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Someone Wants To Buy My House, Now What?


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By: Tim Riley

Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off for you and one or more persons want to make an offer on your house…….so what’s the next step?

First, make sure you have the proper paper work for your property type and state. FSBOFox has forms available for all Quad City homes for sale. Believe it or not,  there are different forms for the Illinois QCA, (Rock Island and Moline) and Iowa QCA, (Davenport and Bettendorf).

Second, collect a “good faith” deposit, otherwise known as earnest money. There is no set number or legal amount you have to give but the general rule of thumb is 3% of the selling price. Most often this money will be held by the seller’s attorney, insurance company, or an Escrow company as a “trust.”  I have seen multiple friends selling their homes get jipped by not collecting any earnest money. The potential buyer backs out or can’t get the financing and your house was off the market for 30-60 days while waiting on the closing. Earnest money is insurance for you the seller, and if the buyer backs out you can recoup any lost money by the purchase falling through. A good faith deposit shows me the buyer is serious about the house and is confident they can get the financing. YOU NEED TO COLLECT A GOOD FAITH DEPOSIT.

Finally make sure whichever offer form you use it includes; the price, any contingencies, who pays for closing costs, closing date, and when the buyer will take possession. Many lawyers will draft these up for you. When I was a QCFSBO agent, the average cost for this service was $100 from various lawyers around the QC area.  Regardless if you have a lawyer draft the form or not, make sure your lawyer looks it over before SIGNING ANYTHING.

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How to Show Your Quad City FSBO Home


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By: Tim Riley

Clean, Inside & Out: I mentioned cleaning in my blog earlier this week, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to clean your home thoroughly before a showing. Cleaning takes some elbow grease but can close the deal on your house and help put thousands in your pocket. Don’t forget the outside of your home. Rent, or better yet, borrow a power washer from a friend or neighbor. Wash the siding, driveway, sidewalks, and any retaining walls to give your home a fresh sparkling feel. A garden hose rinse simply won't cut it.

Lighting: Let the light shine in! Pull back the curtains and open the blinds. Natural light allows all the craftsmanship and a well-staged home to pop. Opening the curtains also makes your house feel bigger and open. After speaking with dozens of QC home owners, people want an open feel in their next house.

Be a Host Who Does the Most: Make a slow cooked roast in the Crock-Pot, bake 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies, or if weather permits throw a pork shoulder or brisket on the smoker out back. These elegant smells speak right to the owners bellies. The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and the same can be said about getting to his wallet. Place the warm batch of cookies next to your QCFSBO flyers so buyers don’t forget to take one before they leave. Finally, introduce yourself with a smile and say good bye with a smile, always have potential buyers leaving with a positive impression of you.This really speaks to your character.

Make your Home Comfortable: I have been inside hundreds of open houses, and on occasion, I have felt like we were intruding. The people showing the house were tense and anxious. As humans, we transfer these feelings to others when in a small group setting, so relax. Turn the heat up in the winter and air down in the summer. Put on some quiet music that will appeal to your potential buyers. Since this can be a wide range of people you better leave Ludacris off the playlist. I personally use local radio stations which broadcast in Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and Davenport. People can connect with local stations, and it will help them connect with their new home...

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5 Steps for Showing Your QC Home


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By: Tim Riley

Congratulations on your success at this point in the game. You have taken pictures and listed your home with a QCFSBO service. You are ready to show your house for the first time. Here are 5 easy to follow steps to preparing your home for buyers.

http://photos.foter.com/66/rack_l.jpg1. De-clutter your house: This is one area I see most people overlook when showing their home. You don’t want to empty a house out, but your house should not look like an episode of hoarders, either. Leave some simple furniture in your QC home, so people can imagine what the house will look like furnished.

Woman cleaning the mirror in the bathroom2. Clean: Sounds simple enough, but don’t forget to dust the fan blades, wipe down window ledges, and put a little extra elbow grease into the bathroom and kitchen.

 

 

Couple painting wall3. Repair: Strap on the tool belt and pound those deck nails down and touch up interior walls. Make the simple repairs first and leave the bigger repairs for when your budget can afford it or factor them into a discounted house price. Two major repairs people look for in Davenport and Bettendorf homes are windows and roofs.

 

animals,boxers,canines,dog biscuits,dog bones,dogs,mammals,nature,objects,pet foods,Photographs4. Pets have got to go, for the day at least: Remove any and all signs of pets including, food dish, litter box, and dog beds. Spray Febreze if your family pet frequents a room or a particular piece of furniture. Some people have pet allergies or feel animals can’t control their bowels and have surely tinkled all over the house. Don’t take the chance of scaring off any buyers because you just never know how people feel about pets.

Friends enjoying BBQ5. Soft showing: Such a fancy term in opening a new business but can be very beneficial for your Quad Cities home for sale.  If you are located in Moline or Rock Island, have friends and family who live nearby stop in and be brutally honest about what they like or don’t like. Try to fix the “don’t likes” and show case the “likes."

 

Follow these simple tips and you will have another excellent Quad Cities For Sale By Owner tool in your treasure chest of ideas.

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Quad Cities Home Buying Assistance Programs


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By: Tim Riley

When looking to purchase a Quad Cities’ home don’t forget to look for local housing assistance programs. Housing assistance will typically have some stipulations associated with it. For exampl,e I was reading a Ruhl & Ruhl article that mentioned a program called Davenport NOW. I did a little research and discovered this was a housing tax rebate started in 2009. This program gives, "homeowners a rebate for 50% of the City’s share of your property taxes for 10 years based on your increase in assessed value” (discoverdavenport.com). To qualify for this rebate, you must be building or buying a newly constructed home or making historical improvements.

Another program I highly recommend for first time home buyers is called the Dream Program. The Dream Program is overseen by United Neighbors, and you will get $1,000 towards a down payment.  You could also receive some home improvements if they have extra grant money. They paid for all new windows in my home, and the cost was off set with a 5 year forgivable plan. I stayed my 5 years and used the new windows as a selling point. You will have to take a couple classes that last an hour, and this class will take you more informed on housing concerns, such as lead paint.

Take the time to do your research. All of the surrounding Quad Cities have programs to help you buy a home or even make updates to the current home you are living in. If you need help locating the assistance programs in your city, speak to a  qualified mortgage lender. I recommend checking with National Bank or Valley Bank for helpful and friendly customer service.

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5 QCFSBO Tips This Year


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By: Tim Riley

     1. Prepare your house: Take time to declutter your home and make any maintenance repairs you have put off for the last 3   or 4 years. These repairs can be filling nail holes from your great grandmother’s family portrait to having your roof replaced. Work within your budget and fix anything you can. Otherwise, be prepared to “get negotiated on” from a potential buyer.

     2. Price your house: I can’t stress enough how important it is to price your home correctly. I have discussed and read multiple Ruhl & Ruhl realtors’ and Mel Foster realtors’ articles from the Quad Cities confirming this. Your house will draw some of its heaviest attention just the first few weeks of being listed, and you don’t want or scare anyone off or lose any potential profit.

     3. Attack from the outside in: Spend time this year increasing your curb appeal. I personally like the DIY Network, Home Time, and HGTV for ideas. I am also falling in love with Pinterest. I know a lot of women enjoy their boards, but fellas, you need to check out this resource for outdoor ideas, too.

     4. Make a marketing plan: How will you market your house? There is Craigslist, Social Networks, News Papers, “For Sale” signs, and Quad City For Sale By Owner services. Use Alexa to track up-to-date website traffic for choosing the best QCFSBO website.

     5. Communication and showing: If you are single, then this will be an easy decision of who will be in charge of taking phone calls, e-mails, and showing the house. But keep in mind people may want to see the house when you are not available. Do you have a close relative or family member who can stand in for this in a pinch? If you're married or have a partner, designats one person to be in charge of taking the calls to keep a consistent flow of communication with buyers. Do the same for showings. This will help your buyers and you stay organized with any questions from clients.

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How to Price My Quad City Home


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By: Tim Riley

Ruhl & Ruhl, Remax, Iowa Realty, and Mel Foster real estate agents will tell you the single most important factor to selling your home is the listing price. Acting as your own QCFSBO, agent you will need to decide at what price to list your home.  If you list your house too high you could scare off dozens of potential buyers and never get them back with “reduced price,” not to mention your home will draw the most interest in its first month of listing. If you ask too low of a price you could lose out on thousands of dollars. So, how do you properly price your home? Surprisingly it’s not hard, but will take some leg work on your part.  

Start pricing your home by looking at comparable homes within a ½ mile of your home and in the same neighborhood. If you live in a rural area or a neighborhood which has not had many people sell their homes recently, you may need to go outside these boundaries. Key similarities to look for are: square footage, age of home, number of bedrooms & baths, and updates, if Pictures courtesy of http://www.merchantcircle.com/possible.

I started looking at Quad City real estate brokers’ sites and other Quad City homes for sale websites. These webpages will have house pending and recently sold markers on them and will have an idea of what their starting price was. You can look at houses which have not sold, too, but remember, the house has not sold yet. Another huge resource is your county assessor. Most of these sites will allow you to search for comparable sold homes and the price they sold for.

Acting as your own agent, you can also look towards outside resources. You will want to consider hiring a real estate appraiser. You will get an accurate market value of your home and will take the emotional and hopeful wishing out of your hands. Some realtors out there, such as Sarah Broyles, will help you with a market analysis. Don’t be afraid to give them a call and ask for a market analysis. Some realtors will do this for free.

Being your own QCFSBO agent gives you an excellent advantage vs. realtors. Realtors may include their fees into the asking price and you will not have to do that. Let’s say you decide to leave your agent because your home has drawn very little interest over the past 6 months. Your agent had it listed for $200,000. Subtract the usual 7% realtor fee and you would have received $186,000. Acting as your own agent, you can now list it for $192,000. You will draw more interest with a lower price, draw a different clientele, and you will make $6,000 MORE than your realtor’s asking price... WINNING!

Pictures courtesy of http://www.merchantcircle.com/

 

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A Fresh Carpet Smell Can Make or Break a Sale


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By: Tim Riley

Do you remember going to your great grandmother’s house as a child, and it smelled like mothballs? I hated that smell, and I bet you did, too. While mothballs have a functional purpose, they don’t have a functional smell. A house with a funky smell is a deal buster.

So, what should a QC home owner do about the odor coming from years of pet ownership? There are a few different options. The most expensive, but a great home seller, is to lay new padding and carpet. If you just put new carpet on top of foul smelling padding, your house will still stink. Plus, you just ruined hundreds of dollars in new carpet.  Padding is expensive, so get one that is within in your budget and not top of the line.

If you can’t afford new carpet, rent a carpet shampooer. These can be found at most local rental business; I have even seen them that Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, and Moline Hy-Vees. For under $100, your carpets could be looking new and smelling fresh.

If you have a few extra dollars before a showing by some scented carpet powder and sprinkle it on the floor, (I would not suggest this for dark solid colors like green). Let the powder sit for 15 minutes and vacuum. Your house will smell like a fresh bed of flowers on a warm spring day. This could be what sells your QCFSBO home.

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Quad Cities Homes


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By: Tim Riley

You may not realize how unique the Quad Cities are. There is nothing flashy about our community. We don’t host a professional team, have a vacation destination, Von Maur is probably our highest end clothing store. There are several nice restaurants with Duck City leading the way, but this is nothing like the Brazilian steak houses I have been to in Chicago. So what makes the Quad Cities real estate so strong? The companies which surround our area.

In and around the Quad Cities you can find; John Deere Headquarters, Alcoa, Rock Island Arsenal, Kraft Food, and even a network of Genesis hospitals to name some of the top employers. According to quadcitiesfirst.com these five companies combined employ nearly 25,000 people. It is our workforce which makes selling your home easy. This is why you need to at least attempt for sale by owner in the Quad Cities. People with money are here and looking to buy. Yes we are clawing out of a recession, but we were never devastated like Detroit or Kansas City. We took a hit but never fell down, and you shouldn’t get discouraged because of the market. Believe it or not the QCA is unique in real estate. It is also unique because the QC is the largest urban area along the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis.

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Why You Need To Join Pinterest


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By: Tim Riley

There is yet ANOTHER social network site to take over our computer screens and mobile devices. How many can one person follow? First there was MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter. You can find thousands of blogs out there, and 90% are updated once a decade. You also have Linkedin, Google+, foursquare, plus many more. When will it ever stop, ahhh?!?! Well you can take a breath and relax, welcome to Pinterest. Pinterest is a social network that will actually make your life easier.

I cannot believe it took this long for someone to create a site which will keep all of your favorite websites in order, and allows you to share your favorite websites. This is far and away better than your classic Bookmark Menu.

If you are looking to sell your Quad City Home as a FSBO or using the services of a realtor such as Ruhl & Ruhl or Mel Foster, Pinterest will help you show, sell, update, and decorate your home. I have created 7 boards on Pinterest for FSBOFox, our clients, and anyone else you who enjoys anything around the house. Pinterest will give more ideas and options than you thought fathomable. Creating an account is worth the 5 minutes it takes to do so. Check out my youthful boards to see what a beginners account would look like.

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How to Make a House New Year’s Resolution


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By: Tim Riley

Trash the junk food, join a gym, pitch the cigs, and get ready for a great year as to which you will drastically change your life for at least month or even a couple weeks. New Year’s resolutions should be filed under “controversial topics”. They always start off with the best of intentions but seem to wither away like a poorly kept hydrangea.  What you think is an indestructible goal gets lost in work, family, friends, and finances. I propose that you make a resolution this year which allows you flexibility yet keeps your attention for the entire year. Make a “To Do” list for your home.

Quad City homes and lawns need to be durable to last through the artic conditions of winter and still withstand 115 degree summers. Making your home energy efficient should be at the top of your list. I have talked before about getting an energy audit done. Many local companies such as Mid-American, who Bettendorf, Moline, Davenport, and Rock Island home, will do these for free. If you are a handy person, then they will even pay you to make some energy updates.

Pick one room to update or completely renovate each year. Let’s face it, updates can be really expensive. Doing a whole house renovation is practically impossible. Budget a room or multiple rooms to update each year. This year it’s the bathrooms, next year is the bedrooms, then a new roof, etc.

Make a resolution to resolve the constant mess pile of dishes in the sink. Make a contract with yourself or the family that every other day dishes will be done. If your single and eat out a ton, (which is an excellent way to burn through cash) write a contract with yourself to clean the kitchen once a week.

Making a New Year’s resolution to spruce up your house this year will give you flexibility and the since of accomplishment that we often don’t get with bodily resolutions.  Love your house, take care of it, and give it the attention which it deserves. Your home is probably the single largest investment we make, yet we tend to overlook the most. 

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