Monthly Archives: July 2011

Selling Tips in a Buyer’s Market


A buyer’s market means it’s the seller’s turn to be flexible, especially with sale terms. Purchase price, closing dates, move-in dates, storage, appliances, window treatments, points and fees may all require a little negotiation. Whatever the terms, don’t let personal feelings stand in the way of a good deal.

Selling in a soft market

The basics

In a buyer’s market, curb appeal, cleanliness, overall good condition and updates are especially crucial. Any little flaw should be taken care of before the first buyer drives up.

  • Attend open houses in your neighborhood to see what “sell-ready” really looks like. If you’re shy, ask your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate sales associate to walk you through a few sell-ready examples.
  • Back home, start with the exterior to ensure you’re making a good first impression. Reseed or throw down some turf on lawn patches, change the lights in the lamppost, and if necessary, reset the walkway stone.
  • Clean the interior beyond your standards. Even if they are impeccable, rent an industrial carpet cleaner or hire a professional cleaning service. Brighten the interior ambience with light fixture updates, as new lighting is one of the most inexpensive and noticeable improvements you can make prior to listing.
  • Fix leaky faucets and make sure the water pressure is strong in both the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • If necessary, a great way to improve the appearance of your home is to paint. Use only neutral colors that can easily lend themselves to different décor and styles of furniture.

Don’t reject low offers; negotiate

  • Don’t dismiss lower-than-expected offers. Instead, consider buyer incentives that help you meet your asking price. Offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs, moving costs or loan origination fee. These can help the buyer with upfront costs. As well, you may consider offering a limited home warranty that covers HVAC systems and some appliances for a definitive period of time.
  • Be careful of purchase offers that are contingent on the buyer selling their home first. Their home may be in a softer market than yours and you could be in for a long wait. Be sure that the purchase agreement includes a contingency-release clause. This way you’ll be able to sell if another buyer comes along.
  • Work with your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agent to find creative solutions to make a deal come together. The purchase price is just part of the deal. Anything that makes your property stand apart from the competition will give it an edge in a buyer’s market.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri


Carbon Monoxide Detectors Now Required


As of July 1, 2011 a new California law requires all “dwelling units intended for human occupancy” to be retrofitted  with carbon monoxide (CO) detection devices.  If you own your own home, you are responsible for obtaining and installing these devices.  Or you can hire a company that will come in and install them for you.  If you are a renter, it is the responsibility of your landlord to come in and install them.

The devices may be battery-powered, or a plug-in device with a battery back-up.  The device must be tested and certified pursuant to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and UL.  The cost of the devices range from as low as $20 to as much as $200.  Some are combined with smoke detectors.  You can find these CO devices at most hardware stores.

Unlike smoke detectors, CO devices must be replaced at least every 7 years. For this reason, when selling a residential property, disclosure of the existence of the device and its operability may not be sufficient, if the device is more than 7 years old. Some devices are equipped with an alert that the device is 60+ months old, signaling the necessity of replacing it.

Tips for Number of Alarms

  • Alarm should be centrally located outside of each sleeping area
  • Alarm should be located at least 6 inches from all exterior walls and at least 3 feet from supply or return vents
  • Alarm to be located on every level including basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages
  • Alarm should be mounted approximately 3 to 5 feet from the floor (Note: the battery-powered devices will allow you to go higher than 3 feet from the floor)

Article by:  Sheri Negri of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate