in New York State

A Sellable Home

  • Curb-appeal is often underrated and dismissd by sellers, but it is actually the image most buyers remember the most and it can make a significant difference in the price offered for your home. For that reason alone, the exterior condition, and espcially that of your front entrance, play a crital role in the sale of your home.  Another critical piece of the puzzle is your landscaping. Therefore you really should address any shortcomings and replace anything broken or worn out. Consider a coat of paint, some new hardware, mulching your flower beds, keeping the lawn mowed, maybe invest in some new plantings. These are some improvements that make a big impact with buyers and deliver the highest returns.
  • The overal feel of the interior of your home should enable buyers to envision themselves living there. For that reason, we often ask sellers to pack away most of their personal items, so that the house has a more "neutral" feel. Remove any clutter and check to see that all closets are cleaned out and organized. Clean windows are another factor that has a tremendous effect on how the buyers see your house and what they are willing to pay for it. Clean, unobstructed windows give the illusion of space and let in more light - something all buyers are looking for.
  • If your walls and ceilings look drab, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders. If you have carpet that is worn, it might help to have it professionally cleaned and/or replaced. Scratched up or worn hardwood floors can be refinished to look like new. And broken or loose tile should be replaced. Any of these investments will help with the sale of your home and in most cases will result in a much higher sale price.

Pricing Your Home

  • It is the list price that will play the most critical role in determining when and for how much you will sell your home. Real estate agents would love to have an easy pricing tool, or formula, to value any type of home. But coming up with an asking price is not exactly a science... it is an art. While you and your agent (hopefully you hired me) have to pay close attention to recent and past sales, current listings, as well as market conditions and trends, it is vital to postion your home price-wise so that it stands out positively from the rest of the for sale listings nearby.
  • If you price it to high it will simply sit on the market for a long, long time because almost every buyer will be informed by their agent that it is over-priced, and eventually you'll have to lower the price, sometimes repeatedly, until it ends up where it should have been price-wise to begin with. Many times over-pricing also discourages potential buyers to even make an offer since they'll presume you are not realistic and are most likely hard to negotiate with. And the longer your house sits on the market the more buyers will think something is wrong with it.
  • If you price it to low, three things can happen: it either receives multiple offers (highly likely), or just one offer at your asking price, or an even lower one (happens frequently). When you do receive multiple offers there is a good chance that you can get them to outbid each other by asking all of them to provide their "highest & best offer" by a set day and time. In such a scenario you can at times reach a lofty price for your home. And that is a great thing if the winning offer is all cash and there is no appraisal contingency connected to it. However, most of the time your home for sale will have to appraise because with most offers there is a mortgage involved. And the lender will send an appraiser out to make sure the buyer is not paying to much. And then there is the even lower offer where you are in danger of leaving a lot of money on the table by just accepting it or by not negotiating it correctly.
  • A smart asking price on the other hand is the one set just a little bit under what your home should bring based on current comps. Your local Realtor can help you greatly with supplying comparables to find out what your neigborhood market is really like. Such an asking price will still attract multiple offers in most cases and prevent you from selling for to little. It also creates urgency on the part of potential buyers that really like and want your home and encourages them to make strong offers right of the bat. Such a strategy almost always shortens the time your home is on the market and usually results in a much better price above market value. 

Marketing Your Home For Sale

  • The first week on the market will be your most active one. Your agent will arrange for a photographer to take professional photos of your home and a Broker Open House will be conducted. You will have worked out with your agent showing instructions and you will begin to get traffic.
  • One of the most valuable marketing tools an agent can provide is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is a professional and secure data exchange where your agent posts your property for sale and shares them with all of the participating real estate brokers and their agents. This can only be done by an agent that is a member of your local MLS. Most of your showing traffic will result from this marketing venue.
  • The next best marketing tool is the Internet, commonly known as the Web. According to some statistics, as many as 80% of home buyers begin their search on real estate related Web sites. There are many ways your agent will leverage and utilize the Internet to market your home: IDX participation, company Web sites, his/her own agent Web site, and/or social media venues, all decked out with detailed descriptions, photo slide shows, videos, virtual tours, floor plans, and more of your home for sale.
  • Although my company and I place great emphasis on the Internet, by no means do we intend to eliminate print advertising. We provide comprehensive multi-media solutions which take into account the portions of society who enjoy reading newspapers, magazines and direct mailings, so we continue to use these vehicles to promote properties. Ask me to elaborate on all of the tools available and used by me to market your home for sale.

The Offer

  • If you have prepared your home for sale, comprehensive multi-media marketing has been done in a timely manner, and most importantly if you have priced your home correctly, you should get an offer(s) soon after you place your home on the market. All such offers should be in writing, along with a pre-approval letter from the buyer's lender, or a proof of funds statement from the buyer's bank in case of an all cash offer. Your agent will make sure to qualify the buyer so that no time is wasted. Any viable offer will be comprised of both the price and terms (closing date, financing details, inspections, other contingencies, etc.). Your agent will explain the details and advise you on negotiations.

Acceptable Offer, Inspections & Purchase Contract

  • Once you and the buyer reach an agreed upon price and terms of sale, you can accept their offer. This simply means that you made a verbal agreement, but by no means does this mean you cannot entertain other offers. 
  • After you accepted the offer inspections will most likely be scheduled and your agent will help facilitate access to your property and listen in. If there are any issues brought up by the buyer and/or his attorney you will be notified by your agent and/or attorney so you can negotiate and/or remedy them with their help. If there are no issues or the issues have been worked out to everyone's satisfaction your attorney will create the purchase contract.
  • Only after the purchase contract has been approved and fully executed (signed by buyer & seller) and the agreed upon down payment has been deposited with your attorney are you in contract. Both parties are now bound by the purchase contract and you can no longer solicit and entertain other offers. Please consult with your attorney for more details on this subject.
  • A copy of the fully executed contract will be given to the buyer's lender and an independent appraiser will visit to ascertain the market value of your home. Once the lender and their underwriter are fully satisfied the lender will provide the buyer with a final commitment letter and a closing date, time and location will be arranged. This lender approval process can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days from the day the purchase contract was fully executed.

What Else

  • Soon you will be busy arranging for movers and getting prepared for the next chapter in your life. As you get closer to the closing, you should call the utility company and arrange to close your accounts on the date of the closing, and the buyer should be calling the utilities to take over as of the day of the closing. 
  • In addition, put together the keys and any documents that pertain to the house as well as important contact info such as the gardener, landscaper, pool man, etc. to provide to the buyers at closing. If you still have any manuals/warranties for your appliances, heating & A/C equipment and/or other systems provide them as well.


  • There is no reason for you to be at the final walk-through. It will be conducted as close to the closing date as possible. If you agreed to be responsible for any repairs to the house during negotiations, this is the time when the buyer has the opportunity to check to be sure that everything was done. Make sure the house is empty, "broom swept" and clean. Leave only items that you agreed on leaving during negotiations.


  • At the closing, you will be receiving funds and more than likely paying off a mortgage. Your other costs will be limited to attorney's fees, transfer tax, the real estate commission, and any moneys you may have agreed to paying during negotiations. A typical closing takes a few hours and will be attended by the buyers and their attorney, you and your attorney, the lender's attorney, the title person, and the real estate agents involved. Please consult with your attorney for more details on this subject.