Guidelines for a Shifting Real Estate Market
Is it possible to sell your home, make a little profit, and move up to your next home, in a reasonable marketing time frame?
The answer is absolutely "YES!" The most important decision you make would be to discuss with a Real Estate Agent your needs and let him/her provide you with Market information. Then you will be well armed to make a well informed decision. Also, you need to think about these 10 Important Home Seller Guidelines for a Shifting Real Estate Market -
1. HOW STRONG IS YOUR MOTIVATION TO MOVE?
For those "just thinking" about moving to a nicer, larger home, tremendous discount opportunities await most buyers. However, most home sellers today face long market times, repeated price reductions, possible lowball offers, and negotiation of issues raised during the Home Inspection Period immediately after the contract is negotiated.
2. HOW MUCH EQUITY DO YOU TRULY HAVE IN YOUR HOME TODAY?
If your Projected Home Equity is low, and you have little additional savings for your new home, you might not be able to gather together enough of a down payment on your new home to qualify for a new home mortgage loan. It's important here to be true to yourself and trust the advice of your real estate professional and lending advisor. Remember, you will also need closing costs once again in the sale of your house and the purchase of a new home.
3. PRICE YOUR HOME CORRECTLY - RIGHT FROM THE START!
We often plead with our clients - despite what your friends, family, and elder parents might advise you - today, do not "test the waters" with a higher than market price, thinking you can "always come down" in negotiation. Take a close look at the SOLD prices (not the ASKING prices) of comparable properties within a tight, three-month maximum time frame, and include the comparable data of houses in historically-more-expensive neighborhoods a little further away. Use these guidelines as your ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM PRICE. Depending on your timing, the condition of your home, and your specific needs, it might be prudent to set your asking price SOMEWHAT LOWER than these comparable properties, to ensure a faster sale, for close to your asking price. Remember, online, automated home pricing sites, often OVER ESTIMATE your value - without even seeing your house, and without experience or knowledge of your neighborhood! Follow the advice of your Real Estate Agent. Be open about your wants but also hear what he/she has to advise. Discuss fully and don't be afraid to ask your Agent questions.
4. STAGE YOUR HOUSE PROPERLY!
Home Staging involves preparing your house for sale so it creates an instant positive impression. It involves a number of steps. First, furniture must be selected and arranged to make the rooms appear big. Room lighting is CRITICAL - brightly-lit rooms appear much larger than those lit dimly. Also, TOOTHBRUSH CLEAN is an absolute imperative! There's also a saying that I have -- "If I can smell it, I cannot sell it". You do not want buyers to walk out of the home quickly because they feel that there was too much cleaning to be done. Always consider the cleanliness that you would like to see if you were looking at this home.
5. HAVE YOUR PROPERTY SHOWABLE AT ALL TIMES, AND WITH SHORT NOTICE!
Today, with scheduled showings fewer in number, and qualified home buyers at a premium, you will never know if that showing you refused because "you're tired," or "it's inconvenient" might have been the perfect buyer that you threw away. Use Secure Agent Lock Boxes, if your Real Estate Professional advises you to do so. Never allow anyone into your house for a viewing unless it was booked and confirmed through your broker's office.
6. NEVER REJECT AN OFFER TO PURCHASE - EVEN IF IT'S A LOWBALL!
Don't get me wrong - don't become a pushover. ALWAYS COUNTEROFFER EVERYTHING. Don't take low offers from any buyer personally! Remember, there is no sin in saving money, and buyers - perhaps even YOU, when you buy your next home - might be inclined to "test" with a low offer, while maintaining every intention to INCREASE THE OFFER if necessary. Even if your Real Estate Professional advises you to counter a low offer with one close to your asking price - COUNTER ALL OFFERS TO PURCHASE - NEVER REJECT OUT OF HAND! Never get angry. Stay patient.
7. LOWER YOUR PRICE QUICKLY, AND SYSTEMATICALLY, UNTIL YOU RECEIVE AN OFFER!
Every property, in any kind of market - weak or strong - will sell eventually, AT THE RIGHT PRICE! Often, however, it takes some time to find the correct price level. If there are no offers within the first TWO WEEKS your house is on the market, REDUCE YOUR ASKING PRICE A MINIMUM OF 3% until you receive an offer. Follow the advice of your real estate professional and continually discuss your situation openly and honestly. Continue this pricing strategy until the house goes under contract. Always maintain a "price lower, then stay FIRM," mentality - but, today, you often have to lower your asking price once or several times to sell your home. My advice: I would rather have you counter offer a lowball offer, than keep your price too high and receive no offers on your home at all!
8. FSBO - NO GO!
Are you considering selling by-owner? You'll save Real Estate Fees - yes? DEAD WRONG! In most cases, buyers looking at For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties offer far less on these homes than those represented by a Professional, Full-Service Realtor. (Figures from National Association of Realtors research indicate the typical by-owner seller NETS 16% less versus selling with a qualified Real Estate Professional - a figure greatly exceeding nearly EVERY agent's Professional Services Fee, or "Commission.")
FSBO Buyers want to save the same money YOU want to save by flying without Professional Realtor Help. They will offer less, and attempt to nickel-and-dime during Home Inspection periods. Many by-owner buyers delay closings, or raise final walk through issues. Also, in today's more stringent lending environment for home buyers, many FSBO Buyers have flaws in their credit credentials and pre-approval. This could doom a sale very close to the time of closing!
A FSBO Buyer or Seller does not have the negotiating skills that an experienced real estate professional has. We are able to coordinate finances, closings, legal issues, legal advice -- anything that involves the real estate deal -- and make sure that a deal does not go sour as the closing date comes around the corner.
9. GET YOUR HOME SOLD FIRST - THEN, START LOOKING FOR A NEW ONE!
Today, unfortunately, many of our seller clients are finding their ultimate sales price is often quite a bit lower than what they originally projected. If you purchase your new home FIRST, you are completing the move process IN REVERSE - you purchase your new place without knowing exactly how much you'll be walking away with on your old one. You do have another option -- when you make an offer, put the sign on your yard and list to sell. There are other options which I would be happy to discuss with you.
10. DON'T MAKE COSTLY, UNNECESSARY IMPROVEMENTS ON YOUR OLD HOME!
Over-improving a home for sale can get very costly, very quickly! You might feel you need to paint the whole house, or purchase new appliances, get new carpet, or update a bathroom. You may not have to go to this expense. There are alternatives. Yes, some repairs should be completed - a defective hot water heater need be replaced, a running toilet need be repaired, a leaky roof must be made leak-free. However, in most cases, costly pre-sale home improvements or extensive decorating is truly not necessary to sell! This is why I like to do a physical walk through your house so that I can advise you what needs to be done that requires the least amount of money. Also, it is one of the reasons that I advise on a home stager to come through and give suggestions.
To discuss any of the above issues in detail, or to get answers to any questions you might have, fill in the form with correct information and I will contact you. Remember, Experience is not expensive; it is Priceless!