How To Get The Best Price For Your Home

If you’re ready to sell your home near State College, Pennsylvania, you need to start working and planning now to ensure that you get the best possible price for the property. A smart combination of planning, preparation, and strategic negotiation can get you the price you want for your home. Here’s how to get the best price for your home:



  • Talk to a real estate agent about current housing market trends in your area, or check out the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to find out what similar homes in your area are listing and selling for.

  • When should you list your home? Your real estate agent can help you determine the best time to start marketing and selling your home.



  • You need to get your property ready for the market, that means showings, marketing, listing websites, etc.

  • Start by making all necessary repairs to your home, which includes fixing leaky faucets, electrical issues, and chipping paint

  • Next, work on your curb appeal by mowing the lawn or raking up leaves, and by adding seasonally appropriate flowers near your entryway

  • Inside of the home, you need to depersonalize and de-clutter

  • Add light whenever and wherever possible to make your home seem as inviting as possible

  • Have a place for children and pets to go during showings (away from the property)


Highlight the Area

  • Be sure that potential buyers know about the perks of living in State College, PA

  • Highlight things to do, places to go, and the convenience of living in a college town

  • When speaking with buyers, make sure to mention a few of your favorite things about living in your specific neighborhood, and in State College in general.



As you may or may not know, 89% of homebuyers start their search online before calling an agent. If you want to sell your home quickly, for the best price possible and under the best terms, make sure you have not only priced your home properly but have a killer marketing strategy. Your listing agent should provide you with a list of thing they will do to help market your home to other agents and to as many buyers as possible. Here are just a few things that should be on that list…

  • Consistent presence on all top real estate websites

  • Virtual Tour on YouTube

  • SEO for your home (through their website or your own website for your home)

  • Sign in your yard with take away flyers



How To Downsize Your Home

There are many reasons to buy a smaller home — to downsize from your present home — but sometimes a simple notion propels home owners to trade down: Smaller might be better. Over time, we tend accumulate a lot of stuff. We have so many things that we don’t really need but tend to keep anyway. The size of the average american home has kept growing over the past years and still storage space for families is a booming industry.


Check out these steps on how to downsize your home

1. Assess your actual needs: Deciding what you really need requires a good long look at how you live your life and prioritizing the activities and items that are already a part of your actual lifestyle.

  • Walk through your house or apartment and evaluate everything you come across. Ask yourself if you have used it in the past year and if so, how often? Be honest with yourself.
  • For stuff that you have a hard time getting rid of, put the items in storage. If you don’t need or use them within 6 months, give, sell or throw them away!

2. Go through your home, every cabinet, shelf and closet should be cleared: Only put back the things that you couldn’t live well without.
3. Measure your furniture: You will need to know how your furniture will fit into your new space.

  • Get room measurements of your new space, don’t forget about the location of doors and windows as this will be a factor in furniture placement!
  • Once you have measurements, make a floor plan using your furniture’s measurements.

4. Sell your stuff!

  • For a large number of items, have a yard sale, or if you have a lot to sell quickly, consider a service to take care of it for you.
  • If you have time before the move, utilize sites such as Craigslist and eBay to sell off your best stuff. You’ll likely get more money for your items this way but it is more time consuming.

5. Get organized: Before you move into your new place it is a good time to work out some storage solutions for your stored items.

  • Label everything by room!

6. Organize your space as you unpack: Utilize closet and cupboard storage solutions as you unpack. This way, more can be stored in these tight spaces and you will be setting a precedent for how your new, smaller space will be used.
7. Relax and enjoy!: You have now entered the realm of living small. You no longer have to worry about the financial burden or time draining tasks of maintaining a home too big for your needs.


For more tips about downsizing your home click here.


If you are looking to downsize your home contact me, Susan Rupert!

Susan Rupert
Kissinger, Bigatel & Brower
Office: (814) 234-4000 EXT: 3213

Home Showing Tips for Sellers

1. Tidy up the clutter and clean the counters. Make sure to throw away all old newspapers and magazines. Clear away all the toys and trinkets strewn around the house. Take out all excess or rarely used furniture and store them in the garage. Remove clothing that haven’t been used for a year to lessen the clutter your closet. Clean out your garage.

2. Wash the windows and screens. This will allow more light inside the home and make it look brighter.

3. Clean everything. Nothing can create a stronger first impression than a clean home. Buyers will get the message that the home was well taken care of by its previous owners. Mop the floors, remove fingerprints and stains from walls and light switches, clean all appliances, especially your refrigerator and stove. Polish your door knobs and house number. Hire a cleaning service if your budget allows.

4. Eliminate odors. Eliminate cooking odors and pet smells by cleaning your carpeting and drapes. Air out your home by opening the windows. Place scented candles or potpourri in some rooms such as the living room and bedroom.

5.  Brighten your home. Brighten up rooms by replacing your lights with higher wattage ones.  Check all burned out lights in basements and closets and replace them. Cleaning the walls can brighten a room or you may also paint them a fresh neutral color.

6. Make small repairs. It may not seem a big deal, but minor problems like torn screens, cracked walls, sticky doors, or a dripping faucet may give buyers a bad impression that the house was not well taken care of.

7. Clean the yard. Trim the grass and bushes, add fresh mulch, rake the leaves, edge the walkways, and clean all gutters. Bright flowers near the entryway adds more curb appeal.  Add some color to your living room. Jazz up a dull living room by adding colored throw pillows on the sofa.

8. Set the scene. Create an atmosphere that will help buyers visualize living in your home like setting fancy dishes and silverware on the dining table.  Use sheer curtains in place of heavy ones. This will let in more light and show buyers a better view from your home.

9. Accentuate your fireplace. Put fresh logs inside the fireplace or if it’s not in use, you may place a fresh basket of flowers.

10. Spruce up your bathroom. Get rid of old towels and worn out toothbrushes. Make your buyer feel pampered once they enter your bathroom. Place a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and fancy soaps. Place your personal toiletries where they will not be seen.

11. Put centerpieces on the tables. A vase of fresh flowers or bowl of colorful fruit will do.  Take your pets outside. You may also ask your neighbor to take care of them during a showing. If this is not possible, confine them in a room like the basement where they will not be seen. Make sure to inform the real estate agent beforehand where the pets will be so they won’t be surprised.

12. Keep your valuables, jewelry, and money locked away in a safe place. It will be hard to keep an eye on everyone all the time during a showing. Better safe than sorry.

13. Don’t be there during the showing. It’s highly suggested that the seller should not be home during a showing. It would be awkward for buyers to express their opinions of your house while you are there with them.

5 Things You Should Do Before Selling Your Home

5 Things You Should Do Before Selling Your Home

1.Have a home inspection. Arrange for a home inspection prior to putting up your home for sale. A home inspector can give you a rundown on trouble spots in your home that might turn off potential buyers. This will allow you ample time to make repairs before the selling process.

Clean your home. Make sure to keep the house looking presentable by cleaning all windows, lighting fixtures, carpets, etc. Aside from cleaning your home inside out, you should also lessen the clutter by packing up items that you rarely use like large kitchen appliances, tools, old clothes and toys, etc. and store them in boxes that you could put away in the garage or basement where they will not be seen.

Get estimates for replacements. If some major items in your home need replacement due to wear and tear (like your carpet or roof), it would be wise to get an estimate on how much it would cost to replace these items, even if you don’t intend to replace them yet. The estimates will give buyers an idea if their budget would be enough for the home, and will be useful when negotiations start.

Gather your warranties. If you are including major items and appliances with the home you are selling such as washer, dryer, furnace, dishwasher, etc., gather all the warranties, user manuals and guarantees.

Boost your curb appeal. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and look at your home from the outside. does your home give a good impression as you approach the front door? Do you clearly see the address?  Is the lawn freshly manicured? Do you have pretty flowers and plants in your front yard? Does your outdoor lighting illuminate and highlight your home nicely in the dark?

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

Before buying or selling your home, you should have your home inspected. A home inspector can warn you of trouble areas in your property if you are a homeowner; or help you make an informed decision if you are a buyer.

Here are some basic questions you should ask your home inspector:

1. Does your inspection meet state requirements?

Inquire with your inspector if both the inspection and the inspection report meet all state requirements and comply with a widely recognized standard of inspection and code of ethics, like the one utilized by the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). You may view

their standards and code of ethics through their website or State regulations are available on the website of ASHI.

2. Are you associated with a professional home inspector association?

The home inspection groups mentioned in No. 1 are just some of the many widely recognized home inspection groups in the US. But be careful of groups that have questionable credentials and certifications that resort to scamming people for money. Only hire home inspectors who belong to nonprofit trade organizations of outstanding reputation and always ask to see their membership ID.

3. How long have you been a home inspector?

Ask them about their experience, how long they have been inspecting homes, and how many inspections they have done. Upon your request, they should be able to provide you with referrals of previous customers. There are also many new inspectors who are highly qualified but you should inquire about their training and whether they plan to work with a partner who has more experience.

4.How do you keep your skills updated?

A good indication of a home inspector’s professionalism is if he or she constantly seeks more education and upgrades his or her skills in home inspection. It is especially important to have advanced skills in cases of older homes or homes with exceptional elements that would require further training.

5. Is residential inspection your specific focus?

Inspecting residential homes are very different from inspecting commercial buildings or construction sites. Make sure that the home inspector is skilled most specifically in residential inspection. If you have a unique property like a historic home, ask the home inspector if he or she has experience with inspecting such properties.

6. Do you also provide repairs or improvement services?

Some trade organizations, if state laws permit, allow the home inspector to offer repair services on problems that were discovered during the inspection. But there are certain states and organizations that do not allow this since it would be a conflict of interest. To learn more about the laws in your state, check with your local ASHI chapter.

7. How long will it take you to inspect the home?

A typical home inspector usually takes 2-3 hours to completely inspect a single-family home. Use this as a benchmark. If the inspector takes less than that, it may not be a thorough enough inspection. For larger homes, ask whether additional inspectors are necessary.

8. How much will the inspection cost?

Factors that affect cost are the size and age of the property, the extent of the inspection, and your geographic location. The average cost for single-family home inspections are $320 or even more for larger homes. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.

9. Can you give a sample of your inspection report?

Looking at samples of the home inspector’s previous reports will give you an idea if you will understand their reporting style. Usually, inspectors provide their reports within a day after their inspection.

10. Can I be there with you while you inspect the home?

The home inspector should allow you to be present while the home inspection is being done. This is a crucial opportunity to educate the buyer. If the inspector refuses, this should be a warning sign.

5 Reasons Why Real Estate Deals Fall Apart

5 Reasons Why Deals Fall Apart

It’s now a common fact that 29% of all signed contracts do not ever reach the closing table.  Almost 3 out of 10 deals wherein an agreement has already been reached by the buyer and
seller fall apart. In a typical market place, the normal closing rate should be 90% of deals. If you want to increase your chances of closing a deal, then you should be aware of the reasons why deals fall apart.

1. Short Sales

Short sales seem great on the surface since the buyer can haggle for a lower price with little resistance from the seller (the seller won’t bother resisting since they won’t profit from the
deal anyway). But then again, the present lender won’t just settle for any offer. Appraisals are performed and closely examined. Lenders usually won’t agree to big price reductions. On top of that, lenders will usually take months to decide, resulting in impatient buyers withdrawing their offers (and looking for another home).

2. Appraisal Concerns

Presently, much more appraisals are coming in short than in any other time in history . A home’s market value has been generally considered as “what a reasonable buyer would be willing to pay to a reasonable seller”. But “unreasonable” sellers are plentiful in today’s market (short sales, foreclosed properties, distressed circumstances, etc.), most of the comparables utilized for an appraisal tend to pull the figures below normal.

3. Title Issues

The evaluation of Permits and Certificates of Occupancy are at a record high. Judgments and liens are more commonplace among buyers and sellers. The issues regarding title are breaking up and stalling deals.

4. Lousy Pre-Qualifications

Lots of deals never should have passed as deals in the first place. Lending officers should be more careful in analyzing contracts, tax statements, bank statements, pay stubs, and other
contracts prior to giving pre-approvals and receiving applications. A simple slip-up such as overlooking expenses that were not reimbursed on the tax returns can ruin a loan.

5. Unexpected Problems

Expect lots of unusual and unpleasant circumstances to come up – buyers getting fired from their jobs, problems with credit as a loan being processed, damage to property, buyer’s
remorse, and the list goes on.

Several of these issues could be easily detected early on if only people closely look at them. The issues that can be easily detected are usually seen by seasoned real estate agents, loan
officials and lawyers. Most of these issues can easily be resolved if addressed early on. This is the reason why it is of utmost importance to look for and deal with only the best professionals in the industry.


Susan Rupert Group

Realtor, ABR, CRS, SRES, MCNE, e-PRO
Kissinger Bigatel & Brower

2300 South Atherton Street
State College, PA 16801
Mobile/Direct: 814-280-0364
Office: 814-234-4000 ext. 3213

You have questions regarding our services? Please feel free to contact us.

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