Scott Nappier

Table Of Contents





First Steps To Home Selling



Pareto's Principle



Creating Curb Appeal



Staging With Purpose



Upgrading With ROI In Mind



The Three D's



How To Market Your Home



Common Seller Mistakes


10. Learn From Other's Mistakes


11. Finding Buyers


12. Bargaining Chips


13. Be A Power Negotiator


14. The Do's And Don'ts Of Negotiating


15. Why Hire An Agent?



Hi there! It’s nice to meet you. If you’ve received this book, it’s probably because you’re considering selling your home. And if you’re like most sellers, you may dread the entire process. But that’s why I’m here! My job is to make your job as a seller as easy and seamless as possible. Throughout my years of experience in the real estate industry, I’ve amassed insider knowledge to help home sellers get the most money out of their homes in the least amount of time. And now, you’ve got all of that information at your fingertips. If you’ve ever wondered how a friend with a seemingly average house in a seemingly average neighborhood managed to sell his home way above market value, the answer isn’t luck. That person likely was working with a great Realtor®.

In this book, you’ll find:

• An overview of the sales process • Secret strategies to sell your home for more money • Common mistakes to avoid • Marketing techniques employed by top agents • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers • Tips for upgrading with the greatest return on investment • A negotiation guide to get more money Sure, you can try to employ these strategies yourself. But I suggest talking to a licensed professional — like myself — to use them for you. Yes, selling your home can be stressful, but with this book (and my help!), we can make the process as quick and seamless as possible. iii

Please feel free to share this book with anyone who is considering a real estate decision. At the end of this book, we mention some of the cost contributions or reimbursements that we sometimes make at closing for both buyers and or sellers. It would be greatly appreciated if you could refer us to others and leave a positive "Google Review" to help others find us, at:




Scott Nappier Real Estate Brokerage & Consultation, Inc. FL. R.E. Broker BK-0470124 State-Certified General Real Estate Appraiser RZ-1826 Community Association Manager, FL #56165 @MyBeachAccess @REBANDC


Paul Anthony Nappier Real Estate Brokerage & Consultation, Inc. Associate, SL3571701 - FL @placesbypaul

Paul is a dedicated 1st responder in Florida and a dedicated team member to help in your important matters...


About the team After completing my college education, I embarked on my journey in the realm of real estate with a distinguished real estate economics firm renowned for its expertise in appraisal, consultation, advisory services, and the production of various industry publications. It was indeed a stroke of good fortune to commence my career in the company of such dynamic and dedicated professionals, where the quality of training and education was nothing short of exceptional. I owe a debt of gratitude to my former boss, the formidable Michael Y. Cannon, affectionately known as "Mad Dog," who is a revered figure in the specialization of real estate economics, appraisal, and educational leadership. Fortunately, I have advanced my career by utilizing my early training and education to provide property solutions to institutional and small-scale real estate owners throughout Florida. My unwavering commitment to real estate has driven me to pursue further education and obtain professional licenses as a real estate broker, appraiser, and property manager. I believe comprehending the diverse perspectives involved in properties and ownership is one of the most crucial aspects of real estate solutions. I worked with local and national firms for the first 10 to 15 years. As I gained more experience and education, I established and became the Director of Real Estate Brokerage and Consultation, Inc. (REB&C, Inc.). In summary, I hold a degree in Marketing from the University of Miami and have a comprehensive residential and commercial real estate background. Utilizing the latest technology has given me numerous opportunities to sell, promote, represent, and convey essential real estate matters to owners. • I have sold over 500 homes throughout Florida in bulk


and individual transactions. • Transform the NW 79th St. corridor in Miami from depressed and obsolete real estate towards redevelopment. • Over 25+ years, I assisted in creating 4,000 affordable housing units through redevelopment. • Provided 1,000 hours of "pro-bono" work for low- income, affordable mediation issues. • Commercial Distressed Property Specialist | HOA Board Member Certified. • Society of Real Estate Appraisers Courses. • Timeshare Industry experience and proficiency. • Appraisal Institute/Continuing Education. • Board Member – Grand Shores West – A Legacy Timeshare Resort . • Created Beach Access Real Estate portal (2020), • "Associate Member," Appraisal Institute (Past member). • Licensed Real Estate Broker - State of Florida BK-0470124 • Certified General Real Estate Appraiser - State of Florida RZ-1826 • Community Association Manager, Fl. #56165 . #56165 • Some of my leisure and hobbies can be found at I want to express my gratitude and introduce you to my son, Paul Nappier (Associate, SL3571701-FL), a valuable team member. Paul is an active first responder with the Florida Highway Patrol, working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the roads and prevent distractions. He has been a dedicated first responder for over three years and recently obtained his real estate license, becoming an active member of the real estate community in 2023.cense,


becoming an active member of the real estate community in 2023. We are committed to assisting those in need, especially in real estate, and delivering fantastic results for the client.



