27 Tips You Should Know To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar
“…discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment..”
Because your home may well be your largest asset, selling it is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. To better understand the homeselling 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 Yourself
The reason(s) you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this to yourself 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. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason( s) you are selling is only for you to know .
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. If you are pricing too low it can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.
Setting Your Home’s Sale Price
If You Live in a Subdivision – If your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans, built in the same period, simply look at recent sales in your neighborhood subdivision to give you a good idea of what your home is worth.
If You Live in An Older Neighborhood – As neighborhoods change over time each home may be different in minor or substantial ways and you will probably find that there aren’t many homes truly comparable to yourown. In this case you may want to consider seeking a Realtor ® to help you with the pricing process.
If You Decide to Sell On Your Own – A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home. Also a trip to City Hall can provide you with home sale information in its public records, for most communities.
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, size of lot, location and other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices but what they are actually selling for. Remember, if you’re serious about getting your home sold fast, don’t price it higher than your neighbor’s.
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.
7. Deciding Upon a Realtor®
According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed who sell their own homes say they wouldn’t do it again themselves. Primary reasons included setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints. When deciding upon a Realtor® , consider two or three. Be as wary of quotes that are too low as those that are too high.
All Realtors® 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 their experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a good job on your behalf.
If you choose to sell on your own, you can still talk to a Realtor®. Many are more than willing to help do-it-your-selfers with paperwork, contracts, etc. and should problems arise, you now have someone you can readily call upon.
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, 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, your Realtor® will be unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable.
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 are great for tips.
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 lawsuits later on.
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 you.
16. Keep Emotions in Check During Negotiations
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.
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, 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. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home Until You Sell Your Current Home
Beware of closing on your new home while you’re still making mortgage payments on the old one or you might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for the first deal that comes along.
21. 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 a another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.
22. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage
Don’t try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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. Inquire how they arrived at their figure, and suggest they compare your price to the prices of homes for sale in your neighborhood.
26. 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.
27. Resist Deviating From the Contract
For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no and that you’ve been advised against it. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.
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The 9 Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar
The Real Estate Market Has Changed . . .
“Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale don’t sell the first time. It’s more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.”
Remember not so long ago, when you could make your fortune in real estate. It was nothing then to buy a home, wait a short while, and then sell it at a tidy profit.
And then do it all over again.
Well, as you probably know, times have changed. As good as the market is right now, home prices are still below what they were at their peak. Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale never sell. It’s more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.
The 7 Deadly Mistakes Most Home Sellers Make
1. Failing to analyze why they are selling.
2. Not preparing their home for the buyer’s eye.
3. Pricing their homes incorrectly.
4. Selling too hard during showings.
5. Signing a long-term listing agreement without a written performance guarantee.
6. Making it difficult for buyers to get information on their home.
7. Failing to obtain a pre-approved mortgage for one’s next home.
The 9 Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar
Selling your home is one of the most important steps in your life. This 9 step system will give you the tools you need to maximize your profits, maintain control, and reduce the stress that comes with the home selling process:
1. Know why you’re selling, and keep it to yourself.
The reasons behind your decision to sell affect everything from setting a price to deciding how much time and money to invest in getting your home ready for sale. What’s more important to you: the money you walk away with, or the length of time your property is on the market? Different goals will dictate different strategies.
However, don’t reveal your motivation to anyone else or they may use it against you at the negotiating table. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed.
2. Do your homework before setting a price.
Settling on an offering price shouldn’t be done lightly. Once you’ve set your price, you’ve told buyers the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home, but pricing too high is as dangerous as pricing too low. Remember that the average buyer is looking at 15-20 homes at the same time they are considering yours. This means that they have a basis of comparison, and if your home doesn’t compare favorably with others in the price range you’ve set, you won’t be taken seriously by prospects or agents. As a result, your home will sit on the market for a long time and, knowing this, new buyers on the market will think there must be something wrong with your home.
3. Do your homework.
(In fact, your agent should do this for you). Find out what homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past 6-12 months, and research what current homes are listed for. That’s certainly how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.
4. Find a good real estate agent to represent your needs.
Nearly three-quarters of homeowners claim that they wouldn’t use the same realtor who sold their last home. Dissatisfaction boils down to poor communication which results in not enough feedback, lower pricing and strained relations.
5. Maximize your home’s sales potential.
Each year, corporate North America spends billions on product and packaging design. Appearance is critical, and it would be foolish to ignore this when selling your home.
You may not be able to change your home’s location or floor plan, but you can do a lot to improve its appearance. The look and feel of your home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Pick up, straighten, de-clutter, scrub, scour and dust. Fix everything, no matter how insignificant it may appear.
Present your home to get a “wow” response from prospective buyers.
Allow the buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. The decision to buy a home is based on emotion, not logic. Prospective buyers want to try on your home just like they would a new suit of clothes. If you follow them around pointing out improvements or if your decor is so different that it’s difficult for a buyer to strip it away in his or her mind, you make it difficult for them to feel comfortable enough to imagine themselves an owner.
6. Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home.
You may be surprised to know that some marketing tools that most agents use to sell homes (e.g. traditional open houses) are actually not very effective. In fact only 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Furthermore, the prospects calling for information on your home probably value their time as much as you do. The last thing they want to be subjected to is either a game of telephone tag with an agent, or an unwanted sales pitch. Make sure the ads your agent places for your home are attached to a 24 hour prerecorded hotline with a specific ID# for your home which gives buyers access to detailed information about your property day or night 7 days a week without having to talk to anyone. It’s been proven that 3 times as many buyers call for information on your home under this system. And remember, the more buyers you have competing for your home the better, because it sets up an auction-like atmosphere that puts you in the driver’s seat.
7. Know your buyer.
In the negotiation process, your objective is to control the pace and set the duration. What is your buyer’s motivation? Does s/he need to move quickly? Does s/he have enough money to pay you your asking price? Knowing this information gives you the upper hand in the negotiation because you know how far you can push to get what you want.
8. Make sure the contract is complete.
For your part as a seller, make sure you disclose everything. Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond the laws to disclose all known defects to their buyers in writing. If the buyer knows about a problem, s/he can’t come back with a lawsuit later on.
Make sure all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale, and resist the temptation to diverge from the contract. For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.
9. Don’t move out before you sell.
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you thousands. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are probably highly motivated to sell fast. This, of course, will give them the advantage at the negotiating table.
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How to Avoid Getting Stuck With Two Homes
“…you could run the risk of owning two homes…if you sell first, you could end up homeless”
We’ve all heard the old saying about being caught between a rock and a hard place. Well unfortunately, that’s where most homeowners find themselves when they decide to move from one home to another.
The Real Estate Catch 22
You see, if you buy before selling, you could run the risk of owning two homes. Or, just as bad, if you sell first, you could end up homeless. That’s what is known as the Real Estate Catch 22, and for thousands of homeowners, it’s an extremely stressful position they find themselves in.
The Solution: How to Avoid The Real Estate Catch 22
This financial and emotional tightrope is one many homeowners feel they have to walk alone. However, you should seek out agents offering specialized programs that can eliminate the stress and worry associated with selling and buying another home.
The biggest dilemma when considering purchasing another home is deciding whether to buy first or sell first. Either way is risky because you could end up owning two homes or no home at all. Let’s face it, the real estate market has become a tough environment for buyers and sellers alike. The fact is that it’s more difficult to get homes sold today and therefore it’s essential that real estate agents look for new and innovative ways to meet the demands of the market.
A new and innovative program that some agents offer actually guarantees the sale of your home and takes away all of the worry and stress associated with selling and buying another home.
Here’s How it Works
1. Your agent will prepare a total market analysis including a computerized printout of all comparable home sales and listings in your area.
2. With this information you and your agent can determine a market value for your home.
3. This establishes your guaranteed price and list price which you will receive up front (in writing) before your home is marketed.
4. You are doubly protected because you know that your home will sell for the guaranteed price. However if you receive an offer from an outside buyer for more than the guarantee price you get the higher offer.
5. You can confidently look for your next home and immediately place a firm cash offer (not a conditional one) when you find a home you like because you know the minimum that your home will sell for and when you can expect to receive the money from it’s sale.
6. This service eliminates the usual stress and worry (the emotional roller coaster ride) of whether to buy first or sell first so you can avoid the risk of getting stuck with two homes or no home at all.
Remember, not all agents are alike and you should consider only those that can offer you the most innovative marketing plan available to ensure that your needs are completely and properly met.
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DIVORCE: What You Need to Know About Your House, Your Mortgage, and Taxes
“Once you know how a divorce affects your home, mortgage and taxes, critical decisions are easier. Neutral, third party information can help you make logical, rather than emotional decisions.”
How to Avoid Costly Housing Mistakes in the Midst of a Divorce
Divorce is a tough situation which opens up many emotional and financial issues to be solved. One of the most important decisions is what to do about the house.
In the midst of the heavy emotional and financial turmoil, what you need most is some non-emotional, straight-forward, specific answers. Once you know how a divorce affects your home, your mortgage and taxes, critical decisions are easier. Neutral, third party information can help you make logical, rather than emotional decisions.
Probably the first decision is whether you want to continue to living in the house. Will the familiar surroundings bring you comfort and emotional security, or unpleasant memories? Do you want to minimize change by staying where you are, or sell your home and move to a new place that offers a new start?
Only you can answer these questions, but there will almost certainly be some financial repercussions to your decision process. What can you afford? Can you manage the old house on your new budget? Is refinancing possible? Or is it better to sell and buy? How much house can you buy on your new budget? The purpose of this report is to help you ask the right questions so you can make informed decisions that will be right for your situation.
You have 4 basic housing options when in the midst of a divorce:
1. Sell the house now and divide up the proceeds.
2. Buy out your spouse.
3. Have your spouse buy you out.
4. Retain your ownership.
It’s important for you to understand the financial implications of each of these scenarios.
1. Sell the House Now and Divide Up the Proceeds
Your primary consideration under these circumstances is to maximize your home’s selling price. We can help you avoid the common mistakes most homeowners make which compromise this outcome. As you work to get your financial affairs in order, make sure you understand what your net proceeds will be – i.e. after selling expenses, and after determining what your split of the proceeds will be. Note that the split may not be 50/50, but rather may depend on the divorce settlement, the source of the original down payment, and the legislative property laws in your area.
2. Buy Out Your Spouse
If you intend to keep the house yourself, you’ll have to determine how you’ll continue to meet your monthly financial obligations, if you now only have one salary. If you used two incomes to qualify for the old loan, refinancing on your own might be a challenge.
3. Have Your Spouse Buy You Out
If you are the one who is leaving, you have the opportunity to start again in new surroundings with cash in your pocket. However, be aware that if the the old home loan is not refinanced, most lenders will consider both you and your spouse as original co-signers to be liable for the mortgage. This liability may make qualifying for a new mortgage difficult for you if you decide to purchase a home, even though you won’t have legal ownership.
4. Retain Joint Ownership
Some divorcing couples postpone a financial decision with respect to the home and retain joint ownership for a period of time even though only one spouse lives there. While this temporary situation means you have no immediate worries in this regard, keep your eye on tax considerations which may change from the time of your divorce to the time of the ultimate sale.
When You Decide to Sell
If you and your spouse decide to sell your home, it will be important to work together through a professional to maximize your return. Differences aside, you both should be present when a listing contract is put together. Both of you should understand and sign this contract, and both should be active in the ultimate negotiations.
When You Buy Your Next Home
Use the proceeds from your previous home or buy out to determine an affordable price range for your next home. Maintain a clear focus on getting the right home to suit your new situation. You may wish to review with an agent who offers a house-hunting service to help find a home that matches your new home buying criteria.
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EXPIRED: How to Sell a House that Didn’t Sell
“…before you put your home back on the market, take a step back and review your situation…”
4 Important Points that Will Get Your house Sold!
If your home has just come off the market and hasn’t sold, don’t be discouraged. The reason it didn’t sell may have nothing to do with your home or the market. In reality, your home may have been one of the more desirable properties for sale. If your listing has expired and you still want results, before you put your home back on the market, take a step back and review your situation.
Q. Where should you begin?
A. Start by making a commitment to do what it takes to market your house to get it sold. With the right system, the home sale you want is still well within reach.
