T■ By Matt McPherson / Columnist
he real estate selling season, starting in late March and lasting through September, is right around the corner.
The surge in demand always coincides with the end of the school year and is initiated with winter and early spring tax returns, which often provide the much needed down payments and closing costs associated with a typical real estate transaction.
Recently a post on Jennifer Murphy’s (a popular Hemet real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Associated Brokers) Facebook page provided some much needed practical advice for normal residential sellers.
This extremely valuable information should be taken to heart by anyone involved in selling a home in the current market.
The Ten Commandments of selling a home
1. Thou shalt not cook any food that creates an invasive odor, such as broccoli, seafood, onions, garlic, etc. Although some foods may seem delicious to you, the exotic and unfamiliar smells may be offensive to others and impede the sale of your home.
2. Thou shalt vacate the house for all showings. To avoid confusion on the sale, vacate the home of all family members so that the process is implemented by a professional real estate expert, which eliminates any confusing or ambiguous statements when the deal closes.
3. Thou shalt send all inquiries about your property to your agent. This eliminates many confusing facts regarding property sales and allows an expert to define the terms of the sale and helps avoid misinformation.
4. Thou shalt not depend on real estate websites to determine your approximate listing price. Many popular internet real estate sites may provide a yardstick for what your property could be worth, but many times these figures are outdated by months and calculated from a limited set of closed properties. Your real estate agent, especially if they’re local, can refer to the available resources in the area, usually through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
5. Thou shalt not stop paying the mortgage. On many occasions sellers have felt entitled to stop paying their mortgage, especially if it is currently in escrow. This is a huge mistake and may hamper the sale of a property.
6. Thou shalt not turn off the utilities before closing. This is probably the most frequent mistake made by sellers once an offer has been accepted. Sellers may be tempted to turn off the utilities after a sale is initiated, but not closed. However, inspections, appraisals and property maintenance all require that the utilities remain on and in good working order.
7. Thou shalt keep all beds made before showings. A messy bed can psychologically affect the impression made to a potential buyer. It portrays a disorganized placement of things in the house and can also deter a potential offer.
8. Thou shalt fill out property condition disclosures completely and disclose all known defects. This is the most common way lawsuits over the state of the property are initiated, usually due to vague communication between the seller and buyer. Make sure to document every single little defect or flaw associated with the home.
9. Thou shalt assume every day is a showing day. Keep it clean and clutter free, with animals properly secured. Anticipate potential buyers at the drop of a hat — impulse is what drives most looky-loos. You may have a passerby visiting their relative next door and they just happen to see the sign in your yard. Be prepared to entertain any and all inquiries into your property, with a local agent at the ready.
10. Thou shalt not call your agent at 11 p.m. For the best results, the home seller should respect the real estate agent’s time and professionalism and refrain from inappropriate phone calls, especially in the late hours. Respecting your real estate agent‘s professionalism will keep them motivated to work on your property.
Inherent within these 10 commandments lie the basic tenets of marketing and potentially selling your property at a good price. Although this list is rudimentary, it will help greatly in going through the sometimes tedious process of the sale. Always use a knowledgeable and local real estate agent who is familiar with the market.
Matt McPherson 6th Generation in the Valley, Coldwell Banker Associated Brokers.
BRE # 01362837