Seller Information

For the Best listing and selling experience, using aggressive marketing & skillful negotiating, contact
Melissa Raffay today at 732-492-4437. I WILL GET YOUR HOME SOLD!

Overview of the Buying & Selling Process
Right Pricing Study
Preparing your home through the eyes of a buyer
Market Analysis
Repair & Cleaning Checklist
Possible work orders
While your house is being shown
Answers to frequently asked questions
How your home is marketed to the buying public
The Agent you choose to market your home

Overview of the Buying & Selling Process

  1. Considers purchasing a home
  2. Selects a real estate agent
  3. Determines needs and wants
  4. Discusses financial issues
  5. Views & researches target homes
  6. Makes an offer to buy
  7. Offer Accepted
  8. Loan Application
  9. Inspections
  10. Title Search
  11. Appraisal
  12. Loan Approval
  13. Closing Papers Signed
  14. Documents Recorded
  15. Funds Available To Seller
  16. Seller Moves Out
  17. Buyer Moves In
  1. Decides to sell property
  2. Selects a real estate agent
  3. Determines needs
  4. Prepares home for marketing
  5. Agent markets the home
  6. Accepts, rejects or counters offer
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Right Pricing Study

Click Here to View/Download "Right Pricing Study" PDF 

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Preparing your home through the eyes of a buyer

The effort put into repairing and cleaning your property is likely to be returned in a fast sale at an attractive price.

  • As buyers approach your property the first time, impressions are formed quickly.
  • Paint house - this can do more for sales appeal than any other factor.
  • Yard - Remove all toys, garbage, garden tools and other items from view.
  • Mow lawn and keep edged.
  • Close garage doors.
  • Put colorful flowers in front of house.

Often, while waiting to be let in, the first thing a buyer looks at closely is the front door.

  • Put new paint on the front door.
  • Buy a new door mat.
  • Buyers take a close look at the basement of a home. They will look for bad wiring, leaky pipes and signs of decay.
  • Clean out basement and dispose of everything you are not going to move.
  • Ensure that there is plenty of lighting.
  • Sweep or vacuum floor.
  • Stack items neatly against walls.

The kitchen is often the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive.

  • Put a vase of fresh flowers on the table.
  • Replace curtains or clean existing ones.
  • Remove appliances from counters.
  • Create a pleasant fragrance in the kitchen (i.e. vanilla, cinnamon).

It is important that bathrooms are clean, bright and smell fresh. 

  • Install a new shower curtain and replace worn throw rugs.
  • Polish all fixtures.
  • Open windows.
  • Hang bright, fresh towels.
  • Remove stains from toilets and bathtubs.
  • Use air freshener.
  • Display colorful soaps.

The living room.

  • Clean out the fireplace and place logs in it.
  • Polish all woodwork.
  • Put big furniture in storage so rooms are not cluttered or crowded.

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Market Analysis

Visit my Market Analysis Page & contact me to receive a complimentary Markey Analysis of your property. I will contact you to discuss your property, answer any questions, or schedule an appointment to provide you with a complimentary market analysis and further discuss your sale.
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Repair Cleaning Checklist

  • Front Door:
    • Newly painted
    • Doorbell operating
    • Door brass polished
    • Hinges oiled
  • Exterior of House:
    • House recently painted
    • Gutters recently cleaned
    • Exterior lights operating
    • Missing shingles replaced
    • Moss removed from roof
  • Windows:
    • Window trims painted
    • Windows operating freely
    • Cracked windowpanes replaced
    • Windows washed
  • Driveway:
    • Resurfaced
    • Potholes patched
    • Recently sealed
  • Patios:
    • Wood stained or painted
    • Fencing secure
  • Lawn:
    • Lawn in good condition
    • Grass mowed
    • Edges trimmed
  • Trees/Shrubs:
    • Dead branches pruned
    • Dead shrubs replaced
    • Overgrown shrubs pruned
  • Entry:
    • Entry lights operating
    • Floors cleaned
    • Closet cleaned
    • Closet light operating
  • Living Room:
    • Recently painted
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repainted
    • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
    • Drapes/blinds opened
    • Carpets cleaned
    • Furniture positioned to show space
  • Kitchen:
    • Sink free of stains
    • No dripping faucets
    • Appliances in good working order
    • Walls, cabinets free of stains
    • Countertops cleared and cleaned
    • Pantry neatly arranged
    • Pantry hardware replaced
    • Refrigerator defrosted
  • Family Room:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repainted
    • Windows washed
    • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
    • Windows operating freely
    • Drapes/blinds opened
    • Carpets cleaned
    • Hobby supplies put away
  • Bedrooms:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repaired
    • Windows washed
    • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
    • Floor waxed/refinished
    • Carpets cleaned
    • Beds made
    • Laundry put away
    • Floor free from clutter
  • Basement:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • No evidence of water penetration
    • Dampness removed
    • Cold water pipes covered
    • Dehumidifier installed
    • Sump pump installed
    • No musty odors
    • Drains cleared
    • Furnace cleaned
    • Storage neatly arranged
    • Excess storage removed
    • Floor swept
    • Light fixtures operating
    • Handrail secure
    • Stairway runner secure
  • Dining Room:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repaired
    • Windows washed
    • Drapes/blinds open to view
    • Floor waxed/refinished
    • Carpets cleaned
  • Bathrooms:
    • Sink stains removed
    • Leaky faucets repaired
    • Grouting stains removed
    • All joints caulked
    • Missing tiles replaced
    • All fixtures operating
    • Floors cleaned
    • New shower curtain
    • All supplies stored
    • Guest towels

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Possible Work Orders

The following is a list of some possible work orders. The work orders must be completed prior to closing and the seller is responsible for having them done. Check with your local authorities for specific requirements.

