Top Seller Mistakes

Half the battle of selling a home is anticipating problems before they come up. Selling a home is a major life milestone, and it can be complex when you consider all of the steps involved: preparing and listing; making repairs; finding a buyer; navigating the closing process; and finally moving into your next place. The consequences of a mistake can impact your finances and most importantly, your peace-of-mind.

These are the TOP 10 Sellers Mistakes:


FOR SALE BY OWNER! The biggest mistake a homeowner can make is trying to sell the home on their own. According to the National Association of Realtors, FSBO’s (For Sale By Owner’s) sold their homes for 16% less than if they were agent assisted. If you are sick, you go to the doctor. If you are accused of a crime, you get an attorney. So needlessly to say, if you need to buy or sell a home you should call a Real Estate Professional with the Realtor designation. If you feel that the Realtors you have met are not up to your standard, then this leads us to number 2.

Choosing the WRONG REALTOR! Instead of picking a friend of a friend or a relative or someone who is great working with buyer, pick someone who is great at listing and selling homes. Someone with a real track record for selling homes. Someone who can sit with you and give you a plan on how they intend to sell your home.

OVERPRICING your home! If you followed #1 then you hired the right Realtor. That Realtor should bring you a strong market analysis to help guide you in your pricing strategy. It’s always best to price it right the first time rather than “test the market” with a higher price. You do not set the price – We do not set the price – The market sets the price.

ONLY considering the highest offer! The highest offer, while exciting, isn’t always the best offer given your needs. It’s common in many traditional sales to have contingencies. These are conditions that must be satisfied for the sale to close. You may have contingencies that protect the buyer’s interests like a financing contingency or an inspection contingency. It’s important to be aware of these types of contingencies because they can impact the timeline of the sale, the certainty of the sale, and the complexity. For example, you may receive a really high offer that is contingent on the buyer selling their existing house.

You’d have to consider how the added timing and uncertainty compares to a slightly lower offer without that contingency. In another scenario, you may have a buyer who is willing to be more flexible on repairs versus another who is offering a higher price but asking for repair credits.

NOT using professional photos! If you hire a Realtor and they pull out their cellular photo to snap photos of your home, ask them to leave and hire someone else. The photos of your home are the first impression most buyers and buyer agents will have of your home. They go online, on marketing pieces, on social media and so much more. Pictures MUST BE AMAZING for you to get the RIGHT BUYER in your home.

NOT preparing your home for sale! One of the challenges of listing your home on the market is showing your home to prospective buyers. Generally speaking, the cleaner, less cluttered, and more well-decorated your home is, the more appeal it can have. Clutter can make your home appear smaller and make it more difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in your home. In fact, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than those that aren’t staged, according to

Don’t forget about curb appeal. As puts it, “Your home’s exterior is like the cover of a book, setting the stage for what’s inside.” If a home is disorganized or appears in disrepair, buyers may be more skeptical about its condition when they’re considering an offer.

LIMITING showings! Once you’ve put your home on the market, you’ll have to try to cooperate when your agent wants to show it. That could mean scampering out at dinnertime for a private showing, or vacating for several hours—or most of the day—for a weekend open house. The goal is to accommodate as many buyers as possible, even if their timing is inconvenient. If your house isn’t easy to show, it won’t be easy to sell either. While interruptions and added weekend planning may feel inconvenient, just remember the end goal—a good return on your investment that can support your next move. Selling your home is a major life-changing decision, but it doesn’t have to involve aggravation, frustration, or hassle. Steer clear of these classic mistakes and you might close your sale faster and easier than you’d have thought possible.

NOT understanding the cost of selling a home! The total cost to sell a home can amount to much more than the 6% in agent commissions most people expect to pay. When you account for closing costs, repairs, and other concessions to the buyer, the costs of selling can be closer to 10% of the sale price sometimes. It all depends.

For example, if you move into your new home before selling your old one, you may have to rent a temporary place or pay for both mortgages as well as other carrying costs, such as utilities, HOA dues, taxes, and storage. Always ask agents for a net sheet at your listing appointment to see all the expected expenses. 

IGNORING major repairs! A long list of maintenance issues can turn buyers off and potentially decrease the value of your home. More importantly, buyers expect the condition of your home to match the description. Consider prioritizing the most glaring issues, particularly those that are likely to turn up during a home inspection—many buyers will require an inspection before closing.
Being Unprepared for the Next Chapter! “Oh gosh! I didn’t think it would sell that quickly”. Agents hear that quote more than they would like. Many sellers are unprepared for the next chapter. Start planning the second you put your home on the market. Where are you going to move? Have you seen homes there already? Is it time for a yard sale?

WAIKOOL TIP: Kids and pets bring enormous emotional attachment to the home. Take them out for a ride so the buyers can envision themselves in the home with their family. Its important to keep the home as neutral as possible.

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The Price is Right

When it comes to selling your house, the right price matters. Competitive pricing generates the most activity from buyers and agents, while a price that's too high can contribute to a longer stay on the market and, ultimately, a drop in price to compete with newer, well-priced listings.

The simple fact is that buyers and sellers determine market value. In other words, the value of your property is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept in today's market.

This is because buyers base their pricing decisions on comparisons to the prices other properties have sold for in your area. Through our competitive market analysis, we'll help you find the pricing sweet spot for your home.

A house that's priced at market value attracts the maximum amount of the market's potential buyers. Raise that asking price by just a bit above market value, and the percentage of potential buyers will decrease substantially.

When you're ready to sell, you need trusted local experts in your corner. With offices in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Redlands we can help to sell or buy your home anywhere in the Coachella Valley or the Inland Empire. Call us today to arrange a WaiKool personalized consultation.


Bad Real Estate Agent Red Flags!

The right agent can help you buy your dream house or sell your existing home quickly. The wrong agent can botch the transaction, leaving you with egg on your face and nowhere to call home. Despite the high stakes, many buyers and sellers give little thought to choosing an agent, whether they’re buying or selling.

Get recommendations from friends and relatives, and see which agents are buying and selling the most homes in your neighborhood. Read online reviews, but realize they don’t tell the whole story, since most clients, satisfied or dissatisfied, don’t write reviews.

Interview, Interview & Interview!

 Don't be afraid of asking questions. If you’re a seller, ask how the agent will market your home, who the target buyer is and how he will get your home in front of those preferred buyers.
Here are seven red flags to watch for when choosing a real estate agent:


The agent suggests the highest price for your house. If you’re selling your house, get listing presentations from at least three agents, who will tell you what comparable homes have sold for and how long they take to sell. The agents are all looking at the same data, so the suggested listing price should be close. Pricing a home too high at the start often means it takes longer to sell and ultimately sells for less. “If you’re too high for the market, buyers will not even look at it because they know you’re not realistic,” “The longer your property sits on the market, the more people are going to think there’s something wrong with it.”

The agent does real estate on the side, part time. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you want to choose an agent who is actively following the market every day. If you’re buying, you want an agent who can jump on new listings and show them to you immediately. If you’re the seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.

The agent is a relative. Unless your relative is a crackerjack full-time agent who specializes in your neighborhood, he or she is unlikely to do as good of a job as another agent. That can breed resentment, as well as derail your transaction.

The agent charges a lower commission. In most areas, commissions are traditionally 5 to 7 percent, split between the buying and selling agent. If the commission on your house is lower, fewer agents will show it. This doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a slightly lower commission if one agent ends up both listing and selling the house.


The agent doesn’t usually deal with your type of property. If you’re buying or selling a condominium, don’t pick an agent who rarely sells condos. If you’re looking for investment property, find an agent who traditionally works with investors. Many agents have multiple specialties, but you want to make sure the agent is well-versed in the type of transaction you’re doing.

The agent doesn’t usually work with buyers in your price range. Some agents specialize in homes of all types in a specific area. But if you’re a first-time buyer looking for a $200,000 entry-level home, you are unlikely to get much attention from an agent who mostly handles $10 million luxury listings.
The agent is a poor negotiatoror fails to keep up with details of the transaction. In many cases, the most important work of an agent is not to find the home but to make sure the sale closes. That includes making sure the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage, the home is free of liens before it goes on the market, the appraisal is accurate and issues raised by the home inspection are resolved.


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Top Things Buyer Must do in a new home!

This is an important step often overlooked by new homeowners. Make sure you take advantage of the free USPS service and you can forward your mail going to your old address directly to your new home. You can use this service for up to a year and you can sign up HERE.

I mean, you don’t have to announce it on Facebook but make sure you give your new address to friends and family. You’ll also need to contact all of your creditors and all other companies you receive mail from to update your address. You can do this by calling them or updating it online. It’s hard to remember every company you need to contact.

