A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME
Preparing to Sell
First impressions go a long way in selling your home. First, walk through your home as if you were a buyer looking to purchase it, or enlist the help of a neighbor or friend. Make a list of both the positive and negative items that could affect the appearance of your home.
Tips on Improving the Appearance of Your Home
- Improved curb appeal. A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects.
- Reduce clutter inside as well. Less is more when it comes to selling your home.
- Re-arrange the furniture to make the rooms look larger.
- CLEAN! Make your home spotless.
- Make simple improvements such as tightening loose knobs, fix leaky faucets and discolored sinks, lubricate squeaky hinges, clean clogged drains, replace filters, re-paint faded walls. Look for things that will enhance the appeal of your home. Prospects would rather see how great your home looks than hear about it’s potential!
- Check all light fixtures. Install new bulbs to make your home brighter.
- Exterminate if necessary.
- Make sure your attic, garage and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items. Remember, buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They are looking for storage space too.
Pricing Your Home
This is arguably the toughest part of the selling process. Price your home too low and risk losing additional income from the sale of your home. Price your home too high and risk low buyer interest in your property. Remember, the home selling market dictates the price, not what you think your home should be worth.
To accurately price your home find an agent that is familiar with the homes and market conditions in your area. They will prepare a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) at no cost or obligation to you. This report will show you the most recent home sales as well as the homes currently available in your area, the average market time, listing price vs. selling price and adjustments for features that differ between properties. Together you can determine the right price for your home.
Another way to help determine the value of your home is to enlist the services of a home appraiser.
Marketing Your Home
Marketing can make all the difference when it comes to selling your home. Your real estate professional will be able to maximize your home’s exposure with tools like MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Around 90% of all homes sell through the MLS.
Here are some additional marketing tools your real estate agent will use when selling your home:
- Pictures will be taken of both the inside and outside of your home and placed on the MLS.
- A yard sign will be displayed with a box for flyers.
- Flyers will contain your property’s features, photos, a list of amenities and price, as well as contact information.
Receiving an Offer:
This is where having a real estate professional can be a big advantage. Your real estate agent will make sure the contract is in writing. A contract is only binding if it is in writing AND signed by both parties. Real estate contracts can be somewhat complicated, so have your agent go over the entire contract with you.
All real estate contracts will contain some form of contingency. Contingencies are clauses that, if not met, will render the contract null and void. Here is a list of the most common contingencies:
Mortgage contingency – is a provision in the home purchase contract that says if the buyer cannot get a mortgage with in a fixed period of time, the buyer can back out of the contract. In other words, the agreement is contingent on the buyer being able to obtain financing on the property.
Home inspection contingency – All standard real estate contracts contain a clause allowing the prospective homebuyer the right to inspect the property, at the buyer’s expense. This is a very thorough inspection and will cover everything; plumbing, electrical, appliances, windows, doors, etc. I f any major repairs need to be made, the buyer will have the option of canceling the contract, or have the seller at the seller’s expense, make the necessary repairs or give appropriate compensation. Please note: When a home is being sold “as is” the buyer still has the right to conduct a home inspection, but the seller is stating that no repairs or additional compensation will be given.
Home sale contingency – allows a specific timeframe for the purchaser to sell their current home. During this time the seller would continue to show the home to prospective buyers, and would continue to entertain all offers. This type of contract usually contains a “kick-out clause”, a statement that basically says: “ if we get another acceptable offer, you have “X” number of hours (usually 24-48) to remove your home sale contingency and move forward with the purchase of the home, whether you have sold your current home or not ‘. If they cannot move forward, the seller can back out of the contract.
The day of closing, or possibly sooner, the home buyer will do a “walk through” of the property to make sure all agreed repairs are completed and the home is in the same condition as when the buyers made their offer. If problems arise at this point, the closing can still take place with funds held in escrow to remedy the problems.
Usually the seller decides on the title company where the closing will be held. Your closing will be assigned an escrow agent to complete your transaction.
The escrow agent will conduct the closing and is often affiliated with the title insurance company. Their job is to ensure the buyer obtains a clean title, the lender obtains a good mortgage, that the costs of the transaction are paid, that the seller’s mortgage is paid off, and that the seller receives their proceeds. The escrow agent prepares a closing statement that outlines what the required funds are, who’s paying and where the funds are to be distributed. The funds will not be disbursed until they can guarantee all the above noted items have been taken care of