not 3 homes they will go to a 1.5 mile radius. Do not plan to look at homes further away simply to increase the asking price. If they can find the homes in the neighborhood they will not look further out.

Home type

One story homes compare to one story homes. Two story homes to two story homes. Tract home to tract home. Custom home to custom home. Don’t pick a home in the upscale neighborhood accross the way and think that will affect your value.

Home size

You want to compare home with other homes 10% plus or minus in size. So a 2000 sf home would be compared to homes between 1800 to 2200 sf. A 3000 sf home is a different animal.

Date of Sale

The appraiser will look at homes that closed within 90 days. So will a good Realtor. A comparable sale from 2 years ago means nothing.


Is the condition similar? Is everything clean and in good shape? Are the finishes about the same– granite counter tops or Formica, tile floor or carpet? What is the condition of the carpet and paint? Is there a pool? Is there landscaping or dirt? The MLS gives you photos that can show what the competition looks like. Be realistic.

How I do my Comparative Market Analysis CMA

This is where the magic happens! I essentially do my comparative market analysis like an appraiser will do their appraisal. Location, size, type of home, amenities, close date and condition are reviewed. Just picking some cost per square foot numbers is an inadequate system.

About how I create a comparative market analysis. I look at active, sold, withdrawn and expired homes. I look in the MLS and in public records.

  • Comparables include sales from all real estate agents and companies
  • I check public records in addition to MLS
  • The best measure of value is sold listings
  • Active listings demonstrate supply and competition
  • Withdrawn/expired listing usually demonstrate an overpriced listing.

I create my CMA comparative market analysis the same way an appraiser does

  • The comparable homes will ideally be in the same neighborhood or a maximum of a one mile radius from your home
  • One story houses are compared to one story houses…never compare a one story to a two story home• Homes should be within 10% in size
  • The home should have closed escrow in the last 90 days
  • Make adjustments for number of bathrooms, garage spaces, fire place, pool, spa, view lot, age
  • The adjustments are not the value to purchase the amenity. Apraisers use much lowere numbers to adjust for amenities….typically a pool will get an adjustment of $10,000…cost for a pool is far more
  • Once a range is established you can now compare to the homes currently on the market….note how long these homes have been on the market…strategically price the home with all these factors in mind

Please do not trust Zillow or some other automated system to give you an accurate comparative market analysis. Without going into a home and seeing the condition you cannot evaluate the value.

comparative market analysis

Over pricing is a deadly sin. The people in the market for your home won’t be looking at it because it is out of their price range. The people in that price range won’ look at it because it does not compete with the homes in that price range. This is a huge mistake.

This is a critical piece of the puzzle. Once the comparative market analysis is done it is time to get excited.


The importance of fair market price.

Research conducted by the National Association of REALTORSâ shows that more buyers purchase their properties at fair market value – not above it.

Your home generates the most interest among Realtors and potential buyers during the first 30 days. If you are not properly prices during this time, we miss that peak level of interest.

triangle graphThe fair market value of your home is determined by the market – that is, what today’s buyers are willing to pay. Buyers are comparing your home to other homes now on the market. They don’t care about:

  • What your neighbor thinks.
  • What another agent thinks.
  • What you spent on improvements.
  • What it cost to build.
  • What you spent on new

graph for weeks on the market

Your home generates the most interest in the real estate community and among potential buyers during the first 30 days it is on the market. If it is not properly priced during this time, we miss out on this peak level of interest:

Is it time to lower the asking price?

Price is critical when you sell your home. You obviously want to sell for the most you can. You set a price….and wait…and wait. Is it time to lower the asking price? Ask yourself….

1. Are many families coming to view your home?

Typically the first few weeks a home is on the market are the busiest. If your real estate agent reports there have been few buyers calling about your home this is a sign buyers think it’s overpriced. Buyers will wait for the price to fall before viewing it.

Buyers are savvy. They have been shopping and know what they can get for their price point. If you are overpriced you will not compete.

It is time to lower the asking price.

2. On the other hand do you have a ton of lookers but have no offers

What are the buyers agents telling your agent about your home? Their feedback is valuable. An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer. Or there may be a problem that makes your home undesirable, is there a cigarette smell, high voltage wires, or a noisy street nearby.

It is time to lower the asking price.

3. Your home is sitting on the market and your neighbor has sold

What would you think if a home you liked had been on the market for 180 days? Would you be concerned about what is wrong with it? Of course you would! If you had a good agent he/she would examine what its price has been in those 180 days. Price has not changed…..maybe the seller is unrealistic and buyer should move on. Or maybe there is a problem? Perception is important.

It is time to consider lowering the asking price.

4. Do you have a deadline

It may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price. Sometimes time is more critical than money. If you need to move quickly look for a cash buyer and lower your price a bit. You may be able to avoid inspections and appraisals.

It is time to consider lowering the asking price.

5. You can’t make upgrades

Maybe your home needs paint and carpets. It just is not in great shape. It is dated. It’s time to accept that buyers expect to pay less for a home that doesn’t show as well as others.

It is time to consider lowering the asking price.

6. Has the competition has changed

Ask your Realtor to check the competition. Have some new homes hit the market that shine brighter than yours and are asking less?

It is time to consider lowering the asking price.


SELLER’S PROPERTY DISCLOSURE STATEMENT or SPDS are not discussed often. But they are a critical part of the home buying/selling process. You generally read about sellers property disclosure statement from a buyers point of view. The seller must realize that these disclosures are serious and legally binding.


(To be completed by seller): Sellers are obligated by law to disclose all known material facts about the property to the buyer.

The SPDS are designed to assist you in making these disclosures. If you know something about the property that is important and is not addressed on the SPDS, add that information to the form. Prospective buyers may rely on the information you provide.

The seller must be completely honest and disclose all known defects. Should a buyer discover a problem later and the seller did not disclose it…there may be litigation. DISCLOSE ALL!

Roof problems? No roof is great!

SPDS for your review

Here is an illustration of the possible consequences. Family buys an new home. The flooring is new but not to their taste. They pull out the flooring. They discover the slab is badly cracked. They discover the business card of the flooring contractor. They call and ask if he would install new flooring for them….they thought his workmanship was good but preferred other finishes. The contractor says he would love to install new flooring for them….oh and would they like him to repair the slabs…the previous owner choose not to. The previous owner did not disclose the problem…..there is proof he knew there was a problem. He is now liable for the repairs.

Marketing Your House

Marketing your house is different from other products. Each is unique, the marketplace is always in flux, interest rates constantly change and new buyers search for homes each day. With such fluidity, it requires I craft marketing your house specifically for individual homes and market conditions.

Marketing your house can entail a variety of marketing strategies. Once listed, your home will be quickly entered into the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and placed on over 30 internet sites like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor. I routinely market by direct home delivery of new-listing announcements and regular newsletters. I can coordinate an open houses. I network with both local and out-of-town brokers. I also use press releases and videos to showcase your home. I provide flyers and a listing book of your home.

When I am marketing your house I provide more than 20 professionally taken photos that focus on the positives of your home. I use a wide angle lens to enhance the size of each room and I order the photos to provide a ‘walk thru’ experience. When a photographer photos the interior he open drapes and blinds, turn on lights, focus on interesting details, remove trash, close toilet lids, add floral arrangements, and avoid shooting in mirrors. When a photographer photos the exterior he avoids shooting into the sun, removes cars from the driveway, he is sure the lawn is mowed and bushes are trimmed. This is your ‘first date’ with a prospective buyer, you need to make a good first impression.

I follow up with every Realtor that shows your home and discuss the impression your home made.

Much of a my work will be quiet and unseen — yet important. The quiet telephone calls, the work with contacts, the follow-ups with open-house visitors, conversations with ad respondents, the web postings and other outreach efforts are all part of the process required to sell homes.

  • Competitively Price and Stage your home
  • Photograph your home for maximum impact
  • For Sale Sign, Rider Signs
  • Just listed postcards to the neighborhood
  • Flyers in House/Home Book/Comment Cards
  • Prepare and submit accurate information to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Web and press releases– Create maximum exposure for your property!
  • Provide a virtual of your home
  • Social networking
  • Proactively promote property to my database
  • Track Showings/Collect Feedback
  • Weekly Seller Updates
  • Network with the best agents in the area / Property Caravans


If you want to sell your home you need a plan. I will provide you with a marketing plan. This is a sample of what I can provide. We will work together to tailor this to suit your desires.

  1. Have home photographed with at least 20 photos
  2. Organize photos in a walk thru manner
  3. Label all Photos
  4. Make notations on photos of marketable features
  5. Prepare flyer for print
  6. Prepare Home book for print
  7. Prepare just ‘listed postcard’ for print
  8. Submit to MLS
  9. Submit to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor and a minimum of 20 others
  10. Install yard sign with rider sign that sends them to personal website
  11. Make a video of the house
  12. Deliver flyer and home book
  13. Submit for Mesa caravan
  14. Submit property information for on-line Advertising—press releases, you tube
  15. Submit property on social Media—Face book
  16. Promote home at DPR
  17. Deliver min of 500 “Just Listed” postcards to neighborhood
  18. Hold property open house
  19. Invite at least 20 of the neighbors to open house.
  20. Prepare and promote special mailing to other top producing agents
  21. Obtain feedback from agents in your office
  22. Obtain feedback from agents from other companies
  23. Additional open house
  24. Additional open house invitational
  25. Additional “Just Listed” promotion in another neighborhood

The Open House

An open house is not for everyone, If you are comfortable opening up your home, do it right. Really strut your stuff!!!

  • Put checkbooks, kids’ piggy banks, jewelry, prescription drugs, bank statements, and other valuables in the trunk of your car, at a neighbor’s house, or in your safe. It’s rare, but thefts do happen at open houses.
  • Set the dining room table for a special-occasion dinner. In the backyard, uncover the barbecue and set the patio table for a picnic to show buyers how elegantly and simply they can entertain once they move in.
  • Check any play equipment for spider webs or insect invasions. A kid screaming about spiders won’t endear buyers to your home.
  • Clean the fingerprints off the storm door. First impressions count.
  • Put up Post-It notes around the house to highlight great features like tilt-in windows or a recently updated appliance.
  • Remove shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and other personal items from the bathtub, shower, and sinks in all the bathrooms. Store them in a shoebox under the sink. Removing personal items makes it easier for buyers to see themselves living in your house.
  • Stow away all kitchen countertop appliances.

One hour before the open house

  • Bake the ready-to-bake cookies you bought earlier this week. Put them on a nice platter for your open house guests to eat with a note that says: “Help yourself!”
  • Hang the new towels in the bathrooms.
  • Put your bowl of apples or lemons on the kitchen table or bar counter.
  • Pick up and put away any throw rugs, like the bath mats. They’re a trip hazard.
  • I will put up at least 12 open house signs guiding people to your home from the nearest major intersection.

15 minutes before the open house

  • Open all the curtains and blinds and turn on the lights in the house. Buyers like bright homes.
  • Light fireplace logs (if it’s winter).
  • Didn’t get those cookies baked? Brew a pot of coffee to make the house smell inviting.

During the open house

Get out of the house and let me sell it! Potential buyers will be uncomfortable discussing your home if you’re loitering during the open house. Take advantage of your child- and pet-free hours by treating yourself to something you enjoy–a few extra hours at the gym, a trip to the bookstore, or a manicure.

Why FHA and VA?

Why does seller need to understand FHA and VA for sellers. In order to intelligently compare two offers you need a bit of understanding of different loan types.

FHA is especially important to first-time home buyers and those with small down payments because it allows borrowers with good credit to make a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

Veterans can get a VA loan for 0% down.

FHA and VA Appraisers

FHA and VA only rely on reports by its approved appraisers. FHA and VA will not give the okay to buy the home until you repair serious defects like roof leaks, mold, structural damage, and pre-1978 interior or exterior paint that could contain lead.

Help with FHA and VA closing costs

Most FHA and VA buyers need help with closing costs. So a prime way to make your house FHA/VA-friendly is to help with those costs.

FHA currently allows sellers to pay up to 6% of the sales price to help cover closing costs.

VA does not allow the buyer to pay certain closing costs. As a result the seller will net less cash with a buyer that has a VA loan.

If you’re selling a condo

FHA also has to approve your condo before a buyer uses an FHA loan to purchase your unit. Be sure your condo is FHA-approved for mortgages. The list has been updated, so if your association was approved a year ago, check again to make sure it’s still on the approved list.

FHA generally won’t insure loans in condo associations if more than 15% percent of the unit owners are late on association fees. Ask your property manager or board of directors for your association’s delinquency rate.

Other rules cover insurances, cash reserves and how many units are owner-occupied and the types of condos that can be purchased with an FHA mortgage.


Expect to negotiate

Offers and counter-offers keep your potential sale alive. Negotiations are less stressful when you decide in advance how low you’re willing to go early.
Ultimately, you decide what to accept, but talk to your agent early about your expectations and stay open to his or her advice on what price best in today’s market

Be prepared

In negotiations, you have to know what your bottom line is, because the offer may be less than your asking price. You may have more than one offer to compare. The highest priced offer may not be the best offer if you are asked to make costly repairs or contribute to the buyer’s closing costs.

To avoid surprises, work out several potential scenarios with me, so that you will be prepared with a response when an offer comes in. I will be able to provide an estimate of your closing costs, as well as the buyer’s closing costs, so you can do the math together.

Why Negotiate?

The offer on your home is the sum of the offering price and all the terms. The terms effect your final net amount. I will do a net sheet to estimate what every bid will net you. With this knowledge we can negotiate terms and price to get the best deal for you.

When the Offer Comes In

When an offer comes in, I will contact the buyer’s agent to find out as much as possible about the buyer and the buyer’s needs. You want the agents involved to have a rapport. Your agent will need to get as much information that will enable you to respond positively to the offer and still keep your bottom line intact.

Buyers often want to test the seller, and make offers below asking price. However, if the offer is close enough to accept, don’t sign right away. Delay the acceptance for a few hours. This strategy lets the buyer know that the offer wasn’t jumped on, and may cause the buyer to think twice about being too demanding during the inspection phase.

In the case where you get a full price offer, study the offer carefully to add up possible expenses such as whether the buyer wants you to pay his closing costs. A full price offer could signal that the buyer intends to negotiate a lot of repairs or refurbishing costs during the inspection period. If you’ve had your own inspection, you’ll know what to expect and how much you will negotiate off the price or in repairs.

If the offer is uncomfortably below asking price, try to find out the buyer’s mindset. Could the buyer be trying to buy more house than he or she can afford? Could a change of financing help get closer to your price? Can you help with the buyer’s closing costs if he or she will raise the offer price?

An offer with very little down payment may signal that the buyer has financing issues. Find out if the buyer has been pre-approved, which means that the buyer has actually been approved for a loan through sharing his/her financials with the lender.

Keep negotiations pleasant

Be patient. While stressful, expect negotiations to go back and forth until the contract is amended to both the buyer’s and your satisfaction. Trying to “just get it over with” can cost you money. Don’t make a final decision until you have all the information you need, such as the buyer’s pre-approval letter and most recent comparable sales and active competition.

As long as you keep the relationship pleasant, respond to the buyer’s questions with receipts, documentation, and information in a timely manner, it will be easier to negotiate the sale of your home.

Buyers want to feel that they got a good deal, and the best way to make them feel good about their purchase is to show them that you have taken good care of the home, and that you are turning over a fine asset to their care.

Proceeding with Escrow

We are now in the home stretch! The escrow period is the final stage. You have worked hard to prepared your home to sell. You have educated yourself to price the home properly. You staged your home to make a great impression on buyer. You received an offer and accepted it!!! What happens till you turn the keys over to the new owner?

You may think that once a sale agreement has been signed that the selling process is complete. Not only is it not over yet, but some of the most complex aspects of a real estate transaction now begin.

A sale agreement sets not only a purchase price for the home, but also a series of terms and conditions. For instance:

  • Contracts depend on the ability of a buyer to obtain financing, which is why all sellers demand buyers with preapproval letters from lenders. The buyer should also provide the seller a LSU loan status update within 5 days of the contract being signed. This ensure that the buyer can actually acquire a loan.
  • Most transactions involve a home inspection. There is a 10 day inspection period that allows the buyer to investigate the home and the neighborhood the home is in.
  • Lenders will establish numerous conditions before granting a loan. They will want a title exam, title insurance to protect against title errors, a termite inspections, possibly a survey and an appraisal to assure that the home has sufficient value to secure the loan

The the buyer typically arranges all required inspections. The sellers Realtor® is tracking the time to insure that the buyer is accomplishing all the required tasks for the home to move on to closing. Together they move the process along and verify that the title company and lender are moving toward the required closing date.

Property inspection and appraisal phase of Escrow

The next 10 days are referred to as the inspection period. You will have your home examined by a Home Inspector and a termite inspector. They will look for damage and defects on the property. A full report will be prepared to document all the findings. You will then have the opportunity to request repairs from the seller or a reduction in price in lieu of the repairs The seller has the option to repair or refuse. If an agreement is not reached the buyer can cancel the contract and receive the earnest money back. During this time you should do your due diligence and research the area, talk to neighbors and use the buyers advisory to look into any aspect of the home that could be an issue to you.

Once the inspection period is complete an appraisal is ordered. The lender selects the appraiser. The appraisers opinion of value will be presented in a full report. If the house appraises below the purchase contract amount the buyer can cancel the contract or renegotiate the price.

Processor’s, underwriter’s review and final loan approval phase of escrow

Now the loan processor reviews the entire loan file and sends all the pertinent information to an underwriter who makes the final decision to approve the loan. If you had a pre approval and have not quit your job or bought a boat….this is a slam dunk. Keep in mind that there may be financial conditions or property conditions that may need to be met before loan approval.


The final loan and escrow documents are prepared and signed by both the buyer and the seller. At this time you will wire or provide a check to the title company for the down payment.


A wire or check for the amount of the loan is sent to the title company from the lender.

Close of escrow

The documents are recorded with the county.

Confirmation of recording

The title company authorizes the escrow company to draft a check to the seller and the buyer gets the house key!!!

Congratulations!!! You can now move on!!!

Escrow Process


Webster’s vest pocket dictionary defines ESCROW as: “Deposit to be delivered upon fulfillment of a condition.”

As an escrow holder, Empire West Title Agency, LLC’s duty is to act as the neutral third party. We hold all documents and all funds, pursuant to the purchase contract and escrow instructions, until all terms have been met and the property is in insurable condition; then, we record the final documents. We do not work for the seller or for the buyer; however, we are employed by ALL parties and act only upon MUTUAL WRITTEN INSTRUCTION.

“Opening Escrow” occurs when your REALTOR ® brings in a fully signed contract with your earnest money deposit. We will accept the contract with the final signatures of a party to be forthcoming. Your escrow officer reviews the contract, receipts in the earnest money, orders the Commitment for the Title Insurance, and prepares the documents required to close escrow. All of the documents are double
checked by your escrow officer; however, it is the final responsibility of your REALTOR ® to review the documents, explain them to you, and make any necessary changes or submit approval.


DEFINITION: A contract where by the insurer for valuable consideration agrees to indemnify the insured in a specified amount against loss through defect of title to real estate wherein the latter has an interest either as a purchaser or otherwise.

