It’s time to move on… Whether you’re making a job change, retiring, need a bigger house, or just need a change of scenery, you want to get the most for your house, with the right terms and in the shortest amount of time possible. You may think selling a home is easy, but ask yourself this… how many houses did you look at before you bought the one you now own? How many other people do you suppose went through the same houses before a buyer was found? You may think that the first person who walks through your door will fall in love with your place, but perhaps you need to take a step back and find yourself a professional Realtor. A good realtor ca save you money and help you get more for your home than you can by selling it yourself. After all, that is what they are trained to do.
Your home is one of the most valuable possessions you will ever sell. It requires skill, experience, and understanding of the current market for a licensed real estate professional to represent you. Katrina Nguyen has the experience and access to marketing tools that will maximize your return.
Pricing One of the first things Katrina will do is help you price your home effectively. Sometimes sellers mistakenly price their house higher, knowing that they can lower their price if it doesn’t sell. This can often backfire on the sellers. Buyers often shop around before they buy and often recognize value in a specific price range because of this comparison shopping.
Using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Katrina will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) which involves a survey of homes that are on the market, or have recently sold, that are similar to yours. Katrina will then advise you on the additional value (or deficit) of your home’s unique features and factor that into the equation. Depending upon how anxious you are to sell (and how quickly you need to close), Katrina can suggest different strategies to help you get top dollar for your home.
Once you sign a Listing Agreement, Katrina will develop a comprehensive marketing plan. But first, she will take a look at your home and may suggest ways to make it show better. Remember what you looked for when you bought the house? Take a look at the checklist on the next few sections to get a better idea of how you should look at your home from the “eyes of a buyer.” Katrina will put your home on the MLS so other agents will become aware of your property. She will also network with other agents, conduct open houses, and suggest ways to stimulate activity. Advertising is vital. Katrina may also recommend incentives such as assistance with closing costs or paying for the home warranty. This may give the potential buyer the incentive to offer more or close more quickly.
Comparative Pricing Value is a relative term. One owner’s quaint little cottage may be another’s airless old money pit. Obviously then, you need some basis of objectivity - and you can find it by having Katrina rate your house against other similar houses in like neighborhoods. You can count on her to be frank if your asking price is too high. She will work together with you to factor in all the important aspects of your home.
People usually decide within minutes whether or not they like your house. Remember to view your home as a buyer would see it.
Kitchen- The kitchen is the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive. If it neds help, paint it and/or try new curtains. Make sure it is spotless. Check the stove, floor, windows, cabinets, etc. Clean the ventilating hood in the kitchen. If the floor is badly worn, replace it with new flooring. Replace any loose tiles on the counter and walls. Remove any appliances or knick-knacks you keep on the counters. Clean, uncluttered counters will make the room look bigger.
Bathroom- Repair any dripping faucets. Keep fresh towels in the bathroom. Remove any stains from toilets, sinks, bathtub, and shower. If the sink, bathtub, or shower drains too slowly, unclog it.
Outside- Make sure the front door and porch are clean. Repaint the front door if necessary. Keep the lawn and shrubs trimmed and neat looking. Freshly planted flowers are attractive and inviting. Sweep walkways. Paint your house if necessary. This can do more for the sales appeal than any other item. If you don’t want to paint, consider touching up shutters or window frames. Check the roof and gutters; any missing shingles to replace? Gutters and downspouts in place?
Living Areas- Have all walls in top shape. Repair all cracks, nail pops or visible seams in drywall. Wash the windows. Replace broken glass and torn screens. Make sure windows open and close. Check ceiling for leak stains. Fix the source of the leak, repair the ceiling and paint. (Contract will require this to be done.) In painting or redecorating, avoid offbeat colors. Stick to white or easy to work with pastels or neutrals. Replace or re-dye faded curtains or bedspreads. If you have a fireplace, clean it out and put in fresh logs. Replace burned out light bulbs. Put in brighter light bulbs. Make sure light switches work. Clean floors and vacuum rugs. Straighten up the closets and get rid of excess items. Use air freshener to eliminate musty or unpleasant pet or cooking odors. Fix any doors or sliding glass doors that stick.
Garage- Clean out the garage and dispose of anything you are not going to move. Box up everything you won’t need until you’re in your new house. Make sure the garage door opener is in good working condition.
Additional “Inside” Tips- Neatness makes a room look bigger. Put excess furniture in storage. Avoid clutter. Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or in the counter. Keep toys in the children’s rooms. Bikes, in-line skates, and skateboards should be made as inconspicuous as possible.
