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HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY SELL YOUR HOME IN ANY MARKET
First, let me THANK YOU for taking the time to read this book. It is a quick-read, but chalked full of information to help you get started on the road to successfully selling your home.
CHAPTER 1 – PREPARE YOUR HOME TO SELL
For some, this will be hardest part of selling their home. The prep work for most major projects is always the hardest, but not to worry, keep reading to find out step by step what to do. Giving you this information via bullet point will make it easier to follow. First, grab paper and pencil and take a few moments to walk around your home. Pretend YOU are the buyer. It will give you a different perspective on what needs to be done.
- De Clutter/Eliminate- If you have lived in your home a long time you have most likely accumulated a lot of stuff. If there are items that you will not be using in your next home- give away or sell on eBay. (That is a rhyme to help you remember, however feel free to use Craigslist or Estate sales folks- we can help you with that too). Don’t forget the attic, garage and outdoor area needs attention as well.
- Paint--You should easily be able to tell whether or not the interior walls of your home need a brush up by closely examining them, especially hallways and bedrooms. Scuffs, holes, and mismatched paint will not fare well when your new Buyer is examining the condition of your home. The same thing applies for exterior paint. We can help you with correct color selection if the walls need all new paint, whether exterior or interior.
- Carpet and Flooring– This can be an expensive item. However, if the carpet or vinyl in your home is torn, chewed up or a pathway is worn through to the pad, you will probably want to replace it or offer a carpet allowance. That is an item we will discuss if we feel that is the right course of action for you and your pocket book. We will not be spending money unless it helps you sell your home for more!
- General maintenance– Sometimes we just live in our homes and put up or put off fixing things that need it. If you have leaky faucets, previous ceiling leaks, termite tunnels that have been treated but were left behind, rickety railings, broken glass or windows that have lost their seal, dry rot, or general things that just need fixing, make a plan to do it prior to getting your home on the market. Chances are the home inspector for the Buyer will catch them anyway and then it can become a point of contention with your new Buyer.
- Updates- This is always a tough decision because updates typically cost money. However, there are some things you can do that will not cost a fortune. Believe it or not, light fixtures and cabinet door hardware can be given an awesome facelift with spray paint, such as, the oil rubbed bronze color which is very popular right now. Painting is much cheaper than replacing, however if replacing is in your budget, light fixtures can often be found on sale and therefore, not a huge cost but make a huge difference. You can paint bathroom cabinets with Amy Howard low VOC paint either a light or dark color. It’s so easy and fast. Before thinking about any major remodeling or updates consult with us and we can guide you every step of the way! Also consult websites like Houzz.com and Pinterest.com for inexpensive ideas.
- Pre-Inspection– This can save you a lot of time and distress in some cases. The inspection is one of the biggest reasonscontracts fail. Many times the Buyer will accept your inspection, done by a reputable inspector, because it saves them time and money. Something for you to think about and something for us to talk about! Cost is around $350-$450.
The bottom line is, we want to maximize your profits so we will advise you on how to best accomplish that by using our market research.
CHAPTER 2 – UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF THE REAL ESTATE AGENT
A great Realtor will not only help you through this process, but will get you top dollar with the least amount of hassle! That may sound a bit salesy, but it is oh so true.
An experienced Realtor is your best friend in the role of selling your home and has a fiduciary responsibility to represent you. The Realtor should always be on your side, advising you, preparing you, negotiating for you, and most importantly being honest with you. For example, telling you what you need to hear when Buyers are not making offers.
We are here to help guide you with the first consultation. We talk thoroughly about the preparation of your home; staging, marketing strategies (pricing and advertising), the legal paperwork, and the ultimate transaction and closing.
With our 23 years of experience and selling thousands of homes, we have seen deals get off course. The good news is that almost all the time we can solve the problem and get back on course. I always say we are only as good as the people who work with us behind the scenes. Therefore, we affiliate with people who have the same work ethic we do to get the job done RIGHT!!
CHAPTER 3 – PAPERWORK
Our KCRAR-MLS requires that we must have contracts to expedite our duties as agents as well as the transaction between the Seller and the Buyer.
The first contract/agreement you will sign will be the listing agreement which mostly stipulates the agent’s job description and the terms of the listing. It entails, the agency representation, the commission- who is paid, time frames and what services you will receive. This contract is between You, the Broker of the company and your agent.
The second contract you will sign will be between You and the Buyer. This contract is strictly between the selling and purchasing parties (Seller and Buyer) but does stipulate which party each agent represents.
