Selling your property...
When you're selling your home, the first question you need
to answer is "why do I want to sell"?
Your answer is vitally important in determining the pricing of your property, as pricing is the primary factor in how long it will take your property to sell. Tell your real estate professional your reason for selling, before settling on your offering price.
1. Defining your needs
It is important to set out in writing the reasons that are motivating you to sell your current home. You might ask yourself, "Why am I selling my home and what do I expect to accomplish?" If you have a growing family and you need more space you may be under less pressure to get your house ready to sell than if you were, let's say, moving to a new city due to career opportunity. Or you may be considering downsizing.
2. Selecting a price
Your next objective is to consult with your Real Estate Professional to determine the best possible selling price of your home. You will need to take into account the state of the local market, the condition of your home, and sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. They will create a comparative market analysis by taking into consideration the type of market you are in and recent sales of comparable properties. Your Realtor will then guide you to the best fair market price that will help sell your home within your desired time frame. Usually, real estate agents have a clearer and more objective sense of market value than anyone else- including appraisers!
3. Preparing your home
It's time to get your home in “showing and selling” condition. Most of us don't keep our homes in the condition it would need to be in to sell. We have become accustomed to them. Over the years those boxes in the corner of the garage just seem to multiply on their own. Things have broken that we just never get around to fixing and some things have just worn out. We just accept the fact that they will always be this way. It is this frame of mind that you have to break out of in order to get your house ready to show. How your home looks will have an immense impact on how quickly it sells and whether or not you get full market value for it.
First impressions are very important and you only get to make one. Your Real Estate Professional is interacting in the marketplace every day annd will assist you in approaching your home from a buyer's standpoint. What needs to be changed to make a good first impression? This may mean that all you do is prune the trees and shrubs. On the other hand, it may mean that you completely repaint the house, inside and out. Do a "curb to door" check. Give potential buyers a clear path to enter the home. The fewer obstacles between the buyer and the true appeal of your home the better. Keep in mind that over time we become accustomed to our surroundings. What you have become accustomed to may be a negative to the buyer.
Make your home look as spacious as possible. Organize and thin out your closets and kitchen cabinets, and if you have things stored in the attic or basement, make sure they are presentable. If there may be a showing during the day, pull back your curtains and drapes to show how bright and cheery your home is. If there will be a showing at night, turn on all of the lights to create a warm and welcoming environment for the prospective buyers. A home that is marked with your personality and style may be harder to sell. Photos of the family and friends should be minimal, some buyers may subconsciously feel they are making your family move. You might even consider such things as removing obvious clues to your political affiliation and tucking away any biased literature that may be visible. This will reduce distractions and help the buyers to visualize the home as their own.
Often, it can be hard for you, as a seller, to also maintain objectivity, so remember to be reasonable about the price you set. You will always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price high expecting that someone will come along and be willing to pay it. If your home stays on the market too long because it is overpriced, potential buyers may think that something is wrong with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price.
Explore your short and long term goals and decide how selling your house fits into those goals. Your Real Estate Professional will help you identify all of the variables within your individual goals and how best to achieve them in your local real estate market. Your team member will apply his or her expert knowledge to your particular needs and set a realistic time frame for the process to proceed. This will help you to establish a time management path for selling your home. And if you should not be selling at this time we will tell you.
4. Determining a marketing strategy
Now that your home is ready, it's time to put it up for sale and market it. Establishing a marketing strategy with your real estate agent is a must. Your Real Estate Professional will expose your home to the most potential buyers possible using a marketing plan that will have the highest possibility of bringing not only the most buyers, but also the most qualified buyers, to your doorstep.
There are many different ways to get the word out there that your home is for sale. A yard sign, flyers, and direct marketing are just a few of the many options available. If you are in a buyer's market you will have to be extra careful when choosing a plan. You don't want your home to sit with no one showing interest. You and your agent should structure your marketing strategy so that the first 3-6 weeks that your house is on the market will be the busiest.
5. Receiving an offer
When a buyer decides to buy your home, the offer may be presented by the agent working with or for the buyer. Your Real Estate Professional will attend a meeting (via phone, electronic transmission or in person) and then advise you and assist in asking questions about the offer and the buyer. Some of the questions will deal with whether the prospective buyer is qualified to purchase your home, how they will be financing it, and other details of the offer.
