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


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.


Preparing your house to sell can mean different things in different markets. You want your home to be competitively priced and attractive to the buyer, so you put some extra effort into staging and end up with no takers. What happened?

Despite what you see in decorator magazines and on television, sometimes less is more, way more when it comes to staging your home.

Here are some areas to watch out for when following staging “advice.”

  • Over the years, real estate agents have shared the notion that freshly baked cookies or bread evoke a warm and welcoming atmosphere. But unless you're offering the treats to share, leave the baking to the shop down the street. The idea has run its course and appears to be just what it is—a sales tactic that might backfire on you.
  • In the same vein, don't light scented candles all over the place. What seems delightful to you may be overpowering to your potential buyer. They may be wondering just what you're trying to cover up. Instead, open the windows and air it out. Or use an odor-removing spray with a "fresh" or "linen" scent.
  • Don’t cover the windows. Don’t buy new blinds, new drapes, new valances, or sheers. Just don’t! Your windows should be as lightly-dressed as possible. Remove or pull up shades to let the dazzling sunlight stream through the clean glass. Chances are, your buyer has different taste from you, so spending money on new window coverings would be a lose-lose!
  • Leave the music and television off. Since you don't know your buyer's taste in music any more than you know their taste in candles, allow the home's everyday sounds to become music to the buyers' ears.
  • Don’t decorate every surface. It’s easy to do when using magazines or home décor shows as your guide, but savvy buyers want to see the nitty-gritty surfaces. They want to know what they’re buying, and not worry about what you’re covering up with all that stuff.
  • During holidays or events, don’t overdo the celebratory decorations. These become distractions and may turn off your buyers.
  • If you've painted a room a deep shade of red or purple, consider painting it light and bright before your open house. Regardless of how popular they are in theory, homes with darker shades don't sell as quickly as lighter hues.• Don't leave family portraits and very personal items hanging on walls or filling display spaces. You want the buyers to imagine themselves there, not to see you.

When staging your home for sale, opt for less, not more. Less furniture, fewer window coverings, and limited décor give your home its best chance. For more ideas on home staging, talk to your local real estate agent.


There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right. 


Make Necessary Repairs


Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.


Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.   


Find A Real Estate Agent


Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire. 


Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed


If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.


Prepare For Home Showings


While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.   


As a home seller, it is crucial to do everything possible to get your residence "buyer-ready." In fact, if your house dazzles a buyer, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your home sale earnings.

Ultimately, it can be quick and easy to get a house buyer-ready – here are three tips to help you prepare your residence for prospective buyers:

1. Bolster Your House's Curb Appeal

When a potential buyer goes past your home, you'll want your residence to make a great first impression. And if your residence has outstanding curb appeal, a prospective buyer may choose to set up a property showing right away.

To improve your house's curb appeal, you should mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and do whatever it takes to make your residence attractive to potential buyers. Of course, if you need extra help to bolster your home's curb appeal, you may want to employ professional contractors as well.

2. Remove Clutter

Antiques, paintings and other décor may help you transform your house into a home. However, these items may do more harm than good when you try to show your residence to prospective buyers. And in some instances, various personal belongings may make it tough for you to show off the true size and beauty of your residence.

It generally is a good idea to remove as much clutter as you can from your residence. Remember, your goal as a home seller is to make it simple for a buyer to envision what life may be like if he or she purchases your house. If you eliminate clutter from your residence, a buyer should have no trouble imagining what life may be like as the owner of your home.

3. Clean Each Room of Your Home

A neat, tidy home is sure to impress prospective buyers. Thus, if you allocate time and resources to clean each room of your house, you could boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Oftentimes, it helps to hire a professional home cleaning company. With this company at your disposal, you can get the help you need to improve the appearance of each room of your home.

As you get ready to add your house to the real estate market, you also may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to help you get your house buyer-ready, as well as prepare for each stage of the property selling cycle.

A real estate agent will offer expert guidance throughout the home selling journey. He or she will provide recommendations and tips to help you showcase your residence to the right groups of prospective buyers. In addition, if you ever have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them.

Get your house buyer-ready – use the aforementioned tips, and you can improve your home's appearance and increase your chances of enjoying a seamless property selling experience.


An open house can have a significant impact on the property selling journey. As such, it is important for a property seller to allocate time and resources to prepare for an open house. If a seller plans for an open house, he or she may be able to boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable property selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every seller needs to know about open houses.

1. There is no shortage of open houses held on weekends in cities and towns nationwide.

Many open house events are held throughout the year in cities and towns across the country. These events commonly take place on weekends and enable sellers to showcase their residences to dozens of prospective buyers at the same time.

Ultimately, it is important to find ways to differentiate a home from the competition. If a seller can promote his or her residence to the right groups of potential buyers, this individual may be able to convince buyers to attend one open house over another.

2. An open house gives a seller a great opportunity to make a positive first impression on buyers.

As a seller, it is paramount to embrace the opportunity to connect with buyers. An open house allows a seller to do just that, as it ensures this individual can provide buyers with a stress-free opportunity to view his or her residence.

When it comes to getting ready for an open house, it generally is a good idea to clean both inside and out. Also, a seller should perform home repairs and remove home clutter. Because with a neat, tidy residence, a seller can make it easy for buyers to envision what life may be like if they decide to purchase a particular residence.

3. Every open house provides a seller with a valuable learning experience.

Regardless of how much a seller prepares for an open house, there is no telling how this event will turn out. However, a seller who sets realistic expectations for an open house can plan accordingly.

In the worst-case scenario, no buyers will attend an open house. If this happens, there is no need to worry. In fact, a seller can learn from the experience and use it to find new ways to promote his or her residence to prospective buyers going forward.

For those who need help selling a home, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you get your residence ready for an open house, a real estate agent will offer tips and guidance so you can achieve the optimal property selling results. Perhaps best of all, if you ever have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them at any time.

Streamline the home selling process – hire a real estate agent today, and you can receive comprehensive assistance as you navigate each stage of the property selling journey.




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