Representing Exceptional People

Selling Real Estate Throughout Northern Los Angeles

Pricing Your Home to Sell

Did you know the best chance for selling your property is within the first seven weeks?

Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net upon the sale. It is very important to price your property at a competitive market value at the signing of your listing contract. It is currently a seller’s market, but a lot of sellers approach the market assuming their house must be worth more than the last. This is often not true.

An Overpriced Home:
Minimizes the number of simultaneous offers
Dis-incentivizes agents to show your home
Limits the number of qualified buyers
Lowers showings
Limits financing options
Nets less for the seller when there aren’t more than one offer at the same time

When you are ready, contact me today for a personal market value analysis of your home. No hassles or obligation – just honest advice on how to get top dollar for your home!

Staging Your Home For Sale

  • Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers.
  • Don’t replace a yucky shower door, but scour it.
  • Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully.
  • A master bedroom should appeal to both rid of features that seem too gender-specific. Paint the walls a neutral color, and choose bedding that matches.
  • Updating an old fireplace screen is a cheap (and quick) fix. After removing the screen and wiping it down to get rid of the dust, mask off the windows so you won’t get paint on them. Then, using a can of heat-resistant spray paint, give the screen a facelift.
  • Stain dated kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential buyers. Instead of paying big bucks to replace them, just stain them.
  • Stainless-steel appliances are definitely in with buyers.
  • Save money on granite countertops. Granite countertops are a huge selling feature, but they can be expensive. Here are a few ways to save on this investment:
  • First, do the demo yourself.
  • Shop for remnants from previous projects.
  • New kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers. Studies show that new kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers, so get rid of old appliances that make the rest of the kitchen look dated.
  • Buyers love built-in bookshelves. There’s a fine line between filling them with clutter and staging them to sell. The trick is to arrange neutral items in clusters. Make sure that no single accessory stands out too much. That way, you’ll show off your attractive built-ins, and not your personal belongings.
  • Curb appeal is vital to attracting buyers. Plant flowers in bloom, and you’ll have buyers swarming like bees to your front door.
  • A nice outdoor deck can be a big selling feature, but an old one is a major liability.
  • Staging rooms to show off their true potential is essential when selling your home. Clear out clutter or other personal items that will distract buyers. Paint the walls a neutral tone, and furnish the space to show off how functional it is.
  • Use tape outlines on the floor instead of actually moving furniture around. Rearranging a room to stage it for your open house? Here is a tip to save time and effort: Instead of lugging the heavy furniture around the room to see what feels best, put outlines on the floor with painter’s tape. Arrange the room according to your outlines, and save your energy for counting offers.
  • Vinyl tile is an inexpensive way to update your home. Laying vinyl tile is an inexpensive way to update your home, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. You need to avoid laying patterns that look too perfect. Instead, make sure to switch up the direction and placement of the tiles to mix the tones. That way, you end up with a floor that has a natural feel.
  • Let the sun shine in. Buyers love light and airy living rooms, but dark and dingy isn’t on their list. Open up your window shades to let some light in. You can never have too many lamps. Last, arrange the space with lightly colored furniture, and you’ll have a living room that brightens your chances of a sale.
  • Stage rooms with one purpose so buyers will know what it is. Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses. To avoid this problem, first clear away clutter and excess furniture. Paint the walls a neutral tone and then furnish the room with a desk to stage it as a home office in which buyers will want to get down to business.
  • Unpleasant pet odors won’t win over buyers.  Be sure to get rid of old carpet that can trap offensive smells. Replace it with fresh new carpet in a neutral color. Plus, if you paint the walls to match, your living room will look bigger. It’ll go from designed to smell to designed to sell.
  • Pack up unnecessary items and furniture before you show the house.  Pack up unnecessary items and furniture, and move items to your garage or a nearby storage facility.
  • Storage space sells! Potential buyers love homes that have lots of storage space. Since they will open your closets, it’s a good idea to clear out unnecessary clutter, and organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have.
  • Create a nice flow in your rooms. Buyers are attracted to homes that have a good flow. You can create circulation by replacing square or rectangular dining tables with round ones. Cutting the corners adds room to this maneuver and creates a spinoff effect that adds flow to your home — cash flow, that is.

– Some of these tips were originally seen on HGTV, Designed to Sell designer Lisa LaPorta

The importance of the Transfer Disclosure Statement in Real Estate Sales

  • A transfer disclosure statement, also known in real estate as a “TDS”, is required by law. Section 1102 of the California Civil Code requires that every residential seller complete a TDS for the buyer.

    The TDS is one of the most important seller disclosures that buyers receive during their initial 17-day contract contingency period.

    If you need help preparing a transfer disclosure statement or have further questions, please consult a real estate lawyer. Real estate agents cannot provide legal advice. Importance of the Transfer Disclosure Statement

    Out of all of the important disclosures, this three-page document is the one most often used as supporting evidence in court when a buyer decides to sue a seller for non-disclosure. That’s why it’s very important that sellers fill it out correctly and disclose all material and pertinent information, which may affect the buyer’s decision to move forward with the purchase. 

    Most of the form is self-explanatory, but there are a few confusing areas that even some real estate agents do not completely understand. First off, this form must be completed in the seller’s own handwriting, your agent cannot and will not complete this form for the seller under any circumstances. If you are unable to fill it out, ask a close relative to do it for you, but do not ask your agent.



    Date of the Disclosure

    • This is the date on which you, the seller, completes the disclosure. If something changes between the date the TDS is completed and the property sells, a responsible seller will update the transfer disclosure statement.

    Additional Disclosures Section

    • Sellers may want to make the buyer’s future home inspection part of this disclosure by checking the appropriate box, in addition to including pest reports or any other types of inspections.


    • Sellers should indicate whether they are presently living in the property.


  • The main thing you need to keep in mind about the TDS is that you, the seller, are not warranting the condition of the home; your job is to fully disclose its current condition.  You are simply disclosing its condition.

    Section A is read across, not down, because some items to the right are associated with boxes to the left.

    Sellers should check only the items that are in or pertain to your home. For example, if your home does not have a spa or an air conditioner, you do not check those boxes.  Be sure to check every box for every item which your home does have. This section asks whether the home has a range, dishwasher, smoke detectors, rain gutters, pool, among other items, and whether water is supplied by the city, well, private utility or other. Check each box that applies. If you disclose the home has window screens, for example, and there are no screens, the buyer might demand that you buy all new screens.

    Don’t make it up or guess! If you do not know the age of your roof, do not make up an age — nor should you say the home has 220-volt wiring if you are not certain that it does. If a buyer cannot connect a dryer because there is no 220 wiring, guess what the buyer may demand from you?

    Remember to initial the first page.


  • If you check “yes” to the question that asks if you are aware of any significant defects or malfunctions in any of the following items in Section B, you will need to describe them in the box below. Don’t just check yes – also describe the defect or malfunction.  Most homes have some sort of issue one way or another, but they should be disclosed. Even if you do not think the defect is significant, you should probably disclose it anyway, especially if you have knowledge about it. Section B also puts the parties on notice that the home might not comply with government mandated requirements, it doesn’t mean that you have to fix everything you disclose, but Buyers don’t like surprises.  If a Buyer can prove you knew about something and neglected to write it down or give them an opportunity to ask more questions about a material fact, it can become an issue down the road.


  • These 16 questions ask for a lot of information, and you should read each question carefully, and think about it before answering.

    For example, question 2 asks if there are features of the property that are shared in common. If you have a fence, for instance, that is most likely a shared feature between you and your neighbor. If that fence has caused disputes with your neighbors about the location of the property boundaries, you may also want to consider checking question 3 as “yes.”

    Question 8 asks about flooding or drainage. If rain water puddles near your home, you should disclose that fact.

    If you live on a busy street or your neighbor’s dog barks, consider answering “yes” to question 11.

    Buyers aren’t likely to walk away from purchasing your home if they read that a dog barks or early morning trash collection trucks cause an occasional disturbance, however they get upset if those nuisances were not disclosed during the sale of the home.

    Remember to initial and sign page 2 of the transfer disclosure statement.


  • Certification from the seller that smoke detectors are installed in accordance with regulations and the water heater complies with applicable law.  In most sales, especially in the case of an FHA or VA loan, there will need to be functional smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detector and a strapped water heater. It is best to take care of these items when preparing your home to go on the market. The buyer’s lender’s appraiser will make a note of these items and if they aren’t installed it can delay the sale.

  • Both the listing agent and buyer’s agent will complete these sections.  They may choose to supplement their disclosure with another form called the Agents Visual Inspection Disclosure, but at a minimum they both need to complete these two sections. Under no circumstances should an agent ever check the box that says there are no items for disclosure. There are always items to disclose.

    Agents are often advised not to diagnose the problem or deficiency but should state it in simple terms. For example, if there are black spots in a shower, the agent does not know for certain if it is mold… it should be disclosed as “black spots”.  This gives a buyer an opportunity for further inspection to set their mind at ease.

    Note that real estate agents should disclose only what they observe. Agents are required by law to walk the property and note everything they see, even if it’s a crack in the sidewalk.

    Sellers sign page 3. Listing and buyer’s agents sign page 3. Buyers initial and sign receipt.

What is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist®?

SRES® designees are certified senior specialists, knowledgeable about financial & emotional challenges seniors may face.

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