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Services for Sellers

Assisting you in selling your home includes more than just putting a photo and property information on the local Multiple Listing Service (MRIS) or on the Internet.  Marketing your property effectively to prospective buyers starts with our very first meeting.

My Goal

My goal is to get you the highest price and best terms possible in the shortest time. We will work together to accomplish this goal by presenting your home in its most favorable condition, determining the optimal listing price, and aggressively marketing your home to the most qualified prospective purchasers

Most Favorable Condition

At our first appointment, I will ask you to walk me through your home and yard to become familiar with its special features and improvements that you have made. In preparation for this appointment, please collect any available documentation, such as a survey, floor plan, dates of home improvements, and any other information that you think might be relevant. I will be able to make suggestions regarding cost-effective repair measures that will enhance the value and sale-ability of your home.

Presenting Your Home For Sale

As a certified home stager, I will be able to assist you in creating the most inviting atmosphere possible so that buyers will be excited about owning your home. In addition to making cost-effective suggestions, I will place decorative items in strategic places at no additional cost to you.  The following suggestions for your home's presentation are nearly always worth the extra preparation:

  • Your front door gives a vital first impression while a Realtor and a prospect wait for you to answer the bell. Be sure it is scrubbed clean or freshly painted.
  • Manicure the lawn and tidy up the grounds, porches, garage, and patio.
  • If any decoration is needed, especially in the front hall or kitchen, do it now!
  • One few hundred dollars worth of paint may balance $4,000 in a price cut.
  • Fill light sockets with operating bulbs.
    Clean windows and freshly launder curtains. Pull back curtains to bring in the sunshine.
  • Make up beds with attractive spreads. Put away extra items to heighten the feeling of space in all areas.
  • Put away or lock away any small valuable items. Do not leave jewelry or cash in view.
  • Keep all steps clear of hazards.
  • Replace furnace filters, make sure furnace humidifier is operational, and make mechanical equipment accessible.
  • Check your home to be sure that fuse or circuit breaker panels are labeled, plumbing lines (including from the dishwasher) are clear, sinks are not leaking, and toilet valves are not running.
  • Clean oven and range hood filter.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts, repairing, if necessary.

When your home is shown to buyers...

  • Keep pets out of the way when your home is being shown. One type of prospect is annoyed;the other gets his attention diverted.
  • Shut off the radio or television while your home is being shown.
  • Have as few people around as possible at the time of an appointment.
  • Never try to sell furniture to purchasers before the sale is completed.
  • Never apologize for the appearance of your home. Purchasers understand that you live there.
  • Do not discuss anything concerning sales details with a purchaser or the purchaser’s agent. Refer them back to me. Of course, if they have questions about the house (e.g., average utility bills), give them whatever details you have.
  • Leave the showing of the house to the Realtor. It is his or her business to sell and they know the customer. Make yourself inconspicuous.
  • Do not volunteer information. Rather, wait until you are asked.

The Optimal Listing Price

I will prepare a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) and local Market Statistics Report so that you can set the listing price for your home, based on complete information regarding its Market Value. We will evaluate the market information together.

Pricing For Maximum Exposure

Proper pricing in the fair market value range increases your opportunity to sell at the maximum price. Buyers who are serious will know all of the prices for the houses that meet their location/condition/price ranges. Your property should compare favorably with the current active listings. Too high a price, and buyers will not come to see it or will visit, but make no offers. Too low, and you may be flooded with offers, as the buyers will recognize it as a value. In order to attract serious offers from qualified buyers so that your net sales price is the highest it can be, you should price your property just above its optimal future sale price. 

My Aggressive Marketing Plan

Once your home is prepared for showing and the appropriate listing price is set, your home will be exposed to the greatest number of eligible purchasers.  The advertising campaign can include the use of multiple internet sites, the Metropolitan Regional Information System, direct mail, and print publications.In addtion, I augment these efforts with advanced technology tools such as a Real Estate Shows virtual tour and the Talking House radio transmitter. As a subscriber to eNeighborhoods Reports on local community information and School Profile Reports on detailed public and private schools, I can provide extensive information to prospective purchasers to aid them in their decision-making process. This Marketing Plan has caused uncounted successful transactions in record time.