Your home is more than just bricks and mortar; it's your sanctuary, where you've created countless memories and built your life. When the time comes to sell, it becomes a complex financial transaction filled with emotion and decision-making. As a real estate owner in Florida, you're about to embark on one of your life's most significant financial journeys. Welcome to the world of real estate sales in the Sunshine State. You will find that parts of this book will refer to both buyer and seller; often, they can be the same person or entity. Throughout life, sellers will become buyers, and buyers will become sellers. Hopefully, everyone can experience homeownership, which provides the most significant benefits to a family and a means to build equity and a "nest egg" they can tap into years later. The beauty of home ownership is that it pays you back after 20 or 30 years; you will receive a lump sum payment (when you sell) for every day you are in that house and every repair you make. The sale of a house also covers many expenses related to raising a family. Homeownership is an excellent opportunity and must be preserved, cherished, and made abundantly accessible.


Commercial and residential real estate service provider with over 35 years of experience. We will help you make important real estate decisions, leveraging technology to minimize time, hassle, and selling expenses.


CHAPTER 2 First Steps to Home Selling o Home Selling

Location! Location! Location! is the most crucial consideration in real estate and a primary factor, if not the predominant one, in real estate pricing. Novice (and not-so-novice) home sellers alike must know the considerations determining a home's price. Looking at the home or property "through the eyes of the buyer." When selling your home, determining the right price is not as simple as following a mathematical formula. There are several factors that you need to take into account before making a decision. In this book, you will find examples of similar houses in location and features sold at different prices for numerous reasons. It is essential to understand that the value of your home may not necessarily be the amount you think it is worth. This understanding can help you avoid overpricing, a significant factor leading to houses not selling or being on the market for too long. Familiarity with the real estate terms market value, appraisal value, and assessed value can save disappointment and frustration and allow the home seller to meaningfully engage in setting a home's listing price. The most commonly used definition of market value is "the most probable price a property would bring in a competitive, open market, under the conditions required for a fair sale." An appraisal value is an assessment of a property's worth by a professional appraiser at a specific time. It plays a crucial role in loan underwriting, as it determines the amount of money that can be borrowed and the terms of borrowing. For example, the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is calculated based on the appraised 3

value. If the LTV is over 80%, the lender typically requires the borrower to purchase mortgage insurance. Essentially, it is a pre- negotiation opinion of what a house should bring into its local market, such as a suburb or neighborhood. Appraisal value is an evaluation of a property's worth during a period that a professional appraiser performs. The appraised value is a crucial factor in loan underwriting and determines how much money may be borrowed and under what terms. For example, the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is based on the appraised value. Where LTV is greater than 80%, the lender generally will require the borrower to buy mortgage insurance. A property's assessed value is the amount designated by the local or state government for tax purposes. However, it differs from the property's actual market or appraisal value. This estimated d value is used to calculate property tax when it is levied. It is important to note that the assessed value of real estate is not necessarily the same as its market value. In Florida, homeowners have the right to petition the local taxing authority if they disagree with the value determined by the county. As your consultant, I am willing to assist you with any issues concerning petitioning the local taxing authority regarding real estate values.


The first step in selling your home is knowing the difference between value, worth, and price. Let's examine the determining factors at work. Understanding those factors allows them to be leveraged. There are several ways a value is derived.


The sale price of a piece of real estate is solely determined by the "actual price it sells for." Unlike cans of tuna on a grocery store shelf or shares of stock traded and valued daily on the stock


exchange, houses are not identical and cannot be priced similarly.

Property real estate appraisal, also known as property valuation, is the process of determining the value perspective of real property. This value refers to the market value, which is what a reasonable and willing buyer would pay for the property to a good and helpful seller. Property appraisal aims to establish an accurate and unbiased estimation of worth. An appraisal helps in various decision points. The seller can use the appraisal as a basis for pricing (and as a "selling tool"). The buyer can use it as a gauge to base an offer. Lenders use appraisals to know how much money to credit to their borrowers or use the real estate as collateral. When conducting a house appraisal, certain factors are considered to determine the property's value. Dwelling type (e.g., one-story, two-story, split-level, factory- built) • Dwelling type (e.g., one-story, two-story, split-level, factory-built) • Features (including design) — materials used, the kind of structure present, and how they were built. • Improvements made. • Comparable sales • Location — type of neighborhood, zoning areas, proximity to other establishments • Age of property • Size • Depreciation Condition, of course, is a crucial factor in valuation. Location is also a factor; however, as a property cannot change location, upgrades or improvements to a residential property can often


enhance its value.

