A vacant, empty home does not sell faster. There aren’t many buyers out there that are able to see themselves and their belongings in a furniture-less home. It’s important to leave a few basic pieces behind or risk the home looking and feeling smaller than it is. As a seller, you want to help people see your home’s potential. Listen to the advice of a seasoned realtor or consider hiring a professional home-stager.
Get at least three references before choosing a realtor. Hiring an experienced agent to be with you throughout the entire process of buying a house can save you many problems. If you can, reach out to the people involved in the realtor’s last three transactions, not just names they have given you as a reference. Use this opportunity to find out if previous clients were happy with their experience. Learn what kind of a negotiator the realtor in question is and whether they were attentive to their clients throughout the process, from start to finish.
Hire a professional real estate photographer before you put your home on the market. A lot of realtors will often come to you with one, as part of their “package”, because selling your home is as important to them as to you. Everyone knows buyers are looking online before they even decide to go inside and a pro will know exactly what angle, lighting, and framing to use to bring out the best features of your home. The photos buyers see online are what ultimately help the decision of whether the home is worth the time to see.
A house that is overpriced won’t sell. If you price your home too high the right buyers won’t even give it a look. Buyers are savvy now, they are able to do homework and find out what a home is worth. They’ve hired skilled Realtors that have gathered all the comps for the neighborhood. Price it too high and your home will sit on the market without interest or traffic and the longer it sits the more of a negative association will come with your home. Buyers automatically assume homes on the market for a long time mean that there is something wrong.
The selling of your home is a business transaction and not an emotional one. A home is one of the biggest investments made and people become attached emotionally. Acknowledge that selling your home is going to be stressful and emotional upfront and that will enable you to make good decisions going forward such as the pricing. Remember, it’s the people that make the memories, not the places. You are selling for a reason and oftentimes that means there is a new positive experience on the horizon. Focus on that.
The Bottom Line: Most successful real estate agents are true professionals and any advice they offer is in their client’s best interests. The right realtor will know how to market and sell your house. They will help you sell for more and save money where it counts while negotiating for anything else you might need.
If you are selling your house, be prepared for the questions. Buyers, with the help of an accomplished, local Realtor that has their best interest in mind and will equip them with questions to ask you, lest they forget in all the excitement that comes with house hunting.
A sampling of some questions you should prepare to answer:
Have you made any major renovations or repairs? Have receipts ready to show if there have been any repairs or renovations made while you have owned the home. In some states, sellers must disclose any current problems but they don’t necessarily have to disclose past problems. Be prepared to have proof that if any major structural changes have been made that it was done up to code and was approved by the county.
How long has the house been on the market? The more time your house has spent on the market the more power a buyer believes they have to negotiate a lower price.
Are all the appliances and fixtures included in the sale? Usually, anything attached to the home is included in a home sale. But, it’s best to never assume or you could run into disappointment. For example lighting fixtures or window treatments.
When was the roof installed? Knowing the answer to this can make or break your decision. If the roof is older, it will surely need to be repaired or replaced soon after the purchase. This will give the buyer the option to ask you to fix it or adjust the price.
When was the last time your HVAC was serviced? This is cheaper and easier to fix than a bad roof, but it’s important to know as many details about the system. As a seller, have the paperwork ready that shows maintenance dates, the warranty (if still good), and the bills at hand for heating and cooling. What is the monthly cost of utilities? The buyer can then make a decision to either have the seller fix it or negotiate the price of the home.
Why are you selling? Depending on your answer, the buyer, with aid of their realtor, will be looking for a way to prepare a lower offer if it means you can get out of your home faster.
How long has the house been on the market? If it has been on too long, buyers become leery and think there must be something inherently wrong with the home. Additionally, if it’s been on for a long time, the seller may be more motivated and willing to negotiate.
What is the neighborhood like? The value of your house is affected by the neighborhood. A good realtor will have given the buyer all the comps from your area. It may be easy to read a neighborhood if there are concerns – there might be foreclosure signs or abandoned homes. Be prepared to be flexible on your asking price.
The Bottom Line: There are many questions that a seller will be asked so that the buyer will feel confident in their decision to purchase your home. It can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming but with an experienced real estate agent you can expect an uneventful transaction. The best realtors out there will be able to turn any negative into a positive while answering the questions the buyer has.
Home buyers put a lot of effort and intention into finding the perfect home for their families. When they walk in the front door, it should feel like home to them. They need to feel that personal connection and envision themselves in each room. A home stager can help you put your home together by creating the atmosphere you need to appeal to buyers as they walk through your home. The buyer will have the feeling of being at home and never consciously know exactly why!
The person staging your home will have to be honest, and it can be hard on you as a seller. You have loved your home and can’t see exactly what an outsider can see in your home. It will be best to let the personality of the house be showcased and not your family’s personality. All the trinkets you have collected over the years and out on display will probably have to be packed and put into storage. Rearranging furniture to balance and maximize a sense of space in a room is yet another key to the process. For instance, too big of a couch could dwarf a room. It can be important to get rid of unnecessary furniture and might take a professional to guide you in the right direction.
Each room should feel fresh and inviting and often simply (and cheaply) painting pleasing colors on the walls can make a lasting impression on a buyer. Neutrals are the safest way to go. Even if a buyer isn’t smitten with your neutral choice they won’t feel like they would have to run out and paint over it right away as they might with a pink or a red. Don’t be offended if the person you have hired to stage your home wants to change the color of your favorite room. The goal is to sell your home as fast as possible, so do your best to remove any emotional attachment.
All homes have selling points such as unique architectural elements you may take for granted or a fabulous view that is hidden by window treatments. These should be showcased, highlighted, and staged to stand out. There are ways to enhance each room and it is best to have a critical eye to make sure that each detail shows its defined purpose.
The Bottom Line: Obviously if you are trying to sell your home it goes without saying that you want to sell it as quickly as possible and get the asking price. It will make all the difference in the world to hire a professional home stager or to vet a trusted realtor who has the knowledge and experience to maximize your home’s potential.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home, it’s important to understand that there can be delays in the closing. A real estate contract and the terms and conditions that are set forth in a contract do carry significant importance, but there can always be an issue.
In almost any real estate transaction that includes mortgage financing, the lender requires title insurance. The title company will conduct a search of the property’s title history to look for anything that might affect the buyer’s—and therefore the lender’s—interest in the property. Any defect in title raises the possibility of some third party asserting their own interest in the property. Liens, which give creditors a non-possessory interest in real property, are a common type of title defect. Before a closing may proceed, all title defects must be resolved to the satisfaction of the title insurance company.
If an appraisal comes back to a lender that values the home at less than the agreed-upon loan amount, it may hold up the process. Lenders will not approve loans for more money than a home is appraised for. Sellers might then lower the price of the home or choose to complete home repairs to increase the property’s value. Buyers could front the difference between the appraisal value and the original sale price. The parties could also contest the appraisal. Whichever the eventual solution, the closing date will likely move further into the future.
Home inspections can uncover mold problems, faulty wiring, roof leaks, fire hazards, code violations, cracks in the home’s foundation, and many other potential problems. Smaller issues can even put a closing on hold until the seller resolves the problem to the buyer’s satisfaction. The buyers may also discover a problem for themselves during the final walk-through of a home. They may observe problems with the plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems, or notice that the sellers didn’t perform an agreed-upon repair or concession.
The Bottom Line: The process of buying or selling a home can be trying and a lot of the issues are simply out of your control. While these listed above are just the most common reasons a closing is delayed, there are plenty of smaller issues. It’s important to have a qualified and knowledgeable Realtor that can deal with last-minute issues and surprises and will stay on top of every step until you hear the magical words: “Clear to Close”.