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Imagine shopping for a new suit, then picking one with a greasy smudge on the lapel? Would you choose a new car with obvious hail damage at full price?
When selling your home, keep in mind that most buyers are searching for their dream castle. So...offer it to them. Before placing your home on the market, be certain that it represents itself in perfect condition.
Ask your agent to do a “walk through” – a visual inspection of your home. Ask for suggestions to improve its appearance, along with needed repairs. Door chimes that don't, peeling paint, and leaky roofs do not inspire full price offers.
Next, look for cosmetic improvements which reflect pride of ownership. Paint the front door. Keep the yard neatly manicured. Caulk tile in the baths, and put away personal items. Steam clean or replace worn carpeting. In other words, make your home sparkle.
Finally, dress up your home. Scrub the floors, clean the windows, and put out fresh flower arrangements. Appeal to the senses. Keep the home cool in summer and leave a fresh pitcher of icy lemonade on the kitchen counter before a showing.
It is said that buyers make up their mind within the first few moments, then spend the rest of the time justifying their decision. Help make their decision an easy one.
Have a home to sell? Although many younger buyers are entering the market, there's another proven source of qualified buyers – the baby boomers (born 1946-1964). Are they likely to be a prospect for your home? Take a look.
In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, “boomers” identified several factors they consider important when buying their next home. At the top of the list was “energy efficiency”. They want a home that minimizes heating/cooling expense. If you own one, be sure to make your utility bills available for review.
Other amenities preferred include high speed phone lines (for internet connections), and in-home offices. Many operate businesses from home or trade on the stock market via the World Wide Web. If your home includes an office, library, premium wiring, and other technologically advanced features, you may be a prime target for the affluent “boomer” buyers.
What else is important? Extra rooms, especially those which are self-contained with a bath and kitchen, can make the difference. Boomers often have house guests or care for elderly parents, making extra room a real plus.
Want to know more about this attractive market segment? Your agent will explain how target marketing can identify and attract the right buyer for your home. Promotional activities can then be implemented to insure an early sale at the best price.
When does a home sale take place? Is there a timetable property owners can count on in their quest for a buyer? What should they expect during the sale process?
Three major events take place from beginning to end in a home sale. The first step in the process is actually “listing” the home for sale. From that point on, the search for buyers begins in earnest. Ads, promotional activities, internet exposure, home tours, open house, and other activities are conducted by the real estate agent to attract buyers.
The second event is the signing of a sales contract with buyers. This is the agreement that specifies price, terms, closing and possession dates, and any other special provisions related to the sale. Both buyers and sellers are committed from this point on – subject only to provisions of the contract.
Once the contract is signed, smaller events begin to unfold, mostly behind the scenes. Buyers work with the lender to gain final loan approval. The appraisal, a survey, and home inspections are carried out. Title work is completed, loan approval finalized, and the actual closing date is set.
The final event is the closing itself. The sellers sign a deed to the purchasers, who in turn pay for the home. A variety of other paperwork is also signed, and possession is then delivered to the new homeowners. Cheers!
You've placed your home in the hands of the best real estate agent in town. A family has seen your home, and is ready to sign a written offer at full price. Hooray!
Most real estate contracts involving a mortgage have a financing clause. This clause states that if the buyers are unable to get approval for a suitable loan, their earnest money deposit will be returned and they will be excused from the contract. Ouch!
Is there a way to avoid such an unpleasant experience? How can you be certain buyers are qualified to make the purchase before you sign the contract?
Until recent years, buyers first made a buying decision, then went to a mortgage lender. Because buyers often chose a home at the outer limits of their financial abilities, they also experienced frequent turndowns by lenders. Ouch!
Finally, a workable solution began to emerge. Sellers were wary of buyers who had not been prequalified to make a purchase. Buyers began to realize the importance of knowing their financial strength up front. Lenders tired of processing loans that were later rejected.
For many buyers today, their first stop in the home buying process is a mortgage lender. By securing pre-approval for a specific loan amount, they can shop and negotiate with confidence. For sellers, there is less chance of a last-minute loan rejection.
How long does it take to sell a home? Is thirty days reasonable? Will it take ninety days, six months – even a year?
In fact, the “market” determines the time required to attract a buyer. The “market” is simply the buying activity currently occurring in this area. It includes factors such as how many families are moving in, local interest rates, number of homes for sale, the local business climate, and the value buyers are placing on available properties.
Your real estate agent can offer a wealth of information and statistics on local real estate. For example, ask for an accounting of all sales which have occurred in your neighborhood over the past year. Analyze the time it took to sell each home, the financing that was offered, and the final sale price. Eliminate the longest and shortest sale times, then average the rest.
