Home Selling Guide

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No matter how experienced you are in selling property, our  experienced REALTORS are a valuable resource to have. We strive to help  you earn more money, in less time. Keep these eight steps in mind to  make your property selling experience a successful one.


1. Evaluate
 

Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I  want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?”  Everyone has a unique goal in mind that they wish to accomplish through  selling. For your goals, write down if you would like to sell your  property within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin.

Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve  your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.


2. Set a Price
 

Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling  price for your property. Setting a fair asking price from the outset  will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and  buyers. You will need to take into account the property’s condition,  what comparable properties in your neighborhood are selling for, and  state of the overall market in your area. It is often difficult to  remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so your real estate  agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step. Your agent will know what  comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average  time those homes are sitting on the market. If you want a truly  objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an  appraisal done. This typically costs a few hundred dollars.

Keep in Mind: You’re always better off setting a fair market value  price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced  higher than 3 percent of their market value take longer to sell. If your  home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there  is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the  seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer,  reasonably priced listings.


3. Preparation
 

Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to  overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or  windows that stick. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and  get your house in tiptop shape. The condition of your home will affect  how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer.


4. Advertise
 

Now that you’re ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a  marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to  get the word out, including:

  • The Internet
  • Yard signs
  • Open houses
  • Media advertising
  • Agent-to-agent referrals
  • Direct mail marketing campaign

In addition to listing your home on the MLS, your agent will use a  combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your  home. Your agent should structure the marketing plan so that the first  three to six weeks are the busiest.


5. Getting Offers
 

When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real  estate agent will first find out whether or not the individual is  pre-qualified or pre-approved to buy your home. If so, then you and your  agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what  is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract,  though not limited to this list, should include the following:

  • Legal description of the property
  • Offer price
  • Down payment
  • Financing arrangements
  • List of fees and who will pay them
  • Deposit amount
  • Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
  • Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
  • Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
  • Settlement date
  • Contingencies

At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is,  accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once  both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally  binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address  them with your real estate agent right away.


6. Negotiate
 

Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come  to a win-win agreement. Your real estate agent is well versed on the  intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your  best interest throughout the bargaining. Your agent also knows what each  contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas  are easiest to negotiate. Items that are commonly negotiated:

  • Price
  • Financing
  • Closing costs
  • Repairs
  • Appliances and fixtures
  • Landscaping
  • Painting
  • Move-in date

Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will prepare a contract.


7. Prepare to Close
 

Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a  list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The  property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or  repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as  your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers.  Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of  these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by  the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with  the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next  step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of  negotiations or proceed to closing.

Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to  contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the  necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also,  begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done  so.


8. Close the Deal
 

“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is  legally transferred to the buyer. Your agent will be present during the  closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes  as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate  any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is  required and you may wish to have one present.