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  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers Always Ask (#9)

    Posted on March 5th, 2011 admin No comments

    I know my credit score is great and I don’t owe any debts except for my car.  There’s no sense in meeting with a lender until we find the right house.

    What if you find that house on a Friday or holiday weekend?  Even in this market it is still possible to lose your dream home if you are not prepared to deal.  And if the listing is a short-sale or a bank owned property, they won’t even consider your offer unless it includes the pre-approval letter.
    With all these fancy computer thingys and internets the process is simple and fast.  Qualifying with a lender does not obligate you to that particular lender.  If you find a better rate or fee structure later then the decision to jump ship is yours.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Home Sellers Make. Number 10

    Posted on March 1st, 2011 admin No comments

    Why should I pay the Buyer’s Closing Cost? No one paid my closing cost when I bought my home.

    “Paying the buyer’s closing cost” is a misleading statement. No one but the buyer can pay their closing cost. A more accurate statement would be: “The seller will allow the buyer to finance their closing cost over the life of the loan by adding them to the agreed upon purchase price.” Awkward but accurate.
    The number that a seller should pay attention to is the net equity. When you receive an offer your agent should provide an estimated breakdown of all the selling expenses and come up with the net amount to you. This is the final amount that the escrow officer will hand you at closing. In small non-sequential used bills if desired.

    Here is an example:
    Your home is listed for $159,900 and a buyer brings you an offer of $161,900 and ask that you pay $4800 in closing cost. This is actually an offer to you of $157,100. That is $161,900 – $4800 = $157,100. At settlement (close of escrow) the escrow company would credit you a sales price of $161,900 and then debit you $4800 and credit the buyer $4800 toward their cost. The buyer’s loan will be for $4800 more than it would have been if they had just paid their closing cost with cash and bought the home for $157,100. But now the buyer has more cash in their pocket (but has a higher monthly payment) and you sold your house.
    One gotcha to this is that the property must appraise for the higher amount. Which by definition is more than fair market value. This higher amount may also effect your capitol gains tax if it was an investment property and normally the real estate commissions are paid on the lower net amount.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Home Sellers Make. Number 9

    Posted on February 28th, 2011 admin No comments

    The kitchen remodel isn’t quite finished but we can describe the granite counter tops to the buyer. Maybe they will want to pick out their own colors.

    I’m sure the buyers would like to pick out their own colors, but unless you are a developer selling a new construction home this is not a good idea. Buyers fall in love with what they see not what they hear. Ever notice how a model home is finished and furnished right down to the fake family photos on the nightstand and dinner plates on the table? This is because when you are selling a home you are really selling a lifestyle that the buyer feels like they can move into.
    Always have the home ready to sell from the first showing to the last. Otherwise the buyer (and their agent) will use every shortfall to chip away at your price and profit.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Home Sellers Make. Number 8

    Posted on February 27th, 2011 admin No comments

    I know the market analysis came in at $275,000 but let’s start at $300,000. After all, we can always come down in price.

    And you will. Study after study show that when a home starts substantially higher than market value, the ultimate selling price is significantly below the market value. Think of homes for sale as if they were products on a shelf. And each shelf represents a price range. If your home is on the wrong shelf, then the wrong buyers are looking at it. The buyer who is looking for a home in your market value will never see your house and those that do see your home need something on that higher price shelf and are not interested in making the appropriate offer on your home.
    Yes, of course we start a little above the market analysis price for negotiation sake. But that spread is a fine line and is one you want to discuss with your agent. Remember, you are paying for professional advice and experience. Use it.

  • Mistakes That Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 7

    Posted on February 26th, 2011 admin No comments

    I don’t want one of those keyboxes. I could never feel secure knowing that some stranger could come in at any time.

    The new electronic keyboxes are very secure. It would be easier for a burglar to kick in your door than to break one open.
    Only a licensed agent (or affiliate) who is in good standing has a functional electronic key and unique code to open the keybox. This key has to be updated every day and is cross checked against the board of real estate data base of active agents. As soon as your keybox is opened your agent is notified electronically of who entered and when. Your agent can further restrict access to certain hours or force the other agent to call first for a special access code. If there were a kleptomaniac agent out there, the keybox is the last option for gaining access to a home.

