The Homeowner’s Handbook for Selling Your Home
You’ve decided to sell your home. Choosing a real estate professional to help guide you through the selling process is an important decision. It could make the difference between a good experience and a bad one.
Your sales associate can offer you a thorough approach to selling your home that helps bring the right buyers to your home.
You should attempt to choose a sales associate that can help you to obtain the best possible price with the most favorable terms and in the shortest period of time with the least inconvenience to you.>
How to Choose a Sales Assosicate
- When you choose a sales associate, you’re actually hiring that person to sell your home — so consider several qualities carefully
- Reputation of the real estate company
- You’ll want to list your home with an established firm whose reputation will attract buyers. Better-known firms may also attract better agents — and provide them with more training in customer service.
The Sales Assosciate
- Sales associates are smart businesspeople who specialize in residential real estate. He or she needs to know about the homes, neighborhoods and mortgage options available locally. And, your sales associate should listen to you — using the information you provide about your home to market it effectively.
- The marketing approach
- There’s more to selling a home than placing a yard sign out front. Your Professional Realty Sales Associate will follow sound marketing principals with a thorough process combining your knowledge about your home with our real estate expertise, to get your home sold.
- Access to the multiple listing service (MLS)
- For maximum visibility, your home should be listed on this computerized inventory of homes for sale in the area.
How to Get the Best Possible Price
Your sales associate will help you to establish a realistic price range for your home — and show you how your goals determine the actual listing price.
Set the Right Price First
Setting the price too high may limit the number of buyers for your home — and it may disappoint buyers in that price range who were expecting more house for their money. Setting the price too low may cause buyers to view your home with suspicion ultimately hurting your bottom line.
Consider the Home’s Value
The value isn’t based on the cost of construction or the amount you paid for it. It’s determined by the market conditions and the willingness of a buyer to pay the price you ask.
Rely on Your Sales Assosciate’s Assistance
He or she can guide you to a realistic asking price by using a home market analysis which evaluates everything from market conditions to neighborhood influences. You’ll also be shown comparable homes in the market. And you can always hire an independent real estate appraiser to gain another perspective.
Don’t Wait for a Best Time to Sell
Strong or weak market conditions, variables in financing and your schedule are all part of the selling equation. There really is no best time to sell your home.
Decide the Room for Negotiation
With your sales associate’s help, determine an asking price. Often, a price about 5 percent over the fair market value gives you bargaining room.
Bright Ideas for your Home
- People often buy homes on their feelings — and if something about your home “feels” wrong, buyers will look elsewhere.
- A knowledgeable sale associate can offer many ideas on sprucing up your home for potential buyers. Ask your sales associate for details.
- Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer to increase its perceived value and marketability. Your sales associate already possesses vast marketing knowledge and has the housing expertise of many years experience.
Curb Appeal – First Impressions Count
1. A neat, tidy front lawn is important. Cut the grass, and trim the hedge and shrubs.
2. Plant extra flowers for color or put containers filled with blooming flowers near the front door.
3. Spruce up your landscaping with fresh or rearranged plantings.
4. Remove all dead limbs and debris. Rake the lawn, and sweep the sidewalk and driveway. Patch any holes.
5. Repair and paint or stain your fence.
6. Put away lawn equipment and arrange outdoor items neatly.
7. Clean, stain or paint your front door. Check to see if the garage or back doors need any work.
8. Paint window sashes, trim and shutters to freshen your home’s exterior.
9. Replace faded house numbers with shiny new brass ones.
10. Repaint or replace an old mailbox.
11. Repaint, realign and clean out the gutters.
12. Check the roof, repairing or replacing shingles and flashing where needed.
13. Fix broken windows or screens.
14. Make sure the entry light and doorbell work.
15. Clean out the garage.
The Interior – Uncluttered, Spacious and Neutral
16. Clean thoroughly. Clean houses sell more easily than dirty ones.
17. Put high-intensity light bulbs in every lamp then turn them on to give your home a friendly glow.
18. Brighten things inexpensively with a fresh coat of paint in neutral, buyer-friendly shades.
19. Consider repainting woodwork instead of hanging new wallpaper.
20. Move out all your excess furniture to make rooms seem as spacious as possible.
21. Clean your closets to make them look bigger. Store off-season clothes, and get rid of the excess.
22. Hold a garage sale, and use the money for home improvement expenses.
23. Wash all windows and mirrors.
24. Have carpeting cleaned. If it’s too worn, consider replacing it — you may not entirely recover the cost, but your house may sell faster.
25. Launder or dry clean drapes and curtains as needed.
26. Clear small appliances, dish racks, and other items off kitchen counters to make counters look more spacious.
27. Clean and reorganize kitchen cabinets.
28. Clean the oven and all appliances, wiping up grease splatters and polishing chrome surfaces.
29. Put a plant or fresh flowers on the kitchen counter.
30. Polish and clean the tub, toilet and bathroom sink.
31. Clean tile grout, re-grouting if necessary.
32. Buy a new shower curtain — you can always take it with you when you move.
33. Put out fresh towels and new soap when the house is to be shown.
34. Clean the furnace and air conditioner. Turn on the one appropriate to the season to make your home comfortable.
35. Fix all the little things you’ve lived with — like loose doorknobs, drawer pulls, towel racks, etc.
36. Tack down loose molding and glue any lifted wallpaper. Replace cracked switch plates.
37. Fix sticking doors and windows, squeaking doors and wobbly banisters.
38. Fix leaky faucets and remove water stains.
39. Spray for insects well in advance of an Open House, so the odor has time to clear.
The Extras – Appealing to All the Senses
40. Give your home a welcoming aroma: make fresh-baked bread or heat cinnamon sticks in water on the stove.
41. Clear out the kids, toys and board the pets.
42. Turn off the television, stereo and radio to eliminate distractions.
43. Turn on all your lights — including the outside entrance light — even in the daytime.
44. Put out your best towels and a nice tablecloth.
45. Don’t be home during an Open House. Your absence will put buyers at ease and give them a chance to spend more time looking at your home.
46. Let your sales associate do the talking. He or she has the professional skills necessary to show your home in its best light.
47. Be polite but avoid conversations with prospective buyers. Your sales associate needs to command their attention.
48. Don’t apologize for the appearance or condition of your home. You may draw attention to something the buyer overlooked.
49. Don’t complicate the sale by tacking on drapes, furniture and rugs. Your sales representative can discuss those with the buyer if it becomes appropriate.
50. Keep your home on the market, and let your sales associate show the house frequently.
51. Don’t show your home to people who just drop by. They may not be qualified buyers and may even be burglars. Take their names and phone numbers and have your sales associate follow up.
52. Keep your home ready to be shown while it’s on the market. Be prepared.
Using a Professional
Most homes don’t sell themselves. If you take on the job yourself, you’ll probably find the time and trouble of attracting prospects, showing them your home, discovering their needs, handling the details and completing the paperwork will cost you more personally and financially than paying a commission. And, the price you get might be less than what a sales associate could help you sell it for.
These are services you should expect your sales associate to provide:
- Help set a price that attracts buyers and leaves room for negotiation.
- Gather all the data that will present your home and neighborhood in the best light.
- This information will help your sales associate accurately show your home.
- Target the market for your home –determining who the most likely buyers will be and knowing how to reach them.
- Qualify buyers, showing your home only to serious buyers while weeding out the people who aren’t really serious about buying.
- Eliminate total strangers who may want to tour your house now — and break into it later.
- Provide financing information that may clinch the sale for prospective buyers.
- Handle all necessary paperwork and do the legwork in negotiations.
- Guide you through settlement and closing procedures.
Terms to Know
- Real estate laws and regulations vary from state to state. Always check with your sales associate or lawyer before signing any documents.
- Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM): A loan with an interest rate that fluctuates according to the movements of a predetermined index.
- Agent/sales associate: A person licensed by the state to sell real estate through a real estate broker.
- Assumable loan: An existing mortgage that can be taken over by the buyer, usually on the same terms given to the original buyer.
- Balloon payment: A loan with monthly payments too low to pay off the balance in the specified term. The balance must be paid in full when the loan comes due — typically within three to five years.
- Broker: A person who has a real estate broker’s license, who may not only make real estate transactions for others in exchange for a fee (or other consideration), but also may operate a real estate business and employ sales associates and other brokers.
- Closing or settlement: The meeting between seller and buyer when the property legally changes hands.
- Closing costs: Expenses above the purchase price that buyers and sellers pay at closing.
- Deed: The legal document that is used to transfer the title from one owner to another.
- Earnest money: Money deposited by potential buyers to show their seriousness about buying.
- Equity: The money you are left with after selling your home and paying off the mortgage, selling costs and any other liens.
- Fixed-rate mortgage: A loan with an interest rate and monthly payments that do not vary.
- Lien: A monetary claim against your property. Usually liens must be settled before the seller can take the title.
- Loan application fee: A lender’s fee that you must pay when applying for a mortgage.
- Loan origination fee: A fee, usually one to four points, charged by the lender for processing your mortgage.
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS): A networking system, frequently on computer, in which a number of real estate firms share information about their clients’ houses that are for sale in the area.
- Points: Fees charged by lenders. One point equals one percent of the mortgage amount.
- Title: Evidence of ownership in real estate.
- Title insurance: Insurance, usually paid through a single premium at closing, that insures the owner against loss because of a claim against the title that was not found in the title search.
- Title search: The process of checking all the records relating to the title to see that it doesn’t have any liens or claims against it that would keep it from being transferred.