Follow by Email

Monday, July 21, 2014

Selling Your Home: Where To Begin

Selling Your Home: Where To Begin

First Impressions

Remember what first attracted you to your house when you bought it? What excited you about its most appealing features? Now that you're selling your home, you'll need to look at it as if you were buying it all over again.

A spruced up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. An attractive property grabs their attention and makes them excited about finding a house that looks and feels well-cared for. Because buyers know they’ll encounter fewer problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing and stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home correctly, you’ll save time selling it when it’s on the market.

A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels. It’s not just the way your house looks to potential buyers, but how it feels and smells to them, how their friends and family will react, how they imagine it would be to live there.
With simple improvements you can grab the attention of potential buyers and help them see why your house is right for them.

Curb Appeal

The "Wow" factor — that first visual, high-impact impression your home makes on potential buyers — can turn a looker into a buyer. To determine your property’s curb appeal, drive through your neighborhood and note other properties; then approach your own house as if you were a potential buyer. How does it look? Does it "wow" you? Will its curb appeal attract buyers? Note what needs improving, such as trimming trees, planting shrubs, or painting gutters. Little things convey that you’ve cared for your home, and this is your opportunity to sell that important message to buyers who are shopping from the street, simply cruising neighborhoods just looking for houses for sale. To get them through your door, do what you can to make your property look like someone’s dream home.

Paint/Stain

If it’s peeling or blistering and you can’t remember the last time you painted it, your house needs some attention. That also goes for stain that is significantly faded. A newly painted or stained exterior will help sell your house faster. And whether you do it yourself or hire someone, you’ll also increase your home’s value.

In the Yard

Grab people’s attention by enhancing your yard and landscaping. If your house looks inviting and well-maintained from the street, people will imagine that it’s attractive on the inside, too.
  • Prune bushes and hedges; trim trees.
  • Keep your lawn looking healthy and green by mowing it often, fertilizing it, and keeping it edged and trimmed.
  • Clean up and dispose of pet mess.
  • Weed your gardens; add fertilizer and mulch; then plant colorful flowers.
  • In winter, keep your driveway and sidewalks shoveled, de-iced, and well-lit.
  • Stack firewood, clean out birdbaths, repair and paint fences.
The Front Door

An attractive entry catches a buyer’s eye and says, "Welcome," so highlight this area of your house with decorative touches, such as a wreath on the door or new shrubs and flowers around the steps. For an even grander entry, clean and paint your front door, or replace it with a new one for a few hundred dollars. Don’t forget to fix and polish doorknobs, repair torn screens, and then put out that new welcome mat.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.






Monday, July 7, 2014

We've Launched Our New Website!

We've Launched Our New Website!

A few weeks ago, we launched our new, robust website to better serve our clients.

In addition to real-time inventory in all local towns and neighborhoods, an MLS search, my listings, testimonials from past clients and an introduction to all of the Team Wyss players, the site now includes a fantastic school locator application powered by School Scout!


We welcome you to visit our new site and put the school search app through its paces.


If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.




 408.687.2026 |  Julie@JulieWyss.comwww.JulieWyss.com

Monday, June 23, 2014

Seller Disclosure Requirements


During the escrow process, you must inform the buyer of specialized conditions that affect your home. These may include the following conditions:

Lead Paint
Sellers of properties built prior to 1978 have the following obligations:
  • Provide buyers with a HUD pamphlet entitled "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home"
  • Disclose all known lead-based paint and related hazards and provide any available reports
  • Include a standardized warning as an attachment to the contract
  • Complete and sign statements verifying that requirements have been met
  • Retain the signed acknowledgement for 3 years
  • In addition, you must provide the buyers with a 10-day opportunity to test for lead

Natural Hazards
California law requires sellers to disclose, via a "Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement" or NHD, if properties are located in one of six predetermined "natural hazard" zones. (If the property is not within one of these zones, you, of course, have no such obligation.)

The six zones are:
  1. A flood hazard zone as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  2. An area of potential flooding after a dam failure (also known as an inundation area)
  3. A very high fire hazard zone
  4. A wildland fire area, also known as a state fire responsibility area
  5. An earthquake fault zone
  6. A seismic hazard zone

If an NHD is delivered to the buyer after both parties have signed the Purchase Agreement, the buyer will have three days to rescind the agreement. However, if the buyer received the NHD before they signed the Purchase Agreement, then they cannot use the NHD to rescind.

