Professional appraisers sum up their entire body of knowledge in three words - "Buyers Make Value."
As your real estate agent, I can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms, and condition of competing properties.

When listing your property for sale, require your agent to be candid with you. Most agents simply don't want to tell the seller the true value of their home, if it's obvious the seller wants more than it's worth. By allowing your agent to be completely honest with you, you'll save time and money. Consider the market analysis carefully with your agent...The numbers should make just as much sense to you as they do to your agent, the appraiser, and most importantly potential buyers.

Remember! Your home is worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Sometimes the home is simply worth more to the seller than it is to the buying public. If the property has been on the market for more than 4-5 weeks, with few prospects coming to see it or those that have seen your home do not make a second or third visit and no offers have been submitted, you've been given a clear message that the property may not be worth what you're asking for it. What you do at that point depends on whether you really need to sell, and whether you're working with a time limit.

If you're not really motivated to move soon, you can always wait - years if necessary - and hope inflation will catch up with the price you want. The problem is that in that time, your home begins to feel shopworn. Buyers become suspicious of a house that has been for sale for a long time. If, however, you really do need to sell, your Coldwell Banker Schmitt agent understands the marketplace and how to price it right. There's no point in saying, "We simply can't sell our house." It will sell when the price is right.

Each property has just one chance to make a great impression with a potential buyer. Keep up with cleaning and tidiness every day to ensure that the property is ready to be shown to potential buyers, even on short notice. In other words, keep the property in “Show Time” condition, so that it’s always ready to make the great first impression that can make the sale!

During the Entire Marketing Period

* Keep the landscaping neatly trimmed, weeded and free
of debris and clutter. Add a new front door mat; keep walkways, driveway and front door entry area clean.
* Clean outside lighting fixtures; make sure the doorbell works.
* Repair anything that is not in proper
working order, including loose doorknobs, broken door locks, leaking taps and toilets, squeaky doors, closets or screen doors
that go off their tracks.
* Repair any broken windows, fogged or leaking windows or windows that don’t
open and close properly.
* Quiet squeaks or noisy appliance fans |
with a squirt of lubricant.
* Keep kitchen spotless and fresh smelling at all times -- regularly grind a quarter of a
* lemon in the garbage disposal and keep fresh boxes of
baking soda in refrigerator and freezer.
* Unclutter kitchen counter spaces, pantry and cabinets and under sink area.
* Remove items hanging on the refrigerator.
* Make sure all kitchen appliances are spotless inside and out.
* Make sure all appliances and systems are in perfect working order.
* Keep bathrooms spotless and fresh smelling! Place all personal care items out of sight. Tile, fixtures, shower doors, tubs must be shining and immaculate. Remove all rust and mildew stains; neatly recaulk around the top edges of the tub, countertops, etc.
* Place dishes of potpourri in rooms throughout the house or add a drop of vanilla or bath oil on light bulbs for scent.
* Keep windows, windowsills and all light fixtures clean.
* Don’t forget the storage and car parking areas – keep them
organized, neat and tidy.
* Keep all pet areas clean and odor-free; change litter box frequently!
* Secure jewelry, cash and other valuable.
Before Each Showing:
Open all drapes, shades and blinds and turn on ALL lights.
Pick up clutter.
Make beds and put away clothes and shoes.
Give floors a quick vacuuming.
Add some strategically placed fresh flowers.
Place a dish of vanilla or cinnamon in a warm oven to create the aroma of fresh baking.
Turn off the television and turn on music at low volume.
Secure pets in the garage, yard or other secured area. Even better, take them out of the house with your or arrange for a friend to keep them.
Make sure all pet areas are clean and odor-free, including litter box.
Make sure all trash is disposed of in neatly covered bins.
Make the temperature comfortably cool.
The Actual Showing:

The selling agent will call your listing agent to set an appointment to show your home. Your agent will contact you to determine if the time is convenient and to arrange the details.

The presence of the owner or family members makes the potential buyer feel like an intruder. It’s best to leave the house while the buyers are touring the home. If it is not possible to leave, excuse yourself and stay in one part of the house or outside.

