Pricing Your Home for Sale
Today’s consumers are comparison shoppers. Although eager to achieve the best possible return on their hard earned investment dollars, they will shy away from properties that are listed too high or too low.
Listing above market value, you will more than likely sell your neighbor’s house instead of yours, or at the very least, risk a lack of potential purchasers visiting your home. By listing too low, you create the impression that you are desperate for the sale, or that something is seriously wrong with the structure.
Your Real Estate Agent will provide a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that includes information on competitor listings, properties that have recently sold, and those that are currently pending.
In addition, your Real Estate Agent will:
~ Evaluate your property’s location and lot size.
~ Appraise your home’s condition, size and age, and any improvements you have made.
~ Review the assessed value of your home, taxes, and utility costs.
~ Help determine what is the best selling feature of your home
~ Suggest what interior and exterior repairs should be considered.
~ Buying or selling property in today’s fluctuating and competitive marketplace takes industry knowledge, a proven track record, and expert opinion. It also takes dedication, commitment and the ability to achieve the goals set before you. When discussing the critical factors in the sale of any property, your Real Estate Agent’s expert opinion will guarantee that your home is accurately positioned for market dominance.
In the end, it’s still your choice as to pricing. However, by taking into account years of professional experience and real estate wisdom, you increase the possibility of selling your home within the critical first 30 days for the highest possible sale price, or achieving a fair market price for the home you are purchasing.
Disclosing the Facts
No home is perfect! In one way or another, they all have defects to some extent. However, concealing problem areas can result in costly lawsuits…. at your expense!
The horror stories come in many forms. During the height of purchasing excitement, not everyone will notice the cracked foundation or faulty roof that leak only when it rains, turn on the hallway light to experience electrical gymnastics, or even flush the toilet to watch it overflow because the septic lines are blocked.
Undisclosed defects can come back to haunt, destroying what you originally considered protected…. your pocketbook and peace of mind!
It is in both your best interest and that of your purchaser to obtain a structural inspection during contract negotiation. Settlement and legal fees cost far more than if you had agreed to a price concession or repaired it yourself!
You consider your home one of your most prized possessions. You have lavishly decorated to individual taste, using paint and wallpaper as expression of your personality. Eyes glued to yet another magazine, you finally found the perfect window treatment.
Your furniture reflects the colors and textures that have become important over the years. And don’t forget, you DID spend hour after weekend hour bent over that magnificent garden. However, it will cease to matter once you sign the “For Sale” agreement.
The paint, the drapes and the carpeting mean nothing to those outside the family. And that lovely bathroom tile you imported from some exotic land isn’t even mentioned. How could they NOT notice that you spent a great deal of money and months waiting patiently for it to arrive at the shipyards?
The answer is simple… your potential purchasers are not emotionally involved in your investment.
Unlike you, they see the flaws you have come to ignore over the years. They will notice the carpet your cat has used as a scratching post, the tap that drips incessantly, and the ugly stain in the kitchen caused by the leaky roof.
To them, it’s nothing but added expense, and probably not worth the effort. After all, there are many, many more properties on the market other than just yours.
However, the marketability of your home WILL increase if you take the time and effort to view it through their eyes, and take extra care in ensuring that minor things are attended to.
One sure way of guaranteeing that your potential purchasers can see themselves enjoying life in your home is to make it as presentable and uncluttered as possible. What is known in the industry as “curb appeal” may become the difference between “Sold” and “continued showings”.
The tiny handprint that adorns the front door is cute only to you. To the other side, it’s a combination of filth and downright laziness. Despite the cost of a can of paint, your family room should NOT resemble a mud-room. And remember the sun shining through the windows? A little bit of elbow grease goes a long way!
When the time comes to list your home for sale, take into account that your potential purchasers are searching for new roots. They need to be enticed, enthralled and enchanted at first glance. It needs to feel like THEIR castle, THEIR history, THEIR love story the moment your home comes into view.
If expense is a concern, do it yourself. If there’s litter in the front yard or the grass needs cutting, hire the teenager next door. Five dollars a time REALLY CAN make the difference!
If not, there are numerous contractors, painters, decorators, cleaning services, and landscaping firms that your Real Estate Agent can recommend. For the more major repairs including replacement roof, flooring or structural defects, etcetera, you can opt to invest in the repair, or you can choose to disclose this information in the Listing Contract.
Also pay attention to the “finishing touches” – the serene background music, the tidy bathroom, the made beds, and the bouquet of flowers. Open a few windows… the air will be fresher. A welcome mat at the front door is inviting, and please, no laundry running in the machines while you attempt to catch a few more minutes of lost time!
By being ruthlessly honest in your evaluation of your home prior to listing, you will:
~ Position your home at the top of the “Too See” list
~ Guarantee that your own roots will be transplanted sooner rather than later
~ Protect your hard earned investment dollars.
And remember – REMOVE THE EMOTION.
The Exact Procedures, From Contract Through Close
After the home has been prepared, polished, and you’re ready for the buyers to visit…
The marketing of your real estate is about to begin!
The information about your home will be entered into the (MLS) Multiple Listing System. This service allows every real estate agent in the area find your home and bring their buyers.
Photographs and/or video will be taken of your home for purposes of print advertising, television advertising and Internet promotions. The home listing will be put on the corporate web page, personal agent web page and links will be placed to a variety of search engines so that buyers find your home on the web and can view your home and the neighborhood.
A “key-safe” is placed on the exterior premise of the home. It is a small, secure box that holds a key to your residence. It is accessible only by real estate agents. The system is both safe and convenient.
A buyer has placed an offer!
Your agent will call you and tell you the good news. You will meet your agent and review the contract, it’s terms, price and date of closing. Should you be a seasonal resident, or if you’re vacationing it may be necessary to fax contracts for you to review by phone.
If the terms are acceptable, under the direction of your real estate agent, you will sign and date the paperwork in all the appropriate places. The agent will deliver a copy of the signed contract to the “buyers representative”. When all parties sign the contract and there is a deposit received, the contract is valid. The date of this “meeting of the minds” with the last signature or initial taking place is called the “effective date”. If mortgages or home inspections are to take place within “X” amount of days of the “effective date”, this is when the clock starts ticking.
The home inspection is scheduled.
The buyer of your home will hire a licensed professional to inspect your home for any potential problems, defects or electrical/fire hazards. The buyer will receive a printed inspection report. The seller will be notified of any defects immediately. The seller is usually obligated to repair defects in the property as per agreed to in the contract. Usually, the repairs must be complete prior to closing. You can discuss this with your agent, as every contract is different.
What happens on the date of closing?
In the contract both the buyer and the seller agreed to close the transaction on a particular date. Unless agreed to by both parties in writing, it is assumed that the date will remain as agreed upon.
Usually before the actual closing procedure, but sometimes the day of the closing, the buyer and the seller receive a document called the HUD. It is a form with all accounting of the price, deposits, fees, and prorated amounts for the taxes and maintenance fee that are associated with the sale/purchase of the home.
In a nutshell, the sellers HUD will show the price of the home, minus the balance of the seller’s mortgage amount due to the bank, minus the brokerage fees, minus the seller’s portion of the taxes and homeowners association fees for that year (or unpaid association fees/outstanding debts). Your agent and a representative from the title company will go over anything you do not understand. The seller and buyer sign their HUD and closing paperwork. The title company collects the balance due from the buyer and issues the proceeds to the seller. The seller relinquishes keys, garage door openers, etc. to the home. That’s it!
It is not necessary for either party to attend closing. Frequently, funds to close are wired to the title company for closing and the necessary documents are signed, notarized and shipped “Fed-Ex”. Your agent will be able to coordinate this process for you should the need arise.
The most important thing to remember is: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We would rather you ask questions than be confused or upset!
Frequently, real estate agents and title closers shuffle papers quickly simply because they are so familiar with all of the forms and procedures. They take for granted that the buyers and sellers are familiar and comfortable with the process. The sale of real estate is something that you may not do that often. Also, practices and customs occasionally change so do not be afraid to have something explained in detail. Often, if you ask in advance, your agent will be able to provide you with sample HUD or sales contract so that you may familiarize yourself with them.