This calculation yields the time required to sell the “average” home. Offer your home in above average condition, at an asking price below market, and you may expect a shorter sale time. The reverse is also true. Offered in average condition at a price above the market, you may experience an extended sale time or no sale at all.
Gather information on the market from your agent, then make an informed pricing decision. An early sale can be the pleasant result!
When selling your home, should you appeal to emotions with colorful flower gardens, sunshine kitchens, and Martha Stewart decorating? Or would up-to-date facts & figures including builder specifications, utility bills, and insulation R-values be more effective?
The saying that “opposites attract” is especially true in families. If one spouse is analytical and logical, it is highly likely that the other responds to emotion (and vice-versa). When selling your home, it is wise to appeal to both mindsets.
For example, set up a three-ring binder on the dining table loaded with information about your home. Using clear sheet protectors, insert information on both the right and left sides. Let the item on the left appeal to emotion and on the right provide statistics and facts about the home.
The emotional items on the left could include color photos of the garden in season, a family shot around a blazing fire or a party of splashing teenagers by the pool. Each time the page is turned, another exciting color photo says “This home is perfect – buy me now!”
By now, you've guessed that the right-hand pages should include mountains of black & white facts and figures. Everything from heating/air specs to ten years of tax and utility bills.
The conclusion? Appeal to both emotion and logic to attract attention to your home. Buyers will respond, and the home will sell.
Ever have friends tell you the listing on their home had expired without a sale? Wonder why some homes sell while others languish on the market? One of only three reasons may be the root cause.
Homes remain unsold because they 1) are priced higher than the market will bear, 2) are being offered in less than showroom condition, or 3) are not being promoted effectively to the buying public.
Overpricing and poor condition most often thwart a sale, and may be interrelated. Consider pricing. No matter how clean and well-maintained a home, when priced higher than other similar homes in the same condition, it will not be selected. When was the last time you offered to pay more than a product or service was worth? No matter a seller's hopes or dreams for a financial windfall, most homes sell only for what they are worth – not a dollar more.
When buying a home, most people are looking for their perception of a “castle” – their dream home. Sellers who offer their home with dingy paint, pet-stained carpeting, and leaking roofs only invite distressingly low offers from bargain-hunting investors.
Effective marketing can best be accomplished by a knowledgeable real estate representative, one who aggressively promotes listed homes. A fairly priced home offered in mint condition will most certainly sell when properly promoted.
Imagine working two jobs at once, in two different locations, with one job providing excellent earnings while the other pays nothing? If you could be two places at once, which job would get the bulk of your attention – the one which pays or the one which doesn't?
Homeowners sometimes place themselves in such a situation when they plant a “For Sale By Owner” sign in their yard. They often do not realize the responsibility that comes with the sign.
To successfully market a home, it is necessary to be available at all hours of the day – seven days a week. The home must be kept in model home condition, ready for showings – sometimes with only 30 minutes notice.
Research must be done to determine recent sale prices on comparable homes. A marketing campaign must be planned and implemented including brochures, direct mail, Open House, advertising, and website development. Mortgage loans must be arranged, appraisals and inspections coordinated, and...well...you get the picture.
Leading real estate specialists work full-time to sell homes. Period. They have no other career. They understand the complexities of marketing a home, and are 100% committed to the achievement of your objectives. Amazingly, they get paid only after successfully selling each home. Thinking of trying it as a “By Owner”? Think again!
What if your employer offered a new pay plan? Rather than your normal salary, what if your employer agreed to pay you only if and when the company was successful? That could mean no pay for 3, 6, or 9 months (if the company succeeded), or no pay at all if it didn't. Would you accept this plan?
When selling your home, the representative you choose is agreeing to such a pay plan. You pay a brokerage fee only if your home sells. Yet, your representative performs all the marketing and promotional activities whether or not the home sells.
Your only risk is in the choice of a sales representative. For that reason, choose wisely and expect strong performance from your representative. Take time to learn how the agent performs. Look for a history of sound sales performance for other property owners. Notice the promotional methods used to attract buyers.
Today's real estate world moves at “warp” speed with digital communications, computers that hit 500Mh+ and ever-increasing internet traffic. To some, cutting-edge technology is not a requirement, yet buyers are using it in greater numbers each day to locate their next home. So should your agent.
Choose a representative with a history of success. A wise choice will serve you well – resulting in an early sale at the best possible price.
Assume the role of “would-be” author for a moment. You have an idea for a great book – one that could change the world. You're sure readers will be receptive and you write the book.
Now – how will you get the book into readers' hands? Your first thought is to “self-publish” your book. You could make some phone calls to Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com to stir up some sales. You could also run an ad in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.
Think your book would hit the “Best Seller” list with that approach? Probably not. Would your book be more likely to sell millions if you had a “literary agent” or “publicist”? Absolutely – without question!