Mello-Roos Districts
Especially (but not exclusively) if you are selling a home in a newer area, you may be within a Mello-Roos tax district, and you must provide to the buyer a "Notice of Special Tax." If this notice is delivered to the buyer in person, they have three days to rescind their offer. If it’s delivered via U.S. mail, they have five days to decide.

Basically, a "Mello-Roos Community Facilities District" is formed by a local government, district, or agency to finance public services and facilities including police and fire departments, ambulance and paramedic services, parks, schools, libraries, museums and cultural facilities.

Condominiums etc.
If you’re selling a condominium, townhouse or other planned development (for purposes of this discussion, we will call them all "condominiums"), there are the buyer needs to know about common areas (such as greenbelts and recreational rooms) and the homeowner’s association.

The buyer will be required to make monthly payments, known as regular assessments, to maintain common areas, as well as special assessments to replace a roof or repair the plumbing, as determined by the homeowner’s association (HOA.)

Condominiums also may have regulations regarding architectural requirements, limitations on pets, and age restrictions (i.e., senior housing). These must be formally disclosed to the buyer during escrow. You may provide this information via the following documents, to the extent that they exist and are available:

Declaration of Restrictions:
  • Commonly known as "CC&Rs", or Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions
  • Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Association
  • Bylaws
  • All current financial information and related statements, including operating budget, estimated revenue and expenses, HOA reserves, estimated remaining life of major components (including roofs, plumbing etc.), and regular and special assessments
  • A statement describing the HOA’s policies and practices in enforcing lien rights or other legal remedies for default in payment of its assessments
  • A summary of the HOA’s property, general liability, and earthquake and flood insurance policies
  • On existing HOA’s, a statement describing any restrictions on the basis of age, such as authorized senior citizen housing

Many smaller HOAs will not have all of these documents, but must provide what they do have.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.
                                        
    


              
                      Top Producing Agent at Keller Williams Bay Area Estates, Los Gatos

                   
                            408.687.2026 |  Julie@JulieWyss.comwww.JulieWyss.com

Monday, June 9, 2014

Preparing Your Property for Sale

Fully preparing your home for sale can make a considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements, some of which are suggested in the article.
Outdoors
  • Spruce up your garden and lawn; trim shrubbery and replace dead plants.
  • Yard and patio should be neat; outdoor furniture clean and in good shape.
  • Manicure your front yard; make sure your driveway and entryway are free of clutter.
  • Kitchen Sinks, appliances and countertops should sparkle. Remove any clutter.
  • Wax the floor.
  • Clean the oven, range and other appliances.
  • Clean tile and grout. Replace if necessary.
Exterior
  • Ensure the house numbers, mailbox and exterior lighting are in good condition.
  • Touch up with fresh paint as needed.
  • Inspect chimney for cracks and earthquake damage.
  • Repair loose trim, drain pipes and fencing.
  • Clean stains and window screens.
Bathrooms
  • Clean mirrors, glass, chrome and porcelain surfaces.
  • Replace shower curtain if needed.
  • Fix any faucet drips or leaks.
  • Clean grout and caulking. Replace if needed.
Garage
  • Remove clutter and tidy up the shelves.
  • Clean the floor.
Closets
  • Doors and drawers should open and close easily.
  • Remove clutter, tidy up shelves and racks.
  • Shoes and clothes should be neatly arranged.
Living Areas
  • Paint if needed. Think about brightening interiors with neutral toned paint.
  • Clean draperies and carpets.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs.
Overall

  • Checks basics: doors, windows, cabinets.
  • Clean fireplace and remove smoke stains from wall and mantle.
  • Clean your furnace and water heater.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.


Top Producing Agent at Keller Williams Bay Area Estates, Los Gatos


Monday, May 26, 2014

Remodeling Your Home


The classic way for homeowners to increase the value of their house is by remodeling existing rooms or adding on to its current plan.

Some choose to build recreation rooms and studies while others add new appliances, fixtures and cabinets to enliven rooms and make their home more attractive to future buyers.

