Do I need a real estate agent to sell my home?
No, you do not need an agent to sell your home. It will likely, however, be a totally different experience with or without one. Without one, you will be responsible and have to absorb the expense of advertising and marketing. You will be handling all calls and emails, screening spammers from real prospects. You will have to set and schedule appointments and property showings. You will have to handle your own follow-up calls. It will be up to you to determine what is a real offer and what is a fair offer. Of course, before closing, you will have to wind your way through a myriad of legal paperwork to make sure the transaction is done correctly.
Who determines the price of my home?
Ultimately, the owner does. It is important that sellers understand all costs associated with the sale at the outset so they can ultimately get the “net” price they need. This is a good discussion to have with an agent early in the process. If you want to sell your home quickly, there are logical factors that need to be considered. Have any similar houses been sold in the area recently? These are called “comparables” and can set a roadmap for the price of your home. Are prices increasing or decreasing in your area? Is your home in move-in condition or is it being sold as a fixer-upper? Is your home conveniently located near schools, parks or shopping? All of these factors and more can go into the initial pricing of your home.
Should I price my home higher than I expect to get?
Most listings are listed at least somewhat higher, building in some negotiating room. This can be a tricky proposition however, as it may immediately take it out of the budget of a group of prospects. Prospects tend to frame their price range, looking at homes between their minimum and maximum. “Padding” your home’s asking price could lift your home away from a group of prospects who may otherwise likely consider it.
Is there a real estate “season”?
Most people in the industry get busier in the spring. Generally, there are more buyers in the spring but there are usually also more homes on the market to compete against. Remember, your home is not being sold in a vacuum. It is being sold in an evolving environment of buyers and sellers. While there are generally far fewer buyers in the market in the fourth quarter, there are far fewer homes to choose from. It is all about connecting the right buyer and seller at the right time. That happens any time of the year.
What are important steps to take in preparing my home for sale?
Before we get into “staging” your home, there are some basics to attend to, and they start outside. Your lawn should be kept mowed and trimmed. Bushes should be cut back and dead limbs should be removed from trees. There’s nothing wrong with paying a professional lawn care company to come by for a few weeks to whip your yard into shape.
Inside, you should go on a mission to minimize clutter. This is a good time to start packing away personal items like photos and collectibles. Closets and cabinets should be cleared to appear only half-full. This gives your prospects a chance to view your home as a place they can “grown-into”.
Next, your home should be given a complete scrubbing, top to bottom. Prospects will likely look out every window and open every door. Make sure glass is spotless and sills are clean. A side benefit to a thorough cleaning is that hopefully your home will have a fresher, cleaner smell afterward. Pay particular attention to your entranceway, where prospects may spend extra time while the agent works to open the door. There is little for a prospective buyer to do than look around this area closely. It is also their first impression.
What about “staging” my home?
Staging is a way to have your home looks its best for your prospective buyers. Staging strategies can include something as simple as setting place settings on a formal dinner table including a centerpiece to adding plants and flowers. Most homeowners continue living in their homes while it is for sale, so complete staging can be a challenge. However, there are always techniques that can be used. Ask your realtor for valuable staging tips.
What is the sales process like?
To be honest, when your home is being sold you are in a bit of a limbo. You want your home to always be in a state of readiness to show at almost any time. This means you will probably be more attentive to tidiness than ever before. There are times when you may get a call asking if a prospect can see your property in a few hours. Of course you want to be as accommodating as possible. Trust your agent to filter these prospects in identifying valuable ones.
What happens when we get an offer?
When a prospect makes an offer on your property, you will have a certain period of time to respond. This can be an exciting time, but it can be the cause for some nail biting. It is not uncommon for there to be some give and take in negotiations between seller and buyer and an agent can help keep that ship steady for you.
What is “Closing”?
After mutually accepting the terms of the offer, both sides prepare for the closing. The closing is the official date and time the property will transfer from your name into the new owners. This is important for a variety of reasons and closing may be scheduled six weeks out or so. This is the period both sides use to perform due diligence in making sure the deal and property, are as represented.