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Monnahan Slaton Group Pre-Listing Packet


I believe that

privacy is crucial to the ongoing success of my business as a service, commercial, and informational medium. My policy is to keep the personal information I receive from my customers and clients completely confidential, and used solely for internal purposes. I will not share your personal information or that of your referrals with any other parties. I will not willfully disclose any individually identifiable information about my customers or clients to any third party, with the exclusion of the selling broker.


We have designed this book to assist you with the sale of your home. We understand the many questions and concerns of home Sellers & how this information will be helpful throughout the transaction. We assure you that it is our goal to provide you with the most professional and informative service.

Table of Contents Introduction




What You Can Expect


Home Selling Process


Get the Most for Your Home


Factors that Do Not Affect Value


Your Decisions


The Marketing Plan


Closing Procedure


Home Inspection


Thoughts on Condition


114 Ways


Things that can go wrong


Home Prep and What to do once Listed


Documents needed for listing appt.


Showing Checklist



33 – 45



Sample Listing Contract/Disclosures

Contact Jill at 319-981-1409 or email Contact Jacey at 319-551-2361 or email Our Website:


INTRODUCTION Thank you for giving us the opportunity to present our practice of real estate to you. As you review this material, you will begin to understand that all real estate agents are not alike. Since 1998 Jill has built a business and reputation on doing the very best job for her clients and she is thrilled to have had her sister Jacey join her in 2016 and for years to come, as a partner in her real estate business. Jacey and Jill are excited for what the future holds in serving their past and current clients and building new lasting business relationships with many more. Jacey brings along with her many years of real estate experience on both sides of a transaction. Jacey started her career in real estate in 2005 working as a licensed real estate agent. In 2008 Jacey switched her focus to the escrow side of the transaction and worked as a settlement agent and then mortgage closing agent until March 2016, when she partnered with Jill. When you pair these two up, you have over 30 years of real estate experience ready to help you sell your property. You also have two agents that pride themselves on having great working relationships with lenders, escrow companies and other agents, these relationships play an integral role in successful transactions. There is no magic gimmick that is going to sell your property. The truth is, the decisions YOU make as a Seller will determine whether your property sells or not, how much is sells for and the time frame it sells in. You are 100% in charge of the decisions on the price, the condition you have the property in, and if it is available for prospective Buyers to see. We are in charge of the process. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a “Buyer’s Market” or a “Seller’s Market” . . . there is always fierce competition among the houses on the market for those ever-so-few “Qualified Buyers” who are out looking. With over 90% of Home Buyer’s shopping for their new home on line, Sellers need an effective Real Estate Agent or Agents to market to those Buyers and drive traffic to their property by providing an exceptional online presence. The manner in which a property is marketed today is much different than it was a decade ago, heck it is even different than it was 2 years ago. Buyers want the information immediately, they want a response within minutes when they request information and they want to see everything they can on line before they decide to set up a private showing. It is extremely important that you have an agent that understands how important that job is. By using the processes that have been in place for our business and that we continue to add to our business, we feel that we are very qualified to get the job done! I hope you find this packet informative and useful. After reviewing the information, you may conclude that selling a home is a complicated business. That is why it may be in your best interest to hire a Real Estate Professional to represent you. We are looking forward to meeting with you to discuss your needs. Sincerely, Jill Monnahan and Jacey Slaton REALTORS® Monnahan Slaton Group Licensed in Iowa


JILL’S PROFILE Jill is a licensed REALTOR®. She has been selling real estate in the Greater Cedar Rapids Area and the surrounding communities since 1998. As a top selling agent, she has shown she is committed to 100% customer satisfaction. As a result of that commitment, Jill gets more than 94% of her new clients from satisfied past clients and mortgage lenders.

Technology Training Committee Chair: 2008-2014

RPAC Committee Member: 2010, 2012,2013, 2014, 2015

Governmental Affairs Committee Member: 2017

Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors® Board of Director 2009 – 2011, 2014, 2018 - 2021

Cedar Rapids Area Association Realtor® of the Year – 2011

Full Time Realtor® since 1998

e-PRO® since 2006

Iowa Realty Affiliation 1998 – February 2012

2006 Iowa Realty MVP

Joined RuhlRuhl Realltors® – February 2012

Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors® Member

Ninja Installation Graduate – 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017

Iowa Association of Realtors® Member

National Association of Realtors® Member

Book Buddies, Matthew 25 at Taylor School – 2012/2013 School Year

Cedar Rapids and Marion Chamber of Commerce, Member

Ruhl and Ruhl Excellence in Service Recognition - 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Corporate Relocation Experience

Iowa Notary

Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors Scholarship Donor – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

MLS Committee Member: 2005, 2006-2015, 2017, 2018

JACEY’S PROFILE Jacey is a full time licensed REALTOR®. Partnering with her sister after spending 8 years working in escrow services and mortgage closings. Jacey services the Great Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Metro Areas as well as surrounding communities. •

Iowa Real Estate License since 2005

Kirkwood College Graduate – 2005

Iowa Notary

Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors® Member

Iowa City Area Association of Realtors® Member

Iowa Association of Realtors® Member

National Association of Realtors® Member

Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors Scholarship Donor – 2017,2018

Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors PR Committee – 2017, 2018


WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT Experience: dedicated since 1998 in full time Real Estate Sales and have been involved in over 1000 transactions. Ethical Standards: Integrity & strict ethical standards. Broad Exposure: Your property will have an online presence that is professional as well as be accurate and kept up to date. Full-Time Effort: This is all we do! We are full-time Realtors® Communication: You will hear from us! We are available all the time. You can call, text or email us. You will get email communication in regard to your properties activity on our website, and we will be available to discuss market updates as needed. Knowledge of the Market: Daily hands-on interaction. We are in the market all the time. Showing homes, reviewing market statistics and just paying attention to what is selling and what is not. Relocation Services: We have access to Ruhl and Ruhl’s full service relocation department; should you need to be referred to an agent in another area or state. It is simple! Our relocation department consists of a team of highly qualified and trained relocation experts that serve as great liaisons between the agent, Seller and relocation company. Ruhl and Ruhl has 13 offices in Eastern Iowa, Western Illinois and Wisconsin. We aren’t Magicians: But, if we could wave a magic wand, this is how our business would look. Our clients would follow our suggestions on condition and price. All of our listings would get accepted offers in the first 30 days on the market, within 97% - 100% for the Seller’s asking price, they would have no inspection, appraisal or title issues that arise and would close successfully in about 45 to 60 days after our clients accept an offer. Where we would then immediately deliver a huge proceeds check to our client and we’d celebrate the successful sale and live happily ever after. Here’s the problem, we don’t have a magic wand. What we do have is the ability and knowledge to obtain market data that will help you make the decision of where to position your home to sell in the marketplace based on the property’s condition and in a time frame that meets your needs. We also have the tools to market your home in a manner that makes sense today, not what made sense in 2010 or before. We have the skill sets to provide you the service you deserve and we will be excited to do so. We will go above and beyond to provide you the tools you need to for a successful sale. We will do our part to effectively market your property to make sure that prospective Buyer’s know it is for sale and present it in the best way possible by providing high quality photographs, hosting a narrated slideshow of your property as well as providing color printed real estate fliers to be displayed at your property for prospective Buyers to keep. We’ll keep “Social” with your listings, the Buyers are on Social Media – your home will be too. You will also have your home marketed on area Broker sites, and Zillow (if you wish).


Home Selling Process Consultation to Analyze needs & Market Analysis

Establish a working relationship. Sign listing agreement

Prepare your home for sale, staging, home inspection & Pro-Active Marketing by Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors





Social Media


Offer Received with earnest money

Review offer and counter if neccessary

Acceptance of Contract

Inspections and other contingencies according to contract


Closing Process

Mortgage Application Offer to Lender


Employment Verification

Underwriting Rejection or Approval with Conditions

Abstract Extension

Buyer and Seller Lien Searches

Attorney's Title Opinion

Deed Preparation

Review Settlement Statement



We have yet to meet a Home Seller that doesn’t want to get the most for their home that the current market conditions can bare. So, here’s the clear and concise direction of how to do that: 1. You get one shot at a first impression – don’t ruin it 2. Outside and Inside – your home must be a showcase. 3. Yard and Property Exterior a. Landscaping should be tasteful, not overgrown and alive b. Driveway/Sidewalks should be free of cracks or have cracks filled appropriately c. Do an exterior house/garage wash (windows too!) d. Holes in your yard should be filled e. Gutters cleaned out f. Fences should be all in good repair g. Decks should not be needing stained and railings, deck boards and stairs should all be secure h. No yard clutter – clean it up! 4. Clear the clutter, period. a. Counter tops in kitchen and baths should be bare b. Your rooms should have minimal furniture in them (this may require a storage garage) c. Your closets should be tidy and organized and not overflowing 5. CLEAN is KING ! Your home should be clean, like no one lives there “clean” a. Do a thorough cleaning of your home inside and keep it that way! Regardless of the price range – in general people don’t buy dirty homes. b. Homeowners tend to miss the mildew caulking around the tub/shower, the switch plates and outlets covers, lights, ceiling fans – no surface should be missed (even in the basement) 6. Homes that have décor that is dated, tend not to be chosen first by Buyers a. Paint goes a long way – fresh neutral paint in every room is best b. Dated light fixtures and cabinet pulls can be a real turn off to most Buyers 7. Have your whole home pre-inspected (including radon) – we can direct you to trusted & knowledgeable inspectors 8. If you are wanting staging advice – let us know, we can connect you with a trusted and knowledgeable home stager, then you need to do what the stager tells you to do 9. Fill out your disclosure with as much detail as possible and answer every question and fill out every blank that applies. If it doesn’t apply or you don’t know the answer – simply state that. 10. Remedy any all deficiencies 11. Price your home properly – compelling pricing is best, price it better than your competition – because if it is your competition – it isn’t sold yet because of the price. You need to be the best value – Buyers buy the best valued properties. *if two weeks go buy and no offers, consider a price change. 12. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Your home may be nice and well maintained but the market will only bear what it will bear. Know the absorption rate, the average days on the market and whether it’s a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market.

Make your home available and SPARKLE for every showing




“We are in charge of the process - YOU are in charge of the decisions.” The decisions you make regarding the condition of your property, pricing, and availability for showings will determine the sale price, timing and terms of your sale. Never turn down a showing. If you decline a request to show your home, the Buyer concludes that you are not motivated or not serious about selling. Buyers select the properties they want to see, based on what they see online, they set precious time aside from their lives to physically tour 5 – 7 homes in one shot, depending on inventory, they may only look at 5 – 7 homes and then pick one and buy it. If you decline a showing, you may never get another opportunity for “that” buyer to consider your property for purchase.


The Marketing Plan Prior to Activating the Listing of Your Home  Provide you with market data that will help you decide where to position your home in the market place for a successful sale in the time frame that you need.  This pre-listing packet tells you everything you need to do to prepare your home for sale, this is no joke, we take your business and the selling of your home seriously – we hope you do as well. First Two Weeks on the Market  Multiple Listing Service (MLS) with Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors and Iowa City Area Association of Realtors.  Extensive Reputable Web Presence through various social media avenues,,, and the brokers that are part of the Cedar Rapids Association of Realtors Internet Data Exchange (IDX) *My listings are not syndicated to List Hub, Zillow, Trulia or Craigslist – if you do want them on Zillow, just ask.  High Quality Photos and Narrated Slideshow provided to and  Cedar Rapids Gazette New Listing Ad in the Sunday paper, providing the listing is active before the ad deadline  Colored Fliers displayed at your property for those important private showings  Seller’s Property Disclosure (if applicable) will be displayed on the MLS listing and at your property for prospective Buyers to view Ongoing Marketing Efforts  You will be kept up to date on competing property updates and new listings that your property is competing with *must have email  Your home will be open 24/7 online for prospective Buyers to view, the serious Buyers will set up private showings to see your home with their agent. We will not be holding traditional open houses on re-sale properties.  Continued Social Media Marketing Showings and Feedback  All showings will be scheduled through the ShowingTime® system. You will receive email notifications of showing requests that allow you to simply click a link and approve the showing.  If you do not have email, that is okay – we can always make sure you are called by our showing desk to schedule a showing.  If you need a certain amount of time for notification of a showing, like a 3 or 4 hour notice, that is absolutely okay. You just have to let me know and I can make sure that the showing desk and other agents are aware of this.  Not all agents provide feedback, but when they do we make sure you know it just as soon as we receive it. So if you haven’t heard from us on feedback from a showing, we promise we aren’t keeping it a secret – we just don’t have any but are diligently trying to get it. We just have to accept that it is an agent’s right not to provide it if they choose not to. Important Questions I have for you (and we can discuss these when we meet)  How do you want us to deal with competing offers on your property, if that situation arises?  When a Buyer/Buyer’s agent asks us why you are moving/selling, what would you like us to tell them?


During the Closing Process: Once a sales contract is signed by all parties, an escrow company and I will handle all the details and keep you informed of the progress and if there are title issues your help may be required to clear title. There is a fee for using an escrow company and that is usually about $250 to $400 (depending on what company you choose to use). That fee does not include the fee for the abstracting, deed preparation, overnighting/wire fees or miscellaneous attorney fees or extra document preparation fees. Everything is done to ensure your home closes on time and without problems Real estate transactions need a lot of time and attention let a professional escrow company take care of those details for you At closing you will be charged a fee for the professional services provided. The commission rate charged by Ruhl and Ruhl REALTORS is 7% of the sale price (covering marketing and sales managing fees) and 3.5% of that fee will be paid to a cooperating broker involved in the sale. NOTE: While we do everything we can to make sure your closing is not delayed – there have been recent changes in mortgages that the federal government has implemented. Closing dates may be moving targets. You should expect delays that are out of our control. This may get quite frustrating, please know that even the Buyer will be frustrated and there is nothing anyone can do about guideline changes at mortgage companies mid transaction. Title opinion problems may also cause delays, please be prepared for the possibility of financing or title opinion delays that may affect your moving plans. If you will need a few days to get out of your home, please let me know and we can put in the agent remarks in the listing that possession will be given within 48 hours after closing time. This must be negotiated in the purchase contract. APPRAISALS: Appraisers have been under a lot of scrutiny by our federal government. It is very important that we only look at comparable homes that have sold in the last 6 months while doing your CMA (can go back 12 months if needed). It seems to be a common occurrence that appraisals are coming low, so pricing your home within the market range noted on the CMA is crucial. Be prepared for an appraisal to come in lower than the sales price as it is a possibility and the Buyer will most likely not be able to obtain a loan unless the sales price is adjusted. 13

AFTER SELLING YOUR HOME: THE HOME INSPECTION Many buyers choose to have Home Inspections at their expense when purchasing their new home. In fact, many offers are subject to having a home inspection. By having a home inspection, the home’s vital systems are checked. A home inspection allows you to sell your home with confidence. The buyers will schedule a whole house inspection shortly after the contract is ratified. You will be contacted to let you know when the inspection will take place. The inspection will normally take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. This is also a good time for the buyer to bring in any family members that would like to see the house. The buyer’s agent will usually be present during the last half hour or so of the inspection. Within the agreed upon time frame stated in the contract the buyer’s agent will provide me with a repair addendum that will detail the requested repairs/credits. I will contact you to discuss the requests and we will then negotiate the addendum. You and the Buyer will have a prescribed time to negotiate the requests after receiving them in writing.

Items on your inspection report will include: Foundations, Basements & Structures Basement floors & walls, proper drainage & ventilation, evidence of water seepage. Exterior Siding, Windows, Doors, Roof and Gutters Exterior walls, windows, and doors; porches, decks & balconies; garage, roof type & material, condition of gutters and downspouts (*cracked panes, broken seals, peeling glazing? Exposed nail heads on roof, sealing needing to be done? Make the repairs) Interior Plumbing System Hot & cold water system; the waste system & sewage disposal; water pressure & flow; and hot water equipment Electrical System Type of service, the number of circuits, type of protection, outlet grounding, & load balance (*Missing outlet, switch plate covers, or junction box covers? Make the repair) Central Heating & Cooling Systems Energy source, type of cooling equipment, capacity, and distribution Interior Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Windows, and Doors Walls, floors, ceilings, stairways, cabinets, and countertops Attic Structural, insulation & ventilation information Fireplace Notes about the chimney, damper, and masonry Garage Doors, walls, floor, opener (make sure your safety mechanisms on the door and the “eyes” work) Appliances Includes a wide range of built-in & other home appliances as well as smoke detectors Lot & Landscaping Ground slope away from foundation, condition of walks, steps and driveway


Want to avoid inspection issues? Consider a Home Inspection before you list your home for sale Some sellers wonder why they should conduct pre-sale inspections. Won't the buyers want to hire their own inspectors? What if an inspection uncovers defects that you have to disclose? Wouldn't it be better to wait to have inspections done until after the buyers have committed to buying the property? HOME SELLER TIP: The main reason home-sale transactions fall apart is because of defects discovered during the buyer's inspections. Buyers often try to renegotiate the price after they receive their inspection reports. Their argument is that they weren't aware of the problems when they made their offer. By ordering inspections before you market your home, you decrease the odds that you'll have a failed transaction due to inspection-related issues. Buyers can evaluate pre-sale reports, and take the information into account, before they make an offer. Another reason to have your home pre-inspected is that it gives you a better understanding of the issues that could affect the sale. You can then decide if you want to make repairs before marketing your home. Even if you decide not to make repairs, you will have a much better idea of how much you'll net from the sale. We can make a long list of Sellers that wish they would have known they had issues with their roof, electrical system or radon levels – way before they negotiated on an offer. We highly recommend you have your home inspected prior to listing your home, radon inspection too.

