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| Buying a Home Topics | For Sale by Owner Topics |

Selling a Home

(Click below for topics of interest. "Return to Top" will bring you back here.
Click the "BACK" button or the "ABOUT" link to the left to return to all the topics.)

| Price Right from the Start | 6 Factors in Choosing an Agent |
| Market Value | Closing Costs: Who Pays?|
| Sell Your Home Quickly | The Open House |
| Exposure to Professionals | | Factors Influencing Sale |
| 16 Tips Before Selling | Home Marketing Schedule |
| How to Show Your Home |Questions about High Price |
| Hiring a Real Estate Specialist | Importance of Key Boxes |
| Rich's Guarantee |

Real Estate Agents Have "Buyers On the Line"

As you read this, Rich Sieber and most Compass agents, plus most the other Multiple Listing Service members have qualified buyers eagerly awaiting new listings. With our help, they are closely monitoring market activity with the Daily Hot Sheet, looking to make a purchase when the right home appears at the right price. When a home is first listed, the fresh property creates a stir among these buyers and their acting real estate agents. This excitement translates into a sense of urgency for them to see it as soon as possible and before any other buyers have the opportunity to view them. Most often, a home receives its best offers and highest amount of showings in the first three to five weeks after listing.

THIS IS WHY IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE HOUSE IS PRICED RIGHT FROM THE START! After the initial excitement subsides, the home will capture only the attention of new buyers in the marketplace.

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The Six Most Important Factors In Choosing Your Real Estate Professional:
  • Level of professionalism of your agent.
  • Experience and reputation of your agent.
  • Knowledge and skill level of your agent.
  • Reputation, statistics and ability of the company.
  • Track record of sales in your price range.
  • The commitment of Rich to sell your home as quickly as possible at the highest possible price.

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Today's Buyers Demand Market Value:

The days of playing fast and loose with real estate buyers are history. With growing numbers of buyers seeking their own agent representation, properties are less likely to sell for more than market value.

Ten years ago, sellers' agents handled virtually all transactions and most buyers were unaware that all agents represented the seller. Today, stricter disclosure laws and growing numbers of buyers' agents mean buyers are much smarter, better informed shoppers.

These tough customers quickly discover the fair market value of properties, and often refuse to look at aggressively priced or overpriced listings. Few buyers want to "talk down" sellers, and therefore fewer agents are willing to show aggressively priced or overpriced listings.

Who Pays Which Closing Costs?

It is common for the buyer and seller to pay the following closing costs when initiating a mortgage, but remember it can be negotiable between the buyer and seller.

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Typical Seller's Closing Costs:
  • Title Insurance 1/2 Escrow Fees
  • Appraisal
  • Real Estate Commission
  • Septic Inspection Fee
  • Septic Pumping Inspection Repairs
  • Past Years Property Tax to Sale
  • Well Inspection Fee 

Typical Buyer's Closing Costs:
  • Loan Origination Fee - Discount Points
  • 1/2 Escrow Fees
  • Mortgage Title Policy
  • Document Preparation Fees
  • Extended Title Policy
  • Inspection Fees
  • Credit Report
  • Underwriting Tax Service
  • Courier
  • Processing Fee
  • Funding Fee
  • Recording Fee
  • Property Tax if Paid by Seller
  • Pro-rated Association Fees
  • Pro-rated Trash/Garbage
  • Survey
  • Prorated Domestic Water
  • Pro-rated Irrigation Tax

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The Critical Things that Allow a Home to Sell Quickly and for the Most Money:

It is important to make certain that the first impression is a favorable one. You' ll never have more activity on the home than you will in the first three to four weeks of the listing. The reason is simple: there are buyers out there who have seen everything available and for one reason or another, haven't bought. They are just waiting for something new to come on the market.

When that new property does hit the market, buyers and agents both will scramble to look at it. It is common knowledge that the property will usually sell for the highest price during this time. After the initial surge of interest, the only people to look at it will be those buyers new to the marketplace.

Make your home look and feel like a builder's model home. Everything should look like it belongs even if it means storing some things until the home is sold. You are trying to create a feeling that makes potential buyers want to move in.

Don't wait to see if the house will sell first before implementing these ideas. Once you do decide to do something, don't do just the easy ones or just the bare minimum.

The property needs to look good from the street, up the sidewalk, on the front porch, throughout the house, in the darkest closets, and even in the attic. You definitely want to give the impression of a well cared for home. You want the prospective buyer to feel that this home is quality all the way through, not just on the surface.

You are even competing with every other home that is currently for sale: new and pre-owned, your area and other areas, those listed with agents and those trying to sell themselves; ever with the foreclosures in the market. Your property must appeal to owner occupants who will pay the highest price for the property because they are going to live there as their home.

Typical buyers put all of their savings into the down payment and closing costs and don't have anything left over to improve the home such as replacing old, wornout things. Those buyers will just have to live with that carpet until they can afford to replace it.

If buyers have a choice of two comparable properties similar in price, they' ll choose the one in the best condition. Just as on the other hand, if two properties are similar in condition, the buyers will choose the one that is less money.

1. Stand at the street and look at the house. If all you can see are trees and shrubs, you have some yard work to do. One of the easiest things to do is trim the shrubs that are overgrown. They should be lowered to a height near the bottom of the windows. If there is ivy growing on the side of the home, get it off.

2. If there are tree branches hanging low in the yard, they need to be pruned. A simple rule of thumb is to have all the limbs high enough so that you can walk under the tree.

3. Invest in a few flats of flowers such as petunias or periwinkles that will last the entire growing season and will add color and beauty to the front of your home. Consider putting some nice looking flower pots on the porch with some red geraniums or some other blooming plants in them.

4. Look at the front door and the area around it. If you paint nothing else, at least give it a fresh coat of paint. If the doorbell is broken, replace it. Wash the mail box. Keep the porch swept. Get an attractive mat for people to wipe their feet.

5. Air out the home. You are the last person to notice any peculiar odor in your home that may be blatantly obvious to visitors. Go on a search to find the offender. It may be a kitty litter box or a dog bed. It might even be a mildewed shower.

6. Wash all the windows in the house, inside and out. While you're at it, clean the window sills and the bottom of the window jambs, and wash the blinds. 7. If it has been over a year since you've had the carpets cleaned, now is the time to do it. The bare floors should also be waxed or polished, even if they' re supposed to be "no wax."

8. Put bright light bulbs in every socket made for a bulb. Buyers like bright and cheery so you have to keep it from looking like a dungeon. You' ll also want to keep the drapes and shades open during the day, even if you're not in the habit, because it will make the property look better.

9. Clean out all of the closets, cabinets, and drawers. Get rid of things you haven't used in the past five years and pack up everything that you haven't used in the last year.

10. Closets should look as they have enough room to hold additional items. You might need to box up off-season clothes to make it look that way. Get everything off the floor and don't have the shelves piled to the ceiling.

11. Even though it may be inconvenient, you will be far better off by selecting the furniture pieces that look best and putting the others in the garage, basement, or better yet, in storage. You can rent one of those mini-warehouses for a few dollars a month.

12. Go over the kitchen like a health inspector. Clean the oven and keep it that way, even if it means eating out more often. After cleaning the range, put new drip pans under the burners, or at least, cover the old ones with foil. Clean around the seal of the door to the dishwasher.

13. Bath tubs, showers and sinks should be freshly caulked. All the grout should be clean and in good condition. There are excellent cleaners that will do the job without tons of scrubbing. There should be no leaks in the faucets or traps.

14. Keep children's toys out of the front yard and off the sidewalks and front porch. Get the teenagers and children to understand the importance of keeping the house looking good while it is on the market. Take down the posters until the house is sold.

15. Clean the ashes out of the fireplace during the season that it isn't being used.

16. Be sure there is a light in the attic and it is easy and safe for people to walk.

17. If you don't have time for a garage sale, consider donating things to charity. Make a list of all the items and their estimated value, and be sure to get a receipt. The donation is tax deductible and may be worth more to you than the time and effort you' d put into a garage sale.

18. The pool needs to be sparkling and free of leaves.

19. A small investment that can make big returns

20. Change the wallpaper in the entry, kitchen, and bathrooms if necessary.

21. Replace ugly or out of style light fixtures.

22. Completely paint the inside of the home and put all new floor coverings down. Add new window treatments.

23. Ceiling fans are attractive and they are also very practical.

24. New appliances in the kitchen can be an exciting feature that can actually make the difference in a prospect choosing your home over another.

