Dorrinda O’Keefe-Shea - CENTURY 21 Toomey-Lovett, Inc Centurian 2012 Top Producer Diamond Award


Adding your residence to the housing market can be tricky. And for those who are unprepared for the potential pitfalls of the real estate market, it may be difficult to get the best results from the home selling journey.

Fortunately, we're here to teach you about the housing market so you can understand what it takes to optimize the value of your home.

To better understand the ins and outs of the real estate market, let's take a look at three common misconceptions that are frequently associated with selling a house.

1. Your home has increased in value since you initially purchased it.

What you paid for your house a few years ago is unlikely to match what it is worth today. As such, it is important for a home seller to understand the current state of the real estate so he or she can price a residence accordingly.

A home seller should look at the prices of comparable residences before adding his or her home to the housing market. By doing so, this home seller can see how his or her residence stacks up against the competition and price it based on the current housing market's conditions.

Also, a home seller should complete a property appraisal. This evaluation allows a home seller to receive expert insights into a house's pros and cons. Plus, a home appraisal ensures a property seller can prioritize myriad home improvement projects to help boost a house's value.

2. You should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your house.

Although a home seller enjoys his or her residence, there is no guarantee that homebuyers will feel the same way. Therefore, a home seller should allocate the necessary time and resources to enhance a property's appearance both inside and out.

Completing simple home exterior improvement projects like mowing the front lawn and clearing dirt and debris from the walkways can make a world of difference in homebuyers' eyes. These home exterior improvements will help you bolster your house's curb appeal and boosts your residence's chances of making a positive first impression on homebuyers.

In addition, don't forget to declutter your residence's interior as much as possible. This will make it easy for homebuyers to imagine what life may be like if they purchase your home.

3. You don't need support from a real estate agent.

When it comes to selling your residence, it is always better to err on the side of caution. With a real estate agent at your side, you may be able to accelerate the home selling process and improve your chances of maximizing the value of your house.

A real estate agent will help you manage challenges throughout the home selling process. He or she will show you how to list your residence and promote it to the right groups of homebuyers, along with provide comprehensive responses to your home selling questions.

Employ a real estate agent to guide you along the home selling process – you'll be happy you did. A real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can sell your residence quickly and effortlessly.


Looking to add your condo to the real estate market? Ultimately, you'll want to set a "fair" price for your property. By doing so, you can stir up plenty of interest in your condo and boost your chances of a fast property sale.

List your condo at a price that meets the needs of both property buyer and seller – here are three tips to ensure you can price your condo properly.

1. Study the Housing Market

How does your condo rate against similar properties? Examine the housing market closely, and you can understand what differentiates your property from others that are currently available.

Check out the prices of comparable condos that have been added to the real estate market recently. That way, you can learn how other condo sellers are pricing their properties and map out your condo pricing strategy accordingly.

Also, evaluate the prices of condos that have sold over the past few months. This will allow you to identify real estate market patterns and trends and may help you establish a competitive price.

2. Hire a Property Appraiser

A property appraiser understands what it takes to assess a condo both inside and out. Therefore, if you conduct a condo appraisal, you can learn about your property's strengths and weaknesses.

During a condo evaluation, a property appraiser will identify problem areas across your residence. Then, he or she will provide a report that you can review to understand how you can enhance your property's value.

Take the results of a property appraisal seriously. If a property appraiser finds minimal problems with your condo, you may be good to go to establish a fair price for your residence.

On the other hand, if a property appraiser discovers a wide range of condo issues, allocate the necessary time and resources to mitigate these problems. In this scenario, you may need to lower your expectations for your condo's asking price based on the current state of your property. Or, you can perform assorted property improvements to bolster your condo's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Want expert insights into how to price your condo competitively? Work with a real estate agent, and you can receive comprehensive support as you prepare to add your residence to the housing market.

A real estate agent can make a world of difference for a condo seller, and for good reason. This housing market professional will teach you about the current real estate market and help you determine the right price for your condo.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent will provide throughout the condo selling process, either.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive help with condo showings, negotiations with condo buyers and much more. And if you ever have condo selling questions, a real estate agent will be able to provide instant responses.

Set the right price for your condo – use these condo selling tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your property.


Sellers who are eager to attract serious buyers and maximize the value of their home often utilize home staging as a way to leave a good impression.

Homes that are skillfully staged look better in photos online, creating more leads, showings, and ultimately, offers. Furthermore, prospective buyers want to be able to envision themselves living in a home. Staging makes it easier for them to understand what it would look like and how spacious it will feel once it has been furnished.

Home staging by the numbers

You don’t, however, have to take my word for it. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases an annual report which collects and analyzes survey data from nearly 2,000 agents regarding their experience with home staging.

In their findings, they note that 62 percent of agents agree that staging a home lessens the time the property is for sale. Furthermore, 77 percent of agents said home staging makes it easier to visualize living in a home that would otherwise be empty.

Which rooms should be staged?

Staging an entire home takes an enormous amount of time and money. One way to simplify the process is to stage a select few rooms. In the NAR’s study, they asked agents which rooms they typically staged when selling a home. The results:

  • 83% Living Room

  • 76% Kitchen

  • 69% Master Bedroom

  • 66% Dining Room

  • 53% Bathroom

  • 31% Yard Space

  • 25% Children’s Bedroom

  • 21% Guest Bedroom

From these results, we can ascertain that it’s important to stage the main rooms of your home. Lesser used a multi-purpose rooms (like offices and guest rooms) aren’t as important to stage.

