Selling your home

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Helpful steps to selling your current home

  • Define exactly what your needs may be. Be sure to write down all the reasons you have for selling your home. You need to ask yourself and your family, “Why do I want to sell my home and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” A few reasons may be, a growing and larger family may prompt your need for a bigger home, or a job opportunity in another area may prompt a move. Write down if you would like to sell your house within a certain amount of time or if you need to clear a certain amount of money in the transaction. Work with your real estate broker to map out the best way to achieve all or most of your objectives and be sure to set a realistic time frame for the sale.  Remember even in a seller’s market some areas may take a little longer than others to sell.
  • Your first task is to come up with a fair price.  Remember when you come up with your price to be realistic.  A price over what the current market can pay will mean your home will take longer to sell.  Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers.  A few things many people overlook is the fact they need to take into account the condition of their home, what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for, and state of the overall market in your area. It is understandable that it can be difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home since we have all become very attached to our homes, so your real estate broker’s expertise is invaluable at this step.  I offer a free CMA which is a basic market value of your home.  I will know what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average amount of time those homes are taking to sell. If you want a truly objective opinion about the value of your home, you could always have an appraisal done. These usually costs a few hundred dollars. Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high since this will take longer to sell and buyers do have the information (through their agent) how long the home has sat on the market. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent of their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property.  They often use this as a negotiating tool as well.  Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.  It is never good for anyone to chase the market down.
  • Be sure to prepare your home. Most people don’t keep their homes in “showroom” condition.  We actually live in our homes and that tends to make them look “lived in”.  We sometimes overlook piles of boxes in the garage and basement, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that don’t open or shut properly.. The condition of your home will directly affect how fast it sells and the maximum price the buyer is willing to offer to you. As in life, first impressions are the most important. Your real estate broker can assist you in taking a fresh look at your home and suggest the best ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers.  A home with too much of your “personality” is harder to sell. Removing things such as, family photos, mementos and personalized décor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs.  Buyers like to be able to picture their “things” in the home.  Make only minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn and damaged screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer’s first impression of your home. Clutter is a big issue when showing your home to potential buyers.  Remember “more is less”.  Make sure you have removed all knick-knacks and trinkets from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible.  Clutter makes your home look smaller.
  • Make sure everyone knows your house is for sale. Now that you’re ready and willing to sell, your real estate broker will set up a marketing strategy specifically designed for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including:  The Internet, Yard signs, Open houses, Media advertising, Agent-to-agent referrals, Direct mail marketing. In addition to listing your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), your Broker will use a combination of these methods to bring the most qualified and interested buyers to your home. Your broker should structure the marketing plan so that the first 3 to 6 weeks are the busiest.
  • Receive an offer. When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real estate broker will first find out whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following: * Legal description of the property * Offer price * Down payment * Financing arrangements * List of fees and who will pay them * Deposit amount * Inspection rights and possible repair allowances * Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing * Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home * Settlement date * Contingencies At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away.
  • Negotiate to sell that house! Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. I am well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. I also knows what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some negotiable items: * Price * Financing * Closing costs * Repairs * Appliances and fixtures * Landscaping * Painting * Move-in date Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will prepare a contract.
  • Prepare to close. Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also, begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.
  • Closing of the deal.  This is sometimes a very happy and sad moment in people’s lives.  When you listed your home this was the desired result but it still can be challenging. “Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Your broker will be present during the closing to help guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as smooth. By being present during the closing, your broker can mediate any last-minute issues that may come up. In some states (not Colorado), an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present. After the closing, you should make a “to do” list for turning the property over to the new owners. Here is a checklist to get you started.
  1.  Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services.
  2.  If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account.
  3.  Get owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances.