1. I am interested in selling my property. How do I figure out the asking price?
A professional, licensed real estate agent should be able to appraise
your property for you. Once you know its range of value, you can decide,
with the agents guidance, what the best asking price would be.
2. I need to buy a new house, but I need to sell this one in order
to get cash for the new one. What do I do first?
I often advise folks in this situation. Together, we will take a look
at your resources in hand, at the value of your present home, at the
time frame within which you must operate, and at the conditions of the
market place. We can make a determination of how to make it all happen
for you with a minimum of sleeplessness. I will be there with you every
step of the way. Return to top
do I find a realtor to represent me?
Interview several real estate agents. Find out what their experience
has been. Do they know your area? How many sales do they make in a year?
Will they share references with you? What would they do to sell your
property? How does their company back them up and what resources can
the company bring to bear on the marketing of your property? Are they
professional and business-like in their manner? A successful smooth
sale will depend on the expertise of your listing agent. Demand the
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4. Is there any reason why I shouldnt sell my house myself and
save paying a commission?
Selling property is a business transaction. If you have the experience
and qualifications to do this kind of business, then go right ahead.
Ask yourself what you would do if you had to have surgery, if you had
to go to court, if you needed a tooth pulled. Would you do these things
yourself? Probably you would get a professional to help you. Thats
what you should do when you must sell property. A professional realtor
can advise you, can create a buffer between you and an emotional prospective
buyer, can make sure you comply with the laws regarding real estate
sales, and can make sure your buyer is financially qualified to buy
your home. Listing with a licensed real estate agent is statistically
likely to get you a higher price for your house in a shorter amount
of time. Return to top
5. What should
I do to get ready to sell my house?
A professional realtor will go through your property and point out
those things that should be tended to in order to get the highest price
in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes it pays to spend a little
money to make a lot of money.
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Should I allow my realtor to put up a “For Sale” sign?
Please do. National statistics prove that 97% of sales results can
be traced back to the buyer seeing a sign in front of the house. If
a buyer calls our office because they have seen a sign, it means the
buyer has already accepted the location of the property. Part of the
job may already be done. I use many marketing techniques to sell my
clients properties (call me about them), but it is rare that I
wouldnt recommend putting up a sign. Return
have just received a “cash” offer for my house! Shouldnt
I take it?
Maybe. Maybe not. A “cash” offer sounds great, but it doesnt
necessarily mean there is no risk for the seller. It doesnt even
mean the buyer will bring a wad of cash to the settlement table. How
do you know the buyer has the cash? Maybe the buyer is going to get
a loan anyway. You need to know where the money is before accepting
such an offer. A realtor can help you with that. Return to top
do I know my buyer can get his or her mortgage?
A professional realtor will help you determine both the credit-worthiness
and the financial capability of your buyer. I never want my sellers
to sign an offer and take their property off the market until we have
all assurances that the buyer will get the necessary mortgage. So I
insist we be provided with the buyers financial information, and
we then go through the detailed analysis that will tell us what we need
to know. Return to top
9. When I get
up from the settlement table, I dont want to have to worry about
that property anymore. How can I be reassured of that?
Your realtor should be able to spot possible problems before they occur.
Together, working as a team, you can make sure that all the details are
taken care of before settlement. When I list a property for sale, I
am very careful to publish all the information a buyer will need to
make an informed decision about buying, and I guide my seller to complete
the Seller Disclosure Statement (required in Pennsylvania) in as much
detail as possible. Those two things alone set an honest, open tone
for the entire sales transaction that will serve my seller—and
the buyer—well throughout. Return to top
10. Do I need a lawyer?
This is for you to decide depending on your comfort
level with handling business. About half of my clients use attorneys to
walk through the legal ramifications of the transaction with them. About
half do not. Many attorneys hire me as their realtor. And, since my husband
is a real estate attorney, I must say they are a wonderful, helpful group
of professionals. Remember, there are many different kinds of attorneys.
The lawyer who handles patent law, litigation or corporate law is probably
not the lawyer you should enlist to review your real estate documents.
Just as you would choose the appropriate medical specialist for your particular
physical complaint, you should also choose the appropriate legal specialist
for your real estate transaction. Return to
What is a Buyers Agent?
