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Knowing your goals for the real estate sale early on will allow you to plan properly and lessen the chances of mistakes. For example, a growing family may bring about your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may require a move. Just remember to keep your intentions practical and reasonable.
- Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish?”
- Write down all the reasons for selling your home.
- Set a realistic time frame for the sale.
- Share this information with your Real Estate Agent.
- Work with your agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives.
Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will cause the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so your real estate agent’s expertise is important at this step.
- Find out how much comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for.
- Do some research about the overall housing market in your area.
- Take into account the condition of your home while deciding on your selling price.
- Ask your real estate agent for help in getting in depth info such as the average time homes are sitting on your neighborhood’s market.
- If you can afford it, have your home appraised to determine the fair market value price. (Appraisals usually costs around a few hundred dollars)
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, which may cause potential buyers to think that there is something wrong with your property. When this happens, sellers often are forced to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.
First impressions are most important when showing your home. Its condition will affect how quickly it sells and the price buyers are willing to offer. However, most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition – 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 tip-top shape.
- Ask your real estate agent for help to take a fresh look at your home and suggestions on how to stage it and make it more appealing.
- Make minor repairs and replacements for small defects, which may ruin the buyer’s first impression such as leaky faucets, torn screens or worn doormats.
- Get rid of all knick-knacks from your shelves and clear all bathroom and kitchen counters of clutter to make every area look spacious.
- Remove family photos, mementos and personalized décor to help buyers visualize the home as theirs. A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell.
Now that you’re ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. Although this step relies heavily on your agent, it would be better if you coordinate with him or her and see what you can do to help in putting the marketing plan into action properly.
- 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 Campaigns
- Listing on the MLS
- Or Combination of any of these tactics
- Discuss the marketing plan structured by your agent and see if you are both on the same page.
- Prepare yourself with tons of work since the first three to six weeks are commonly the busiest.
After a successful marketing campaign of your home, receiving a written offer from a potential buyer usually follows. It would be the responsibility of your real estate agent to find out first whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract and understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction.
- The contract should include the following (but not limited to this list):
- Legal description of the property
- Offer price
- Down payment
- Financing arrangements
- List of fees and who will pay them
- Deposit amount
- Inspection rights
- 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
- During this point, you have three options:
- Accept the Contract As Is
- Accept it with changes or counteroffer
- Reject It
- Multiple offers are usually encouraged but only entertain the number of offers that you honestly can handle.
- 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.
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 ins and outs 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
- What areas are easiest to negotiate
- Closing costs
- Appliances and fixtures
- Move-in date
- Before the Closing, the Property may need to be:
- A few days before the closing, contact the persons or company that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date.
- Begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.
“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. He or she can also resolve any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present. After the closing, you should make a “to do” list for turning the property over to the new owners.
- Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services.
- If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account.
- Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all appliances that you’ll be passing on to the buyer.