Selling

Decide to Sell

Selling a home is a major event in anyone’s lifetime.

A home is oftentimes the largest asset you have. You invested a large sum of your hard-earned money into it and the price you can fetch for your home can have a significant impact on the future, including your ability to purchase your next dream home.

But it’s more than that. Our homes are filled with memories, some good and some bad. They serve as the backdrop of the families we’ve built, the friendsgivings we’ve hosted, and the parties we’ve thrown. We retreat to them when we’re sick, when it storms, and when we’re worn out. Over time, we learn to love their quirks (or at least view them as “character”).

This important undertaking requires real, active knowledge of the housing market in your community, an expert negotiator, an “outside of the box” thinker, and someone who understands the emotional roller coaster of selling your home.

 

Prepare to sell- Start early

Selling your home requires you to shift your perspective from a “homeowner” to a “home seller.” You’ll need to start thinking objectively and understand that you are selling a product. Give yourself a few months to get prepared and to separate your emotions, bias, and expectations from reality, or you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Do some research, talk to other people who have sold homes, and figure out what your ultimate goals are so your Realtor can build the right plan to get you there. For instance, is it more important that you sell your home within a certain time frame or that the home sells over a certain amount?

 

Select a Realtor you trust

Who you choose to partner with is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when selling your home. Your Realtor will either add to your stress or relieve you of it, so finding the right person is essential to your emotional and financial wellbeing. They are responsible for aggressively marketing your home, equipping you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions, negotiating your deal, and guarding your interests. They run both your offense and defense. It is imperative that you partner with someone who not only specializes in selling homes, but who has your best interests in mind.

How much is my home worth?

Before we do anything else, we need to determine an accurate market value for your home.

I’ll do a thorough comparative market analysis (CMA) which will help us determine a likely range that your home should sell for.

In the analysis, we will look at similar homes to yours which have:

  • Recently sold
  • Are currently under contract
  • Are currently active on the market

This will also help us determine an appropriate price to list your house for against the current competition and considering the current market activity.

I’ll give you my objective perspective and advice as to how much you should list your house for. While I hope you take my advice, ultimately you decide on the list price for your house.

However, the buyers in the market ultimately determine the market value of your home. It is only worth what a willing, ready, and able buyer is willing to pay. That should be in line with the value we see in the CMA, as long as there are no major changes within the market and you make the right decisions on pricing right from the start.

Many homeowners tend to overprice their house when they first hit the market because:

  • They believe they should have “wiggle room” to be able to negotiate to the price they want to get.
  • They simply hope that someone will pay more than the market data indicates.
  • They price it based upon what they “need to get” in order to sell their house.
  • They add every dollar of improvements they have made to the house over the years onto the data-driven value.

When an owner over-prices, for any of these reasons, they usually lose the market’s interest by being out of line with the market. This causes their home to sit there, accrue days on market, and cause buyer’s to wonder, “What’s wrong with the house?”

So, before we even go over the market analysis, my best advice is to listen to the data and price your home accordingly. That’ll end up saving you a lot of time, money, and aggravation.

Dress your home to impress

Here’s the thing. The clutter and loud, outdated decor are distractions for many buyers. Is it possible for them to see past your stuff and envision the place as their perfect dream home anyway? Yes. But your home will appeal to far more people and things will be a lot easier if you remove those hurdles from the get-go. Your personal preferences need to take a back seat for a bit while you “stage” your home to win over buyers. Ask yourself: “Am I highlighting or distracting from my home’s best features?”

This doesn’t mean you need to give your home a total makeover or spend a fortune on new furniture, but you do need to create a space that is tasteful, clean, and neutral. Pack away the clutter, the personal items, and the collectibles sitting on your countertops. Replacing the “fun” hot pink walls, the scuff marks, and 90’s floral wallpaper with fresh, neutral colored paint will make a world of difference. Add some plants to give your home life (and improve your mood). Open the blinds, let the light in, and envision the space from a Buyer’s perspective.

 

Keeping the deal together. Inspections & Appraisal

You’d think that once you find a buyer and successfully put your house under contract, it should be a done deal…smooth sailing all the way to closing.

Ideally, that will be the way it goes for you! But it doesn’t always happen like that.

It takes a lot to keep a deal together at times, let alone going smoothly.

The two things that most often cause issues are:

  • The home inspection
  • The appraisal

Home Inspection

The buyers will most likely do a home inspection. Their inspector will most likely write a report that makes it sound like there are lots of problems and that the problems are bigger than they really are.

The buyer might then ask for a whole lot of things to be fixed, replaced, or credited.

Just take a deep breath when we get there. Don’t get too worried or angry. We’ll review and respond to their requests objectively. If there’s something in the report that truly needs to be addressed (structural or operational defects), you’ll probably have to address those. If they’re minor repairs, you can probably say no to the request.

I say “probably” because it depends on a lot of factors. You may be able to decline addressing some major things other owners would have to address… You may have to address some minor things that other owners could easily decline… We’ll have to make a judgment call once we get to that point.

The important thing is to keep the big picture in perspective — is it worth declining a request, or saying yes to a request, in order to keep the overall deal you have…or not? More often than not, it’s better to negotiate a compromise than dig your heels in and say an absolute no. And more often than not, you don’t have to agree to every request either.

The Appraisal

By definition, you and the buyer have determined the fair market value of your house, which is: the amount a ready, willing, and able buyer is willing to pay and that a seller is willing to accept.

However, the buyer’s mortgage lender wants and needs to make sure that the amount they are lending is justified and protected by having an appraisal done.

While appraisals aren’t always an issue, they can be.

Sometimes appraisers simply can’t find suitable “comparables” (homes similar to yours that have sold recently) to evaluate the property.

Other times, the appraiser just doesn’t do a very good job.

Either way, if an appraisal comes back low, we’ll need to address it.

“Addressing it” may amount to:

  • The buyer agreeing to make up the difference between the appraised amount.
  • You agreeing to lower the sale price to the appraised amount.
  • You lowering the sales price a bit, and the buyer coming up with more downpayment, to make the difference between the appraised amount and the sales price.
  • Or, the appraisal may be contested, and we supply additional comparables for the appraiser and lender to consider.
  • And, in some cases, an entirely new appraisal may be ordered.

The approach that works best (if this even occurs) will depend on many factors. We’ll have to review and discuss if and when this happens.

Do not stress yourself out or worry in advance about these things! Can they happen? Yes. That’s why I’m even mentioning them. Will they happen? Maybe (and hopefully) not.

Just know that these are things I am familiar with, and I will help you deal with them appropriately if they do come up!

Close of Escrow

Closing Day

If you have come this far, this means that it is almost time for a congratulations, but not yet. Do not forget to tie up these loose ends:

Final Walk-Through Inspection.

More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place the day before, or the day of the closing. The buyer visits the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when the buyer last viewed the property, and that there are no extra items left behind.

Cancel Home Services and Utilities.

We will provide a list of useful numbers for the termination of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.

Be Prepared.

We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. If something at the property breaks down or the buyers’ loan does not pull through on time, there is no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manner.

Closing.

The Title company will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. The buyer(s) will sign this statement and then you will sign as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, then arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive. If you are receiving funds from the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically to an account at your financial institution, or have a check issued to you at the closing. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for the new purchaser to the listing agent, so they can pass those on to the buyer.

One more thing

I look forward to the opportunity to create a customized marketing plan for your home, and ensuring that it is sold within your timeframe and at the best possible price!

Remember, the highest compliment you can pay me is a referral for business from your friends, family or co-workers.