The following conditions may require a work order:

  • Broken windows.
  • Debris in crawl space.
  • Dry rot or deteriorated wood.
  • Earth-wood contact.
  • Overgrown shrubbery.
  • Electrical not in working condition.
  • Gutters and downspouts blocked or missing.
  • A hot water tank without a 3/4" discharge line.
  • Inadequate foundation ventilation.
  • Inadequate attic ventilation.
  • Less than four feet of waterproof material around tub enclosures (tile, formica, etc.).
  • Less than 18" clearance between soil and floor joists under entire house.
  • Peeling or missing paint.
  • Plumbing not in working condition.
  • Single oil or gas space heaters to heat entire house.
  • Water damage inside home.

You might have to:

  • Paint the exterior and interior if in bad condition.
  • Hook up to public water or sewer if available.
  • Get county certification if home is on septic or well.
  • Remove unused oil tanks or fill with cement-slurry or polyurethane foam.

Other items to remember:

  • Inspectors will need access to the attic.
  • Leased equipment cannot be included in the sale (i.e. hot water tank, alarm system, etc.).
  • All assessments must be paid.
  • Joint maintenance agreements will be required for common road easements for maintenance on home where property line is within 3' of structure.

* Check with local authorities for specific requirements

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While your house is being shown

Before Your House Is Shown
  • Tag or remove items not included in sale (i.e. water conditioner, chandeliers, plants, drapes).
  • Open shades and curtains to let in light.
  • Turn on enough lights so home is well-lit during showing.
  • At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting.
  • Tidy all the rooms. Neatness makes a room easier to view.
  • Clean dirty dishes in the sink and put away any dishes on counter.
  • Keep toys in the children's rooms.
  • Put away items in the yard such as bicycles, gardening tools and skateboards.
  • If fall or winter, light a fire in the fireplace.

While Your House Is Being Shown
  • When possible, leave while the property is shown. If not, remain in an area not being shown by the sales associate.
  • Let the real estate expert show your house. Answer questions candidly when asked, but avoid questioning potential buyers.
  • Refer inquiries about seeing your house to your Realtor to take advantage of the agent's professional skills in selling your home.
  • Don't mention items you wish to dispose of unless asked.
  • It is best to be away when your agent is holding an open house.
  • Keep pets outdoors or in one area.
  • Keep children quiet and in one area.
  • Keep radio, stereo or TV on low volume.
  • Keep money and other valuable items out of sight.


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Answers to frequently asked questions

What is title insurance?
Title insurance protects the named insured against loss because of defects, liens, encumbrances, adverse claims or other matters not shown or disclosed to the new owner that attach before date of policy.

What is a wood-destroying organism inspection report?
A wood-destroying organism inspection report is a written opinion by a qualified state licensed structural pest control inspector based upon what was visible and evident at the time of inspection. The inspection report does not in any way represent or guarantee the structure to be free from wood-destroying organisms or their damage, nor does it represent or guarantee that the total damage or infestation is limited to that disclosed in the report. Wood-destroying organisms include subterranean termites, dampwood termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and wood decay fungus.

What are the hazards of lead-based paint?
All buyers and sellers are required by law to receive and read a pamphlet outlining the hazards of lead-based paint for homes built before 1978. Be sure to ask your real estate agent for a copy.

What are closing costs?
Closing costs are an accumulation of charges paid to different entities associated with the buying and selling of real estate. For sellers, they are usually about 9.5-10% of the total sales price of a property. Some of the closing costs you might encounter are: discount points, escrow fee, documentation fee, homeowners' association fees, pest/rot inspection, real estate commission and title insurance premium.

What is the difference between "pre-qualified" and "pre-approved"?
If a buyer is "pre-qualified" it has been determined, with a loan officer, what price the buyer can afford based on the down payment, debts and the amount the mortgage company will approve for the mortgage. Being "pre-qualified" is only a determination of probable credit. If "pre-approved", credit, employment and funds have been approved by the lender.

What should a home inspection include?
Every inspection should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the following:

1. Foundations
2. Roof
3. Heating and air conditioning systems
4. Ventilation
5. Common areas (for condominiums)
6. Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines*
7. Insulation
8. Plumbing and electrical systems
9. Ceiling, walls and floors
10. Doors
11. Hazardous materials concerns*

* There may be an additional fee for this.