PURPOSE: The Title Insurance services of Empire West Title Agency, LLC are designed to afford real property owners, lenders, and others with interest in real estate, the maximum degree of protection from adverse title claims or risks. The financial assurance offered by a Title Insurance Policy from Empire West Title Agency, LLC is, of course, the primary aspect of title protection. The Policy affords protection both in satisfying valid claims against the title as insured and in defraying the expenses incurred in defending such claims.


Title companies work to eliminate risks by performing a search of the public records or through the title company’s own plant. The search consists of public records, laws and court decisions pertaining to the property to determine the current recorded ownership, any recorded liens or encumbrances or any other matters of record which could affect the title to the property. When a title search is complete, Empire West Title Agency, LLC issues a Commitment for Title Insurance (pre-lim) detailing the current status of title.


In every real estate transfer the matter of a title examination invariably arises. The home buyer often questions whether title insurance is really necessary, particularly when an examination of the title has been completed by an experienced title examiner, or Real Estate Attorney, and the examination of all available title records shows no adverse information which question the marketability of the title. But . . . does an examination of title records necessarily remove all concern for title problems eventually

The answer is NO . . . and that is why title insurance exists and why it plays such an important role in protecting the real estate interests and equity of policyholders


There are many title troubles that can arise to cause the loss of your property or mortgage investment. Hidden risks, which are title troubles that are not disclosed even by the most careful search of public records, are the most dangerous. Hidden risks can make your title worthless. Your attorney’s examination may be the finest that skill, experience and legal knowledge can produce, but your title may be fatally defective.

Here are some title troubles that frequently occur. You may not discover them when you buy real estate, but months or years later, they can result in the loss of your property or an expensive lawsuit:

  • Deeds by persons of unsound mind
  • Marital rights of spouse purportedly, but not legally, divorced
  • Deeds to or from defunct Corporations
  • Undisclosed divorce of spouse who conveys as consort’s heir
  • Defective acknowledgments
  • Deeds from a bigamous couple
  • Duress in execution of instruments
  • Deeds by minors
  • Erroneous reports furnished by tax officials
  • Deeds in lieu of foreclosure given under duress
  • False personation of the true owner of land
  • Deeds by persons supposedly single, but married
  • Forged documents, i.e., deeds, releases, etc.
  • Administration of estate of persons absent but not deceased
  • Misrepresentation of wills
  • Inadequate descriptions on conveyances
  • Mistakes in recording legal documents
  • Claims of creditors against property sold by heirs or devisees
  • Surviving children omitted from a will
  • Federal condemnation without filing of notice
  • Errors in indexing
  • Deed of community property recited to be separate property
  • Capacity of foreign fiduciaries
  • Falsification of records
  • Birth or adoption of children after date of will
  • Undisclosed or missing heirs
  • Deeds delivered after death of grantor/grantee,
  • Instruments executed under fabricated or expired Power of without consent of grantor Attorney


It is important to know that there are two kinds of title insurance.

LENDER’S TITLE INSURANCE protects only the interest of the lender. Lenders, knowing the many things that can snarl title to real property usually – and rightly – insist upon lenders title insurance to protect their stockholders and/or investors.

OWNER’S TITLE INSURANCE protects the interests of the buyer. Both kinds of title insurance are available in most areas in a single, low cost “package” that protects both lender and buyer for as long as they or their heirs have any interest in the property.  The title insurer, without expense to you, will defend you against insured claim upon the title to your property. The one-time premium is small. The protection is great.



Because Arizona is a community property state, there is a statutory presumption that all property acquired by husband and wife during the marriage except property acquired by gift, devise or descent, is community property. Community property is an estate of co-ownership between married persons only. Neither spouse, acting individually, may transfer or encumber real estate that is vested as community property. Upon death of one of the spouses, the descendant’s interest will pass by will (if one exists) or intestate succession (if no will exists).


A community property estate between married persons that vests the title to real property in the surviving spouse provided it is expressly declared in the deed. This vesting has the tax benefits of holding title as “community property” and the ability to avoid probate through “survivorship rights.” If a married couple acquires title as community property with right of survivorship they must specifically accept the community property with right of survivorship to avoid the presumption of community property.


Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a method of co-ownership that gives title to the real property to the surviving tenant(s) upon death of a joint tenant owner. Title to real property can be held in joint tenancy by two or more individuals either married or unmarried. If a married couple acquires title as joint tenants with the right of survivorship they must specifically accept the joint tenancy to avoid the presumption of community property.


Tenancy in common is co-ownership where parties do not have survivorship rights and each owns a specific undivided interest in the entire title.


Sole and separate property is real property owned by a spouse before marriage or any acquired after marriage by gift, descent or specific intent to hold the title separate from the marital community. If a married person acquires title as sole and separate property, his or her spouse must execute a disclaimer deed.

Title Commitment

This explanation may help you understand the contents of the title commitment you receive from Empire West Title Agency, LLC .
SCHEDULE A: This is the information submitted to our title department by the escrow officer. It contains the basic information given to us by the buyer or REALTOR ®, such as the legal description of the property, sales price, loan amount, lender, name and marital status of buyer and seller.
SCHEDULE B: The schedule B “exceptions” are items which are tied to the subject property. These include Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’S), easements, homeowners association bylaws, leases and other items which will remain of record and transfer with the property. They are referred to as “exceptions” because the buyer will receive a clear title “except” the buyers right will be subject to conditions in the CC&R’s, recorded easements, etc. The buyer is asked to sign a receipt for the Schedule B documents which states the buyer has read and accepts the contents. REQUIREMENTS: These are items that Empire West Title Agency, LLC needs to delete and or record in order to provide a clear title to the

Items that need to be addressed include:

  • Current property tax status
  • Any assessments that are owed such as those for a homeowners association
  • Any encumbrances (or liens) on the property
  • Sometimes items show up against a property because another person has a name similar to an involved party. This is one reason we ask for an identity statement, to determine if items are inaccurate and can be deleted.

Life of an Escrow

Seller Closing Costs

The buyer and the seller have closing costs to pay at the close of escrow. The seller closing costs are deducted from the purchase price by the title company.

Seller closing costs vary according to where you live, but as the seller you can expect to pay anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent of the home’s sales price at settlement. This won’t be cash out of your pocket, rather it will be deducted from the profit on your home — unless you are selling with very low equity. In which case, you may need to bring a little cash to the table.

Common closing costs

  • Realtors’ commissions. One of the largest costs you’ll pay. The standard commission is 6 percent, split between your agent and the buyer’s agent.
  • Recording fees or transfer taxes. There are state and local fees for the transfer of the title from one owner to another. They can vary dramatically from state to state, ranging from 0.1 percent to over 2 percent.
  • Title insurance. This protects the lender and the buyer from claims against the property. Buyers usually pay the lender’s title insurance.
  • Attorneys fees. In some markets, both buyers and sellers have their own attorneys. In others, one settlement attorney conducts the transaction.
  • Prorated property taxes and HOA fees. Like mortgage interest, property taxes and homeowners association dues must be paid up to the settlement date.
  • Loan Payoff Costs–Payment of existing loan
  • Prepayment penalties
  • Unpaid HOA dues and HOA transfer fee
  • Buyer credits

Final Closing Steps

You will be closing escrow soon. Lets not forget to do some simple closing steps. Lets tie up some loose ends and move on!

1. Take services out of your name….closing steps one

Avoid a dispute with the buyers after closing over things like fees for the cable service you forgot to discontinue. Contact every utility and service provider to end or transfer service to your new address as of the closing date. The close of escrow day belongs to the buyer. So make your last day of service the day before.

If you’re on an automatic-fill schedule for heating oil or propane, don’t pay for a pre-closing refill that provides free fuel for the new owner.

2. Home Owners Insurance…closing steps two

Contact your insurer to terminate coverage on your old home, get coverage on your new home, and ask whether you’re entitled to a refund of prepaid premium.

