Selling a home is a multifaceted process that goes beyond just getting
the property in shape, holding an open house or placing advertising in
the newspaper. When it comes to marketing and important disclosure
information, Realtors provide the behind-the-scenes skills and knowledge
to ensure a seamless transaction.
Real estate professionals agree one of the first steps in marketing a
home is to make sure the property is in the best shape possible.
Broker/owner Francine Nelson of Realty World RESA in Cupertino offers
several tips to sellers to make a property shine.
"The most important thing is clean. Clean everything, including the
windows and screens. Replace screens and cracked windows if necessary.
All closets and cabinets should be clean and well-organized, leaving
some space. Clean all light fixtures and replace bulbs as needed. Don't
forget to clean the water-heater closet," Nelson said.
Nelson advises her clients to get rid of clutter by clearing crowded
spaces, putting away all personal photos and taking everything off the
refrigerator and counters. The garage should be empty even if getting it
that way means renting a storage place.
Nelson also recommends new carpet, linoleum, new plugs, switches, wall
plates, doorknobs and paint. The front door should be cleaned and
painted or varnished and have new hardware. The exterior of the house
and patios and walkways should be power washed. Bathrooms, bathtubs and
the kitchen sink may need grouting and new faucets.
"Make sure every system and appliance works and have the heater and air
conditioner serviced. It is amazing the difference that a few repairs
will make, and your home will sell fast," Nelson said.
addition to getting the property ready,
in Cupertino, views the disclosure process as an integral part of
marketing a home for sale.
"While most people don't think of disclosures as marketing, we think
that anything that promotes the sale of our client's property
constitutes marketing. We advise our clients on their responsibilities
for disclosures and work with them to provide all the necessary
disclosers up front. We strongly recommend our clients perform
inspections ahead of time and set the selling price correctly to reflect
the condition of the house,"
full and complete disclosure package answers buyers' questions and
sometimes prevents unnecessary and irrelevant questions and concerns
from reducing a buyer's interest in a property, said
Since disclosure is required by law,
encourages her clients to provide it upfront, because it demonstrates a
forthright attitude to buyers and their agent.
"Having the disclosure available at the beginning means that the known
issues will be addressed. This allows the seller to confidently explain
that the price reflects the condition of the house including the
conditions in the disclosure. Buyers appreciate having the disclosure
before they make an offer because they are more comfortable knowing what
they are making an offer on. If they desire to have additional
inspections, they still can,"
Realtor Susan Tilling with Coldwell Banker in Menlo Park said many
sellers do not understand the many facets of the real estate transaction
or know what to expect from an agent.
"My guess is that the average seller doesn't know half of what a
thorough, conscientious agent does for them by enhancing their liability
protection in the process of getting the home exposed to the market and
sold at the highest price," Tilling said. "Misrepresentation of facts,
whether inadvertent or deliberate, can cause problems during a
transaction or escrow, or worse yet, can cause legal problems down the
Tilling said sellers should expect but don't often know about the
following tasks provided by a Realtor:
Assistance in completely and honestly filling out the disclosure. In the
long run, disclosures that omit nothing serve as a legal protection for
the seller. Instead of handing the disclosure over to the seller and
telling the seller to fill out the forms, the agent should sit down and
really discuss the issues.
Follow-up and understanding of issues raised in various reports. For
instance, what does the zoning really mean and what does it allow? If a
property is identified as "in a flood zone," perhaps only a tiny portion
of the land is in the flood zone. The agent should make the phone calls
to the right agencies to clarify any questions.
Thoroughness at all times. Agents read the preliminary title report when
it arrives and sellers rarely do. They look for title issues that could
cause trouble later on. If it's a condominium purchase, the agent will
review the condo development papers. As a result, an agent may find an
amendment that, for example, may have disallowed pets, which were
Taking the time and trouble to independently verify facts. Although the
MLS printout of recent sales provides some useful information, an agent
should check the facts. With school districts, for instance, it may be
assumed that a house across the street in the same block belongs to the
same school district. Even the owners may not know because their
children may have gone to a different school than the one now assigned
to the property. A prudent agent will take the time to call the school
district to check.
Professional Realtors provide extensive services to their clients when
marketing a home. Many of these services may not be apparent at first
glance, but understanding what to expect will help sellers choose the
right agent to work for them.