Category Archives: Home Sellers

Home seller checklist before showing your house

  • Declutter – Remove all unnecessary objects, dishes (clean & dirty), small appliances, clothing, shoes, small statues, toys, toiletries, magazines, newspapers and collections from counters, dressers, tables and floor.
  • Clear all walking paths – the home should have a smooth flow of traffic and should not be hindered by baby gates, extension cords, large boxes or furniture.
  • Light and bright – adjust blinds to allow natural light through out the home. If necessary, turn on lights or lamps.
  • Inspect your yard – hoses should be wound into a neat coil, yard tools should be put away, grass should be cut, flower beds should be weeded , walks, drives and landscaping should be edged, front door/entry way should be free of cobwebs, dirt, leaves and debris. Snow and ice should be addressed to insure safe entry.
  • Bedrooms – beds made, clothing put away, dressers cleared, closets in neat order. Secure all jewelry and items of value.
  • Bathrooms – clean and clear – put all bottles, brushes, creams, salves, ointments, cleaning products, plungers and wet wash clothes where they belong. Secure all prescription medications.
  • Pets – Please take your pets with you when your home is being presented to prospective buyers. This may not always be possible, but is a best practice. If you have to leave Fido and Minnie in the home – place them in a safe and secure environment such as a carrier or designated, gated area. It is important to have your Realtor advise and instruct other real estate agents there are pets in the home. Litter boxes should be exceptionally clean.
  • Home Office – secure all sensitive materials and electronics.
  • Garage – should present itself as a place to park vehicles. If the bays are presently used for storage – an orderly system should be in place. Park vehicles off premises when your home is being viewed.
  • Closets – Orderly and sparse – if your clothing or coats are extremely crowded, this may inform the prospective buyer that there is inadequate space to store their clothing. Delete everything unnecessary and un-used.
  • Clean, Clean and Clean – broom swept, vacuumed, dusted and shining. Empty all wastebaskets and trash cans. A clean home smells like a clean home.
  • De-personalize – remove all family photos, sports team memorabilia, religious items, political objects and controversial elements.

Prospective buyers have a need to “picture themselves” living in your house/condo.  A neutral environment will allow an image of where to place their family portrait. Safety is utmost to insure a pleasant visit. Packing up anything you are not currently using will assist with showing your home and creating a head start for your move forward.

Your real estate professional can guide and direct you to a successful sale.


© 2019  All rights reserved.




This article is the third in a series to assist when you have inherited a home. As stated in article #1, you have already taken the initial actions required for property possession. The second article directs you to Realtors and legal professionals to establish the change in authority of ownership. A crucial and necessary action will now be to assess the home’s structure, condition and contents before listing the property.


To some degree, we know our own home’s deficits and benefits. If you have not recently resided in the inherited property or were not involved with the routine maintenance, this property is a mystery. To complicate matters, if the inherited property is not local to your network, you may be starting from scratch for reliable professionals to assist with general assessment and repairs.


Inherited property processes
Content liquidation allows a complete view of the home and any needs it may have before listing it for sale.

Immediate distribution, according to estate documents, of contents will clear the home for a realistic view of what will need accomplished for listing the property. After the inherited contents have been distributed, there most likely will be items remaining. Household items can be donated or sold. To do this yourself will necessitate time, patience and tenacity. If you choose to utilize a company specializing in estate sales, be prepared to forfeit a high percentage of value through their fees. Research and references of the company’s business practices is highly advised. This Realtor® has witnessed lifetime estates practically given away for a fraction of total worth through estate sales. Eliminating emotion and living with regret require sound decision making.


If you choose to do content liquidation yourself, contacting a local real estate professional or someone who has the specific experience will offer information to expedite the process. It saves a lot of dead end telephone calls and wasted miles for research. A short list to start this project is:


  • Donate pantry goods to the local food pantry/bank.
  • Set up a garage sale – checking local ordinances if a permit is required. Advertise through garage sale websites such as com,, or
  • Construction materials, tools and building materials can be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
  • Ebay may be an option for selling specialty items.
  • Donate highly specific items to universities – such as high end telescopes or tools to a student at a technical school.
  • Local consignment shops may be a source for selling furniture and antiques. Check the policy and contract for fees, tenure, pick up and delivery.
  • Shelters and furniture banks are a source for household item donations.


After the property has been cleared, inspect for structural deficits, electrical and plumbing needs. Selling a property “as is” may be accomplished for a cash buyer. A buyer applying for a mortgage may have to meet specific code or structural requirements for loan approval. Insurance companies may also require certain repairs before policy approval. This assessment goes beyond paint and flooring. A pre-inspection by a professional will provide the information necessary before listing a home for sale. A local real estate agent may be able to offer a list of referenced and accredited professionals available to assess and complete repairs. Utilize their expertise instead of reinventing the wheel.


If circumstances prevent you from repairing structural infractions, there are real estate companies that purchase homes in disrepair. The offer you receive will most likely be lower than market. If there is an outstanding mortgage on the home, the offer made by these companies may not be enough to cover the outstanding payoff. Be aware of the market value of the house. Contacting an experienced real estate agent with knowledge of the local market will be able to provide a CMA, Comparative Market Analysis. This will give you insight to the value of your asset.


A sound structure, a bright and light clean home will yield the highest return. Curb appeal and inviting entrance will attract buyers.




Follow me on twitter: Andi Peto-Selby@bdrealtyadvisors
© All Rights Reserved 2017

Tone down your inner Clark Griswold

tone-down-your-inner-clark-griswold The holiday season adds another layer of stress due to extra activity, maintaining a semblance of order for house showings and the possibility of receiving a sales contract. Your goal is to sell your house.

If you always have a live tree displayed, opt for a smaller version than the one you usually choose. Remove a piece of furniture from the room where the tree will be displayed. Be aware of maintaining natural traffic flow through the room. If you are actively showing your home, do not make the room appear smaller with added decorations.

Replace the Christmas villages, train displays and luminosities- star-light and strobe illumination effects with natural winter-like elements. Seasonal plants, such as poinsettias, bowls with red and green candy and subtle fragrance items. It may be best to store the Santa toilet seat covers, yards of lighted stair bannister holy and The Nightmare Before Christmas bedspreads. Be cognizant, your displayed religious pieces will detract from keeping your home neutral to prospective buyers.

Keeping the “exterior illumination” and yard adornments to a minimum will also allow prospective buyers a clear view of the home’s exterior. Front doors should not be covered with trimmings that will not allow a buyer to actually see the condition, style and material type. Safety should always be a priority and extension cords and electrical wiring should never be crossing a walkway, hall, room or doorway.

A generic home, not theme specific, will expedite placing a “sold” sign in the front yard. If you are unable to minimize your holiday activities and displays, discuss with your Realtor® options in reference to temporary suspension of home showings. Selling your home should always be the focus as long as it is actively listed. A professional real estate agent or broker will have the expertise to guide you through the process. 2016© May not be reprinted without explicit written permission. All worldwide rights reserved.


Blunt advice for every home seller

The following 20 action items may not be applicable to your specific home selling circumstances, therefore pick and choose the actions specific to your needs.

1. If your garden tub does not have a shower head – tear down the shower curtain surrounding it (You don’t need to have a prospective buyer psychologically analyze why it is there)

2. Get rid of the scatter rugs- immediately (If there’s a hole in the floor put hazard tape around it)

3. For the love of all religions –There should not be an egg yolk stained dish, spaghetti laced colander, or sticky, fingerprinted water glass in sight. (take the dirty dishes with you before the Realtor brings the prospective buyer into the house)

4. TAKE THE TRASH OUT – “Out” meaning, out of doors, put it in your car, take it to the office – anywhere but inside the house.

5. Take half of the books displayed and box them up for storage.

6. Fake plants/flowers have no place in the world – especially in your house during a showing.

7. Clear the walls. Take down the ducks, clucks, and bucks or anything not resembling an invisible icon. (NO family portraits- the portrait of a woman with the jeweled crown on her head still haunts me)

8. Bathroom vanities should only have some type of soap/container out and NOTHING ELSE.

9. Two – ONLY two (2) items should remain on the kitchen counters

Clear the kitchen counters
Clear the kitchen counters

–Seller’s choice.

10. Window sills are sacred ground. Not even a dust particle should be displayed on any window sill. (I almost had a bowling ball collection land on my foot when opening the blinds at one showing)

11. Put half of your furniture in storage. Tour a model home. There is an absence of dressers, occasional tables, foot stools, curio cabinets, file cabinets and bookcases.

12. Box up the electronics. Prospective buyers will have Chevy Chase flashbacks if they are overwhelmed with multiple surge protectors and a pasta spiral of cords exposed.

13. Door handles were never intended to be display hooks for foundation garments and jock straps.

14. Shoes should only be displayed on a human being’s feet. It is a tripping hazard to crawl over a mountain of shoes in the foyer, vestibule, doorways and on stairs.

15. Closets should have nothing on the floor – unless the set of golf clubs or a vacuum cleaner is the only item being stored.

16. Your children and pets can temporarily live with 2 or 3 toys until the house is sold. Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up with a doll made from a corn cob and she turned out OK.

17. Remove toilet seat covers. Get rid of toilet seat covers. No toilet seat covers.

18. Religious displays, teams/sports affinities, political statement pieces and nude art pieces should be packed for your move. A neutral environment will allow prospective buyers the ability to picture themselves living in the home.  “What about ‘em “Stillers”?”

19. Remove all “poop”. This includes from litter boxes, aquariums, diaper pails and genies, yard – dogs – detail, small animal habitations and bird cages. Buyers will walk through the backyard and back into your home.

20. Can’t believe it needs said – Put firearms, guns, rifles, swords, knives and weapons of any kind in a locked gun safe or secured off premises.

The house, condo, townhome you have listed for sale is no longer your home during the listing period. A neutral environment will expedite the sales process. It is a lot of work and disrupts the routine of the household. A temporary inconvenience will result in a favorable outcome.  Call an experienced and blunt Realtor® for professional guidance.© 2016 – All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without permission.

Statistics for Texas home buyers

Statistics bring to our attention trends and moves within our personal focus and direction. Though we are all unique individuals, state and national currents of home buying and home selling activity relay the propensity of our overall habits.

Women are rocking it in Texas. Twice as many women (14%) purchased homes in Texas as men between July 2014 and June 2015, compared to 7% of men. The national comparison is 15 % of women home buyers compared to 9% of men home buyers for 2015. Before the Fair Housing Act of 1968, women had a difficult time obtaining a credit card to buy a dress let alone qualify for a mortgage to buy a home. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 further assisted women with obtaining credit.

Married Texas home buyers decreased 2% to 70% from the previous year. Six percent of unmarried couples bought homes in Texas between July 2014 and June 2015.

Homes purchased with room for parents or adult children (over 18 years of age) are 15% in Texas compared to 18% nationally.

The median size home sold during this time period is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2060 square foot house. The national average size home Headeris 1,900 square feet during the same time period. New home construction, 30%, accounted for Texas home sales. Texans like new and shiny. The national average is 16% which has recently remained constant.

Nationally, folks remain an average of 9 years in their homes. Texans average 8 years in their homes which decreased by one year between July 2014 and June 2015. The average age of a Texas home buyer is 45 years of age with first time home buyers median age of 31 years old.

Eight weeks was the average tenure for seeking the perfect property, with views of an average of 10 homes in Texas. 68% used the assistance of the internet and a Texas Realtor®. The primary purpose when choosing a Texas Realtor® in 2015 was to understand the buying process, assistance with pointing out flaws and features and 57% chose a Realtor® for counseling in selecting the best home for them.

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Time of day matters for termination of contract option period

Effective, January 1, 2016, The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), implemented the time deadline as 5:00 pm (local to the listed property) for termination of the contract option period.Option termination

How many times in the past were you, as a real estate agent, conducting business at 11:57 PM?


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Processes for an inherited home -Realtors® & Legal

This article is the second in a series to assist when you have inherited a property. The first article advised the immediate actions at the commencement of possession. Relationships and family matters are the first priority. After wrapping your head around your newly acquired responsibilities, professional real estate and legal consultations will guide and direct you through this process.

Processes for an inherited home

Preserving relationships during this emotional period will aid in creating a team of trust. The consequences of inheritance may have been previously known and expected. There may be high emotion or extreme surprise of the situation. Your new duties may include being a mediator, counselor, parent, and for lack of a better label, “leader of the pack”. Until the legal disposition of the property is received, in hand, by an authority, your response will be, “I will confirm the outcome when it is received”.

A consultation with an attorney is highly advised. If the will states an executor/executrix, the responsibilities are in writing. Direction for probating the will and executing the duties will become a court order. Laws vary by state. Documentation will be required by the real estate agent, Title Company and/or attorney(s) for transfer of the property.

If the inherited property is in the name of a trust, consulting with an attorney is also, advised. A trust may have detailed instruction for maintaining, liquidating, who may reside or visit in the home, disposition of the house’s contents, etc. The trustee will be directed by the contents of the trust. If the home is to be sold, a copy of the trust will be required by the Realtor® for confirmation of the authorized signer for all contracts and property deed/title transfer. Laws vary by state and jurisdiction.

The legal outcome of the authorized individual may not be well received by all involved parties. The authorized decision maker may be taking steps not conducive to named beneficiaries. The foundation of all decisions is now based on the written instruments created by the deceased homeowner. Your response will now be, “I am carrying out instructions based on “named deceased” wishes”.

If the home owner died without a will, intestate, an attorney will need to be consulted. No action can be taken until the inheritance of this property has been legally established. Laws will vary by state and jurisdiction. Legal counsel is highly advised.

A well-established Realtor® or real estate broker can assist you through the process of the documentation required to sell the inherited home. Unless they are an attorney, they cannot offer legal advice.

A real estate agent can professionally recommend the steps involved for listing the inherited residence for sale. He or she can provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) for consideration of the list price. A CMA does not replace or substitute for an appraisal. The real estate agent can also counsel with sale projections based on any changes that can be made to the house.

Follow me on twitter: Andi Peto-Selby@bdrealtyadvisors
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Processes for an inherited home

This is the first in a series of articles in an effort to assist people with the sad situation of liquidating an inherited property and estate.  Death brings overwhelming emotion with unexpected responsibilities.

Our culture already includes limited schedules. The last thing you need is an extremely time consuming project thrown in the middle of your life. There are few individuals waking up and proclaiming they really want to maintain, repair, clean, clear out, and sell a relative’s home. If the estate includes rental or commercial properties, the task multiplies in terms of time and account management. The emotional baggage is part of this package, also.

Processes for an inherited home

Immediate actions include securing the property:

  1. Locate keys for –
  • Doors and windows
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Padlocks
  • Outbuildings, sheds, pool gates, storage units,etc.
  • Vehicles
  • Riding lawn mowers, ATV’s, boats and recreational vehicles
  • Safes and firearms

2. Locate garage door remotes

3. Locate security system info

4. Remove pets

5. Make arrangements  or forward mail & deliveries

6. Evaluate services conducted -landscaping, exterminators, etc.

7. Locate legal instruments, documents and utility bills.

The relationship with the deceased will dictate whether detailed plans were shared or you’re driving blind in the dark. Directives in the form of wills, trusts, life estates and other legal documents will provide a course to follow. An appointment with an attorney is strongly advised. Executor/executrix or trustee authorization will be required to transfer title/deed to another party or yourself.  A reputable Realtor® can only advise you with the documents/authorizations required required to contract the home for sale or lease.

The location of the house is a factor in planning execution and disposition. If the home is not local, a schedule for travel and expenses associated, must be made. It is easy to acquire an “out of sight, out of mind” approach during stressful events and grief. Empty houses appear to deteriorate at a quicker pace than homes with life within.

This is stage 1 of an estate inheritance and liquidation. It is common to be dealing with an upset family/kinship. The routine deeds and responsibilities still need tended to. In all likelihood, you have a full time career or commitments in your life. Strong individuals can begin to bend when life changing experiences occur. Your BFF/spouse/significant other/life partner can assist in talking through timelines, delegation of duties, returning calls during this difficult time.

Follow me on twitter: Andi Peto-Selby@bdrealtyadvisors

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