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Preparations for Selling Your Home! suggestions for you from Ken Huebsch.... From determining value, to finding an Agent, to preparing your home for the market, to staging! 717 514-1793

What Exactly Determines the Value of Your Home? You have a beautiful home, and perhaps you’ve put lots of improvements into it. You know it’s worth more than many of the other homes surrounding it. So, why do Realtors insist on comparing your property to others in the neighborhood? Basically, a home’s worth is determined by its market value. How is “market value” determined? Most often, it’s figured by a comparison (“comp”) with homes similar to yours in the surrounding area. So, if the homes in your neighborhood average, say, $250,000, then it’s likely that the value of your property will fall in the same range. But market value is also determined by a number of factors including the following: External Factors There can be several external factors influencing the value of your home. One is “curb appeal”, or the first impression your property makes upon prospective buyers. A home that’s in excellent condition on the outside will make a great first impression; a home in poor repair instantly loses its appeal to buyers. Other factors can include lot size, popularity of an architectural style of property, water/sewage systems, paved roads, sidewalks, etc. Internal Factors The condition of a home’s interior also has a huge influence on prospective buyers. When you’ve demonstrated “pride of ownership” and kept up the maintenance (quality paint, trim, molding, etc.), a buyer’s interest will immediately perk up for the simple reason that they know your care and concern will result in less cost and maintenance for them. Other internal factors include construction quality, condition of appliances, size, and number of rooms, heating/cooling type, energy efficiency, etc.

Supply and Demand “Supply and demand” simply refers to the number of homes for sale versus the number of buyers. When there are more homes than there are buyers, prices tend to be lower. When there are a lot of buyers chasing few homes, then prices tend to rise. In effect, supply and demand affects how quickly your home will sell. Location More than likely, you already know the old saying, “There are three main factors in real estate – location, location, location.” While that’s not the whole story, desirability is a big factor for home buyers. They may want to live in particular school district known for its education excellence…a great and safe neighborhood with rising property values…etc.

But I Know My Home Is More Valuable Than a Lot of Comparable Homes in My Neighborhood Aren’t Allowances Made for This? Definitely! Sometimes, it can be difficult to find homes exactly comparable to your own. So, dollar adjustments are made for the differences between your home and comparable properties.

Where Do I Find Sales Comparison Information? The easiest source to access is your Realtor. After all, it’s his or her business to know such information! But, there are also other sources you can tap into in order to get a complete picture of your home’s value in comparison to others in your neighborhood. Here’s an overview of them:

1. ) The Local Assessor’s Office It’s very likely that your local assessor will be able to provide the sales history of a particular house, neighborhood, or style of architecture. Many assessors also provide lists of recent sales which you can browse and compare to the assessment roll. Today, many municipalities provide local sales and assessment information online making it very easy to access. Check with your local government agency to find out if they provide this service.

2.) Online Private Companies You can search for these companies using the Google search engine and the keywords “comparable home sales” or “comparable sales.” Some companies offer free information; others charge a nominal fee. If you wish to get more specific, you can Google “real estate database” and type in the name of your particular state to get additional property information. 3.) Your Local Newspaper It’s likely that your local newspaper is a great source of specific real estate information. Look for quarterly sales reports in the real estate or business sections.

The Key to Getting the Price You Want (or Close To It) for Your Home The key to getting the best value is finding and matching the right buyer to your home. And that’s the job of the Realtor! He or she should work hard to qualify those buyers upfront so the right people are viewing your property! In other words, the Realtor should weed out “lookers” and other unsuitable buyers as a first step in working with you.

See how I do that for you by calling me today! Ken Huebsch 717 514-1793 or

How to Interview Local Real Estate Agents Choosing a professional real estate agent can be a very imposing task. This person is responsible for finding your new home or selling your home, guiding you through the home inspection process, and negotiating a good price and terms. These are important tasks that should be taken seriously. That’s why finding a skilled real estate agent is key to a successful real estate transaction.

Here are several tips for interviewing local real estate agents: 

Ask all agents that you interview the same questions so you can compare their answers and ability to communicate. Write out your questions so you don’t forget any, and take notes during the interviews. You think you’ll remember what they say, but the specifics will begin to blur if you interview more than one agent.

Ask the real estate agents how long they've been in business and how many homes they’ve helped people buy and sell during the last year. An agent with experience is a very valuable asset but, with the current fluctuations in real estate, an agent with recent experience is even more valuable. Also ask how long they've been helping people buy and sell homes in the area in which you want to live. You want a real estate agent who is truly an expert on that neighborhood.

Get references of past clients from each of the real estate agents! Then follow up with those references. Ask a variety of questions such as: *What was it like to work with the agent? *Would you work with him or her again? *How knowledgeable was the agent? *What was the best thing about working with the agent?

If you’re looking for a professional real estate agent, I’d be honored to be interviewed for the job. Call me or email me to schedule an interview Ken Huebsch 717 514-1793 or

At What Price Should I Sell My Home? Think Like a Buyer In setting the list price for your home, you should be aware of a buyer’s frame of mind. Based on a list of houses for sale in your neighborhood (which can be in the form of a printed list from us, or online search results that you’ve found yourself), buyers will determine which houses they want to view. Consider the following pricing factors: 

If you set the price too high, your house won’t be picked for viewing, even though it may be much nicer than others in the area. You may have told your REALTOR® to “Bring me any offer. Frankly, I’d take less.” But in that list of houses, yours simply looks too expensive to be considered.

If you price too low, you’ll short-change yourself. Your house will sell promptly, yes, but before it has time to find the buyer who would have paid more.

NOTE: Never say “asking” price, which implies you don’t expect to get it.

Where to Find Assistance To determine the proper list price, contact a REALTOR® and have them provide you with the following professional services: 

Furnishing comparable sales.

Analyzing market conditions.

Helping to determine offering incentives.

Estimating your net proceeds.

Using Comparable Sales No matter how attractive and polished your house, buyers will be comparing its price with everything else on the market. Your best guide is a record of what the buying public has been willing to pay in the past few months for property in your neighborhood like yours. We can furnish data on sale figures for those “comps”, and analyze them for a suggested listing price. The decision about how much to ask, though, is always yours. The list of comparable sales we bring to you, along with data about other houses in your neighborhood presently on the market, is used for a “Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).” To help in estimating a possible sale price for your house, the analysis will also include data on nearby houses that failed to sell in the past few months, along with their list prices.

Consider Market Conditions A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) often includes Days on the Market (DOM) for each comparable house sold. When real estate is booming and prices are rising, houses may sell in a few days. Conversely, when the market slows down, average DOM can run into many months. We can tell you whether your area is currently a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, you can price a bit beyond what you really expect, just to see what the reaction will be. In a buyer’s market, if you really need to sell promptly, offer an attractive bargain price.

Comparative Market Analysis vs. Appraisal This CMA differs from a formal appraisal in several ways. One major difference is that an appraisal will be based only on past sales. In addition, an appraisal is done for a fee while the CMA is provided by us and may include properties currently listed for sale and those currently pending sale. In the normal home sale, a CMA is probably enough to let you set a proper price. A formal written appraisal (which may cost a few hundred dollars) can be useful if you have unique property, if there hasn’t been much activity in your area recently, if co-owners disagree about price, and any other circumstance that makes it difficult to put a value on your home. NOTE: If you do order a market value appraisal, make it clear you don’t need an elaborate, or full narrative report–the kind that’s complete with photos of the house and neighborhood, a map specifying the site, and floor plans is sufficient.

For more information on this subject, contact me! Ken Huebsch 717 514-1793

When Selling your Home....SWEAT the Small Stuff! Everyone has heard, "Don't sweat the small stuff"...but when selling your home, The Small stuff can make a BIG difference. Some Buyers can overlook the small stuff, but most can't and won't. By Small Stuff, I am referring to things like burntout light bulbs, loose doorknobs, closet doors that are off the hinges, small tears in the screen on the back porch. There are also quick & easy "Housekeeping" items that can make the home feel tidy, clean, and well maintained. Are your dresser drawers closed? Is your cute little trash can in the bathroom empty? Replace the empty toilet paper tube. Remove the stickers off your child's bedroom door. Touchup and/or repaint, if necessary. Maybe the refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher fronts need to be cleaned; or the dog hair removed from the baseboards. The Cleaner, The Better when selling your home! Same applies to the outside, as well. What is laying around that could be put away? Hoses, buckets, bicycles, garden tools, etc. Be aware of what has become normal for you; but would be an eye-catcher for someone who has never seen your home. Curb appeal goes miles... For more suggestions, contact me! Ken Huebsch @ 717 514-1793 or

Clinch the Deal with Curb Appeal! Believe me, great curb appeal is everything when it comes to getting potential buyers into your home! Plus, outstanding curb appeal can not only make the sale but increase your profit from that sale as well!

The benefits don’t stop there. Curb appeal can actually be achieved with very little money (depending on the size and condition of the home, of course). So, don’t think of it as cash spent; it’s actually an investment in more profit! Below, I provide you some very low-cost and sensible methods for making your home “shine!”

Clean – Then Clean Again! I don’t know about you but when I see dirt and grime in a house, it’s a turn off because, as a buyer, I certainly don’t want to end up cleaning it all out! But, there’s another negative to a messy house – it tells potential buyers, “The owner doesn’t seem to care about his property, so why should I care?” Granted, this is not always a fair conclusion, but, remember, we’re dealing with the “emotional” side of the buyer. What they see is what forms their opinion of a property. So, don’t risk the possibility of a negative opinion! From top to bottom, clean your home or have it cleaned by a professional service. Especially pay attention to getting rid of any odors! Unpleasant smells have a particularly negative impact upon potential buyers since odors create an immediate impact upon the most primitive and powerful part of the brain.

Get Out the Paint Brush, Roller, & Sprayer! The big temptation here is to go with the cheapest paint possible. Don’t give in to this urge. Go with good quality paint for both the interior and exterior! It simply looks better and emphasizes the quality of care you’ve put into your home. Buyers will notice that!

Roll Out the “Red” Carpet! If your present carpet is at all worn or threadbare, consider replacing it with new carpet. I know, I know, it can be expensive, but new carpet can also add several thousand dollars to the final sale price! Once again, think of it as an investment, not as an expense. At a minimum, if your current carpet is in good shape, have it professionally cleaned to make it look even better.

Repair All the Little Things! By themselves, a missing knob, a crooked gutter, an ill-fitting door, etc., don’t have much of a negative impact upon a buyer’s perceptions. However, when they see all these things together, they definitely get a sour attitude very quickly. So, repair all the little things to enhance exterior and interior curb appeal. Replace/repair gutters, rotted wood, broken door latches, leaky faucets, etc.

Manicure That Lawn! A mowed and edged lawn really enhances the curb appeal of your home and shows potential buyers that you take good care of your place. To really put the “icing” on the curb appeal “cake,” add plantings like flowers, bushes, etc. They add color and delightful smells. If you really want to make your home stand out in terms of terms of exterior and interior, consider hiring an accredited, professional “home stager” (ASP).

What’s a Home Stager? Home stagers work with the “flow” of a home. Think of them as similar to set designers for plays and movies. They know how to “set the stage” in exactly the right way to impress any potential buyer visiting your home. Overall, they eliminate clutter, arrange furniture, and help you enhance interior/exterior curb appeal in every way possible. Their charges may be on an hourly basis or a flat fee.

For information on home staging professionals, Google: “Home Staging Professionals” to see who’s available in our area. Or, check out these sources on the Internet: STAGEDHOMES.COM and The Real Estate Staging Association

If you’d like more information on home staging or any other methods of increasing your home’s curb appeal, contact me today.

Ken Huebsch 717 514-1793

I will help you make a smart decision in real estate and improve the value of your home so you're the smartest person in the room.

5 Senses to Keep in Mind When Staging Your Home by Rick on January 6, 2010

When someone comes to view your property for sale, you will want them to be moved emotionally to the point where they decide, “Yes, I want to buy this house.” Whether you want to admit it or not, properly staging your home can play a subconscious role in a buyer’s mind to give them the ammunition they need in order to pull the trigger and make an offer. Good home staging accentuates the home’s positive attributes and minimizes any negatives to increase the chances of an offer from visiting buyers. A good way to keep you on track with home staging is to remember to cater to all five senses: Make it easy on the eyes. (sight) Clear out all of the clutter, give the place a good scrub, remove any evidence of ownership (family photos, heirlooms, etc), and open all of the blinds to allow the natural light to filter in. The idea is to provide a fresh clean slate so that the buyers can see the home’s potential and imagine the place after they move in with their belongings. What’s that sound? (hearing) Have you ever taken a moment to sit and listen to the sounds of your home? People want to be able to relax inside their home to escape the hustle and bustle of the world, so make sure they are soothed the moment they set foot inside. Click off the television in exchange for a radio playing soft jazz or classical music. Have a water fountain? Turn it on. Not only will this drown out any traffic noise, but provide a calming effect.

Something smells great! (smell) Be careful when tending to the sense of smell as you will never know what potential buyers are allergic to. Turn off automatic air fresheners, avoid spraying anything to the air, and stay away from candles. Instead, try the natural route and open all of the windows to allow the house to air out. If you want to bring in some flowers, be sure to do a little homework and look into what flowers are least likely to bother buyers with allergies. Don’t leave a bitter taste in the buyer’s mouth. (taste) Who doesn’t enjoy a nice snack? Place a bowl of candy or tray of juice out in the open with a little note for buyers to help themselves. It will be a nice treat as they bask in all of your home staging efforts. For those who want to go all out, consider catering in finger foods. You can kill two birds with one stone by hitting the sense of taste and smell at the same time by baking a fresh batch of cookies or whipping up a pot of coffee. Just be sure to lay out some cups, cream, and sugar for the buyers to help themselves. What a nice feeling. (touch) At the very least, buyers will be opening and closing doors and touching counter-tops, so be sure that the place is cleaned from top to bottom. You will also want to make sure that the house is at a decent temperature; if it’s a hot day consider turning on the a/c or placing some fans. Snowing outside? Turn the heater on and set it at a reasonable temperature. By paying close attention to the five senses in your home staging endeavors, potential buyers are likely to have a positive experience visiting your home. It is important that a potential buyer feels comfortable when viewing the property; they may want to come back on a more permanent basis. Remember that your home will not get a second chance to make a good impression. Be sure to make it last by printing out some four-color flyers with several photos and home details the buyers can take with them when they leave. Of course, every grand performer (in this case, your home) loves a review. So be sure that once the showing has taken place that your real estate agent is following up by requesting the buyer’s feedback on the home. If there is something scaring off buyers you’ll need to know so adjustments can be made. Photo Credit: REAL STAGING

For more information, contact me! Ken Huebsch 717 514-1793

Prepararions for Selling Your Home