“For Sale” to “SOLD!”
It takes a lot more than a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, a Multiple Listing entry, and an occasional ad in the classifieds to get a listing sold. When real estate agents sell a house, we sometimes have to “sell” it again and again before the contract is actually signed by the buyers and sellers.
Many events must occur before the closing. The house must be “sold” to the buyers’ relatives, the home inspector, the appraiser, and other experts. The buyers must secure a mortgage. At some point during the process, the buyers may go through a serious case of “buyers’ remorse” and consider backing out of the transaction. Since the transaction could potentially fall through at any step in the process, you will find the services of a professional real estate agent invaluable.
A Buyer’s or Seller’s Market
If you are going to sell your present home, the market conditions will play a crucial role in determining the asking price. Market conditions change constantly, so it is important that you get solid advice from a professional who is familiar with your specific area.
A good real estate agent will know how houses in your area are selling, as well as the other factors that may influence the sale. Nearby commercial development, which may create congestion and noise, may also mean a greater demand for housing from people who will be working in the new office buildings. A new bus route that cuts commuting time could make your home more valuable and highways close by can be an issue with the price. The economic conditions have a strong impact on the real estate market. Real estate professionals can help you consider all of the issues and assist you in setting a fair price for your home.
A Disappointed Seller
Your adrenaline is flowing! Your agent just called to say that she has an offer on your home. You are really excited, but your happy bubble bursts when you are presented with the contract. It’s just not enough! The buyers asked for your new washing machine, and they also want to postpone the closing for three months. You don’t see how it can work!
Before rejecting any offer on your property, you should consider making a counter offer. Rarely does an offer look the way it would if you had written it yourself. Consider the good and bad points of the offer, and work with the agents to find a middle ground that you and buyers can live with. You may have to go back and forth several times, and there will probably be compromises on both sides. Unless you are lucky enough to be selling in a strong sellers’ market, the buyers will expect to do some bargaining. With a little patience, you and your agent can create a “win-win” situation for you and the buyers.
Preparing for Sale
Very few people will buy a house merely because they are attracted by fantastic bathrooms. Buyers do react to bathrooms that are not cared for, however, because they view them as a reflection of the overall condition of the property.
Many buyers know that plumbing repairs potentially represent a major expense. They get nervous about dripping faucets, loose tiles, and running toilets. Your pre-marketing preparations should include making sure that your plumbing is working properly and that any cosmetic damage caused by former leaks has been repaired.
Keep the bathroom spotless while your home is on the market. Remove any traces of mold or mildew and scour away any build-up on the bathtub and basin. Re-caulk around the tub and shower, if necessary. A new shower curtain, bath mat, plush towels and scented soap can help give the buyer one more positive reason for liking your home!
You contacted a real estate agent to list your home and the agent indicates that you might get more for your house than comparable homes on the market. After all, it just takes finding one person who is willing to pay your price–right?
Some agents approach a listing appointment as if they are bidding for your home. Sellers may start out with an unrealistic opinion of their home’s value, and there is often a strong temptation to work with a person who says what you want to hear.
An experienced, reputable real estate agent will back up their opinion of your home’s value with hard data. The agent should give you information about homes that are currently on the market, and recent selling prices of similar properties in your immediate area. Even the most heroic marketing efforts won’t work on a property that is obviously overpriced, (except in the most exaggerated of seller’s markets.) Even if you find a buyer who is willing to pay more than your home is worth, the sale could fall apart when the appraisal comes in lower than the agreed-upon price. Listen to everything, but be careful!
Many of our listings come from individuals who thought they had sold their homes. Sellers who try to sell their own home learn the hard way that selling a home is not easy. Keeping it sold and getting to the closing table is even more difficult. What are the pitfalls involved in selling your own home?
Face-to-face negotiations can be difficult, even when the buyer really wants the house. Then there is the paperwork. Standard contract forms rarely cover all of the local requirements regarding disclosure laws. Such contracts may provide loopholes which could allow a buyer with cold feet to back out at the last minute.
When you have finally come to an agreement, how can you be sure that your buyers will engage competent professionals to handle their loan and complete the closing? What if structural problems are discovered or property boundary problems are revealed? The experience and expertise of a professional real estate agent is your greatest asset in concluding a successful transaction.
Getting Ready to Sell
You have a listing appointment with a real estate agent who shows up with a detailed market analysis and a list of all the advantages of listing with his or her company. The agent then walks through your home with you, making suggestions about how you can present your home at its best.
The real estate agent’s recommendations about cosmetic “fix-ups” make some sellers feel a little uncomfortable. They realize how long they have put off all of those “little” projects. If the suggestions about the cat box, spider webs, kitchen and bathroom cleanup, and removal of clutter make you feel a little defensive, remember that none of this is personal! Most sellers need a little coaching to make their homes show well. Providing suggestions for home staging is an important part of our job. The better your home looks while it’s on the market, the more likely it is to sell quickly, and for top dollar.
Why Isn’t It Selling?
Your home has been on the market for six months, and it just isn’t moving. How can you introduce some extra energy into the sale?
The first thing you should do is have a frank talk with your real estate agent in order to get feedback from prospective buyers who have seen your home, and other agent who have shown it. Does your home look its best? Is it accessible for agents to show on short notice? Is the price in line with the rest of the market? Do you need to consider neutralizing any strong decorating features that may not have wide appeal?
Getting your home sold is a collaborative effort between you and your real estate agent. It is important for your agent to market your property aggressively, but you must do your part to ensure that buyers see a home that is as appealing as it can be. Ask your agent for any new ideas that will create results.
Your Selling Strategy
Have your housing needs expanded along with your income? Are you are thinking about selling your property and looking for a new home? The transition can be accomplished smoothly by using a systematic approach.
As part of your selling strategy, it is advantageous to have your present house under contract before you begin a serious search for a new home. This will make you attractive to sellers in two ways. You won’t have to include a contingency in your offer to cover the sale of your present home. You will strengthen your negotiating position by improving your financial circumstance with an accepted offer. In a situation where there are multiple offers on the new home, the chances of your offer being accepted are better if it isn’t dependent on selling another house before you can make a move.