Which Square Footage Figure Should I Use?


Which Square Footage Figure Should I Use?

Home size is one of the key figures used in comparisons.

A decade ago, large homes were the rage. Today, there’s a movement toward tiny houses, and less space.

The figure below shows an interesting trend of larger homes over the 50 year period from 1950 to 2000. However, lately, homes are getting smaller. Perhaps the downturn of 2008 showed us that “less is more?”

Well, whether you’re marketing the sale of a mansion or a tiny house, when it comes to reporting the size of your home in a listing, you have several different measurements to choose from. As you’ll learn in this video, you can use the info from the survey provided by your builder, the valuation appraiser’s map, your property tax records, and possibly your own measurements and owner records.

Which one is right, and which one is best?


Which Square Footage Figure Should I Use?

The official figure is the one in tax records – typically, the county tax record information is right.

Any other figure must be documented by a builder’s floor plan an appraisal or an official floor plan, prepared by a company for a fee.

If your house has been remodeled and you’re planning to sell you may want to confirm that the official record matches your actual house – and update if required.

Most lenders will require an appraisal which will verify the figures you used. So be accurate and keep records to make the most of your sale.

At First Title & Abstract, Inc. we’re aware of trends in housing, and can refer you to the top agents who understand how to market homes of varying sizes.

Also, these agents can show you how to maximize your sales price, and honestly and accurately report the size of your home in listing reports.

There is one Naples and Marco Island title company whom tens of thousands of residents have come to depend upon — and that’s First Title & Abstract, Inc.

Putting you FIRST is the reason for our success!


What Details Can I Ask Brokers In Advance?


What Details Can I Ask Brokers In Advance?

This video tells you what any real estate professional would tell you. Ask them:

  • How long do homes in my neighborhood currently stay on the market?
  • How would you price my home?
  • What data did you use to arrive at that price?
  • How would you market my home?
  • What activities would you expect of me to market my home?
  • How will you handle representation if one of your buyers is interested in my home?
  • May I speak with sellers you’ve recently represented?
  • How long a period would you want on a listing agreement for my house?
What Details Can I Ask Brokers In Advance?

What Details Can I Ask Brokers In Advance?


It’s best to ask these questions, and be comfortable with your choices before signing a listing agreement.

It is also good to ask about their fiduciary obligations?

Whom do they represent in a negotiation? What is their duty to disclose information to other parties? How will they protect your privacy, and obtain the best possible advantage for you in the negotiation?

If you aren’t sure who to select to list your home, speak to many Realtors, create a checklist, ask them to prepare a seller net sheet, and inquire about their success in your neighborhood.

At First Title & Abstract, Inc. we are the title company puts you FIRST! If you’re buying or selling in Naples or Marco Island, the title company you can trust is … us!

We will guide you every step of the way.

How Is A Home Marketed?


How Is A Home Marketed?

As you’ll see in the video, every home and market is a unique situation. Good marketing plans are specific to both. But every plan will include: Preparation Pricing and Marketing Activities.

Preparation takes time – typically, months. Homes must be in “show” condition all repairs and upgrades complete and all photos and video completed before the home goes on the market.

How Is A Home Marketed?

How Is A Home Marketed?

Pricing, likewise, should be planned in advance. Your broker will advise on both the best price and the best TERMS things like closing costs and seller credits to balance sales speed with sales price. Once the home is on the market it will quickly be entered in the MLS and will show up in Internet searches by agents and buyers.

Your broker will advise other marketing activities including advertising, signage, showing and open house events so make the best of your situation. Their aim is to get negotiable offers, and then take the offer you accept through the closing process.

First Title & Abstracts, Inc. is the first title company in Naples and Marco Island which agents think of when searching for a reliable title company.

How Can I Improve My Home’s Value?


How Can I Improve My Home’s Value?

Buyers generally seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford.

As the video reveals, you want to present a home that fits in the neighborhood but doesn’t stand out too much.

For example if neighbors are all 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3000 square feet, additions that make your home over 4,000 square feet, with 5 bedrooms, and 4 bathrooms, will make yours harder to sell.


How Can I Improve My Home’s Value?

Improvements should make it show well and fit well in the neighborhood. Last-minute capital investments in large structural changes aren’t likely to pay off.

But cosmetic upgrades like paint and landscaping help a home “show” better and often do pay off. Also, studies show that updating kitchens and bathrooms can pay off, too.

Of course, all systems and appliances should work to get a top price. It’s always good to de-clutter, and provide organization, storage, shelving, and other little amenities which set your home apart from others.

