".....you have to sell your present home at exactly the right time in
order to avoid either the financial burden of owning two homes or, just as
bad, the dilemma of having no place to live during the gap between
Because your home may well be
your largest asset, selling it is probably one of the most important
decisions you will make in your life. To better understand the homeselling
process, a guide has been prepared from current industry insider reports.
Through these 27 tips you will discover how to protect and capitalize on
your most important investment, reduce stress, be in control of your
situation, and make the most profit possible.
1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your Home
Your motivation to sell is the
determining factor as to how you will approach the process. It affects
everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money
and effort you're willing to invest in order to prepare your home for
sale. For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would determine
one approach. If you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might
take longer thus determining a different approach.
2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to
The reason(s) you are selling
your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this to
yourself you don't provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. For
example, should they learn that you must move quickly, you could be placed
at a disadvantage in the negotiation process. When asked, simply say that
your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason( s) you are selling
is only for you to know .
3. Before Setting a Price - Do Your
When you set your price, you make
buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a
seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as
possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not
being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can
result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.
Setting Your Home's Sale Price
If You Live in a Subdivision - If
your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans, built in the
same period, simply look at recent sales in your neighborhood subdivision
to give you a good idea of what your home is worth.
If You Live in An Older
Neighborhood - As neighborhoods change over time each home may be
different in minor or substantial ways. Because of this you will probably
find that there aren't many homes truly comparable to your own. In this
case you may want to consider seeking a Realtor ® to help you with the
If You Decide to Sell On Your Own
- A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in
your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the
market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.
Also a trip to City Hall can provide you with home sale information in its
public records, for most communities.
4. Do Some "Home Shopping" Yourself
The best way to learn about your
competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open
houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and
other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices but what
they are actually selling for. Remember, if you're serious about getting
your home sold fast, don't price it higher than your neighbor's.
5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit
Sometimes a good appraisal can be
a benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to
let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an
appraisal does cost money, has a limited life, and there's no guarantee
you'll like the figure you hear.
6. Tax Assessments - What They Really Mean
Some people think that tax
assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty here is that
assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to
property values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home's true
7. Deciding Upon a Realtor ®
According to the National
Association of Realtors, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed who sell
their own homes say they wouldn't do it again themselves. Primary reasons
included setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and
time constraints. When deciding upon a Realtor ® , consider two or three.
Be as wary of quotes that are too low as those that are too high.
All Realtors ® are not the same!
A professional Realtor ® knows the market and has information on past
sales, current listings, a marketing plan, and will provide their
background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis
of their experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure
you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a
good job on your behalf.
If you choose to sell on your
own, you can still talk to a Realtor ® . Many are more than willing to
help do-it-your-selfers with paperwork, contracts, etc. and should
problems arise, you now have someone you can readily call upon.
8. Ensure You Have Room to Negotiate
Before settling on your asking
price make sure you leave yourself enough room in which to bargain. For
example, set your lowest and highest selling price. Then check your
priorities to know if you'll price high to maximize your profit or price
closer to market value if you want sell quickly.
9. Appearances Do Matter - Make them Count!
Appearance is so critical that it
would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and "feel"
of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other
factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell
even though you may have priced your home to sell.
10. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others
The biggest mistake you can make
at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don't be shy about
seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your
home's good points as well as bad. Fortunately, your Realtor ® will be
unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more
11. Get it Spic n' Span Clean and Fix
Everything, Even If It Seems Insignificant
Scrub, scour, tidy up,
straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks,
the light switch that doesn't work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom
mirror because these can be deal-killers and you'll never know what turns
buyers off. Remember, you're not just competing with other resale homes,
but brand-new ones as well.
12. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize
Themselves in Your Home
The last thing you want
prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be
intruding into someone's life. Avoid clutter such as too many
knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and
place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can
enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers
or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are great for tips.
13. Deal Killer Odors - Must Go!
You may not realize but odd
smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly.
If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they'll
start being aware of odors and seeing stains that may not even exist.
Don't leave any clues.
14. Be a Smart Seller - Disclose Everything
Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their
buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later
15. It's Better With More Prospects
When you maximize your home's
marketability, you will most likely attract more than one prospective
buyer. It is much better to have several buyers because they will compete
with each other; a single buyer will end up competing with you.
16. Keep Emotions in Check During
Let go of the emotion you've
invested in your home. Be detached, using a business-like manner in your
negotiations. You'll definitely have an advantage over those who get
caught up emotionally in the situation.
17. Learn Why Your Buyer is Motivated
The better you know your buyers
the better you can use the negotiation process to your advantage. This
allows you to control the pace and duration of the process.
As a rule, buyers are looking to
purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money.
Knowing what motivates them enables you to negotiate more effectively. For
example, does your buyer need to move quickly. Armed with this information
you are in a better position to bargain.
18. What the Buyer Can Really Pay
As soon as possible, try to learn
the amount of mortgage the buyer is qualified to carry and how much
his/her down payment is. If their offer is low, ask their Realtor ® about
the buyer's ability to pay what your home is worth.
19. When the Buyer Would Like to Close
Quite often, when buyers would
"like" to close is when they need to close. Knowledge of their deadlines
for completing negotiations again creates a negotiating advantage for you.
20. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home
Until You Sell Your Current Home
Beware of closing on your new
home while you're still making mortgage payments on the old one or you
might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for the first
deal that comes along.
21. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You
at a Disadvantage
It has been proven that it's more
difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it becomes forlorn
looking, forgotten, no longer an appealing sight. Buyers start getting the
message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell.
This could cost you thousands of dollars.
22. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage
Don't try to sell by a certain
date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in
23. A Low Offer - Don't Take It Personally
Invariably the initial offer is
below what both you and the buyer knows he'll pay for your property. Don't
be upset, evaluate the offer objectively. Ensure it spells out the
offering price, sufficient deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage
amount, a closing date and any special requests. This can simply provide a
starting point from which you can negotiate.
24. Turn That Low Offer Around
You can counter a low offer or
even an offer that's just under your asking price. This lets the buyer
know that the first offer isn't seen as being a serious one. Now you'll be
negotiating only with buyers with serious offers.
25. Maybe the Buyer's Not Qualified
If you feel an offer is
inadequate, now is the time to make sure the buyer is qualified to carry
the size of mortgage the deal requires. Inquire how they arrived at their
figure, and suggest they compare your price to the prices of homes for
sale in your neighborhood.
26. Ensure the Contract is Complete
To avoid problems, ensure that
all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of
sale. It should include such items as the date it was made, names of
parties involved, address of property being sold, purchase price, where
deposit monies will be held, date for loan approval, date and place of
closing, type of deed, including any contingencies that remain to be
settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale.
27. Resist Deviating From the Contract
For example, if the buyer
requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no. That you've been advised
against it. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling