In most parts of the country, it is a Seller’s market and the inventory of homes is way below what is normal. This is a Huge opportunity for those who may be considering to put their home on the market, but there are several areas you need to cover. Most sellers have the goal for a quick sale and top dollar. But if you don’t consider all the issues that should be addressed before selling, you could loose out on getting top dollar for your home.
Disclose and Inspect Prior to Listing
A really good way to get on top of the market – is to pay a licensed Inspector to do a thorough inspection of your home so you know in advance, what issues would come up – Prior to putting it on the market. This way, you can address the issues your home may have that could cause a sale to fall through – by fixing all the items first. Here is how to prepare you home properly!
This goes a long way to ease the Buyers concerns, when you can put on the ‘Seller’s Disclosure Statement’ any ‘new items’ that the home has like; new furnace, hot water heater, roof, plumbing, electrical… You may even have structural or foundation issues that need to be addressed – so they don’t cause the deal to fall apart, after the offer, when the Buyer inspects. Depending on the square footage and where you are located – the cost varies – but your Realtor can give you the best Inspector, because – that is what the Buyer will hire! So, here are some great tips on how to select the best home inspector.
Sometimes fixing all the issues a home has may be too expensive, like a new septic system, roof … but if you know this will be an issue in advance – then you can account for it in the price and the buyers will be much more willing to make an offer quickly, because they can sense you are being honest, upfront and telling them everything about the home possible. In many areas, the ‘norm’ is to split the cost of a new roof, or other major item – this is because the buyer will get the benefit of the new item but the seller will be asked for some of it in order to sell the house anyway – so be prepared for this also, when pricing your house.
Along with the Disclosure statement, put copies of your receipts for work done on the property out for potential buyers to see, along with copies of utility bills, which most people ask for anyway. This again builds trust between you and the buyers.
Additionally, since you had the inspection on your home already – please get three estimates on the costs to repair items you were unable to fix. Not only does this give a buyer the range of bids necessary to fix the problems, but it again shows you are being up front and willing to give as much assistance to them as possible – less work for them, and they will again feel confident in having an idea of their future costs associated with the purchase of your home.
Preparing the Home for the Market
Homes that are priced very close to where they will appraise, sell quickly. So, now it is important to prepare your home for sale by cleaning, de-cluttering, removing furniture, clothes, unnecessary items in your storage areas … so the home looks larger and well maintained. Most often you will need some painting, new carpet, or finishing the hardwood floors. First and foremost, focus your attention on the kitchen, and bathrooms.
Then concentrate on closets and large open areas where you can show off the space. This is where your Realtor can be of the utmost value to you, since they go through hundreds of homes each year.
Deciding How to Price Your Home
There is not an exact science to pricing a home. Both realtors and appraisers rely heavily on the comparable sold homes surrounding you as discussed earlier. However, there are certain strategies that work well – especially in a Seller’s market – which does NOT mean you can price your home higher just because there are fewer listings or homes on the market.
After going through the sold and pending sales, then figuring the cost related to items that need to be fixed, after you have your home inspected, you can do a plus minus cost evaluation which will put you pretty close to where you can get offers quickly. The closer you price your home to where it will appraise, the better your chances of getting offers at full price and very often, offers that go over asking. Additionally, one or more of the buyers may have the ability to remove one of the contingencies like the appraisal – and be willing to pay the difference – so they can beat out the other buyers. Sometimes buyers will change or make their offer for cash, and get a mortgage on the side but not make it part of the contract. This happens, when they have your inspection report in hand, with the costs to fix items needed, and all the receipts to see that licensed contractors have done the other repair work on your home.
Choosing your Realtor
While you can easily get an Agent based on referrals from your friends and family, it’s important to widen your search scope to ensure that you end up with an Expert in the field. Consider checking with your local brokerages and agencies. These are many questions you should ask the agent you are interviewing; are you full or part-time, what does your website look like? And why a Website is so important. How experienced at marketing are you? Do you expose my property to Additional marketing thru Social Media – and if not why? …Do they come with a written prepared presentation – that they go page by page through with you, like a script? – or can they openly discuss the value of your home and neighborhood and know the answer to your questions without it ‘sitting right in front of them – flipping back and forth thru the lovely little ‘bound booklet?’ There may be additional questions you may have been afraid to ask a realtor – ask away!
First and foremost – choose a Real Estate Agent that is full time, has a great marketing plan and who knows your neighborhood as well as neighborhoods surrounding you. Lenders require comparable sold properties that are now within the last 90 days – and if none are in your own neighborhood, they can go to the areas surrounding your home. This is a good thing, but you definitely want someone who knows all the inventory to help price your home correctly. So do your homework when selecting the Real Estate Agent to sell your home.
Selling a home can be a very daunting task, especially if you have lived in a home for a long time, or not been in the real estate market lately. You need someone to represent your interests, because the buyer will have an agent, who represents theirs! Agents understand the process of buying and selling homes, and will advise you properly on all your market decisions. 99% of the current buyers looking in the market gather their information online first – often, this information is not valid, honest, or even useful. Sites like Zillow give what are called ‘Zestimates’ on home values – which are usually way off. Imagine the kind of service you can get from a real estate agent with 20 years worth of experience. This agent will bring a complete negotiating system to the table to ensure you get the best deal. Ideally, you want a seller’ agent, who will represent you to the fullest, to help sell your home.
Another common misconception for home buyers and sellers is to think that all real estate agents are the same. Most home buyers and sellers believe that any agent is qualified to represent their interests. Although this can be quite far from the truth. Many agents are new, but do not tell you, most do not have any marketing beyond what their company offers, and thus, just wait for an offer to come on your home. You want an Experienced agent with a high Social Media presence – that deals with all the buyers who are looking for as much information as they can while they are searching for a new home. Millennials are going to be the NEW Boom market of buyers – and you want your agent to be able to reach them and provide content so they will want to work with them as well. The buying and selling of a property needs an experienced and hard working agent who will get the transactions done with 100% excellence. Buying or selling a home may be the greatest financial decision in your life. When it comes to choosing real estate agents, choose the most qualified and experienced.
In addition to the things you need to do to get your home ready for sale, there are also things called, The Do Not List . You will want to look over the list as well as the suggestions of Top Realtors across the country which come at the end. All of the information provided will help you make sure your home will show in its best light as well as sell for Top Dollar!
Wendy Weir Relocation – Real Estate Agent, Relocation Specialist, Birmingham, MI