Sellers

Sellers

Kline Mann Realty knows how to sell your home quickly

Allow us to list your home for a quick sale. As real estate specialists, we know what it takes to sell your home. We bring expert knowledge, valuable experience blended with the latest technology, a well-defined marketing plan, a cohesive network, energy, enthusiasm and the excitement of a job well done.  We know the area and the home values, and we know how to help you get the most for your home.

  • Detailed Home Evaluation Report and advice on the best price to list your home.
  • Vast Exposure for your listing.
  • Virtual tours to distinguish your listing.
  • We are your source for the latest tips, checklists and free reports.
  • Personal Consultation – Vast experience and knowledge you can rely on.
  • Relocating – Everything you need to know about the neighborhood and transferring utilities.

If you are planning to place your home on the market, browse our website for valuable information on preparing your home for sale, pricing your home right, marketing it effectively and the home inspection processes.

We are passionate about our job, love our neighborhood and keep up with the latest trends and strategies so that we can pass them on to our clients.

Your satisfaction is our success!

Why Should I Use a Realtor®?

If you’re planning to sell your home, it’s probably crossed your mind to try to sell it yourself and save the sales commission. But, there are some very good reasons why that would be a mistake.

According to housing industry experts at HomeGain.com and Realtor.org, more homes listed by real estate agents are sold than homes marketed by owners, and they sell more quickly and for more money.

Homes listed by real estate professionals get more exposure and their sellers get more support. Real estate professionals offer many advantages:

  • They’re trained and licensed professionals
  • They have experience in your neighborhood and your market
  • They have oversight from brokers and state licensing officials
  • Their job is to advise you the best way to reach your goals
  • Their continuing education keeps them up-to-date on housing issues
  • They know how to present your home and deal with buyers
  • They know how and where to market properties
  • They know how to overcome typical snags that occur in all real estate transactions and closings
  • They understand state-required disclosures and look out for your best interests
  • They understand personal safety and security for your belongings during showings
  • They know the best resources to make transactions go more smoothly, from bankers to homestagers to contractors
  • They have the most accurate data sources – the MLS, the only data repository that has the most up-to-date listing and sales information
  • They know how to negotiate
  • Their job is making real estate transactions successful

When you market your own home, you have to make the time to do all the jobs a real estate professional would do, and you’ll be competing against other sellers who have real estate professionals by their sides.

If you can’t leave work to show your home, or you feel it requires more knowledge and experience than you have, you can’t go wrong by hiring a well-respected real estate professional.

How Do I Use This Site To My Best Advantage?

The Kline Mann Realty Group website is your home base for buying or selling a home. To get started, please register by clicking the Client Login button in the main menu at the top of the page.  Once you have registered, you can login to the site, which enables you to save a list of properties you’re interested in, and get new listing updates by email.

Is Now a Good Time to Sell?

Pricing a home for sale is as much art as science, but there are a few truisms that never change.

  • Fair market value attracts buyers, overpricing never does
  • The first two weeks of marketing are crucial
  • The market never lies, but it can change its mind

Fair market value is what a willing buyer and a willing seller agree by contract is a fair price for the home. Values can be impacted by a wide range of reasons but the two largest are location and condition. Generally, fair market value can be determined by comparables – other similar homes that have sold or are currently for sale in the same area.

Sellers often view their homes as special which tempts them to put a higher price on the home, believing they can always come down later, but that’s a serious mistake.

Overpricing prevents the very buyers who are eligible to buy the home from ever seeing it. Most buyers shop by price range, and look for the best value in that range.

Time on Market chart Your best chance of selling your home is in the first two weeks of marketing. Your home is fresh and exciting to buyers and to their agents.

With a sign in the yard, a description in the local Multiple Listing Service, distribution across the Internet, open houses, broker’s caravan, ads, and email blasts to your listing agent’s buyers, your home will get the greatest flurry of attention and interest in the first two weeks.

If you don’t get many showings or offers, you’ve probably overpriced your home, and it’s not comparing well to the competition. Since you can’t change the location, you’ll have to improve the home’s condition or lower the price.

Consult with your agent and ask for feedback. Perhaps you can do a little more to spruce up your home’s curb appeal, or perhaps stage the interior to better advantage. The market can always change its mind and give your home another chance, but by then you’ve lost precious time and perhaps allowed a stigma to cloud your home’s value.

Intelligent pricing isn’t about getting the most for your home – it’s about getting your home sold quickly at fair market value.

How Much is My Home Worth?

In a neighborhood of similar homes, why is one worth more than another? That’s the question that’s teased buyers and sellers for ages, but the answer is simple: Every home is different.

When a home is sold, a willing seller and a willing buyer have just announced to the world the value of that home. From there, other similar homes are benchmarked, but other factors come into play. The most important are:

Location – The closer a home is to jobs, parks, transportation, schools, and community services, the more desirable it is.

Size – Square footage impacts home values because they’re built using more materials. Larger lot sizes mean more privacy.

Number of bedrooms and baths – Over time, median homes have grown larger. Decades ago, household members shared bedrooms and baths without complaint, but today, families want more privacy. The median home purchased today is a three-bedroom, two-bath home.

Features and finishes – Features such as outdoor kitchens and spa baths make a home more luxurious. A home finished with hardwood floors and granite countertops is going to cost more than a home with carpet and laminate countertops.

Condition – The closer a home is to new construction, the more it will retain its value. It’s perceived as more modern, up to date, and perhaps safer. Homes that are not updated or in poor repair sell for less. It’s a good idea for homeowners to keep their homes updated and in top repair.

Curb appeal – From the street, the home looks clean, fresh, and inviting. Fresh landscaping and flowers won’t change the size or location, but they certainly add charm.

When two homes are identical in the same neighborhood, a higher price may come to down to something as simple as views, or paint colors, or the overall taste of the homeowner.

Valuing a home will never be an exact science, but if you buy wisely, keep your home updated and in good repair, you should recoup most if not all of your investment.

Are Those Online Home Value Sites Accurate?

Plenty of sellers have visited online home valuation sites such as Zillow, Trulia, eAppraisal, and others, only to be shocked at the value of their homes.

Most sellers are pleased when the values appear higher than they expected, but many online valuations come in far lower.

Estimating a home’s market value is far from an exact science. What these sites attempt to do is provide greater transparency to homebuyers and sellers by making data derived from public records, more…public. They publish what you paid for your home and how much you pay in taxes. Many have satellite views so accurate they can spot your cat laying on the front porch.

How do they do it? Home valuation sites contract with major title companies such as First American to obtain county tax roll data. All property is registered with the county for property taxing purposes.

They also find ways to become members of local multiple listing services, which are either subsidiaries of real estate associations or owned by local real estate brokers. That way, they have access to listing data.

Between tax roll data and listing data, home valuation sites apply their own secret sauce, or algorithm to come up with “zestimates” or approximate values of what homes are worth.

Sometimes the results are spot on, but they can also be terribly inaccurate. First, transaction data has to be recorded with the county, which could take weeks. But, what alters the algorithm most is that properties not currently on the market are included in the data. The algorithms can’t possibly show whether or not a home has been updated, how well it’s maintained, or esoteric values such as curb appeal and views.

For that reason, online valuations should be used only as one of many tools to estimate a home’s value.

Ask your real estate professional for a comparative market analysis, or CMA. He or she can show you the most recent listings and sold comparables, accurate to within hours or a few days at most.

What Is Curb Appeal And How Do I Improve It?

Most buyers form their first impression of your home before they even get out of their cars. This is “curb appeal,” or the view from the curb that tells the buyer how attractive and well-maintained your home is compared to other homes.

In a competitive market, it takes more than trimming the hedges and planting a few flowers to create curb appeal. The exterior of your home must be in pristine condition – freshly painted, cleared of clutter, with no visible repairs needed. A broken step, overgrown bush, or abandoned toys in the yard can spoil the appearance and your buyer’s first impression.

Curb appeal is important because it sets the tone for what the buyer is going to see inside. If the buyer likes the exterior, he or she will be predisposed to also like the interior and you’re that much closer to selling your home.

To see what needs to be done to sell your home faster and for a higher price, go outside, stand on the curb and try to look at your home the way the buyer will. What do you see? Pay close attention to walkways, exterior features, the entry and landscaping.

Walkways/driveways – Make sure walkways are clear of snow, weeds, or debris. Repair or replace cracked steps or pavers. Driveways should also be clear of vehicles, toys and debris. Park cars in the garage.

Landscaping – Keep your lawn mowed, edged and watered. Prune dead branches and plants. Weed flower beds and replace leggy, thin landscaping with fresh plants and flowers.

Exterior – Replace loose or damaged roof shingles, clean the gutters, and paint and caulk window trim and doors. Repaint the front door an eye-catching color that complements the rest of the exterior. Replace broken windows.

