And Why It’s More About You Rather Than Your House
There is a slew of information on the web regarding how to get your house ready for a sale. You may have read such blog posts with headlines like these: Five ways to improve curb appeal, three interior paint colors that sell most homes, fourteen staging tips, and so on. Such articles and blog posts litter the Internet and often give good advice. Sometimes though the advice amounts to just “meh”. Keep those for a rainy day back porch reading, but today you’re in for some useful info so take heed.
Instead of focusing on your home, I want to direct my attention to, well, YOU. You are the owner and you are in control of the sale process. Let’s start from the top.
1) Motivation. Identify your motivation. Why are you selling? People sell their homes for various reasons: expanding family – need more space, empty nest (less space), can’t afford payment or cost of living, upside down and can’t afford mortgage – have to short sale, relocation to another area and many more, practical and not.
- Have you discussed your reason for selling with your family or friends? Sometimes it’s helpful to hear feedback from people you trust.
- If you’re relocating, do you have to sell or can you rent out and generate income?
- If you can’t afford payment, have you looked into loan modification?
- If you need a bigger house, have you considered building an addition?
- If you’re going to short sale, where are you moving after the sale?
Knowing your motivation is important because if you don’t have a clear reason to sell and don’t have an idea of where you will be moving – you will not be ready to negotiate a sale. You will likely end up stressing yourself, as well as your agent.
On the other hand, if you know why you’re selling and have an objective in mind, let’s move onto the next step.
2) Plan of Action. What plan?! Moving your household can be a frustrating process, especially if you don’t plan well. So, when closing day comes and goes where are you going to spend the night after? Think of your home as “sold”, you’ve got an accepted contract, now what?
- Are you renting or buying after selling your home?
- Are your finances in order to qualify for a new mortgage?
- Should you look for a new house now or wait until all the inspections are done?
- What is the closing date and how much time do you have before you have to move out?
- Can you move into your new home as soon as you close or do you have to fix things or rent back to the seller for a while?
- If you needed to rent for a few months – then where?
3) Marketing Plan. Three options: sell it yourself, hire a discount Realtor or hire a full-service Realtor. A Realtor is a fancy name for a real estate licensee who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They adhere to a Code of Ethics and strive to provide a professional service void of any type of discrimination and unethical behavior.
- Sell it yourself. Most of us have had some sales experience whether it was selling lemonade, burgers, a car, etc. Selling your house could be the most expensive transaction in your life, but you can do it. Your paperwork should be processed through a title company but you personally will take care of marketing, showings, and negotiations on your own. You may need to hire a real estate attorney to draw up a sales contract. You will also have to determine if you are going to offer commissions to the agents of potential buyers or not. Typically, in Florida, it can be anywhere from 2% to 4%. You may request to only work with buyers directly or have buyers pay their agent on their own if they choose to have one. Your Web exposure will be limited since you will not be able to input your home info into MLS; however, websites such Zillow and Trulia are options.
- Hire a discount Realtor. For around $200 you can hire a broker to list your home in MLS. That’s about it. Of course MLS is a powerful tool and the info will go to multiple portals like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. and you will receive greater online exposure. This exposure will be even better if the broker pays for enhanced profiles and featured listing service online. Remember, you’re responsible for pictures, filling out MLS paperwork, brochures, mailings, showings, negotiations and a lot more. You will also need to offer a certain commission amount to the buyer’s agent. Bottom line: when you hire a discount broker you save on listing commissions but get to do all the selling work yourself.
- Hire a full service Realtor. Ready to trust a professional with the sale of your home? Not a bad option. Remember your listing agent will make around 3% (or full 6% if they directly bring you a buyer) so it’s no pocket change and you must know what service you are getting in exchange for this commission. I strongly suggest interviewing a few agents for the job of selling your home. Ask agents to show you their sales records. Consider what price range the agent works with most. How many sales did he/she have last year? Ask for a written and clearly defined marketing plan: will they provide brochures, will your home be professionally photographed, and will there be a video tour provided with a link to YouTube and a personal property Web address? Today’s agent must provide both traditional and new technology-era marketing approaches. Demand a high level of service for your money. Also, remember to be realistic about the asking price. If three agents give you the same price – they are probably right.
There’s a lot more involved in the marketing and sales process of your home. A good real estate agent will take care of your showings, perform an exceptional marketing campaign, generate qualified buyers, negotiate the contract with your best interest in mind, arrange inspections, appraisals, survey, repair estimates and bring you safely to a closing table. That’s not all. This agent will be there to help you transition to a new home will become your trusted real estate advisor for life.
Looking to learn more about your home value and local real estate market? Call us now: (727) 644-3370