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QCFSBO Final Walkthrough


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By: Tim Riley

Your big day has arrived, and I’m not talking about marriage. You are finally closing on your Quad City home and there is just one last hoop to jump through before contracts are signed and checks are written. It’s time for the final walkthrough. Sounds so…..professional, doesn’t it? While the lingo sounds like business, some people approach this more casually.

Don’t fall into the latter category. You have been hoping, dreaming, and working for the past several weeks or even months to sell your own home. You have had Ruhl & Ruhl realtors walkthrough your open house, Mel Foster contact you about their services, but you stayed strong and sold your place as a qcfsbo and saved thousands of dollars.

The final walkthrough will be performed within a few days of the closing if not actually on the day of the closing. Before this day arrives make sure everything in your home is in working order; appliances, toilets, sinks, lights, fans, sprinklers, furnace, air conditioning, windows, and anything else the buyer may be double “inspecting”. Finally make sure any and all agreed upon repairs are completed by your final walkthrough. If anyone of these items is left unresolved it could blow a closing out of the water or push the closing back weeks.

Finally, be respectful. Make sure the house is clean and ready to move in. This is not a must unless previously agreed upon, but I do believe in Karma. Nobody wants to move into a dirty house, and since you are selling your QC home, you will be moving into a place and hopefully it’s clean.

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Full Lead Disclosure


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By: Tim Riley

I found my first Quad City home scanning local MLS sites such as Mel Foster and Ruhl & Ruhl. Just in case you don’t know all real estate websites have the same houses listed with the Multiple Listing Services, (MLS). So there is no need to scan multiple realtor websites for different houses. I chose the real estate company with the best user friendly MLS interface and scanned homes there.

I also found great local organizations that will help you purchase your first home and also educate on home ownership. One such company in the QCA is United Neighbors, who offers the DREAM Program. The DREAM Program makes purchasing a home more affordable for moderate to low income families and educates home buyers. As first time home buyers don’t most of us fit into this category? One educational area they focus on is lead paint. It is a federal law to provide a lead paint disclosure for the purchase of any home built before 1978. Any known lead in the house or lead test results must be shared with the buyer.

The government banned all lead based paints in housing structures prior to 1978 because of harmful toxins found in lead.  Some of the side effects of lead poisoning include brain damage, slowed growth, nervous system damage, pregnancy difficulties, high blood pressure, digestive problems, headaches, and even muscle & joint pain. Lead can affect anyone, but small children are at the highest risk. Young children will pick up a paint chip from a door jam or window seal and put in in their mouth without hesitation.

The lead disclosure laws gives the buyer 10 days to have any lead inspections completed. As the seller make sure you disclose all information you know regarding lead based paint in the home. I would even hand the home buyer an EPA lead information pamphlet.

Also be sure to share all material facts with home buyers. Materials facts are anything which could affect the home buyer’s decision on purchasing the property. If you know of any problems or repairs that have been recently made share these with the home buyers.

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Quad City Home Inspections


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By: Tim Riley

Full home inspections are usually one of the last hurdles in selling your own home (FSBO). 99.9% of people will have one of these completed because receiving a loan from most Quad City Area lenders will require you to have this done. If you are fortunate enough to pay cash then you may not get a full house inspection but I would strongly advice against this. A full house inspection looks for many possible “hidden” problems which can financially sink you later. Here is a list of potentially costly items home inspectors will be looking at:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Structure and foundation of the home
  • Appliances
  • Mold & mildew
  • Damp basements
  • Roofs & chimneys
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems

If you know there are problems with any of these it is best you repair them before listing your house. Some of the items such as water in the basement or a leaky roof must be listed in disclosure forms according to Iowa & Illinois real estate laws. Selling your home in the Quad Cities will present a few particular items an inspector will be looking for; cracked basement foundation, outdated electrical system, worn out shingles, and termite evidence. If an inspector does see termite evidence they will refer you to a pest control specialist for another, more thorough, inspection.

A home inspection can last 1-4+ hours depending on the size of the home. Home inspectors are working for the buyers so make the inspector’s job as easy as possible to keep them happy. Have clear pathways to the utility room, make sure there is easy access into your home, and don’t agree to an inspection the day after a Super Bowl party.

Inspectors will find items wrong with the house, it is their job. Don’t take this as a negative or as deal breaker. The home inspection is not a wish list for the buyers and your contract will dictate if something has to be repaired or not. Since I am a DIY I used the inspection on the house I bought as a price negotiating tool and settled on a lower buying price.

When I sold my Quad City home I had an issue with old termite evidence. Laws had change from when I bought my house to when I sold it. Basically what came of the inspection was I needed to have the house treated again for termites even though I never had any issues personally. I could have opted out of the sale and relisted my house, but I would just come across the same issue the next time we came close to closing on it. I forked over $700, sold my home, and thanks to selling QCFSBO I still made a healthy profit and was able to make a nice down payment for my next home.

 

 

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Furnace Back Up Plan


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By: Tim Riley

Some people looking for Quad City homes for sale might be turned off by a wood burning fireplace, but I on the other hand, had it as a must. I love the smell of a wood fire; it brings me back to my childhood and seeing my dad cozied up next to the fire place like a dog on a bed. The crackling and popping collimated with the deep orange flames and red burning embers really creates the perfect date night with your spouse, while not having to hire a baby sitter.   

While viewing homes on Ruhl and Ruhl and Mel Foster, I saw many more gas fireplaces then the traditional wood fires.  The thought and work which goes into making a successful fire isn’t easy, but isn’t hard either. I am the type of person who thrives on instant results and this presents the perfect light hearted challenge to get me through the day. I think most people would want a wood fireplace if they thought of them as a backup plan to your electricity going out in the winter. MidAmerican recently reported 9,000 homes losing power during this erratic winter. I would hate to be without power, which is required to run my furnace, with temperatures below 0° this year. So, I will be heading out to my local tree trimmer and picking up some soft woods (to start the fire) and hardwoods (which burn longer, slower, and hotter) to heat my family and home just in case during this percurious winter.

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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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