Entry – Power wash siding, brick, windows, and porches. Paint or replace furniture such as rocking chairs or porch swings. Replace mailboxes, light fixtures, door knobs or any other fixture that looks less than fresh. Put out a welcoming new floor mat.

Some parts of your home may require more work than others, but it’s well worth it to get buyers eager to see what’s inside.

What Should I Do To Make My Home Show Well?

Once your home goes on the market, real estate agents may call to show your home anytime, day or evening. Keeping your home “showtime” ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets.

For showings and open houses

Eliminate clutter – Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementos, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months.

Keep, donate, throw away – Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations than pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people.

Remove temptations – Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.

Remove breakables – Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.

Be hospitable – You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.

Have a family plan of action – Sometimes showings aren’t convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about.

Get in the habit – Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off counter tops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.

Clean out the garage and attic – Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is.

When you have a showing

Five-minute clean-up – Everyone gets their baskets and cleans up clutter. Check for hazards, like toys left on the floor. Make sure toys, bicycles are put away.

Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you – In the listing instructions, there should be a warning if there is a big dog on premises. Buyers with allergies also may appreciate knowing in advance if you have pets.

Turn on lights – Open the drapes, turn on lights so buyers can really see.

Give the buyer privacy – The buyer can not come to your home without being accompanied by an agent. The buyer can assess your home more honestly without your presence.

What Features Help A House To Sell?

According to the National Association of REALTORS® latest profile of homebuyers and sellers, buyers plan to occupy their homes for the next 10 years. They want homes that offer the room, flexibility and comfort they anticipate they will need for a long time.

Over three out of four buyers chose a detached home, while attached homes–condos and townhomes–were favored by single homebuyers and buyers without children.

The median-sized existing home purchased in 2010 was built in 1990, with 1,780 square feet, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Size mattered most, while the home’s condition came in a close second.

Buyers in multiple surveys expressed concerns over operating costs. They want energy-efficient appliances, windows, water and operating systems. They’re also carefully considered commuting costs to jobs, schools and other destinations.

Overall, they’re buying smaller homes closer to the inner city.

A study by The National Association of Home Builders found that buyers are interested in saving on square footage, but they want a gracious, but casual ambiance. It’s likely that new homes by 2015 will reflect buyers’ preferences for maximizing square footage with smaller entries, dining rooms and living rooms, and awarding that square footage to a greater-sized family room and eat-in kitchen.

Other must-have features include:

  • A walk-in closet in the master bedroom
  • A separate laundry room
  • Insulated front door
  • Ceiling fans
  • First-floor master
  • Two-car garage
  • Separate tub and shower in the master bath
  • 9-foot ceilings on first level

AVID Ratings Co, found that homebuyers also want the following:

  • Home office/study
  • Outdoor living area
  • Stone/brick exteriors
  • Community landscaping with walking paths and playgrounds

Out of favor with homebuyers are McMansion luxuries such as four bedrooms or more, three-car garages, butler’s pantries, two-story foyers and multiple shower heads in the master shower.

Buyers want homes that are sustainable and affordable, more than homes that are impressive to others. For that reason, builders predict that homes of the future will continue to be smaller and more energy-efficient, with far better space-planning, storage and utility than existing homes have today.

What Are Some Tips For Selling A Home In A Tough Market?

When home prices fall, supplies of homes for sale increase, and buyers become more demanding, it’s a buyer’s market. That doesn’t mean you can’t sell your home for a fair price. You just have to work harder to make it happen.

Hire a real estate professional

A buyer’s market is not the time to represent yourself. It may be tempting to recoup some equity by not paying a real estate agent, but you’ll lose more than you’ll gain. A real estate professional can give you an accurate overview of the market, help you with strategies, and bring offers from qualified buyers. Make your home pristine In a buyer’s market, only location and condition can move buyers to pay more for any home. You can’t do anything about location, but you can take condition out of the equation. There’s a huge difference between a home that “doesn’t need a thing” and a home that “needs work.”

Show pride of ownership by putting your home in top move-in condition so that your home is more appealing to buyers than any other home in your price range.

Price it right

You can expect lowball offers in a buyer’s market, but homes that are priced fairly and in pristine condition will be treated with more respect by buyers. Pricing according to recent sold comparables might not be as smart as pricing to pending sales (those yet to close).

You have to know what your bottom line is, but pricing your home should have nothing to do with how much you owe creditors, how much cash you need to buy your next home or how much you need for your retirement or any other reason. Buyers will only pay current or pending market value as determined by the most recent comparables.

