TIPS AND TRAPS FOR HOME SELLERS
Selling your home is a stressful and difficult task, and before you embark on the selling journey, there are several things you must consider. Are you in a buyers or seller's market? What repairs will make your home more saleable? How do you determine the right price? How do you pick the right agent? Should you let a friend who has a real estate license sell your home? Here are the answers to some of the questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, e-mail me and I will be happy to provide you with the best answer we can find.
TIP # 1- DETERMINING PRICE: There is a rule in the real estate business that any home will sell if it is priced right. The problem, however, is that nobody knows what the right price is until the home sells. To solve this problem, you need to rely on the advice of a real estate professionals. First, you need to contact a real estate agent and ask him/her to prepare a market analysis on your home. This is usually done by the agent for free in hopes that the agent will get your listing when you put your home on the market. The agent will compare your home to similar homes that have sold and will give you a report that will offer you the agent's opinion of the home's value. Although this may be useful to have, it is only an opinion and real estate agents may differ widely in their opinion of value in a home. To get an opinion from a professional who is certified to determine value, some sellers prefer a Certified Real Estate Appraiser. The appraiser will charge you a fee, often in the amount of $300 or more, depending upon the complexity of the appraisal. However, the appraiser is objective, has much more training specific to the evaluation of real estate, and is certified in real estate evaluation.
TRAPS TO AVOID: When a real estate agent evaluates a home and provides an opinion of value ( usually called a CMA ), the agent wants to paint a rosy picture in the hope that the home seller will list with the agent. Some agents will ask the seller what he/she thinks the home is worth and then try to prepare a CMA that matches the seller's desires. The agent often rationalizes that, if the seller has the home on the market long enough, eventually he/she will lower the price to the correct amount. One thing to do to avoid this problem is to First, don't tell the agent what you think the home is worth. .
TIP#2-TARGET YOUR ADVERTISING: How you advertise your home is almost as critical as pricing it right. Most sellers want to see their homes advertised in local newspapers and homes magazines. Most real estate agencies, however, report that they get the greatest numbers of calls from yard signs. It is important for sellers to understand that most of the advertising done by real estate agencies is done to garner new buyers for the agency. Few people who call on an ad actually buy the home they called on. The most effective advertising may not be advertising directed at the general public, but rather to the real estate agents in your area. Ninety-seven percent of the people who buy homes buy because a real estate agent showed the home. Less than 2% buy with the help of the agent who listed the home. By marketing to real estate agents, homesellers and their agents can reach the person who has the most influence on what homes a buyer sees. Ask the agent who lists your home what he/she is going to do to agents from other companies to show your home. Make sure that the agent does more than simply put a lock box on the door and list your home in the MLS. Ask your agent to research what agents are showing similar properties in the area and then call the agents or mail them information on the home. Request an open house for area agents only and make sure that your home can be shown easily by real estate agents. Remember, your best shot at getting your home sold is to entice another real estate agent to show it.
TRAPS TO AVOID: When home sellers are not getting enough showings on in their homes, they frequently want to blame the marketing plan or the agency. The truth is, however, that a poor number of showings may not always be the result of poor advertising. If your home is not being shown by real estate agents, look closely at your price. Ask yourself if there is any other reason why your home would not be appealing to a real estate agent. A poor number of showings generally means that the price is not right, and the market will continue to reject the home until the price is adjusted.
TIP # 3 CHOOSING THE REAL ESTATE AGENT: Choosing the right real estate agent is as critical to your financial health as is choosing the right doctor is for your physical health, but with everybody and his brother selling real estate, how do you make the right choice? Interview the agent the way you would interview candidates for a job. Ask if the agent sells real estate full time or if he/she has another job. You would not want to hire a physician who has another job to supplement his/her income, so consider hiring a real estate agent who can work full time at the real estate business. Look for marks of success, such as how many homes the agent has sold and what professional training the agent has had, but don't rely on a sales track record as the only criterion. It is more important to know how many sales are completed, once a contract is in place. According to statistics, 25% of all real estate contracts fail to reach settlement. Even though an agent may be able to show a high number of sales, if the agent has also had a high number of contracts fail to close, you want to choose another agent. Remember - your objective is to get your home sold, not simply to get it on the market. Also remember that it is the agent who works to sell your home, not the agency. Just because an agent is associated with a national franchise or well-known local agency does not ensure a successful sale for your home. In fact, the larger the agency, the more difficult it becomes to supervise and assist the individual agent. Imagine yourself as the broker for 1200 agents, and then ask yourself if you can be as attentive to the individual needs of each agent as the manager of an agency with just ten. You may get lost in a large agency, while you will receive more personal attention from a smaller company. Weigh your need for personal attention against the value of a brand-name recognition carefully, and do not reject an agent based upon the size of the company with which he is associated. It is the agent who sells your house, not the agency.
TRAPS TO AVOID: Be cautious of gimmicks and sales pitches. Trade-in programs that agree to buy your home so that you can buy your next home worry-free may sound good, but often carry restrictions that make it an expensive option. Often, you can lose up to 20% or more of your home's value by letting the real estate agency "trade it." Franchised agencies often talk of how big their "network" is, but statistically, only a small percentage of their sales come from the network. Don't be taken in by position statements, like claims that an agency is number one or that they sell homes faster than anyone else in the business. While those and similar statements may be true, they do not necessarily translate to a better, faster sale. Evaluate the agent first and the agency second. Ask for the agent's track record. Evaluate what the agent promises and how he/she will implement the marketing strategies necessary to sell your home. After all, it is the agent you will deal with most of the time. If you have to deal with the management of the agency, it probably means you have a problem.
TIP #4: UNDERSTAND THE LISTING AGREEMENT: The listing agreement is your contract between you, the listing agency, and the Mult-List systems to which they belong. Although the contracts are standard in most areas, it important that you understand what your obligations and the obligations of the agency will be when you enter into the agreement. Pay close attention to items that refer to how long the contract will be in effect and what your options will be if you decide to terminate the contract. Also consider what agency options are being offered in the contract. Check out our Agency Disclosure so that you understand the implications of agreeing to allow everybody in the Multi-List to show your home. You need to understand that you may be responsible for anything that your agent, the agency you hire, and anybody from the Multi-List does or says regarding your home. If an agent from the Multi-List gives the wrong information and a buyer relies upon it to make a decision to purchase your home, you could be liable, even though you may never have met the agent. If you do not understand the contract, even if it is a standard contract, you may want to consult an attorney experienced in real estate before you put your name on the dotted line.
TRAPS TO AVOID: Long-term contracts can make your home-selling adventure a nightmare, unless you have a way to terminate the contract quickly. Make sure that you can end the contract quickly if things go sour with the agency. Ask the agent if it is possible to terminate the contract with a day's notice. Make sure you understand any fees that may be required if you want to be released from a contract.
TIP#5 - GETTING YOUR HOUSE READY TO SELL: You do not have to make a major investment in remodeling your kitchen in order to sell your house, but freshness, neatness, and having things in good working order are essential. Look at your house as a buyer would look at it. Are closets crowded? Do faucets drip? Are all the doorknobs working properly? Is it time to add a fresh coat of paint? Many of the items that need to be repaired or refreshed will be discovered when the buyer does a home inspection, so it is best to consider condition now, rather than waiting till after an agreement has been reached and it is necessary to re-negotiate the contract. This is the best time to put your best foot forward.
TRAPS TO AVOID: Although it is critical that you make your home appealing to buyers, you should also be aware of the return on the investment you can expect to make when doing fix-ups. Know what remodeling projects pay a bonus and which ones will not return your investment.
These are but a few suggestions that may help you to sell your home more quickly and for more money. You should discuss home improvement tips with your real estate agent.