“…discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment..”
Because your home is most likely your largest asset, selling it is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. To better understand the home selling process, a guide has been prepared from current industry insider reports. Through these 27 tips you will discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment, reduce stress, be in control of your situation, and make the most profit possible.
1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your Home
Your motivation to sell is the determining factor as to how you will approach the process. It affects everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you’re willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale. For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would determine one approach. If you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer thus determining a different approach.
2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to Between You & Your Agent
The reason(s) you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this information between only you and your agent, you don’t provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. For example, should they learn that you must move quickly, you could be placed at a disadvantage in the negotiation process. A licensed real estate agent, like myself, is required by law to keep these conversations completely confidential…so you can trust that I will always keep your best interest at heart and not divulge any confidential information.
3. Before Setting a Price – Do Your Homework
When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.
4. Do Some “Home Shopping” Yourself
The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, lot size, location and other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices, but also why they are actually selling. Remember, if you’re serious about getting your home sold fast, don’t price it higher than your neighbor’s home.
5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit
Sometimes a good appraisal can be a benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an appraisal does cost money, has a limited life, and there’s no guarantee you’ll like the figure you hear.
6. Tax Assessments – What They Really Mean
Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty here is that assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home’s true value. The only way to price your home to sell is to use the current market value–which I can share with you through a detailed Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
7. Deciding Upon a REALTOR®
Nearly two-thirds of people who sell their own homes say they wouldn’t do it again themselves. Primary reasons include setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns and time constraints.
All real estate agents are not the same! A professional REALTOR® knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan and will provide their background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of his or her experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality.
Most importantly, be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a great job on your behalf. To learn more about what makes me a great partner in the sale of your home–please visit the “ABOUT” section from the home page.
8. Ensure You Have Room to Negotiate
Before settling on your asking price make sure you leave yourself enough room in which to bargain. For example, with my help we will set your lowest and highest selling price. Then check your priorities to know if you’ll price high to maximize your profit or price closer to market value if you want sell quickly.
9. Appearances Do Matter – Make them Count!
Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and “feel” of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell.
10. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others
The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don’t be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home’s good points as well as bad. Fortunately, when using me as your REALTOR®, I will be not be shy about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable. When you visit a doctor, they are not shy about diagnosing your problems and issues…so neither will I.
11. Get it Spic n’ Span Clean and Fix Everything, Even If It Seems Insignificant
Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn’t work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you’ll never know what turns buyers off. Remember, you’re not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.
12. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your Home
The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be intruding into someone’s life. Avoid clutter such as too many knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines and websites like Pinterest and Houzz are great for tips. Helping you stage your home will be one of my favorite parts of the process!
13. Deal Killer Odors – Must Go!
You may not realize but odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they’ll start being aware of odors and seeing stains that may not even exist. Don’t leave any clues.
14. Be a Smart Seller – Disclose Everything
Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later on. I will walk you through the process of filling out the mandatory written Seller’s Disclosure.
15. It’s Better With More Prospects
When you maximize your home’s marketability, you will most likely attract more than one prospective buyer. It is much better to have several buyers because they will compete with each other; a single buyer will end up competing with only you. I employ a diverse marketing plan to get your home sold–I will share all of the details of my plan with you during our first meeting.
16. Keep Emotions in Check During Negotiations
Although this is one of the hardest things about selling your home, it is also one of the most important. Let go of the emotion you’ve invested in your home. Be detached, using a business-like manner in your negotiations. You’ll definitely have an advantage over those who get caught up emotionally in the situation.
17. Learn Why Your Buyer is Motivated
The better you know your buyers the better you can use the negotiation process to your advantage. This allows you to control the pace and duration of the process.
As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money. Knowing what motivates them enables you to negotiate more effectively. For example, does your buyer need to move quickly? Armed with this information you are in a better position to bargain. It will be my job to dig in, ask the right questions and find out this information from either the buyer directly or the buyer’s agent.
18. What the Buyer Can Really Pay
As soon as possible, try to learn the amount of mortgage the buyer is qualified to carry and how much his/her down payment is. If their offer is low, I will ask their REALTOR® about the buyer’s ability to pay what your home is worth.
19. When the Buyer Would Like to Close
Quite often, when buyers would “like” to close is when they need to close. Knowledge of their deadlines for completing negotiations again creates a negotiating advantage for you.
20. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You at a Disadvantage
It has been proven that it’s more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it becomes forlorn looking, forgotten, no longer an appealing sight. Buyers start getting the message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.
21. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage
If you can prevent it, don’t try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations.
22. A Low Offer – Don’t Take It Personally
Invariably the initial offer is below what both you and the buyer knows he’ll pay for your property. Don’t be upset; evaluate the offer objectively. Ensure it spells out the offering price, sufficient deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, a closing date and any special requests. This can simply provide a starting point from which you can negotiate.
23. Turn That Low Offer Around
You can counter a low offer or even an offer that’s just under your asking price. This lets the buyer know that the first offer isn’t seen as being a serious one. Now you’ll be negotiating only with buyers with serious offers.
24. Maybe the Buyer’s Not Qualified
If you feel an offer is inadequate, now is the time to make sure the buyer is qualified to carry the size of mortgage the deal requires. I will inquire how they arrived at their figure and suggest they compare your price to the prices of homes for sale in your neighborhood–as we will undoubtably be priced right and ready for sale.
25. Ensure the Contract is Complete
To avoid problems, ensure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. It should include such items as the date it was made, names of parties involved, address of property being sold, purchase price, where deposit monies will be held, date for loan approval, date and place of closing, type of deed, including any contingencies that remain to be settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale. Contracts and legal documents of this size and magnitude can be intimidating, but rest assured that I will walk you through and explain everything in a way that is easy to understand.
26. Resist Deviating From the Contract
For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no, that you’ve been advised against it. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling-through.
27. Depend on ME
Last, but certainly not least, the process of selling your home is a journey. Even through a flawless, “easy” sale…there will undoubtably be some hiccups. While I cannot promise that we will not encounter roadblocks and challenges on our journey, I can promise you these things:
- I will be honest, up-front and work very hard every day to earn or keep your trust
- I will treat the sale of your home as if it is my own
- I will use care, consideration and diligence throughout this process
- I will use all of my marketing experience–both professionally in real estate and working for large fortune 500 corporations and educationally through many degrees and certifications–to sell your home quickly and at the best possible price
- I will answer my phone unless I am with a customer, in which case I will return all calls in a timely manner (do not underestimate the power of this key “good business rule” as most real estate agents fail to comply…)