The real estate market has been on a steady upward trend for the last year or so and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Remember that real estate is a very local matter and the media loves to focus on the downward trends, but the general pattern is up.
With that in mind, if you are even thinking of selling your home in the near future, I urge you to take a few minutes to read these few comments. Here are five steps that every seller needs to take seriously when they want to sell their home.
- Find a REALTOR. You can save yourself a lot of headaches if you spend a few minutes to find a REALTOR right off the bat that you are comfortable with. It goes with the saying from Abraham Lincoln, “If I am given six hours to cut down a tree, I am going to spend the first four sharpening my axe.” Honest Abe may not have been a real estate agent, but certainly good advice.
Selecting an agent is as varied as there are people. Many people will tell you to select someone who has had years and years of experience. Others suggest that you pick a younger person who is hungry for the sale. I have seen good new agents and bad experienced agents.
My advice, other than to call me, is to find someone who has the business approach to real estate. You may like to hear an agent say how beautiful you home is and how quickly it will sell, but it is about the numbers. I recently received a mailing from a real estate agent who had numerous homes in his ad as though they were his listings. When I checked the MLS I learned that they were not his listings. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with what he did, but don’t fall just for the advertising.
The single most important thing you can do when selling your house is too find an agent that is professional, communicates well and has a plan of how they are going to market your property. If you do not feel comfortable calling your agent with what you may think is a minor question – find another agent.
2. Select the proper listing (selling) price for your home. The best thing to remember about selecting the listing price is that the seller determines the listing price, but the buyer determines the buying price. A good agent will provide you with a CMA (comparative market analysis) which will detail a range of the selling price of your home. As part of the CMA they should also provide you with “comps” or homes that were similar to your home that helped determine the price of your home. No two homes are exactly alike, but a good agent will be able to get to a very close selling price. Remember, the closer the comps are to your home in style etc, and location the more effect it should have determining the listing price. Also, a home that sold two years ago, will have little bearing on the market today.
The best advice I can give on the price of your home is to never, never, ever overprice it. A good agent will walk away from a potential client who insists on over pricing their home. I am not talking about wiggle room in the price, I am talking about overpricing it.
A home that is overpriced will most likely stay on the market longer than the average selling time for that area. Overpricing a home can be the kiss of death in real estate.
3. Curb appeal cannot be over stated. I probably don’t even need to say that you only get one chance to make a first good impression. Often times the curb appeal of your home looks ok because you are used to seeing it that way. Over grown shrubs and trees tell the prospective buyer right away that the inside of the house is not well maintained either. If you are not the type to maintain your property very neat, I strongly suggest that you contract with a landscaping company to get it in shape and maintain it. New mulch and some flowers can do wonders to a yard.
4. Clean and de-clutter. Selling your house is hard work, especially if you have children and need to keep it neat for the inevitable last minute showing. When I show prospective buyers a house I will always ask them what they liked and didn’t like about a house. All too often they will refer to the house by something that will make them remember it. If I ask them what they thought about the last house we looked at, they may respond “oh, the house that had the dirty dishes in the sink.” Those are the kind of “memories” you need to make sure don’t happen.
5. Pre-inspect. What I mean by pre-inspect is to take an honest look at your home and property and try to see it through the eyes of a buyer. Your agent should be able to help you with this, but don’t get mad at the agent when they point out things. Owning a home is hard work and a never ending battle. Many times those little things will get away from you and after a while they appear normal. On occasion I have suggested that a seller have a home inspection done ahead of time and aggressively fix all the things that the home inspector identifies. This can go a long way in preventing surprises down the road. But two things to remember, home inspector will not identify the areas that I would call “fluff.” Suggesting a lighter color to open up a room may be a good idea, but not what a home inspector will do. The second thing that is more important is that if the home inspector identifies a specific issue, the seller is now obligated to disclose that on the property disclosure. Something to think about.
If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.