We have a list of inspectors we can recommend – just ask us Or go to this Vendor on my site:


SOME THOUGHTS ON CONDITION Of all the things homeowners control when selling their home, the condition of the property is one of the most important. A crucial part of marketing any product is the presentation of the product. Corporations and retail businesses understand this concept and pay millions of dollars each year to advertising and marketing consultants to get the best advice possible. The same is true for houses. In order to effectively compete with other sellers, homeowners must present their homes to the marketplace in an attractive, desirable condition. When you bought your home, you probably comparison shopped. Well, buyers are still doing that today. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average purchaser looks at 10 to 20 properties prior to purchasing a home. Regardless of how many properties are on the market, available buyers will always seek the best priced property that is in the best condition. THINK LIKE A BUYER You are not just selling a house. You are selling a shelter, lifestyle, and dreams. People always want the best for themselves, and your home should represent the buyer’s answer to this goal. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes! Remember, they arrive at your front door wanting to find the right home. Don’t make them search somewhere else for it. If you have done your homework, every room in your home will create a desire for the buyer to stay. START MAKING A LIST Walk outside and take a look at the property through the critical eyes of a buyer. Is there anything that needs painting, repairing, looks worn, or is outdated? Get up on your roof – know its condition. Start writing these items down on your list. Walk through the interior and do the same things. Ask for the assistance of everyone in your family. After all, a shorter sales time will benefit everybody in the family. DO EVERYTHING BEFORE PUTTING YOUR HOME ON THE MARKET Complete all your repairs, improvements, and enhancements prior to your first showing. Remember, your best showings come early in the listing period. Be ready!


114 WAYS TO SUCCESSFULLY SELL YOUR HOME FOR THE HIGHEST PRICE IN THE SHORTEST TIME Selling a home today is different than it was five years ago. Today’s buyer wants a home that is in “move in” condition, and they will walk away from a home that does not “show well” or is in poor condition just as fast as they will walk away from an overpriced property. There is a saying in the real estate industry that “you never get a chance at the buyer of a lifetime.” In many instances it is hard to look at your house objectively because it’s your home, but a Realtor is trained to do just that. We hope that these 110 ways will get you the sale that you are looking for.

Exterior Landscaping 1. Plan ahead and plant grass seed where needed as the lawn can be a real turnoff or a “turn on.” 2. it’s a good idea to prune away any trees that distract from the view of your home. Pruning low limbs on trees can make a major difference. 3. Clean up everything. Make sure that any debris or broken fence parts, bricks, yard lights and mail boxes are in good repair. 4. Remove any dead or dying shrubs, and replace them with fresh ones. 5. Put new mulch in the flowerbeds, around shrubbery and the base of trees. 6. Make sure that all walkways are cleaned and in good repair. 7. If you don’t know what to do, hire a landscaping company to evaluate your property and give you a plan. 8. Make sure that all exterior lighting works properly. 9. Keep your lawn cut and neatly trimmed. 10. Use large pots of flowers or green plants on the deck or the front porch. 11. Hanging plants can also create a favorable impression. 12. Repair cracks and damages in the driveway and in some instances, it’s a good idea to have an asphalt driveway resealed before showing. 13. If your home is going to be marketed during the winter months when ice could be a problem it’s important that you keep driveways and walkways cleaned and safe.


Exterior of the buildings 14. Repair and replace any broken or rotted trim and siding. 15. Paint everything that needs painting. Most people prefer to buy a home that is in good repair and ready to move in. A home which needs to be painted is a real turnoff, especially if there are other homes from which to choose. 16. Replace any missing shingles from the roof. 17. Clean, repair, and replace any gutters and downspouts that are defective. 18. Invest in a new doormat. 19. Check all screens and storm windows to make sure they are in good repair. 20. Consider “power washing” the exterior and the walkways, decks, driveways, etc. 21. Paint the mailbox and the post. 22. it’s important to create an “outdoor room” as it makes a house feel like home. You can do this effectively by covering a picnic table with a vinyl tablecloth, an arrangement of silk flowers, and a few plastic plates and flatware. This could be created on a screened-in porch, deck or in the rear yard. 23. Placing a potted plant on a front porch or stoop can make a positive impact on a person’s first impression. Take care to make sure it’s a positive reflection of your home. 24. Have the windows and windowsills cleaned inside and out. 25. Paint everything that is in question.

INTERIOR 26. Clean all the carpets and replace those that are worn or stained beyond cleaning. 27. Remove any dated items such as wallpaper, carpets, light fixtures, etc. If you’re not certain about what to do, consider using the services of an interior decorator or professional organizer to help you make the right choices. It’s a good idea to use someone who is involved in the new homes industry as they are more in tune with what people are looking for in a home. 28. be very careful about selecting paint colors, wallpaper and carpets if you decide to fix it up. Many buyers have a hard time looking beyond bold colors on the floor or on the walls. The idea is to get the home as close to neutral as possible and you can do this by using neutral tones. 29. Repair any dings in the trim or cabinets. Hardware stores have a variety of new products that can make this job easy and fun. 30. Replace any hardware like doorstops, hinges, doorknobs, shower rods, faucets and switch guards that have become worn discolored or damaged. 31. Clean all the windows (inside and out) including the skylights. 32. Make sure that all light fixtures are clean and in working order the same goes for electrical outlets.


33. Repair and/or replace any plumbing fixtures that are defective. 34. One of the most important things that you can do is to make sure that the home is immaculate and stays that way. Many homeowners use the services of a professional cleaning service to get the home ready and to keep it in “ready to show” condition during the selling process. 35. The idea is to make every area of the house sparkle and shine.

SPACE MANAGEMENT 36. It is important that all clutter be removed from every room and every closet. 37. Remove all of the boxes and clothes from the closets that are not going to be needed during the showing process. 38. It may be a good idea to rent a storage space to store all of the items that are in the way. Don’t store them in the attic or garage as they still are a problem. 39. Pack up all of your collectables to both protect them and to give the rooms a more spacious feeling and appearance. 40. Leave just enough accessories to give the home a personal touch but not so many that they become a distraction. 41. Use light to make the home appear more spacious. 42. Take time to open the drapes and blinds. 43. Make sure that all the lights throughout the house are on before a showing.

ROOM ANALYSIS The Front Entry—this is the area that forms the first impression of the house and it really needs your attention. 44. Make sure that the entry is in as near-perfect condition as possible. 45. The front door should be freshly painted. 46. If the doorknob and locks are not bright and shiny, they need to be replaced. 47. Well-placed and carefully chosen mirrors and rugs add to the appearance of any foyer or entry area. 48. Remove any off-season clothing or other items from the entry hall closet that can be stored elsewhere. 49. Remove any musty odor by adding a bag of cedar chips or some other fresh scent. 50. Put a fresh coat of paint in the entry closet to brighten it. 51. Water container plants/flowers. Replace if necessary. 52. Dust entry table or shelves.


THE LIVING ROOM/FAMILY ROOM 53. Dust surfaces (including TV screen). 54. Straighten coffee table, bookshelves, and other areas. 55. Stow away newspapers, magazines, books, games, toys and videos. 56. Vacuum rugs or mop floor. 57. Vacuum upholstered furniture; wipe down leather or vinyl. 58. Sweep fireplace. 59. Wipe down ceiling fan blades. 60. Water houseplants. 70. Purchase trendy new throw pillows and décor items – keep it simple and fun!

THE KITCHEN 61. Mop or vacuum floor. 62. Clean appliances. Yes, that includes the inside of the microwave, oven and refrigerator. 63. Avoid clutter! Clear items from countertops and cabinets. 64. Wipe countertops and cabinets. 65. Clean sink. 66. Stow away kitchen sponge and dish towels. 67. Open windows or run fan to remove cooking odors. 68. Lose the magnets…all of them. 69. Clean off the top of the refrigerator.


THE DINING ROOM 70. Visually imagine a large dining area. 71. Remove extra “company” chairs. 72. Take one or two leaves out of the dining table. 73. Add fresh or silk flowers as a centerpiece on your dining table.

THE HOME OFFICE 74. Dust surfaces, including computer screen. 75. Stow away files, preferably “off site.” 76. Mop floor or vacuum rugs. 77. Polish cabinets and woodwork. 78. Straighten desk and bookshelves. 79. Give away anything you do not use or is no longer needed.

THE BEDROOMS 80. Large master bedrooms are extremely popular today. Make your bedroom appear larger. 81. Paint the room a light color. 82. Remove one of the dressing tables or bureaus if the room is crowded. 83. Get rid of the clutter. 84. Decorate the private bath of the master to coordinate with the bedroom. 85. Imagine you are in the “Bed and Breakfast” business. 86. Make closets look spacious. 87. Remove and store all out of season clothing. 88. Remove any items from the floor area. 89. Lighted closets look bigger, are more attractive and allow buyers to inspect the interiors—there are many battery-operated lights on the market. 90. Remove any unusual or personal wall hangings such as posters and store them until your home is sold.


THE BATHROOMS 91. Empty wastebaskets. 92. Remove laundry. 93. Put out fresh towels. 94. Clear off countertop and store all personal care products. 95. Dispose of old prescriptions and polish the shelves in the medicine cabinet. 96. Repair leaking faucets. 97. Clean off mineral deposits with vinegar or a commercial cleaner. 98. Replace old shower curtains. 99. Clean and repair caulking. 100. Display a white bar of soap and add a plant for freshness. THE BASEMENT 101. Sweep stairs. 102. Clear clutter blocking access to furnace, electrical box or laundry room. THE GARAGE This is a very important part of a home for most buyers. It is important that it be cleaned and organized just as you would the other rooms in the house. 103. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and the floor can make a huge difference. 104. Remove any stains or paint on the floor and repair any cracks or damages. 105. Remove any items that are not going to be used during the time that the house is going to be marketed. 106. Clutter and trash left in the garage destroys the one main thing most people are looking for in a garage— space. Make it look spacious! 107. If your garage is small and accommodates one car, it is a good idea to leave the car in the driveway to give the appearance of spaciousness. 108. If you have a two-car garage, leave one car in the driveway when the house is being shown. 109. If the garage is dark, add more light. A well-lit and well-organized garage appears to be larger and thus adds value to the home.


HIGHLIGHTS TO FOCUS ON 110. One of the most important steps in the selling process is staging your home. Each room should be inviting, fresh, clutter-free and clean. 111. Get rid of fingerprints on windows, appliances and mirrors 112. Odors – if your house SMELLS it will be very hard to SELL (pets, diapers, garbage, mold/mildew, over-powering air fresheners are not the answer either, those can be just as offensive to Buyers – they want a clean smell) 113. Get your furnace, AC, electrical and plumbing all up to snuff. Have your furnace and AC serviced and cleaned, electrical inspected – shine up your water heater, and make sure your plumbing works properly. 114. Curb Appeal – make your house say “Welcome, come on in” from the curb. Manicure your yard, free it of weeds, edge your sidewalks, clean your gutters, wash the outside of the house, paint if needed, stain your deck if needed, trim trees and shrubs and make any necessary repairs.


Things That Can Go Wrong When Listing Your Home 1. Your Home May Not Be Worth What You Think The biggest shock most sellers face is the true value of their homes, either determined by one or more agents in comparable market analysis reports or through actual offers from buyers. The reality is that markets change, and home values rise and fall. Many factors affect home values and most of them are subjective and hard to measure. Sometimes you may see no difference between your home and others on the market, and it is hard to understand why your home may appear to be less valuable. Harder to understand is why improvements you may have made do not seem to raise the value of your home. Also irrelevant is what you paid for the home, and what you need the home's price to yield so you can pay debts or buy another property. Many people believe their home should pay off like a securities investment. Historically home values have barely kept pace with inflation - that is why they are a place to live, not an investment. But many people believe that when you spend that much money, you ought to be making money on your home. The economic reality says otherwise, because homes depreciate even while they gain in value. Buyers will determine the true worth of your home, in this market, at this time, and what your home is worth right now may be very different than what it was worth three months ago or what it will be worth six months from now. All you can do with your agent is determine an asking price based on comparables, square footage, condition, and other factors, and see what the market will bear. 2. People Won't Love Your Home Like You Do You love your home and fully expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do, but buyers have their own lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The chances of finding a buyer who will want your home "as is" are slim to none. In fact, buyers will look at your home with an eye to how they can make it their own. Then they will love it the way you do. But first, they may knock out that wall where you have your prize fish tank, tear down that designer wallpaper you had imported from England and gut the kitchen where you spent so many Thanksgivings preparing dinner. All those changes cost money, so they will value your home less while they consider remodeling and decorating costs. It will hurt your feelings that the buyer will find every little flaw possible with the home and use that knowledge to negotiate the home's price downward. Don't let yourself think that what was good enough for you and your family should be good enough for the buyer. But keep in mind that selling a home can be fiercely competitive. Your home is competing against new homes, homes that have already been updated, and homes that offer unique features that your home doesn't. Your home has to withstand the glare of scrutiny. 24

So, keep your cool. It's just business, not personal. You weren't going to take that wallpaper with you anyway. 3. Sooner or Later You May Lose Your Temper Your relationship with your buyer will be one of love/hate. The buyer is an adversary because s/he wants to pay the least for your home, while you want to net the most possible. The buyer, to improve bargaining leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer's complaints and requests for repairs will be legitimate, but some may not. In fact, some requests can be outrageous. It's your job to stay focused on the ball. If you don't want to comply with the buyer's wishes, you don't have to. You can draw the line, and have your agent tell their agent to tell them to get real. But, the bottom line is that the buyer brings the money to the table. No transaction can take place without a buyer so letting tempers flare only gets you further from your goal. The buyer has pride, too, and doesn't want to lose face any more than you do. But anyone who can't be reasonable because they have let angry feelings get in the way isn't going to be making any deals happen. You may get angry at your Realtor, too. But if your agent is a pro, he/she will be able to handle your concerns. Just know that some things, like other people's behavior are simply out of your Realtor's control. 4. Unexpected Showings. Buyers aren't going to operate on your schedule. When your home is put on the market, you won't have just your own Realtor showing your home, you may have dozens of Realtors and their clients wanting to see the home at almost any time of the day or evening. You may feel like fair game when buyers show up at your home without an appointment or ahead of their Realtors and ask to see your home. Don't let them in no matter what they say. There is no reason for an unaccompanied buyer to be in your home for any reason. Just say no. Your Realtor will ask you to keep your home in show condition, which is not easy. People will break appointments, ask to reschedule and there are only so many times a week you can buff those hardwoods. Be flexible, and trust that every buyer who enters your home is a potential buyer.


5. Buyer rudeness Every day, we each experience rudeness in society. People don't RSVP in time for the party, they don't write thank you notes anymore, they get in the express line with at least 20 items, and they are turning road rage into a national pastime. So why be surprised when buyers leave the cabinets and closet doors open wherever they looked, or miss their appointment altogether, expecting you to reschedule at a moment's notice? As tempting as it may be to play Miss Manners, it's not worth passing up a good offer because the buyer left a dirty diaper in your trash bin. 6. Inspections Inspections kill more deals than any other single factor besides overpricing. All older homes have some minor and some major problems. These can either be addressed in the sales price of the home, or as a negotiation with the buyer under contract. And it is a matter of opinion how seriously the buyer will take some problems over others. Although the inspection is typically an expense on the buyer's side of the ledger, sellers can avoid a lot of heartache by hiring an inspector themselves before listing their homes. The inspector should reveal what the buyer's inspector will find, giving you the knowledge you need to fix problems that must be fixed, price the home more competitively with your agent and give you maneuverability in negotiations with the buyer. A buyer who sees a favorable inspection report is more likely to make a fair offer, and less likely to bargain hunt or place a lot of contingencies in the contract. If you don't choose to have your home inspected, be prepared to be surprised with some repair expenses or face a price reduction if you want to keep the deal going. 7. Last Minute Problems That Delay Closing Service providers, from lenders to inspectors to closing agents, may cause problems, sometimes without meaning to. In some areas, closings are happening at such a rate that all service providers associated with the real estate transaction are on overload. Attorneys, dispatched at the last minute, may find an area of dispute in your title. The plumber who was going to replace your shower pan in time for final walk- through is called out of town and can't do the job. Any of these scenarios and many others may cause closing to be delayed by days or even weeks. A lot of other things can go wrong, too. Your floor drains may back up during the final walk-through; some of your lights may quit working or short out. Whatever happens, you can prevent a lot of problems in advance, and handle the unexpected ones with a good sense of humor. Be prepared for anything and everything. Listen to your Realtor. You're paying for good advice. Take it.




3. 4. 5.


7. 8.



11. 12.