    Under no circumstances should you allow a mechanical keybox to be used on your home. These are only about as secure as a old fashioned combo lock. And think about the process for entry:
    A buyer’s agent has to call your agent for the code to the box. This agent almost certainly writes down the code on the MLS printout which has your address and home description. Then guess who gets the printout when the showing is over? The buyer most likely and who knows after that.

    Consider the alternatives to the electronic keybox:

    • Key under the mat (or flowerpot, or mailbox, or…) I’ll bet no burglar ever thought of looking there.
    • Have your agent be present for every showing. Even under the best of circumstances, your agent will not always be available when the buyer is ready to visit. And it is an old real estate adage that buyers don’t come back. There is always something else for them to look at the next time they go out.
    • Show the home yourself. Absolutely not. I have said this before in Mistake #4, but it is worth repeating: You do not want to talk to the potential buyer or worse yet, their agent because it puts you in the awkward position of being asked questions about the property or your motivation. None of which is going to benefit you in negotiations. There is a version of the Miranda warning for real estate. Anything you say, can and will be held against you in offer negotiation.
  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers Always Ask (#8)

    Posted on January 27th, 2011 admin No comments

    Why should I consider that house?  The living room was painted pink with green carpet.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Paint and carpet are relatively easy and cheap to fix.  Let your agent use the seller’s lapse in judgment to your benefit in negotiation.
    When considering a home, make your decision based on attributes that you can’t change (location, neighbors, architectural style) or those items that are expensive to change (old furnace, bad roof, floor plan).

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers always ask (#7)

    Posted on January 17th, 2011 admin No comments

    My loan officer said that the seller will pay my closing costs.  Wouldn’t that save us thousands?

    First the facts.  The seller never actually pays a buyer’s closing cost.  The amount is simply deducted from your offer price to create a net price.  This “net” is what the seller looks at when considering your offer.  On the final accounting sheet (the HUD document) this “paid amount” is deducted from the seller’s proceeds and credited to the buyer, offsetting their closing cost.
    In negotiation the seller will often add the requested credit to their bottom line price for an acceptable offer.  This means that the buyer has actually just paid more than the market price for the property in order to spread out their closing cost over the lifetime of the loan.
    This is a good deal for the buyer only if:

    • The buyer doesn’t have a lot of cash for closing, or
    • The buyer would rather keep some cash on hand for remodeling.

    The risk is that the home won’t appraise for this inflated amount.

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers Always Ask (#6)

    Posted on January 7th, 2011 admin No comments

    I don’t want to write a back-up offer. Won’t the listing agent call if the first offer falls through.

    Don’t count on the listing agent doing what you (the buyer) want them to do.  They often “forget” to make that call.
    If the home attracted multiple offers the first time, it may very well do so again.  If you have a backup offer in place and the first offer fails, then the sale immediately reverts to you with all the normal due-diligence time periods.
    A properly written backup offer is pretty much risk free.  The earnest money check is not even cashed until the seller notifies you in writing that your are in first position.
    However, if you can really live without this house and can risk a divorce action over the loss then yes, the best negotiation is to play it cool.  But have your agent “tag” the listing on the MLS system so that they are automatically notified when the sale fails.

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers Always Ask (#5)

    Posted on October 20th, 2010 admin No comments

    Why should I test for radon gas?  I’m a non-smoker and we don’t have any kids who will be sleeping in the basement.

    Because you don’t want to be the homeowner left holding the radon card.  You have to consider that someday when you sell this home, the new buyer will test for radon and use it to negotiate a repair or better price.  Testing now, while you are the buyer is a much better strategy.
    Oh, and the elevated risk of lung cancer.  That’s a good reason too.

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers Always Ask (#4)

    Posted on October 16th, 2010 admin No comments

    Why should we make a large earnest money deposit?  Isn’t that an unnecessary risk?

    A very large earnest money deposit is risky, but just as the earnest money binds you to the contract it also binds the seller.
    In most cases if a buyer defaults on the real estate purchase contract then the seller can retain the earnest money deposit as compensation for time and trouble.  But this rule also works in reverse.
    If the seller defaults on the contract (fails to complete the sale) then you, the buyer, are entitled to a refund of your earnest money AND an equal amount from the seller for your time and trouble.

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers Always Ask (#3)

    Posted on October 14th, 2010 admin No comments

    We’ve signed all the paperwork and given the title company our down payment check.  Can we get the keys now?

