Brian K. Judy

Selling Smarter

Core Four Pics

What Marketing Actually Matters?

Most sellers and real estate agents never stop to ask: “What marketing actually matters?”  As it turns out, there’s a very specific answer!

Every year the National Association of REALTORS® conducts a nationwide survey to gather extensive data on the housing market.  One particular graph holds the answer to this critical question – the graph that shows “How Buyers Found the House They ACTUALLY BOUGHT”.
And it reveals that over 96% of all resale home buyers found the home they actually bought in one of just FOUR WAYS – what I call the “CORE FOUR.”
They are (in current order):
1.  The Internet
2.  Real Estate Agents
3.  For Sale Sign
4.  Friends & Family
As a seller, these are the Core Four areas your agent must focus on to deliver maximum marketing power to get your home sold for top dollar.
Want to know exactly how my proprietary Core-Four Strategic Home Marketing system works?  I’d be happy to share every detail – just give me a call at 480-334-2737.  I’ll answer personally.  ;o)

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Step by Step timeline

Day 0 – Offer Accepted – This is when you’ve finally got a deal! The Buyers and Sellers have both agreed to the terms of an offer.

Day 1 – Escrow Opened – The earnest deposit is sent to the title company along with a copy of the fully signed contract. This should be done within 1 business day.

Days 1 – 10 – Due Diligence & Inspections – The due diligence period begins the day AFTER the contract has been signed by all parties. It lasts 10 days OR until the Buyer Inspection Notice & Seller’s Response form has been submitted. This Due Diligence Period is the time for home inspections, termite inspections, reviewing HOA CCR’s, commitment for title insurance, and learning anything else of interest regarding the suitability of the property.

The Buyers may request that certain repairs be made. This request for repairs must be submitted before the end of the 10 day Due Diligence Period. The Sellers then have up to 5 days to respond – either to agree, decline, or propose some alternative solution (ie – offer a credit at closing in lieu of completing the repairs).

Appraisal – The contract includes a built-in safeguard that the property must appraise for at least the offer price or the Buyer has 5 days to cancel the contract. It is good practice to have the appraisal completed during the inspection period so all key contingencies can be removed as soon as possible.

Days 10 – 25 – Loan Processing – The final body of work is usually the completion of loan processing, underwriting, and then preparing the loan documents for signatures. Loan docs are to be at the title company AND signed 3 full days prior to closing (ie – loan docs need to be completed on Monday if the closing is scheduled for Friday).

Day 25 – Signing at Title Company – Buyers are to sign loan documents 3 full days prior to the scheduled closing date. This is also the time for Buyer down payment funds to be brought in either by cashier’s check or wire transfer. Cash buyers may wait until later. Sellers may sign as soon as the final HUD (settlement statement) has been prepared.

Day 30 – Recording – This is the finish line! After all documents have been signed and all funds received, the title company records the sale with the appropriate county and it is officially done! Possession and keys are delivered following the recording of the sale.  Sellers typically receive their funds from the sale the following day.

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Seller Closing Costs

The whole list is spelled out below… A quick rule of thumb is to plan for closing costs to total about 7% of the sales price, or 10% if you’re giving 3% toward Buyer closing costs.

Brokerage Fee – My fee is 6% of the sales price – 3% for the other agent and 3% for my work. Additional savings may be available with FairFlex CommissionsSM.

Everyone knows: you get what you pay for.  Whether you choose me or another pro, you’ll add thousands of dollars to your bottom line by paying a professional agent for top notch work versus mediocre results with a discount agent.  If an agent decides to get business by lowering their price (instead of doing the work to be the best they can be), what do you think their approach will be to getting your home sold?

Owner’s Title Policy – This is a required title insurance policy purchase to insure good, clear title is being given to the new owners.

Escrow Fee – This is the title company’s fee for handling the sale. This fee is split 50/50 by Buyer and Seller.

Interest Through Closing – Loan payments are made in arrears (meaning the payment you make February 1st pays for owning the home in January). If you close on January 31, the title company will collect the interest for the number of days you owned the property in January as part of the proceeds going to the bank.

Taxes Through Closing – Property taxes are only paid twice a year (April and October). The title company will collect a pro-rated amount for taxes through closing. If the bank was collecting money every month to pay your taxes and insurance, you will receive a refund of whatever amount was in that impound account after closing (except in a short sale). They typically mail you a check a few weeks after closing. Remember to cancel your homeowner’s policy to get a refund for any remaining time on that policy, too.

HOA Fees – Arizona requires sellers to pay the HOA Disclosure Fee if there is one.  Other HOA fees can be paid by either party as negotiated.  My experience is that HOA transfer fees are most often paid for by the Seller and prepayment of HOA dues is paid by the Buyer.

In addition to normal HOA dues, there are three HOA fees commonly collected at closing.

– Disclosure fees (must be paid by sellers)

– Transfer fees (to the HOA itself and/or the management company)

– Capital improvement/capital reserve fees (to build up cash for improvements such as new playground equipment, entry monuments and signs, etc)

HOA fees vary widely.  Monthly fees typically range from $125 – $250.  On the high end, deluxe condominium complexes (like those at Tempe Town Lake) have HOA fees over $1,000 per month.

Buyer Assistance – Many Buyers ask for (and need) Seller help to pay their closing costs.  Most Buyers who need the help ask for 3% to help them, and most Sellers find that it makes sense to cooperate, particularly if the Buyers offer close to the full asking price.

Home Warranty – This fee is also negotiable, but Buyers often ask the Sellers to pay for it.

Miscellaneous – There are a number of other little fees such as Recording Fee to the county, Reconveyance/Tracking Fee to ensure that the bank releases your note, courier fees, etc. They’re typically less than $300 all together.

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Staging To Sell

Staging To Sell: how to stage your home to sell fast and for top dollar!

Staging your home can produce a high return on your investment of time and a little money. Want some more ideas? Just drop in at a few model homes to see what they’ve done.
Here are a few proven strategies and photos to get you going.
Clear the counters.
The kitchen counters should only have a couple items on them for decoration, not use. Toaster ovens, blenders, coffee makers, etc, take up a ton of space that you want freed up. Clear off the bathroom counters, too. It’s best not to have razors, chargers, contact solutions, prescriptions, brushes, hair spray or makeup sitting out – just plants, flower vases, and soap. Perhaps a neat pile of rolled towels if you’re feeling fancy.
Set the table.
If you’ve got a formal dining table, set it! Use a pretty centerpiece and full place settings to properly show it off!
Pull down family pictures.
You’ve probably heard this already. It has more to do with removing distractions than anything. Buyers need to be able to emotionally “move into” your home, and that can be hard to do with your family hanging around.
Clear off the fridge.
It’s surprising how much “cleaner” the entire kitchen feels when all of the magnets, notepads, school papers, and prescription forms, and photos are removed from the refrigerator. Bundle up the “keepers” neatly and put them in a drawer for convenient access.
Add some color.
Plants are a quick way to liven things up. It’s ideal to have two-tone paint in neutral tones with the colors added by green plants and flower arrangements. Keep ’em silk so they never wilt.
Put up curtains.
Look, it’s really not that hard – or expensive – and it can really finish a room. Bedrooms are often the most boring rooms in the house, but simple window treatments can bring them to life.
Wash the windows.
Probably the most often overlooked opportunity to make your home shine. Builders pay professionals to come and regularly clean the windows. Why? Put identical homes next to each other – one with dirty windows and one clean – and people instinctively pick the clean one. EVERY TIME.
Bake cookies.
Tubs of cookie dough are inexpensive and provide plenty of that fantastic “something yummy is in the oven” smell. Stay away from candles for selling. Cookies beat candles all day, every day. 
Shortcut: put a tablespoon of vanilla in one or two cups of water and heat it on the stove. Same benefit with no mess. Just don’t forget it!

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What Is A Short Sale?

A short sale is the sale of a property for less than the lender(s) are owed. It is subject to approval by the lenders, and the terms of their approval are generally clarified in an approval letter. ALWAYS have the approval letter reviewed by your attorney to ensure that you are property protected from any undue future liability.
*No Realtor® is qualified to give tax or legal counsel regarding a short sale.
Short Sale Seller Advisory – This was prepared by the Arizona Department of Real Estate and the Arizona Association of Realtors® for your protection. Definitely check it out:
My Go-To Guys – These attorneys are an important starting point. Each of them is a proven professional at advising homeowners of their options. It’s their job to answer the tough questions and provide direction for you. I simply handle the real estate sale.
Mark Winsor
Winsor Law
Doug Edmunds
Edmunds Law

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