Have furnace and air conditioner checked, serviced and cleaned prior to the inspection. Have a whole house inspection, radon test and wood destroying pest inspection done on your home. Make necessary repairs from above mentioned inspections. Fresh paint on all walls (and ceilings if they are looking dingy too). Q-Tip Clean (for your market debut and every single showing). Clean your home like you’ve never cleaned it before and keep it clean. If you just can’t do it yourself – hire a professional to come in weekly. If your carpets are stained have them cleaned or replaced. Nothing turns off a buyer more than a dirty home. I can’t stress this enough. Your home needs to be neat tidy and not smelly. Smoke smell will turn Buyers off end of story… even if it is just in the garage. Dirty diapers, old food, and pet smells are also very offensive. All flooring should be free from tears, stains, etc. When Buyers see stains or tears – they are adding up the cost to replace with the most expensive options and they will deduct that right from the asking price, period. Declutter – You’re moving, so what you can live without, pack. Box and stack items in storage room or garage, keep them away from walls though – Buyers and inspectors need to see the walls. If you don’t have the space – get a storage garage. Change light bulbs to the highest wattage acceptable to the fixture and take out your slow to brighten energy efficient bulbs. Make sure the exterior of your home is clean (house wash, clean light fixtures and windows too). Landscaping should be weed free, alive and not overgrown. Driveways and sidewalks – should be in good repair, seal any cracks and make sure there are no trip hazards. Position your home to compete against the other homes currently for sale and take note of how long they’ve been on the market and that they aren’t sold yet.




4. 5.

Never turn down a showing Turn Lights on for all showings – nothing says “Wecome to your New Home!” like a well-lit path inside and outside Make sure your home is sparkling clean (remember – this is your one and only shot to impress this Buyer) and that you’ve: • emptied your garbage cans • made your beds • cleaned your bathrooms/toilet is clean • touched up the windows and mirrors • washed your dishes • Microwave and other appliances free of grease and food residue • Remove yourself and your pets and any remnants pertaining to the pets (litter box, food containers, etc) Listen to feedback, take it to heart and make changes if possible Negotiate quickly and remember that your first offer is most often your best offer.


“Homework” for our listing appointment Please have the following available at the time of listing  Spare key for the front door (preferably 2)  One spare key for the garage door (if applicable)  Know the location of your abstract__________________  Copies of Restrictive Covenants or By Laws (if applicable)  Mortgage Information a. Name of Lender _______________________________ b. Address _____________________________________ c. Phone # _____________________________________ d. Loan # ______________________________________ e. Same info needed above for the 2nd mortgage holder if applicable _____________________________________________________________________  Utility Company information f. Electric Provider________________________________ g. Gas Provider /LP_______________________________ h. Water/Sewer


i. Garbage




Lawn care

k. Irrigation l.


Cable/Satellite/Internet/Phone ______________________________________________ 29

List of Recent Updates or Improvements 1. __________________________________Year_________ 2. __________________________________Year_________ 3. __________________________________Year_________ 4. __________________________________Year_________ 5. __________________________________Year_________ 6. __________________________________Year_________ 7. __________________________________Year_________ 8. __________________________________Year_________ 9. __________________________________Year_________ 10.



What do you feel are the top 3 Selling Points of Your Home? 1. ___________________________________________________ 2. ___________________________________________________ 3. ___________________________________________________ Things you’d like me to include in marketing 1. ___________________________________________________ 2. ___________________________________________________ 3. ___________________________________________________ 4. ___________________________________________________ 5. ___________________________________________________


Showing Checklist  Empty all trash cans  Clean all bathrooms (toilets, vanities, mirrors, shower/tub doors, walls, floor)  Wipe down kitchen counters and put away any counter top clutter  Clean your refrigerator handle and any other marks on your appliances  Clean any grease off of your stove top and oven door  Check to make sure your microwave is clean inside and outside – don’t just smear the grease marks on the front, use a degreaser to clean them off  Dust! Give coffee tables, end tables and other large furniture the “just dusted” look  Clean all your windows that may have evident finger prints, dog prints, etc – especially if you have one above the kitchen sink (those get very dirty, very fast)  Beds made  Floors swept/vacuumed  Lights/lamps on  If applicable - pick up any pet waste in the yard and tend to kitty litter  Yards and walks should be tidy and manicured seasonally  Snow removed from walks and driveway (if applicable)  If applicable – lock up guns, medications and jewelry  Leave Five Minutes early and take your pets with you


SELLER FAQS *There may be some repetitiveness in the questions or answers, this is a document that I frequently add to. I do this when I run into a problem that made a deal fall apart or questions Sellers have asked me. The answers are pretty straight forward and will give you a perspective you may not get from every agent.

How is this process going to work? It is pretty simple – I am in charge of the process and you are in charge of the decisions. I will provide you with market data and statistics, providing you with the tools and information for you to make a knowledgeable decision of where to position your home in the market place to sell. I usually do this in a two appointment process and we can discuss the timeline when we meet. I typically need a few days to get my homework done. If you need it sooner – please let me know what your timeline is. Positioning your home in the marketplace to sell is your decision. You are also in charge of the decision to hire me to be the agent to market your home. I of course have a decision as to whether I will take the listing or not – but if you are reasonable with positioning your home at the market and not too far above it then it is likely that I will choose to take the listing. Once the decision is made that we will be working together to get your home sold, I will get the process going. I will hire a professional home stager to come in and give you a consultation (up to one hour). You will decide whether or not you are going to do what the professional stager recommends that you do to get your home sold quickly. If you would like to hire the stager to do the actual staging – that is up to you. *Limitations to home staging are on page 7. Next, if you decide to hire a home inspector (I’d really love if that is done prior to me listing your home) go ahead and get going on that step anytime. After you have your home all ready for showings – I will then be ready to activate your listing and get photos taken, put a sign in the yard and start the marketing process. I Want/Need My Home to Sell in 30 Days This is possible, you just have to position it properly against the competition. You also need to have it 100% ready, clean, mechanics up to snuff, etc. However, the number one thing is positioning it in the marketplace. I will give you your odds of selling in 30 days when I provide you the analysis of the market. Is the sales commission negotiable? Yes, it is, however I’m not willing to negotiate my commission down– this is a fee that Ruhl&Ruhl REALTORS charges for their services. Sometimes that fee can be negotiated for instance, on sales over $300,000 I would consider a commission of 7% on the first $300,000 and 5% on the remaining sale amount. Just a quick note on the commission – if there is more than one broker involved in the sale – the commission is split 4 ways after it is received from the Seller at closing. I know that some people think that I get all 7% and the truth is, I don’t. Ruhl&Ruhl pays the cooperating broker 50% form the commission collected and then pays me on a percentage based upon my commission split at that time.


Do I need an appraisal on my house to sell it? You don’t need one to list it, well sometimes it may be necessary to find the right price if your home is unique - generally I can provide you enough information to help you determine the value range. If the comparable sales are limited, it may be best for you to have an appraisal done to find a good list price. If you choose to have an appraisal done on your home Ruhl & Ruhl will reimburse you for one half of the appraisal cost if you list and sell with Ruhl & Ruhl – reimbursement is paid to you within a week or two after closing. Whether you choose to have an appraisal done before you list your home, the Buyer (if getting a mortgage) will still have to have an appraisal on your home in order for the bank to loan them money – and your home will need to appraise at purchase price or greater in order for the sale to go through. That is why it is important to price your home with the market and not above it. We Owe More on Our Home than the Comparable Homes are Selling For This a common issue with our values declining so much from 2008 to 2012 and 2013. It is now 2016 and in some areas we are seeing a nice jump in value – up to where the homes were in 2008 and 2009, some even higher. Just because you owe a certain amount on your home – that doesn’t mean that is what your house is worth. What you feel you need and what the value is - are not the always the same. If you are in this situation and you do not have the money to pay the difference of what is owed at closing – then you should re-evaluate your plan to sell right now.

What is an escrow company? An escrow company is a company that takes care of bringing the sale pending file to a close. They prepare all the transfer documents as well. I have a few options in Cedar Rapids for escrow companies to use, however you can use any company you would like. What is an abstract? Should I have mine? An abstract is the history of the property noting all recorded documents. You may have yours in your possession and if you do - make sure it is safe. These are very expensive to re-create. The abstracts are integral in selling your home. Be sure you know the location when it is time to list your house. Will my house sell at an open house? Most likely not…serious Buyers will come through with their agent at a private showing. You will notice in my marketing plan that I don’t do open houses on re-sale properties. Do I Need to Sell this Home Before Buying Another? You might, a lender is going to be able to best give you that information. If you do need to sell this home first – then let’s focus on that first. Finding another home and not getting your home sold in time to purchase the other home is a drag – trust me. If you have found another home – then you need to check into financing possibilities without selling this home or position this home to sell fast. If it doesn’t you have to be okay with losing the other home. How will I be notified about a showing? All showings will be scheduled through our showing desk at Ruhl&Ruhl REALTORS. You will be contacted by Ruhl&Ruhl REALTORS staff directly to set up a showing or after normal business hours and weekends you will be contacted by me. Agents should not be contacting you directly.


