SELLERS: EIGHT STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME
Selling your home can be a highly emotional process. Most sellers desire to accomplish three simple goals…. obtain the best price possible, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of inconvenience and disruption.
Once you have decided whether or not to sell your home, you’ll want to make the necessary repairs and touch-ups, get it listed, and start marketing to potential buyers. Although you have likely already seen how a real estate transaction works from the buyer’s side, working from the seller’s side is entirely different Accordingly, this 8 step guide explains the home selling process and how I will help you to sell your home!
1. Defining Your Needs:
Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move, or maybe the kids are out of the house and/or off to college and it’s time to take some of that equity you’ve been building to downsize and also lower your monthly mortgage payment.
For your goals, write down if you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Remember: Working with a real estate agent like myself to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and to set a realistic time frame for the sale is always the best way to begin the process of selling your home.
2. Naming Your Price:
Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. You will need to take into account the condition of your home, what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for, and state of the overall market in your area. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home so a real estate agent, like myself and with the expertise I provide, is invaluable at this step. As your agent I will let you know what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average time those homes are sitting on the market. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done too. However, this typically costs a few hundred dollars.
Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent of their market value take considerably longer to sell in comparison to those priced at the market or slightly below. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, more reasonably priced listings.
The best way to think about price then is to look at it as if you’re in competition with your neighbors. Pricing your home to high can help your neighbors sell their home while pricing at the local market or just below the market draws much more attention, buyer action from serious buyers, and ultimately more offers and/or offers that will stick.
3. Preparing Your Home:
Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, a broken porch light, and doors or windows that stick or squeak. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. The condition of your home will dramatically affect how quickly it sells and the price buyers are willing to offer. First impressions are the most important.
As your real estate agent, I can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest numerous ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers. * A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized decor will help buyers visualize the home as their own. * Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer’s first impression and a little paint is often the easiest way to brighten things up. * Clutter is a big no-no when showing your home to potential buyers. Make sure you have removed all knick-knacks from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible. After all, the only factors that buyers truly consider and which you can control are (1) the price of your home and (2) the condition of your home. The relationship between these two facts is what will make the difference in getting your home sold as fast as possible and for as much money as possible.
4. Getting the Word Out:
Now that you’re ready to sell, as your real estate agent I will set up a marketing strategy specifically tailored for your home.
There are many ways to get the word out, including: * The Internet * Yard signs * Open houses * Media advertising * Agent-to-Agent referrals * Direct mail marketing campaigns.
All of these strategies are in addition to listing your home on the MLS and, as your agent, I will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. As your agent I will also structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.
5. Receiving Offers:
As your real estate agent, when you receive a written offer from a potential buyer I will first find out whether or not the individual or entity is prequalified or pre-approved for financing and capable of buying your home. If so, then you and I will review the proposed contract line-by-line, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction.
The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following: * Legal description of the property * Offer price * Down payment * Financing arrangements * List of fees and who will pay them * Deposit amount * Inspection rights and possible repair allowances * Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing * Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home * Settlement date * Contingencies.
At this point, you will have three options: to accept the contract as is, to accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or to reject it all together. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with me right away as soon as they come to mind.
6. Negotiating to Sell:
Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. As your real estate agent and because I’m well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area, I will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining process. I also know what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale, and what areas are easiest to negotiate.
Some negotiable items include: * Price * Financing * Closing costs * Repairs * Appliances and fixtures * Landscaping * Painting * Move-in date * Post-Closing Occupancy Agreements * Who pays what *
As your real estate agent, once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, I will prepare any/all contracts for you.
7. Preparing to Close:
Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before the closing. However, as your real estate agent, I’ll provide you with this list and with a list of the important dates and deadlines you’ll need to remember along the way. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected and/or repaired just to name a few.
As your real estate agent, I can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and other service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some, or none of these items and we’ll go over all of these before you either accept, counter, or reject any offer. If each procedure returns acceptable results, as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations, or proceed to closing.
Important reminder: As your real estate agent I will contact the entity that is closing the transaction and continually forward them documents needed to close throughout the transaction process. Furthermore, a few days before the closing, I will make sure the necessary documents will be ready for you to sign at the appropriate time on the appropriate date. Also, when necessary and/or pertinent, I will remind you to begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move, if you have not done so already.
8. Closing the Deal:
Closing refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. As your real estate agent, I will be present during the closing so as to guide you through the process and to make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, I will mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present (an attorney is not required in Colorado). After the closing, you should make a “to do” list of items needing addressed before turning the property over to the new owners.
Here is a checklist to get you started: * Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services. * If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account. * Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances (if not already done during the Due Diligence Documents stage of the contract transaction).