1. By Owner or Use an Agent
Some people are very successful at selling their home “by owner”. They have knowledge of key marketing strategies, how to best show their home, and they possess a good understanding of contracts. They are versed in negotiation tactics, but most of all, they are aware of the current market in their area and have priced their home appropriately. They realize the majority of homes on the market today are sold through an agency and they are aware that potential buyers might expect them to sell for less than market value because they will not be paying an agency commission.
On the other hand, listing your home with an agent means that upon the sale, you pay a commission to the agencies involved out of your proceeds. This commission is negotiable. The advantages, however, might just be the deciding factors to justify using an agent to sell your home.
Advantages of Selling By Owner
» The seller pays no real estate commission.
» Possibility of selling at below market value yet receiving higher proceeds than you would have gotten had you used an agent.
» The seller controls all aspects of the sale (some believe this to be a disadvantage).
Advantages of Using an Agent
» The agent plans the marketing strategies.
» The agent can do a market analysis showing comparable home sales so that together you can determine the asking price.
» The agent places your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so it can be seen and shown by other agents from other agencies. This makes a huge difference in the number of prospective buyers that are able to actually see that your home is for sale.
» Agents typically screen potential buyers.
» Agents show your home to potential buyers.
» Agents assist you with contracts
» Agents present purchase offers from buyers, or submit counter-offers to buyers on your behalf.
» Many buyers use agents to help them find a new home.
2. Determining a Price
Home prices are determined by numerous criteria. Factors such as the current trend in the market, the number of available homes for sale in the area, and the urgency of the seller have an overall affect on arriving at a sales price. There are other more specific things to consider.
» The recent selling prices of similar homes in the same area and/or the average recent selling price per square foot in the same area are both a good starting point.
» Major improvements to your home such as a pool, or other additions can add to your selling price but not to the extent of what you paid for them.
» Interior and exterior amenities can be beneficial to selling your home and may increase your selling price.
» The general condition of your home’s interior and exterior is important and can either increase or decrease your selling price.
3. Showing Your Home
Showing your home is probably the most important part of the selling process. Consider the following carefully as you prepare your home for viewing:
» First impressions mean a lot and often prospective buyers make a decision almost immediately.
» Curb appeal is important since many buyers search by themselves and then call agents about property they have only seen from the street.
» Fresh paint on your house’s exterior and interior is one of the easiest and best improvements you can make to enhance that first impression. It makes your house look bright and clean. If you paint, use whites, creams, or neutral colors on the interior and exterior colors that will blend with the neighborhood. If you don’t paint everything, at least paint the places that need it most.
» Get rid of clutter. Clutter doesn’t sell. Sometimes clutter can be described also as too much décor, too much furniture, too much stuff on the mantle, etc.
» Don’t cook fish prior to showing your home. Not that you need an air freshener, but you don’t want that first impression to be a bad odor.
» Keep yards and vegetation mowed and trimmed.
» Keep pets out of the house when showing, especially dogs, since many people are afraid of dogs.
» Open blinds and curtains so rooms are bright and inviting.
» If your house is shown by an agent it is best that you are away. If you cannot leave, remain in a separate part of the house and allow your agent to work for you. Refrain from attempting to point out special features, or initiating idle chat. Do not follow them around. Buyers are uncomfortable in the presence of sellers and it could spoil their tour. Take the dog for a walk or go outside. Trust the skills of your agent to present your house for you. Prior to showing, discuss with your agent everything you would like to convey to the buyer. It is in your best interests.
» Be flexible. Your house could be shown at any time. Agents do everything possible to arrive within a certain schedule, but sometimes this isn’t possible. So too, they may call at a moment’s notice which means your house should be ready for viewing at any given time. This eliminates the need for panic and will help reduce your stress level.
4. Passing a Home Inspection
Home inspections have become very popular in today’s real estate world. Most buyers hire a professional home inspector to take a closer look at a home prior to closing, or even prior to writing a purchase contract. The inspections cover a multitude of systems within your house. It is wise to take care of some of the more important ones before placing your home on the market. Such as:
» Mold & Mildew – Mildew stains and odors will drive a buyer away.
» Roofing – Deteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are hot-spots for buyers and inspectors. Repairs will be requested.
» Cracks in walls or ceilings - These are red flags. Mortar and brick should be in good condition. And flashing should be watertight.
» Structure and foundation – This could be a deal breaker.
» Gutters and downspouts - They should allow water to run away from the house.
» Plumbing problems – Leaks and clogs should be fixed. Inspectors will check water pressure by turning on numerous faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. Dishwashers and other appliances will be tested.
» Heating and cooling – These should be in good working order, and efficient.
» Electrical – The inspector will make certain your electrical system is working properly.
Remember, no home is perfect and the inspector will most likely find those imperfections. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t feel that you must comply with unreasonable demands for repairs. Your contract probably states that things should be in good working order at closing. That doesn’t mean you have to replace a roof because of a leak. It simply means that if you fix the leak, then the roof is in good working order. The bottom line is to do everything possible to get your house in good condition prior to selling.