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Just Before a Showing or Open House:
  • 1. When the agent arrives with the prospects, have the drapes and window shades open to let in as much daylight as possible. If it happens to be night, be sure that all of your outdoor lights are on, especially landscape and pool lights if you have them.
  • 2. Open all the doors between rooms to give an inviting feeling. Turn on all of the lights including the lamps. Tune the radio to some quiet, "elevator-style" music.
  • 3. Pick up any newspapers or magazines that may be lying around. See that the counters are free of unnecessary items and that any dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher. Take out the trash if needed.  
  • 4. If you have pets, get them out of the way. Not everyone may share your love for animals. Some people may even be allergic to them.
  • 5. The beds should be made and clothes picked up. Bathrooms should be clean and the toilet lid down.
  • 6. When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, please leave it as if you know it is going to be shown. It's difficult sometimes and might even mean you have to get up a little earlier in order to take care of these important items. You never know when the right person is going to look at it, so you must always be ready for them.

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Exposure to Real Estate Professionals:

Many homeowners believe classified advertisements sell real estate! However, only one person out of 50 ultimately buys the house they first call about. Most buyers have not analyzed their finances, and so have no idea what they can afford. Also, few buyers have formed a clear picture of their requirements for a home.

Good real estate professionals know how to determine clients needs and wants, how to qualify them financially and how to match them to the home they need. They can direct the client from the unsuitable house they called about to the suitable home they are really searching for.

The people who sell houses are real estate professionals. Their job is to make sure that every agent in the community knows about your home, so that when a well-suited prospective buyer comes along they can match that buyer with your home. Compass has sold up to 60% of their own listings in the past year. This is very unusual in the real estate industry for an agency to sell this many of their own listings.

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Factors Influencing The Sale Of Your Home:

There are many factors involved in determining how long it may take to sell your home. If you understand these, you'll be more comfortable with the sales process, and better able to make the best pricing and marketing decisions for your home.

Location: This is the single most important factor in determining how quickly, and for what price, your home will sell.

Condition: The better your home shows, the easier it will be to sell. Most home buyers do not want to purchase a home which needs repair. If you take steps to improve your home's appearance (many of which aren't even that expensive) you will improve the chances for a prompt sale.

Terms: If you are in a position to offer potential purchasers "terms" you expand the number of buyers who could purchase your home. If you can afford to help the buyer finance the purchase of your home, please let me know. If you can offer terms, you might obtain a higher price than if you don't offer terms.

Competition And Market Strength: If there are a lot of homes similar to yours available, then you may have to lower your price to distinguish your home from other available homes. If it is a "seller's market" with homes selling quickly, then you may obtain a higher price than if it is a "buyer's market" with more homes taking longer to sell.

Price: If your home is priced too high when it is first listed, it won't get the exposure it would were it competitively priced. A careful review of the attached Comparative Market Report will help you in working with me to establish the best listing price for your home.

A seller has control over all the factors above except for location, competition and market strength. Rich Sieber will work with you to influence those factors under your control to maximize your chances of selling your home for the best price, in the shortest period of time.

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16 Things Every Homeowner Should Know Before Selling:
  • 1. The five factors that affect the marketing of any home is the price, location, terms, condition of the property, and the agent you select.
  • 2. Over 80% of all buyers purchase their home through real estate agents.
  • 3. The real estate agent you select should have mutual objective with you such as obtaining the highest possible price, in the shortest period of time, with the most favorable terms.
  • 4. There is much more to a successful sale than to put a sign in the yard, an ad in the paper, and putting it in the Multiple Listing Service.  Discover what other things the agent is going to do to make your home sell.
  • 5. There is a cumulative and collective effect with advertising. Ask what your agent's policy is on advertising.
  • 6. Advice to help your home sell quickly is a valuable thing to expect from the agent you select.
  • 7. Ask the real estate agent how contracts will be presented and if there will be a net sheet showing all of the expenses involved.
  • 8. Many homeowners are concerned because they don't know what is taking place during the listing period.  Ask the agent you choose how they stay in touch.
  • 9. Real estate agents can usually recommend repairmen and contractors who can perform quality work at reasonable prices to help you maintain your home.
  • 10. A Home Protection Plan could allow your home to sell quicker and protect you from potential liability because of faulty mechanical items.
  • 11. A real estate professional is trained to qualify buyers to protect the seller from taking a home off the market prematurely.
  • 12. Important criteria for selecting an agent are level of service, selling quickly at an expected price, and the reputation of the agent and company.
  • 13. Ask for a list of people the agent has represented so that you can independently check with them.
  • 14. Following up with prospects who have looked at your home is important and if the owner does it, it might appear that he is anxious.
  • 15. Some real estate agents are willing to issue the seller a performance warranty that states that if the owner is not happy with the service they are receiving, the agent will release the listing.
  • 16. An inspection by a professional inspector prior to finding a buyer can identify a problem areas that you can repair. This can save time and possibly increase the price you receive for your home.

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Rich Sieber's Home Marketing Schedule on Most Listings:
Scheduled Days Activities and Projects
First Day Photograph & measure home both inside and out
Second Day Install deluxe lawn sign
Second Day Install lockbox or give to owner.
Third Day Produce color flyers of property and home.
Second Day Turn listing into MLS with 3 pictures.
Second Day Produce Copy / Pictures for Internet Sites.
Second Day Schedule Office Tour for following Tuesday.
Second Day Schedule virtual tour pictures.
Seventh Day Deliver Neighborhood / Home book to sellers home.
Eighth Day Direct Mail "Just Listed Cards" to subdivision.
Third Day Schedule 30 Day ad campaign with newspaper.
Third Day Home flyers & e-mail to top producers of MLS.
Monthly Place COLOR ad in next issue Harmon Homes.
When Necessary Hold "Open House" for Buyers Feed Back.
Biweekly Report activity to you & give you tear sheets of ads that have run the past two weeks.
When Necessary Send Price Reduction post cards.
Weekly Review Check MLS "Prospect List" for people looking for a house like yours.
Daily Screen Clients to see if qualified to buy in your price range.

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Hints On Showing Your Home:

It is very important to spruce your home up as much as possible so that when buyers visit they are favorably impressed. Over the past years, we have found that by taking the following steps you can make your home more appealing, and increase the likelihood that it will sell quickly, and for the best possible price.

Steps To Take Now:
  • Keep lawn neatly trimmed and toys and bikes picked up.
  • Wash all windows and screens.
  • Paint or clean the entry and back porch and doors including the handle and knob. Keep the entry cobweb free... they come back weekly.
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs and low wattage bulbs with as high a wattage bulb as the fixture recommends.
  • Tidy up closets. If possible, clean out your closets and store as many items as you can someplace
  • Eliminate clutter from counter tops, bookcases, and all floor areas.
  • If you have pets, determine if there is any area (preferably outside or in your garage) where you can confine them when potential buyers visit.
  • Fix any leaky faucets or defective electrical switches.
  • Give your home a thorough cleaning inside and in the garage. Replace any cracked or broken windows.
  • Make sure every family member's bed is made every morning and clothes picked up before leaving home starting from today!
  • You never know what day a buyer may want to see your house while you are at work.

Steps to Take When A Buyer Is About To Come To Your Home:
  • Turn all the lights on, even if it's day time.
  • Open all drapes.
  • Tidy up the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Freshen up any cat litter box, or hide it.
  • Keep the house comfortable. This may require turning the heat up to at least 68 degrees in the winter.
  • If you have a working fireplace, light a fire.
  • Turn on some soothing music and light some candles.
  • If you have time, bake some cookies or something else wonderful smelling.
  • Put money, medications and valuables out of sight.

More Important Things to do When an Agent is Showing Your Home:
  • Leave the house during the visit. Buyers will be more comfortable if the owner isn't present and will spend more time and interest in viewing.
  • If you can't arrange for you and your children to go someplace else, keep the children occupied in one room or outside.
  • Let the sales associate show your house. Do not follow them around your house.
  • Save the business card of the sales associate who shows the house so I can contact him or her after the visit. We need their feedback.

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What to Ask Agents Who Want to List Your Property at a High Price:
  • 1. How many listings did you get in the last
    • 3 months?
    • 6 months?
    • 12 months?
    • year-to-date?
  • 2. What percentage of your listings sold in the last
    • 30 days?
    • 60 days?
    • 90 days?
    • other?
    • didn't sell?
    • any cancellations?
  • 3. If there were expires (did not sell), what was the cause?  And what was the percentage of expires to those sold?
  • 4. What was the average Days on Markets of your listings that sold?
  • 5. What was the percentage of price asked to price sold?
  • 6. Ask for a list of properties sold and listings taken.
  • 7. Were any properties left off the list?
  • If so, why?

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The Importance of a Hiring Real Estate Specialist:
  • 1. Knows the area. Knows the positive selling points of the area.
  • 2. Works the area and knows prospects; knows what motivates buyers.
  • 3. Experienced in selling in the area. Knows what works best.
  • 4. Knows the best advertising and marketing.
  • 5. Knows why previous buyers bought in the area.
  • 6. Is familiar with values (what homes and amenities are worth).
  • 7. Knows how to get the information out about the availability of the home.
  • 8. Knows what issues and concerns are important and likely to come up, and how to deal with them.
  • 9. Has a desire to promote your property to build on a base of strength in the area.

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Real Estate Key Boxes and How They Work to Protect Your Safety:

By listing your property with a member of the Multiple Listing Service, there are many services available to you. One of these services is the use of a key box. To help you understand how this service works, we have prepared this brochure.
  • What is a key box?

    A key box is a metal box that a Real Estate agent can attach to your property. It usually hangs over the doorknob or slips over the top of your door. Sometimes the key box is attached to your porch railing, the outdoor water faucet, or some other part of your home. The key box holds your house key and is opened by a special key code called a "Title Code".

    The Title Code is a special code that each Realtor has in their own electronic box. The combination is electronically recorded inside the code box when it is given out by MLS. Each code is numbered and issued only to members of the Multiple Listing Service who place deposits on the code box and sign agreements as to its use and care.

  • How is it used?

    Member Real Estate firms of the Multiple Listing Service attach a key box in all or most of the homes for sale in the area and place the house key inside. Then qualified members of the Multiple Listing Service are issued a Title Code that opens all of the key boxes. When an agent has a prospective buyer and the home for sale is either vacant or the homeowner is not at home, the agent can use the key box to enter and show it to the prospective buyer.

    Use of a key box is not mandatory. However, its use provides greater accessibility to the property by those authorized to use a key box. It provides greater exposure of your home to prospective buyers because your house key will always be available to authorized agents. Also, agents can spend more time selling homes and less time running from office to office picking up and returning keys.

  • Is it secure?

    A small risk may be inherent in any home which is for sale, whether or not a key box is used. People who participate in the key box system have been specially educated in the use of key boxes in an effort to provide the greatest amount of security to each property. Rich Sieber always recommends that all money, valuables, medicines, etc. be placed in a secure location within the house.

    Only members of the Multiple Listing Service are authorized to carry Title Keys to the key box. A security system of Title Key issuance has been developed to ensure the best possible safeguards. To eliminate any undue risk, whether or not your home has a key box, you are requested to keep all valuables out of sight and put away - preferably in a safe deposit box.

  • How can I protect my privacy?

    Each listing contains specific showing instructions. Each REALTOR has been educated to follow these instructions and other procedures to provide the greatest amount of privacy. Before showing your property, agents are instructed to contact you or the listing office. If the associate is unable to make a specific appointment because you are not at home, simple courtesy dictates that all necessary precautions (ringing the bell, calling out, knocking, etc.) are taken to allow you privacy. If you fear you might be intruded upon because of not hearing a voice, a knock, or a doorbell, it is suggested that you double lock your door while bathing or napping to avoid accidental intrusions. The Multiple Listing Service is pleased to offer this additional service to the homeowners it serves.

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Tired of Real Estate Agents Who Make Promises They Never Keep?

Then Try Rich's Bullet Proof Guarantee!

One of the most common complaints I hear from home sellers who have worked with other Realtors is that, once the agent puts the "For Sale" sign in the yard, the home sellers don't know what... if anything... is being done to sell their home. Has any one shown interest? Have buyers even driven buy? What sort of feedback are prospective buyers giving after they' ve had a showing? As the weeks dragged on, the home seller grew more frustrated.

Rich knows it's our job (not yours!) to track down all this information and relay it to you on a regular basis. From the very start, I sit down with you to explain my multifaceted marketing programs and give you honest feedback on your home. From that day forward, you will receive a phone call from my office every 14 days to update you on the progress of your home's marketing and sale. You will also receive mailings every two weeks from me with all the samples of advertising we' re doing for your benefit.


We' re so confident that we can take care of your needs, that we offer a RISK-FREE, BULLET PROOF GUARANTEE. I guarantee top-quality service to you while you are listed with me or you can cancel your listing contract with me at any time. Now that's a promise you aren't going to hear from many other agents in town.

I know that selling a home can be a stressful, anxious time. I' m here to help make the process smooth and more worry-free for you.

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Rich Sieber Photo Smith & Coelho,LLC
Smith & Coelho, LLC
1151 E Iron Eagle Dr
Eagle, Idaho 83616
208-841-4612 OR 208-475-3186

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