Q. Why didn’t your home sell?
A. Review your previous selling plan and you’ll discover that an expired listing usually reflects a problem in one or more of these four major areas:
3. Condition of Your Home, and
Your home is a major financial investment, and your relationship with your Realtor®should be a full partnership where your needs and wishes are heard, and you receive detailed and dependable feedback on the progress of your sale. Your agent has a responsibility to source this feedback from the agents who have shown your home, and to communicate this to you so together you can make the right decisions about what to do next. How well did this occur the last time you had your home up for sale?
Did price work for or against you? The “right” price depends on market conditions, competition and the condition of your home. Pricing it too high is as dangerous as pricing it too low. If your home doesn’t compare favorably with others in the price range you’ve set, you won’t be taken seriously by prospects or agents.
You’ll get the facts when you see the statistics!
– To help you establish a realistic selling price for your home, ask your agent to provide you with an up-to-date competitive market analysis to give you:
– a review of comparable homes recently sold or currently for sale,
– an idea of how long other homes have been listed, in order to calculate an average time in which a home can sell in today’s market,
– a review of homes whose listings have expired, to understand what issues were at play.
Note: There is no mention of how much you paid for your home or its improvements. Like any other investment, the market value is determined by what a willing buyer will pay and a willing seller will accept.
3. Condition of Your Home
Show Case Quality! Is your house someone else’s idea of a dream home? When buyers enter are they inspired? Do they think, “I love this house!” Remember, the decision to buy a home is based on emotion, not logic. A house in move-in condition invites a sale. You need to consider:
– fixing all the little squeaks and cracks
– keeping it clean for all showings
– making it uncluttered
– brightening it up
– what your home shows like from the street concentrating on outside curb appeal.
Plus – Consider taking care of major items, such having your home painted. Offering an allowance to your prospective buyers, so they can have painting completed is not the same as having done it for them. Now, as they’re trying to imagine what that new paint job will look like, they may also be discounting the price even further because of the less-than-perfect look of those walls.
A house that presents well, sells for the best price because it outshines the competition. Ask your agent if they can arrange a no-obligation inspection of your home to help you assess the above.
….Marketing Your Home To Sell! Some Questions You Should Be Asking!
One of the first steps in your marketing plan involves finding an agent who will best represent you. When interviewing agents, test and compare their knowledge and ask each to demonstrate how they will market your home to buyers. Also compare how much money each spends on advertising the homes s/he lists, in what media (newspaper, magazine, etc.) and the effectiveness of one medium over the other. Remember, it’s not just how much they spend, but how they spend it.
Say goodbye to any real estate agents using old, traditional methods to sell your home because they don’t work in today’s market!
To be competitive in today’s marketplace, agents who use new and innovative, non-traditional marketing approaches are the ones who are getting more homes sold fast and for top dollar.
Buyers are Out There…And They Will Come!
Before You Put Your Home Back on the Market remember:
1. Effective communication is vital between you and your agent.
2. Price your home according to market conditions, competition and the condition of your house.
3. Be sure your house is in showcase, buyer ready-condition.
4. Have an innovative marketing plan firmly set in place. Not intended to solicit property currently listed for sale.
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For Sale by Owner 10 Inside Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself
“…selling a home on one’s own can be challenging as many home sellers will attest to.”
If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves they’ll tell you that from the moment the “For Sale by Owner” sign goes up, the phone begins to ring. Unfortunately, many of those calls will not be from prospective buyers, but rather from real estate agents looking to obtain your listing. Obviously the idea of not having to pay a commission to a real estate agent is attractive to any home seller. But because of all the issues involved in the process, selling a home on one’s own can be challenging as many home sellers will attest to.
The key is to be properly prepared. If you are not, your home could remain on the market longer than you expect because you are not attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. This can be a point where many homeowners become frustrated and consider giving up their dream of selling their home themselves. However, there are sellers who accomplish selling their own homes, very well. You can be one of them.
This industry report has been especially prepared to assist home sellers, such as yourself, understand the elements involved so you, on your own, can sell your home quickly and for the most amount of profit. To help you prepare, here are 10 inside tips that you should be aware of before you make the decision as to whether or not this is the right approach for you.
