Christine Metros Natale's Blog
If you're selling your home mostly as is, with carpet that's a few years old, you'll need to give it a complete and thorough cleaning before you show the home. Even if you recently installed new carpet, you may have had to continue living in the house with your pets before you put your home on the market.
Don't skimp on the carpet cleaning. A basic vacuum job is not going to be enough to remove any pet hair or dander tracked around by your dogs or cats. Hiring a carpet cleaning service will save you time but will require more of a monetary investment. If you want to clean the carpet yourself be very thorough and detail oriented.
First, make sure your vacuum is emptied and cleaned to remove any hair or dander inside. Vacuum all the large areas of the carpet before moving on to the edges around your baseboard. Move slowly around the baseboard with a narrow hose attachment and look closely to make sure you're removing all debris (especially stray kitty litter!). If you have multiple pets or full-time indoor pets, you will likely need to go over your carpets 2-3 times to completely remove hair from all the fibers. Don't take a shortcut, take the time to prepare the carpet for cleaning thoroughly.
Second, rent a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store or grocery store. In most cities carpet cleaners are readily available at large grocery and hardware chains for a daily rental fee. Rental companies typically provide the cleaning chemicals for purchase along with the rental. Consider purchasing a spot-treatment compound as well. When you start moving furniture you might find some unknown stains you'll need to remove. Spend the few extra dollars to rent the machine the night before you want to clean so you can start on your carpet early the next day.
Third, starting top down (if you have a multi-story home or unit) clear out furniture as much as possible from the initial rooms you want to clean. Be aware that the carpet will need time to dry so this project will take multiple days, depending on your home size. When working in bedrooms start early in the day to allow ample drying time so you can replace beds in each room and get a good night's sleep for the second day of cleaning. Before you start in with the machine check the carpet thoroughly for stains and apply the stain treatment before you clean the entire carpet, this will allow the chemicals time to penetrate the fibers and lift the stain for the best possible results. Once you treat the stains (following the directions on the chemical you purchased), begin carefully going over the carpet one row at a time. Make sure you overlap your rows and always move the machine in the same direction.
It will be difficult to see results before the carpet dries, but you should be able to gauge stain removal when the carpets are about 50% dry. Check the stains you treated and see if you need to apply a second treatment to minimize them further. If you expect your buyer to replace the carpet, it may not seem worth it to spend additional time on one stain. Even if they plan to renovate, many buyers have a difficult time imagining changes to their space without imagining themselves in it. A clean canvas can make the difference to whether or not someone sees themselves in your home.
Lastly, check your carpets for any areas that your pet (cat) has scratched up. If needed, trim a handful of fibers from an area of carpet that is unlikely to be seen such as the back of a bedroom closet. Trim the knap carefully, so you're only taking the top of the fiber and not creating a bald spot in a new place. Then take the trimmed strands and attached them to the damaged area with a hot-melt glue until you've covered all the scratches.
With fresh flooring, beautiful carpet and a clean canvas of walls and doors your home is ready for show. One last tip! If at all possible remove your pets from the house before you have prospective buyers over. While an animal in the yard is okay, the presence of animals inside may cause your buyers to worry about damage even if you have made the necessary repairs. Ask a friend or neighbor to house your cats and indoor pets during the open house, so you have the opportunity to best show off your home.
When selling your home you may receive many offers from different buyers, but the smart move isn’t always to pick the highest bidder. Selling a home goes beyond just picking the largest dollar amount; there are other factors to consider while selling your house and how they influence your decision:
Most home-sale offers come with certain contingencies before they can go through. These contingencies are certain conditions that must take place within a specific time-frame for the sale to be successful. You should pick the offer with the least number of contingencies and the shortest periods stipulated. Typical contingencies include a home inspection, approval for a mortgage and the home appraisal. When there is an inspection contingency, the buyer can withdraw his offer depending on how the inspection goes. Financial contingencies also allow the buyer to stop the purchase if they do not get a mortgage approved early enough.
The best kind of offer is one that is offering cash up front. The offer may not be the highest, but it is guaranteed to go through because you don’t have to worry about a bank financing application that may or may not be approved.
Few people can afford to pay cash upfront for your home. The next best set of people are those who already have a pre-approval letter from their lender. This letter means that they can get a loan whenever they are ready. A buyer with a pre-approval implies that they already have everything necessary to get a credit and so the process following the offer will not be as difficult as it is for someone without a pre-approval.
There are many kinds of mortgages, and if a mortgage from a bank backs your buyer's offer, then it is not going to be complicated. If the buyer is using an FHA loan or another government-backed credit facility, it could become involved with more processes and requirements.
Everyone wants to close the process as quickly as possible and move along to other things. If the buyer wants to close immediately or under thirty days, then that is the perfect situation. You could also need some time especially if you are buying another house and would like it to be ready before moving in. Work with the offer that offers you the best timelines for your plans.
Price matters, but a lot of other things matter too when considering offers for your home. Discuss these with your real estate agent to help you decide which offer will work best for you.
Selling a home takes patience. Especially when you’re balancing your time between settling into your new home, and keeping up with your work and family life. So, when you’ve finally gotten to the point of accepting an offer on your home, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief--and you should! However, there are still a few more things that will need to happen and a couple of things to consider before closing the deal on your home sale.
Contingencies on the purchase contract
A purchase contract typically includes contingency clauses that are designed to protect the interests of both the buyer and the seller. These clauses mean that the contract is contingent upon the actions being completed before it can be legally valid.
There are three main contingencies that will likely be included in the purchase contract before closing--inspection, financing, and appraisal.
The inspection contingency allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before closing (the time should be specified within the contract, but the inspection should usually occur no more than two weeks after you accept the offer). A home inspection lets the buyer know what to expect in terms of repairs that the home needs now or will need in the near future.
Since the vast majority of buyers will be purchasing their home through a loan, a financing contingency is included to allow the buyer time to secure their mortgage. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved makes this process easier, but the buyer will still have to finalize and close on their mortgage before their financing is official.
This clause exists to protect the buyer in the event that their mortgage application is denied, ensuring that they aren’t penalized.
The third contingency most often found in purchase contracts is a home appraisal. The buyer will order an appraisal and then the appraiser will reach out to you to find a day to come and value your home.
If the home is then appraised at the amount agreed upon in your contract, this contingency is met. However, if the appraisal comes up lower than the purchase amount, the buyer can renegotiate the price.
Walkthrough and closing
Once the appraisal and inspection have been met and financing secured, the buyer will have a chance to do a final walkthrough of your home. The walkthrough usually occurs no more than two days prior to closing on the sale. A walkthrough allows the buyer view the home one last time to ensure that the condition of the home hasn’t drastically changed since the home was inspected or appraised. So, make sure the buyer is aware of any changes you planned to make to the home before closing.
Now you’re ready to close on your home sale. You’ll receive a disclosure form to review (read it carefully!) and sign. Once closing is complete, ownership of the home is officially transferred to the buyer.
While the closing process does include several steps, it’s important to be available and cooperative along the way to ensure a smooth sale and transition into your new home.