    Probably not.
    Completing the paperwork and making the down payment (called Settlement) is only one part of closing escrow.  The trip point is called Funding.  That is when your lender sends the loan amount in a wire transfer to the title company and the title company confirms it.  Then they notify all the players that they are recording the sale with the county and dispersing funds (called Recording).  Then you get the keys to your Barbie dream house (called Possession).  This all usually happens one business day after Settlement.
    The real estate purchase contract will spell out exactly when possession occurs.  Your agent’s negotiation of this point to your benefit is a key part of the original offer.  Sometimes there is a rent-back, or you may have negotiated extra move out time for the seller in exchange for a better price.
    A buyer with cash can usually get the keys the same day.  And pretty much anything else they want.

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers always Ask (#2)

    Posted on October 11th, 2010 admin No comments

    I know that the listing didn’t include any appliances, but let’s go ahead and ask them to throw in the washer and dryer.   They can always say no.

    Sometimes this is a good strategy, especially if you are offering at or near the asking price.  But you want to stay focused on the goal of acquiring the home for the best price.  You don’t want to give the seller more reasons to counter-offer.  Because while they are counter-offering your request for the 10 year old Maytag, they will probably go ahead and counter your offering price as well.
    Write a clean offer that can be accepted on the first draft.
    You can go back after the offer is accepted and offer to buy the appliances separately for a yard sale price.
    Remember that you are buying real estate not used appliances.

  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers always Ask (#1)

    Posted on October 9th, 2010 admin No comments

    If the appraisal comes in higher than the purchase price can we get a loan for the higher amount?

    Wouldn’t that be nice.
    But no, the lender will not exceed the necessary loan amount.   For some reason it also doesn’t seem to make the loan any easier or faster to close.  Just be satisfied that you negotiated a great deal.
    Later when you own the home and have a current appraisal that exceeds your principle balance then you may be able to get a second home equity loan.  But that can be risky.  Ask anyone who did this from 2005 to 2008.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 6

    Posted on October 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    “There’s no sense in listing our home this close to the holidays.  Lets wait until spring when there are more buyers.”

    There are more buyers in the spring.  There are also more sellers.
    It has been my experience that the ratio stays pretty much the same with the difference being that someone who is shopping in the off season usually has to buy a home and is much more motivated.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 5

    Posted on October 4th, 2010 admin No comments

    “My tenants are really good about this whole sales thing.  I don’t want them disturbed unless the buyer is serious.  We should have 24 hour notice.”

    If you are selling a multi-unit building or other investment property then yes, that is a reasonable request.  Skip the following rant.

    If you are selling a single family home or condo then it is very unlikely that the buyer with the highest and best offer will be interested in keeping your tenants.  In short, they will not be investors.
    Buyers who are not investors are scared witless by occupying tenants, even if the lease is up before closing.  They don’t like the idea of buying something that was a “rental”.  It just isn’t sexy.
    Selling a rented single family home puts the seller between a rock and proverbial hard place.  It is expensive to vacate paying tenants and stage the home for sale.  Every day on the market is a loss in income.  However the ultimate cost is likely far less because a vacant home that is prepped and staged is much easier to show and will bring a higher price than one that is being occupied by tenants who have nothing to gain by the sale of the property.
    If you really must keep the tenants then I suggest that you put in writing an agreement with them to keep the home in top condition and available to show on short notice in exchange for a cash bonus at closing.
    But only at closing.  Keep the carrot on a long stick.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 4

    Posted on September 29th, 2010 admin No comments

    “My home has a lot of special features.  It would be best if I helped the buyer’s agent show the home so I can point out those antique doorknobs.”

    No, it wouldn’t.  I have spent at least half of my career as a buyer’s agent and I can testify right here and now that the buyer does not give a rat’s hinee about those little custom touches.  Those were special for you but it is not what will sell your home.
    Buyers first and foremost do not want the seller at home during a showing.  They want to be able to move around the property on their own time and fall in love with it for their own reasons.  The presence of the seller also inhibits buyer/agent conversation which is necessary in resolving issues that keep the buyer from making an offer.
    If you must, make a list of these features and leave a copy out for the buyer.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 3

    Posted on September 27th, 2010 admin No comments

    “It would be easier to have anyone who wants to see the house just call me directly for the appointment.  No sense in them bothering my agent for every call.”

    Easier maybe, but not smarter.
    If you were charged with a DUI would you just call up the district attorney and suggest you settle the whole thing over a couple of drinks?
    Of course not.  You have professional representation.  Let them, no, make them do their job.
    You do not want to talk to the potential buyer or worse yet their agent because it puts you in an awkward position of being asked questions about the property or your motivation.  None of which is going to benefit you in negotiations.
    There is a version of the Miranda warning for real estate.
    Anything you say, can and will be held against you in the offer negotiations.

  • Mistakes That Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 2

    Posted on September 25th, 2010 admin No comments

    “I don’t want to show my house to anyone who isn’t pre-approved for a loan.”

    It’s understandable that you don’t want to waste your time getting ready for a showing that has little chance of success.  But consider that when you have your home listed professionally, then the only buyers that should be seeing the home are being represented by buyer’s agents who don’t want to waste their time either.  In other words, don’t put undue restrictions on a showing that may ultimately yield in a profit.
    You want to show your home to as many buyers as possible to generate an offer at the highest price.  You don’t want to do anything that makes it more difficult to show your home.  Today’s buyers expect near immediate availability with a minimum of hassle.  They don’t come back later because there is always something new to see tomorrow.
    It’s not fair, but it is a fact.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 1

    Posted on September 23rd, 2010 admin No comments

    1. The neighbor said his daughter wants to buy my house.  Should I see if they’re serious before listing?

    Selling your home to the neighbor and listing your home are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  This scenario happens more often than you might imagine.  Letting friends and family know that you are going to sell brings out all sorts of responses in people.  Most of them well meaning.  Yes, your neighbor, cousin, or orthodontist  may suddenly announce that they have always wanted your property but they also want to bicycle across France someday.

    There is a way to force them into action, still list your home and be fair to everyone.  It is called an exclusion clause.

    Simply put, let your agent know the whole story and suggest that you want to still list your home but with the neighbor excluded from the listing contract “for a specific time period” because of course you found them yourself prior to the listing being signed.  This means that if the neighbor follows through and really does make an offer in writing then you pay no commission.  In the mean time your agent is going to start marketing your home which will motivate the neighbor into getting off the fence.

    Both the potential buyer and your agent are motivated to make things happen, and you don’t waste valuable marketing time waiting for the neighbor to make up their mind.

    I would also recommend that you offer to pay the listing agent (through their broker) a reasonable fee to write up this offer and follow through to closing represented your interests.  The buyer feels they got a discount, your agent is gainfully employed and you get a legal  binding contract with professional representation at a discount.

  • What is Limited Agency

    Posted on September 12th, 2010 admin No comments

    Limited agency occurs when one agent (and/or brokerage) represents both buyer and seller for a specific property at the same time.


    Danger Will Robertson, Danger!


    Question: How can an agent effectively represent two negotiating parties and get the best deal for each?
    Answer: They can’t.  Hence the term limited agency.
    Nothing makes a Realtor pop more Prilosec than walking this thin line.
    The agent is limited in their disclosure, confidentiality and loyalty to each party.  The primary limitation is in negotiating the price.  A limited agent cannot disclose whether the price is as low (or high) as one side is willing to go.  The limited agent is still bound to treat each party fairly, ethically and neutrally.  And they cannot withhold material facts about the property or the buyer’s ability to complete the transaction.
    For example if they learn that the roof leaked last year (but it hasn’t rained much since then) or that their buyer just got fired and the loan approval was contingent on employment.


    There are at least 3 ways in which limited agency can happen.
    1. You are a seller who has listed your home for sale with Barbara from Better Hovels and Herbs RE.  Barb’s client Bill decides that your home is perfect and asks her to write you an offer.
    2. The inverse of the above. You are a buyer with an agent and happen to fall in love with a home that they are already representing as a selling agent.
    3. Buying or selling a home where the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent are associated with the same brokerage.  In this case the broker (someone you will probably never meet) would be the limited agent, but the individual agents still work for their respective clients to full effect as buyer and seller agents.  This type of limited agency is fairly benign and usually inadvertent.
    In all cases you will have to sign a disclosure, that you understand and agree to limited agency before proceeding.

    Note: Do not confuse these examples with a situation where an unrepresented buyer works directly with a builder, new construction developer or contacts a listing agent directly.  That buyer would have to sign a document agreeing that they had the right to have professional representation but chose not to.  The inverse is also true, such as when a “for sale by owner” receives an offer from an agent representing a buyer.  With these examples the agent is not limited because they only represent their client and not the other party.

