Selling a home is a complex process that should be carefully managed in order to serve your financial interests. Hiring the right real estate agent who can walk with you through the process and provide invaluable advice in a multifaceted market is vital. Breaking down the process into manageable steps can go a long way to reducing stress and bringing about the desired outcome.
Price and Time Are The Key Variables
The sale process starts with having a realistic expectation of the value your home. A properly trained real estate agent armed with the right market information can help you understand a range value that your home might bring in a sale transaction. Often, whether you achieve the high end of the range depends on your willingness to wait for a buyer that is willing and able to pay a price that is at the high end of the range. A more modest price would tend to facilitate a faster sale and closing. Time of year, strength of the economy and real estate markets, general interest rate trends are some of the factors that will affect the results you actually achieve.
The best time to sell a home is usually early spring when most buyers are in the market. Homes that are listed in early spring tend to sell faster and at a higher price that the rest of the year. Unless the market is very strong, it usually makes most sense to price the home moderately to achieve a sale in a reasonable amount of time. More aggressively priced homes tend to sit on the market unsold. Homes lose buyer appeal as they remain on the market unsold for an extended period of time.
Setting the Stage
Consider the steps below in order to make your home as appealing as possible to the widest audience of buyers.
- Make repairs on your home.
Performing necessary repairs will increase the value of your home by increasing your home’s appeal. Especially consider cost effective upgrades to your kitchen and bathrooms.
- Tidy up.
Removing clutter makes a home feel wide open and spacious. Put unnecessary personal touches away, so that the potential buyer can imagine themselves in the home with their own pictures and personal items. Ensure the home is kept clean and that beds are made, dishes washed and the trash can is not overflowing.
- Showcase storage spaces.
Storage space is an attractive amenity to home buyers. Remove clutter from closets, the basement and sheds to make them appear as large as possible.
- Pay attention to landscaping.
Simple and inexpensive landscaping ideas help. Are there any areas that could be spruced up with a pot of flowers? Is there an old tree that has seen better days and could be removed? Make sure the lawn is trimmed and entry ways are swept clean.
- Showing a vacant house.
If your home is empty, consider having a local staging company provide ambiance so prospective buyers can get a sense of the character of the home.
- Secure your valuables.
Consider buying a safe to secure money, antiques, jewelry, keys and anything else that might be taken while strangers are viewing your home.
- Marketing Plan
Create a Marketing Plan Emphasizing On-line Mass Marketing Techniques.
Your real estate agent has been trained to create a marketing plan that gets results. Real estate marketing has evolved from print media to on-line, technology driven advertising. A well formulated marketing plan will emphasize use of on-line direct to consumer marketing techniques that get your home in front as wide an audience as possible.
- Open Houses Work.
The best way to get the most out for your house sale, is to have the most number of people see it as possible. During an open house people can see and touch and fall in love with your home. Consider having a pot of coffee brewing or the scent of bread baking in the air.
- Obtain professional photos.
Photos of a staged home will charm potential buyers. In order to get the most out of selling your home, it’s best to hire a professional photographer. Work with you real estate agent to get the most out of your home selling photography.
- Create full set of disclosures.
Work with your real estate agent to make a list of everything “wrong” with the house. Up front disclosure will save you money in the end. Being forthcoming about your home’s issues protects the seller from having to fix a problem later on.
Receiving an Offer and Closing
Once an offer is received the negotiating begins. Your real estate agent will lead the negotiation on your behalf. The initial offer is usually met with a counter-offer. Remember that your real estate agent is on your side, to help you get the best selling price possible.
After agreement is reached on key sale terms the buyer will commission an appraisal of the home by his mortgage lender and a home inspection. It is wise to get a copy of this official report and review it thoroughly with your attorney and real estate agents to head off any unexpected turn of events or expenses as the closing approaches. Any material defects uncovered by the inspection are usually the topic of a subsequent repair negotiation. In most cases, the attorney will represent your interests.
Your attorney and real estate agent will monitor the buyer’s progress. Typical milestones include the buyer making a follow on earnest money deposit soon after the contract of sale is finalized and the buyer’s delivery of a mortgage commitment letter within an acceptable time frame.
Prior to the closing, your attorney will prepare a deed that you will sign granting title to the buyer. At closing, the buyer will deliver the balance of funds. You will receive a check with the proceeds of the sale net of any expenses and mortgage payoffs.