Deciding To Sell
It never ceases to amaze us to hear of homeowners who consider selling their home on theirown. We get it, your real estate agent lists your property on the local MLS, the put up a signand do a little advertising and marketing. How hard could it be right? Well, believe it or not,very hard. Research has shown that as many at 80% of new real estate agents fail or quit intheir first year in the business. And, almost as much as 90% are gone within three years. Thosenumbers aren’t so lopsided because the business is easy. Whether you ultimately decide towork with our team or “the other guys,” you need to do your due diligence, know the marketand get your property positioned for the best possible combination of sale time and price.
Know your property
Your real estate agent needs to know as much about your property as they can. Familiaritywith the history of each unique home is paramount. Whoever you choose to sell you home willneed to know about the square footage, improvements, any remodels or new construction, thelot size, property taxes, supplemental taxes, any association dues and benefits, local access tofreeways, retail and shopping, your existing loan’s terms and so, so much more. Knowing thesedetails helps present the home’s strength while being able to discuss and mitigate it’sweaknesses from an educated position.
Understand the current market and dynamics in your area
Properties are bought and sold every day. A seasoned professional will be able to discuss yourhome relative to those that have sold in the same market and neighborhood over the course ofhistory. They will also know what is currently listed for sale and how your home stacks up tothe competition. This is a great challenge for newer agents and for owners that want to selltheir own home. It can be quite difficult to be armed with all the facts of a local market’shistory without having dedicated yourself to it for a long time.
The price is right!
We know that each home has an intrinsic and particular value to the homeowner(s). How couldit not be awesome? You own it right? You have memories there right? Sometimes you need todivorce yourself from the emotions and look at the facts about your home and the market youhave gathered. Let the metrics be your guide when determining the price. Black Crown Realtyalways provides a baseline price range for discussion purposes and ample support to show howwe concluded this figure. Then we sit down together to let you, the homeowner, tell us howyou feel about the best price for the home.
Financing, lenders, loans and what that means for potential offers
It sounds counterintuitive, we know. Why should you, the Seller, care about what financingterms are available in the market? Well, if Black Crown Realty has done our job and you have offers to consider, you need to be aware of which offers have financing contingencies. Mostoffers do, as cash buyers are rare. If you are going to consider an offer a major factor in thestrength of that offer is the type of financing and qualifications of your potential buyer. BlackCrown Realty only presents offers where a proof of funds for the requisite deposit and apre-approval letter from a reputable lender are provided at the same time as their offer.
Prepare your property for other people to “walk through” it
Look at it from the perspective of both the prospective buyer and the inspector. Take notes onall items that need to be repaired or replaced. Things to consider include:
- Does it need a new coat of paint(either because the old paint isobviously cracked or faded, orbecause of an uncommon choice incolor that might turn off prospectivebuyers)?
- If a house with a yard, is the lawn andlandscaping attractive and well-kept?
- If it is a condo, you can’t do muchabout the building, but is the frontdoor (and balcony, if there is one)appealing?
- Are the windows and doors attractiveand in good condition?
- Are the roof (and the gutters) in goodcondition?
- Is the grass nicely cut, are the hedgestrimmed, are the leaves swept up?Are all toys put away such as bikes,scooters, etc.?
- Are the interior paints and finishes ingood condition (recently updated), ordo they need to be freshened up?This is one area with the best ratio ofleast expensive to most desired. For aminimal investment, you couldpossibly make or break a sale byhaving your home look well-kept andinviting.
- Are the appliances in good workingorder and of recent vintage?
- Are the plumbing and electricalsystems in good condition? Are theyfully functional?
- Are the carpets or other floorcoverings clean and in goodcondition? Like the paint, are theyattractive and well-kept? Floorcoverings are worth paying for so thatyour home makes a good impression.
- Are the sealants (sink, shower, tub,windows) in good condition?
- Are all light fixtures working properly,and is there good lighting in eachroom so that prospective buyerswon’t think you’re hiding something?
Know your neighborhood
Most prospective buyers will want to know about the local schools, shopping, parks,transportation, etc. Be prepared so you can knowledgeably answer their questions.
Establish a marketing budget
How much are you willing to spend to sell your house?
- Real estate commission if you use an agency to sell.
- Advertising costs, signs, other fees if you plan to sell by owner.
- Attorney, closing agent and other professional fees.
- Excise tax for the sale.
- Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home ownerassociation fees, and fuel tank rentals.
- Any other fees typically paid by the seller in your area (surveys, inspections, etc.).
- Real estate agents deal with transactions every day and can give you a very closeestimate of seller closing costs.