If the prospective buyer or their agent asks you questions, respond honestly but diplomatically refer additional questions to your agent. It is best not to discuss price, terms, possession or other factors with the buyer or their agent.

If a prospective buyer calls directly or comes by unexpectedly without an agent, get their name and phone number. Explain that it is not a convenient time and say you will have your listing agent contact them. For your benefit and protection do not allow them in your home.

After Each Showing

We follow up with the showing agent to obtain feedback concerning the potential buyer’s feelings about how well the property fits their needs.

We evaluate the feedback and comments received from other agents that tour the property during our office and association caravans, to share with you ideas that may make the property more marketable. We discuss price reductions and other buyer incentives with you if offers are not being received within the first three weeks of listing the property.

Tips to Upgrade Your Home for
Potentially Increased Property Value

A home is arguably one of the largest financial investments a person will make in their lifetime. While property values over time are determined by national variables, the economy and local market conditions, the care and upkeep of a property is also a crucial element toward achieving a solid re-sell. Whether you are planning on adding more rooms to create extra space, upgrading your kitchen with new appliances or are thinking of putting your home on the market, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation offers some essential home improvement tips that might increase the value of your home.

Kitchen Makeover: Out of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is the most popular to remodel. According to Remodeling Magazine, money spent to upgrade a kitchen produces the highest return on investment. "Hot" kitchen makeover trends include adding dual sinks, cooking stations, extra-long dishwashers, under-cabinet lighting, warming ovens and wine coolers.

Bathroom Fixer-Upper: Upgrading a bathroom is also a sound choice and will usually provide a significant return on investment. Large bathrooms are typically on the top of the list of priorities for those seeking to purchase a home. Adding skylights, glass block windows, ceiling fans and sunken whirlpool baths are also attractive selling features. If you don't have the room to expand or to accommodate larger appliances, or you don't think you'll be living in your home long enough to enjoy the changes and/or see a return on this kind of investment, stick with neutral, mid-builder level updated cabinetry, refreshed flooring and shower/tub, or a new sink and toilet.

Room to Grow: Adding a room or two, such as a spare bedroom or a study, is a significant home improvement that you will be able to take advantage of every day. In addition to the much-needed extra space, it can also potentially provide you with a good return on your investment when it comes to selling the property.

Landscaping the Lot: A professionally landscaped yard can certainly increase the "curb appeal" or desirability of a home. In fact, beautifying your lawn can be one of the most inexpensive home improvements. Additional simple landscaping projects include trimming and edging the grass, manicuring the trees and shrubs to open up the view of the house, removing any dead plants and planting flowers to brighten up the yard.

Repair Jobs: While many homeowners may want to update and remodel their kitchen, if the roof needs fixing or the chimney has to be reappointed, then they should prioritize these necessary repairs over any cosmetic changes. This applies to both sellers and those who plan to stay in the home for years to come, as these essential repairs must be taken care of before they cause the house to lose value. It is vital to look after the minor problems such as a leaky faucet or a loose cabinet to ensure that your house doesn't undergo any long-term damage. As soon as you notice a problem, fix it since this will help avoid a larger expense later on.

Cosmetic Touch-Ups: A paint job, new double-paned windows and new carpeting will increase the price of a house virtually dollar-for-dollar. Neutral colored paint and eliminating clutter can make a world of difference. However, don't go overboard with home improvement projects that will push a house too much above the current average value of homes in your neighborhood. It is important to make sure that your home has standards that are in-line with the other houses in the neighborhood, but you do not want to price yourself out of the market.

IKeep in mind that when you choose a Realtor as a Seller, chances are you're going to need one as a buyer as well. Let your Realtor know of your relocation intentions. If you are simply relocating across town, most likely your listing agent can serve as your buying agent. If you are relocating to another city, town, or state, your Realtor can probably connect you with a reputable Realtor who works within that specific area.

By Law, your Realtor has fiduciary responsibilities to you. Basically, you are hiring the Realtor to represent you when selling a home; therefore, your Realtor has to represent your best interest. This means your Realtor must be honest, loyal, and confidential.