  • What Should a Seller’s Agent do to Sell my Salt Lake Home

    Posted on September 10th, 2010 admin No comments
    • Fully evaluate your home and property with a top to bottom walk-through taking copious notes for strengths and weaknesses.
    • Help you measure your home or assist you in finding a reasonably accurate source for size.
    • Interview you, the seller to learn about your home and why you enjoyed living there or what benefits might not be immediately apparent.
    • Work with you to determine what repairs or changes are necessary to maximize the value.  Help you see your home through the eyes of the buyer.
    • Find recently sold and under-contract homes in the neighborhood that would be considered comparable to your home.
    • Find the active listings in your neighborhood that could be considered competition and visit them if possible to determine your home’s advantages or weakness in the market.
    • Interview agents involved in the comparable sales to get a better feel for market pressure and to find out what hidden conditions might have influenced their sales price.
    • Bring together the above information and present the most likely marketing, sales and appraisal price.
    • Determine a time frame for entering the market and discuss probable expectations for showings and offers.
    • Fill out and explain all the paperwork necessary to list and represent the property.
    • Photograph the property.
    • Create an ad campaign for the property (without the use of cliché)
    • Create and print color fliers
    • Submit all paperwork and photos to the multiple listing service (MLS).
    • Double-check all MLS data to eliminate data entry errors that could prevent your property from appearing in a buyer’s search.
    • Submit listing data to all available on-line sources for maximum exposure.
    • Be available by phone, text or email during all reasonable hours, seven days a week to respond to buyer questions.
    • Arrange all showings.
    • Schedule a Realtor bus tour for professional exposure and feedback.
    • Act as your full representative and professionally respond to buyer’s questions and calls from buyer’s agents to protect your position in negotiation.
    • Regular reevaluation of the market and property price to stay informed of your home’s position among the competition.
    • Collect feedback from buyer’s agents who have shown the home.
    • Receive any and all offers from other agents.  Interviewing those agents about their clients qualifications and needs to better craft a negotiation strategy.
    • Review the offers with you and evaluate their merits and possible pitfalls.  Help you determine the best response in order to get the highest net price and best terms for you, the seller.
    • Pitch any counter offers to the buyer’s agent in line with the your instructions.
    • Assist in the scheduling of inspectors and appraisers.  Meeting them at the property if necessary.
    • Help you evaluate and respond to any request for inspection repairs or appraisal discrepancies.
    • If the buyer defaults on the contract, inform and assist you in your rights and options to retain the earnest money deposit.
    • Sit with you at the closing table to ensure that what you are signing is what you negotiated.
    • Arrange for the key transfer and possession.
  • What Should My Salt Lake Buyer’s Agent be Doing for Me?

    Posted on September 8th, 2010 admin No comments
    • Interview you to find out what type of property you are looking for.  Such as; minimum number of bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Location boundaries, Price limits, Style, Age, etc.
    • Turning those criteria into a dynamic MLS (Multiple Listing Service) search that will feed you daily updates of new listings.
    • Help you narrow down the choices.
    • Set up all the appointments for showings.
    • Chauffeur a property tour.
    • Help you review and evaluate what you saw.
    • Repeat the above process ad infinitum without whining or eye rolling until you find a winner.
    • Investigate the subject property as to price, seller motivation, and time on the market for strength in negotiation.
    • Run a comparative market analysis on the subject property.
    • Fully explaining all of the documents needed to write an offer.
    • Force you to stay awake during the above.
    • Fill out all of the paperwork for the offer.
    • Craft a solid offer that works to your advantage in price, terms and timing.
    • Assist you through the steps of due-diligence with inspections, document review and appraisal.
    • If the property fails inspection or appraisal they will negotiate repairs, price adjustment or withdrawal of contract and recovery of your earnest money.
    • Work with your lender to facilitate a successful closing.
    • Walk through the property with you just prior to closing for a final inspection.
    • Sit with you at the closing table to ensure that what you are signing is what you negotiated.
    • Arrange for the key transfer and possession.


  • The 3 Truths you Must Know Before Calling a Real Estate Ad

    Posted on September 3rd, 2010 admin No comments

    1.  Any free information service that you call or text (or email) is collecting your contact id. and selling it to agents looking for buyers.  Plan on getting a call from a stranger.  The information about the home for sale is free, but the real value is in a phone number or email that is associated with a potential buyer.

