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Home Selling Tips

There are five steps in selling a home: choosing a real estate agent, preparing to sell your home, setting the price, the actual sale and closing.

The home-selling process typically starts several months before a property is made available for sale. While some people can prepare their home for sale, a real estate agent can provide helpful tips on how to prepare your house to make it as attractive as possible for sale. When selecting a realtor, look for someone who is experienced in your local area. Ask about recent home sales and comparable properties currently on the market. If you speak with several real estate agents and their price estimates differ, be sure to ask how their price points were determined and why they think your home would sell for a given value. Find out how they will market your home, what their fee is, how long their listing agreement is for, and what you should expect from this process.

When preparing your home for sale, it's necessary to look at your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and discarded. The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space, and attracts as many buyers and as much demand as possible. Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale. Cosmetic improvements, such as paint, wallpaper and landscaping, help a home "show" better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs, to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition, are required to get a top price.

Every homeowner wants to get the best possible price for their home.  Several factors, including market conditions and interest rates, will determine how much you can get for your home. The idea is to get the maximum price and the best terms during the time when your home is being marketed. When considering home values, several factors are important:

  • The value of your home as it relates to local sale prices. The same home, located elsewhere, would likely have a different value.
  • Sale prices are a product of supply and demand. If you live in a community with an expanding job base, a growing population and a limited housing supply, it's likely that prices will rise.
  • Experienced real estate agents have handled many transactions, they're familiar with the terms and conditions that went into individual sales, not just published sale prices which may not reflect various premiums, discounts and adjustments.

The goal of every home seller is to have multiple offers, one higher than the previous one but offers are not always what they seem.  There are several factors that determine whether a buyer’s offer is acceptable.

  • Is the offer at or near the asking price? Is the offer above the asking price?
  • Has the buyer accepted the asking price or something close? Has the buyer buried thousands of dollars in discounts and seller costs within clauses and contract additions?
  • What is the alternative to the buyer's offer? If a home has not attracted an offer in months, then sellers need to determine if a better deal is possible -- recognizing that each month costs are being incurred for mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.
  • Does the owner have enough time to wait for other offers?
  • What if no other offers are received?
  • What if several offers are received? Do you choose the high offer from the purchaser with questionable finances who may not be able to close, or a somewhat lesser offer from a buyer with preapproved financing?

A seller has three options when considering an offer – turn it down, accept it on the seller’s terms or make a counter offer. Real estate bargaining typically involves compromises by both sides.

Once a sales agreement has been signed the most complex aspect of a real estate transaction begins – the closing. Closings generally occur 30 to 45 days after a sale agreement has been signed. It takes time to arrange financing, conduct inspections, obtain appraisals and move.

The actual closing is a meeting where the closing agent conducts the settlement, i.e. takes in money from the buyers, pays out money to the owner, ensures that the title and any mortgage liens are properly recorded. This is also when closing costs are paid and any adjustments are made for taxes, etc.

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CENTURY 21 Van Der Wende Associates

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