Multiple Internet Sites

All of my listings, including still photos, are available to any potential purchasers on numerous websites. Long & Foster Real Estate maintains an award-winning web site (www.longandfoster.com) visited by hundreds of thousands each month.  My listings are included on this site, and I personally monitor and customize each site for accuracy and depth of information. For each site that permits upload of document files, I will add neighborhood information, floor plans & surveys, if available, disclosure forms, and a link to the exclusive virtual tour.

Additionally, my listings appear on Open House weekends on www.washingtonpost.com and www.allopenhouses.com.  Each print publication will include your home on its internet site (such as the Homebuyers Journal site) on every occasion that it is advertised in that publication.

Metropolitan Regional Information System

The Multiple Listing Service (known as MRIS) serves as a more extensive, yet less personal invitation to agents from other real estate companies. It gives the important information about your home to tens of thousands of agents in much of Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, West Virginia, and Delaware. The MRIS includes photographs of properties, information about schools, tax assessments, and local mapping.

The manner in which the information is entered into the MRIS computer system can influence agents to be interested in showing the property to prospective purchasers. Beside adding digital photos in addition to the standard exterior photograph, I am extremely careful about writing the remarks for the MRIS printout, and a lot of time is spent making certain that the computer printout is "just right." I will never delegate this task to an assistant.

Direct Mail

I will send a targeted mailing to likely homebuyers in the region, announcing your home as a New Listing and describing its special features. Your home will also be featured in a letter I send to special clients and customers who are part of my Client Appreciation Program.

Print Publications

Long & Foster Realtors advertises in the Washington Post every second to third week to feature your home for an Open House. Additional advertising in more specialized markets is provided and determined by the location and likely market for that home. Open House advertisements invite purchasers and agents with purchasers to visit on a specific day, Saturday or Sunday, during specified hours.

Custom Virtual Tour

As a subscriber to a specialized Virtual Tour design site, I will create a Virtual Tour that will be prominently displayed on each internet site that will support it. It will feature indoor and outdoor views with descriptive captions and music. A prospective purchaser will have the ability to imagine being inside your home, even from across the world. The virtual tour includes photos of the surrounding community amenities and local features.

Talking House

With a talking house transmitter inside your home, a prospective purchaser can tune into an AM frequency on a car radio to hear a message marketing your home. A sign in the yard will instruct them on the frequency, and the transmitter is a digital unit no larger than a radio. A Talking House generates a lot of interest, and gives me the opportunity to personally introduce the purchaser to your home and instruct them on how to contact me to show your home. If the Talking House is installed on your property, the Brochure Box will not be used.

Neighborhood Report

In addition to working with the latest technology for the advancement of our listings, I subscribe to a third party information service in order to provide prospective purchasers with up-to-date information about local areas in Montgomery County. Loaded into my laptop computer, the software shows purchasers pertinent local statistics in an easily understood graphic format. The instant availability of multiple levels of information is very useful to purchasers trying to make the important decision to buy your home. I will provide a complete neighborhood report for display in your home.

School Profile Report

I will provide a report on the local elementary, middle, and high schools for display in your home, compiled by an independent national school reporting company. The School Profile contains pertinent information on school performance, available elective, athletic, and extracurricular activities, and phone numbers for important school officials and offices. As an additional service to prospective purchasers, I can also provide reports for their use.

Services Exclusive to Long & Foster Sellers

Home Service Connections

When you become a Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. client, you have access to Home Service Connections. If you need assistance in finding contractors, a moving company, contacting utility companies, etc., this service is available for you either by phone or online. Through its affiliation with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Home Service Connections offers services of every conceivable type, provided through its referral service. There is an extensive list of pre-screened quality contracting and service providers who are obligated to provide you with the best service for a competitive cost. Your relationship with Home Service Connections and your Personal Move Coordinator can continue beyond your actual move and is at absolutely no cost to you. Please feel free to use Home Service Connections as much as you would like.