1. Price it Right
Correctly setting your asking price is critical. Setting your price too high can be as costly as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace not by your emotional attachment or by what you feel your home is worth. In order to establish a realistic price for your home, objectively compare the price, features and condition of all similar homes in both your neighborhood and other similar ones which have sold in recent months. It is also important for you to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale. Terms are often as important as price in today’s market. Carefully budget your selling costs and prepare a net proceeds sheet to calculate your best estimate of what you will take away from your home sale. Prospective buyers may also request this kind of analysis of buying costs.
2. Prepare Your Home for Sale
First impression is crucial. Make sure your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it through the objective eyes of a buyer. Don’t gloss over needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective buyers won’t. Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from the competition.
3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation
Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents which you must assemble, complete and understand. A partial checklist of forms that you will require for prospective buyers and for legal documentation is as follows:
– Mortgage Payoff
– Loan Application
– Deposit Receipt
– Property Profile Fact Sheet
– Buyer’s Cost Sheet
– Closing & Settlement
– Personal Property
– Exclusion List
– Property Survey
– Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation
4. Market Your Home Effectively
Beyond the sign you will put on your lawn, you should find effective ways to spread the word about your home. Local buyers can be reached through the newspaper, but this is only a small part of the market you are after. Be sure you include the many buyers who could already be working with a Realtor®. To locate them, target as many top agents as possible in your market to see if the criteria of their buyers matches that of your home’s. Because out-of-town buyers are also an important target, you should create a strategy to reach these people as well. Above all, you should be very service minded and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure that there is always someone available to answer the phone, pick up messages promptly, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as soon as possible.
5. Remain Objective During a Showing of Your Home
Keep emotion out of the sale of your home, and the best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, it is better to counter-balance this point of view by illustrating the positives rather than becoming defensive.
6. Pre-Qualify Your Prospects
Don’t waste your time entertaining buyers who could never afford your home. Research their financial steadiness with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.
7. Negotiate Effectively & Knowledgeably
There will be many details to resolve before a sale can be considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, buyer concerns and objections. Make sure you fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can in turn explain details and ramifications to the buyer and make any amendments to the sale that are necessary. The contract you use should be thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, manage the buyer’s interest in your home so that it doesn’t wane during negotiations.
8 . Know Your Buyer
Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what your buyer’s motivation is. Does he or she need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price? Knowing this information will give you the advantage in the negotiation because you will know up front, what you will need to do in order to get what you want.
9. Don’t Move Out Before You Sell
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant. It looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you money. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are motivated to sell fast which can, of course, give them an advantage at the negotiating table.
10. Know Why You’re Selling and Keep it to Yourself
The flip side of “understanding your buyer” is to “understand yourself”. Your reasons for selling will affect everything from your list price to how much time and money you will invest in getting your home ready for sale. Your motivation will help you determine what is more important to you: the money you walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market, or both. Different goals will dictate different strategies. As someone who wants to sell without a real estate agent in an effort to save the commission, it is likely that money is one of your primary considerations, (see, “How to Assess Your Net Gain” below). Whatever your reasons, however, it is very important to keep them to yourself so as not to place yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiation table. When asked, simply say your housing needs have changed.
How to Assess Your Net Gain
To analyze whether or not you will end up ahead by choosing to sell on your own, consider the fact that most buyers do use a real estate agent because it doesn’t cost them anything for this service (i.e. the seller pays the agent’s fee). Be cautious as buyers, investors and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owners are typically those in search of a bargain. The low-ball offers from these types of buyers will often net you much lower in the long run. What you will have to judge for yourself is the following:
1. Be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings and all legalities.
2. Consider what it will cost you to effectively market your home and assemble all necessary materials from the “for sale” sign to any contracts.
3. What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner minus the costs identified in point 2 above. Is this net price higher than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?
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HOME SELLERS: How to Get the Price You Want (and Need)
“Depending on how a buyer is made aware of your home, price is often the first thing he or she sees. As a result many homes may not be shown because they are discarded by prospective buyers for not being in the appropriate price range.”
When you decide to sell your home, setting your asking price is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Depending on how a buyer finds your home, price is often the first thing he or she sees, and many homes are discarded by prospective buyers as not being in the appropriate price range before these homes are given a chance to be shown.
Your asking price is often your home’s first impression, and if you want to realize the most money you can from your home’s sale, it is imperative that you make a good first impression.