Local newspapers, websites, social media and more
What will get you the most “bang for your buck?” Are there “throwaway” (i.e., free) real estatepublications in your area that accept ads from individual sellers? In the local paper(s), is itbetter (in your area) to run a text-only classified, or do they have “photo boxes” where you canrun both text and a photo of your property?As you have probably noticed from the website you have found this article on, most agentshave their own website, which includes their clients’ listings as well as the entire MLS search. Ifyou work with an agent, your property will most likely be placed on their web site (if they haveone) and on the full MLS search as part of the services they will offer you. If the real estateagent’s website you are currently viewing does not service your area, logontowww.agentwebpros.com to find an agent who will be able to list your property on theirwebsite.In addition, some newspapers automatically (or for an extra fee) offer Internet advertising tiedin to their traditional print ads. Learn the rates and deadlines for each publication, then decidewhich one (or more) is best for you and your market.
Finalize your marketing plan
Now that you know what advertising will cost, create a plan on how to best (within yourbudget) reach prospective buyers, both local and out-of-town. Since many people do relocatefrom a distance, be sure to include Internet advertising in your plan. If your town is largeenough, the “local” newspaper might have a national edition that you want to place your ad in,at least periodically.
Design your ad and marketing material after you know your targets
At the very least, you will need a well-written few sentences that will run as a classified ad or aphoto box ad. In addition, you might decide to run a larger, custom-designed ad in the paperand/or to use as flyers to hand out at open houses (or anywhere else you might meetprospective buyers). Don’t skimp on this. A professional, well-crafted ad can attract buyerswhile a poorly designed and executed one can turn buyers off to your property. Even if you donot have full service agent representation, you may consider assist-to-sell, which some agentsoffer at a lower price.
Prepare a fact sheet
Design a single sheet description of your property listing the features and benefits that willdraw in prospective buyers. This should be attractive and professional looking. Have enoughcopies on hand to give out at open house showings. Again, if you are working with an agent, heor she will most likely do this on your behalf.
Schedule, setup and put on open houses or showings by appointment
While most are held on the weekend, this is not convenient for all buyers. Make sure that youcoordinate your print advertising to include information about your next open house.
Maintain and market to your list of prospective buyers
As people come through during open houses, or as they call from reading your ads or seeing thesign out front, keep a list with their names and phone numbers. Concentrate your attention onthose who seem serious about your property, as opposed to those who are just checking outthe neighborhood or whiling away a Sunday afternoon. Make sure that you make follow uptelephone calls to all those who seem seriously interested in your property.
Once you have an offer, the negotiation begins!
Leave your emotions behind when you enter negotiations. You never want to get angry or giveaway the fact that you’re overly eager.
Death by a thousand forms
A number of forms are required for the legal sale of your property. In addition to the contractof purchase and any counteroffers, there are approximately 20 other forms that the seller isrequired to provide to the buyer. It is necessary to review the contract carefully to determinewhen these forms/documents are due and what the buyer’s rights are once they receive thedocument. The form and content of many of these documents are prescribed by state orfederal law and must be adhered to in their entirety. The proper forms may be obtained fromyour local Board of Realtors or from your real estate agent who is representing you.
Working through the sale
Buyer(s) need to come to an agreement (in writing) regarding the following:
- Inspection contingencies
- Financing terms
- Date of closing
- Date of possession
- It would be prudent for you to have an attorney review any and all contracts before thedeal is finalized
When both the buyer(s) and a witness can be present, schedule a final walk-through before youcomplete settlement in order to determine that the property being conveyed meets theexpectations of all parties involved.
But wait, where are you moving to?
Unless you have already built or bought a new residence, you’ll need to be the “buyer” for anew property while simultaneously being the “seller” for your current one. If possible, scheduleboth transactions to close at the same time, or else close your purchase shortly before closingyour sale. You need to be moved out before the new owners take possession.
Why do you want to sell your property? Do you intend to simply find a larger property, or do you plan on moving to another neighborhood, school district, city or state? You might think your reasons are obvious, but it would do well to consider the implications of each option for your lifestyle, opportunities, and finances. Being clear about your intentions for selling will make it easier for us to determine the most appropriate option for your specified financial, lifestyle, and real estate goals.
When Should I Sell?
You should immediately establish your time frame for selling. If you need to sell quickly, we can speed up the process by giving you a complete market analysis and action plan to obtain all of your goals. If there is no pressing need to sell immediately, you can sit down with one of our expert real estate agents to thoroughly review the current market conditions and find the most favorable time to sell.
What Is The Market Like?
When you work with us, you can be sure that you will have our knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills at work for you to arrive at the best market prices and terms. We will keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and conditions of competing properties. With us, you will know exactly how to price and when to sell your property.
How Do I Optimize My Finances?
Deciding to sell your property demands a serious consideration of your current financial situation and future possibilities. With the help of our qualified agents, you will be able to effectively assess the cumulative impact of these changes, estimate potential proceeds of selling your property, and plan effective tax savings and estate planning strategies. We will ensure that you not only take control of your finances, but use them to their fullest potential.