What is the best way to determine how much my home is worth?
For many people, knowing how much their home is worth is the first and most important consideration when thinking about selling. You can hire a real estate appraiser to evaluate your home’s current market value for a fee or you can ask a knowledgeable local real estate agent to perform a market analysis for free. The Smiths’ as listing specialists often provide market analysis for local clients. We can help you determine how much your home would be likely to sell for and about how long it should take to sell.
What kinds of things can I do to sell my home for as much and as fast as possible?
There are many things you can do that are inexpensive, yet can have a big impact on how quickly and for how much your home sells. Enhancing your home’s curb appeal through adding plants and color to your front yard, touching up areas in need of new paint, de-cluttering rooms and closets, adding more lighting, and freshening up any musty or pet odors are a few things you can quickly and inexpensively do. For more ideas, please take a look at “10 ways to Sell Faster & For More Money”.
Should I start a little high to allow for some negotiating room in the price?
This is a topic that comes up often. In today’s market, it seems that many buyers are bargain hunting and looking to make offers below the asking price. In response many sellers feel it is wise to add a little to their asking price to allow room for a buyer to bargain. The trick is to do this very carefully. Pricing too high will lead to fewer showings and less interest in your home, which will ultimately lead to a longer time on the market and the potential of having to sell for less than you might otherwise. A small margin of negotiating room is probably prudent, but any more than 2-3% of the current market value will begin to hurt your chance of selling and send today’s value conscious buyers into the arms of your well-priced competition.
What are the pros and cons of trying to sell my home myself?
Most sellers have at one time asked themselves if they should try to sell their home on their own. How hard can it really be? The pros of trying to sell your home by yourself include a sense of control over every aspect of the marketing and offer negotiation, a savings of real estate commission that would be paid to a real estate agent, and the pride of being able to do something on your own. The cons of trying to sell your home by yourself include all of the work involved, typically a reduction in local and Internet marketing exposure, a reduction in other real estate agent exposure, the potential for buyers and real estate agents to shy away from your home due to lack of professional representation, the potential for loan and escrow hiccups due to a seller’s lack of experience with these areas, additional time on the market due to the lack of marketing exposure on MLS, and a sense of defeat if you are not able to accomplish the job on your own.
How secure is having a lockbox on my home and what are the advantages of having one?
Modern lockboxes operate by an infrared beam from a real estate agent’s lockbox key or Smartphone. These keys update on a daily basis for safety and require a special pin code to access lockboxes. Once an agent has accessed the lockbox, your listing agent can see their contact information and what day and time they were there. The lockboxes themselves are almost indestructible and they also require a special pin code to remove the lockbox from the property. The lockbox can even be programmed to allow access only during certain hours of your choosing. The advantages of having a lockbox are many, including an increase in showing flexibility and the ability for agents to bring their buyers to see your home while you are not there. Most sellers feel very comfortable with the security features of a lockbox and the advantages it can provide.
What are some fees I may encounter when selling my home?
Every situation and area will have different fees that are customary for a seller or buyer to pay. It will also depend on the offer and terms you negotiate with your buyer. But in general, here are some fees that you may expect to pay when selling your home. Prorated property taxes depending on the time of year you sell and if you’ve paid in advance, escrow fees, title policy fees for the title policy provided to the buyer, HOA disclosure and transfer fees, Green Valley Recreation fees, real estate commission, the payoff of any existing loans you have on the property, and any closing cost credits you may have agreed to contribute towards your buyers closing costs. The Smiths can provide some guidance prior to selling the home and at the time of your offer negotiation to make sure you are aware of what fees you will encounter.
How long of an escrow period should I expect?
This will depend on the type of offer terms you negotiate with your buyer, which will be dictated by each party’s needs and desires. If you have a buyer obtaining a loan your escrow period will typically take 30-45 days. If you have a cash buyer, your escrow period could be as short as 7-14 days. You will want to voice any concerns and needs you have to your real estate agent to be sure the terms you negotiate are acceptable for your situation.
It I receive an offer from a buyer obtaining a loan, how can I be sure they are qualified for their loan and what challenges might our escrow face?
When you receive an offer from a buyer working with a lender to obtain a home loan, you will typically receive a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter with the offer. This letter will be drafted by the buyer’s lender and should let you know they are qualified for the loan amount. One small but important distinction between the letters you may receive is the difference between a buyer who is pre-qualified and one who is pre-approved. Essentially, when a buyer is pre-qualified the lender has checked their credit and possibly their income and believes the buyer should be able to obtain a loan for the amount stated. When a buyer is pre-approved the lender has checked their credit, obtained documentation of their income and tax records and knows they can obtain a loan because they have the loan approval. This small distinction can be important when considering the strength of the offer you receive.
When a buyer is obtaining a loan, their lender will require an appraisal for your home. If the appraisal value comes in lower than the sales price you have negotiated, your buyer may not be obligated to purchase the home under your original terms and you may need to renegotiate your contract terms. Due to stricter loan guidelines and underwriting criteria, many loans are taking longer than normal to process which can lead to a delay in your closing date. Closings may be extended by a few days. Sellers should be prepared if this happens.