    2. The Realtor placing the ad represents the seller’s interest, not yours.  In fact they are required to use any information they gleam from you to get the highest price for their client  if you should happen to make an offer on that home.

    3. The property may already be sold or in escrow.  Even though running misleading ads are illegal and contrary to the Realtor code of ethics, a great number of listings on web sites such as Zillow are woefully out of date.  The agent just happened to forget to update the property’s status when it sold last year and why should he?  It’s like a flytrap for new clients.
    The bottom line is; Shop Smart.

    • Never register with a 3rd party web site to get real estate information.  Use a free service like UtahRealEstate.com .
    • Get a buyer’s agent and tell them to make the calls.  That’s what they get paid for.
    • Browse with your eyes open.  The web is an invaluable tool for real estate but the information is only as good as the source.
  • Some facts about the City Creek Development in Salt Lake City

    Posted on August 20th, 2010 admin No comments
    1. Ownership of condominiums or (presumably) commercial sites will be made subject to a Land Lease.  That is, the buyer will not actually own the land under the building but will instead have a 99 year lease from the developer.  This is very unusual for Salt Lake, but common in some other areas such as Hawaii.  Normally when you purchase a condominium you own an undivided specific percentage of the land and common areas.
    2. The project covers almost 20 acres in the center of Salt Lake City and should be completed by 2012.
    3. Site work began in 2006 with the complete demolition of Crossroads Mall, ZCMI Mall, the Inn At Temple Square and the original 20 story Key Bank Tower at 50 S. Main.
    4. When finished there will be over 700 new apartment and condominium units, 6 acres of green space with streams and fountains, 775,000 square feet of retail space, a Harmons grocery store, and 1,600,000 square feet of office space (most of which already exist in on-site high rise buildings).
    5. All parking will be underground with 5000 spaces.
  • The 7 things sellers should do when showing their home

    Posted on July 27th, 2010 admin No comments

    1. To quote a classic horror movie: Get out of the house!

    • My buyers do not want to meet you.
    • It will be awkward
    • Your presence will deter the buyer from discussing the property or asking me about problem areas that I can probably resolve.
    • My buyers are not thieves (but put away the Oxycontin, I’ve probably had a rough day).

    2. Turn on every light in the house and garage.

    • I don’t care if it’s high noon on the summer solstice with record solar flares, I’m trying to sell your house not a cave.
    • The 32 cents in electric cost will be offset by the $32,000 in equity from the sale.
    • Leave a small note on the kitchen table asking the buyer’s agent to leave the lights on after they are finished because “there is another showing scheduled after yours”.  A little bluff never hurts.

    3. Kill the television.

    • I’m not even going to try and compete with Sex in the City on a 80 inch high def plasma screen with Dolby 7.1
    • Once again, I’m trying to sell your home not your entertainment system.
    • Including the TV (or other extraneous items) with the home is fiscally foolish.  You wont get a penny extra for it.  Instead sell it on Craigslist or offer to sell it to the buyer after you go enter escrow.

    4. Take your dog for a walk.

    • I don’t care if your pooch is cute enough to make Simon Cowell wet. It will either steal the show or scare my client.  Either way it doesn’t help me sell your home.
    • Chaining the poor thing in the backyard is not a solution.  A buyer who is a dog lover will hate you and one who is phobic will be obsessed with the chain breaking.

    5. Clean, clean and clean again.

    • Do I really have to elaborate on this?
    • If you are not up to the task, your listing agent can recommend a service.  Or they may even do their own  impersonation of Annette Bening in American Beauty.

    6. Put away your personal collections.

    • The focus should be on selling your house, not you.
    • This includes but not limited to: Animal heads,  Those super-sized photos of your children, Paraphernalia, Excessive religious iconography, collectible spoons or anything that could remotely be considered offensive.
    • Don’t assume that the potential buyer is from the same socio-economic class, religion, gender, ward, or even planet that you are from.

    7.  Start packing.  You are going to sell your house.

    • We all have too much stuff.  Don’t wait until moving day to pack it up, sell it or throw it out.
    • Get a storage locker or at least a corner of the basement where you can neatly stack boxes.
    • Remove anything that you will not need in the next 6 months.  Your house should look like a model home but without the fake plants.