For many people, knowing how much their home is worth is the first and most important consideration when thinking about selling. You can hire a real estate appraiser to evaluate your home’s current market value for a fee or you can ask a knowledgeable local real estate agent to perform a market analysis for free. Our team of listing specialists often provide market analysis for local sellers, and we can help you determine how much your home would be likely to sell for and about how long it should take to sell as well.
There are many things you can do that are inexpensive, yet can have a big impact on how quickly and for how much your home sells. Enhancing your home’s curb appeal through adding plants and color to your front yard, touching up areas in need of new paint, de-cluttering rooms and closets, adding more lighting, and freshening up any musty or pet odors are a few things you can quickly and inexpensively. For more ideas, please take a look at our page titled Top 10 Ways to Sell Faster & For More Money, which addresses this subject in more detail.
Home staging has become popular in recent years and can be the extra marketing edge some sellers are looking for. It’s true that staged homes show well and usually sell more quickly as a result. There are different levels of staging, from bringing in a house full of furniture in a vacant home to light organizational and small decorating help in an occupied home. There are costs involved for the stager’s time and sometimes for the use of their decorating items and whether it’s a good idea for you will depend on your situation and your goals. If you want and need to sell quickly, staging can work wonders and act as a powerful tool in your overall marketing strategy.
This is a topic that comes up often. In today’s market, it seems that many buyers are bargain hunting and looking to make offers below the asking price. In response many sellers feel it’s wise to add a little to their asking price to allow room for a buyer to bargain. The trick is to do this very carefully. Pricing too high will lead to fewer showings and less interest in your home, which will ultimately lead to a longer time on the market and the potential of having to sell for less than you might otherwise. A small margin of negotiating room is probably prudent, but any more than 2-3% of the current market value will begin to hurt your chances of selling and send today’s value conscious buyers into the arms of your well-priced competition.
Most sellers have at one time asked themselves if they should try to sell their home on their own. How hard can it really be? The pros of trying to sell your home by yourself include a sense of control over every aspect of the marketing and offer negotiation, a savings of real estate commission that would be paid to a real estate agent, and the pride of being able to do something on your own. The cons of trying to sell your by yourself include all of the work involved, typically a reduction in local and Internet marketing exposure, a reduction in other real estate agent exposure, the potential for buyers and real estate agents to shy away from your home due to the lack of professional representation, the potential for loan and escrow hiccups due to a seller’s lack of experience with these areas, additional time on the market due to the lack of marketing exposure, and a sense of defeat if you are not able to accomplish the job on your own.
Choosing the right real estate agent to sell your home is one of the most critical decisions you will make and will be one of the determining factors of whether or not you will be able to successfully sell your home. There are unfortunately many agents that are not marketing experts, many that work in real estate part-time, and some that do not have high levels of client service. When choosing an agent to sell your home you’ll be looking for a top-selling agent in your area, an agent with a lot of local and Internet marketing exposure that captures buyer attention, an agent that returns calls promptly and communicates and explains the process well, and someone that instills a sense of confidence that they are the right person for the job. All of your marketing, representation and negotiation will be in this agent’s hands. You are wise to do your homework on anyone you interview by checking out their website, testimonials, property photos, and other marketing before meeting with them and choosing the person you hire very carefully.
Modern lockboxes operate by an infrared beam from a real estate agent’s lockbox key or Smartphone. These keys update on a daily basis for safety and require a special pin code to access lockboxes. Once an agent has accessed the lockbox, your listing agent can see their contact information and what day and time they were there. The lockboxes themselves are almost indestructible and they also require a special pin code to remove the lockbox from the property. The lockbox can even be programmed to allow access only during certain hours of your choosing. The advantages of having a lockbox are many, including an increase in showing flexibility for your home and the ability for agents to bring their buyers to see your home while you are not there. Most sellers feel very comfortable with the security features of a lockbox and the advantages it can provide.
Every situation and area will have different fees that are customary for a seller or buyer to pay. It will also depend on the offer terms you negotiate with your buyer. But in general, here are some fees that you may expect to pay when selling your home. Prorated property taxes depending on the time of year you sell and if you’ve paid in advance, escrow fees, title policy fees for the title policy provided to the buyer, HOA disclosure and transfer fees, real estate commission, the payoff of any existing loans you have on the property, and any closing cost credits you may have agreed to contribute towards your buyer’s closing costs. Your real estate agent can provide some guidance prior to selling the home and at the time of your offer negotiation to make sure you are aware of what fees you will encounter.
This will depend on the type of offer terms you negotiate with your buyer, which will be dictated by each party’s needs and desires. If you have a buyer obtaining a loan your escrow period will typically take 30-45 days. If you have a cash buyer, your escrow period could be as short as 7 days. You will want to voice any concerns and needs you have to your real estate agent to be sure the terms you negotiate are acceptable for your situation and goals.
When you receive an offer from a buyer working with a lender to obtain a home loan, you will typically receive a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter with the offer. This letter will be drafted by the buyer’s lender and should let you know they are qualified for the loan amount. One small but important distinction between the letters you may receive is the difference between a buyer who is pre-qualified and one who is pre-approved. Essentially, when a buyer is pre-qualified the lender has checked their credit and possibly their income and believes the buyer should be able to obtain a loan for the amount stated. When a buyer is pre-approved the lender has checked their credit, obtained documentation of their income and tax records and knows they can obtain a loan because they have the loan approval. This small distinction can be important when considering the strength of the offer you receive.
When a buyer is obtaining a loan, their lender will require an appraisal for your home. If the appraisal value comes in lower than the sales price you have negotiated, your buyer may not be obligated to purchase the home under your original terms and you may need to renegotiate your contract terms.
An additional side note for sellers is that due to stricter loan guidelines and underwriting criteria, many loans are taking longer than normal to process which can lead to a delay in your closing date. If your buyer is obtaining a loan, do not be too surprised if you are asked to extend your closing by a few days. Many sellers become upset when they learn this, and it’s good to be prepared up front just in case it happens to you.