Can staging your home increase the sale price?

It’s difficult to say with certainty if, and by how much, home staging affects the sale price of a home. However, if staging your home is successful at getting the attention at a greater number of prospective buyers, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to go with the highest bidder.

When the NAR asked agents if staging increases the amount buyer’s offer on a home, their responses were somewhat mixed.

  • 29% of respondents thought it increases the offer by one to five percent

  • 21% of respondents say it increases the offer by six to ten percent

  • 8% said it increases the offer from between eleven to twenty percent

  • 14% said it had no impact on the dollar value of the home

  • 27% were unsure if it had an impact on the dollar value

In general, it would seem that most agents feel that staging a home not only improves a buyer’s opinion of a home, but also increases its sale value. If you’re planning on selling in the near future, staging at least part of your home could be something to consider to give your property a competitive edge.


If you plan to sell your home, it may be helpful to prepare for a difficult negotiation with a homebuyer.

Although your home may be in great shape and you've set a fair price for it, there are no guarantees that you'll be able to avoid a long, complex home selling negotiation. However, a home seller who prepares for a difficult negotiation now may be better equipped than others to remain calm, cool and collected throughout the home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that home sellers can use to get ready for a difficult negotiation.

1. Assess the Housing Market Closely

A home seller who sets a competitive price for his or her residence may be able to avoid a complicated home selling negotiation entirely.

To determine a fair price for your house, a property appraisal is ideal. During this appraisal, a property inspector will evaluate your home's interior and exterior and help you identify any problem areas. Then, you can complete assorted home improvement projects and price your house accordingly.

Furthermore, it is important to assess the prices of comparable houses in your area. With this housing market information at your disposal, you can enter a home selling negotiation with data to support your arguments.

2. Understand Your Home Selling Goals

How a home seller approaches a negotiation may vary based on his or her goals.

For example, a home seller who needs to move out of a house as soon as possible may be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy a property buyer's requests. By doing so, this home seller can speed up the property selling cycle.

On the other hand, a home seller who can afford to be patient may be unwilling to budge on various homebuyer requests.

Consider your home selling goals closely before you enter a negotiation with a homebuyer. And if you feel uncomfortable, you can always walk away from a negotiation and reenter the housing market.

3. Focus on the End Results

A home selling negotiation can become contentious, but it is important to remember the end goals of this negotiation.

Ultimately, a successful negotiation will meet the needs of both a property seller and buyer. If a negotiation heavily favors a homebuyer, a home seller should be ready to exit the negotiation.

A home selling negotiation can be stressful, and you should be ready to take breaks as needed. For example, spending a few minutes meditating or walking outdoors may help you clear your head and reenter a home selling negotiation with a fresh perspective.

Lastly, if you want additional support, real estate agents are happy to help you. A real estate agent knows what it takes to negotiate with homebuyers and will do everything possible to ensure all parties involved in a negotiation get the best results.

Take the guesswork out of a home selling negotiation – use these tips, and you can prepare for a difficult negotiation before you add your house to the real estate market.


Selling a home takes patience. Especially when you’re balancing your time between settling into your new home, and keeping up with your work and family life. So, when you’ve finally gotten to the point of accepting an offer on your home, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief--and you should!  However, there are still a few more things that will need to happen and a couple of things to consider before closing the deal on your home sale.

Contingencies on the purchase contract

A purchase contract typically includes contingency clauses that are designed to protect the interests of both the buyer and the seller. These clauses mean that the contract is contingent upon the actions being completed before it can be legally valid.

There are three main contingencies that will likely be included in the purchase contract before closing--inspection, financing, and appraisal.

Inspection contingency

The inspection contingency allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before closing (the time should be specified within the contract, but the inspection should usually occur no more than two weeks after you accept the offer). A home inspection lets the buyer know what to expect in terms of repairs that the home needs now or will need in the near future.

Financing contingency

Since the vast majority of buyers will be purchasing their home through a loan, a financing contingency is included to allow the buyer time to secure their mortgage. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved makes this process easier, but the buyer will still have to finalize and close on their mortgage before their financing is official.

This clause exists to protect the buyer in the event that their mortgage application is denied, ensuring that they aren’t penalized.

Appraisal contingency

The third contingency most often found in purchase contracts is a home appraisal. The buyer will order an appraisal and then the appraiser will reach out to you to find a day to come and value your home.

If the home is then appraised at the amount agreed upon in your contract, this contingency is met. However, if the appraisal comes up lower than the purchase amount, the buyer can renegotiate the price.

Walkthrough and closing

Once the appraisal and inspection have been met and financing secured, the buyer will have a chance to do a final walkthrough of your home. The walkthrough usually occurs no more than two days prior to closing on the sale. A walkthrough allows the buyer view the home one last time to ensure that the condition of the home hasn’t drastically changed since the home was inspected or appraised. So, make sure the buyer is aware of any changes you planned to make to the home before closing.

Now you’re ready to close on your home sale. You’ll receive a disclosure form to review (read it carefully!) and sign. Once closing is complete, ownership of the home is officially transferred to the buyer.

While the closing process does include several steps, it’s important to be available and cooperative along the way to ensure a smooth sale and transition into your new home.




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