Something as simple as a built-in wine cooler, or laundry tub sink large enough to wash the dog, all could enhance your sales prospects.

To make your home competitive and attract buyers, be sure to work with a professional real estate agents and interior design and staging experts. And start early.  Putting your home on the market before you’ve done all you can to enhance the value can be a negative, because you only have one chance to make a good impression.

Most title companies only help you with your closing.

However, we’re different. First Title & Abstract, Inc. is here to assist you at every stage of the sale and purchase of your home.

We offer valuable articles like this one to show you how to maximize your sale by taking the right steps to enhance your home’s value.

The Naples and Marco Island title company you can trust for guidance is First Title & Abstract, Inc …

That’s because we believe in “Putting You FIRST!”


How Should I Prepare For Internet Showing?


How Should I Prepare For Internet Showing?

In today’s market, sometimes your first “showing” will be on the Internet – often the virtual tour is the hook that brings a buyer in to see the home in person … so preparing for an online showing can be critically important!

Your price, listing description and PHOTOS determine whether someone will visit in person.

Consider professional staging advice or help.

Prep for photos and video just as carefully as real visits.

Ask your realtor if they use a professional photographer

If they do look at prior photos and pick someone who understands the job.


How Should I Prepare For Internet Showing?

Photos should make the most of your home’s features and give prospective buyers an emotional connection that invites them to visit in person.

Help them envision their lifestyle in the house not just the counters and walls.

If your realtor recommends video, just as with  photography stage it carefully and hire a professional it will pay off.

And look over your listing when it goes live on a computer AND a mobile device to make sure it’s accurate, pleasant and compels people to show up.

Remember – your first showing these days will be on a screen more often than not!

At First Title & Abstract, we help buyers and sellers understand every aspect of the buying and selling process.

We hope you will contact our title company in Naples or Marco Island for more information about your sale or purchase.

We are here to help!


How Should I Prepare The Inside For An Open House?


How Should I Prepare The Inside For An Open House?

For many homes and markets, professional help from someone in “staging” makes good financial sense.  Like this video say, check your staging options first.

If you are doing it yourself, here are 5 key tips.

One – Depersonalize.

You want the buyer to envision this house being their home?

Remove the things that make it YOUR home – photos, awards, collections, and STUFF.

Two – MOVE the stuff.

It’s tempting to shove things in closets and attics but your prospective buyer will see a much smaller house if those spaces are full.

Move it to a storage space or a friend’s garage.


How Should I Prepare The Inside For An Open House

Three – Warm it up.

Baking bread or cookies

adding fresh flowers

and colorful pillows and throws

are touches used by professional stagers to make a place warm without your stuff.

Four – Light it up!


  • Light sells homes.
  • Clean windows, inside and out.
  • Light bulbs all working and curtains open or even gone.

Five – Go Away.

Don’t hover – leave.

Pack for a day trip and have your realtor tell you when to return

Buyers won’t envision themselves buying if you’re around.

Depersonalize and move stuff out;

Warm it up and light it up.

Then leave and let your realtor do their job.

Finding a good listing agent can be difficult.

Why not call us for a recommendation?

We’re Naples oldest and most established title company.

First Title & Abstract, Inc.

For nearly 40 years, First Title & Abstract, Inc. has been the FIRST choice among buyers, sellers, and agents, when selecting a title company in Naples and Marco Island.

How Do I Set The Price On My House?


How Do I Set The Price On My House?

While this video simplifies things to help you, remember:

Your aim is to get the best price AND terms in your market during the period you’re selling.

Market conditions interest rates and competition all matter.

The price you want, and the price a buyer will pay are framed by those complex conditions

So pricing isn’t completely predictable.

But if you price it right, you’ll be handing over the keys soon to your buyer!


How Do I Set The Price On My House?

Buyer’s consider these important factors:

  • How your home compares to other homes for the same buyers
  • The inventory of homes and the level of buyer demand

Your needs also affect negotiations – for example, if you must sell quickly – but the final price will be determined by the market not by your needs.

Buyers look at the same comparables and market conditions and they want to pay as little as possible while meeting their needs.

Remember that the price isn’t the entire deal – repairs, closing, points, appliances and other factors can all change the value you finally receive.

Listen to your broker, stay informed, be patient if you can and make your best reasonable, unemotional decisions.

If you need more tips on selling your home, please don’t hesitate to call us at First Title & Abstract, Inc. We’re more than just the best title company in Naples and Marco Island! We’re your trusted advisor through every step of the transaction.

At First Title & Abstract, we believe in “Putting You FIRST!”

How Should I Prepare The Outside For An Open House?


How Should I Prepare The Outside For An Open House?

Professional “staging” may include the exterior, but if you’re doing it all yourself, try the five things outlined in this video.

1 – Landscape & lawn.

That’s the first impression; make it a good one.

Mow, prune, edge and get rid of junk!

2 – Paint And Clean!

You don’t have to do the whole house, but the front door and lintels should either be painted or cleaned.

Open house red sign

How Should I Prepare The Outside For An Open House?

3 – Leaks & Repairs

Small visible problems can become large mental objections and change how someone feels about your house.

Fix ‘em beforehand.

4 – Pets

Some people have allergies and concerns.

Time for Fido to visit a friend.

You weren’t including him with the house anyway.

5 – Get Fresh Eyes

Have your realtor or a friend who’s willing to be candid tell you what you missed. Or pay a staging professional for a report.

We don’t really see familiar things well – so let them be your ‘test buyer’ so you can present the best first impression to the real ones.

We pride ourselves in offering tips to buyers and sellers of real estate, at every step of the transaction.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this video, and the tips offered.

First Title & Abstract, Inc. has been serving Southwest Florida for almost 40 years! We are a fully licensed title agent, attorney-owned and operated.

We are the FIRST choice among real estate clients and professionals who are choosing a reliable title company in Naples or Marco Island.

Call us today, and prepare to be amazed!


6 Selling Mistakes


6 Selling Mistakes

If you’re selling, don’t do these things – here are a few notes from the video!
1. Don’t Sell Before The House Is Ready.

If it doesn’t present well, it won’t sell well.  See the tips below for ideas about what steps will most help to sell your home.

2. Don’t Over-Improve

People buy houses in neighborhoods which fit in, and are not overdone.

If yours is so “improved” that it sticks out you’re hurting your chances at selling. Also, it may be difficult to obtain the best price because their are no comparable sales in the neighborhood.

3. Don’t Hire Wrong

Choose your agent on the basis of sound business reasons.

Personal relationships matter, but experience and expertise will determine financial success in your sale, and should be given first priority.

4. Don’t Hide Anything

Covering up or ‘failing to mention’ real problems with your property will not serve you well … inspectors will find the problems, and state disclosure laws are strict. You may be sued for failing to disclose latent defects, and could be liable in after the sale for anything that should have been made clear.


6 Selling Mistakes … and 5 Easy Tips to Help you Sell Your Home

5. Don’t Rush

You should know about your mortgage, including pre-payment penalties your market conditions and trends and your options for your next home before jumping on the market.

6. Don’t Get Too Emotional

Your attachment to your house and perfectly meeting ALL your own financial needs can be a hindrance to selling your home. If you can’t set aside emotional attachment and be flexible the sale won’t go as you’d like it to.

Remember – it is your home now- but to the buyer it’s a house they must be able to  imagine as THEIR home.

If you need help finding the best Realtor for your neighborhood, please call us at First Title & Abstract, Inc.

We are the title company in Naples and Marco Island whom buyers and sellers have come to trust.


What Does The Closing Process Involve When I Sell?


What Does The Closing Process Involve When I Sell?

We wanted to take a break from our blogging posts about the mortgage process which fundamentally educates our buyers, and offer something of interest to the sellers we serve.

As this video explains, a signed sales contract doesn’t mean your house is sold. There are still financial, contractual and legal steps for both sides.


What Does The Closing Process Involve When I Sell?

The buyer has to get financing to meet the contract terms – which includes credit checks.

The property is inspected and appraised; title insurance and escrow accounts are set up. And you are working on locating new housing, packing, and preparing to move.

One of the most important obligations for sellers is to cooperate with the title company to clear any title issues, and to assist with obtaining association estoppels, and mortgage payoff information.

Of equal importance, is addressing all obligations under the contract, such as providing a prior owner’s title policy, maintaining the property in good condition, and taking care of any obligations which come up during the inspections, such as painting or repairs.

After the contract is signed, it can take a month or more of undertaking these steps to get ready for closing.

A good seller leaves the property in the condition they would want to take it if they were buying, and nothing breeds good will more than taking such an attitude.

If you need help preparing for closing, please count on us. We are the title company that believes in “Putting You FIRST!”

Non other title company in Naples or Marco Island will go the extra mile like we will … we want to exceed your expectations and make your sale easy and hassle-free.

Please call upon us to assist you, and if you wish to be represented separately in your closing, please contact us. Our real estate attorneys and title attorneys at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. can handle seller-side only representation.

So please plan on being amazed at our service. We’re here for you!