Sell With Success The First Time Around
Selling a home can seem like a daunting task. People consider a property sale for a variety of different reasons. Maybe you are relocating out of the area, need more space/less space, or are looking to move to a different neighborhood/school district. Whatever your reason for selling, there are a variety of emotions and logistical considerations that accompany a property sale. An experienced real estate professional will help put your plan in action to maximize your final sale price and make your transaction as smooth and as stress-free as possible.
The Selling Process
Property Walk Through/Preview
The condition of your home will play a role in the value and listing recommendations of your real estate agent. During a preview, an agent will take notes about the features of your home, answer any questions you have about the process, and discuss your goals and timeline to make sure they consider that in their analysis. Have your docs ready, noting any updates that you have made to the home and ages of the major mechanicals/systems.
Listing Appointment & CMA Review
Once an agent gets to know your property, they will complete an analysis and formal listing presentation. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a detailed pricing analysis that presents pricing and property details of similar homes that are active, sold, expired, and under contract in your area. They will use this CMA and their experience in your market to provide a recommended listing range for your property. A listing presentation will also include an agent’s marketing plan and any recommendations they might have to prepare your property for sale.
Agree On Price
Determining the best asking price for a home is one of the most challenging, and also important, aspects of selling it. Work with your agent to determine the real market value for your home and select the best asking price. Try to be impartial, consider why you are selling, and base your list price off of the data. In this market, the right asking price will generate excitement and interest and lead to a relatively quick accepted offer.
Once you have determined a listing price for your property, you need to take the next steps with your agent to get it on the market! Your listing preparation may include some, if not all, of the following:
- Signing Listing Documents
- Completing any Seller Disclosures (Real Estate Condition Report, Lead-Based Paint Addendum, etc.)
- Implementing Listing Suggestions (upgrades, painting, repairs)
- Staging Walk Through/Implementation (if recommended by your agent)
- Professional Photos
- Property Measurements
Strategically preparing and pricing your home is key to attracting qualified buyers. You need to expose your home to the market in a variety of ways to have the most significant impact. With most home buyers beginning their search online, it is essential to have an internet marketing strategy in place and that you have the best exposure possible on all search outlets. Outside of the internet, it is equally essential to implement a broad spectrum of other strategies, including social media, open house events, direct mail/email, print, property signage, and sphere contacts. A variety of market exposure will ensure you generate a lot of interest.
Although some showing times may be inconvenient, it is vital to make your home available for as many showings as possible and to maximize the number of qualified buyers that can see it. Try to be as flexible as possible with showing requests. Consider staying in a hotel or going out of town for a few days when you first list and showings activity is likely to be the highest.
Negotiate Offer Terms & Reach Acceptance
Negotiating the transaction is one of the most complex parts of selling a home. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced and savvy real estate professional who has successfully worked through many different transactions. In working through the negotiation, it is essential to keep in mind your situation, priorities, and needs. Try to understand and respect the preferences of the Buyer, get creative, and be willing to compromise to get the deal done. Rely on your real estate professional. It’s your agent’s responsibility to represent your best interests every step of the way.
Contingencies to Closing
Once you have accepted an offer, there are still several steps to complete before you sell your home. Pay attention to all of the details/timelines and work with your agent to stay on track to get you to your closing date.
Why Hire a Real Estate Agent to List Your Property?
When you decide to sell your home, be sure to take advantage of the knowledge, experience, and professionalism of a real estate agent. A real estate agent will pay for themselves in the long run with the value they bring to the table. The right listing agent will do the following:
- Conduct a thorough property walkthrough and market analysis to determine the best listing price for your property.
- Evaluate market trends to help you select the best time of the year to list your home for sale.
- Work with staging professionals and photographers to improve the showing condition of your home and to ensure the best presentation to prospective homebuyers.
- Possess an intimate knowledge of the real estate sales process, legal documents, and the various players involved in a sale.
- Rationally evaluate offers and negotiate creatively to get you the best price and terms.
- Market your property across many different mediums to expose it to the right buyers.
- Work with a list of vetted vendor contacts to assist in the sale process.
- Provide friendly support throughout your transaction and help you put the pieces of your sale together while protecting your interests along the way.
Make a Great First Impression
No matter how wonderful your home is and no matter how great the location, a positive first impression will lead to a quicker sale at a higher price. Get this right straightaway to avoid an extended time on market. Typically your best offer will come within the first few weeks (or days) of listing your property. Here are some best practices to consider:
- Curb Appeal: A buyer’s VERY first impression of your home starts from the outside. In order to enhance your curb appeal, make sure any misc yard work has been addressed (lawn care, shrubs, weeds, etc). If you are selling a condominium this is probably already handled by the association, but make sure to hold them accountable as this is still important!
- Front Door: Consider doing something special to the entry of your home (if possible). Perhaps a potted plant or other seasonal decor item. Keep it simple and neutral and don’t be afraid to ask your agent or stager for suggestions.
- Clean: If you don’t do anything else on this list, DO THIS ONE!! Consider hiring a professional cleaning company if cleaning is not one of your strengths. Having a home that looks (and smells) clean will pay dividends.
- Address Deferred Maintenance: Nearly every property owner has that “list of stuff” that needs to be fixed. Before marketing your property for sale, fix any misc. maintenance items. Consider hiring a handyman or other professional if you don’t have time or do not have the skill required. Even the smallest thing wrong or off will make a buyer look for other things wrong with the property and affect your sale.
- Let in the Light: Although there are always exceptions, the majority of home buyers love light. Walking into a dark property is a huge initial turnoff. Do your best to let as much light into your home as you can. If possible, always turn on lights prior to a showing and open up all blinds and drapes. You will be surprised at how warm and inviting the space will become in the eyes of a buyer as they enter your home.
- Mind the Temperature: Set the temperature of your home to a comfortable setting. Making a buyer too warm or too cold is likely to make a potential purchase uncomfortable and anxious to leave.
- Neutralize & Simplify: Everyone has different tastes but when it comes to selling your home, it is best to keep everything neutral, simple and clean. Remove all clutter and minimize/organize as best as possible. Consider repainting walls or swapping out fixtures if recommended by your agent or stager. Keep any home decor neutral and simple and remove any personal pictures. You want a buyer to be able to envision themselves in the space rather than be distracted by your personal things.
- Make it “Personal”: A real estate transaction is very personal and often comes with many emotions. Consider writing a “Seller Note” to the new home owner with the things you liked most about the property and neighborhood. Your real estate agent is most likely not able to discuss certain topics, so this can be a creative way to educate your buyer.
- Pets: If possible, try to remove pets for showings. Outside of being distracting during a tour, some buyers have sensitivities to animals that could lead to a quick and ineffective showing.
- Make the Space Inviting: Consider playing some soft music or leaving cookies on the counter. Treat your buyers like you would a very special guest. The goal is to make them so comfortable in your home that they want to make it their own.
- Be Scarce: This may go without saying but ideally, you should be absent during a showing so that your prospective buyers are comfortable looking at the house, asking questions and making comments. Remember, there will always be a licensed agent present with a buyer while they are in your property.
Contingencies To Closing
Once you have accepted an offer, there are still several steps to complete before the official closing date and change of ownership. It’s essential to pay close attention to all of the details and timelines to bring the transaction to Closing. Work with your agent to complete these tasks according to schedule.