So why would you ever consider trying to sell your home without the professional assistance of a seasoned real estate specialist? Do you want your home to be a “Best Seller” at the top of every buyer's “must see” list – or merely a “wanna be” languishing on the market?
Your real estate representative is a combination of publicist, promoter, publisher, and brilliant “ringmaster” appealing to “ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages” calling their attention to your home in the “center ring.”
By exposing your home to the broadest possible segment of the buying public, a sale is virtually assured. Ready to sell? Get represented!
Selling a home is a serious and sometimes complex undertaking. It involves some rules of etiquette as well as obligations. Although your real estate representative is responsible for providing a motivated, financially qualified purchaser, some important decisions rest with you, the property owner.
There is no rulebook of selling etiquette, yet the marketing process moves along more smoothly when certain accommodations are made. For example, owners who maintain their home in near-perfect order on a daily basis insure their home will not be rejected by buyers because of poor condition.
Access to the home on short-notice makes a difference to highly motivated purchasers who must make a fast decision. Keeping pets outdoors avoids distractions during showings. Prospects also prefer to see homes without the owners present. Learn how to offer a “buyer-friendly” home from your representative.
Two primary obligations should also be considered by property owners. First, honor your commitment to sell by considering ALL offers seriously, no matter how unsuitable they may seem at first glance. Ask your representative to explain both the positives and negatives of every offer.
Finally, give a prompt answer to all offers. Do the math, decide what is acceptable, and know your selling limits before you receive any offers. This allows you to make a more objective assessment when offers are received, and avoids losing an acceptable offer because of indecision.
Ever have a disagreement and felt like just walking out – leaving the situation unresolved? Ever hang up the phone abruptly – cutting off the other party from responding to your position? To sell your home successfully – be prepared to keep talking – no matter what a prospective buyer's position may be.
When a buyer chooses your home, the first step is to make a formal written offer. If the offer is satisfactory, and you accept it, the offer becomes a binding contract. Often, however, some aspect of the offer may not be acceptable, in which case you have two choices.
You may choose not to respond at all, or you may make a “counteroffer,” a written counter-proposal meeting your requirements. No response at all is the equivalent of “hanging-up” on the other party. It may leave them angry and confused about your intentions.
To make the most of every offer, always keep the conversation moving. Make a counter-offer, even if it involves little movement from your initial position. This assures the buyers that you are taking their offer seriously, even though your position may be somewhat rigid.
If the buyers are committed to the purchase, your counter-offer may be accepted. If not, it may trigger another counter-offer. No matter what, keep the conversation in motion. A satisfactory transaction is the likely outcome.
If you've thought of selling your home alone – without representation by an agent – you'd better be good at details! How many details can there be? The answer is:
Before setting a price on your home, you'll need to analyze properties recently sold, as well as those on the market now. You'll need lots of accurate information to make that analysis.
Local lenders can give you current interest rates, discount points, and fees charged, however these can change on a daily basis. Information gathered today may not be correct next week.
You will need to know the condition of your home too. This may require a home inspector, along with a variety of repairs and improvements.
You'll need to be able to write a binding contract when your buyer appears. This includes specific details on price, financing, inspections, closing and possession dates, and other deadlines.
Once you have a contract, the real detail work begins. You may spend hours or days coordinating surveyors, attorneys, inspectors, mortgage loan officers, and others. Details which may seem trivial can be critical to a successful closing.
Before selling your home, learn why agent representation is so important.
Let your agent handle the details.
Do you love animals? Have a favorite pet that shares your home? When selling your home, it's a good idea to keep pets out-of-sight during a showing. Although many people appreciate pets, and have their own, very few will appreciate yours as much as you do.
Before marketing your home, begin by having all carpeting steam cleaned or replaced, if necessary. Consider having upholstered furniture cleaned also. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Ask your real estate agent not to show your home, even to other agents, until all cleaning has been completed. Agents who see your home in the best possible light are most likely to bring you their buyers.
Once your home is ready to be shown, make arrangements to keep pets (and “litter boxes”) outdoors, or away from potential buyers. If necessary, take them for a walk while the house is being shown. Buyers may be polite when introduced to your pets, but will rarely be impressed. After all, they are looking for their dream home – not yours.
Your real estate agent can offer good advice for giving your home maximum buyer appeal. Listen closely, then take action. By anticipating buyer objectives, your home can sell quickly and at the best possible price.
Once you've decided to sell your home, and have chosen an agent to represent you – be prepared. During the time your home is for sale, a variety of situations will arise which will require a prompt and positive response.
First, be prepared for showings on short notice. Although your agent will attempt to provide reasonable notice before a showing occurs, the very best and most qualified prospects are often in a hurry. Be flexible and willing to accommodate these short notice situations, and you may be rewarded with an early sale.
Those same qualified buyers may impose another deadline. They may offer to purchase your home, at your price, provided they can close the transaction and move-in within ten days. What would be your answer to such an offer? Be aware that such a situation could occur, and have an advance plan to accommodate it.
Finally, be prepared to receive and consider less than perfect purchase offers. Never reject an offer outright as there may be a hidden benefit to accepting it. Take time to review all aspects including price, terms, closing date, and any special conditions. Know your “bottom-line” before you're faced with a low offer.
Selling a home involves many decisions. Some of them may be required unexpectedly. Avoid crisis thinking and reactions. Be patient, stay calm, and take them as they come.
Looking for a real estate agent who can “sell” your home? Forget it! What you need is an agent who can “cause” it to sell.
Consider the odds. Say there are 100 active real estate agents working in your market area. Would you rather have just one – or all of them – working to sell your home? The obvious answer is ALL of them, but how can that happen?
When interviewing agents to list your home, ask how they intend to get other agents to show it. The most effective agents know how to mobilize the entire real estate sales community. They know how to get them excited about your home – get them showing it to a wide variety of prospective buyers.
Choose the right agent, and you will enjoy the best possible marketing efforts available. The agent's efforts will be focused on exposing your home to all buyers, not just a few. The more buyers who see your home, the sooner it will sell. This approach may actually get buyers competing for your home, often resulting in a “full-price” offer.
In today's fiercely competitive housing market, choose an agent who knows how to “market” a home – not just “sell” it. Your reward can be an early sale to a qualified buyer at the best possible price.
Have you ever chosen merchandise at a store, then put it back on the shelf when you discovered a flaw, or noticed that the box had already been opened, then resealed by the store. The slightest visible defect can raise a red flag, causing you to nix the purchase in favor of another item.
The same thing happens in real estate. Suppose you are considering a particular home. It seems to offer everything you want. Upon closer inspection, however, you notice a collection of drain cleaners, solvents, and clog removers under the kitchen sink.
What if the furnace pilot light is kept company by several dozen burnt stick matches? What if the air conditioning filter hasn't been replaced in five seasons and looks the part? Would you suspect problems?
Most homebuyers would agree that a home which sparkles with pride of ownership is considered a real prize, while one which shows evidence of abuse is to be avoided at any cost. In fact, buyers often compete to purchase homes which offer top condition and real value in exchange for their asking price.
Don't take shortcuts when selling your home. To achieve an early sale, ask your agent to help identify needed improvements – then make them before offering your home for sale. Offer your home in first-class condition, and buyers will pay your price.
You've decided to sell your home, but aren't sure how. You've seen so many ads offering virtual tours on the internet. You've heard stories about high interest rates contradicted by predictions that the “Fed” plans to lower them. How can you be sure you do it right?
Regardless of how strong or weak the real estate market, there are really only four factors which affect home sales. They are: price, terms, condition, and marketing. You're in charge of the first three. Provided you do them “right”, your real estate representative's marketing activities should quickly attract a qualified buyer.
First, set an asking price that mirrors what buyers are currently paying for homes like yours. Your agent can provide the historical figures needed to make an informed decision. Pricing your home higher than the market is not considered doing it right. Terms are no different. Take a close look at the terms offered by other sellers, then match or better them.
Buyers will measure the value offered by your home against the asking price. When your home glows with pride of ownership, buyers are likely to make full-price offers. Offer your home “as-is” and low offers are likely to be your reward. Yes, it's that simple.
Do the right thing. Ask your agent what it will take to make your sale a success – then follow that advice.
Planning to shop for some clothing, books, or new shoes? Why do you often choose the local mall over smaller, more geographically scattered, specialty stores. Your answer is likely to include “more choices, colors, selection, brands, inventory, etc.”
Home buyers also like to have choices. They prefer to see a broad selection of inventory, differing styles and floor plans, varying locations, and all at fair prices. For those reasons, most informed buyers choose to work with an agent. They understand that the agent can show them all available homes, rather than chasing phantom “by owner” homes one at a time.
Thinking about selling your home? Read the first two paragraphs again, and remember – most serious qualified buyers work with an agent. Selling “by owner” requires 24/7 attention to advertising, taking calls, keeping the home ready for instant showings, and dealing with title companies, inspectors, appraisers, and lenders.
Going it alone can also bring frustration, disappointment, and low offers. Worst of all, the primary reason for self-representation – “saving the commission” – rarely results in a sale. Why? Buyers also want to save the commission, which is the only reason they contact the owners directly in the first place.
To receive top dollar for your home, price it fairly from the get-go, and be represented by the best agent in town. One other thing – start packing!
Imagine the excitement of going to a car dealership to purchase a shiny new vehicle. Your anticipation is high – until you pull into the lot. There you see a scattering of dusty vehicles parked helter-skelter around the building. Some have flat tires, others are scratched and dented. If you even make a purchase, would you pay their full asking price?
Now imagine you're a homeowner planning to sell. Your front door needs paint, the yard is choked with weeds, the carpet soiled, and the bathtubs need caulking. In short, the house is in a state of “deferred maintenance.”
What about the price? Most homeowners want to receive every dollar possible for their home. It's only natural. So, the home is priced at top dollar. All that's missing is a buyer.
Now imagine you're a prospect for that home. Would you pay the asking price, given its present condition? The home is just begging for a low offer, isn't it? Worse yet, many buyers would walk away, looking elsewhere for the home of their dreams.
If you plan to sell your home, be aware that buyers often offer $2 less for every $1 in needed repairs. It's just a rule of thumb, but one which merits your attention. To receive top dollar, offer your home in model home condition – or it's you who will pay the price.
Pricing your home to sell can be the greatest obstacle you'll face when placing your home on the market. Price it too low and you leave money on the table unnecessarily. Price it too high and you'll wait...and wait...and wait.
The price you choose to ask for your home should be based on two factors. First, you must have detailed, accurate information about what buyers are currently paying for homes like yours. Second, you must know your own timetable for selling – the time you have available for selling.
The information you need on current pricing is readily available from your real estate representative. Compare price, terms, and condition of other homes sold, then make an informed pricing decision. Ask your agent to explain the final price range in which your home is likely to sell.
If you've been offered a transfer to another state, you may be on a 45-day timetable. If so, beware of putting a 12-month price on your home. It won't work. If you plan to build a new home, when your present one sells, a 6-9 month price may be acceptable.
Remember, buyers base their purchase offers on the value offered by each home. Once they've seen a variety of homes, it's an easy decision. Make your home their first choice for a successful sale!
Try walking down a busy street and picking out the one individual from the crowd who will buy your home. Unless you recognize certain traits, it's an all but impossible task.
When selling a home, your agent can easily pick the buyer out of a crowd. In fact, because of three key traits, that individual will stand head and shoulders above the rest. What are those traits? The presence of motivation, deadlines, and preparation identify the person.
First comes motivation. An individual who has a reason to buy – will. An underlying motivation requires action. For example, a family who's home has just sold with a 30-day move-in clause will be ready and able to make a purchase decision. So will an incoming transferred employee who must be settled by the first of the month.
Deadlines follow motivation. Those who have the motivation almost always have a deadline to meet. They want to see homes on short notice, and require a fast acceptance of their purchase offer. They also tend to pay full price.
Finally, those who plan their purchase in advance are most often financially qualified to complete the purchase. They've probably secured an advance mortgage commitment, making them an attractive buyer.
The best buyers are often in a hurry. Be prepared to respond quickly to them, and you may enjoy a very pleasant sale at full price.
Last week your “For Sale By Owner” ad appeared for the first time. A family just called you back saying they want the house. Hoorah! They've asked you to hold the house until next Friday and will be “in touch” soon. What do you do now?
As a rule, agreements for the sale of real estate must be in writing to be enforceable. The agreement states the purchase price, details of financing, closing date, possession date, and other information. Buyers should also offer a substantial earnest money deposit as evidence of their serious intent.
As long as both buyers and seller are in perfect agreement, a verbal agreement could be consummated. If either buyers or sellers disagree on any point, however, the transaction would not be enforceable.
Consider this. Sincere buyers, who truly intend to keep their end of the bargain, have no qualms about signing a written agreement or offering earnest money. If they hesitate, you might ask whether they are really serious buyers.
A real estate agent can represent your interests by qualifying buyers and preparing an agreement of sale. Marketing your home at the best possible price and terms is important too. Your agent understands the local real estate market and is able to provide buyers qualified to purchase your home. Take no shortcuts. To sell your home, be represented by an agent!
Among your friends, one or more may be “in real estate”. That could create a dilemma when you decide to sell your present home. How would you decide which friend to represent you in the sale of your home?
You no doubt want to sell your home at the best possible price, in the least time and with a minimum of inconvenience. To accomplish each of those objectives, your home should be marketed effectively from the beginning by a true professional.
If you choose one of your agent/friends, choose one who devotes full-time to real estate and has made a long-term commitment to be the best. Your friend should possess extensive knowledge about your neighborhood and especially the type property you are selling. The friend should be “in-touch” with the local market, and have daily contact with mortgage lenders, bankers, attorneys, and other real estate related individuals.
Your friend should be a member in good standing of the local Board of REALTORS®, another measure of your friend's commitment to excellence. Your friend's activity level, the degree of involvement in day-to-day changes that occur in real estate locally, will very likely reflect an established record of successful real estate sales.
Does it sound as though you should put real estate professionalism ahead of friendship? You really should, and if that professional also happens to be a friend – everyone's a winner.
A land auctioneer used to begin his auction sales with these words: “We're here to get as much as we can – you're here to buy it as cheap as you can – what am I bid?” It was a down-to-earth way of saying that buyers and sellers see price differently, but must finally agree if a sale is to take place.
Fair market value is defined as “that price which a buyer is willing to pay and at which a seller is willing to sell, both parties being knowledgeable about the property and neither party being under any time pressure”. A Competitive Market Analysis is one way to establish fair market value.
It provides information about similar properties which are 1) For Sale, 2) Sold, and 3) Expired. Homes currently “For Sale” indicate what the competition is asking, and are merely a barometer of current market conditions.
Homes already “Sold” provide historical information about pricing. The more recent the sale, the more reliable the information. Listings that have expired without selling indicate what buyers are not willing to pay. If a home was listed for sale and did not sell, the price was likely higher than buyers were willing to pay for comparable homes.
Sellers do set the asking price. Buyers, however, set the final sale price, as evidenced by their willingness to pay a particular price.
In the distant past, real estate buyers and sellers were said to bargain in “good faith” or “in earnest”. There was little need to write down the details of the agreement since, as they said then, “A man's word is his bond”. Probably no money changed hands either until the sale was consummated.
Later, it became common practice for real estate agreements to be in writing. Buyers offered “earnest money”, as a visible sign that the buyer intended to complete the sale. The amount was usually small, but it's significance was great. Along with the written contract it took the place of a handshake agreement.
Today, an “earnest money” deposit is commonplace. Although the amount of money is negotiable between the buyer and seller, most agree that the larger the deposit, the more serious the buyer's intentions. After all, a genuine buyer, who sincerely intends to complete a sale, has no qualms about making a substantial deposit.
If a buyer willfully defaults and fails to complete the transaction, the deposit may be forfeited. From that point-of-view, sellers may look with suspicion upon buyers who refuse to provide a deposit or insist on a very small one.
When selling a home, ask your agent for advice about the amount of deposit you should require from buyers. Remember, there is no set of rules to follow, just good common sense.
Run ads in the paper and place a “For Sale” sign in your yard, and you may expect to receive inquiries. Individuals may come to your front door unannounced, which means you must be there at all reasonable hours to graciously show the home at their convenience. They may also call.
You may say, “I'm home most of the time, and if I do happen to be gone, my answering machine will take their call”. Yes, some will leave a message or call back – the ones with plenty of time on their hands.
You may encounter two types of buyers, “time-wasters” and sincere buyers. The time wasters will call back. They like to tour homes and are in no hurry to buy. They target the “by owner” to avoid agents who would begin asking those all-important qualifying questions.
The second group, those motivated and prepared to make a purchase right away, rarely call a second time or return if you aren't home. They intend to buy – plain and simple. If you aren't home, they will move on to homes they can see with an agent.
To purchase a home, buyers must first see the home. Be sure your home is exposed to the broadest segment of potential buyers, at their convenience. Seek representation by an agent. You benefit from the convenience, and your best interests are protected.
Ever shopped a “bargain basement” sale at a large department store?
Merchandise that has not sold at full price and other lower quality merchandise is offered on the “basement” level at real bargain prices. Many people try on the merchandise, point out flaws to sales clerks, and bargain for even better prices.
On the upper floors of the store, it is “business as usual”. Serious shoppers looking for quality merchandise at fair prices quietly make their purchases from service-minded attendants. Real estate is sometimes sold and purchased in much the same way.
Some sellers attempt a “by- owner” sale. With a sign in the yard and a few newspaper ads, they attract the real estate bargain-hunters of the world. These buyers inspect, bargain, knit-pick, and otherwise take up the seller's valuable time, expecting to save the brokerage fee and more.
Serious buyers, on the other hand, choose an agent to locate suitable, fairly priced homes. They receive other services too, such as help with mortgage financing, advice on schools, shopping, churches, etc., and other community information.
Want to sacrifice the equity in your home to bargain hunters? Wouldn't you prefer to sell your home to a qualified buyer with little inconvenience to you and your family? Consider the value of showcasing your home to the right clientele. A full, fair price sale can be the result.
It's Saturday morning, and you plan to purchase a second vehicle. At the dealer, you find only two cars for sale – both the same year, make and model. Both bear the same price – $16,000. They look identical – until you inspect them.
The first is “good transportation”, at best. It shows neglect, nicks, and scratches. The windows are smudged, the tires worn, and the antenna is missing. It starts grudgingly on the second try. Books and papers litter the back seat. After an abbreviated inspection, you turn your attention to the second car.
The spotless windows and gleaming finish promise satisfaction. The trim is flawless, and the tires have been scrubbed clean. Sitting at the wheel, the engine jumps to life, then settles down to an imperceptible idle. The interior sparkles. This car wins hands down.
Home-buyers experience similar situations. They inspect comparable homes at similar prices, making value judgments as they drive up to each home. Their first impressions begin with the yard, driveway, and front door. Once inside an attractive, well-maintained home, buyers can sense the “pride-of-ownership” – or its absence.
It is said that buyers make up their minds in the first five minutes, then spend the rest of the time rationalizing their decision. Wise property owners make certain their pride-of-ownership is clearly evident...and often sell at full price.
Your home is for sale. You're excited and ready to sell, but what will you do when your agent brings you an “offer” from serious buyers?
Many sellers flinch at the word “offer” believing it means accepting a lower price. An offer is merely an instrument, signed by the buyers, stating the price and terms at which they are willing to purchase. The price could be the asking price, or one that is lower or higher than the asking price. Until accepted, it remains an offer, and is binding on no one. The buyer may withdraw the offer at any time prior to acceptance.
Once an offer is received, sellers have three options: 1) accept it as written, 2) reject it outright, or 3) make a counter-offer. It is generally good business to either accept the offer or make a counter-offer, since rejecting an offer can put a quick end to an otherwise potential sale.
An offer that appears to reflect a low price sometimes provides the sellers with greater “net” proceeds from the sale. This can be determined by asking the agent to prepare a “net sheet” providing an estimate of the seller's proceeds expected at closing.
When selling your home, don't shy away from “offers”. Ask your agent for a complete explanation of both the positive and negative effects, then make an informed, unemotional decision.
True or false? Once you have chosen an agent to represent you in the sale of your home, and have signed a listing, you should get out of the way and let the agent find a buyer.
False. Selling a home requires involvement by owners as well as the agent. Sellers are responsible for two areas: 1) pricing the home fairly with attractive terms, and 2) providing a home in marketable condition. The agent is responsible for preparing and implementing a marketing plan to attract suitable buyers.
Fair pricing is critical because most buyers comparison shop, eliminating homes priced above market value. The agent can provide details of recent sales in the local market, as well as pricing of similar homes currently for sale. This can be used to arrive at a price that reflects the value offered by the home.
Offering a home in marketable condition is critical to a successful sale. Buyers expect to purchase a home in excellent condition. By performing a walk-through inspection, the agent can provide sellers with a list of needed improvements. It is up to the sellers to present a positive first impression.
The agent creates an imaginative marketing plan that targets buyer groups most likely to purchase the home. Advertising and promotion attracts their attention. The home is thus positioned to appeal to the widest possible segment of purchasers.
Selling your home? Here's an easy recipe for making your phone ring: place a “For Sale” sign in your yard and an ad in the newspaper. Take that advice and your telephone could ring early and often.
Unfortunately, the traffic jam of “buyers” created by ringing phones may have no relation whatsoever to the early sale of your home. Your sign and ad may simply have aroused the curiosity of the general public. You can verify that statement by qualifying prospects with personal questions about their financial position. Most will hang up or leave without answering your questions.
Those same financial questions, when asked by a real estate associate, become business questions which are quickly answered by serious buyers. By qualifying prospects before showing them your home, your agent can weed out the curious, the unqualified, and the unmotivated. That is one of the most valuable services you receive when represented by a professional.
Before accepting a contract to purchase your home, be certain the buyers have the financial ability to complete the sale. Ask your agent for details upon which to base your decision, then make your decision with confidence.
Selling your home will not happen by accident. Be informed about market conditions, recent sale prices and available financing, then choose a real estate representative to provide a buyer ready, willing and able to purchase your home!
What is real estate? Real estate is defined as “the land and those items permanently affixed to land, known as improvements”. Everything that is not real estate is considered “personal property”.
In a deed to real estate, the sellers grant all rights to the land, including improvements, i.e. the house itself, trees and shrubs, swimming pool, and other items attached to the land.
Personal property such as furniture, countertop microwave, or fireplace tools is not included in the sale, unless specifically mentioned in the contract of sale.
Distinguishing between real and personal property can be difficult. For example, a free-standing patio gas grill may be personal property, however when set in concrete it is considered permanently affixed (real estate). A crystal chandelier anniversary present from Aunt Sarah is personal property until permanently suspended from the ceiling.
When selling your home, pack away personal items that may catch the eye of homebuyers. Items not included in the sale, such as a microwave or refrigerator, should be specifically excluded in the listing agreement.
Homebuyers should ask what personal property is included in the sale. If sellers agree to leave the free-standing butcher's block and washing machine, include them in the purchase contract. If included at no cost, say so. Whether buying or selling, knowing the difference between real and personal property can make your real estate experience more enjoyable.
Planning to sell “by owner?” Better take stock of the inventory you have to offer. If you have only one home to sell, you may become an innocent victim of “up from an ad – down from a sign” syndrome.