If you prefer to have a more personal recommendation, I maintain a list of service providers who have given excellent service in the past. Call or email, and I can share those recommendations. I maintain a list of the license status of each provider who requires licensing, and will tell you when I last checked. For most service providers, you can check for a Maryland license at dllr.md.state.us/pq/

Home Warranty

Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. has an exclusive relationship with the major home warranty insurers. When you list your home for sale, you may choose to provide a warranty that covers most home systems. In the event of a systems failure, the warranty covers repair or replacement with a small deductible. It will cover you, the seller, during the listing period and your purchaser for one year after settlement. It can assure you that many major repair expenses are covered, and helps assure your purchaser that the home is unlikely to incur large repair bills in the first year of ownership. The cost of the policy is usually $390 to $450, depending on the extent of coverage desired and the deductible chosen, but is not paid until settlement, when it can be deducted from your proceeds of sale. There is no up-front cash outlay.

Transaction Procedures & Issues

What Stays with the House?
Before I list the property for sale, consider which items in your home will convey with the property and which you plan to take with you.  It is understandable that such items as the heating systems, wall-to-wall carpeting, and plumbing fixtures must stay with the home.  It is also assumed, and written into the fine print of the standard listing and sales contracts, that all lighting fixtures currently installed in the home, kitchen appliances, and curtain rods, shades, blinds, and installed mirrors will convey with the property.  If it is your intention to remove any of these things, or, if you are planning to substitute another appliance or item for one currently in use, it must be disclosed at the time your home is listed.

On the same subject, some items, while they do not automatically convey, are frequently made available to purchasers.  These include such things as the washer and dryer, freezer, or draperies and curtains which have been installed in the house.  I have always made it a policy to clearly understand the sellers’ desires in these matters and to act in a cautious manner about them.  Therefore, if it is your intention to remove the washer and dryer, for example, to your new home, I will provide you with a Long & Foster DOES NOT CONVEY tag.  If you would like these items to be available for negotiation, we can indicate that choice it on the listing agreement.

The Listing Contract is a standard document used by members of the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors.  It is a contract between you, the sellers, and Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., in which we agree to the terms and conditions under which we will offer your home for sale to any qualified purchasers.  I will help you evaluate any offers that are presented to you as a result of the listing.  Within 48 hours of the date on the listing contract, your home will be entered into the Multiple Listing Service and may be shown by Realtors licensed within the State of Maryland.

About Buyer Representation and Agency Disclosure
Under the Listing Contract, any agent who is not working for a purchaser is working in the capacity of a subagent to Long & Foster.  In that case, all of the agents in the transaction are working for you.  We will not disclose confidential information to the purchaser that may be of detriment to you in achieving the best price for your property; it is our highest priority to procure the highest price and the best terms possible.  It is likely, however, that a buyer’s agent will want to show your home.  A purchaser may contract for the services of a Realtor for the purpose of finding a suitable home at the best price and terms for the purchaser.  Or, a buyer from another brokerage can be represented by that broker, who is “presumed,” under the law, to be a buyer’s broker.  In either case, the Realtor then is a buyer’s agent for that purchaser and will not be a subagent to our Listing Contract.  A Long & Foster agent who represents a buyer may show your home as an Intracompany Agent under disclosed Dual Agency. You have the right to determine whether or not you will allow a buyer’s agent or intracompany agent to show your home.  All licensed Realtors can and will work in cooperation with each other to effect a suitable and mutually advantageous transaction, and all parties are therefore well informed and protected.  You should not disclose to the buyer’s agent or intracompany agent any information that could cause the purchaser to offer a less attractive price or terms.   Buyer agency relationships are now quite common and have become an established and accepted agency relationship.   If you choose to allow buyer agents to show your home, they could be compensated in the same way a subagent would be paid- as a cooperating licensed Realtor,  Long & Foster would share the commission as stated in the Listing Contract.  There is an agency disclosure form from the State of Maryland for your review and signature that describes the various agency relationships under state law.  It is included in the back folder pocket.  Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about agency issues.

Mandatory Property Condition Disclosure/Disclaimer laws have been passed by the Maryland legislature. They apply also to properties for sale by owners, and can create legal tangles for nonprofessionals in real estate.  Maryland law requires sellers to disclose or disclaim information regarding the condition of the property to purchasers at time of contract.  You are not required to know every detail, but to disclose all material facts and/or latent defects of which you are aware.  Alternatively, you may use a form disclaiming disclosure of information.  Although you must fill out and sign one of these forms, you may choose either the Disclosure or the Disclaimer form.  Using the Disclaimer form will not remove any legal obligation you have to disclose any material facts/defects in the home, such as settling in the structure, roof  or basement leakage, or hidden damage.  Certain sale circumstances, such as estate and trustee sales, are exempted from the requirement for disclosure or disclaimer.

Purchasers’ Rights to Inspection
At the first meeting with prospective purchasers, agents are required to disclose a great deal of information including agency relationships, locations of airports, and the purchasers’ rights to inspect relevant master plans and to inspect properties for hazardous materials and conditions.  This could include radon, urea formaldehyde insulation, asbestos, and lead based paint.  Many purchasers will choose not to contract for specific tests, but it would not be unusual for a prospective purchaser to include a provision in a contract for some types of property condition inspections.  Almost all purchasers will include a contract contingency for a general home inspection. I will assist you in evaluating these requests.

Lead Based Paint Disclosure laws have been passed in Maryland requiring that owners of rental properties built before 1978 register with the MD Department of the Environment (MDE). The Maryland law is complex, so investment owners of such properties should become familiar with the regulations. The MDE website has helpful information.  A federal law requires disclosure of the possibility that lead paint is present in the home, distribution of the EPA Lead Paint booklet, and disclosure of the purchaser’s right to an inspection for lead based paint prior to a residential transaction. 

Montgomery County Law requires additional disclosures from the sellers to buyers.  Among them are the Water/Sewer forms, which disclose whether or not the property is part of the public water and sewer system or has septic systems and/or well water. Information regarding potential transfer tax consequences in Forest Conservation Areas, Agricultural transfer taxes, and Special Protection Area disclosures are also required by law.  I will help ensure that the most current disclosure forms are used in your transaction so that it is in compliance with the myriad Federal, Maryland, and Montgomery County laws.

Homeowners or Condominium Association membership is required in many communities in Montgomery County, particularly townhouse and condominium communities.  If your home is part of a Homeowners or Condominium Association, there are forms to be provided to the purchaser regarding fees; covenants, declarations, and bylaws; and assessments.  A Resale Certificate is a package of material you would order from your association administrator or president that will cover most of this information.  The Resale Certificate must be provided to a purchaser as soon as possible after ratification of a contract, since there is a contingency (again, by Maryland state law) on the approval of the documents by the purchaser.  Your association will charge a fee for providing the documents (usually $75 to $150).

Showing Your Property to the greatest number of qualified and interested prospective purchasers is vital to soliciting the best offer to purchase.  Of course, it is important for any licensed Realtor to have access to your home to show it to best advantage, and there are several methods to accomplish this objective.

Keybox:  A keybox is a small "safe" into which your house key is locked.  Only licensed Realtors are issued the Supercard keypad that can open a keybox, so that any purchaser would always be accompanied by a Realtor when visiting your home. The keybox is hung on the door  knob facing out.  This state-of-the-art keybox system has been  installed in Montgomery County and uses an electronic box that opens with the keypad device.  This system is be safer than any other security device ever used in the past, since keypads also require a PIN to be usable and must be reactivated monthly by the Realtor to whom it is issued.  It is automatically  programmed to deny access to your home before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. (or 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time). The keybox electronically records information on each entry by another Realtor so that I can retrieve a report detailing when and by whom your home was shown.

          If a Realtor is interested in showing your home, heshe is instructed on the Multiple Listing printout to call you first.  If you are home, an appointment satisfactory to you would be made.  If not, the Realtor may then open the house with the key from the keybox, relocking it when finished.  The Realtor should always leave a business card to show you that your home had been visited (it is helpful to leave a small dish in plain view with a note saying Please Leave Cards), even though we can access the same information from the keybox. The clear advantage of this showing method is that you can make appointments for your home to be shown, but Realtors can still have access if you go out.  Your home will be shown more often using this method, since homes with keyboxes are more accessible to Realtors with sincere customers.

          Call Owner:  With this instruction in the printout, a Realtor must call you to make an appointment.  Since this restricts the flexibility of the Realtor, it could restrict the number of purchasers who see your home.  It is used most often in situations where a dog in the home may be unpredictable or nervous or when a burglar alarm is installed and armed.

          Call Agent/Key In Office:  The Realtor would call me to make an appointment or meet the Realtor at your home with a key that I would have.  Alternatively, the Realtor could pick up a key to your home from my real estate office and return it after the showing.  Again, these methods restrict showings but may be necessary or desirable under certain circumstances.

Feedback from Showings. You will have a page dedicated to your home on www.homefeedback.com, with a userID and password. I will enter agent showings onto the site, requesting email feedback from any agent who has been in your property. You will be able to view the responses from the agents, and I will have an efficient means of communicating with them relating to any changes or special events in connection with the marketing and sale of your home.

The Estimated Selling Costs Worksheet will be completed by me at the time of a sales contract presentation so that you will have an approximate figure for your net equity in your home. The Sales Contract is standard document. There are two common versions, one provided by the Maryland Association of Realtors, and one called the Regional Contract. Each covers many important items with regard to the mechanics of selling your home and what is expected of you and the purchasers.  Please take special note of paragraphs 11 and 12 (MAR Contract) or Paragraph 3 (Regional Contract), which discuss the condition of the property that is expected at the time of settlement.  You may also note that there is considerable discussion of the type and terms of financing for the purchasers.  This is to insure that the purchaser must go to settlement on the property under the specified terms.  There is another section of the contract devoted to items that will or will not convey with the property.  It is wise to complete this section at the time of listing the property, so that there will be no confusion as to these items.  The completed list will be included with your fact sheet package for prospective purchasers.  The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors has developed addenda for use with either contract to address specific Montgomery County contract law issues.

It is often customary for the negotiation of the contract to include a provision for the sellers to pay a portion of the "points" normally required by lenders.  A point is one percent of the loan amount (e.g. one point for a $175,000 loan is $1,750).  Lenders will charge from 1 to 4 points to place a loan, and this fee is payable at the time of settlement; it cannot be added to the loan amount.  Therefore, purchasers may include the "sharing" of points in a contract negotiation if their cash situation makes it difficult for them to bear the entire up-front charge themselves.  Maryland law has also changed the amount and manner in which state and county transfer taxes can be paid at settlement.  These fees are approximately 2.2 percent of the sales price, and are typically split 50/50 between sellers and purchasers.  As sellers, you will be primarily interested in the net amount that you will gain from the sale of the property. 

In addition to financial considerations, purchasers customarily request contract contingencies regarding terms or conditions that are important to them.  Some common contingencies include a professional inspection of the structure and condition of your property (notwithstanding your own disclosure statement); the potential presence of hazardous materials, such as radon, asbestos, etc.; or the sale of the purchasers’ current home.  Each of these contingency requests can be examined and, if necessary, negotiated as part of the contract negotiation process.

I am very careful to explain your options during the sales contract presentation, so that you would always be fully aware of the points of negotiation, their impact on you and the purchaser, and the amount of money you could expect to realize from the sale in any scenario presented. In this marketplace, it is critical to evaluate the credit-worthiness of any buyer and to ensure, as much as possible, that the buyers will be able to obtain the financing necessary to purchase your property. I have a many years' experience in making this evaluation.

In addition, once the negotiations are completed and a contract is ratified, I am careful to follow the process from ratification to settlement, eliminating contingencies as they come due, so that settlement is smooth and predictable.

All first mortgage products are provided by Prosperity Home Mortgage. Prosperity Home Mortgage may not be available in your area. Licensed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. 4440 Brookfield Corporate Dr., Chantilly, VA, (703) 222-1800. ©2012 Prosperity Home Mortgage. All Rights Reserved. NMLSR ID #70353.

The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the Broker Reciprocity/IDX (Internet Data Exchange) Program of the New River Valley Multiple Listing Service, Inc. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. are marked with the Broker Reciprocity logo (IDX) and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing broker.

IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and should be independently verified.

Listing data provided by Metropolitan Regional Information as of Saturday, October 21, 2017.

Although the Multiple Listing Service of The Roanoke Valley is the single source for these listings, listing data appearing on this website does not necessarily reflect the entirety of all available listings withing the Multiple Listing Service. All lisiting data is refreshed daily, but its accuracy is subject to market changes.

All copyrights and intellectual property rights are the exclusive property of the Multiple Listing Service of The Roanoke Valley. Whether obtained from a search result or otherwise, visitors to this web site may only use this listing data for their personal, non-commercial benefit. The unauthorized retrieval or use of this listing data is prohibited.