Buyers of property today have many more tools to work with than buyers
of just a few years ago. One of these tools is a "buyers
agent". A buyers agent is a real estate licensee who works
for you, the buyer. Pennsylvania law requires that a buyers agent
has to have the buyers interests at heart, will listen carefully
to understand the buyers needs, will work with vigilance to find
the right property, will help with negotiations on price and inspections,
and will make sure that the purchase process is as smooth as possible
for the buyer. The buyer and the buyers agent sign a contract
called a "representation agreement" that spells out the obligations
of each party to the contract, just the way a seller and a listing agent
would sign a listing contract to sell a house. When you sign a representation
agreement with me, you hire over 30 years of real estate professionalism
during which I have been consistently the top agent in my office for
production and client satisfaction. Return to
Do I have to pay my Buyers Agent?
In a word, yes. In practice, your obligation to pay your buyers
agent is most often fulfilled through the commission that is paid by
the seller to his or her agent. You do not need to have extra cash
to pay your own agent. In the rare case when the listing commission
is not split with the buyers agent, payment to the buyers
agent can be worked into the financing of the transaction. Return to
3. Why should I buy instead of rent?
When you buy, you invest in a home, in a community and in yourself.
As you make mortgage payments, you build up your equity and increase
your assets. When you rent, you pay money to a landlord. You never see
it again. When you buy a primary residence, you receive tax benefits,
too. You may deduct from your income the amount of real estate taxes
and mortgage interest that you pay on that residence, so your income
tax bill is significantly smaller on April 15th. Return to
4. What do I have to do first?
Strategize with your agent. Choose a mortgage company, get pre-qualified.
Sometimes I advise buyers to actually apply for a mortgage loan. You
want to be in a position to win in a competitive marketplace. Think
about the requirements you have for a new home and articulate these
as clearly as you can to your agent. You and your agent should work
as a team. Check out newspapers, the internet, and sale signs. Your
agent will be scanning all those things along with the multiple listing
service, and she will be networking with other realtors to know what
may be coming on the market. Be ready to move quickly when the property
becomes available. Return to
5. I have to buy a new home, but I need the equity from my present
home for the down payment. Do I have to sell my house first before I
can buy another? What if I sell but then cant find the house I
There is always some anxiety in this situation. You are not alone.
Many others face the same prospect. We will look at your finances and
determine how to approach it. Sometimes a swing loan can release your
home equity in cash for you to use. There are low down payment mortgage
programs that can solve the problem. Sometimes folks in this situation
will sell, then they will rent a while until the right house comes along.
Sometimes we are able to negotiate a longer than usual time to settlement
so there is more time to find the right property. Where there is a will,
there is a way. If your financial picture dictates that you must sell
before you buy, you may be assured that, as your buyers agent,
I will scour the landscape to find your new house. Return to
6. How can I be assured of getting the best interest rate?
When searching for the right mortgage, you want to consider several
things. The interest rate, although a major factor, is only one of them.
Other factors include: lender charges at settlement, how long the lender
has been in business, the lenders references, the lenders
reputation for service. You want to find a lender who will make it easy
for you to apply for your loan. For instance, a mortgage company will
send a representative to your home or to my office to take your application
instead of making you report to a banking office between 9AM and 3PM. Return to
How can I get to know a community and be assured that a house investment
there is wise?
The best way to get to know a neighborhood that may be unfamiliar to
you is to tour it. Take a walk at different times of the day or evening.
Say hello to people you meet. Ask them how they like living there. I
have found that census reports, internet-produced neighborhood reports
and police reports often do not give an accurate flavor for many communities
where the housing stock, quality of life, and vitality of community
spirit are attractive and strong. Return to
8. How will I know what to offer for a property?
You and your buyer agent will perform the same kind of analysis that
a seller does when choosing an asking price. My clients and I search
for recent sales of comparable homes in the market place. Armed with
that information, we consider the propertys condition and location,
and we also consider how much my clients want the house. An offering
price becomes clear quickly. Return to
How will I know the property doesnt have some hidden defect or
that it wont be a "money pit"?
Every house, no matter how new or old, will need maintenance from time
to time. You know within yourself how much skill, energy or time you
have to devote to such tasks, and you will choose a house accordingly.
To be sure you have a good sense of what you are getting into, your
offer will include inspection contingencies. I always recommend a "property
inspection" contingency to my buyers so they will have a period
of time when a professional home inspector will look over the entire
property with thoroughness and care and will issue a written report
detailing its condition. Other possible inspections to have include
environmental issues like radon, asbestos, lead in water or paint, and
underground tanks, wood infestation, and water or sewer inspections
when the property has a well or a private sewer system. Many of these
inspections are commonly done and good inspectors are readily available.
Your choice of inspections may depend on the strategies in your offer. Return to
What if I dont get my mortgage?
If I am your buyer agent, I will not let you get into a situation where
you wont get your mortgage. Period. End of story. Rest easy. Return to