Selling with us – we will make it easy!
Selling your house can be challenging and emotional, but it doesn’t have to be traumatic. With a little planning ahead and the help of an agent, the whole process can be rather painless.
And our agents at Ace REAL ESTATE are ready to help you make an informed decision to get you on your path home. We’ll help you gain a better understanding of what to expect in the home selling process.
For your convenience, helpful resources are also included in this article.
You will learn:
- Why is Real Estate still is one of the best investments you can make?
- Is now the right time for your new home purchase?
- How much house can you afford?
- What is right for you?
First time seller advice
At first, selling your home seems daunting:
You haven’t sold a home before, the market looks complex, and what worked for owners 10 or 20 years ago seems inappropriate today.
What steps should you take? Here’s a simple list to get you started.
- Define Your Goal. Do you want the highest sales price — or the biggest check at closing? They’re not necessarily the same. Imagine that two homes sell for $300,000, but one owner pays 2 points and agrees to replace the roof. The owner who sold without such costs got a bigger check at settlement. The bottom line: To have a successful sale you need to look at both price and terms — you must have a strong negotiator in your corner.
- Times Have Changed. Today’s real estate marketplace is radically different when compared with 10 years ago. Purchasers now use the Internet, receive seller disclosure forms, get home inspections, and are routinely represented by buyer brokers. The result is that buyers can be better prepared than in the past.
- Sparkle And Shine. Imagine going to a supermarket and seeing dusty fruit or aisles filled with old shelving and cans. It doesn’t happen because the grocery store knows how to present its goods. Sellers must do the same. Get rid of things you don’t want to move, organize closets and storage areas, and clean everywhere.
- Mechanics Count. Buyers expect everything to work. Home inspections are now entirely common and what buyers miss home inspectors will catch. Fix and paint things now and they won’t be an issue in the future.
- Set the stage. When buyers see your home, it’s show time. They want an environment where they can see themselves. De-clutter and hide knick knacks that will distract them from their dreams. Given them a show where everything is painted, arranged, and attractive, a home where the only issue is when to move in.
- Know the market. Real estate is local. Your agent can explain current market trends in your community, including what’s selling, what isn’t selling, and why. This information is central to getting the optimal price and terms.
- Know the competition. Your property will be competing with other homes for buyer attention. Ask your broker how to be competitive — and how to have an edge.
- Be realistic. Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low and the local job base is growing, it’s great to be a seller. But when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow.
- Have a plan. Real estate marketing involves far more than a sign in the yard and an ad in the paper. Successful agents use a variety of methods to attract and qualify prospects, including the latest Internet and communication advances.
Create a Marketing Plan
Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies. Once listed, it’s likely that the home will be quickly entered into
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Much of an agent’s work will be quiet and unseen – yet important. The quiet telephone calls, the work with contacts, arranging for and marketing open houses, the follow-ups with open-house visitors, conversations with ad respondents, web postings and other outreach efforts are all part of the process required to sell homes.
We will create a marketing plan for your home that will help distinguish it in your local marketplace and attract buyers to your property. This may include posting your listing on the Internet, holding an open house and more. Its our goal is to sell a home at the best price possible in the shortest amount of time.
Setting the price
A key part of the marketing plan is setting the list price. If a home is priced too low, you won’t benefit from the optimal profit. If a home is priced too high, potential buyers may be scared away. To determine the best asking price review the cost of recently sold homes, evaluate the competition and study marketplace trends. ACE REAL ESTATE Sales Associates are trained to use this information to help you reach the right asking price. It is also helpful to discuss other terms and conditions, such as timing and items that can be included with the sale of the home. Both of these can make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
- Location: You can’t get away from this one. If your house is located in a desirable area that is in demand, you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area.
- Condition: A house that has been better maintained and shows better will always sell for more than one that has had deferred (neglected) maintenance and needs work.
- Desirable amenities: If a house has amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it will bring a higher price.
- Calculate the price per square foot: The average price per square foot for homes in your neighborhood shouldn’t be the sole determinant of the asking price for your home, but it can be a useful starting point. Keep in mind that various methodologies can be used to calculate square footage.
A formal written appraisal can be useful if you have unique property, if there hasn’t been much activity in your area recently, if co-owners disagree about price, or if there is any other circumstance that makes it difficult to put a value on your home. Appraisers consider the location of the home, its proximity to desirable schools and other public facilities, the size of the lot, the size and condition of the home itself and recent sales prices of comparable properties, among other factors.
Showing your home
Although the buyer is a guest in your home, you want the buyer to imagine owning the home. You don’t want to make the buyer feel like an intruder. Now it’s time to get your home ready for the spotlight. Start with a good cleaning, then eliminate any clutter, add a fresh coat of paint and tidy up the yard. Talk to us about other tips that can help boost a home’s curb appeal and impress potential buyers once they’re in the door. One way to make a home more attractive is to purchase a Home Protection Plan. This insurance protects you, the seller, from paying repair or replacement costs of major items during the listing period. It also protects the buyer during their first year of homeownership.
Check the Temperature
If weather permits, open the windows — if there is too much noise outside, close them. And if it’s cold enough to wear a sweater to stay warm, turn on the heat. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on hot or cold days!
Create a Mood Light
A fire in the fireplace, and if you have water fountains, turn them on. They are especially useful for drowning out traffic noise.
Play Up the Visual
Open all the window coverings to let in light. Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views. If you have seasonal photographs showcasing flower gardens, leaves bursting in color or a snow-covered lawn twinkling from street lights, then display them in a prominent position. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spot lights on the floor behind furniture.
Negotiating the deal
When a buyer is ready to make you an offer they will contact you or your agent to let you know.
Buyers should present their offer formally with a contract to purchase and sale. These documents can be obtained from the buyers or sellers agent, lawyer, or notary. If you are going to use their services to review the contract, and later transfer the property title to the successful buyer, they will happily supply you with some blank copies for free. It is also advisable to review one to become familiar with a typical real estate purchase and sale contract.
Most home buyers and home sellers want to arrive at a win-win agreement, but that’s not to say either side would regret getting a bigger “win” than the other. Successful negotiating is more than a matter of luck or natural talent. It also encompasses the learned ability to use certain skills and techniques to bring about those coveted win-win results.
- Start with a fair price and a fair offer
There’s no question that significantly overpricing your home will turn off potential buyers. Likewise, on the buying side, making an offer that’s far lower than the asking price is practically guaranteed to alienate the sellers. Asking and offering prices should be based on recent sales prices of comparable homes.
- Respect the other side’s priorities
Knowing what’s most important to the person on the other side of the negotiating table can help you avoid pushing too hard on hot or sensitive issues. For example, a seller who won’t budge on the sales price might be willing to pay more of the transaction costs or make more repairs to the home, while a buyer with an urgent move-in date might be willing to pay a higher portion of the transaction costs or forgo some major repairs.
- Be prepared to compromise
“Win-win” doesn’t mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some. Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, focus on your top priorities and don’t let your emotions overrule your better judgment.
Closing — or settlement or escrow– is essentially a meeting where the closing agent (the party who conducts settlement) takes in money from the buyers, pays out money to the owner and makes sure that the purchaser’s title is properly recorded in local records along with any mortgage liens. All papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders and lawyers. This paperwork reflects the sale agreement and allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests. For instance, buyers get the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records and state governments collect their transfer taxes.
The closing agent reviews the sale agreement to determine what payments and credits the owner should receive and what amounts are due from the buyer. The closing agent also assures that certain transaction costs are paid (taxes and title searches).
Closing is also the time when “adjustments” will be made. For instance, suppose you’ve pre-paid taxes four months in advance. In this case, the closing agent will compensate you for the prepayment at closing by having the buyer pay you additional money.
It could also work in reverse. If you are behind on property taxes, the closing agent will reduce the money due to you at settlement by the amount of the unpaid taxes
Timeline and Paperwork
The Closing Paperwork generally consists of the following documents:
Deed– A legal description prepared by an attorney to transfer and record, in public records, ownership of property.
Title insurance Policy and Certificate of title– This coverage is issued by the title company after completion of the title search. They check to see if there are any judgments, liens or attachments that need to be taken care of to `clear’ the title. After checking on unpaid taxes and assessments (e.g., sidewalks or sewer), the attorney provides a certificate of title to the lender and the buyer.
Homeowners insurance policy – New home buyers must obtain a binder for new coverage on the home, and the seller is generally required to keep the property insured against loss or damage prior to the Closing to protect the new buyer’s interests.
Mortgages– The mortgage contract gets recorded to protect the mortgage lender’s interests. When a mortgage is paid off (also known as ‘satisfied’), the home buyer will receive a copy of the “satisfaction of mortgage” which is a document that indicates that the mortgage has been paid in full.
Property Tax Bill – Many homeowners will supply a copy of their property tax bill to the home buyers; if not, a copy can be obtained from the town or city hall Assessor’s office.
Warranties and Service Records – Home buyers appreciate these records, if available from the home sellers, as they can aid in obtaining satisfaction if a product or service fails within the given time or usage limits. It is also helpful to know what service people the sellers have used in the past as they experience, sometimes for the first time, the maintenance of a home (furnace cleaning, snow plowing, plumbers, etc.)
Plot Plans and Surveys – An up-to-date survey will be required for the closing. You can look up a the current plot plan at the town hall and obtain a copy for a nominal fee.
Water and Sewer Bills – Proof of payment by the seller will probably be required for the Closing.
Utilities Records – Home buyers generally arrange for services to be changed the day of or day after your Closing. Check with each service provider to determine how they handle requests and what is required for final readings and new service setups.