Grand Rapids Home Seller Tips

Grand Rapids For Sale by Owner

Grand Rapids For Sale By OwnerOne of the major challenges you will face as a For Sale by Owner in Grand Rapids is getting your home in front of qualified buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of buyers now begin their home search online. It’s important to hire a professional Realtor with dynamic websites that has a strong web-presence, aggressive Social Media marketing and is well placed on the search engines.

Visit our Home Seller’s Page to view some of our powerful marketing strategies.

As a FSBO, here are a few questions/objections you will encounter:

  • When buyers see a For Sale By Owner sign in front of a house they will think they can get a bargain. So be prepared for some low-ball offers.
  • You will find that since you aren’t using a REALTOR, buyers will automatically assume they can take the fee right off the top.
  • Why aren’t you using a Realtor? What is wrong with the home?
  • How does this home compare to other homes in the area?
  • How did you arrive at the asking price for this home? Is it fair market value?
  • Are the buyers qualfied? Please beware of mortgage fraud.

Most of the homes sold in Grand Rapids are sold by a Realtor. Finding a qualified, motivated buyer is just the first hurdle. As your fulltime Real Estate Professional it’s my job to sift through those lowball offers and present only qualified, legitimate offers to you. It’s my job to market your home in as many areas of media as possible and give your home maximum exposure. I field all of the inquiries and bring qualified buyers to the table and guide you through all of the complex paperwork. As your Professional Realtor, it’s my job to oversee the whole transaction from listing to close.

Just remember that a buyer will look at a “For Sale By Owner” sign, see a possible bargain and begin from there.

Selling Your Home? How Can We Help?

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For Sale By Owner Tips

Sell the Deal, Not the House

by M. Anthony Carr

If you find yourself with a house on the market and it’s just not moving, there are several strategies to put in place to speed up the sale and get going with your next purchase.

Psychologically, the seller has to first prepare himself for selling the house — not marketing it, not holding out for a higher price, not defending your price, not blaming your agent for not doing enough, etc.

Granted, all the above is important and you do want a professional agent with a viable marketing plan to draw as many buyers as possible. Just like any other commodity — a lot of buyers trouncing through your house is a good thing, because more buyers means more potential offers. Thus, the seller needs to hire a company/agent that’s going to create such an environment.

But let’s say you’ve done that. You’ve even fixed up the house better than anyone else on the block and it’s just not moving. Then move from selling the product to selling the deal.

We see this strategy in plenty of other products. The auto industry is famous for it — zero percent financing, $500 above invoice, employee discount price 3; none of these items have anything to do with the product — they are enticing you with the deal.

The Deal for real estate has everything to do about the buyer. Forget that you may still be in a sellers market and you’re in the drivers seat. If your house is sitting on the market and you have to move in 45 days — you’re not so much in the drivers seat anymore. Get off your haunches and get the job done.

You could drop the price, but in reality, this doesn’t help the buyer as much as cash back at the settlement table.

For every $10,000 you drop on a loan at 6 percent, the buyer saves only $60 per month in a mortgage payment. Is that really enticing enough? Think about it, they’re borrowing $250,000 — a quarter of a million dollars — and you’re dropping the price by $10,000 reduces their principal and interest payment from $1,498 to $1438. Is that one move enough to get me excited?

Let’s turn that around and offer $7,500 (3 percent of the loan amount) over to the buyer — at a full price contract — and see what it does for the buyer. They could use it for closing costs, which could be a lot of money in their pocket. They could use it to make payments over the next several months (nearly five months worth of payments at the above mentioned payment amount). Is that really more beneficial than $60 per month?

By dropping your price $10,000, it would take them more than 10 years worth of monthly payments to gain the actual financial benefit of simply handing over $7,500 in closing costs to them at the settlement table. Plus, you get to keep the remaining $2,500 for your own bottom line.

It’s like this. If you’re about to take a hit on the sale of your house, it might as well benefit someone, and the buyer who gets $7,500 at the table is going to get a lot more excited than the one who’s price dropped $10,000.

Be sure to check with your mortgage professional to make sure the loan program your buyer is using will allow you to provide this much cash to the buyer.

One last thing. If you decide to market the deal, make it a lot more appealing than “closing costs to buyer.” How you say it can be just as important as what you’re saying: “No payments for 4 months,” “$7,500 back to decorate your house,” “Seller will pay off buyers debt (up to $7,500),” are three ways of saying, “Closing costs to buyer.”

Which one gets you excited?

See the full article at

10 Tips for Selling in the Fall

  • Curb appeal. Fall can make or break you when it comes to curb appeal and the all-important “first impression.” Leaves turning shades of crimson and gold can add extra appeal to the total look of your home’s exterior. On the other hand, leaves strewn about your front yard can decrease your home’s visual appeal during that first impression.
  • Celebrating the season. Add a fall wreath to the front door. Have a few huge pumpkins and fall display in your front area to welcome visitors (would-be buyers).
  • Scents of the season. If you’re a smoker or have pets, make sure the nose doesn’t know. Eliminate all such offensive odors. If you’re holding an open house, or know you’ll have a lot of potential buyers looking on a particular day, bake an apple pie. Nothing is more inviting than the scent of apples and cinnamon wafting through the air.
  • Letting the light in. A dark house is a big turn off. Open up the blinds, let the light in and turn on the lights during the day. And turn on all those accent lights and lamps.
  • The fireplace. The hearth is still an important feature to most buyers, especially as days grow colder. Make sure yours is clean. Place a log in the fireplace. Or, consider placing an attractive candelabra or candle-holder that holds numerous candles in the fireplace for a decorator’s touch.
  • Hiring a home inspector. Once a buyer makes an offer, they will hire someone to conduct an in-depth inspection of the house. Some sellers like to do this before they put their house on the market so there are no surprises down the road. If anything comes up during the seller’s inspection, the seller can get it taken care of before putting the house on the market. The American Society of Home Inspectors says a typical home inspection includes drainage conditions, exterior surfaces, decks, chimney, the roof, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, furnace, air conditioner, insulation, ventilation, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems.
  • Tidying up. If you have a lot of furniture or other “stuff,” put some of it in storage. Put away all those knickknacks and paper piles.
  • Allowances. If you have carpet, wood floors or cabinets that have seen better days, consider offering an allowance right off the bat. You’ll want to discuss this with your real estate professional. There are pros and cons — you don’t get to have that “wow” first impression if you put in those floors or cabinets yourself before you sell. But you might be short on time and don’t want to run into the holidays — plus buyers may like the idea of picking out their own flooring.
  • Your asking price. Don’t insist on setting the price too high, especially if you’re on a timeline. A house priced appropriately will be taken more seriously and will ultimately sell more quickly than one that’s overpriced.
  • Talk to the professionals. Now’s also a good time to interview real estate professionals. Ask about their experience, find out how well they know the area you’re eyeing, and talk to references. Once you have someone lined up you can follow his or her additional recommendations and begin the final phases of preparation before your house goes on the market.

See the full article at

How to Prepare to pass the Home Inspection

Home buyers may be as unique as the homes they are looking to buy, but they all share a common desire to ensure that the home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as it appears to be. They will have concerns about the roof, the heating system, the floors and the walls and everything that they cant readily see with the naked eye. In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what youre looking for. Knowing what to look for can help you prevent little problems from growing into major problems.

Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two manners – leaking and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when the faucet is first turned on, this is a strong sign that the pipes are rusting. This can result in severe water quality issues.

An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white substance a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will certainly be conscious of it. It can cost you up to a thousand dollars to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation, depending on the severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could cost up to a thousand dollars, and complete waterproofing (an average sized 3-bedroom home) can go as high as ten to fifteen thousand dollars. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what you want to net on your home sale.

Inadequate electrical wiring can be dangerous as it can easily lead to fires. Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps of service, and this should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard.

Insufficient insulation and an inadequate or poorly working heating system are the most common causes of poor heating. While a clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will ask and check to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of fifteen to twenty-five years. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into homes. These heat exchangers cannot be repaired – they must be replaced.