A professional appraiser should be a qualified, disinterested specialist in real estate appraisal with expertise in your region. Their b is to determine an estimated value by inspecting the property, reviewing the initial purchase price, and weighing it against recent sales with the exact purchase price. Typically, determining credit or reimbursing sellers for appraisals purchased during the selling process at closing.


This type of home valuation is free from real estate professionals and more helpful than automated online offerings. It provides detailed information on each house sold in your area over the last six months and the final sale price. It also includes the specifics of all the houses for sale in your area, including the asking price. These homes are your competition. The real estate professional will also answer any questions and help you price your home realistically. The current market must be considered, along with understanding how worth is determined. By utilizing a professional real estate agent, you can rely on proven expertise to market your home at the best listing price. I will happily provide a comprehensive Comparative Market Analysis ("CMA"). Please refer to the last page of this book if you would like more information on how to request a free home valuation. When we look closer at the value of your home, we will pay attention to the sales price per square foot of the comparable (s) at the time of sale, the time they were listed, and the number of days they were on the market. Also, we have the benefit of photographs and extensive details presented in the MLS for the


various properties that make up our data research.


As previously mentioned, there is no calculable certainty in setting the value of a home. Let's turn to what the homeowner/ seller can do to elicit offers at or above the listing price in a competitive market. The seller's time, effort, and investment are the most critical parts of the process. The willingness to adequately prepare the home for presentation and live in that pristine state for the time it takes to sell the property will significantly affect both the sale period and the home's price. This is reasonable as a seller would like to have everything going in their favor, from within side the home and from outside of the home. A market in which homes typically sell in less than six months of the listing is considered balanced or neutral, which means many homeowners are selling, and buyers are purchasing; therefore, neither has the upper hand. A variable, for instance, like a significant company entering — or moving from — the area will tip the scale toward homeowners to make a swift market or buyers to make a slow market. The typical selling time in a vibrant market might be 30 days, while that of a slow market may be up to nine months. Typically, any number below six months is considered a market. Florida has consistently been a demand state for immigration and businesses relocating to our beautiful, desirable state. As evidenced by the amount of redevelopment and new construction, Florida is no longer a secret! This trickles down to benefit homeowners in that a desirable state and desirable location translates to reasonable selling prices and fewer days on the market (DOM).



Selling a house can be challenging for homeowners, requiring them to keep the property in a constant "show-ready" condition. This means that daily life changes are inevitable, and sellers must be prepared to receive unexpected phone calls from unrepresented prospects and buyers' agents anytime. Furthermore, they should anticipate frequent updates via phone, email, and text messages from the listing agent regarding show appointments. Additionally, sellers may need to arrange repair and reconditioning appointments and inspections. The house may also need to be photographed for online, print, or brochure presentations. Multiple showings are often scheduled when a home is first listed for sale. As a seller, it's essential always to keep the house pristine because potential buyers or their agents may show up without an appointment. It's important to be welcoming and accommodating to any reasonable prospect, even if they happen to stop by unexpectedly. The perfect buyer could be among those impromptu visitors, so it's best always to have the home looking its best.


To ensure a positive experience for potential buyers, it's essential to minimize distractions. Children and pets can be distracting, so planning for your children to be elsewhere during the viewing is recommended. Additionally, it's best to keep your pets crated or leashed and ensure no toys are lying about or dog hair on the sofa. The kitchen is often the home's focal point, so make sure it's impeccable, with bright lights to showcase it. This will contribute to a great impression of your home.


The pressure of "showings" to mild interest in looking (not necessarily buying) may come from the idea that the more your home is seen, the more quickly and easily it will sell. Many real estate agents provide their clients with dozens of homes to consider without a clear picture of what the buyer wants. Low- interest traffic can be heavy and a burden on the seller's time, energy, and resources. Since a showing can take an hour or even hours out of your day, finding an interested buyer is what matters most. The home will be shown to many more uninterested buyers than interested buyers. How many times will you have to show your home? In an ideal world, your property would only be offered to serious buyers. However, many "Sunday afternoon window shoppers" exist in the real estate business. In summary, you shouldn't waste time appealing to uninterested buyers. This is where planning, organizing, and the professional help of a qualified real estate agent enables you to handle even the most intimidating tasks without wasting effort. And that's where I remind clients that we want everything going in your/our favor! We want everything to look right, sound right, and be correct because we only get one time to sell the property correctly.


