Selling your home is an important life event and one than can be quite rewarding. I want you to enjoy the journey. When you have finally finished, you should feel confident that you made some great decisions and that you walked away with the best possible return on your investment. Working with someone who knows the ropes and who has been down the path to closing many times in Charleston can make a substantial difference in your success. I always suggest hiring a professional real estate agent. A quality agent will help you get the most money for your home, stand up for your interests, provide you with resources, and assist you by offering advice and consultation.
Sellers need some basic information to get started and to be successful. Anyone can sell a home. But to be successful, you need to:
Here are three great tools to help:
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Use this to get an estimate on the value of your home. For a professional CMA, call me at 843-270-1272.
This tool is very important because helps you price your home correctly.
Because you know that selling your home is one of the most important personal financial transactions you will encounter, I want to congratulate you on taking an important step. As we move along, I will walk you through the process and help you get ready for a successful transaction.
When you start thinking about selling, you will have a lot of questions, including:
I am here to help. Call anytime. I will be happy to share tips on selling, give personal insights, discuss the psychology involved in getting top dollar, and explain what to expect. The better you understand what to expect and how to manage the process, the better your decisions will be and the more peace of mind you will experience. Maximizing your potential returns and optimizing your terms – requires homework.
Selling your home is a team effort. We are in this effort together. My job is to market your home, to interpret the market, to get your house shown, to help you with important negotiations plus provide you with knowledgeable guidance so you can relax, knowing that you are making the best decisions along the way. I am dedicated to being an active, hardworking participant in the sale of your home. I will communicate with you frequently. Reaching me directly is always easy so never hesitate to call, text or e-mail.
I want you to have an amazingly positive experience selling your home. In fact, it is my goal to provide you with such outstanding service that you will select me for all of your real estate services in the future and you will gladly recommend me to friends and family members who are considering either selling or buying a home!! After all, a referral is the highest compliment a Realtor can get!
(For more selling tips, see " Must read tips for selling" in the right sidebar of this page) -->
If you are like most people who are just starting to think about selling their home, you have a lot of questions. Even if you sold homes before, the process can be overwhelming. Let's take a look at how to get started.
A good business person understands that you begin a project by setting goals and standards. You begin with the end in mind. Why do you want to sell your home? What do you want to net through the sale of your home? When do you want to turn the keys over to the next owner?
Set your limits. How much involvement are you willing to invest on your own in order to get your home sold? How much can you invest in marketing?
Know yourself. Are you a good negotiator? Are you good at marketing? How much do you know about offers, contingencies, and contracts?
Selling a home is not rocket science. It is a simple process. Anyone can do it. This is why many choose to attempt to sell a home without the help of a real estate agent. Unfortunately, most people realize after a short time that, while the mechanics of the process are straightforward, achieving a successful marketing campaign and a satisfactory home sale can be daunting. If this were not the case, very few real estate agents would be in business today. But, the economy supports a record number of Realtors.
Very few for sale by owners (FSBOs) are successful at selling their own homes. Approximately 92% of individuals who begin by attempting to sell on their own ultimately choose to list with a real estate agent.
First, determine the market value of your home. Of all the steps involved in the process, this may be the most important. There are many online tools to help, I have one on my website, but no automated tool will be as effective as a trained human being in coming up with the best fair market value for your home. Ask a Realtor to assist - even if you are doing a FSBO.
Next, study the neighborhood and get a good idea about the degree of negotiation that takes place during a real estate negotiation. You need to find out how much flexibility, on average, sellers in your neighborhood have. You need to know the difference between the average list price and the average sale price. This difference helps you formulate a plan for pricing. You need to be confident that you have the correct market price to account for the expected level of market negotiation. I am not suggesting overpricing. I am suggesting tactical pricing.
It is critical to understand that the market determines fair market value. Yes, this does sound redundant; but, it is not obvious for most sellers. No matter what you want to sell your home for, no matter what you paid for your home, no matter what helpful neighbors tell you your home should sell for, the only thing - yes, the ONLY thing - that determines valuation is what another person is willing to pay for your home. Okay - this sounds totally obvious, I know. Yet very few sellers that I have met in the past 20 years readily accept this as fact from the beginning.
In almost universal fashion, at listing appointments sellers work hard to show that there home exceeds the value of other similar homes in the neighborhood. They share with me a multitude of upgrades they have made and explain to me that the quality of their home and care they have given to their home far exceeds the norm. I understand. We all feel that our home is special. And it is special - to us - but it is a commodity to the buyer.
As a commodity, buyers look at your home in comparison to similar homes on the market for sale and homes that have sold recently. Buyers are just simple comparison shoppers, looking for the perfect home at the right price. They see kitchen upgrades as positive, old roofs as negative, and swimming pools as either negative or positive, depending on their needs. If they like the style, they give bonus points. If they think the neighbors are too close or the neighborhood association is a bother, they subtract.
Still, taken as a whole, a simple price per square foot comparison is often the easiest common denominator in understanding how the average buyer looks at your home. They focus on the core for 95% and add or subtract the good and the bad. While great care and upgrades can influence your home valuation, and can certainly help with the speed of sale, by not overestimating the value of these improvements, you will do a better job targeting the correct market value for your home.
The temptation to overprice is strong. No one wants to "leave money on the table." STOP - in this there is a trap. Overpricing shuts out the most likely buyers early - during the time when your home is fresh and hot on the market. Buyers are smart and well informed. They know if your home is overpriced. The market is more transparent than ever before. Buyers agents are even more savvy to price. Overpriced homes are avoided just like homes in poor condition are avoided. There are simply too many homes out there that are priced fairly. Pricing your home correctly at the beginning is fundamental to maximizing your bottom line. Do not overprice - it will almost certainty cost you money and lost time. Do not do it.
Prepare your home. You may need to do a few repairs or even many repairs. You may need to organize and cut back on clutter. And it's likely you'll need to do some significant detailing to guarantee the best showing results. I have many tips on my website to help you prepare your home. I also share many tips for great showings on my site.
Decide what sort of marketing strategy you wish to use. The second most important item in selling your home for top dollar is effective marketing. The way we market homes today looks nothing like the way we did just five years ago. Marketing has become highly competitive and more complex. Still, there are many ways for people who do not use agents to get information out about the their homes for sale.
Are you going to hire a Realtor? If not, how will you advertise and how much will you spend? Are you willing to negotiate directly? How do you feel about doing open houses? How will you market effectively online? What is your marketing budget for each type of advertising? How will you maximize your marketing dollar? What type of sign will you use? Will you place a lockbox on your home?
Of course, experienced agents have a great deal of marketing expertise and savvy. Arguably, the two most important reasons listing agents are hired today are: 1. marketing expertise, and; 2. negotiation expertise.
Regardless of your choice, a solid marketing strategy absolutely must be in place before you put your home on the market. Again, I have many marketing tips here on my website to help with this part of the process.
Pick a target day to go live with your listing. Once your home is on the market, be prepared to monitor and adjust as necessary. Listen carefully to the feedback you receive from potential buyers and buyers agents.
As offers come in, be ready to make counter offers. Study and understand the importance of every element of the offer and contract. You may only have a few hours to respond so be sure you have a good grasp of this material prior to the first offer.
TIP: Often the first offer is the best you will receive. Be ready for it.
If you get an offer quickly, you may conclude that you have under priced your home. Caution is recommended here. More often than not, because a brand-new listing garners a lot of attention, you may have just received an offer from someone who has been patiently waiting for a home just like yours to hit the market. It may have nothing to do with an under pricing. So take the first offer, and every offer, seriously and negotiate carefully. Avoid the error of overconfidence if you get an offer "too fast". Make the most of it.
Adjust - adjust - adjust. If it turns out that you are not getting showings at a rate similar to other listings area, you are probably overpriced. The market's way of telling you that you need to lower the price is when 1. you have too few showings, or 2. after many showings, you are getting few or no offers or you are getting only low offers.
Do not wait more than three weeks after you list your home to make a price adjustment if showings appear to be anemic.
TIP: Proper pricing early on is critical to maximizing your bottom line.
Studies have shown time and time again that sellers who attempt to maximize their return by pricing at or above the top of the market have a significant chance of making less than if they had priced properly in the beginning. Target the sweet spot for pricing - that very narrow range of peak consumer interest. Both overpricing and under pricing will damage your bottom line.
For other tips and strategies, give me a call or spend some time on my website. I'm always happy to share the knowledge I have with sellers even if they are selling on their own.
Call me anytime! I hope to have the privilege of selling your home!
For more selling tips, see " Must read tips for selling" in the right sidebar of this page -->
Tasks and comments on Selling
Make a checklist of important dates – including inspection dates, the date that you need to respond to buyer requests for repairs, the date that the buyer needs to have information to you such a repair request date and any other dates that may be specified including the closing date. Sometimes certain contingencies, if you have any, will have dates associated with them as well.
Consider your plans for moving. Depending on when you plan to vacate the home, you may need to start taking steps early. Once you have a firm closing day, a date that is likely to occur based on your confidence, and the confidence of your agent, in the buyer’s readiness, contact a moving company and schedule a time for pickup. Keep in mind that 20% of closing dates slip a day or more.
The closing attorney will be doing a background check on the property to ensure there are no hidden issues, such as problems with the title, that could prevent or delay closing. Any problems that arise in the title report must be cleared. An example of this is a mechanic’s lien or a dispute with a neighbor over property line.
Your buyer will be doing inspections either personally or by using professionals. The buyer has the right to ask for repairs. As the seller, you have a right to refuse repairs (usually – some may be required by statute in order to transfer the property). Of course, in order for the sale to go forward, a reasonable agreement on repair issues must be met. The typical processes is for an inspection to be completed, after which a request for repairs is submitted by the buyer to seller via the sellers’ agent. The seller can make all repairs as requested, make some repairs, or make no repairs. The seller may also offer monetary compensation in lieu of repairs or make some other concession to move the sale forward. There is no set formula but working out the details but doing so is critical and can be tricky.
If you are selling a condominium, the process can be more complicated. Expect that the lender financing the purchase will require additional documentation and additional time.
If you are unable to attend the closing, you can, in many cases, pre-sign the documents which transfer title. This arrangement has special conditions and may require the set-up of a Power of Attorney so let your agent and the closing attorney know at least 2 weeks in advance.
Be careful out about making mortgage, maintenance and common area charge payments shortly before a closing. If payments cannot be verified, this will create an issue at a closing.
Continue to maintain the property, keep insurance in place, etc. up until a day of closing. The buyer will make a final inspection on the closing day or the day prior to closing. If things are missing that should be there, such as a chandelier that was in place at the time of contract that was not specifically excluded from the purchase agreement, you may have a problem getting the home closed on time. Also, if you agreed to have anything removed from the property, or if you agreed to take additional actions (such as getting a carpet cleaning done, purchasing a home warranty, obtain a termite inspection letter, etc.), be absolutely sure you have met your obligations so closing is not delayed.
Communicate with the buyer about the transfer date for utilities. It is not uncommon to have a transfer date set for a day or two after closing to prevent problems should closing be delayed. Provide a courtesy contact list of services for electricity, water, cable, trash pick-up, recycling pick-up etc. so your buyer can make the changes easily and to encourage your buyer’s prompt cooperation. Follow up with utility companies after closing to ensure the transfer occurs as anticipated. This could prevent an unpleasant surprise in next month’s utility billing.
Unless you have a pre-close occupancy* agreement in place, allowing the buyer to take possession of the property in advance of closing, do not provide a key to the buyer prior closing and do not allow the buyer to store anything on the site prior closing. Do not allow the buyer to make any repairs or modifications to the property prior to closing without a special agreement in place approved by your attorney. If you have ANY questions about legal issues related to closing, always – always – always consult your attorney.