With that, here's how things operate in the Realtor world. A Realtor is an individual who has passed the state required course to obtain a real estate license. In order to be certain that Realtor's remain current with state laws, rules, regulations, etc., the state requires each Realtor to complete a specific number of continuing education courses within every two years. If the Realtor does not complete these required education courses, the Realtor's license turns inactive - meaning he or she cannot actively represent clients in a real estate transaction.

In most states, there are three basic types of real estate licenses that Realtor may obtain; each one demands more thorough education requirements. The license types are:

1. Real Estate Salesperson's License

2. Real Estate Broker's License

3. Real Estate Appraiser's License

Realtor's work for a real estate agency, and each agency has ONE broker. The broker is responsible for every Realtor employed at the agency. Obviously in order to be a broker, you must obtain a broker's license. Brokers are responsible for all real estate transactions at their agency.

In fact, all monies must go through the broker. A real estate salesperson does not receive a commission from the client that he or she represents. Instead, the client pays the broker a commission and the broker in turn pays the agent.

In most real estate transactions, there are two different Realtors…one representing the buyer and the other representing the seller. Normally, the seller pays a commission to the listing agency for selling their home. This commission was negotiated when the seller's originally placed their home on the market. As mentioned, the commission is paid to the selling agency's broker, not the real estate agent. All commissions are handled through the brokers. The selling agency broker then collects the full commission from the sellers and then pays the buying agency's broker a portion of the commission. The buying agency's commission is pre-determined, as well. Both the selling agency's broker, and the buying agency's broker pay their individual agents a portion of the commission.

In some cases, the buying agent and the selling agent may be from the same agency, they may be the same person. In this case, the broker is representing both the buyer and the seller. The broker, and his or her agents, must disclose this fact to all parties involved in the transaction. This is often referred to a "dual agency" agreement.


Yes, there is a commission involved (in most cases). And Yes, usually the seller is responsible for paying the commission. However, the commission is……..NEGOTIABLE. Most commissions are paid at closing. Also, commissions are always paid to the broker of the company, not your real estate agent.

In most areas…. the most common type of listing agreement is the "Exclusive Right to Sell"

The Exclusive Right to Sell listing contract is a contract between you and the broker of your agent's company. In short, it simply states that you will pay X amount of commission to the broker for your Realtor to represent you in the selling of your home. Sometimes a listing contract will spell out the precise marketing plan that a Realtor will provide to the seller, and normally all costs of marketing the home are incurred by the Realtor, regardless of whether the home sells or not.

I know what you're thinking. If you're like most sellers they want to receive the highest possible price for their home……and you should. A common mistake among sellers is listing their home with a Realtor at a much higher price than recommended and letting the Realtor spend his or her funds to advertise the home. If it doesn't sell, the sellers will list it with another Realtor at a slightly lower price. Again if it doesn't sell…….another Realtor. Why not? The sellers are not out any money, because the Realtor pays for the advertising.

Actually, the sellers are out some money…….usually a lot. Not directly, but indirectly. Each time the sellers re-list their home; the data is entered into the MLS. If a seller changes Realtor's 3 times, that is 3 different MLS files on their home……all with different prices. When the price is right to finally attract a potential buyer, the first question asked by the buyers is "How long has this home been on the market?" By this time, it's been on a long time. The next question buyer's face then "What's wrong with it?" If the home has been on the market for some time, the buyer's psychology is to think "what's wrong with it?" By this time, the sellers have already created a bone of contention with a potential buyer. Buyer's prefer to "fall in love" and focusing upon what could potentially be wrong with home, isn't a strong precluder to falling in love with it.

The end result is that the sellers usually becomes frustrated with the time it takes to sell the home and end up releasing it for much less than it's value…..not to mention the extraordinary amount of time they've just wasted.

Most homes receive the majority of their showing in the first few weeks. If priced right, as soon as the listing hits the MLS……it should attract buyers who are currently looking.

Another thing that you will most likely sign while signing your listing agreement is the Seller's Disclosure Form. By law, the Seller is required to inform any buyer about the home's current condition. This form supplies a series of questions regarding the appliances, electrical system, heating & cooling, water / sewer system, roof, and any potential hazardous conditions. Granted, not every Seller understands every aspect of their home. Fortunately, there is an answer option where you may choose "I don't know" regarding specific questions.