Do I need to leave for showings? Yes, and please be sure the pets leave too! (if the pets have to be there – be sure to have them kenneled if dogs, cats – be sure to leave a note to leave specific doors open for access to litter box and/or food. If your cat tends to try to get out – be sure you notify me of that and leave a note to not let the cat(s) out. Do I need to turn lights on for showings? Yes, it is appreciated - but don't expect them to be off when you get home - unless you leave a note asking the showing agent to turn the lights off - they may assume you have another showing after them. Should I leave a candle going for showings? No, I would advise against this. Unattended candle flames can cause fires. Plus, not all Buyers like the same scents. I would recommend that you do not use any products that provide a scent. If your home is clean – it won’t stink. How clean does my house need to be to have it for sale? Extremely clean, especially if you want a Buyer to pay top dollar! Your home should be updated with all maintenance items tended to, Q-tip clean and ready to show at ALL times. I get this question a lot and every time I think: Really??? I bet when you went to sell or trade in your last car, that you had it sparkling and there was no way you were ever going to get anywhere near the money for it that you paid for it – but yet you shined it up so that you could get the most money you could for it. You probably also had it tuned up and made sure the systems were in check. Your house has the ability in some markets to earn you money – you better have it sparkling clean and maintained. If your pride of ownership shows and you have it priced appropriately, the Buyers will be fighting for your property. How about my oven, stove, microwave and refrigerator – do they need to be clean too? YES! Extremely clean – The Buyer will look in them, especially if they are included in the sale. Dried old food is gross! Does my yard need to be free of weeds? Yes, as well as mowed and trimmed to perfection. You are selling the largest investment you’ve made – show how proud you are of it! When can I expect to get feedback for showings? We send out a feedback request immediately following the showing and every day after the showing until the agent provides the feedback or chooses to not provide feedback. Sometimes they don’t and that is their right, just know that we do what we can to get feedback for you and if you haven’t heard from us, just know that we don’t have any feedback to share. Once we do receive feedback, we send it to you right away. What if the feedback I get is negative? Do something about it - if you can. Sometimes the feedback is an objection that is out of your control. If it is within your control, it may be a good idea to make the change if it is feasible –what can it hurt? How often will my property be advertised? 35

Your property will be in the CR Gazette for a new listing. The majority of the advertising will be done within the MLS and on the internet. Broad internet exposure is the key to getting your home the best exposure possible. I focus heavily on Social Media advertising. I do not automatically put any of my listings on Zillow, Trulia or any third-party vendor. I am not able to control this data and they illegally sell it. If you’d like it on Zillow, just ask us. How long will my house be on the market before we get an offer? That depends 100% on the decisions you make about price, condition and availability of showings. How much will I have to negotiate on the price of my home to get it sold? That depends on the decisions you make about price and condition based on the market data I provide you. I am happy to supply you with the sold statistics for your market range whenever you request them. You will automatically get neighborhood sales and activity delivered via email to you weekly if applicable. What if a Buyer comes to my door and wants to see my house? I'd prefer you give them my phone # and ask them to set up a private showing. It is a safety concern of mine that you do not let strangers in your home without their agent. What if another Realtor from a brokerage other than Ruhl&Ruhl REALTORS calls me about selling my home? Let them know that Jill Monnahan/Jacey Slaton are your agents and direct them to call Jill at 319-9811409 or Jacey Slaton at 319-551-2361 What if I get locked out of my house because a showing agent locked a door I didn't expect them to? If you don't want something locked, like a deadbolt or a chain lock - put a note up so that showing agents know not to lock it. If you do get locked out - I can only access the lock box from 6:00am to 9:30pm daily. *Best tip, have a key made for every different lock on your home and keep them with you. Another note, if you are missing a key for a door knob lock on your home, please change the lock or have a new key made. It always seems like that is the lock that creates the issue of being locked out.

What if a scheduled showing doesn't happen? Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this - sometimes Buyers can be rude and not show up for appointments or change their mind at the last minute about what properties they want to see. Sometimes the showing agent has enough notice to call and cancel, sometimes they don't. We just have to get over it and move on. How do I know when I should lower my price? If your property goes two weeks without showings – the market has rejected it – it is priced too high. If your property gets 8 to 10 showings or more and no offers in the first two weeks, the market has rejected it – it is priced too high. If your property doesn’t get 8-10 showings, the market is rejecting it and you need to re-position it in the marketplace. If you get feedback repeatedly that indicates the price is too high, then you should consider repositioning it.


What if a Buyer writes a low offer? You need to assess each offer and look at all the points, not just the price. After you've assessed the offer you can present a counter offer to the Buyer. How many counter offers can there be? It depends. There is no limit. I like to see one or two counter offers total, when this happens it seems to always provide the best outcome for both the Buyer and Seller. On a side note, depending on the decisions you make prior to listing your home and the decision on price, be prepared to negotiate the contract three to four times, once at the initial contract, once at the inspection, once at the appraisal depending on the outcome and once at the final walk-through. This is why I recommend having your home positioned appropriately in the marketplace, not above the market, and having all inspections done and having your home in tip top shape. What if more than one offer comes in? Be happy if that happens! The decision is really yours. We can notify all parties that there are multiple offers and they will need to put their best offer in. You can also choose not to notify all parties and just decide what offer you’d like to work with after reviewing both. You can only work with one offer at a time - so you can only counter or accept one offer, not both What happens if my house doesn't appraise at the purchase price? You may have to adjust your sales price to meet the appraised value - or you house will likely go back on the market as the Buyer typically will only pay appraised value, due to limitations with the mortgage lender. Do I get to see the appraisal the Buyer's lender had done? Not unless it is low and even then, you may not see it - The listing agent never even gets to see the appraisal or be privy to the appraised value - this information belongs to the Buyer. Buyers, Sellers and Realtors are not supposed to have any communication with the appraiser about the appraisal. What happens if there are title problems that need to be cleared up before we can close on the house? This does happen and be prepared to help our closers clean up these issues - your cooperation is greatly appreciated to clear up your title issues, be prepared for extra attorney fees too, closing delays that are out of our control. I wouldn’t stress too much about this. However, if your mortgage has been transferred multiple times to different mortgage servicing companies, the chances of a release not being recorded is high. If you have concerns about this you can always elect to have a preliminary abstract extension done prior to selling your home. What if I pay child support - will that affect the sale? Yes, be prepared to get in touch with the person you pay child support to. Check to see if they will sign a satisfaction that states you are current on your child support payments to the day of closing. This is the case even if you’ve been done paying child support for 20 years…if a full release wasn’t prepared at the completion of your court ordered obligation – you still need to get it released. What if I used to pay child support but do not anymore - will that affect the sale? It could. Please provide me proof of full satisfaction of the child support for evidence. This should be filed with the clerk of court in the county you paid child support in.


Do I have to be at closing? No, I take care of all that for you. I just have to meet with you prior to the closing to sign the deed and other transfer documents as well as a limited power of attorney that allows me to sign the closing disclosure on your behalf at closing. Why hasn’t my home sold? If your home isn’t selling in the time frame you are wanting it to, then you should consider repositioning it in the market. This goes back to the decisions the Seller makes in regard to price, condition and availability will determine the sale of the property. Where is my home advertised? Your home is advertised online on all of the area broker/agent websites that participate in the interned data exchange – this is most of them. It is also advertised on We do not syndicate our listings to Zillow, Trulia or other such sites including Craigslist. The reason for this is incorrect data and no control to correct it. Also, if you have your home listed at $XXX,XXX and Zillow has the “Zestimate” at $10K less than you have your home listed at, that probably is going to work against you. Are there any new things that are being called on inspections these days? Yes, there always seems to be something. If you have a CSST Gas Line that is not bonded – get it bonded before you sell your home. The CSST Gas Line is a gas line that is wrapped in a Yellow Coating. This is considered not safe unless it is bonded/grounded. I have it come up constantly on home inspections. It is usually found at the gas line supply for the water heater, furnace, and gas fireplace or oven/range. What is a Home Warranty You can choose to list your home with a home warranty to cover the home for the Buyer for one year from the closing date. The cost ranges from mid $400s to $600 depending on the coverage and the provider. Most Buyers ask for a home warranty in a contract, especially if mechanics are more than 3 years old, they also ask for it when temps are too low to check the air conditioner during a home inspection. The cool thing is, if you choose to sell your home with a home warranty as a perk, you can pay an additional $60 to have coverage for yourself during the listing period. The coverage is all spelled out in each provider’s brochure that was included in the email that this came to you in – or at the back of this pre-list packet. *If you didn’t get this information, please let me know and I will get it to you. If the sales contract becomes null and void – who gets the earnest money? It depends on the variables of why the contract is null and void. Typically, the earnest money is protected by the contingencies you put in the offer. If you find out that you cannot get a mortgage within the timeline of the contingency date for loan commitment – your earnest money is protected. If the property doesn’t appraise at purchase price or greater within the contingency timeline for the appraisal – and the contract is voided, the earnest money should be yours. If a Buyer requests inspection repairs that are not considered major (costing over $500 and up, or structure & safety issues) and the Seller chooses not to make such repairs – the earnest money may be in contention. If there are defects that are major and the Seller doesn’t agree to remedy 100% and the Buyer doesn’t accept the Seller’s remedy response, per the contract the Buyer can make the offer null and void and have 100% of the earnest money returned to them. There is a process to release the earnest money and both the Buyer and the Seller must agree upon what happens to this earnest money. If no agreement can be made the earnest money is held in the listing Brokers trust account, court could be in the future or if neither party seeks litigation the Broker holding the earnest money will most likely make a decision on the outcome of the earnest money six months or so after the contract is voided.


If our floors or carpets are damaged or stained anywhere, should we disclose this? If the stains or damage is under furniture and not visible – yes, you should disclose it and be specific. I use this as a rule of thumb…if you were the Buyer would you want to know? Tobacco Smoke, okay or not okay? It is not a good idea to smoke inside your home or your garage – or outside near any doors. The smell sticks and is a huge turnoff to a large percentage of Buyers. What is Orangeburg Sewer Line? Well first of all – it is NOT orange. Orangeburg pipe is a type of pipe that was commonly used from around 1950 to around 1970. It is a paper tape type pipe impregnated with tar and pressed together. It is susceptible to damage by tree roots and has a tendency to collapse with age. The Building Department can pull plumbing permits and check date of service line installation if a permit was acquired for sewer work at a property. Neither the Building Department nor Sewer Maintenance will have type of material used or how much was replaced. To determine if you have Orangeburg, you could have the service line televised by a plumber or have the line dug up and exposed. I have a Septic System, what is the law? A DNR inspection showing that your septic system is up to code and working properly is required by law before you can transfer title to the new owner. That inspection cannot be older than 24 months. Most state licensed inspection companies will not do inspections in inclement weather, so if you have a septic system you should plan to have it inspected between May and November – prior to listing your property for sale. What if my home inspection results in a long list of repairs requested by the Buyer? My goal is for this not to happen, I provide detailed instruction and suggestions on how to help you sail through inspections. The best thing to do is to have your home inspected before we list your property and make the repairs that are needed. What if my pet has had accidents in our home? Ideally should plan on replacing the carpet, but I realize sometimes that isn’t feasible. There are companies that will use a product that with break down the urine (even in the sub floor) you could have that done. Or just ask yourself if you would you be happy if you laid down on the carpet of your new home that the previous owner’s pet had urinated on? Me either. Also, it is quite possible that the Buyer could have a special light test done during the inspection period. If pet stains are found it is likely that your pet’s “accident” could soil your deal. If you cannot afford to put in new carpeting, you should consider pricing the home accordingly. The days of credits for a carpet allowance have kind of gone away. Every penny going into a transaction and out of a transaction has to be documented, and a Buyer cannot get cash at closing that is beyond the amount of the earnest money or other money they’ve paid into the lender prior to the settlement of the sale. Should I keep my yard clear of dog waste? Yes, if you don’t you could end up with dog waste being tracked on your sidewalks or in your home inadvertently, the Buyers and Agents looking at your home may not be aware you have a pet until it is too late.


Yard: Keep it trimmed and shrubs manicured as well as weeds under control and trimmed. Take care of any trees that need trimmed as well. Take care of all of this prior to listing your home and keep it up while you have it listed. If you need a company to take care of the lawn, just ask me for a list of lawn contractors. Be sure your gutters are kept clean and leaves are raked, and sticks picked up. Snow Removal: Occupied or Vacant, as a homeowner it is your responsibility to keep your walks clear of snow and ice during the winter months – the driveway too. If you do not live local, ask me for a list of snow removal companies that you can hire to care of the property whenever it snows. How clean does my home need to be? Real Clean! Now is the time to clean the grime, get that oven shiny on the inside and out. Polish everything. Your home needs to be cleaner than ever and it needs to stay that way…. Spotlessly clean houses sell faster! Windows….Not brand new? That’s okay, just make sure they are in good condition. The glazing needs to be in good shape, not chipping off. If the glazing is bad, it is simple, re-glaze them. Clean them real good inside and out – make them sparkle. Chipping Paint? If so, plan to scrape and paint it if you want to see a sold sign. Buyers want to buy homes that have been maintained, peeling/chipping paint is a sign of lack of maintenance. My wall colors are not a neutral color, should we repaint? It would be my recommendation that all the walls are painted the same neutral color (white, gray, cream, taupe, beige). I know you may think that a Buyer can paint themselves, but the fact of the matter is if a Buyer doesn’t like what they see online – they will never give your home a second look online or set up a private showing. Even if you paint it 3 weeks after your photos have been taken, and we take new photos – the Buyer has already dismissed it and moved on to other homes. Today’s Buyer also does not want to do any “work”, and painting colored walls or removing wallpaper is what a Buyer considers as “work” (time and money that they would be putting into a home that the Seller wants top dollar for) and you aren’t selling a house that needs “work” are you? My floor coverings and lighting are dated, should we replace? Are you wanting your home to sell in the range of other homes that have newer floor coverings and lighting? If so, then you should definitely consider making the change. If the floor coverings are more than 10 years old, they are dated and probably worn – unless they are wood or tile – they probably need replaced. Wood floors may need refinished if they’ve lost their luster and your tile grout may need some serious cleaning to freshen it up. Lighting – if you have flower decals on your lighting or any brass, do yourselves a favor and replace them! Lighting is one of the least expensive things to give your home a fresh look. Put some awesome bright lightbulbs in your lighting too – not the ones that take a minute or two to get bright. You don’t have a minute or two when a Buyer is looking at your home – when they turn a light on, it needs to be bright – instantly.

My countertops are old, dated and not in great condition, should we replace them? 40

Yes, if you want your house to sell at the top of the market it is competing in, you should definitely replace your counter tops and vanity tops if they are dated or in less than good condition. You may just need to freshen up your bathroom faucet to give a fresh new look to your vanities. I have brass cabinet pulls, should I replace? Absolutely – this dates your home, remember you want to get the best possible price and anything dated in your home is going to work against you getting the best possible price. My cabinets are old, do they need replaced too? If your cabinets are clean, operating properly and not falling off the walls or the doors off their hinges and your drawers all work properly - no you don’t need to replace them. If they are painted and the paint is chipping – it would be wise to repaint them. Sidewalk and Driveway cracked or lifted and shifted? This is home maintenance, it’s simple – have it fixed before you list. Sometimes it just involved mud-jacking, not complete replacement. Home inspectors point out trip hazards to Buyers – get those trip hazards fixed. Sometimes it is just a matter of adding some asphalt too. Inside Temperature of my home if it is not occupied Your home’s temperature should be at comfortable temperatures and the humidity should be relative. If your home is too humid in the summer on the inside you will likely be dealing with mildew issues, especially in the basement. In the winter if it is too dry, you will be dealing with walls cracking because the wood is drying out. *Note, replace your thermostat batteries regularly. My home is vacant, do I need to check on it regularly? Yes, you do need to check on your home. If you do not live in the area, you should contact a family member or a neighbor that can help you out with checking on the home regularly. *Ruhl&Ruhl and myself are not responsible for your home while it is listed, you still need to maintain your home. Some showing agents may forget to turn a light off or have difficulty with tricky locks. So make sure that your locks all work smoothly and that if you have switches that are hard to locate – leave a note for the agents. Water If your home is not occupied it is best to have your home winterized in the winter months for sure, keep in mind you will need to have it de-winterized for a whole house inspection, appraisal and prior to closing. My windows are so hard to clean I recognize that sometimes this is the case – so will Buyers if your windows are dirty when they look at your home – let’s not deter them. My windows aren’t in the best condition If you realize this, so will the Buyer. In fact, windows are one of the first things a Buyer will look at. Take the measures to get them in good condition, you want the best price for your house – so you need to provide the best product. Your home isn’t a new home so new windows are not expected, they probably do not need replaced, they likely need re-glazed, or cracked glass replaced and any rotting wood on the window or the trim inside or out replaced. You can actually watch Youtube videos on how to reglaze windows and there are companies that will do this too. This is normal home maintenance that is expected of property owners. My furnace and central air haven’t been serviced in a while? 41

