Tag Archives: finding an agent

Five Steps to a Faster Home Sale

It is true that a seller’s market (like the one currently in southern California) favors the seller, but buyers are still an important part of the sale equation. There are critical steps sellers can take to reach the ideal buyers who are willing and able to pay top dollar, and to ensure a smooth and expedited escrow process. And it all starts BEFORE listing your property. Here are five steps to a faster home sale.

RBH_termiteOne: Work out the bugs     Having a pre-listing pest inspection done before listing your property can help eliminate surprises (like extensive termite damage) that can throw a wrench in the escrow process and keep the cost of repairs lower, giving the seller more control. Completing recommended repairs ahead of time can be a big selling point, and obtaining a termite clearance report by a licensed pest control company (required by many lenders to fund a loan) can help facilitate a faster escrow.

Two: Call in the inspector     Similar to a pest inspection, doing a home inspection before listing your home will give you an idea of any major (and minor) repairs that will be recommended and likely negotiated as a result. Sellers can give themselves an advantage by either making major repairs ahead of time or taking the cost of those repairs into consideration in the asking price. Keep in mind that buyers may (and should) still opt to have a home inspection done, but a home in great condition reassures the buyer as to the value, will help expedite contingency removals, and will keep more money in the seller’s pocket during escrow.

Three: Move Out     While there can be drawbacks to selling an unoccupied home, the benefits can outweighRBHmovingbox them. Vacating your home prior to listing protects your personal belongings, allows your home to be thoroughly cleaned and staged to be showcased at its best, and most importantly, it makes it much more accessible for potential buyers to see. It is also much more convenient for the seller.   Otherwise, you will have the constant headache of having to keep your home in “showing” condition at all times and be willing to drop what you are doing to vacate the property on a moment’s notice to accommodate potential buyers and stay competitive with other homes for sale in the area.

Four: Showcase it with staging     Whether your home is vacant or occupied there is a range of home staging options, but it is always recommended. Ideally, your home will be de-cluttered and de-personalized, and decorated in a tasteful and generally appealing way. If you do not have this talent, you can ask for guidance from your real estate agent and possibly consider hiring a professional. In a vacant home, staging is recommended in the living areas and master bedroom, and any other areas whose function is not well defined in the home to help buyers visualize how to use the space.

Five: Pre-listing marketing     This is where having a great real estate agent can make all the difference. When selecting a REALTOR ask about his or her pre-listing marketing strategies. These can include posting a “Coming Soon” sign in the yard and marketing to neighbors, advertising in local newspapers or websites, and posting “Coming Soon” on social media outlets and websites such as Zillow.com. Your real estate agent should also be promoting your property before coming to the market with other real estate agents who may have potential buyers through networking and broker caravans. Some REALTORS also do “Exclusive Preview” open houses or parties where previewing the home is by invitation only prior to a general Open House to further build excitement. All of these strategies help to build anticipation and demand and often translate into multiple offers.

And multiple offers puts sellers in the drivers seat so you can sell your home faster and with a smoother escrow.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       http://rbhaley.com/           CalBRE#01843189

Tips for Buying in a Seller’s Market

If you are a home buyer in today’s real estate market, you may be experiencing some challenges. Low inventory and faster selling times (average of 21.8 days Days on Market) make this seller’s market tough to navigate for potential buyers. So what can buyers do to stay competitive? Here are 8 tips for buying in a seller’s market.RBHaley Mortgage Calculator

Get Pre-approved before you start looking     Getting pre-approved before you start looking will give you the price range you know you can comfortably afford, and looking below that will give you some room for negotiating up if needed. Also, getting pre-approved shows sellers your credit worthiness and sets the stage for a smoother and more successful purchase.

Know what you need vs. what you want     Knowing your must-have features (and being in agreement on those if you are buying with a significant other) helps you know where you are willing to compromise and where you are not. Knowing what is negotiable in your mind will speed up the decision making process while ensuring that your priorities stay in check.

Find a rock star agent     Anyone can search for homes online, but a rock star real estate agent is well connected to other realtors and the market, and may even learn about homes that are not yet listed. She or he should give you a competitive edge by using her or his resources to not only find you right home, but help sell you to the listing agent and sellers as the ideal buyers. If you aren’t getting that kind of service, it might be time to look for a new agent (and we happen to know a few amazing agents!).

Be ready to act. Fast.     Being ready to act fast goes beyond being pre-approved. You will want to have a pre-approval letter written by your lender as well as proof of funds (such as a bank statement) to show you are willing and able to make a Good Faith deposit upon acceptance of your offer. It also helps to have letters of recommendation from employers, landlords, and anyone else who can vouch for your good character and dependability. Have these things ready to go so that an offer can be executed on a moment’s notice, as even mere hours can make the difference in a seller’s market.RBHaleySignContract

Make your best offer     Many sellers are receiving multiple offers right up front. If your offer isn’t competitive from the get go you may not get the chance to counter offer. Remember, it’s not always about price. You can enhance your offer by reducing or eliminating contingencies or showing flexibility to work with the seller’s time frame. Understand what the seller is looking for and write your offer accordingly.

