Mary Crane's Blog
24 Rocky Brook Rd, Dover, MA 02030
When you own a condominium, even if you’re entrance is street level, you're not really in charge of the common area or the building's exterior. All the entries look alike, and some even enter from hallways. So, how do you differentiate your home from the four or five others that are for sale in your complex?
Try these simple steps to give your place the edge:
- Mind the door. While you may not be able to paint your condominium door a bright, trendy color, you can take a few moments to make sure it is clean and free from scuffs and finger marks. Use a whisk broom to brush off all dust, debris, and detritus that collects in the grooves and trim. If the door is wood, use a mild solution of a wood-safe soap to wash down the door, inside and out. Then, shine the door up with furniture polish so that it glows. If the door is metal or painted, use a gentle mixture of dish soap and water to remove grease and grime.
- Make it shine. Clean any glass in the door or sidelights with a vinegar and water solution or an appropriate glass cleaner. Use a metal cleaner on the door handle, deadbolts, and any metal trim, including the trim around the peephole, and shine up the fisheye lens too.
- Don’t forget the threshold. With a clean door, you’re already ahead of the game, but take a moment to sweep off the threshold (the wood or metal strip below the door), and all around the edges of the stoop or entry. Even when your doorway is in an interior hallway, the regular building cleaners may not get that extra dust and leftover dirt in the corners. Use your vacuum cleaner to suck away the last crumbs.
- Be welcoming. Set a fresh new welcome mat in front of your door and add a flower pot of bright blooms if you’re allowed. For interior doors, a tasteful wreath or swag on the door highlights your entry. Be careful to avoid going “over-the-top” though. Simple and elegant is best.
- Clear the entry. Your real control of the "appeal" starts once the door opens. Keep the entryway as open and uncluttered as possible. Move furniture away from the entry area to give it a more expansive feel. Keep décor simple, warm, and inviting. Avoid anything the potential buyer might bump into upon entering as that tends to leave the impression of small and crowded.
- Lighten things up. Put the best possible light on the subject. Take time to upgrade the bulbs in your entry lights (inside and out) to “daylight” LEDs for a friendly, well-lit glow.
A warm, inviting entrance sets the tone for the rest of the home, so give yours the edge it deserves.
40 Bogastow Brook Rd, Sherborn, MA 01770
658 Main St, Medfield, MA 02052
Once your house is on the market, it’s easy to get caught up in what happens next. Be careful though, if you’ve already found your next home and made it perfect in your mind, the disappointment if your plans fall through can be awful. No one wants their purchase or sale to fall through, but it does happen. That disappointment can open you up to taking the wrong offer for your home. Before you make that mistake, think about why your current deal fell through and try to mitigate those possibilities before taking your next offer. With any luck, you’re reading this before your first offer, and you can benefit from never experiencing that offer falling through.
Low Appraisals or Nearby Home Sales
Your buyer will likely get their own appraisal done on the property since their lender will only cover up to the appraised value of the property. If that appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price or the buyer’s offer, the deal is likely to fall through. Most buyers are unable or unwilling to cover the difference in cash, so unless you're willing to accept a lower price that matches the appraisal, everyone is out of luck. You're not necessarily stuck with this appraisal if it’s much lower than your own or what you expected the Fair Market Value to be. Appraisers are human too, and sometimes they just miss things. However, if both appraisals come back lower, you may want to adjust your pricing down to something the market will bear.
If your home is rare or exceptional in some way, there may truly be no other similar homes for comparison nearby. This often happens with larger estates, totally-remodeled homes, and historical landmarks. Go ahead and ask for a wider geographical area to be included, specifying homes with similar features and upgrades. This can give a more accurate and favorable FMV appraisal.
Errors or Glitches in the Documentation
Legal documents are a complicated mess, and every single part must be perfect. Incorrect spellings and addresses, missing or illegible signatures or dates; a plethora of mistakes and typos can pump the brakes on the closing. Triple check every single page the first time you receive it. If anything at all is wrong, send it back for a corrected version or rider immediately. Rinse and repeat until you have error-free documents.
A variety of situations can cause your title documentation to be incorrect. If you recently changed your name, went through a divorce, got the home through inheritance, or purchased through a lease-option—or other less conventional methods—your title could be incorrect and not have your current ownership status. Check all your homeownership paperwork including the title, any past loans or liens and all other paperwork you have that might block your path to a clear title. Then get it resolved as soon as possible. That way there are no surprises late in the game.
Before you agree to an offer, ensure that the buyer is pre-approved and pre-qualified for the right amount to cover the cost of your home. Finding out at the last possible moment that your buyer has less money than promised can put a wrench in the works. This might tempt you to drop your price to match their funds, especially if you've already placed an offer on a new home yourself. Check early and often to avoid being caught in a tight situation. You can also get held up by last-minute lender paperwork. Government lenders especially require a variety of proofs and reassurance so even one missing document can derail the whole process. All of this can be avoided by making sure that your buyer has their down payment available, and is totally pre-approved for a loan before you accept their offer and lock it in.
Okay, so there is no way at all to plan for these. If you need to sell your home on a schedule, don't accept a contingency offer. Here's how they work: You agree to an offer from a buyer contingent on the sale of their property. That means you are stuck together for the duration of the process. If their home doesn’t sell, neither does yours. However, if you’re on a variable schedule and really like the offer, it could be best for you to lock in the buyer and then just wait until the process completes. Just be aware of the pitfalls and plan for them as much as possible.Make sure to ask your agent about these and any other reasons a deal might fall through. They can help you plan for these situations and prevent them where possible.