3. Spread the word on your change of address…closing steps three

Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks before the closing. Also notify credit card companies, publication subscription departments, friends and family, and your financial institutions of your new address.

4. Manage the movers….closing steps four

Scrutinize your moving company’s estimate. If you’re making a long-distance move, which is often billed according to weight, note the weight of your property. Also check with your homeowners insurer about coverage for your move. Usually movers cover only what they pack.

5. Do the settlement math….closing steps five

Title company employees are only human, so they can make mistakes. The day before your closing, check the math on your HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

Are all mortgages being paid off, and are the payoff amounts correct? If your real estate agent promised you extras—such as a discounted commission or a home warranty policy—make sure that’s included. Also check whether your real estate agent or title company added fees that weren’t disclosed earlier. If any party suggests leaving items off the settlement statement, consult a lawyer about whether that might expose you to legal risk.

Be sure the settlement company properly credited you for prepaid expenses, such as property taxes and homeowners association fees, if applicable. If you’ve prepaid taxes for the year, you’re entitled to a credit for the time you no longer own the home. Have you been credited for heating oil or propane left in the tank?

6. Don’t leave money in escrow…..closing steps six

End your home sale closing with nothing unresolved. Make sure the title company releases money already held in escrow for you, and avoid leaving sales proceeds in a new escrow to be dickered over later.


Every home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items will likely require a professional mover. Either way this can be done in stages to reduce the stress of packing all your worldly belongings.

How do you plan a move?
The time to plan your move begins once you’ve decided to sell your home. Some of the activities required to sell the home can actually help with the moving process. For example, cleaning out closets, basements, garages and attics means there will be less to do once the home is under contract.

Your planning will be guided by a number of things:

  • Are you moving a long distance? If yes, you’ll likely require an interstate mover and the use of a large van.
  • Moving internationally. Contact the embassy in Washington, D.C., for information. Be aware that items which may be entirely common in the United States can be prohibited in foreign countries. Ask about customs protocols, duties and taxes.
  • Moving locally? If yes, will you move yourself? You’ll need to consider packing boxes, peanuts, blankets or padding and a van rental.
  • Planning is key. Stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark boxes so that movers or you will know where goods should be placed.

Who should you use?
There are a number of factors to consider. Money is one issue: You’ll want to spend as little as possible, but choosing only on the basis of cost can be a mistake. Movers must have the right equipment, training and experience to do a good job. A mover, no matter how large or small, should be able to provide recent references for homesellers with a similar volume of goods to transport.

Get mover estimates in writing. Be aware that it’s possible to get discounts through membership organizations and, sometimes, on the basis of your profession: Clergy, for example, sometimes qualify for a discount.

Always confirm mover credentials. Movers should be licensed and bonded as required in your state, and employees should have workman’s comp insurance.

Get a checklist.
Moving is a big job and checklists can make it more organized and easier. Here are some of the major items to consider:

  • Money. If you’re moving more than a few miles then you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
  • Medicine. Keep medicines and related prescriptions in a place where they will be available during the move.
  • Number boxes so that all items can be counted on arrival. Make a list of boxes by number and indicate their contents.
  • If moving with children, make sure that each has a favorite toy or toys, blankets, games, music and other goods.
  • Moving historic, breakable or valued items? Such goods routinely require special handling and packaging.
  • Have address books readily available in case you need help.
  • If you have a laptop computer with a modem, make it accessible during your trip to pick up business and personal e-mail.

Home Evaluation

Find out what your home is worth, for free! Don’t leave money on the table.

If you’re trying to sell your home, empower yourself with the knowledge you need before you start. Or, if you are just wondered how much your home is worth for curiosity sake, now’s the time to find out. Who knows, maybe what you discover will change your mind about waiting to sell your home.


It has come to my attention that my HOME VALUE form (in google forms) is not visible to non google users……….who knew? Well if that is you please send YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS to JeanWfry@gmail.com please include your first and last name ….I will respond ASAP.