Problems with the roof (water leakage, for example) can occur for many different reasons, such as physical deterioration of the shingles or mechanical damage from a windstorm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, the external problem becomes a major internal one as well.

Damp attic spaces are a sign of ventilation, insulation and vapor barrier problems that can cause water to pool and form moisture, mold and mildew. This can lead to premature wear on the roof, structure, and building materials. The cost to fix this damage can easily run over two thousand dollars.

Rotting wood can occur in many places, such as doors, window frames, trim, siding, decks and fences. The building inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present – especially when wood has been freshly painted.

Re-bricking can be costly, but left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged with fallen bricks, or could even lead to a total chimney collapse. These problems are far more dangerous than ignoring this potential hazard.

A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was originally intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.

More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety features that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the front door, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all the bedrooms and on every level of the home. Even though pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.

An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying structure and foundation of your home, as structural integrity is vital to the life of the home.

When you put your home up for sale, it is important that you dont end up with any major surprises. By taking the time to check thoroughly the items listed in this report, you could save yourself thousands of dollars and the headache of a lawsuit down the road.

There are many items that can go wrong with the offer before the closing date arrives. Let’s review a few.

1. Buyer’s Remorse

Guess what happens to a buyer as soon as they know that the homeowner has accepted their offer? They begin the process of rationalization called “Buyers Remorse”. This is the time when the buyer suddenly becomes an anxious, worried individual who needs all kinds of tender loving care and encouragement that they made the right purchase decision.

This tends to be a very busy time for a Realtor, as they know they must ensure a smooth and quick rationalization process. They do this by maintaining contact with the buyer right up until closing. You too must maintain contact with your buyer. Discuss important issues like schools, churches, parks, sports complexes and other neighborhood features during your “taking care of the buyer” remorse period.

2. The Fine Details

You will also need to deal with mortgage companies, title companies, escrow companies, an attorney, an appraiser, an inspector and any other issue that pops up.

3. Deposit Monies

You need to make sure the deposit monies are in a solicitors trust account. And you will need to provide evidence to the buyer that this matter is under control.

4. Transferring Utilities And Change Of Address

You’ll also need to make arrangements for utility transfer and change of address.


Always prepare for contingencies. Make sure that your buyer is feeling great about the home during the closing period. Take every opportunity to keep your buyer pleased during this time period. And if an issue comes up that may stop the deal from closing, settle in the favor of your buyer. Why? It is much easier to save a deal than it is to create a new deal with a new buyer.

How to “entertain” an offer

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with a standard purchase contract.

Step 2: Only accept a written offer.

Step 3: Do not expect the buyer to have the proper forms, so have a few available and hand the buyer a form should they express interest in the home.

  1. Purchase Agreement
  2. Lead Based Paint Disclosure.
  3. Sellers Disclosure

Step 4: Always negotiate face to face and never over the phone, by mail or the Internet.

Step 5: Politely but firmly take control of the offer situation.

Step 6: Make sure that every item discussed between you and the buyer is in the offer.

Step 7: Have the buyer initial each paragraph within the offer.

Let’s address how to structure the offer.

Down Payment: It should be at least 2% to 5% of the selling price of the home.

Price: It should be at market value without reducing to net commission dollars. In other words, do not give in to the buyer when it comes to reducing the price to offset the commission you are saving.

Conditional Offer: Never accept a conditional offer. If the buyer needs to be approved for a mortgage, then have the buyer go to the lender before you accept the offer.

If the buyer wants to sell his home first, then do not accept this kind of offer but tell him to place his home on the market, sell it and then come and make an offer.

Closing Date: If you are selling before you have found a home yourself, your closing date should be no less than 120 days from that date of the offer being accepted.

Loan Discount Points: Who pays?

Appraisal: Who pays?

Home Inspection: Who pays? Usually the Buyers.

Items Included: Such as dishwasher, stove, etc. Cover this clearly with the buyer.

Title: Is it clean and clear to give to the buyer?


Always prepare for contingencies. Although a buyer may meet all the requirements for offer acceptance, sometimes things just come up. And when they do you need to insert these potential problems into your offer and have the buyer sign it. A typical example is a closing date extension request.

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