Keep negotiations pleasant

Negotiation is a fine art, and typically works best when both parties get what they want. For example, you may be willing to take less money in exchange for a cash offer or a quicker closing. Your buyer may be willing to pay your asking price, but they may ask you to pay their closing costs.

You’ll quickly realize if you’re dealing with a sincere buyer. Respond to the buyer’s negotiations with documentation, receipts and other information in a timely manner. If you feel the buyer isn’t negotiating in good faith, simply stop negotiations. You’re under no obligation to respond to an unreasonable offer. The buyer will get the message.

Buyer’s markets work for sellers, too. Keep in mind that when you buy your next home, you’ll be able to take advantage of falling prices, too. Think about the future – that you can repurchase more home for less money next time. It all evens out.

What Is A Short Sale?

Many sellers are finding that their homes cannot be sold for enough to cover the mortgage lien on their properties. So they sell “short” by getting the mortgage lender to accept less than what they owe to clear the mortgage debt.

Why would lenders allow a short sale?

Distressed home sales recently accounted for more than one-third of home sales, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Lenders are already inundated with inventory that is expensive for them to maintain. They want to sell loans, not manage property.

Lenders will allow you to sell short if you can meet the following criteria:

  1. Has the home’s market value dropped below what you currently owe on your mortgage, according to recent comparable homes sold in your area?
  2. Are your payments current? Current payments may not rule out a short sale if other factors are leading to foreclosure.
  3. Can you show distress? Unemployment, bankruptcy, death or divorce are all hardships the lender will consider.
  4. Do you have a buyer? Prepare a Net Sheet that shows the sale price you will receive, costs of the sale, unpaid loan balances, outstanding payments and late fees.
  5. Do you qualify for the Making Home Affordable government refinancing or loan modification program? If you purchased your home before January 1, 2009, and are having trouble making your payments, you could be eligible for modification of your loan’s terms.

Contact your lender and ask to speak to a decision maker who is authorized to approve your short sale. Provide a statement letter detailing your circumstances such as loss of job, medical problems, or whatever has caused your financial distress.

Be willing to supply proof of assets, including recent bank statements, savings accounts, money market accounts, and anything else of tangible value. The lender may want to go back six months or a year to see your credit history.

Show the lender your buyer’s purchase offer along with a comparative market analysis from your listing agent. The key to a successful short sale is to get started on a solution early. Contact your lender for help, before you get behind on your mortgage payments.

We Have An Offer. What Do I Need To Know?

Sellers today have to do more to attract buyers and offers than ever before. When offers come in, sometimes they are low or have conditions that have to be negotiated. As a seller, you can be proactive before the offers come in to make sure negotiations are kept to a minimum and in your favor.

Negotiate by planning ahead

Before you begin negotiations with any buyer, make sure you have the upper hand by removing any sticking points in advance.

  • Price your home to sell at or below current market comparables and you’ll more likely receive serious offers close to your asking price.
  • Put your home in spotless move-in condition, with no visible repairs needed. De-clutter your home, deep clean it, paint it and repair it, and keep it “show-ready” every day it’s on the market.
  • Get your home inspected so you know where issues are and can correct them before they become negotiating points that cost you money.

Buyers respond well to fair pricing and a “model home” appearance. Your buyer has less to negotiate, and will more likely make an offer closer to asking price.

When the offer comes in

Buyers sometimes test sellers with low offers, but don’t get upset or discouraged. If the offer is too low, simply have your agent return the offer with a copy of recent comparables to show that your home is priced fairly at current market value. They will get the message, and either come back with a reasonable offer, or move on to another home.

If the offer is low, but close to what you want, study the terms carefully, adding up possible expenses such as paying the buyer’s closing costs.

Ask for the buyer’s reasoning behind the offer to give you insight into the buyer’s mindset. Could the buyer be trying to buy more house than he or she can afford? Could a change of financing help get closer to your price? Can you afford to help with the buyer’s closing costs if he or she will raise the offer price?

Before you agree, make sure the buyer is pre-approved with a lender and working with a real estate professional. Serious buyers have access to the same comparables as you do, so a buyer working with a real estate professional is more likely to be pre-approved by a lender and informed of current market conditions.

A full price offer doesn’t mean negotiations are over. It could signal that the buyer intends to negotiate a lot of repairs or refurbishing costs during the inspection period.

Stay calm and reasonable. If you’ve done your homework–priced and prepared your home for the highest, best offer, your home will sell at a fair price.

The House Is Sold And It's Time To Move. Any Advice?

Moving to a new home can be an exciting journey. Whether you’re changing cities or neighborhoods, a move is not only a change in scenery, it’s the start of a new chapter in life.

Yet, moving can also be very stressful, often seeming like one thing after another has to be done. By finding the right moving service and having a good, though flexible, moving plan, most of the common moving headaches can be easily avoided.

Start planning your move

Finding the best mover for your particular needs and at the right price involves a simple evaluation of your needs. Like many service-oriented industries, the moving companies of today have expanded to offer a wide range of services in order to be competitive. From planning your move, to storing your things, to packing and unpacking, to decorating and organizing your belongings in your new home, you can choose the extent of services you require and have them tailored to suit your moving budget.

Deciding what to pack isn’t as simple as it sounds, particularly if you’re downsizing, but the amount of goods as well as the type of goods you’re moving can make a big difference in which mover you choose and how much you’ll spend.

A good rule of thumb is to group items into no more than three categories – Keep, Donate, Throw Away. Label your things according to the rooms where they’ll be moved – bedroom #2, first floor powder bath by stairs, etc. Provide your movers with copies of the floorplan of your new home, so they can move more efficiently without having to stop and ask you where things go.

Lastly, remember that the movers, though they are professionals, will get tired. On the Chicago-based Bernard Movers website, the movers advise keeping boxes under 50 pounds whenever possible. They also strongly recommend putting heavier items in smaller boxes to reduce bulkiness, and lighter items in larger boxes with proper labeling like “topload.”

Get referrals

According to Mayflower.com, one of the nation’s most recognized movers, finding a good moving service begins with asking someone you know – a family member, coworker or a friend about their moving experiences, good or bad.

Who do you know who works with people who frequently move? Your real estate professional can also be an excellent source of information. And if you’re being transferred, ask your relocation agent which moving companies their company recommends. Other employees of your company who have preceded your relocation may also be able to suggest a reputable mover.

Large industry organizations such as American Moving and Storage Association have associate members listed on their Web sites. These associate moving company members must agree to abide by the terms of the organization’s published tariffs and to participate in the Arbitration Program sponsored by the organization, which may be positive for consumers. Although the AMSA doesn’t recommend movers, a list of members is posted on the site, along with helpful hints. The AMSA does suggest getting several estimates in order to compare cost and range of services.

Consumer organizations such as the Better Business Bureau can give you additional insights. If the company is registered through BBB, then you can find all relevant information from their corporate address, BBB rating, if there are any complaints against the company, the names of any and all management, and any specific licensing that your state may require.

Of course one of the many places to start looking for your mover is the Internet. Online you can find and compare many moving companies’ services on their websites.

Comparing movers

When you compare price and service estimates from several moving companies, you will find that estimates are based on the weight of your household items, the distance they will be moved, and the amount of packing and other services you will require.

Be sure to show the estimator every single item that will be moved. Find out if your mover accepts credit cards, third-party payments from your company, or whether the mover operates by cash only.

Negotiations with your mover should include a clear understanding of rates and charges that will apply, the mover’s liability for your belongings, pick-up and delivery schedules, and claims protection. For example, if you decide to pack some of your own things, your mover will not be liable. If your estimate is binding, it will not cover non-itemized items. Non-binding estimates are not guaranteed rates, and only cover the weight of your shipment, and the cost of the moving services. An estimate still has to be performed before a mover will provide you with a binding contract.

If you are moving interstate, you should read and understand all of the information you will receive. In addition to brochures explaining their various services, moving companies should give you a copy of a consumer booklet entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” and information regarding the mover’s participation in a Dispute Settlement Program. Distribution of the consumer booklet and the requirement that movers must offer shippers neutral arbitration as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage on household goods shipments are requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Be prepared

Even in the most well-planned moves, something can happen. Insurance is crucial. Check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier about coverage for your belongings while moving. Your mover will provide either released value insurance (about $0.60 per pound of goods lost or damaged, according to NAVL.com) or full replacement value, which you must sign for on your bill of lading.

If you are not sure how to estimate the value of your belongings for insurance purposes, your insurance carrier may provide suggestions, such as $10,000 per room or half the value of the new home. Items of special value such as heirlooms, paintings, or collectibles can be insured under separate riders. In the event of damage to an item, file a claim immediately.

Be sure to save the packing materials to show to the adjuster, should there be any problems.