Understanding the Housing Market
We all want to get the most value out of our homes. Let’s be honest, they are
an expensive investment, with a lot of money and time put into them.
However, it’s also important to take into consideration what the market
actually values your home for, because if the home is overpriced, it will sit
stagnant on the market without any written offers.
In real estate, there is a solution to every home that doesn’t sell, and that’s
decreasing the price. And it’s not associated with your agent’s efforts,
because they can be pulling every trick out of their hats to market your
property, but if your local market shows that your house on paper is overpriced,
it simply won’t sell.
We’d love a cash buyer who will fall head over heels in love with our homes,
enough so that they are willing to pay over the appraisal. And although this
can happen, it is incredibly rare, and should not be relied on. Because most
buyers apply for a mortgage to purchase a home, and the bank will not
finance your sales amount if the appraisal comes back lower.
By listing your home at the correct market price, not only can you guarantee a
much faster sale, you can also avoid the headache of going under contract
with a buyer, with the anticipation of a close, only for everything to fall apart
towards the end because the appraisal values did not match up.
Discuss with your agent a realistic price point for your home. Choose one that
you can trust to list at a price that ensures it’s sale, at a value that works best
for you, in terms of what the market will allow. Keep in mind that listing it
slightly lower than its value is going to have a greater likelihood of a bidding
frenzy that drives up the cost than expecting an offer on an overpriced home.
Your Motivations & Goals for Moving
Whether you’re selling your home on your own, or are moving your spouse
and family, it’s important to sit down to discuss the motivations for the move.
Putting your home on the market and getting it sold is quite the process, and it
has a lot of fast moving components. Especially based on how desirable your
home is, a sale can happen the moment your house goes on the market.
Planning and evaluating your motivation to move out of your current house will
give you a better chance of completing the sale, stress-free. You can have an
understanding of what your next steps will be, and can have your agent assist
you with the transition into a new home. Discuss with your agent if you will
need help finding another home locally, or if you need a referral for an agent
who can help you transition comfortably into a new house in a different
Make sure when it comes time to talking with an agent and putting your house
on the market, that you are certain selling is the right decision for you and/or
your family. Having cold feet in the middle of a transaction can create legal
issues brought on by the buyer, so protect yourself by ensuring the decision to
sell is what is best for you in your current situation.
Once you have the motivation to take the next step in your life, discuss with
your agent how he or she can help you move forward.
Getting Prepped to Sell
Before you put your home on the market, you want to make sure it’s in a
condition buyers can envision their own lives in. The first thing you want to do
is remove as much clutter out of the house as possible. You can put them in
boxes and store in the attic, put them into a storage unit, or any part of the
house that won’t have them in the way. By removing a lot of your personal
knick-knacks, you leave room for buyers to come in and see the house for it’s
full potential, and in their own eyes.
After you’ve removed the majority of clutter, be sure to put away personal
photos from around the house. You want people to come in and feel like it’s a
home they can own, instead of feeling like they are intruding in someone
else’s personal space. Because that won’t leave them with the feeling of
wanting to buy.
Use an agent who has a photographer who will take professional photos of
the home. A buyers first resource is to look online for a home, before
contacting their agent. You want your home to be incredibly appealing in the
photos, so it encourages more showings.
If there are any evident repairs that need to be done, it’s in your best interest
to fix those prior to listing. Some properties generally need some paint touch
up, light bulbs and batteries in smoke detectors replaced, and other minor
repairs that can go a long way if fixed. Don’t forget to have your home
thoroughly cleaned, especially if you have pets.
Having Great Curb Appeal
When prepping your home for sale, a lot of sellers focus on repairs and touch-ups
on the inside of the home, and forget to put any energy on the outside. A
lot of buyers will drive away, prior to looking inside, if they don’t like the way
the outside looks. A couple hundred dollars in repairs can make a world of a
difference in the offers you have coming in.
Be sure to clean up any trash or debris around your yard. Throw out sticks
and rocks that are out of place. Have your yard mowed during the spring and
summer seasons, so the grass looks kept. Adding a door mat, some plants,
and a wreath on your front door can go a long way. And these are items that
are fairly inexpensive.
Remove any dead plants and shrubs you may have around your home. If you
can afford to, have them replaced, and put fresh mulch/rocks around them so
it looks appealing. You can visit online sources like YouTube or Pinterest to
find some great ways to fix up your curb appeal for pennies on the dollar.