Because this is not as easy as it sounds, your pricing strategy should not be taken lightly. Pricing too high can be as costly to a home seller as pricing too low. Taking a look at what homes in your neighborhood have sold for is only a small part of the process, and this on it’s own is not nearly enough to help you make the best decision.
This report will help you understand some important factors about pricing strategy to help you not only sell your home, but sell it for the price you want.
Pricing Strategy Starts with Good Information
Before you can begin to know what your home is worth, you should do some research, bearing in mind the following: An analysis of what homes have recently sold for in your neighborhood is NOT enough to help you properly price your home.
A quick scan up and down the street at the prices of homes that have recently sold will give you a starting point. However, this is not nearly enough for you to base your entire pricing strategy on. It is important for you to understand how buyers look for a home.
Think about how you conducted your house hunting search to find the home you are now thinking of selling. You most likely did not confine your search to a single neighborhood, but perhaps different neighborhoods or towns in order to find a home that best matched your needs and desires.
The prospective buyers who will be viewing your home, will conduct their searches in a similar manner. That means they will be comparing your home to, for example, brand new development homes, century homes, 10-20 year old homes, etc. They will also consider locations such as homes in established neighborhoods, the middle of town, the suburbs or country properties. Each home will have a different look and feel and it’s quite possible that a prospective buyer might consider all of these variables in the search for a home.
You can see, when you’re selling your home, you’re not just competing with the home around the corner, but also with all homes in other areas which have the same basic characteristics: i.e. number of rooms, overall living space, etc.
How Sellers Set Their Asking Price
For you to understand how much to offer for a home you’re interested in, it’s important for you to know how sellers price their homes. Here are 4 common strategies you’ll start to recognize when you begin to view homes:
1. Clearly Overpriced:
Every seller wants to realize the most amount of money they can for their home, and real estate agents know this. If more than one agent is competing for your listing, an easy way to win the battle is to over-inflate the value of your home. This is done far too often, with many homes that are priced 10- 20% over their true market value.
This is not in your best interest, because in most cases the market won’t be fooled. As a result, your home could languish on the market for months, leaving you with a couple of important drawbacks:
– your home is likely to be labeled as a “troubled” house by other agents, leading to a lower than fair market price when an offer is finally made
– you have been greatly inconvenienced with having to constantly have your home in “showing” condition . . . for nothing.
These homes often expire off the market, forcing you to go through the listing process all over again.
2. Somewhat Overpriced:
About 3/4 of the homes on the market are 5-10% overpriced. These homes will also sit on the market longer than they should. There is usually one of two factors at play here: either you believe in your heart that your home is really worth this much despite what the market has indicated (after all, there’s a lot of emotion caught up in this issue), OR you’ve left some room for negotiating. Either way, this strategy will cost you both in terms of time on the market and ultimate price received
3. Priced Correctly at Market Value
Some sellers understand that real estate is part of the capitalistic system of supply and demand and will carefully and realistically price their homes based on a thorough analysis of other homes on the market. These competitively priced homes usually sell within a reasonable time-frame and very close to the asking price.
4. Priced Below the Fair Market Value
Some sellers are motivated by a quick sale. These homes attract multiple offers and sell fast – usually in a few days – at, or above, the asking price. Be cautious that the agent suggesting this method is doing so with your best interest in mind.
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Negotiating the Highest Price for Your Home
Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale don’t sell the first time. It’s more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.
The single biggest issue on most home sellers’ minds when selling their homes is how to achieve the highest sale price. And yet most homeowners feel disadvantaged and ill-equipped to achieve this goal. Pricing a home is an imperfect science to begin with. Market factors can cause large swings affecting pricing. Also the skill of the person responsible for negotiating can also determine what your home will sell for.
However, negotiating effectively doesn’t have to be as difficult or intimidating as you might expect. Like anything else, if you have a proven system to follow – and know the signals and the language – you can successfully turn the tables to be in your favor.
4 Common Negotiating Mistakes Most Home Sellers Make
Following are 4 common mistakes most home sellers make at the negotiating table:
1. Saying too much during an offer
The first and second rules of effective negotiating are to a) know what you are legally required to divulge, and b) don’t say anything more than this in front of someone who is not completely representing your interests. It’s very important that a seller think through every point he or she is going to make . . .before it is spoken. What you say can and will be used to your buyer’s advantage, so don’t say anything more than you have to. For example, if you are reviewing an offer in front of both your agent and the buyer’s agent, and you mention what your “bottom line” price is, you better count on the fact that the buyer’s agent will pass this information on to your buyer, and you’ll probably lose the opportunity of getting a higher price than this. Remember that you don’t have to say anything in front of the buyer’s agent. They are representing the buyer’s needs, not yours. It is quite acceptable to ask them to leave before you discuss details of the offer with your agent.
2. Failing to take time on the counter-offer
Many sellers feel pressured to respond immediately to a presented offer. Remember that negotiation over price is a critical issue, and it is quite within your rights to take the time you need to respond effectively. As mentioned, you are certainly within your rights to request a private consultation with your agent, and away from the buyer’s agent. However, even more than that, you may also want your legal counsel to advise you on the next steps. If you find yourself in this situation, request the time to meet with, or fax the offer to, your lawyer. A little bit of space, and an objective and knowledgeable third party, will certainly lead to clearer thinking and more effective decision making.
3. Giving away too much
Many sellers feel that they have to throw in home fixtures such as appliances, lighting, drapery etc. This is not the case. If these items are not specifically detailed in your listing, you are not at all obliged to give them up if you don’t want to. Holding these items back until late in the negotiating process is often an effective way to arrive at a price that both seller and buyer can live with. Used this way, these items can become effective negotiating tools. If you give them away too early, you may lose any potential leverage. And remember, there is nothing stipulating that these items even have to enter into the negotiating process at all. Unless they are specifically itemized in your listing, you can treat them entirely outside your home sale.
4. Not understanding the issue of “Dual Agency”
Dual Agency exists when the offer made on your home comes from the same real estate company that you listed your home with – i.e. when both you and the buyer are represented by agents who work for the same broker-age. When dual agency exists, both your agent and the buyer’s agent are legally required to tell each other everything that their clients say. Therefore if, you don’t want your buyer to know the lowest price you will accept, or that you’ll toss in the appliances if push comes to shove (and you certainly don’t want the buyer to know these things), then you should not be divulging this information to your agent – because he or she must then pass this information on to the buyer’s agent who works for the same company. Your agent should make you aware of the implications of dual agency when it occurs so you can take away a clear understanding of this important issue.
By being aware of these and other issues and by seeking the advice of an experienced real estate professional and lawyer, your negotiating skills can be more effective in your home selling process.
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11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection
“According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection when your home is for sale. Here are 11 you should know about if you’re planning to put your home up for sale.”
Homebuyers Want to Know Your Home Inside and Out
While homebuyers are as individual as the homes they plan on purchasing, one thing they share is a desire to ensure that the home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as it appears to be. Will the roof end up leaking? Is the wiring safe? What about the plumbing? These, and others, are the questions that the buyers looking at your home will seek professional help to answer.
According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection. We’ve identified the 11 most common of these and, if not identified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair.
In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what you’re looking for. Knowing what you’re looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones.
11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection
1. Defective Plumbing
Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two different ways: leaking, and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes are rusting, which can result in severe water quality problems.
2. Damp or Wet Basement
An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will certainly be conscious of it.
It could cost you $200-$1,000 to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could run you around $750 – $1,000, and complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bedroom home) could amount to $5,000-$15,000. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.
3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical
Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard.
4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems
Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating. While an adequately clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of 15-25 yrs. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged – they cannot be repaired.
5. Roofing Problems
Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles (e.g. curling or splitting), or mechanical damage from a wind storm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one.
6. Damp Attic Spaces
Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold and mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to premature wear of the roof, structure and building materials. The cost to fix this damage could easily run over $2,500.
7. Rotting Wood
This can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim, siding, decks and fences). The building inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present – especially when wood has been freshly painted.
8. Masonry Work
Re-bricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen bricks or even a chimney which falls onto the roof. It can be costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repainted.
9. Unsafe or Over-fused Electrical Circuit
A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.
10. Adequate Security Features
More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety features that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors, smoke and even carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level. Even though pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.
11. Structural/Foundation Problems
An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home.
When you put your home on the market, you don’t want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment.