Sonoma County Real Estate & Homes For Sale
Craig Bassignani
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Sonoma County Real Estate & Homes For Sale
Wine Country Real Estate Listing Sales

Preparing Your Home For Sale in Sonoma County

Preparing Your Home For Sale

Below is a quick checklist that will help you prepare your home for sale. Focus on the exterior of the house first because if that doesn’t attract buyers, they won’t even walk in the front door. Do the inexpensive fixes first. You can always negotiate with the buyer on the more expensive repairs at the time of sale. The three most important things to remember are, Clean, Clean, Clean!

Exterior

Remove clutter from front yard
Clear yard equipment from lawn
Mow and water lawn
Weed yard and garden
Prune trees & bushes so they don’t touch the house
Plant colorful flowers
Clean front entrance
Clean entryway
Repaint or replace front door
Fix broken windows, shutters, screens
Polish door handles, address numbers, fixtures
Replace worn or broken items
Replace burnt out bulbs
Replace welcome mat
Wash all windows and floors
Clean Back Yard
Remove gardening equipment
Clean outdoor grill, bbq and lawn furniture
Repair missing deck slats, screens, concrete patio cracks
Store items that make yard look cluttered
Make sure sprinklers and faucets are working
Clean and repair pumps and filters for swimming pool, Jacuzzi®, and outdoor showers
Clean ponds and fountains

Interior

Remove excess furniture
Remove excess collectibles
Remove excess artwork and photographs
Clean out closets and cabinets
Clean out garage and basement
Clear counter and tabletops
Clean appliances
Scrub bathroom
Remove carpet stains
Shampoo carpets
Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners
Clean fireplace
Clean or replace drapes
Wash pets
Clean litter box
Remove mildew
Add fresh scent like potpourri
Consider having your home Staged
We can help you find a Stager in your area
Ask us for qualified local contractors and repairmen

Repairs

Remove excess furniture
Look High and Low
Make necessary repairs
Remove debris from roof and gutters
Inspect and clean chimney
Repair/replace worn shingles
Wash or paint exterior if needed
Clean, paint and align gutters and downspouts
Clean grease and old spills from driveway
Check foundation for cracks and repair
Caulk windows, tubs, showers and sinks
Make sure toilets and faucets work well
Install new carpeting if needed
Touch up or repaint walls neutral color
Replace switches and outlets that don’t work
Replace burnt out bulbs

Marketing Your Home to Buyers

If you want to sell something, you have to come up with a marketing plan. Even if it’s just lemonade, you still need a stand and a sign to attract customers.

Selling real estate is no exception. The professionals in the field know this well. Every good agent has a marketing plan. It typically includes listing the property on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so that other brokers can help sell it, generating interest in the property by “talking it up” at sales meetings, placing advertising in the newspaper and planting a bold sign in front.

Marketing Plan

We will use some or all of the following:

Online Advertising
List on Owners.com
Get your home listed on the MLS
List on Craigslist.org
Offline Advertising
Newspapers classifieds
Local Promotion
Yard Sign with the URL of your online ad
Flyers to post in your neighborhood
Online Networking
Notify friends and co-workers of your online listing
Plan for an Open House
Agent incentives
Decide what you will offer an agent if they represent a buyer (generally 2% – 3%)
Consider a Home Warranty to increase value to buyers
Take Photos of the Exterior, Entry, Inside and back yard
Write a short ad describing your home
Write an attractive description that emphasizes your homes’ unique features
List your home on the MLS to attract buyers

Offline Advertising

Order a Yard sign
Print flyers
Order a Brochure holder to place flyers next to your For Sale sign
Place your short copy ad in your local newspaper’s classified section
Holding an Open House
Open houses are a traditional way of showing a house to prospective purchasers. Basically, you put up a sign and/or run an advertisement and invite people into your house to look around. They are usually held in the afternoon on Saturday or Sunday.

Many of the steps you will take before for an open house are the same as those you’ll need to do before showing your home to a possible buyer or buyer’s agent. Here are some tips and rules of thumb.

Before You Show

Advertise the open house in the weekend real estate section of your local paper. If there are several homes for sale in your neighborhood, put up directional signs to your house and expect to pick up some traffic from other open houses in the area.

Always put the house in prime showing condition – clean, clean, clean
Put soft music on and play up the best features
If you have a fireplace and it’s cold outside, light a fire
Turn on lights in darker rooms
Be sure the house smells nice
Place fresh flowers in different rooms
Put away all small valuables
Have a sign-in sheet for buyers to put their names, addresses and phone numbers. Ask everyone to sign it.
Have house information flyers and financing sheets ready

Showing Your Home

When buyers come through; let them look around without you. Introduce yourself at the door, shake hands and tell them you’re available to answer questions. Then, let them look.
Before they leave, ask if you can answer any questions.
Ask if you can tell them anything about the neighborhood or schools.
Mention any special features such as a Home Warranty.

Follow Up

Follow up after the open house with everyone who came through.
Ask if there is any further information you can provide about the house and whether they had interest in the house.

Closing The Sale

Here is a list of things to remember when you close your sale:

Preparing

Decide on your timing requirements for escrow, when do you need to move, how long do you need in your house.
Review local disclosure requirements

Negotiating

Review The Contract; list all the items that are benefits and all those that are negatives.
Decide on Counter offer price

Schedule:
Inspections
Counter-offer date
Settlement and closing dates
Set earnest money deposit amount
Accept contract
Open escrow – either with your title company or the buyers

Closing

Home inspection completed
Solve home inspection issues
Additional possible inspections:
Roof Inspection – Ask Your Local Expert For Recommendations
Electrical Inspection
Sewer
Property disclosures approved by buyer
Schedule appraisal – usually by buyer
Mortgage approval confirmed
Deposit earnest money with Escrow company
Documentation to escrow company:
Purchase price
Address and description of the property (this will all be contained in the purchase agreement)
Seller’s name and address
Buyer’s name and address
Parties to whom the preliminary title report or the abstract of title are to be sent (generally they are the buyer, seller and lender).
Termite report information (who will do the inspection)
Amount of deposit to be held in escrow
Insurance agent for the buyer
Financing information
Any personal property involved in the sale
Rent, if any
Projected closing date
Termite Inspection
Confirm buyer’s home owners insurance
Complete contractually required repairs
Settlement

Final walk through with Buyer – make sure you have your contract in hand.
Settlement with either your escrow company, buyer’s agent or buyer directly
Review closing documents 48 hours before closing to catch any error or omissions

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