Sunday, March 2, 2014

10 Important questions every home seller should ask.

1. Should I get my home staged?
To correctly market and sell your home, you should start seeing things through the buyer’s eyes as they first walk into your listing.  Does it still look lived in?  Are personal affects everywhere?  Is it too cluttered and are design elements non-neutral or noticeable?  Studies show that by decluttering your home, removing most personal affects, and staging your home with furniture and artwork, it will sell faster and for more money.

2. What’s our marketing plan?
This is where the homeowner and real estate agent sit down to map out a comprehensive plan how to market and sell their home.  Just listing a home on the MLS isn’t enough – you both should be clear on what tactics and marketing efforts will be used to gain maximum exposure, bring potential buyers through the front door, and ultimately sell for the top dollar at the best terms.  Remember to ask about open houses, social media and online advertising, and setting up a schedule of future price reductions that follow a timeline.

3. Am I being realistic about pricing?  
Every seller wants more than their home is worth and every buyer wants to get it for less than it’s worth, but the price negotiation will probably end up somewhere in the middle.  Pricing a home should be based on logical data not emotion or personal beliefs, in the form of a detailed Comparable Market Analysis presented by the listing agent.  If you’re outside the bubble of realistic pricing and where the appraised value will come back you’re going to end up with a lot of frustration and wasted time, so ask questions to make sure the deal makes dollars and sense.

4. Is it more important for my home to sell quickly or for every dollar possible?
Of course we want the highest possible price for our home but we also want it to see quickly, not sitting on the market for month after month as other sell, possibly holding us back from finding our next dream home.  For that reason, buyers should understand that the higher the price, usually the longer it takes to sell (and the less interest and offers you’ll have.)  So think of the balance between price and timing like being on a seesaw, and the buyer should ask what’s the proper balance.

5. Is there anything that’s outdated or needs fixing or remodeling?
Doing some light cosmetic fixing and modernizing in your home before it goes up for sale can bring you far more dollars once the deal closes.  Painting and landscaping are the two most inexpensive ways of making your home stand out, and modernizing the kitchen and bathrooms, particularly with new fixtures and flooring really will catch a buyer’s eye.

6. Would I buy my house for this price?
That’s the ultimate questions, isn’t it?  Would you buy your home (or one like it) for the price you have it listed at?  If the answer is no, or if you even have to think about it for a while or hemm and haw, then you probably need to get realistic and readdress the pricing, condition, and marketing strategies.

7. What are the terms?
Too often when we get an offer on our home, we focus only on the price.  Bu the terms of the sale count, too – not just in closing an amicable transaction on time but the wrong terms can cost your money.  Ask your realtor to thoroughly cover timelines, contingency plans, and all the fine print of costs, inspections, etc.

8. Am I making it accessible enough for buyers?
If you really want to get your home sold, you’ll want to make sure potential buyers and buyer’s real estate agents have full access to your listing.  Ask your realtor if the listing is convenient enough for buyers to look through on short notice, or if an arduous process of limited showing hours and appointments will deter buyers – and lose you money.

9. How will the buyer’s pest, roof, and home inspections come out?
Of course getting an offer from the buyer and going into contract is just the start of the process to close the sale, so ask a few questions in anticipation of their inspections.  Buyers should always get home inspections and roof certification inspections, chimney inspections, etc. and a pest inspection is mandatory.  So if you know there will be issues that come during these inspections, think about making repairs and addressing them ahead of time.  That way it won’t slow down the sale – or lead the buyer looking to renegotiate the price.

10.  How soon am I ready to move and how flexible am I?
Once the buyers make an offer it sometimes dawns on the homeowner that a closed sale means they’ll have to move out in short time, usually about 30 or 45 days.  Be prepared for that day by starting to pack, organize all of your possessions, and possibly start moving furniture and boxes off sight to a storage unit ahead of time so you’ll have flexibility once you sign on the dotted line.

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