While many homes may look pretty clean you can’t really be sure just by looking. It’s a good idea to idea a professional cleaning service to do a deep cleaning before you start moving your stuff in. It’s much easier and cheaper for cleaning to be done. An average deep clean for an empty home is between $150-$300. 

Unless you’re buying a brand new home from a builder you need to have the locks changed. You don’t know who else has a key to your home and that can be scary. Imagine that Michael Myers was the previous owner's boyfriend! New locks don't sound too bad now huh? They cost around $50 each on average, with most homes having no more than 2 or 3 exterior doors this will cost no more than $150 on average. Get your garage doors reprogrammed so they only work with the remotes you have. It’s possible someone out there got there hands on an extra garage remote at some point.

You’ll need to contact a home security company to come out and get you set up. The average monthly cost for these security systems range from $50-$100 per month. You can also get a camera alert system like Arlo, Nest or Ring.

If you haven’t already set up your cable and internet to transfer to your new home. You should contact your provider right away to set an appointment to have your services moved. You will also need to contact the local water, electric and gas companies to have services turned on or transferred to your name.

It’s always good to get out and meet your neighbors. See who has kids your age, get inside info on other neighbors, and make some friends. Your neighbors can also recommend good restaurants in the area, dry cleaners, pest control and landscape companies, and so forth. Your neighbors have lots of information on your new community, take advantage.

A clogged lint screen or dryer duct drastically reduces the efficiency of your dryer, whether it’s gas or electric. Clean the lint screen after each load and clean the exhaust duct once a year. Electric dryers use about $85 of electricity annually. A dirty lint screen can cause the dryer to use up to 30 percent more electricity, according to the Consumer Energy Center. Lint buildup is also a common cause of fires.

Dry loads of laundry back-to-back so the dryer doesn’t cool down between loads (a warm dryer uses less energy). And only run the dryer until the clothes are dry. Over drying damages your clothes and runs up your electric bill. If you’re in the market for a new dryer and already have a gas line in the house, go with a gas dryer. A gas dryer is more efficient.


Know where you main water shutoff valve is in case you need to shut off the water to your entire house. Almost all homes have one main shutoff valve directly before the water meter and another directly after. Where the meter is located depends on the climate in your area. In California, the meter and its two shutoff valves may be attached to an exterior wall or nestled in an underground box with a removable lid.

We are in California which we know it shakes every once in a while. Make sure you have an emergency kit that is easily accessible in case of a major earthquake. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.
 A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. Headed to the store? Take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

Here the LIST!


Be Systematic in Your Approach
Too often, first-time homebuyers will be succumbed by emotion and become attached to a less than desirable property. Spending the time to research the local market trends and getting their finances are suitable for a home purchase will result in a significantly more agreeable situation. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, purchasing a property should never be a rushed process. First time homebuyers are typically in the initial stages of their careers, so diligently researching and utilizing the advice from real estate professionals can either set the foundation for prosperity, or create a detrimental fiscal situation for years to follow.

Buyer’s Representation is Free
Make sure you have someone looking out for your interests. The seller has negotiated the commission they pay long before buyers see the house advertised and if the buyer doesn’t have an agent the listing agent keeps the full amount.
Communicate Clearly with Your Agent
Tell your Realtor exactly what you are looking for so they can best help you find your dream home. The more specific you can be, the more your Realtor can be helpful. Remember, when they’re working for you in the market talking to other Realtors, they need to filter their search and refine their requests to narrow what is available. Simply telling your Realtor, “I want a three bedroom house with a yard” isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Get Pre-Approved Before You Start House Hunting
Before engaging in any serious home search, first-time buyers need to have the necessary liquidity for the down payment, have investigated and addressed any potential credit issues, and spoken to a mortgage company (preferably several) and obtained a pre-approval letter. This process will also help determine the maximum price they can afford, which obviously will help them to focus their search accordingly, and to be prepared to make an offer when they find their dream home.

Do Your Homework Chantay
Despite the busyness of life, do a little research on your own. If you have a question about whether a room is permitted or not, find out before you sign on the dotted line. Be proactive. Ask questions, check the internet and if meet some of your potential new neighbors. If you are viewing the property during the day, you may want to drive by in the evening. Never, ever, forego having the home inspected, inspections reveal with your natural eyes cannot see.

You Don’t Need 20% Saved for a Down Payment
There are many first-time home buyer programs out there, and with government loan programs a first time buyer can often get into their new home with 5% or less down. Speak to a mortgage advisor or take a First Time Homebuyer class to educate yourself, you may be able to get on the property market and start gaining equity sooner than you think.

Shop around for home insurance
Don’t just use the company that has your auto insurance. Prices can vary dramatically between companies for the same coverage so check with 3-5 different companies to get the best deal. This can make a big difference in your mortgage payment and closing costs since you set up an escrow account at closing.

Keep an open mind while searching for homes
It’s important to have an open mind when you’re looking for your new home, especially for many first-time buyers who are on a budget. Be careful not to soak in too much HGTV and make sure you’re being realistic for what is available in the area that you want to live in, while also staying within your budget. Remember that many cosmetic items in a home can be replaced pretty easily without spending too much. And it can be fun to have a few small projects to make your first home your own!

Make sure you know the process
By knowing the process before looking at homes, the buyer will be prepared to make a quick decision, which is especially important today, as inventory is limited.

Narrow down, narrow down, narrow down
The right real estate agent will help you greatly through this process, which is crucial to make sure the first-time home buying experience is smooth, fun and to find you the perfect first home. For example, many first-time homebuyers want to see about 50 properties they like, yet those properties have so many differences and nuances. It’s already exhausting enough as a first-time homebuyer to understand the process and prepare yourselves financially for potentially the largest investment of your life. Thinking through what you want as specific as possible will help with time, efficiency and also making it enjoyable. Nobody, I don’t care how excited you are wants to look at 50 homes – it’s exhausting and draining, especially if we are on a short time-table! You probably won’t get everything on your wish list for your first home – but picking your top 3 must-haves and top 3 dealbreakers is a great place to start! 

Choose an agent that you connect with on a personal level
The most important thing that you are going to need in a real estate agent is trust, communication, and responsiveness. All real estate agents have access to the same homes on the MLS. It is paramount that you find an agent you feel comfortable confiding in and trusting with the most expensive purchase of your life this far. If you don’t connect personally, you wont connect professionally and that leads to mis-communications and disappointment.

Don’t Skip the Home Inspection
The home inspection is an opportunity for you to learn about your home. It is not a chance to renegotiate the contract or walk away if the seller doesn’t fix every little thing. It educates you about your home, so you can prepare for more likely scenarios in years 1-5. If the home inspection does uncover significant, serious problems, of course the seller should consider these fixes.

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How can your home make you happier?

Your home should be your sanctuary, a refuge from the stresses of everyday life, where you can relax, enjoy yourself and spend time with friends and family. If your home isn't bringing you the happiness it should, take a look at the following tips to help put a smile on your face whenever you walk in your front door.


Surround yourself with mood-boosting colors. Red, orange and yellow are most often associated with generating positive feelings. If those colors don't make you smile, surround yourself with the colors that you're most drawn to. Try using one of your favorite memories for inspiration. If you took a life-changing trip to Greece a few years ago, why not paint your bedroom the deep blue of the Aegean Sea?

Fill the air with blissful scents. Many scents, including jasmine, citrus and freshly baked bread, are reported to be linked to happiness. Scent is also closely linked with memory, so filling your home with a scent tied to happy memories will give your spirits a lift.

Create a dedicated space for your favorite hobbies. Spending time on activities that bring you joy is important to your overall happiness. Whether your passion is reading, painting or woodworking, having a space devoted to your favorite hobby will motivate you to spend more time doing what you love.

Bring the outdoors in. According to Psychology Today, there is a significant link between time spent enjoying nature and happiness. To bring Mother Nature indoors, fill your home with plants and fresh flowers or just open your curtains to enjoy the view of any nearby gardens or trees.

Simple tips like these can create a happier, healthier and more valuable home. Thank you for thinking of us for all of your real estate needs, and be sure to share our contact information with anyone you know of looking to buy, sell or invest in a home. With offices in Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs and Redlands we can help you anywhere in the Coachella Valley or the Inland Empire.

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Gutters: What material is best?


If you're putting gutters on your home for the first time, or replacing your existing gutters, you may be surprised by just how many options there are. While there may be numerous options to choose from, it’s important to understand the various costs associated with this type of project before making a decision. In fact, experts estimate that the cost to install gutters and related components like downspouts can vary widely, with installation rates ranging from a minimum of $3 to more than $17 per linear foot.

And while gutters protect the sides of the house from mud, preventing erosion, reducing water damage to the foundation, and keeping visitors from getting wet—guttering can demand more maintenance and cleaning, distract from the profile or design of a home, and be a big expense when constructing or remodeling.

The four top gutter material options are aluminum, vinyl, copper and stainless steel.

So, what’s the best choice for you? Consider these facts:

  • Over time, copper develops a special lining that protects from rust and other potentially harmful elements including algae and fungi growth, so blockages, with their related cleaning and maintenance expenses, will be significantly reduced.

  • Aluminum gutters need to be maintained to avoid corrosion and dents, so cleaning them and caulking them regularly is important. And since aluminum expands and contracts with the temperature, they’re prone to cracks, which need to be repaired in order to avoid leaks.

  • When it comes to affordability, vinyl tops the list because it’s lightweight and easy to install. Additional benefits include the fact that its color won’t fade, chip or crack over time. Vinyl can get brittle and snap in cold extremes, so it may not be the best option for homes in cold climates.

  • Steel ranks second when it comes to affordability, however, it’s important to note that it can rust in certain climates. Not only is it sturdy, but it can also hold a lot of weight, so sagging is less common.



Putting your home on the market? Consider these common buyer turn-offs and make sure you're in good graces with potential buyers. 

Whether you’re running a small business or a large magazine publication, add multiple writers to grow your content and keep it fresh and diversified.

DIRTY OR CROWDED HOMES It can't be overstated how important it is to de-clutter and clean. Buyers want to look at your home, not your things.

You can turn any existing member into a writer for your blog and manage them. Writers can create new posts and manage their comments.

Upgrading your kitchen can be a wise investment before listing your home. Just make sure you do it in a neutral style, as no one wants to rip out something that's been recently renovated.

Be realistic about where your home sits relative to the market. Overpricing can spell disaster when it comes to selling a home.

Make sure online listing photos show your home in the best light, and give a true sense of the space. And again, no clutter.

Finding or selling a property that exceeds your expectations starts with an agent who exceeds your expectations. Call us today to arrange a personalized consultation. With offices in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Redlands we can help you anywhere in the Coachella Valley or the Inland Empire.


Fresh Home Upgrades for Spring

After a long winter cooped up indoors, spring is the perfect time to start reimagining your home and making upgrades that create a fresh, welcoming vibe. These project ideas—some big, some small—can help breathe new life into your home so that you're ready to enjoy your favorite rooms to the fullest.


Air it out.Months of closed windows and doors can make any room feel dusty and stale. As soon as temperatures allow, throw open the windows and skylights to let the fresh air chase away the remnants of winter. It's also the perfect time to launder window treatments and clean area rugs. If you're considering an update to the overall décor, changing out these textiles is an easy and affordable way to create a new look.

Paint to perfection.Over time, once cheerful walls can grow dull. Create a livelier ambiance with a fresh coat of paint, either in the same shade or something completely new. If you're not sure exactly where to start, tackle the project room by room. To choose the right hue, select a favorite item in the room, such as an heirloom throw blanket or a piece of wall art, and consider color shades that complement the item.

Make what's old new again.Sometimes a fresh perspective is as simple as rearranging a room to better fit your needs. Over time, furnishings can become almost an afterthought because they've been in place so long. Try moving things around to create new conversation groupings or to highlight a piece that has been tucked away in the shadows.

Get earth smart.With all of the new growth and hues of green that abound during spring, it's natural to be more mindful of the environment. Earth-friendly upgrades like switching out inefficient lighting or installing low-flow toilets and shower heads can make a sizable difference.


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ONE: Change Light Bulbs and Update Light Fixtures

It’s easy to forget about all the bulbs that have burned out over the years, but you want your home to be as bright as possible. Lighting makes an incredible difference in how a home looks to potential Buyers. If you have dated light fixtures (it’s OK, a lot of us do), take a quick trip to IKEA or Home Depot and pick up some modern ones.

TWO: Declutter the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the rooms Buyers are most attracted to so if you’re looking to skip a room, this shouldn’t be it. Remove your blender/George Foreman Grill/Kitchen Aid mixer/toaster/ninja/smoothie maker/bread machine from the counters – you want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside all the cupboards (and yes, we mean remove everything and wipe them out). Don’t cram all your dishes and food back in – again, you want to convey to Buyers that your kitchen has enough storage for the Buyer’s stuff. Clean inside the fridge (and remove the magnets, photos and reminders). Turn on your self-cleaning oven (probably for the first time in your life). Store your booze collection (and take out the empties). Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful bowl with some fresh fruit in it.

THREE: Tackle The Bathrooms 

Remove all the toiletries you have on display (nobody wants to know you use Head & Shoulders). Invest in some new white towels (and no, you don’t get to use them) and some soap dish, toothbrush holder, etc. If your toilet seat, shower curtain or bath matt are gross (be honest with yourself), replace them. Consider replacing the toilet paper holder and towel rack/hooks too.

FOUR: Next up - The Bedrooms 

The bedrooms should be inviting, and that means more cleaning and decluttering and investing in a few props. If you don’t already have one, invest in a neutral-coloured duvet cover and some new fancy pillows. Straighten the bookshelves. Remove personal photos, knick-knacks and personal grooming products. Clean out the closets. Consider getting an area rug if the floors are cold. If you’ve jammed in a dresser or armoire that doesn’t really fit into the space (condo owners, I’m looking at you), consider storing it offsite. If you’ve converted two of your three bedrooms into offices, convert at least one of them back to a bedroom.

 FIVE: Tackle The Living Space

Clean the sofa and chairs and invest in some new throw pillows. Consider getting an area rug to bring the room together. Hide the magazine rack and all the clutter that has accumulated. Hide the wires from your TV/stereo/speakers. Remove the kids’ homework and the piles of stuff that have accumulated on the dining room table. Clean up the hutch. If your dining chairs have seen better days, consider getting them reupholstered. Invest in a new tablecloth to hide an old table.

SIX: The Entrance

Remember that most Buyers will have an emotional reaction to your home within 15 seconds of entering it, so what they experience at the entrance is CRITICAL. You want your entrance to be clean, de-cluttered and inviting. And no, you won’t really wear all your shoes and coats while your house or condo is for sale, so be disciplined and store things away. If you don’t have a hall closet, don’t pile 15 coats on a coat rack – that’s just drawing attention to your lack of a closet.

SEVEN: Get Rid of All the Things That Make Your Home Yours

Ouch, we know it hurts to read that. You want your house or condo to appeal to as many Buyers as possible, and that will only happen if they can picture their own stuff in your house. Get rid of all the family photos, the collections and the souvenirs from your trip to Thailand. Walk through every room in your house and pretend you’re a Buyer. If what you see helps people get to know you as you, remove it.

EIGHT: Repair and Clean What You’ve Been Avoiding

We all have that list of never-never repairs and fixes. Now’s the time to get to it, including fixing the leaky faucet, the picture holes in the wall, etc. and get it done once and for all. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman to take care of it (we know some good ones, we can help). Also, unless your carpets are brand new, you’ll want to have them steam cleaned (or do it yourself). You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. If your walls and doors are scuffed, buy some Magic Erasers and go to town. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. If your art needs an update, now’s the time to do it too.


NINE: Make Plans for the Kids and the Dog/Cat/Mother-in-law

No Buyer wants to look at all your kids’ toys, finger painting works of art or dirty diapers, so put it all away and make a plan to keep it concealed.

We love our kids and dogs (and mother-in-laws) too, but prospective Buyers won’t appreciate the barking/jumping/submissive peeing/complaining. Make a plan to get your pets out of the house: Doggie daycare? Grandma and Grandpa? Multiple walks. Send your mother-in-law to the doggie care as well?

TEN: Pimp Your Front and Backyard

Curb appeal matters and will significantly impact people’s first impression of your house. Stand on your street and take in your front yard: what do you see? At a minimum, clean the scuff marks off the front door and touch-up the chipped paint or give it a fresh coat. And if your front door has seen better days, consider investing in a new one. If you have a front porch, make it look inviting (and not just a receptacle for more of your stuff). Invest in some seasonal plants. Clean up the garden. A lot of Buyers will see your home at night, so make sure that your outdoor lighting is showing off your home. What you can accomplish in the back yard will, of course, depend on what time of year you sell. If you’re selling in the spring/summer: clean up the gardens, trim the trees, cut the grass, stain the deck and clean the patio furniture and BBQ. If it’s winter: do your best to make it look presentable. If you have a garage: tidy it up and fix any peeling paint and the sagging roof.


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Lease Land? Don't scream! We explain to you how it works.
An Indian land lease on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is a contract between the Indian Landowner and the lessee. The landowner conveys the right to use and occupy the property in exchange for rent. The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation encompasses approximately 28,000 acres of land in the western Coachella Valley, including portions of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, and unincorporated areas of Riverside County. There are 1,175 commercial leases, 7,671 residential subleases and 11,118 time-shares on Indian land leases under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Palm Springs Agency. An Indian land lease on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation may be negotiated for any period of time but may not exceed 99 years. It all began in 1876, when the Pacific Railroad laid the tracks between Los Angeles and Yuma, AZ The U.S. government deeded the Agua Caliente this land throughout the Coachella Valley. The government gave the railroad a checkerboard of every square mile of land for 10 miles on either side of the railroad right-of-way. Today, most Indian leases are administrated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs; a homeowner doesn’t deal with the Indian owners directly, but instead usually with the appointed property management company or Bureau of Indian Affairs office.
 Mortgages are available on lease land. Some leases do have minimal down payment requirements and other specific conditions, however it is possible to get a loan on lease land. Interests rates tend to be the same for Lease and Fee Simple land. However, I recommend using a local Palm Springs area lender that is familiar with leased land. The price of the lease can vary depending on the property, and subject to change. Some lease payments are paid annually; others are divided and paid monthly. Each lease is unique and should be reviewed for the specific terms affecting a particular property. The difference between buying land and leasing it is that lease land reduces the cost of a home by 20 to 30% on average. So essentially the homeowner gets the use of the land without the capital outlay – and can afford a far more luxurious home for less money.

Due to the price difference, the amount of the property taxes can be less then fee land as you are typically only paying taxes based on the purchase price of the structure, not the land. This of course is not guaranteed, however. You should research the tax information with the county of Riverside Tax Assessor.

Many people ask; what happens at the end of my lease? Since there is no legal restriction prohibiting the Lease Holder (Indian tribe) from selling their land, you or your heirs may have the option to purchase if you wish to do so. However, most probably, you would be offered a new lease based on conditions existing at that time and there may be large fees involved so make sure you are aware of those cost ahead of time.


Things to Consider

If you think that buying a property on leased land may be right for you, you should consider the following:

- How much time is remaining on the lease? If the length of the remaining lease is shorter than you plan to remain in the home, it is VERY important to find out what happens to your interest in the property at the end of the land lease term. The lease term will also affect your ability to finance the home. It may be difficult or impossible to get a mortgage if the remaining lease term on the land is 20 years and you want a 30- year mortgage.

- How much is the monthly land lease payment and most important, what is the FEE to renegotiate the lease when the time comes? You want to make sure that you really will be saving money by buying a leased-land property.

- What are the terms of the surrender clause? Check the terms of the surrender clause if the lease will run out while you still own the house.

If you would like to learn more about the Indian lease land, please contact: Bureau of Indian Affairs 3700A Tachevah Drive, Suite 201 (2nd Floor) Palm Springs, CA 92262 Telephone: (760) 416-2133 Fax: (760) 416-2687

 Please Note: None of the above statements can be guaranteed. Before you get into a transaction on Indian lease land, DO YOUR HOMEWORK, you should read and review all contracts, leases, fees and information about the specific lease as all leases are unique I also recommend that you consult with your accountant, attorney and tax advisor prior to making any purchases on Lease OR Fee land.

Buying a house? DON'T DO IT!

It is extremely important that you don’t make any major life changes immediately before or during the loan process.

Don’t give an earnest money deposit directly to a seller. That’s why you have an agent!

Don’t quit your job, change jobs, or become self employed.

Don’t make any large purchases like a vehicle or furniture.

Don’t co-sign on any loans for someone else.

Don’t spend money that you have set assigned for down payment or closing costs.

Don’t make any changes to your credit like opening new cards, spending on cards, or even closing accounts without guidance from a professional.

Don’t panic if the appraisal comes in low. Don’t freak out just yet because there are a few options.Don’t panic!

The loan process can seem daunting, particularly if it is your first time. We will help you understand what is needed and to get you to the finish line.