You and your Realtor will then review the written document, taking care to note what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract should protect the best interests of all parties involved and should be comprehensive in nature. Once you accept the contract, it may be too late to make any changes. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following:
· A legal description of the property
· The offering price
· The down payment
· Financing arrangements
· A list of fees and who will pay them
· Amount of the earnest money deposit
· Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
· The method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
· A list of appliances and furnishings which will stay with the home
· The settlement date
· Any relevant contingencies and their completion dates
Remember that the details of this phase are very important. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your Real Estate Professional right away.
6. Negotiating the sale
Most offers to purchase your home will require some level of negotiation to come to mutual agreement. Your Real Estate Professional is well versed on the verbiage of the real estate contract used in your area and will handle the responsibility of protecting your best interest throughout these negotiations. In addition, your Realtor has a thorough understanding of the contract itself, including what each contract clause means to you and your buyer, what you will net from the sale of your home, and what areas in the contract lend themselves easiest to negotiation. Your Realtor will review the written offer with you to make sure that you thoroughly understand what the buyers are offering and what they are asking in return.
Some of the items that you may have to negotiate are:
· The price
· Closing costs
· Repairs that need to be done
· Appliances and fixtures
· Occupancy time frame
To truly gain some insight into why potential buyers are pursuing the purchase of your home and how they might proceed in the negotiations, it is also important to know as much about the buyer as possible, especially their motivation for buying if at all possible. Once all parties have reached a point where the deal is acceptable, your Realtor will be able to verify that you have a legally executable contract.
7. Dealing with inspections
Once you have accepted an offer to sell your home, your Real Estate Professional will inform you of all the procedures involved in order to proceed successfully to closing, as well as coordinate the specialists responsible for completing those procedures and estimates of completion. For instance, the property likely will need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected and/or repaired. Depending on the specific terms reached during the negotiations, you may pay for all, some, or none of these items.
Your Realtor will then coordinate with any other agent and all the other parties and keep you informed as to the results of the various procedures. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale should continue towards closing. If there are problems with the property the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. Depending on the contract, you or the buyer may have the option of deciding to walk away, open a new round of negotiations, or proceed to close. Your team member will advise and consult with you throughout this process and will help you coordinate any actions you must take to keep your sale moving forward.
There are some sales that go smoothly and some that require extra negotiations or problem solving to get to the closing table. Until you are into the process you won't know which type you have on your hands. Either way, your Real Estate Professional will be there with you every step of the way.
8. Preparing for the closing
In advance of the closing, your Real Estate Professional will have contacted the closing company regarding the transaction to make sure that all of the necessary forms and documents will be prepared and are going to be available for you to sign on the appropriate date. Your team member will also contact the representatives of the other party/ies to the transaction to be certain that they have taken each action necessary for closing, so that the entire closing can proceed on the date and time planned.
Your Realtor will also inform you in advance of the process of the closing, advising you of any documents you must bring to the closing, how much time to block off for the closing, and answer any questions regarding other information that is pertinent to the closing meeting itself.
9. Closing the transaction
"Closing" refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. Your Realtor will be present during the closing to assist you in getting answers to any of your questions about the process and forms. They will also do all they can to ensure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, they can assist you in mediating any last minute issues that may arise.
As the seller, you will need to be prepared to give over any necessary documentation regarding the property and, depending on the arrangements made during the contract negotiations, you may be required to have done something specific in order to close. In that case be sure to bring any necessary documentation of completion. Read all the documents and ask any questions you may have. It is important that you understand every document you are signing. You are fortunate that the number of documents requiring your signature are usually far fewer than those required of the buyer.
Congratulations... on the successful sale of your home!
All went smoothly and you will be vacating your house at the agreed upon time. Your Realtor will have helped you create a checklist of all the things you will need to do to turn the property over to the new owners. You will have previously made sure that all of the local services (i.e. electricity, gas, lawn care, cable, etc.) have been cancelled or, if the new owner is going to retain some of the services, been transferred to them. The property and anything transferred to the buyer according to the contract should be prepared appropriately for the new owners. This will help make the transition as smooth as possible.