Newspaper ads can make a home look very inviting, arousing interest and stimulating phone calls for more information. An ad can also create unrealistic expectations for prospective buyers. Thus, after seeing the inside of the home, prospects may realize the special features they want are only available in higher priced homes. Thus, they tend to “buy up” from an advertisement.
The reverse may be true after driving by a “For Sale” sign. at which point prospects do not know the price. Again, their imagination runs wild. They see themselves owning such a beautiful home and become convinced that the price is somewhat lower than reality would suggest. When they hear the price, often higher than expected, they realize they must “buy down”, settle for another home with fewer amenities.
In either case, buyers often purchase a home other than the one that originally caught their eye. Because most buyers look at a variety of homes, and because the “by owner” has only one house to sell, the prospects look elsewhere, often contacting a real estate agent who can locate a home which meets their specifications.
You are planning to sell and have listed your home with a top agent. The For Sale sign is up, and your home is being advertised. You can hardly wait to get a buyer.
Saturday afternoon a couple rings your doorbell asking if they can take a look at your home. Your agent asked you to have prospects call for an appointment, but you don't want to lose a possible buyer so you give them a tour. Are you doing the right thing? Probably not.
By setting an appointment through your agent, prospects are first qualified for their motivation to buy a home and their ability to secure financing. This important step allows the agent to spend time with the prospects, establishing rapport. Special attention can then be given to the buyers' needs. Answers to buyer questions about mortgages, interest rates, and closing costs can be quickly provided and buyers can make an informed decision.
Your agent knows that homes sell as the result of a process, not a single showing. Each step in the process, i.e. determining motivation, obtaining financial information, learning buyer deadlines, and qualifying financial ability, leads to a more successful conclusion in the sale of your home.
Avoid unexpected guests, and make the most of each showing of your home. Avoid taking shortcuts. Refer all inquiries to your agent for showing appointments.
No one knows your home better than you! You know who built it and when, how big it is, how much it costs to heat, and how close it is to schools and shopping. When selling your home, this knowledge can be turned into a valuable selling tool.
Most buyers comparison shop before making a purchase decision. They gather information, make notes, and prepare more questions. Finally, they make their decision from the information they have gathered. The more they know about each home, the more likely they are to give it serious consideration.
Provide your agent with utility bills for the past year, flattering photographs of your home in full spring bloom, blueprints of the floor plan, a surveyor's plat of the lot, information about your present mortgage, etc. Make notes about the closest schools, churches, shopping malls, and area recreation.
Ask your agent to display the information in a notebook for buyers to read when they visit your home. Make it available as a printed flyer they can take when they leave. Copies may also be provided to other real estate agents in the community.
With guidance from your representative, you can position your home favorably with buyers. Buyers, in turn, will respond to your efforts by showing increased interest, resulting in an earlier sale at the best possible price.
Where will you be next Friday evening at 7:30? Saturday morning at 10:00? Tuesday at 9:30 AM? If you are planning to sell your home “by owner”, you'd better plan to be home by the phone every day. Here's why.
Serious, qualified buyers may call or come by unannounced. If you are home to take their call or show the home without notice, they MAY consider your property. They rarely call back, however, if they reach an answering machine. If you're not home, they're not likely to make a return visit.
They know an agent can set appointments for them to see suitable homes – hassle free. They also recognize the value of having the agent preview each home first, eliminating all but the ones most suited to their needs.
Most motivated buyers contact an agent before beginning their home search. They know the agent can help arrange a pre-qualification interview and locate financing. With a lender's commitment in hand, buyers are free to enjoy their house-hunting adventure with an agent making all the arrangements.
When selling your home by yourself, give serious thought to your commitment to stay home seven days a week. Then, consider the commitment most buyers are making to look at homes with a real estate agent. The sale of your home can depend on the decision you make.
Selling your home soon? How long will it take? Begin by asking your agent the marketing time of homes recently sold in your area. Look at prices, features and the financing offered. How does your home compare?
The average marketing time for those homes may then be applied to yours. This will be an “average” time for “average” homes at an “average” price. If your home is offered in above average condition at a below average price, it could take less time to sell.
Next, look at homes currently offered for sale. How long have they been on the market? Is there a house similar to yours that has not sold in over 300 days? How is it priced, compared to what you will ask for yours? What is its condition?
Finally, compare the “expireds”? How were they priced, and what was their condition? Take a close look at your home. Are you pricing it competitively? Are you prepared to offer it in mint condition? You can be the determining factor that decides the selling time for your home, since the more value offered by your home, the faster it will sell.
Once you've estimated the likely sale time, give your agent a reasonable listing period to find a buyer. Remember, it is really you who determines the selling time by the price and condition of your home.
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