In some cases the Seller's Disclosure Form is accompanied by a Lead Based Paint Disclosure Form. As a Seller, you must reveal to the buyer any information that you have regarding lead based paint in the home. If your home was built after 1978, chances are VERY slim that lead based paint was ever used.

Another thing to consider is any potential "contingencies" that you may associate with the selling of your home. Let's say for example that you have found a great home that you would like to purchase. However, you cannot afford to purchase the home until you sell your current property. In such a case, you would place a contingency on your current property listing stating that any sale is contingent upon your purchase of your newly found dream home.

Finally, your listing contract will also contain a specific date of termination. On average, a listing contract runs 3-6 months, but you can certainly negotiate this with your Realtor. If for some reason you decide to remove your home from the market, normally you can withdrawal the listing without penalty. However, check with your Realtor regarding specifics on this matter.

Also, one other quick note…. ask your Realtor if he or she has any other suggestions about getting your home ready to sell. You've covered most of the work already, but maybe your Realtor has a little insight to making it even more attractive. It's just important to allow your home to be as attractive as possible so that buyers are impressed during the showing.

Now, the home is listed…..it's looking very spiffy…...and you're Realtor calls stating that he or she would like to arrange a buyer's showing. In most cases, the sellers vacate the premises during a showing so that the buyer feels more comfortable to explore, but this is not always the case.

In other instances, a seller may have valuables displayed throughout the home and request that their listing agent be present during all showings. In most cases, though, homeowners simply pack up their valuables and store them somewhere safe so that Realtors can access the home without shuffling so many schedules.

In most areas, Realtors enter homes utilizing a lockbox system. This system stores a key in a padded lock box that is either operated with an electronic keypad or a combination lock. Only the Realtors have access to the keypads and combinations.

The lockbox is usually stored on the front door, or nearby. If your Realtor installs a lockbox that operates via an electronic keypad, each Realtor will have his or her own keypad which contains a security code known only by its owner. Your lockbox can then store the codes from every Realtor who has entered the home or transmit that information back to a central computer. With this technology in place, the chance of unauthorized entry into your home via another Realtor is virtually impossible.

Traditionally, after a showing, your Realtor may receive feedback from the Realtor who showed the home. Depending on how your Realtor operates, this feedback may be shared with you or dealt with by your Realtor.

However, if your home appeals to a buyer, you may experience a 2nd showing. You guessed it…..the buyers just want to review the home once more. In most 2nd showing cases, they buyers have narrowed their search down to a handful of homes and yours looks to be a candidate.

Receiving Offers

Before receiving offers, you may want to request a copy of a blank purchase agreement so that you can become familiar with the form before you actually receive an offer. Your Realtor should be able to help you out.

After several showings…..and a few second showings…..you receive an offer. The golden rule of real estate is that everything is negotiable. As a seller, there are three things that you can do with your new offer:

1. Accept it.
2. Reject it.
3. Counter it.

The first two are easy to figure out…..either you put your name on the dotted line and proceed to closing, or not. The last one is actually pretty easy too.

If you decide to counter an offer, your realtor will have you complete a simple Counter Offer Form stating which items within the buyer's purchase agreement you would like to change. All of that information is signed and delivered to the buyer's Realtor. With your counter offer, the buyers then have the option to

1. Accept it.
2. Reject it.
3. Counter it.

Again, the first two are easy. If the buyer's decide to counter your counter offer…..most likely they will simply draft a new purchase agreement taking into consideration all of the concerns for both buyer and seller.

The ping-pong game continues until everyone's signature appears on the bottom line. Also, keep in mind that faxed and digital signatures are legally binding in most states. In most cases, faxed signatures are utilized to secure the transaction, while original documents are mailed so that more legible copies are available.

Also, delivered with the original purchase agreement….the buyers should have signed that they have reviewed your Seller's Disclosure Form and Lead Based Paint Disclosure (if applicable).

Keep in mind that the purchase agreement is a legal and binding contract.

Once buyer and seller agree on the specifics drafted around the purchase agreement, its amendments, and any counter agreements……buyer and seller begin to fulfill their contract requirements in order to close the transaction.