How to Begin
Selling your home is often a necessary step toward moving on to the next chapter of your life. Self-education, preparedness, and assistance from professionals can help convert this from an arduous task into a quick and rewarding endeavor.
Before deciding to sell, address your financial situation as it relates to your property and its associated market. Do so thoroughly by having conversations with a reputable loan officer in your area to inform you extensively about your unique financial circumstances.
Alongside your real estate agent, your loan officer will help provide peace of mind, budget for improvements and plan your next steps.
Pick, Plan and Prepare
Rather than attempting to sell the property on your own, enlist the help of a qualified real estate agent for an efficient and fluid home-selling process.
Being a real estate agent is a heroic act… when done properly.
Licensed real estate agents are a dime a dozen, but qualified and competent agents can be hard to come by.
Narrow your selection by asking friends or colleagues for referrals, and utilize agent review platforms such as Facebook and Yelp to support their recommendation.
Rather than choosing a realtor based on what you want to hear, select one who delivers accurate information and educates you thoroughly about the sale of your home.
Your listing agent should help you plan ahead, to save you time and emotional and financial energy throughout the listing process.
With his or her assistance, create a “framework for success” by specifying your non-negotiable time frame to move, sale price and your budget for home improvements.
Price it Right… The First Time!
You may be tempted to use online resources (e.g. Zillow) to predict the value of your home. Although user-friendly, these provided estimates are rarely accurate and, most often, far from genuine market value.
Unfortunately, many agents may accept such an overestimation, while knowing that the home would never sell at such a price-point. Agents hold no reservations in doing so because, sale or no sale, listings can be an effective marketing ploy for attracting additional clients. Naturally, these positive effects do not extend to the seller, and conversely, tend to generate unnecessary tension and anxiety for the seller and their loved ones.
Even if you are not in a rush to sell, allowing your home to “sit” on the market will depreciate the perceived value of your home for the foreseeable future. Hypothetically, if your agent produces a buyer who miraculously falls in love with your overpriced property, they will most likely adjust or rescind their offer once the completed appraisal reveals its true market value.
It is always best to price a property at, or below market value to attract the greatest % of potential buyers.
When presenting the CMA, your agent should explain the true value of your property relative to its associated market. The Seller’s Estimated Net Proceeds doc. should be explained thoroughly, outlining the various costs of selling and your estimated net proceeds.
The target outcome of selling a home is usually to net the highest possible figure. Only consider hiring an agent who exhibits competence by presenting a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) and a Seller’s Estimated Net Proceeds document. Collectively, they will provide you with tangible evidence to support your agent’s suggested listing price and help equip you for effective budgeting concerning your sale.
Consider it a red flag if an asking price above market value is suggested- a trustworthy and competent agent will only recommend pricing the home at or below market value!
Find an individual who delivers the most accurate information about the value of your property, and your potential net profits according to any outstanding debts and non-negotiables.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Much Ado About Marketing
It is in the best interest of you and your agent to market the property effectively to ensure the quickest and best sale possible. Creating a contractual agreement binds your chosen real estate agent to the duty of marketing your property using technological and other resources.
In addition to posting on the MLS (multiple listing service), your agent should regularly conduct open houses and marketing campaigns using a range of traditional and social media systems throughout the life of your listing.
During the initial interview, ask which marketing tools they employ and to show you evidence of their tactics. Look for someone with a strong social media presence and an ability to generate excitement via. Instagram, Facebook, Realtor.com, Zillow, and even news agencies.
It is the duty of your agent to hire a professional photographer to take and share a range of current photos of the home. Choose your agent carefully and even ask for past examples, as the quality of the photographs taken will influence the perceived value and marketability of your property. Help your agent present your property in the best possible light by decluttering and cleaning your home in advance of the photoshoot.
In summary, marketing is a prerequisite to paying an agent to list your home. Do your due diligence by choosing an agent who will do so consistently and effectively.
Preparing the Space for a Buyer
Assuming that you and your chosen agent have priced the property according to its accurate market value, be prepared for buyers to want to see the home.
You have the option to restrict the time frame in which people can see the home and your schedule may require this to a degree.
However, it is important that you are as flexible as possible, as the cost of losing a buyer is far greater than having someone tour the property at an inconvenient time. Speak with your agent about how to make the home available for showings during daylight or other hours in which you may not be around.
Although your agent will be working hard to sell your home, it is your duty to keep the space clean and tidy throughout the listing process as this will help to expedite the sale.
It is difficult for prospective buyers to envision life in the property if clutter is obstructing their perception of the layout. For additional information, see the Seller’s Checklist below to guide you on what to take care of when selling your home.
The Myth…The Legend… About Realtor® Fees
A common misconception for first-time home sellers is that 6% of your net proceeds will go to your listing agent.
Let us set the record straight once and for all by succinctly outlining the real recipients of the fees. Firstly, 3% will be received by the buyer’s agent- if you want to sell your home this is typically a prerequisite.
The remaining 3% of the funds is said to be directed to your listing agent. However, 1% will fall into the hands of the IRS to raise revenue for government expenditures, although they serve other purposes as well. Yet another 1% is rewarded to your agent’s sponsoring broker for their services.
Accordingly, if your agent is willing to reduce their mere 1% commission, consider how strongly they will negotiate on your behalf.
In other words, asking that your agent reduce his/her commission will disincentivize them and diminish their overall performance.
Don’t be penny-wise and dollar foolish.
Choose an agent who will, using dogged negotiating skills, fight for their full commission and your maximum possible net proceeds.
Do yourself and your agent the courtesy of worrying about 100% of the home, not the 3% commission.
Some agents may try and force you to sign a contract on the spot. Don’t give in to their powers of persuasion. Interview multiple agents and base your decision off of published professional reputation, practical evidence, and a pinch of intuition.
Selling your home doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Your agent, loan officer and other competent third-parties can make the process a hands-off, pleasant and profitable venture.
- Thorough cleaning
- Bathrooms need extra attention
- Be sure to remove any soap scum, mold, or mildew.
- Remove toothbrushes and personal toiletries.
- Stage to create a spa feel.
- Kitchens sell homes.
- Remove all clutter from counters.
- Deodorize drains, disposal, dishwasher and refrigerator.
- Organize cupboards/pantry to make them appear more spacious
- Don’t forget to declutter the outside of the refrigerator of magnets and personal memorabilia
- Declutter. Don’t forget the closets. Buyers want lots of storage space.
- Cords and cables
- Bedside tables
- Remove personal pictures
- Toys, games, and books
- Repair anything broke, leaking or dripping or otherwise not working properly.
- HVAC filter
- Broken window screens
- Old blinds
- Blown light bulbs
- Toilet seats, if necessary
- Paint any areas of your house which need to be painted and updated
- Rearrange furniture to open up your rooms
- Remove odors
- Clean and stage with plants
- Clean railings
- Repair or replace anything broken
- Mow grass and weed flower beds. Put down fresh pine straw