Selling your home is dominated by a single key factor, getting the most value. Since your property has hopefully appreciated since you bought it, maximizing your revenue takes careful planning and execution.
1. Contact a Realtor®
In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing, and negotiating, it makes sense to work with a professional who knows the community and much more. A good agent has specific qualities to look for:
- They will have already made it their job to know how the local real estate market, specific to even your neighborhood, is performing.
- They will be educated and experienced in how to professionally navigate the legal aspects of performing a real estate transaction as well as knowing how to effectively market your property to get maximum value.
- They will be able to take precise, decisive action during the course of the transaction. Since constant communication with you and the other involved parties is necessary much of the time, your agent must be easily contacted and extremely responsive. Weekends or evenings are when most buyers are able to view properties, will your agent be available if needed?
- Finally they will be your fiduciary in the fullest sense. They will have a proper appreciation of the fact you have placed utmost trust and confidence in their ability to manage and protect your property and money. They will have the obligation to act for your benefit above their own.
Interview agents and request a listing presentation to ascertain their qualifications.
2. Prepare Your Home for Sale
Before putting your property on the market it is prudent to invest in the presentation of your home. Simple, cost effective steps can be taken that will net a significant amount of value to the sale price of your property.
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE
Performing simple repairs and maintenance items can positively affect the desirability of your property. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware and fixtures, replacing burned out light bulbs, etc. are easy, economical means to transform the appeal of your home. Having a Home Inspector perform a walk-through is an excellent way to know what to expect from a buyer in the form of repair requests. Being proactive at this stage will additionally give you more time to perform repairs that may be more difficult to accomplish once escrow has been opened.
Add curb appeal by reinvigorating your landscaping. Fertilize the lawn, plant new flowers, cover the planters with bark, etc. De-clutter and deep clean the interior of the property. Consider staging it with your existing furniture or even use a professional stager to achieve the “model home” look. Remember, buyers need be able to imagine their lives in your home as much as possible.
Now is an excellent time to complete disclosures on the history and present condition of your property. Beyond being legally responsible for providing disclosure, the more you disclose the less the threat of future lawsuit is present, responsibility shifts to the buyer, and buyer confidence is created.
3. Set the Price
Now that your property is gleaming and ready to be purchased by willing buyers, setting the price is the next important step. Your agent will have been tracking comparable home values of closed sales and other active listings in your neighborhood. From this information you can decide on which approach to employ on pricing.
ESSENTIALLY THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF PRICING STRATEGY:
- Price your property high and hope to attract a buyer that accepts your price. Pros: You may receive a high price for your property / Cons: Your property may have to be on the market for a while and if no offers have been made, by time you lower the price there will be significantly less buyer interest.
- Price your property right at market value. Pros: You receive a fair price for your property / Cons: Your property may simply get lost with other comparable properties in the area.
- Price your property low and let the market bid up the selling price by attracting multiple buyers that offer more than asking. Pros: You may receive a high price for your property / Cons: You may not receive the multiple offers necessary to bid the price up to a level you are comfortable with.
4. Market Your Home
An effective marketing plan is so essential to maximizing your home’s sale price it’s difficult to place a value on it. An experienced agent will use any and all the following:
- Professional photography, video, and visual tour
- Professionally designed listing brochures, targeted mailers, e-flyers, print advertising, listing website, and more
- Syndicated online advertising
- Effective exposure of your listing to thousands of local agents and brokers
- Effective exposure of your listing to the public with accompanying open houses and scheduled showings
5. Accept An Offer
Optimally proper marketing and exposure will have resulted in multiple, highly motivated parties interested in purchasing your home. Simply accept the highest price and open escrow right? Not necessarily, the best offer to accept is the offer that will net you the best value while having reasonable assurance of actually closing. Many factors are involved in determining the best qualified buyer to see the transaction through, and your agent will be your partner to help in this decision while carefully protecting your interests through negotiation. Keep in mind most escrows are thirty to forty-five days long, a lot can happen in that amount of time and you need a confident Realtor® in your corner.
6. Open Escrow
Now that an offer has been accepted, escrow is opened and your agent will be working to ensure a successful transaction.
INSPECTIONS & APPRAISALS
The buyer will schedule a home inspection and additional specialized inspections of your property if needed. Based from these findings the buyer may request repairs to be performed or ask for a credit on the price. If the buyer is obtaining financing an appraisal will be ordered by the lender to establish the sale price is indeed a fair market value.
A title company is required to certify that your title is free and clear of encumbrances (eg. mortgages, leases, or restrictions, liens) by the date of closing by researching the complete recorded history of your property.
To protect your interests, your agent will be closely following the buyer’s adherence to removing contingencies by specific time periods outlined in the purchase contract. The most common buyer contingencies are inspections, an appraisal, and reviewing of the preliminary title report and related disclosures. The purpose of contingencies is to make the contract more binding or to renegotiate the sale terms.
7. Close the Transaction
Once all contingencies have been removed, usually the last big step to closing is the buyer’s loan to get approved and actually fund. A final walk-through inspection will be scheduled shortly before or the day of closing for the buyer to verify your property will be transferred in the condition agreed upon in the purchase contract. Once all required documents are signed and the loan funds, the sale is finalized at the County Recording Office and the property is now sold! Your funds will be wired to your account or you can have a check issued.