When Your Home is Being Shown Open draperies and shades to let in light. This will make rooms appear larger. Keep radios, stereos, and TV’s off or turned way down. Take pets outdoors while your house is being shown. Children should be quiet. Courteous but don’t force conversation with potential buyers. They want to inspect your house, not pay a social call. Don’t mention furniture or furnishings you may want to sell unless asked. Trying to dispose of such items via the potential buyer before they have purchased the house often loses the sale. Let Katrina discuss the price, terms, possession and other factors with the buyers. She is eminently qualified to bring negotiation to a favorable conclusion. Take your family away for the day, if Katrina is holding an open house.
Here are some helpful tips from other sellers who have already gone through the process.
1. Buying a replacement home before selling the old home
The temptation may be great to buy a replacement home first. That way you’ll know where you are going and how much you’ll be paying. And you won’t have to worry about being left out in the cold with nowhere to go if your home sells quickly.
However, the financial risks of buying first are great. It’s far better to sell your current home first and endure the inconvenience of moving in to an interim rental - which rarely happens - than it is to end up owning and paying for two homes when you only want one.
2. Basing the list price of your home on the price you would like to get rather than that of market value.
Market value determines the price of your home - not wishful thinking. A buyer won’t pay more for your home just because you think you need more money in order to purchase your next home.
Find out the market value of your current home by having Katrina prepare a comparative market analysis or by getting an appraisal from a local appraisal firm. This will tell you the value of your home based on comparable sales information. With this information, you can determine an accurate list price for the current market.
After you know what your home is likely to sell for, ask Katrina to prepare a sellers’ net sheet. It will tell you approximately how much cash you will receive from the sale. Then, visit a mortgage broker or loan agent to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. They will let you know what price range you can afford to buy a home at.
3. Failing to get a “termite” report (or other indicated reports) before listing a home for sale. Sellers are often required to pay for eliminating wood pest (also known as “termite”) infestation when they sell their home. They may also be asked to correct other defects. Sellers who know the condition of their home before they sell are in a better position to negotiate a firm sale because they can disclose existing reports on the property to buyers before they make an offer.
4. Putting a home on the market before it is spruced up. Buyers and real estate agents remember what they see. Their first impressions are lasting ones. If a property looks a mess when it hit’s the market, that is how agents will remember it.
Most people lack the vision to imagine what the house will look like when it’s fixed up. It’s usually better to delay marketing a home until it’s spruced up for sale. Most buyers utilize realtors’ services to purchase homes, so realtors are more excited about showing and selling homes when they are in mint condition.
5. Refusing to reduce a listing price that is too high for the market. It’s hard to be objective about the value of your home. This is why it’s important to get a professional’s opinion before setting a list price. Over-priced listings often take a long time to sell. Thus they can sell for less than they would have if they were priced right to begin with.
It’s natural to want to get the most money possible when you sell. Competitive pricing is the way to achieve that result. If you find that your list price is too high for the market, reduce your price sooner rather than later. The longer it sits on the market unsold, the lower the ultimate selling price is likely to be.
6. Refusing to counter a low offer. Sellers want to sell high; buyers like to buy low. A low offer from well-qualified buyers is better than no offer at all. A high offer from unqualified buyers only leads to disappointment. The price buyers offer is not the most important part of their offer - if they are willing to negotiate.
7. Insisting on being present when the home is shown to prospective buyers. One way to discourage buyers from buying your home is to be home during showings. For buyers to decide to buy a home, they must discover, and discuss, all of its flaws. Buyers are reluctant to say anything negative about a home in the sellers’ presence. It’s best to leave your home when it’s being shown to prospective buyers.
8. Listing with a contingency to find a replacement home. This is like saying that your home might be for sale. Serious buyers make offers on homes that are definitely for sale. Otherwise, buyers could wait in vain for unrealistic sellers to find an acceptable replacement home.
9. Setting up a complicated showing procedure that discourages showings. A home that can’t be shown, can’t be sold. The easier it is to show a home, the more often it will be shown, and the quicker it will be sold. There is usually a direct correlation; the more showings a home receives, the less time it takes to sell.
10. Refusing to do anything to get your house ready to sell. The way most people live in their homes is usually very different from the way a home should look when it goes on the market. In order for someone to want to buy a home, they must be able to envision themselves living there. Most sellers have to de-clutter and clean their homes - at the very least.
Often there’s quite a bit more work that needs to be done before a home is ready to sell. For example, in order to get the highest price possible when you sell a car, it’s wise to have it detailed to look its shiny best. The same concept applies to selling houses; buyers pay premium for homes that are in move-in condition.
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