STEP 1 >> KNOW YOUR MOTIVATION
Before you begin doing anything that relates to the sale of your home, it’s vital to sit down and really examine what it is that’s motivating you to sell. Your selling motivations will play a major role in many stages of the real estate sales process.
STEP 2 >> CREATE CURB-APPEAl
In selling a home—as with any business transaction—you want to put your best foot forward and make your product look as good as possible. In a real estate sale your “product” is your property, and it’s vital that it be presented in a way that will be attractive to buyers. In the real estate industry this is known as curb-appeal, and any good agent will tell you that it will pretty much make or break a large number of potential sales.
As such—as you prepare to sell your property—it’s imperative that you make it look as attractive as possible. Depending on your home and how much you’re willing to spend in order to get top dollar for it, you may want to consider: cleaning from top to bottom, retouching paint, replacing any broken or worn cosmetic features, replanting, and repaving.
In addition, you want to keep your personal life away from a potential sale. This may include: storing away any extra knickknacks, changing room color schemes that may not have mass appeal, or removing any objects that may divert a buyer’s attention away from the purchase of your property. Additionally, 1 in 10 Americans have a pet allergy, so put your pets away when you’re showing your home to ensure all buyers are as comfortable as possible. Remember, the more comfortable buyers feel, the more likely they are to buy your
STEP 3 >> FIND THE RIGHT REAlTOR®
If you’re thinking of selling on your own, consider this decision very closely. According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors®, more than two-thirds of people who try selling their home on their own say they would never do so again. Why? Mainly because being a successful real estate agent is a full-time job. From setting an unbiased asking price to developing strategic marketing plan, a good Realtor® is simply better at selling homes than the average person.
As with similar industries, you pay your real estate agent their commission because they do the work for you. The time and attention involved in selling your property becomes theirs instead of yours—leaving you time to live your life instead of spending your evenings and weekends bogged down in the real estate sales process.
When you decide to have an agent represent you, contact four or five different agents in your local area. Have a list prepared of your specific concerns and expectations, but allow them to first tell you their own philosophies and selling strategies. A good Realtor® will have a specific procedure they and should be able to outline it easily. If a prospective Realtor® can’t do this, then they probably aren’t the right person to represent you.
STEP 4 >> GET THE INFORMATION YOU NEEd BEFORE YOU SET A PRICE
Setting your asking price should never be done without careful investigation of the local real estate market. Once you’ve set your price, you’ve effectively told any buyers the maximum price they will have to pay to buy your property. Setting too low means that you won’t get the maximum return on your investment; setting too high means that you might not be taken seriously by most buyers and their agents.
Setting an asking price can be fairly simple—especially for residents of most South Florida communities. If you live in a condominium development or a planned subdivision, you
simply ask your Realtor® to get you a list of recent selling prices of other similar models or homes in your development. This will give you a good starting gure, which can then be adjusted for any additions or major renovations you’ve made to your home and property.
If you live in an older area where each home is different from the next, setting your asking price may be more difcult. Get a report from your Realtor® about homes that have sold in your area over the past 6-12 months, and then work with them to set your asking price.
STEP 5 >> GIVE YOURSElF ROOM TO NEGOTIATE
As you set an asking price with your Realtor®, make sure to leave enough room for a satisfactory negotiation. Typically in real estate, a buyer will not pay the original asking price; they will want to bargain to get the best price. As such, you must leave an acceptable amount of room under your asking price, to make sure that the negotiation will still come out in your favor. If you’ve been following this guide, you also already know your motivations for selling. Review these motivations with your real estate agent and make the critical decision between your two alternatives: maximizing pro t versus selling quickly. To maximize profit, your asking price will typically be set well above market
STEP 6 >> DISCLOSE ALL DEFECTS
As you begin negotiating with a serious buyer, make absolutely certain to disclose all defects in your property. Recent changes to both state and federal real estate law assigns sellers an even greater liability for not reporting property defects—even those defects that you may not be aware of. While your gut feeling will be to project your property as attractively as possible, disclosure law mandates that you also be as honest as possible.
STEP 7 >> KNOW YOUR BUYER
It’s always a good idea to try and get a good read on any potential buyer. Why are they moving and what kind of time frame are they working on? What features of your home and neighborhood seem most attractive to them? Where are they having doubts? Finding the answers to these questions may give you a much better position during negotiation and earn a greater return on your investment at the closing.
Additionally, try and and out what a buyer can pay. If possible, find out what mortgage amount they have been qualified to carry and how much money they will be putting up as a down payment. This serves as a good screening process to quickly weed out unqualified buyers. Also, if you can’t get this information, beware of wasting too much time on a buyer that makes an extremely low initial offer. Remember, the more you know about potential buyers, the more edge you’ll have during the negotiation process.
STEP 8 >> NEGOTIATION IS KEY
During contract negotiation, your goal is obviously to get the best negotiating price for your property. On the ip side, the buyer’s goal is always going to be to get your property for the least possible amount of money. As such, it’s a good idea to be rm and maintain control during negotiation. However, you must also guard against letting your personal feelings and connection with your home get in the way of the transaction.
STEP 9 >> NEVER BUY UNTIl YOU’VE SOLD
As you begin the selling process on a primary residence, you’ll most likely begin shopping for your next home as well. If you nd that perfect dream home, you may be extremely tempted to buy it before you’ve actually sold your current property.
Don’t! If your listing doesn’t sell, this means you’ll be paying two mortgages at once. The consequences of this may lead you to selling at a drastically reduced price—possibly well under the actual fair market value. As such, you’re free to look, but don’t make any purchase agreement before you have a signed sales agreement in your hand.
Even if you have the nances to afford two mortgages for a short period of time while you wait for your home to sell, it’s still a bad idea to move out. Statistics show that a vacant property is far less likely to sell than an occupied property, due to its curb- appeal factor. Surveyed buyers responded that a vacant home often feels “empty” and “forgotten”. This is not an image that’s going to appeal to most prospective buyers; they want to know that you love your home and live in it the same way they plan on doing in the future.
STEP 10 >> MAKE ABSOlUTElY SURE YOUR CONTRACT IS CORRECT ANd COMPlETE
No one really likes to sit down and read a contract, and often we give into the urge to just sign and be done with it. However, when you consider that your home is likely to be your largest asset, you want to make absolutely sure that all your i’s are dotted and your t’s crossed.
Read your contract carefully and make sure that all of the terms, conditions, costs, and responsibilities are assigned to your satisfaction. If you have an agent, ask them to walk you through the contract and explain anything you don’t understand. Make sure all dates, names, addresses, and numbers are correct too.
STEP 11 >> ONCE THE CONTRACT IS SIGNEd, CONSIdER IT SET IN STONE
It may happen that your buyer will ask you to deviate from the contract once it’s been signed. They may ask you to make additional repairs, adjust your moving date, or allow them to change their moving date. While your personality may tell you to be exible, it’s almost always a bad decision when you deviate from a written contract.
Keep in mind, if you do deviate from the contract, your actions or some other variable may cause the deal to fall through and you’ll be stuck with a lot of unnecessary expense. If the contract has been signed, then you are no longer obligated to make your buyer happy—and doing so may be a bigger risk than you want to take.