Not to get to detailed here, but just be assured we will thoroughly explain everything pertaining to these important documents which are binding agreements between the parties involved.
CHAPTER 4 – PRICING YOUR HOME TO SELL
This is one of the most critical points of discussion pertaining to the success of selling your home. I believe pricing your home correctly is 85% of the marketing we do and all great Realtors agree with this fact. We do an extensive search of comparable homes in your neighborhood and closely surrounding areas. We look at homes that are currently on the market, under contract and/or sold, to determine what price will best suit a successful sale of your property. I am not talking a fire sale. I am talking the best price to maximize your profits and sell in a timely manner.
When a home stays on the market for long periods of time because of overpricing, the home becomes “shop worn” as we call it. Simply put, many Buyers have tramped through your property and turned it down to purchase another home more accurately priced.
CHAPTER 5 – STAGING
We have come to realize in the last 5 years the importance of staging a home to sell. This is why we offer free staging to our clients as part of our marketing. Staging provides a tremendous difference in how a home shows and is received by the buying public. Moving furniture in strategic areas for good traffic flow, eliminating some brick- a-brack, photos and decor will make a giant impact in the feel of a home upon entering. We hire our own professional stager to do her magic and make your home stand out in the crowd. We know this one thing will add value to your bottom line. But that’s not all……
CHAPTER 6 – PHOTOGRAPHY
It hurts my heart when I see some of the photos other agents use that are displayed on MLS and other internet sites. We know that another critical piece of the real estate selling pie is top quality, high definition, and professional photos. However, a room cannot look complete unless the staging is there to allow a photograph to enhance the features of the room. So you see, these two actions go hand in hand with the presentation of your home. Even though cell phones take amazing pictures for some things, we believe professional photos do a much better job at showing the home’s true features and strategic angles. We want to put our best foot forward to prospective Buyers right at the beginning. It is like going to a formal wedding wearing a T-shirt and flip flops….well maybe in Hawaii. 🙂
CHAPTER 7 – MARKETING/ ADVERTISING YOUR HOME
We concentrate heavily on the Internet. The days are gone for most print advertising. Newspapers and magazines are unfortunately outdated and too slow a means to advertise properties. Buyers want to see what is for sale at lightning speed and the internet provides that route. So we advertise everywhere…. all major sites, Zillow, Realtor.com and many, many more. Most sites you probably never heard of but may have accidentally landed on when searching FOR property, because MLS syndicates. We also have contracts with other real estate sites on which we place advertising ads, such as Facebook. We pay for campaigns to boost your listing putting them out front and far above other homes for sale. We follow up with each and every lead we receive from our internet marketing.
The For Sale Sign that is placed in your yard is also an important factor to attract Buyers. People still like to drive around neighborhoods where they are interested in living. So, we may receive calls and emails on your property throughout the day and evening and we will take and return those calls to encourage a showing and/or a sale.
Open Houses are still a great way to get Buyers for your home. Sometimes a ton of folks show up and sometimes they don’t, but it can help get people in the door if showings are slow. One downside to note can be that the Buyers may not be pre-approved for a loan, when coming to view your home.
However, this objection can be overcome through our connections with our Lenders. You are not required to have an Open House. This is your choice and we can discuss in depth the pros and cons.
CHAPTER 8 – THE CONTRACT TO PURCHASE
The best time to really explain the contract is when we have an offer on your property. We will go over every fine detail of what the Buyer is asking for. The contract typically consists of offering price, closing costs, a home warranty, closing date, possession date and at times personal property. A critical aspect of your contract is not only what the Buyer is offering but the time limitations that are placed on the specific contingencies of the contract. For example, you will have an expiration of the contract which means the Buyer’s agent has asked for a time limit on a response, as well as the inspection period, and the amount of time to procure the loan for the Buyer, just to name a few. The contracts are written to protect the interests of both the Seller and the Buyer and with 23 years of experience we are well equipped to translate all sections of the contract. Again, I want to assure you that we will be constantly supporting and advising you on your best course of action with your contract and keep you within state laws and statutes, as we know them. Once all the terms of the contract are agreed upon, we will be under contract and showings can continue for back up offers if you agree or placed in a pending status which no longer allows showings. We will discuss those options and you can decide the best course of action for you.
CHAPTER 9 – CLOSING THE TRANSACTION AND YOUR MOVE
Once you are “under contract”, as the real estate term goes, there will be a flurry of activity. The first couple of weeks will be the inspection period where the Buyer and his agent will schedule a home inspector to come to your property. The inspection can take 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of your home and the quick assessment of the inspector. Generally speaking there will be a whole house inspection, a termite inspection and a radon inspection. Although the last 2 inspections mentioned are pretty self-explanatory, the whole house inspection will entail an examination of the foundation, roof, exterior materials such as the siding, windows and gutters, as well as plumbing, electrical and the interior condition such as sheetrock cracks, ceiling leaks, etc. If there are lots of repairs or problems, the Buyer may request those items to be repaired or replaced before closing. (Remember I mentioned the pre-inspection to avoid some of this). Cool heads and an air of cooperation will see us through to negotiate the items in question and we will once again be moving forward towards closing.
Once the inspections are agreed upon and both parties have signed off, it will get pretty quiet on our end. This is the time for you to concentrate on moving. Get your mover lined up as they may be 2 weeks out or more in many cases. Our team and the Buyer’s agent team will be feverishly working on procuring clear title work and the loan process for the Buyer. About 2 to 3 weeks before the closing, the appraiser will reach out to me for an appointment to view your home. Don’t worry if your home is in a mess from moving. Appraisers are used to this and can generally see the amenities and features of your home amidst moving boxes. If the value of your home comes in below the agreed upon purchase price…. Be assured that we will be on top of any of these issues to work through them. This is a rarity, so no need to be nervous.
All repairs and items on the Resolution of Unacceptable Conditions document which You and the Buyer agreed upon will need to be completed a few days before closing as the Buyer will most likely request a walkthrough before closing to make sure all those repairs have been made.
Please remember to forward your mail, take utilities out of your name on the designated possession date and make your home ready for the new owner.
Finally, I know this can be a nervous period of time because of the many contingencies of the contract of which I have just lightly touched on, but again be assured that we have traveled this road many times and know how to handle all situations.
We want this to be a happy and exciting time for you, especially if you are moving to your new dream home. Most homes close on time with few hiccups!
CHAPTER 10 – SELLING WITHOUT A REALTOR- GOING IT ALONE
This is kind of the elephant in the room for some folks who would like to try to sell on their own but are afraid to ask the Realtor if it is really a wise decision. And yes,15% of people do successfully sell their home on their own. But there are some things that you need to be aware of when trying it on your own.
- Correct Pricing- Pricing your home to sell is such a critical aspect of successfully selling your home. And it is more than just the beginning asking price that you advertise. What if you don’t get Buyers to view your home or make offers? We can interpret the market and find out why it is not selling.
- Open Houses- Having good sales skills are important to be able to talk to your prospective buyers. Questions that need to be asked are, Have you qualified for a loan or are you paying cash? Do you have a home to sell? These are actually delicate questions that are personal and not everyone just offers up that information.
- Advertising- Zillow is a website used by a lot of Buyers to shop for homes and a site that allows “By Owner” properties. However, it is not syndicated like MLS. This simply means that MLS, the website where your listed home is advertised, sends its information to hundreds of websites around the world where Buyers can and do shop. This is the Realtor’s most powerful tool to advertise your home all over the internet.
- Contracts- If I were going to sell on my own, I would probably hire an attorney. That could be expensive, unless you had a friend or relative who is an attorney. However, you would still be better off to have the legal protection and advice. Unfortunately, we have seen deals go bad and even though we have never had a law suit, those things do happen. You want to be very careful to make sure all aspects of a contract represents you in a fair and equitable way…not one sided, but fair to both parties.
- And while I am on the subject, it is a good idea to have a Sellers Statement of Condition. Our KCRAR board contracts require the Seller disclose all they know about the property during their ownership. That way it is less likely that a Buyer will come back to you stating you never told him that the basement leaked in heavy rains, for example. The rule for us is “Always Give the Buyer Full Disclosure”
- The other 85% of people, who tried to sell on their home, did eventually engage the help of a Realtor and many times sold the home fast and for the same or more money. If you decide to try by owner, get the advice of a good trusted Realtor to guide you and these days it is a good idea to agree in your advertising to work with and offer a commission to a Buyer’s agent who may have that perfect Buyer for your home!
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this little book. My goal was to give you an overview of what you can expect if you are contemplating a move and enlighten you to the fact that there are some tried and true basics to successfully sell your home. Couple that with our knowledge, expertise and experience and you have a Winner!!
It has been my pleasure to introduce you to this information and my wish is that you experience a wonderful and happy sale!
Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon! All The Best to You!
Cynda Sells Realty Group