CHAPTER 3 Pareto's Principle

"Eighty percent of results will come from just twenty percent of the action." This is the Pareto principle, attributed to Italian economist and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto, who, in 1906, observed an intriguing correlation. He began work on the "80/20 rule" by following that 20% of the pea plants in his garden generated 80% of the healthy pea pods. This observation caused him to explore more examples of uneven distribution. He discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He investigated different industries and

found that 80% of production typically came from just 20% of the companies. His findings led to the concept that 80% of results will come from 20% of the action. While it does not always come to be an exact 80/20 ratio, this imbalance is often seen in various business cases: • 20% of sales reps generate 80% of total sales • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits • 20% of the most reported software bugs cause 80% of software crashes


• 20% of patients account for 80% of healthcare spending


Understanding the 80/20 rule concept can save you time in selling your home. Applying the 80/20 rule, you stop trying to sell people on the entire home. Using the rule, you can highlight the 20% of your home's features that make it unique. The remaining 80% of your house still

affects the buyer's decision, so do not neglect it, but in photographs and showings, feature the elements that make your home unique. Remember, your selling point won't be the standard features your home shares with the other properties on the market. Instead, use your home's unique features to grab the attention of buyers interested in those distinctive attributes.


When Vince and Sue shopped for a new home, Vince wanted an ocean view. They looked at many desirable properties but didn't find any right for them. Some were overpriced; others had obstructed views. The search continued for almost a year until they found an older home a short walk from the ocean. The neglected exterior and dated interior were not encouraging, but he was sold when Vince stepped onto the third-floor balcony off the main suite. When he took in the view, any shortcomings in wall color or fixtures faded. He could now see the sunrise from his bedroom window every morning.


What 20% of the home caught the eyes of Vince and Sue? The magnificent third-floor view of the ocean!


When Cam and Kate listed their home, they needed a buyer who wasn't concerned that the house was on an unpaved road. Though the home was over ten years old, the interior was updated with fresh, neutral wall colors and carpeting to look brand new. The towering trees and established yard gave the home a welcoming appeal. The buyer had also looked at a home within miles of Cam and Kate's with towering trees and a koi pond and patio. This home was comparable in interior and exterior, but it was on a busy street. What 20% of the home caught the buyer's eye and prompted him to choose Cam and Kate's house? The buyer loved the secluded country feel of the home. The 1.8-acre property was surrounded by pastures, with grand oaks dotting the landscape.


A buyer paid extra for a townhouse because of its location in the complex overlooking woods instead of the parking area. Another seller took advantage of the fact that most of the surrounding homes didn't have yards; only a few shared a half-acre grassy area. An owner whose townhouse bordered this yard area sold his house for a higher price than other townhouses in the complex because he had a characteristic shared by fewer than 10% of others — in fact, he had the only available listing offering that feature. He pointed to that feature in marketing the townhome. With this attractive point of difference, the house sold for a higher price.


Another townhouse seller in the same complex found a different unique feature. Although she did not have a yard, she could still use "location" to her advantage. Her property backed up to a lake and fountain. This unique feature helped her to sell the townhouse quickly and for a better-than-average sales price.


Decide upon, improve, and spotlight your home's unique features in marketing copy, photographs, and showings. Do not spend much time explaining how the storage room can be converted to another full bath; instead, lead the dog-owning prospect to the fenced-off dog run in

the vast backyard. If the home has a specific feature a buyer is looking for, highlighting this aspect in marketing efforts will attract interested buyers willing to pay the asking price. Each house will have its unique features. Here are some suggestions if you aren't sure of yours: Hilltop views, or high vantage points, offer a spectacular view of the surrounding area • Open fields frequented by wildlife • Unobstructed views of sunrise and sunset • Patios, decks, dog runs, garden areas, and pavilions — highlight items neighboring houses don't have or differences in size or quality; that one vital feature could help you sell your home. • Location can set a property apart, even in the same area, adding value to a home on a cul-de-sac or corner lot. 13

• A private location or lot partially concealed by trees • A unique, shady, or more oversized backyard; a fenced backyard is a big selling point (If your yard can be fenced but is not, consider making that improvement.) • Finished basement, large attic or garage, swimming pool, or anything else that makes your home stand out Following the 80/20 rule can lessen the total time spent "showing" to people who aren't interested. Instead, you will be showing your home to buyers who are motivated to make a purchase. You also won't have to sift through low-ball offers from casual shoppers. Keeping this in mind, you must take the time to uncover your home's most attractive and unique features and improve them to their highest potential. Compare your house with others in the neighborhood to see what makes yours stand out. Work with that.


An out-of-town home shopper with no specific requirements contacted a real estate agent to look at available homes for sale. The agent drove him from house to house. In each case, the buyer suggested offers 10% to 20% below the asking price without budging. As the day progressed, the agent's chances of finding a suitable home for the buyer were dwindling. They stopped at one last house as the sun was setting. The exterior of the house was dated, and the yard was unkept. This agent and her client had spent the entire day looking at houses with 80% of the same features. Nevertheless, once the buyer entered this home, he wanted to offer the total asking price.


What sets this house apart from the others? He wasn't too interested in the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. A bedroom was a bedroom, as far as he was concerned. He loved the one remarkable feature of this otherwise uninspiring house. The house sat on a hill with a beautiful view from a large window. The sun was setting below the distant tree line as they entered the great room. That view sold the buyer. The remaining parts of the home could be improved. The home buyer based his decision to buy on the window view from the hillside. The 20% of the home's features motivated him to offer the total price on the spot. Such is the power of the 80/20 rule. In some cases, the 80/20 rule may help people make a sale without even conducting a showing. The house in the following example had languished on the market for months. Unlike the previous home, this one was attractive. It was a brand-new, custom-built home, yet it sat on the market for over seven months without a single offer. The builder hired a real estate agent who knew the importance of finding that particular feature. He drove out to give the house a thorough investigation. He discovered what the property had that the competition did not. The house had a five-acre yard. Other houses being sold in the area had one- to two-acre lots. Not only was the yard bigger, but it was also more private than the other properties. The real estate agent marketed the property by highlighting the five acres. Because the house was no longer the main selling point, interest in the property increased.


CHAPTER 4 Creating Curb Appeal b Appeal

Someone once said, "A stunning first impression is not the same as love at first sight. But surely it is an invitation to consider the matter." This could not be truer than in selling a home. First impressions matter. Sometimes, they are everything. Nothing sets the tone of a relationship or encourages a

transaction more than first impressions. So, always consider what a potential homebuyer may think as they drive up to your property for the first time. Think of "curb appeal" as the home seller's shop window. For picking a lunch place on a busy avenue in a tourist spot, it's either the outside presentation or, as we saw in the 80/20 rule discussion, some particular characteristic that brings in the customers. For most lunch seekers, it is the way the place looks ("curb appeal") and, to others, the soups and sandwiches they serve (specific desired feature). You cannot establish a curb appeal relationship with a prospective homebuyer. Whether cruising the web to view online photos from across the country or cruising by your home in the family SUV on a Sunday afternoon outing, home shoppers will decide at a glance whether they want to see more. "We buy ugly houses" is a sign often seen nailed to electric poles. 16

Rehabbers look for ugly houses to pay the least amount possible; homebuyers looking for a deal — not a "basement bargain" — do not want an unattractive home. Creating curb appeal is essential to attracting interest in your home. How your home looks from the road is so persuasive that a well-prepared house may catch the attention of buyers who did not find the written description particularly compelling. Likewise, a neglected home can cause a buyer previously excited by the report to cruise right on by. Take a moment to step outside and observe your home from the street. Is it visually appealing, clean, and well-maintained? Or are there any necessary repairs that you've overlooked? After living in a house for an extended period, assessing it objectively cannot be easy. Consider seeking recommendations and advice from real estate experts, friends, or potential buyers on how to enhance the presentation of your home. Take a drive around your neighborhood and surrounding areas to observe which homes for sale catch your eye and note the reasons why. You will likely find well-maintained homes with trimmed bushes, well-groomed lawns, attractive landscaping, and impressive entrances more appealing than houses with unkempt walkways, overgrown grass, and peeling paint on their front doors. The outside appearance of a property needs to be an invitation to come inside. Potential homebuyers are drawn to welcoming entries and uncluttered yards. They are unlikely to be attracted to a home with dead shrubbery and a weather-worn exterior. It is no stretch to think a buyer will also believe the home is neglected on the inside. Look at your home as a potential buyer would. Drive up to the curb and take inventory of everything that needs attention. Low-


cost investments like power washing the house and concrete, repainting trim, and adding landscaping give your house more curb appeal. Simple improvements like weeding, trimming, and window washing can improve the appearance of a home with little to no expense. Repairs and repainting are costlier, but the payoff is often reflected in the sale price. The goal here is to get more money for your home. Homebuyers generally aren't interested in a home that needs work unless you want to sell below market value. Look around your yard, and make a written list of everything that could be improved: • Shrubs trimmed, flower gardens tended, walkways neat, and beds weeded • No trash, trash cans, lawn clippings, branches, or general mess in the yard • All outside fixtures and components (door and yard lights, garage door, porch rails) are functioning properly and looking their best • Outdoor features, such as patio furniture or the deck, should be updated with staining or painting Preparing a home for sale takes hard work and attention to detail. To ensure a quick sale with significant profits, it's essential to make both major and minor improvements to the property's exterior. While the to-do list may be extended, updating the curb appeal can make all the difference. Remember, anyone can sell a house, but not everyone can do it quickly and for a reasonable price. Then, expect the prospective buyers who will be drawn to the inside of your home when they see how beautiful it is from your curb! 18


As previously mentioned, a house's "grand entrance" is crucial in its curb appeal. It is the gateway to even a modest home and sets the tone for what's inside. Creating a welcoming and impressive atmosphere at the front door is essential for a successful home sale. This involves more than just placing a welcome mat and some potted plants. You want prospective buyers to feel welcome, safe, and secure when they open the door. The doorknob is the first point of contact when entering a home. Security is a crucial factor for homebuyers. A flimsy lock or handle on the front door can make potential homebuyers feel uneasy without even realizing why. It's essential to replace a worn or loose entry handle. You should also consider replacing the door strike plate with a heavy-duty deadbolt and knob combination. This investment, which costs less than $100, will make your home visibly and practically more secure. Everyone wants to feel confident and safe in their home. Make your front door an impressive focal point by giving it a fresh look with a dash of color. Choose a paint that complements the color of your home. Replacing a wooden door with a steel entry door is worthwhile as it has a 91% Return on Investment (ROI).


• Symmetry appeals to the eye and is easy to accomplish. Lopsided landscaping or unevenly trimmed bushes will detract from the curb appeal; the home's overall appearance needs balance.


• The mailbox should complement your home. If it is worn, dated, or unsightly, replace it. This doesn't cost much and is worthwhile. • Use outdoor lighting to add to landscaping appeal and a perceived safety feature. • Use flower boxes and raised flower beds to add instant color. This is an easy, inexpensive way to enhance curb appeal. • Spruce up the landscaping. Eliminating weeds and adding fresh mulch can make a difference and show homeowner care and maintenance. • Consider enhancing architectural appeal by adding molding to the tops and sides of the doorway or around windows. • Keep shutters and trim in excellent shape. Repainting them adds to the attractiveness. Fence gates, arbors, and fencing panels should be clean and fresh. • Clean downspouts and gutters. Repaint or touch up to eliminate rust spots. • Ensure the walkway to the front door is clear and approachable. Stacked water hoses and unruly landscaping interfere with home shoppers walking up and diminish the inviting look. • Try a fresh coat of exterior paint; faded or chipping paint, siding, or trim will always detract from curb appeal. If exterior paint is good, ensure door and window trim are, too. This simple upgrade is well worth the cost. • Power washing the house, walkways, and driveway can be almost as effective as repainting at a much lower cost. Power washers are easily rented from hardware stores. • Adding some stone or stone veneer to the face of the


home is an inexpensive way to update your house if it complements the design instantly. • Add a "smart" doorbell. Eight of 10 home doorbells are outdated or not working, so if you invest $200 in a doorbell equipped with a camera and speaker, you will gain the approval of home shoppers looking for security measures. Curb appeal is one of the most essential elements in selling your home quickly and successfully. You can create interest in your home before buyers even step out of the car, even if they didn't think they were looking for a house like yours. If you put money into cleaning up the outside of your home, buyers will be far more likely to want to see the inside. Your home's curb appeal draws buyers in, maintains their interest, and sets your house apart. Remember that prospective homebuyers won't want to take on a significant renovation project unless you are willing to lower your home's price below market value.


CHAPTER 5 Staging with Purpose

Staging is sprucing up and setting up a home's interior to make it as visually appealing as possible to a prospective buyer. Creating an attractive home — one that potential buyers can envision themselves living in — is the best investment in the sales effort. Sellers often fail to take full advantage in this regard, as it takes considerable time and work. However, the payoff is proven. Staging is considered one of the most effective marketing strategies to increase the value of your home. This strategy is effective in any market, in any home property being listed. It applies equally to single-family houses, apartments, townhouses, and condos. This approach works!


Agents and sellers using this tactic have a greater chance of selling the property for more money.

Staging the home will:

• Distinguish it from the competition • Attract top dollar from homebuyers • Provide a visual edge over the competition


Dear Reader,

I wanted to give you the most convincing proof possible. Many people find it hard to believe that the simple act of staging helps one home sell for more than another similar home. In my research, I looked for examples of similar houses being sold for differing amounts of money, where only one of the two houses was staged. The clearest example I could find was in the case of these two listings.

This development has 200 equivalent townhouses.

Every townhome in the neighborhood is three stories, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Every unit has the same floor plan.

I looked for two sales there and found these:

• Townhome A was sold on August 26. • Townhome B (5 doors down) was sold on July 26 for


40,000 dollars less.

I visited this neighborhood, and I am familiar with these properties. You could not find a better example of two identical properties that sold for different prices. The lots the units sit on are identical regarding the desirableness of the location.

Both units had the same kitchen plan, cabinets, and tile floor.

Both units had lovely hardwood floors in the living room and carpeted bedrooms. Every important detail of these townhouses was identical. I studied every aspect of these sales to find what made the difference. There are two reasons one home sold for $40,000 more than the other: • Townhome A was professionally staged, giving it a more appealing appearance. • The agent selling Townhome A took higher quality, more attractive home photos. Those two seemingly small actions made the $40,000 difference! The buyers of Townhome A made a higher offer because the agent presented the home more appealingly and attractively.



Consider these results from surveys conducted by Coldwell Banker and the National Association of Realtors®: • Staged homes spent 50% less time on the market than homes that were not produced. • Staged homes sold for more than 6% above the asking price. • A staging investment of 1% to 3% of the asking price generates an ROI of between 8% and 10%. • Homes staged before listing sold 79% faster than homes produced after listing.


Most home shoppers are envisioning a fresh start. If they can picture themselves living in the home, the home will be easier to sell. This is known as “interior curb appeal,” where the eyes are drawn to inviting spaces, light, and unique features. Each room needs a purpose or suggested use. The home must feel new to reflect ease of upkeep. The goal is to create a clean, simple, and contemporary feel. Painting, updating fixtures, and eliminating stained carpets and popcorn ceilings can affect the "marketability" of the home by 75%!


The idea is to neutralize the home regarding personal taste or decoration so buyers can easily envision the house as it would be outfitted to their taste or with their possessions without the distractions of the seller’s preference and possessions. In staging, distractions are removed so the home shopper can imagine living in each house space. 25

An effective way to achieve this is to paint all rooms neutral. A wide range of neutrals is available, from soft grays to warm beiges. Painting the interior gives newness and freshness, making the home appear more spacious. Using the same color in visibly adjacent rooms provides the house with a seamless look and uninterrupted flow. Changing your window coverings to match the walls can also create an illusion of more space. Dark or bold wall colors can dampen interest in a home if used in large rooms; however, they can occasionally be used effectively as accent colors.


A visibly inviting space is created in staging so the home shopper can envision or imagine life there. Minimization is the key. If the seller’s taste and style are showcased while the home is on the market, it may be a sale distraction. Preparing for moving is part and parcel of selling a house; it might as well be done at this stage to enhance the property’s marketability. Shortly, we will examine depersonalizing the home, a critical step. First, however, we must read the concept of creating space by minimizing furniture. Buyers are attracted to homes flooded with light and roominess. They are equally put off by cramped homes filled with unnavigable spaces. Home shoppers want to walk through a house without obstacles in the way. Space and storage are high on the list of buyers’ desires, so every area of the home should feel spacious. Remove all unnecessary furniture from living spaces. Store it while the home is marketed. Closets, pantries, and storage rooms must be clutter-free and look organized. Pruning back


unnecessary items can create interest by showcasing space and storage in cabinets, attics, and basements. Furniture placement can be an effective way to highlight the unique features of your house. For instance, grouping chairs in front of a fireplace can attract attention. Avoid pushing furniture too close to the walls to make the room look smaller. Instead, reposition easy chairs into floating group spaces. Every room in the house should be staged to show its function. If you have an empty room for overflowing boxes, possessions, or unwanted items, it can be transformed into a usable, desirable space. Start by cleaning out the clutter and create an office space with a desk and chair or a reading room with a lamp and recliner. You can also arrange exercise equipment to highlight it as a workout room. Every room should have a purpose and be user- friendly. To make your home’s traffic flow smoothly, ensure that buyers can browse each space without effort.


Once every room has a purpose, creating an atmosphere is crucial to make the home desirable. Decorative touches of greenery, flowers, and coffee table books give life to a room. Creatively hung wall art can do the same. A bedroom with one bed with one pillow and blanket may make the space seem bare and lonely. Adding a table with a lamp and a rocking chair draped with a lap robe heightens its appeal. Be sure to add elements of the same color, shape, or texture to unify the room. Any splashes of color should appear in wall art or any place you want to draw attention. Learn to strike a balance between staging and living in your home. You can even seasonally decorate your home without dashing its appeal. The main goal is to keep your home clean and free of clutter that distracts would-be buyers. Even simple things


can make a significant impact on the final sale price of a home.

You have two home staging options: do it yourself or hire a professional home stager. If you are considering hiring someone, I can provide recommendations.


Home sellers often ask whether they should stay in their home while it is on the market or move out. There are pros and cons to both and factors that can tip the scale to one side.

Pros of Moving Out

If the seller has engaged a real estate agent, the burden of showing a vacant home is virtually eliminated. The agent will field all calls, set appointments, and show the home. Buyers’ real estate agents are also more likely to want to show vacant homes. If agents have 20 home options and 15 are occupied, they may offer the empty houses out of convenience. They don’t have to call and make an appointment and can go over and use the lockbox. Further, the continual pressure to keep daily life from affecting the home’s pristine staging presentation is eliminated. The seller is not under constant pressure to keep the home in immaculate showing condition. If you might struggle to keep your house in turnkey condition for showing purposes — for example, if you have young children — consider vacating before putting the home on the market.

Cons of Moving Out

A vacant home can signal that the homeowner is a “motivated seller” who needs to sell quickly. Consider this example found


on an online real estate forum. A buyer saw a vacant home and offered $30,000 less than the asking price. The buyer was sold on the house anyway and would have paid more, but “haggling” began well below the "asking" price because the buyer assumed the owner was desperate to sell.


CHAPTER 6 Upgrading with ROI in Mind OI in Mind

Making upgrades can be as easy as replacing the handset on your front door and freshening up the paint job or as daunting as remodeling an entire kitchen or master bath. The question always is, what home improvements give the best return on the remodeling dollar?

Return on Investment (ROI) is generally less than 100% in real estate, so the rule of thumb is “less is more.” It is frequently advised in this area that it’s better to update/remodel your home while living in it and not solely when it comes to selling. That way, there is more enjoyment in the improvement and less cost and time in preparing for sale. Some desirable upgrades or home improvements will not return their cost in the sale price, so the owners should enjoy them all along. If your home is worth $275,000, and you spend $25,000 to revamp the kitchen, don’t assume that the investment will increase the value, dollar for dollar. The remodel may add value to the home, but the return on the dollars spent will be around 50%. More minor upgrades, like replacing outdated fixtures in the kitchen and bath, are undoubtedly worthwhile, but major remodeling of those rooms isn’t wise to sell your home. That’s not to say you can ignore necessary repairs that a home inspector would red-flag or a mortgage company would demand before issuing a loan to a buyer. Suppose significant problems, 30

like a leaking roof or outdated electrical wiring, exist. In that case, you may want to repair those before putting your home on the market or expect to give concessions to the buyer.


Every listed home should meet the basic expectations of any buyer. It should have a sound roof, functioning gutters and downspouts, a foundation without cracks, a functioning heating and air-conditioning system, solid subflooring, and safe and secure electrical wiring. With finance-mandated home inspections, any shortcomings may be required to be remedied to get buyer financing approval. It is essential to understand that the market value of a home is determined by the prices of comparable homes recently sold in the area. Extensive remodeling to sell the home or to increase the value may not pay off. The property needs to be up to the standards of neighboring homes, so while the kitchen has to be comparable to others, spending $25,000 to remodel a kitchen in an area where similar residences recently sold for $275,000 will not increase the house’s value to $300,000. While it may be a helpful selling feature, it won’t return dollar-for-dollar value.


Getting wrapped up in the more eye-pleasing aspects of preparing a home to sell is easy. However, the upkeep of all the more mundane aspects of the home cannot be overlooked.

These mechanical features require consideration:

• Electrical boxes and wiring • Natural gas lines • Plumbing


• Central heating and air-conditioning

If these components are old, outdated, or not working correctly, the home’s appeal is lowered, as is the eventual sale price. According to the National Association of Realtors®, heating and cooling costs were the most important environmental features for recent home buyers, with 83% finding these features at least somewhat important. People want to purchase a home that reflects their aesthetic tastes and lifestyles and is safe and sound. Faulty electrical systems do not provide a feeling of safety. Leaky plumbing arouses concerns of mold infestation and sewage problems. These areas can require extensive work, and they are essential. Overlook them in the preparation stage, and you risk trouble later with inspections and appraisals. It aids the sale if professionals certify or remediate any deficiencies in the mechanical systems. A professional inspection for buyers to review is a big plus in marketing. • Have a certified plumber inspect the entire water system for leaks. Check the well and septic field, if applicable. • Hire an electrician to check the wiring. • Call an HVAC company and have technicians perform a thorough service checkup. • Contact the natural gas supplier and have them double- check the mechanics of your tank and lines. If you’re looking for an alternative to calling and arranging all the different inspections, certified home inspectors usually cover all items related to mechanical issues (and more). They will be able to identify possible trouble spots. Many buyers hire an inspector so that you may be saving them a significant step in the sale 32

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