And the time and small amount of money invested will be well worth it in the
results you get. Showcase your home’s best features, it’ll be the difference in
low offers, or over-asking price offers.
After you Get an Offer
Getting an offer can be an exciting experience! Depending on the price point
and location of your home, you can get into a multiple offer situation, or it may
take a couple of weeks to see one come through. With luxury properties, it
can take extra time to find the perfect buyer for the home. In some occasion,
buyers will submit low offers in hopes to get a deal on the home; so long as
the home is priced correctly, this isn’t a negative reflection of your property,
simply an attempt by buyers to save some money.
If you get a strong offer that is for full price or over asking, that’s great! If you
get an offer slightly lower, your agent will be able to advise you, based on
market conditions, how best to proceed. In some scenarios, if your home is
still brand new on the market, you can hold out for a new offer. If your home
has been sitting on the market for a while, it would be best to counter the
offer, but review the information with your agent to ensure you are making the
An offer is more than just a price. Be sure to review the contracts and choose
one that has other aspects of it that make the best sense for you. Will they be
buying with cash or applying for a loan? How soon can they close? Do they
want any repairs or any additional items to remain? These are all things you
can discuss with your agent, so you get more than just a good sales price, but
also a deal that makes it to the closing table.
GOING THROUGH THE CONTRACT PERIOD
Once you’ve signed off on the right buyer’s offer, you can move forward with
the sale. Generally the period of waiting to close can last between 2 weeks to
45 days. This is dependent on the buyer’s lender and how soon they can
close. If they are a cash buyer, they will generally be able to close in a couple
of weeks. But the details of this are outlined in the contract. This waiting
period is also when the Title company can ensure the transfer of the title on
the property to the buyers without any complications.
During this period, buyers will generally conduct 3 inspections. A home
inspection for their own benefit, and their lender will require an appraisal and
in most scenarios, a termite inspection. It’s important to be open to making
repairs if a repair request is sent in after the home inspection, to keep the deal
in place. This step will be something you can discuss with your agent, so you
aren’t being taken advantage of.
If an appraiser comes back and requests repairs, these will need to be
completed in order for the loan to be approved. This is true in regards to the
termite inspection. If termites are found in the home, they will need to be
removed prior to loan approval. Once the inspections and appraisal clear,
and any requests are agreed upon, you will be closer to closing on your
property. The clear to close will come a few days prior to closing, after the
buyer has fully been approved by the bank for the mortgage.
After your clear to close, you will meet with your agent at the title company
specified in advance, and sign over the documents to the buyers. Your agent
will be able to give you a better estimate to the exact cost, but keep in mind
that you will also be paying seller’s closing costs on top of the agent
commission. If you end up selling your home for more than what you owe, you
will receive the funds by wire transfer or check.
Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent
With a whopping 95% of home buyers using a real estate agent in the past
year, and only 2% buying directly from a FSBO, selling with an agent
statistically will get your home sold faster in today’s market. Although online
resources have made it easier to list your home, the exposure from sites like
Zillow, Trulia, and others won’t guarantee a sale. They may get views, but
without agent representation, it’s less likely to have offers rolling in.
Another downfall to listing on popular internet sources is the incorrect home
valuation estimates that are stated, which cause a lot of frustration for buyers, and especially sellers.
Agent representation not only brings in a substantially larger sales price, but
the protection that comes with experienced guidance can ensure you avoid
the pitfalls of legal situations that can arise if a sale is not handled properly.
Not only do you have a greater chance of a higher sales price with the use of
an agent, but the stress it relieves you from the process is significant in it’s
own measure. Agents have the systems in place to have your home securely
shown to buyers, and buyers that are already pre-approved to purchase.
Having a great agent by your side means the legal documents and
disclosures are written up as they should be, in order to protect you from any
troubles buyers may attempt to cause. Although DIY can be fun in many
instances, in such an expensive transaction in your life, having the help of a
real estate agent proves to be far more beneficial than the anticipated savings
of not hiring one. And in most cases, the anticipated savings are ate up by
other means of the transaction; so sellers without an agent are left to their
own devices in a stressful situation. Hire an agent that will work hard for your
best interest during the transaction, it will be worth your time. I will work hard to help you and your family move graciously into the next phase of your life! Please contact me with any question you may have and I look forward to hearing from you soon!