To sell a home in today's competitive market requires the professionalism of a Realtor, but not just any Realtor.  A successful sale needs a Realtor with a history of successful sales.

Your sale should begin with a Listing Presentation, an industry term for a formal presentation that a Realtor makes to prospective Sellers, trying to earn trust and respect as well as their business.  Sellers should never list their homes without one -  I would love the opportunity to make a presentation to you.

When I visit your home we will walk through together, reviewing the home setting and discussing any potential home repairs or problem areas.  Sellers will then see exactly how I propose to market the home, at a fair market price that fits within your time frame.  I will discuss with Sellers both traditional advertising as well as today's media marketing.  But this is just the beginning of a total marketing approach.

We will review the value of your home based on current market conditions - marketing a home with a foot of snow around the home is quite different than marketing a home in warmer weather - and determine the best price based on comparisons of previous and current prices of homes in your area.

Marketing your home doesn't end with the listing - there are numerous and varied tasks I do to assure a smooth sales transaction for Sellers, from working with attorneys to home inspectors and appraisers to movers. As a professional it's my job to make the sale easier for you.

                    PRICING YOUR HOME TO SELL

What are the most important factors when selling a home?  Simply put - price and condition. The first step is to price your home wisely.  By using a Realtor-prepared Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) you can obtain an objective evaluation of your home's worth based upon condition, upgrades and location as well as current market conditions that affect the sales price.  Second, go through the house and note any obvious cosmetic defects that could deter a buyer from making a reasonable offer.  However, I highly recommend asking a Realtor before making any major or costly repairs or changes.  For example, even though a carpet may be an out-of-style color it might not make sense to spend money to replace the carpet since new buyers might be considering hardwood floors.  However, a badly stained carpet might be a turn-off to buyers and in that case it might be a wiser investment to purchase inexpensive carpeting to make the home look better.  In any case a Realtor can usually provide the best recommendations for home repairs and changes prior to spending any money.

                   WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL?

Because many buyers prefer to move in the spring or summer, the market tends to heat up as early as February or March.  Families with children are eager to buy so they can move during summer vacation or before the new school year begins, and this has an effect on the purchase of Adult Community homes.  Why?  Because the buyer of an Adult Community home is very likely to be the seller of a large family home that they have outgrown.  But just because the market might be slower in late summer or late fall is no reason to hesitate to put your home on the market.  During slow times there will be less buyers but there will also be less competition, which might translate to a higher sales price.


What is the difference between market value and appraised value?  Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time and may be determined by either an appraisal or by a comparative market analysis (CMA).  A CMA is an estimate of market value performed by a Realtor based on similar sales and property attributes and should be done with no fee or obligation.  The appraised value of a house is a certified appraiser's estimate of value of the worth of a home at a given point in time.  Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process and as result the buyers pay for the appraisal when the lender requires one.  Appraisers consider square footage, construction quality, design, floor plan, neighborhood and availability of transportation, shopping and schools, as well as lot size, topography, view and landscaping.
What's a house worth?  A home ultimately is worth what someone will pay for it. Everything else is an estimate of value.  Factors that determine what someone will pay include location, condition of the home, and current market conditions but might also include motivation of either buyers or sellers and requested contingencies.
What is the difference between list price and sales price?  The list price is a seller's advertised price, a figure that usually is only a rough estimate of what the seller wants to get.  Sellers can price high, low or close to what they hope to get.  Homes in Monroe Township Adult Communities are generally priced close to the anticipated sales price - the days of large differences between asking and selling prices have disappeared as the market has changed.  The sales price is the amount of money a buyer would pay for a property.  Buyers will evaluate the location of the home, condition, upgrades completed or needed as well as numerous other factors - both tangible and emotional - prior to making an offer. Other factors a buyer might consider when making an offer are length of time on the market, a seller's motivation (is the home vacant), or even how quickly they need to purchase, and consider those factors when determining what they are willing to pay for the home.

                  NEGOTIATING AN OFFER

What is the best way to handle a low offer?  The highest offer may not always be the best offer, and the lowest offer may be better than you might realize.  Things to consider when accepting an offer:
* Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, a low offer, even at full price, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition.  A contingent offers means that if the buyer doesn't sell their house they don't have to buy your house.
* Is the offer made on the house as is, or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs or lower the price instead?  If the buyer is willing to take the house "As Is" that might be easier for you to sell.
* Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency?  If so, then an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive.  If the financing or appraisal contingencies are removed that can mean a faster and often easier sale.


Do I have to accept a contingency contract?  That depends on the contingency.  A mortgage contingency is standard for most sales, unless the offer is a cash offer.  However, a cash offer does not necessarily mean liquid funds in an account - a buyer may make a cash offer where they are not obtaining a mortgage, but the cash may be coming from the sale of their present home.  Therefore even a cash offer can have a home sale contingency, meaning if the sale on their home does not occur they are not required to purchase your home.  Another contingency is a home sale contingency.  If a seller decides not to accept a home sale contingency numerous buyers may be eliminated, but there are things to consider before accepting a contingent offer: Is the buyer's home listed on a Multiple Listing System with a Realtor?  Have the buyers already accepted an offer on their home? Have the buyers of that home already done a home inspection?   Are all inspection issues resolved?  Do those buyers have their mortgage commitment already?   Do those buyers have to sell a home in order to purchase your buyer's home?  All of these factors must be taken into consideration when accepting an offer. On the other side, do you as the seller have your own contingencies? Do you have to find another home before you sell your present home?  Must the closings coincide?  Do you need a specific closing date or can you be flexible for the buyers request for a closing.



Although you do not need an attorney to complete a real estate transaction in New Jersey it is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney to avoid future legal hassles.  Although I am a licensed Realtor I cannot provide legal advice and may not be able to advise you the same way an attorney can.  I can provide a list of attorneys that I have worked with who are experienced and knowledgeable specifically in real estate transactions.

                          HOME INSPECTIONS

A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector -- often a contractor, engineer or a professional home inspector -- inspects the home, searching for defects or other problems that might not be obvious to a buyer or to the Realtors.  They represent the buyer and are paid by the buyer.  The inspection usually takes place within an expressed time frame after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed.  It is best for a seller not to be present for the home inspection.  The home inspection report is given to the buyer and the buyer's attorney, who then presents the buyer requests for repairs to the seller's attorney.  Every item mentioned in the inspection report may not be a request for repair or replacement but is often just presented to the buyers to advise them of conditions to be aware of.  It is best to wait for the attorney report to see what the buyer is actually requesting to be repaired or replaced.

What repairs should the seller make?  Nearly all purchase contracts include an inspection clause, a buyer contingency that allows a buyer to back out if numerous defects are found that the seller is unable or unwilling to repair.  Generally minor repairs are negotiated by the attorneys while major repairs can sometimes be more difficult.  Many buyers are willing to buy at almost any price, but on the other hand, making major repairs may be the only way a seller can sell that house to any buyer.

Whose obligation is it to disclose pertinent information about a property?  In most states, it is the seller, but obligations to disclose information about a property vary.  Sellers should disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property which are known.  This might include: homeowners association dues; whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of anything that a prospective buyer might not notice, and any restrictions on the use of the property, such as zoning ordinances or association rules.  People buying in an Adult Community development must be told about covenants, codes and restrictions or other deed restrictions as well as any changes in association fees or proposed assessments.



In Monroe Township the only required inspection is a Fire Inspection, performed by the district's fire department.  State law requires that a fire extinguisher be installed in the kitchen of every home within 10' of an exit door.  Carbon monoxide detectors must also be installed within 10' of every bedroom in a home that has a fuel-burning device or an attached garage. Smoke detectors must be installed on every level of the home. The current fee for this inspection is $35 and is paid by the seller.

                   SELLER FINANCING

Seller financing is when a seller helps to finance a real estate transaction by taking back a second note, or even financing the entire purchase if the seller owns the home free and clear.  Usually sellers do this when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.  Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does a lender.  Instead, it involves extending credit to the buyer who executes a promissory note and trust deed in the seller's favor.  These special circumstances must be acceptable to the lender who makes the first mortgage on the property.  The necessary paperwork is prepared by the attorney, title or escrow company after the terms are worked out between the buyer and seller.

If you are a seller considering such an arrangement, it is critical to thoroughly evaluate the creditworthiness of the buyer first.  Fear of default makes many sellers reluctant to take back a second note.  But seller financing can bring a higher price, reduce closing costs for the buyer and often complete the sale sooner.  For more information, contact the Internal Revenue Service for a copy of its Publication 537, "Installment Sales." Order by calling (800) TAX-FORM.

How are interest rates established for seller financing?   The interest rate on an owner-carried loan is negotiable.  Check with a lender or mortgage broker to determine the current rate on institutional first (or second) loans.  Seller financing typically costs less than conventional financing because sellers don't charge loan fees (points).  Interest rates on an owner-carried loan will also be influenced by current Treasury bill and certificate of deposit rates.  Sellers usually aren't willing to carry a loan for a lower return than they would earn if their money was invested elsewhere.

What are the benefits of seller financing?   Seller financing is generally offered as an incentive to purchase the seller's home and offers tax breaks for sellers and alternative financing for buyers who can't qualify for conventional loans.  If you are a seller, the risks you face are the same as those facing any lender: Is the borrower a good credit risk?  Will the property hold enough value over time to allow for the repayment of all loans made against it?  You should run a full credit check on the borrower, require hazard insurance on the property, and include a due-on-sale clause.  There also are financing, disclosure, and repayment-term requirements that need to be met.  It is wise to consult a lawyer when putting together this kind of transaction.