If “awhile” is longer than a year, you may has well have it done before you list it, this is yearly maintenance to keep your mechanics in good working order – you’d be doing this if you weren’t selling, right? Some of my outlets or light switches don’t work or I have no idea what they are for, been that way since we bought our home I’d probably fix the ones that don’t work and eliminate the switches that you have no idea what they do – no one will wonder then. We don’t have smoke detectors in all of our bedrooms and on each floor For the safety of your family, you should probably get those installed. It will also likely come up on an inspection report. Radon, what is it? How do I know if I have it? How the heck do we get rid of it and will a Buyer even care? What else can you tell me about it? • It’s an odorless gas that comes from the ground that is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer. • You can have it tested by a state licensed radon measurement specialist for about $150 or less • If your levels are 4 pCi/L or higher the EPA says that isn’t safe and you need to fix it so the levels are below 4 pCi/L. There are state certified mitigators that install a radon mitigation system in your home. • Yes, a Buyer will care • It is a law that the Buyer has to be provided a radon fact sheet before buying any property, doesn’t matter if a Realtor is involved or not. • You can have your home inspected prior to listing it and make remedies as needed. A Buyer may still choose to have their own radon test done on your home. • Tips: seal up your sump pump so that no radon gas can escape through the pit and into your home. Seal up any cracks in your basement floor or foundation walls that radon gas can slip through. Simple Silicone sealer will do the trick. Once you’ve sealed up your home, have a test done. If your levels are still too high – then you should put a system in. Roof Condition: if it’s going to need replaced in 3 years or less, plan to replace it now or you may be doing it later just to get your deal closed. Not just home inspectors bring up roof concerns, appraisers do too. What is Absorption Rate Pricing: Absorption rate pricing – is pricing your home based upon the rate and range that similar homes are selling based upon a recent time frame. There are only a certain number of houses that will sell in any given market in any given period of time and not all houses sell. Part of the market data I provide you is the absorption rate. What if my house sells right away with a full price offer: I’ll be happy, won’t you? The only thing this indicates is that you priced it properly and prepared it for the market place and that it was the best valued home for sale. What if it doesn’t sell right away? You should consider re-positioning it or reflect back on the market conditions that I provided you when I gave you your market analysis and any updates that we emailed you during your listing period.


Does it stay or does it go? If you plan to reserve any item attached to your home or appliances (and any other item listed on the disclosure) – disclose it! *TV Mounts – if you say you are going to leave the mount – will you also be leaving the bracket that goes on the TV? Just clarify any details on the disclosure or let me know and we can make sure your details about inclusions or exclusions are provided to prospective Buyers. *If you have to use a tool to remove something from a wall/ceiling – it is considered “real property” it is fixed and attached and is included in the sale unless you note otherwise. What is the negotiating going to be like? I wish I could tell you…that decision is your’s and it seems that everyone negotiates differently. The most effective negotiating is collaborative. In order to have collaborative negotiating you need to first have your home positioned at the market and not above it. Buyers are so smart…they know the value of the homes that are on the market and you will too if you are buying a home. Most Buyers will pay top dollar for a home in exceptional condition, but they won’t pay more than the market will bear. Unfortunately, so many home owners have a perceived value of their home that is unrealistic, it makes sense too – how can you put a price on the memories you’ve made in your home and you remember writing every check for every improvement. The Buyer really doesn’t care about those things and you won’t either when you go to buy a new home. The Buyer is going to look at numbers, the sale prices of other comparable homes and the other homes competing with your house. The Buyer will also lean a little on the emotional end, how does your house make them feel – is it clean? Well maintained or will there be a “to do list” when they move in just to get it up to snuff maintenance wise? They will likely give you an offer closer to your asking price if you have taken care of all those “to do” items and have your home sparkling clean inside and out. If you don’t have your home in tip top condition, then you likely will see an offer 5 – 10% under your asking price…maybe even more. So how do you best negotiate? • Avoid making emotional decisions – you need to detach from your home, once there is a sign in the yard – you need to detach. • If there is a low-ball offer – even though you are disappointed – always make a counter offer. • Be conscious of the fact that it’s not only about price – there are other terms that can be equally important to both you and the Buyer. If you are having difficulty coming to an agreement on one issue, it’s possible that a concession on another topic will help cement the deal. • Determine what type of market you are competing in – is it a Buyer’s or Seller’s market – when an offer comes in. • Move quickly – when an offer comes in, address it in a timely fashion – keep the momentum going so that the Buyer doesn’t have time to lose interest. • In the end, you want the transaction to be a positive experience for everyone – a Win/Win for both parties. If you have the mentality of “I win, they lose” it will not be a very fun transaction – let’s play nice, together.


How Do Subject to Sale Offers Work? Personally, I am not a fan of subject to sale contingencies. I am a firm believer that you get your home sold or get bridge financing if you cannot pay cash and then you shop for your new home. It is much less stressful on you (if you are the Buyer). If you are the Seller, you may not be happy with the outcome of a subject to sale contingency either. *Note on subject to sale contingencies for a Buyer: Foreclosure companies and Relocation companies will not even look at an offer with a subject to sale contingency, so keep that in mind. So here is how a subject to sale works. Typically, a Buyer and Seller negotiate a Subject to Sale Hour Clause Addendum (if the Seller is even willing to work with a subject to sale contingency - some are not). What this addendum does is adds terms to the accepted contract. Those terms are simply put that the Seller will continue to market their property and actively try to sell it to someone else. The Buyer and Seller agree upon a timeline that the Buyer must get an accepted offer on their property. If they are unable to get an accepted offer on their property by that timeline, then the offer is null and void and the earnest money is returned to the Buyer. (That timeline is negotiable, sometimes it is 30 days, 45 days, 60 day, 90 is something the Buyer and Seller must agree upon). If during that timeline that the Buyer is trying to sell their property and the Seller gets another offer, the Seller can negotiate that second offer BUT MUST put a contingency on it that once accepted, it is subject to getting a full release from the first Buyer within a specific amount of time after they give the first Buyer written notice of needing to release the subject to sale contingency and addendum. That "specific amount of time" is negotiated on the Subject to Sale Hour Clause Addendum. Sometimes that amount of time is Zero Hours, sometimes it is 12, 24, 48 or 72 - it all depends on what the first Buyer and the Seller negotiate in the contract. At that point that the Sellers gives the first Buyer written notification that they need to release the subject to sale contingency, the first Buyer has options. 1st, get their home sold in that prescribed amount of time: 2nd, get a bridge loan or pay cash for the home (either of those options will require some sort of formal letter head form a lender or a personal banker noting that the sale is no longer subject to their current home closing and that the first Buyer has funds available for bridge financing approved to purchase the Seller's property WITHOUT closing on their current home); 3rd, the first Buyer if unable to do either of the two previously mentioned options will need to give the Seller notification that they are unable to perform and are cancelling the contract and will get 100% of their earnest money returned to them. The first Buyer will not get reimbursed for any other funds that they may have invested into purchasing the home (e.g.: appraisal, inspections, etc.). Here is something else I'd like to explain, the second Buyer's offer may actually be higher than the first Buyer's offer OR may offer better terms - regardless of what the second Buyer and Seller negotiate - if the first Buyer is able to get their home sold or finance the Seller's home without selling their current property and perform as agreed upon within that prescribed amount of time - the contract with the first Buyer stands as written, it is not re-negotiable in terms of price or terms at that point. Now you may get to the inspection period and there may be negotiations as a result of that but that has nothing to do with the second contract (*another reason I think having a home pre-inspected is important - so as to not renegotiate after the contract has been accepted). 44

I just want to make sure that is completely understood and if you don't understand it - let me know so that I can discuss some scenarios with you. There are some other legalities and ethics that come along with these subject to sale contingencies. •

Prospective Buyers looking at the home that has the "Subject to Sale Hour Clause" addendum on it - should be told prior to looking at the home. They do not have to be, but ethically it is the right thing to do and that is how I handle these - if you are the Seller and you absolutely DO NOT want me to share the hour clause status of your home - you need to tell me that, otherwise I will be notifying all agents showing your home or prospective Buyers of the existence of an hour clause. If you are the Seller you need to let me know whether you want the first Buyer to be notified of any interest in your property, not showings but actual serious interest. If an agent reaches out to me that they think their client is going to write an offer on your home - would you want me to share that with the first Buyer or would you not want me to? You need to let me know that. Of course, once you accept another offer, you do need to notify the first Buyer per the contract.

It is also very important to explain that more times than none, someone is less than happy at the end of a Subject to Sale Hour Clause Agreement and here’s why: • •

The first Buyer may be able to release the contingency and perform on the already agreed upon contract - the second Buyer is usually disappointed when this happens. The first Buyer may be able to release the contingency and perform on the already agreed upon contract, even if the second Buyer's offer is for more money or offered better terms - in this instance the Seller and the second Buyer are usually disappointed. The first Buyer may not be able to find alternate financing or get their home sold - in this instance, the first Buyer will likely be disappointed and maybe even the Seller because they actually would prefer that offer.... you just never know.

I just like to prepare everyone for different outcomes of these situations. If you do not like any of the outcomes that are possible - then don't get in one of these agreements. If you are the first Buyer, make sure you line up alternate financing if you can. If you have alternate financing lined up - you don't have to release the subject to sale contingency unless you want to, but at least you'd have the option if the situation presented itself.


If you have any questions that weren’t already answered - this is a great place to jot them down: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________


Monnahan Slaton Group Pre-Listing Packet  
Monnahan Slaton Group Pre-Listing Packet