But, when should you decide to stop sinking money into a home and buy a bigger place? 

And how much rehab is too much when it comes time to recovering remodeling costs through a home sale?

For instance, if you’ve just spent $1,000 remodeling your living room and didn’t expand your small bathroom, the chances of increasing the number of interested buyers are slim.

With these concerns in mind, I can offer a few tips for those struggling to add value to their home.

First, always protect the character of your home. Nothing sticks out more than a new addition that is in a completely different architectural style. Be consistent. Recognize your home’s character and stay within its framework.

The most financially rewarding areas to remodel are usually the kitchen and bath. Newly re-done cooking spaces and cabinets can attract more buyers and may command a slightly higher price for the home than a comparable one on the market. Simple repairs that are made to last will bring you the biggest returns upon sale.

Enlarged bathrooms are the most popular attraction for new homebuyers, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Today, the most popular additions for younger buyers are sunken whirlpool baths and showers. But be sure to install modest, solid amenities. It’s easy to quickly over-spend on bathroom fixtures.

Buyers are, by convention, more interested in aboveground living space – not basements, yards and walkways. Swimming pools can be a poor investment if installed for the sole purpose of increasing a home’s value; it’s rare that a pool’s cost will be recovered in a home sale. It can also be a negative feature for potential buyers with very young children.

Replacing worn carpeting, tiles and wood floors can give your home an immediate advantage over similar properties in the area. Updating paint colors in all areas of your home can also prove beneficial.

However, it’s recommended that you use neutral colors, such as gray, beige and off-white when adding new floor and wall coverings. Fewer buyers will then turn away because of differing tastes.

Stay simple with your remodeling and look at your home as though you were the buyer. Chances are that if you find the upstairs bedroom could be brightened by a larger window, potential buyers will probably feel the same.

Don’t go overboard. Concentrate on improving two or three deficiencies in your home. More than likely, the time and money you spend adding quality to your home will be rewarded with greater profit at selling time.

If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.



Serving all of Silicon Valley
Top Producing Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Bay Estates, Los Gatos
Call Julie Today

                                www.juliewyss.com  |  julie@juliewyss.com |  408-687-2026

Monday, May 12, 2014

How To Price Your Home

Pricing will determine, among other things:
  1. How quickly your home sells
  2. How attractive your home will be to buyers
  3. How you will reach your financial goals regarding the transactions

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as your property’s being located in a high-risk, undesirable or unusual area, the listing price of your home will set the tone for your entire transaction.

That’s why my expertise and knowledge of your local marketplace is so helpful. I will gather statistics that quantify the prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood:
  • That have sold
  • That have not sold
  • That are pending
  • That currently are on the market

I will compare aspects of those homes against the unique features of yours. I will also analyze market conditions, the availability of mortgage funds, neighborhood reputation and characteristics, among other considerations, to create a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). The CMA provides objective information that will enable us to make an educated, informed pricing decision designed to yield a speedy sale for the most advantageous price possible.

Philosophically speaking, put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes when considering pricing. Buyers’ main considerations will be location, age of property, its condition and style and of course, price. Thinking objectively about these matters will help you and me determine a price based on fair market value -- what your house is worth in the current market, not the amount you or your buyers would like it to be.

Other key aspects to consider include the following:

1. How soon do I want to sell my property?
Statistics show the narrower the gap between the asking price and my estimate of value, the sooner an offer will come in.

2. How does my home compare to others in the area?
As a real estate professional, I have access to details about current listed and sold properties through the Multiple Listing Service. You will be able to see how much competition there is and what effect market conditions have had in your area. You can then determine your price by analyzing homes comparable to yours in age, size, condition and location.

3. What are buyers willing to offer?
Buyers are interested in your home’s comparable worth, not what you might need to get out of the property. The buyer’s perception of the value of your home will not be altered by the cost of your next home, your need to pay off an existing mortgage, or your hope for a dollar-for-dollar return on home improvements. Remember that sellers and Realtors© are not appraisers...buyers are. In the end, it is the buyer's evaluation that matters. Buyers make their assessments by comparing your property with others that offer similar features and are in a similar condition to yours.

4. Is there any harm in overpricing property, then dropping the price if it doesn’t sell?
Yes. To effectively price your home, you must establish a solid correlation between the asking price and the fair market value. A realistic asking price will result in a fast, lucrative sale. If your price is out of sync with the market, you’re likely to turn off a large group of potential buyers. Contrary to popular belief, a buyer usually makes an offer on a fairly priced property before making a lower offer on a listing that is seen as overpriced. Also, overpricing your home often helps sell your neighbor's home faster than yours.

5. But my house is worth so much more...
Emotion and pride should have no place in the pricing process. Sellers speak of value, amount invested and what they can afford "to take." Buyers consider only price, condition and other properties offered.

6. Should I leave room for negotiating?
Experience has shown that the closer your listing price is to the supporting comparable sales data, the greater your chances for a quick sale at or near your asking price. As a result, we recommend pricing as close to that figure as possible. If you list your home at an unreasonably high price and receive a full-priced offer, the price will be tested during the appraisal and lending process. As a result, it’s important to price your property at something statistics and the experience of the local brokers can justify. In fact, agents will miss showing your property to potentially qualified buyers simply because, at face value, your property is out of their clients' price range.


If you have a need for a real estate professional, please contact me. I would also appreciate your vote of confidence by passing my name to anyone you may know who would benefit from my services.


Julie Wyss, serving all of Silicon Valley
Top Producing Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Bay Estates, Los Gatos
Call Julie Today

Monday, April 28, 2014

How To Help Sell Your Home

How To Help Sell Your Home

Let your home smile a welcome to buyers when the agent shows the house...

Three's A Crowd
Avoid having too many people present during inspections. The potential buyer will feel like an intruder and will hurry through the house.

Music is Mellow
But not when showing a house. Turn off the blaring radio or television. Let the salesman and buyer talk, free of disturbances.

Pets Underfoot?
Keep them out of the way-preferably out of the house.

Silence is Golden
Be courteous, but don't force conversation with the potential buyer. He/she wants to inspect your house-not pay a social call.

Be it ever so Humble
Never apologize for the appearance of your home. After all, it has been lived in. Let the trained salesperson answer any objections. This is his job.

In the Background
The salesperson knows the buyer's requirements and can better emphasize the features of your home when you don't tag along. You will be called if needed.

Why Put the Cart Before the Horse?
Trying to dispose of furniture and furnishings to the potential buyer before he has purchased the house often loses a sale.

A Word to the Wise
Let your Realtor discuss price terms, possession and other factors with the customer. He is eminently qualified to bring negotiations to a favorable conclusion.

Use Your Agent
Show your home to prospective customers only by appointment through your agent. Your cooperation will be appreciated and will help close the sale more quickly.

First Impressions are Lasting
The front door greets the prospect. Make sure it is fresh, clean and scrubbed looking. Keep lawn trimmed and edged, and the yard free of refuse.

Decorate for a Quick Sale
Faded walls and worn woodwork reduce appeal. Why tell the prospect how your home could look, when you can show him by redecorating? A quicker sale at a higher price will result. An investment in new kitchen wallpaper will pay dividends.

Let the Sun Shine In
Open draperies and curtains and let the prospects see how cheerful your home can be. (Dark homes do not appeal.)

Fix that Faucet
Dripping water discolors sinks and suggests faulty plumbing.

Repairs can make a Big Difference
Loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers and other minor flaws detract from home value. Have them fixed.

From Top to Bottom
Display the full value of your attic and other utility space by removing all unnecessary articles.

Safety First
Keep stairways clear. Avoid cluttered appearances and possible injuries.

Make Closets look Bigger
Neat well organized closets show that you have ample space.

Bathrooms Help Sell Homes
Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers. Make this room sparkle.

Arrange Bedrooms Neatly
Remove excess furniture. Use attractive bedspreads and freshly laundered curtains.

Can you See the Light?
Illumination is like a welcome sign. The potential buyer will feel a glowing warmth when you turn on all your lights for an evening inspection.


Julie Wyss, serving all of Silicon Valley
Top Producing Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Bay Estates, Los Gatos
Call Julie Today

www.JulieWyss.com   |   Julie@JulieWyss.com   |   408.687.2026