Make it personal     Don’t be afraid to tell your story as a buyer to appeal to the seller. Most sellers (unless it is an investor) cherish their home and want to know that whomever will be buying it will love it as much as they have. Get creative and you will be light years ahead of your competition.

Be realistic     As a buyer in a seller’s market, you are probably not going to get a killer deal. Be realistic in your offer based on current values but resist the temptation to bid beyond what you can comfortably afford.   Stay focused on what gives that home real value and do your research on comparable properties so you know whether the purchase is a good investment and why.

Keep moving forward     If your offer was rejected or you were outbid, don’t despair! Do your best to move on. Believe it or not, there are many “right” homes out there; it’s just a matter of finding the right one at the right time. Stay optimistic and keep looking…often times buyers end up finding something better!

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       www.RBHaley.com         CalBRE#01843189


How to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar

Selling a home is both science and art. There are the numbers (economics)…and there are the people (buyers). Something magical happens when you get the best of both. Here are the tried and true recommendations for how to sell your home fast and for top dollar.

RBHaleyDollarSignFind the Pricing Sweet Spot     First, start by finding out what has recently sold and what is currently for sale in your neighborhood. Realtor.com can be a great tool for this. The value of your home is based, in part, on the theory that buyers will not pay more for a similar home in the same neighborhood. Ideally, your home will be priced slightly less that what is currently listed (to attract buyers), but slightly more than what has sold recently. A home that is priced too high is likely to sit on the market longer. Potential buyers automatically assume that something is wrong with the property, which may keep them away or only attract the bargain hunters (which may result in a lower selling price).

Downsize belongings     You have no doubt heard about the importance of decluttering your home, but the purpose behind it sends a powerful message. By creating space in your home, you are showing potential buyers that your home is comfortable, livable, and well cared for. What impression do you think it makes when things are jammed into closets and cabinets are overflowing? Think hotel; only the necessities.

Upgrade to move-in ready     Most buyers today have an expectation that the home they buy is going to be move-in ready; most are not looking for a large home improvement project. To appeal to these buyers you want to get familiar with the current trends and follow them. A great tip is to visit model homes, as they often do extensive research on their presentation to appeal to most potential buyers. Take note of popular materials, styles, and uses of space.


Put your best foot forward     In most cases, potential buyers will view photos of your home before ever setting foot in it. Guess which photo they are likely to see first? It pays to enhance your curb appeal. In many cases this may mean simply laying fresh wood chips and planting some flowers. And, don’t forget about the backyard as well.   When it comes to photos of the inside of your home, lots of light and beautifully staging a home can make all the difference to online buyers.

Hire the right agent     A great real estate agent is knowledgeable, professional, and reliable.   Not only should she or he be able to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible, but is also someone who brings you value by negotiating a sale that protects and promotes your best interests as the seller…and can help sell your home fast and for top dollar.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       www.RBHaley.com         CalBRE#01843189

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Moving In


Buying a home is a process. That process starts with working with a lender to get pre-qualified, then shopping around to find an agent and a home. The next stage in the home buying process includes making a purchase offer (and possibly counter-offer), getting acceptance and agreeing on terms, and successfully completing the purchase transaction in escrow. Once you purchased the house…the next step is to become the occupant! Make your move into your new home low stress by following a recommended timeline and using these helpful tips for “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Moving In.”

Moving begins before moving day. A smooth and successful move takes planning weeks in advance, especially if a relocation or sale of another home is involved. Here is a general week-by-week timeline you may find helpful (or use this checklist for moving):

Four weeks prior to moving:

  • Start sorting items and begin acquiring moving materials (boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap)
    • Tip: every item should be assigned one status of KEEP, DONATE, or DISCARD
  • Make a list of accounts, creditors, insurance, and businesses to contact, and notify of new address if possible
    • Tip: you can start making these updates as you pay the final month’s bill before you move
  • Notify the utilities company of where you are moving to/from so that service can be turned on/offRBHmovingbox
  • File a change of address form with the Post Office
  • Inquire about the registration process if kids are switching schools

Three weeks prior to moving:

  • Decide what items you will move yourself and schedule a moving company to help with the rest
    • Tip: check your homeowner’s policy on whether moving is covered by your insurer and take inventory of all your belongings
  • Continue sorting and packing
    • Tip: color code labels as you pack so that like items are packed together and can be easily unpacked
    • Tip: sketch out a floor plan of your new home so that you have a general idea of where things will go and what may not fit
  • Make a list of important names, phone numbers, and addresses to take with you (and keep it handy)
    • Tip: send out an email with your new contact information to friends and family ahead of time
  • Make any travel arrangements needed for your move (including any arrangements for pets)

Two weeks prior to moving:

  • Dispose of any flammable or hazardous household items (it is usually okay to leave labeled cans of the home’s current paint colors)
    • Tip: check with your community about hazardous household waste disposal locations and hours
  • Consider ordering a curbside dumpster for large amounts of trash
  • Discontinue regular services such as landscaping, newspaper delivery and/or subscriptions, pest control, etc.
  • Finalize plans for moving larger items (TV antenna, swing set, trampoline, etc)
  • Plan to use up frozen and stored food

One week prior to moving:RBHmailbox

  • Determine what items of value (jewelry, etc.) you will keep with you during the move and where
  • Drop off all donation items (or arrange for pick up)
  • Clean appliances
  • Make arrangements to connect/disconnect phone/internet service at your new home and sold home

The day prior to moving:

  • Pack a suitcase or box of necessities that you will need upon arrival
    • Tip: include kitchen and household items such as phone chargers and cords, paper towels, trash bags, hand soap, scissors, drinking water, snacks, and toilet paper


  • Plan to be at your sold home as movers arrive to oversee the loading process
  • Check the condition of items that are being loaded
  • Verify your new address and phone number with the movers, and be prepared for payment
  • Take a final tour of the property, including the yard
  • Lock all doors and windows and turn off all switches
  • Meet your movers at your new home and oversee the process of unloading

Welcome home!

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Making a Purchase Offer

So, you found the perfect home…now what? Assuming you have already take steps to get pre-qualified (if not pre-approved) for a home loan at this point (if applicable), and you already found a real estate agent you trust and want to work with, the next action step is to submit an offer to purchase the home. If you’re not sure what that looks like, keep reading on “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Making a Purchase Offer.”

Contact the Listing Agent. The first thing your buyer’s agent will want to do is confirm with the listing agent that the sellers are still accepting offers. Even if a home sale is Pending, the listing agent may accept back up offers in the event that the current accepted offer falls out of escrow. A good agent will also be able to glean some additional information and get a general feel for what the sellers might be looking for. Keep in mind that the sellers may also have criteria for selling, such as a time frame for closing escrow or moving.RBHaleyDollarSign

Consider an Offer Price. Start by taking a look at your own price range (the amount for which you have been pre-qualified) and what you feel comfortable paying. It can be easy to get excited and emotional about a home you want, but try to keep a long-term perspective throughout the process. Your agent should share with you comparable nearby homes that are for sale or have recently sold to help guide you to a purchase amount that seems appropriate. Be sure you are comparing like features (for instance, if one home has a remodeled kitchen and one doesn’t, then that should be taken into consideration).  Also, leave yourself some room for negotiation and closing costs (not to mention moving expenses).

Other Negotiable Terms. There are other terms and expenses included in the sales transaction that can be factored into the purchase offer. These can include paying/not paying for reports and/or suggested repairs, removing or including contingencies for the sale, and accommodating the seller’s timing needs for escrow or moving, among others. Generally speaking, the easier the buyer makes the purchase on the seller, the more likely their offer will be accepted. This can also mean that the buyer may be shouldering more risk, so it is important to walk through all of these things with your agent.RBHaleySignContract

Submitting and Offer and Counteroffer. Once you settle on a purchase offer price and ideal terms of sale, your real estate agent will help you complete the purchase offer contract (or Residential Purchase Agreement). This will be sent to the listing agent to present to the sellers. Often times (and especially in a “seller’s market”), the sellers will counteroffer with a higher price and/or additional terms. Your real estate agent will help guide you through this negotiation process (which might include several counteroffers) while promoting and protecting your best interests.

If all goes well, your offer will be accepted and the process of escrow will begin. For more information on the next stage of the home buying transaction, stay tuned for “What to Expect When Buying a Home: In Escrow.”

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Finding an Agent and a Home

Thanks to technology, searching for a home and finding a real estate agent to represent you through the home buying process is easier than ever. According to Realtor.com, 42% of buyers start their home search by looking online first. Interestingly enough, however, 53% of buyers rate their agent as being most important for finding the right home. So, while the internet can be a helpful tool when buying a home, working closely with a real estate agent you trust can make it a much easier and more positive experience. Here is What to Expect When Buying a Home: Finding an Agent and a Home.

RBHcomuterFinding an Agent. Although many people start their home search online (and before they have taken any other steps), your chances of a successful buying transaction increase if you start first by getting pre-qualified. Knowing your price point will help keep your home search focused on what you know you can afford. Once you have that information and a general idea of what you want and need, then you will want to start searching for a real estate agent to help you find it.

Referrals are a great way to start this process. Who do you know that has recently bought or sold a home, and would they recommend their agent? Chances are, you know someone who knows someone, so ask around. Before contacting an agent, be sure to do an online search for reviews of the agent (just remember that reviews can sometimes be paid advertisements). Also check the agent’s license status with California Bureau of Real Estate (it is recommended to use the license number from their card or website rather than their name). Interview multiple agents and choose the one you trust and want to work with the most.

Find a Home. With your agent on board, now you will want to actively start the home search. Communication with your agent and feedback are critical. Many buyers like to participate in the home search online, and your agent should encourage that. Since non-MLS sites may contain inaccurate information, it is best to allow your real estate agent to set up a custom MLS search based on your criteria. He or she can have homes that match your criteria automatically emailed to you, or may even be able to provide you with a custom URL that will give you direct access to the MLS for searching purposes. You can usually search the MLS from your agent’s website as well.

RBHhomecouryardWhen searching, try to keep in mind your “needs” and “wants” in a home and keep a big picture perspective. Some considerations to think about are: Is it situated near a busy street (are there noise or safety concerns)? Is there plenty of parking? What do the surrounding homes in the neighborhood look like? Try driving through at various times of the day and talk to other neighbors. What schools are nearby? Is there shopping, transportation, and restaurants/entertainment nearby? Are there other amenities, such as parks, nearby? If you see any vacant land, check on whether there are plans to develop it. When touring the inside of a home in person, try to look past the current homeowner’s possessions and envision how you might live in that space. There is a lot to consider and making a checklist can help. Your agent should also be able to help answer many of these questions for you.

In 2015, the average buyer typically searched for ten weeks and looked at a median of ten homes before they bought one (Realtor.com). Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t finding what you want (and don’t be too quick to compromise on your “needs”). Try not to become too emotionally invested in any one house and keep an open mind for a second and third choice when offers become competitive. Your agent is working to serve your best interests, so collaborating and communicating makes for a more positive home searching experience.

Once you find your ideal home, the next step is to make an offer. We will be covering that stage of the home buying process in our next article “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Making a Purchase Offer.” Until then, happy hunting!

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CalBRE#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Selling a Home: Finding the Best Real Estate Agent

Congratulations, you’ve decided to sell your home! Now what? Learn what you need to know in our series “What to Expect When Selling a Home”. The first step? Find the best Real Estate Agent.

It’s important to know that not all real estate agents are created equal; finding the best real estate agent or REALTOR for you and your situation takes a little effort but it’s worth it! Before you start looking, you will want to ask yourself some important questions, such as:

  • Why do I want (or need) to sell my house? Make sure everyone is in sync on this to avoid misunderstandings and stress down the road.house-question-2-1583652
  • What is my time frame for selling? Know whether you need to close escrow by a certain date, and/or know your minimum and maximum time to sell.
  • What price range do I want (or need)? It’s important to be realistic. Familiarize yourself with recent comparable sales.
  • Am I prepared to get my house ready to list for sale?  Whether you just need a fresh coat of paint or a complete upgrade, getting your house ready to list may require some effort, energy, and expense.
  • Do the unique circumstances of your sale require a specialist? From short sales to foreclosures to military to seniors, there are many types of real estate specialties that can make a particular agent better suited to assist you.

Then, start asking around for recommended referrals. If you don’t know anyone who has bought or sold a home recently, try asking a trusted professional like your accountant, banker, or attorney. You can also search for real estate agents on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, and even the R.B. Haley Website.

But don’t stop there. Continue your research by reading reviews from past clients, conducting an online search, checking out his or her website and listings, and verifying his or her license and status with the California Bureau of Real Estate.

Interview at least three real estate agents. A good real estate agent should come prepared with: recent comparable sales data from the MLS, knowledge about the current market and trends, questions and feedback regarding your home, a detailed marketing plan, and other useful resources such as checklists and fact sheets.  Ask questions, such as:

  • What kind of experience do you have with selling homes like mine?
  • What is the average time to close on your listings?
  • How close has the selling price been to the asking price on your listings?
  • What kind of recommendations or programs do you have to maximize the value of my house?
  • May I have a list of past clients to contact as a reference?

sale-2-1232740-1919x1275Perhaps most importantly, you should feel confident in your agent’s abilities, commitment, and integrity as your representative. If not, move on; he or she may not be the right agent for you.

If so, the next step is to review and sign the Listing Agreement with your agent. Stay tuned for the next article in our series of “What to Expect When Selling a Home: Listing Your House for Sale”.

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416