What property details are usually included by Listing Services?
Usually, properties listed will include the following details:

  • Location
  • Photograph
  • Price
  • Utilities
  • Amenities
  • Annual property tax
  • Current financing (when assumable)
  • Listing company

What pages are generally included in the Purchase and Sales Agreement?

  • Agency Disclosure
  • Financing Addendum/Clause
  • Earnest Money Receipt
  • Inspection/Clause
  • Conditions/Disclosures Addendum
  • Contingency
  • Addendum Outlining Special Conditions
  • Lead-Base Paint Notification
  • Property Disclosure Form (completed by Sellers)

What is the difference between a REALTOR® & Real Estate Agent?

REALTOR® identifies real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® may be an appraiser, property manager or involved in some other aspect of the real estate business.

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How your home is marketed to the buying public

Myself and Diane Turton Realtors spends a lot of time and effort in determining where the buyers are coming from.  We log every sale that closes in the Company and have found that the statistics show that in the current market the internet is the number one draw from buyers at approximately 90% with the remaining 9% signs and 1% other.  As a result of that information I pay to enhance the sites that I can so that all my listings have multiple pictures, a virtual tour and most importantly any inquiries about your home come to me directly either by email or phone.  As listing Agent I am the one who knows your house the best and will do everything that I can to have that inquiry turn into a showing of your home.  I also check the syndications on a weekly basis as changes in the listings seem to happen from time to time for no apparent reason.  It is my aim to keep them as correct as possible.  Below is a list of all the web sites that I syndicate your listing to.  There are also links to virtual tours that I have produced for my listings. That way you can see a sample of how the tours look.  I always produce a brochure for the home; to be given to potential buyers and/or their agents whenever your home is shown. (see sample below)

VIRTUAL TOUR LINKS      (I produce one of these tours for every home I list)
19 Orchard St., Middletown, NJ
878 Holmdel Rd., Holmdel, NJ
33 Bethany Road, Hazlet, NJ (virtual tour is also posted here)

List of Syndicated Web Sites
Homes in NJ (Asbury Park Press web site)
All major realestate company sites ie Weichert, Heritage House (syndicates to 100’s of sites all over the country) (International real estate network, homes 1 million or greater) /Greathomes
NY Times web based Real Estate, if you go into the NY Times site click national and follow directions from there

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The Agent you choose to market your home

First and foremost you must feel comfortable with the person that you are working with.  The real-estate transaction can be very emotional and often stressful.  It is my job to help guide you with my experience, knowledge and expertise to make the whole transaction run as smoothly as possible.

As a full time licensed real estate professional, I take my work very seriously.  I am hardworking and dedicated to my clients.  I make it a point to attend numerous seminars a year so that I can provide the best service that I can to my clients.  Continuing education is not currently required in NJ but I feel that it is very important. 
There are many different steps that are involved in the process.  I work diligently to photograph your home in such a way as to enhance the homes best features.  I have taken photography classes, editing classes and have had training in producing virtual tours and working with the software Publisher to make the brochures of the house.
Once the home is fully up on the market with the pictures and tours attached I then begin marketing to the area agents.  We have built in to MLS a prospecting system where an agent registers his client for emails about homes on the market.  I have access to all the agents who have prospects that would be looking for a home like yours.   Even though their clients would automatically be emailed about the new listing I still follow up with their Agents to let them know that your home is for sale.  If the home were to be on the market for a long period I would be following up with them continually to see why they had not brought their client to see your home.
Once a buyer shows interest in your home it is crucial how the negotiations are handled right from the beginning.  I will always do my best to aide the buyer’s agent to help them in having their buyers make an offer, first to get an offer on the table and then to negotiate the best price for you with the least amount of complications all the way through the process.   These things can run very smoothly if handles correctly from the beginning.  You want your home sold but I’m sure you would also like to be happy with the buyer and how the process goes.  
I have been involved in the real-estate business for over 30 years.  My husband was a successful builder in the area. I worked with him full time running his company. We built over 500 homes in the area.  The towns include Hazlet, Freehold, West Long Branch, Middletown, Ocean, Colts Neck and 150 homes in Marlboro.  I have a detailed working knowledge of Monmouth County real-estate.  Even in the current market I have been very successful.  Some current awards are:
NJAR Circle of Excellance Award
Silver Award, 2010, 2009,2008, 2007, 2006, 2004
2010, 2009,2008, 2007, 2006 Sales Person of the Year
2010, 2009,2008, 2006 Top Producer of the Year
2009,2008, 2007, 2006 Most Listings of the Year
Diane Turton Realtors is a Company that I am proud to work for.  We are one of the leading Companies in Monmouth and Ocean counties.  I feel we have the best of both worlds, all the benefits of the national companies but we are privately owned.  I never have to go through a corporate structure to get things accomplished.  Diane is there to assist in any way that would be needed.  Diane was just quoted in the Wall Street journal with regard to the current market and she and my clients, Laura and Sal, were just featured in a spot on the weekend edition of the morning show on CBS with regard to new home buyers.  We also have a strong relocation department.  We are members of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.  We receive referrals from all over the world when clients are looking to move to our area. 
Call me at 732-492-4437 to that we can discuss your specific needs and the marketing of you home. 

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