5 Criteria for Pricing a Home

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.

Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.

Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.

Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.

Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Posted on May 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Top Tips for House Hunting Online

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

Posted on May 1, 2019 at 9:21 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

5 Negotiating Tactics That Kill a Sale

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

Posted on April 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

3 Steps to Effective Decluttering

Spring cleaning is a ritual that most homeowners find themselves tasked with annually. While some people enjoy the activity, others find it tedious and difficult. When attempting to sell your home, you may be even more wary, as such daunting tasks can cause added anxiety and stress. Here are a few tips on how to help get rid of your stuff:

  1. Look For Support.  Friends and family are often great motivators for getting rid of clutter. Think about asking other people’s opinions on what should stay and what should go. If your in the process of selling you home, ask your Realtor. They have experience helping people prepare their homes for prospective showings.
  2. professional Help May Be Necessary.  Sometimes the task may be too much for the homeowners to handle. So enlisting the help of a professional organizer could go a long way to quickly prepare your home.
  3. Consider Your Options.  When you are actually ready to declutter, the question becomes: where should all the stuff go?  Here are a few options to think about.
    1. Sell. Some things you may want to sell, such as antiques or collectibles.
    2. Donate. Clothes and furniture that you don’t use anymore may be better suited for others in need.
    3. Store. Consider getting a storage unit off-site, for the things you’re unsure of getting rid of.
    4. Trash. Some items you have stored have no value or are damaged. Throwing them away is a quick way to create much needed space.

Posted on April 16, 2019 at 5:12 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |



  • Title Insurance Premium – Fee paid by an individual to ensure he has a marketable title or (in case of a lender) to ensure its lien position
  • Real Estate Commission – Fee paid to a real estate company for services rendered in listing, showing, selling and consuming the transfer of property.
  • Transfer and Assumption Charges – Fees charged by a lender to allow a new purchaser to assume an existing loan.
  • Recording Fees – Fees assessed by a county recorder’s office for recording the documents of a real estate transaction.
  • Loan Fees – Fees charged by a lender in connection with the processing of a new loan. These may include points, origination fee and credit report.
  • Escrow Fees – Fees charged by a title and/or escrow company for services rendered in preparing documents necessary in the consummation of a real estate transaction.
  • Additional Settlement – Taxes, home insurance, impounds and interest pro-ration, and termite inspection fees.


Posted on April 7, 2019 at 4:17 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Selling a Home – Frequently Asked Questions


Your lender continues to charge interest until they receive funds in the amount necessary to payoff your loan in full.  Sometimes that takes 1 to 2 business days from when they receive your funds.


Do not cancel your homeowner’s insurance until escrow has closed.


This is the form we use in order to distinguish you from others with similar names. After obtaining certain information, we can then identify the true buyer and seller in order to disregard any judgements, liens or other matters on public record that have nothing to do with our customers.


The Deed of Reconveyance is a recorded document issued by your lender once you note is paid in full. This document is recorded in the county in which the property is located and shows that the Deed of Trust (mortgage) that has been recorded in your name has been released.


Normally, your lender will send any balance left in your impound or escrow account with them within 30 – 60 days once their loan has been paid in full. If you have any questions regarding you impound or escrow account please contact you lender.

Posted on March 31, 2019 at 9:26 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |


Once a buyer has decided to make an offer on your home, it will usually be contingent upon a professional inspection of the entire property, including improvements. The home inspector looks beyond the cosmetics to make sure that the home’s general systems operate properly. The inspector will also look for large repairs that are needed and report on the condition of the home.

The standard home inspector’s report will review the conditions of the home’s heating and cooling systems; interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation, basement and visible structure. The inspector will also look for cracks in cement walls, water stains that indicate leakage, and any indication of wood rot.

A home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape.

As the seller, you can also elect to hire an inspector to evaluate your home prior to putting it on the market. Many times an inspector can point our major or minor issues with your home that you may be unaware of and that may affect its value.

As your Windermere agent, I’m familiar with home inspection services and can provide you with a list of names from which to choose. Another good way to find a home inspector is to ask a friend, or perhaps a business acquaintance, who has had a home inspection and can recommend a home inspector they were satisfied with.

Remember, no home is perfect. If major problems are found, I will help you negotiate through the process.


Posted on March 26, 2019 at 1:16 am
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Buying a Home – Frequently Asked Questions

These terms refer to the status on the loan approval process. Prequalification is a determination of your probable ability to obtain a loan. preapproval means that the mortgage lender has already verified and approved your credit and income. Obtaining a preapproval will make your offer more attractive to the seller.

Earnest money is a “good faith” deposit submitted with your offer and shows the seller you are serious about purchasing their home. Earnest money is generally a required part of the offer. There is no set amount that is required, but the amount sometimes make a difference in the negotiation process.

Closing cost are charges paid to various entities during the real estate transaction. They can include escrow fees, document preparation fees, and lender fees.

A point is equal to one percent of the loan principal. Some lenders charge points, in addition to interest and fees, at closing.

Title insurance protects against loss from any defects in the legal title, liens against the property or other adverse claims. The lender usually requires title insurance.

Posted on March 17, 2019 at 6:28 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

What to Negotiate When Buying a House

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

Posted on March 10, 2019 at 4:27 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

What to Repair Before You List

When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls.

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors.

Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping.

Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures.

Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment

Posted on February 21, 2019 at 6:32 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |