Trying to sell your home by yourself is sheer madness. You need the expertise of a professional. The numbers also don’t lie – home sellers who try to do it themselves often end up taking longer to sell and sell for far less than homeowners who work with a agent. FSBO’s attract bargain hunters. Less than 8% of homes sold in the U.S. are sold by owners. In 2016 the average price of homes sold by agents was $230k compared to $180k for FSBO.
A surefire way to get less than the fair market value for your home is to overprice it in the beginning. It sounds contradictory, but it is true. There are several reasons for this. First, if your home is more expensive than the similar homes in the neighborhood, fewer buyers will choose to even look at it. Why would they waste their time? And the buyers that do decide to look at your home will likely use it for comparison, to justify their decision to purchase a different home. “See? A similar home but a lot more expensive. We should get the one we saw yesterday – it’s a bargain compared to this one.” Second, the longer your home remains unsold, the less interest it will generate among the buyers. Eventually, when it’s been on the market longer than the other similar homes, buyers will start to think that there is something wrong with it. And then you are faced with the real possibility of being forced to sell it for less than its real value. So make sure that your home is priced correctly from the beginning. This will save you time, aggravation, and money.
You will lose money if you don’t take care of repairs before the house goes on the market. It’s always going to cost you less out of pocket to fix things ahead of time, rather than have buyers see your house in disrepair. I promise they’ll offer less or ask for a credit back for the work that needs to be done before the deal closes.
Clutter eats equity and kills deals. One of the least expensive improvements you can make to your home is to de-clutter and create a sense of spaciousness throughout, from the kitchen counter-tops to the overstuffed closets to the trophy-lined shelves in the den. It costs you nothing to get rid of all that ‘stuff,’ yet it reaps big rewards.
This is my pet peeve. I can’t tell you how many awesome homes have horrible camera phone photos in their sale listings. Now, more than 90% of all buyers start their home search online, so you’d better make sure you and your agent nail your home’s close up! You won’t ever get a second chance to make the perfect first impression. Sadly there are many agents that still have not learned this and they make their living selling homes. I run across it everyday when reviewing new listings. Photos are important!
Prospective buyers might drive right past your home if its exterior doesn’t meet their expectations. Sprucing up can help entice them to look inside when they arrive for an open-house or private showing. Start with a fresh coat of exterior paint, clean-swept front porch, and well-maintained walkways. We recommend a neatly mowed front lawn and well-placed shrubs and flowers to enhance curb appeal.
Mistaking lookers for buyers is an error commonly made by those homeowners who try to sell their home themselves without a Realtor’s help. For-Sale-by-Owners (FSBO’s) actually do get more activity than homes listed by Realtors. This is mostly because a FSBO is often ready to show his home to anyone who expresses interest in it. And many times the unsuspecting seller will entertain offers from “buyers” who are not even qualified to purchase the home. But a good Realtor will only show your home to qualified buyers. And those are the people that are willing, able and ready to make the purchase. A qualified buyer is actively looking to purchase a home, has the down payment money ready, and most importantly has already been preapproved for the loan by their lender. When considering an offer from someone it is imperative that you verify that your buyer is indeed willing, able and ready to make the purchase. This will involve confirming with the lender your buyer’s approval status, making sure that the buyer’s employment, credit history and down payment money have all been confirmed by the lender. A good Realtor can certainly help you with this.
Once you’ve put your home on the market, you’ll have to try to cooperate when your agent wants to show it. That could mean scampering out at dinnertime for a private showing, or vacating for several hours—or most of the day—for a weekend open house. The goal is to accommodate as many buyers as possible, even if their timing is inconvenient. If your house isn’t easy to show, it won’t be easy to sell either. While interruptions and added weekend planning may feel inconvenient, just remember the end goal—a good return on your investment that can support your next move.
This mistake is often made by for-sale-by-owners and inexperienced real estate agents. Quick: what are the two best ways to market your home? If you answered newspaper ads and the open houses, you guessed wrong. But don’t despair, most people think that. The truth is that the newspaper ads are pretty ineffective at attracting qualified buyers, and the open houses invite more lookers than buyers. Any seasoned Realtor will tell you that there is actually no one best way to attract qualified buyers. Instead, an experienced agent will cast a wide net utilizing several marketing strategies. One of those strategies is listing the home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is the database of all homes offered for sale by all Realtors in the area, and is accessible only to Realtors. The agents with qualified buyers look through the MLS first to find a home for their clients. Advertising on the Internet is another effective way to give your home a wide exposure, since more and more buyers these days start their search there. And a good Realtor will also utilize brochures, flyers, newsletters, and network with other agents to find the buyer for your home. The important thing is to not rely on only one or two ways to market your home, but instead to give it a wide exposure through many different advertising channels.
As much as you may want to be completely hands-on in the sale of your home, it’s almost never a good idea to linger during showings or open houses. When the seller is present, it can create an awkward situation for potential buyers.
Buyers may feel they’re intruding on your home, which can make it even more difficult for them to imagine themselves living there. They may feel rushed or inhibited by the seller’s presence and may not take the extra time they need to go through the home at their own pace. In addition, buyers may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings about a property which can lead to frustration and inaccurate feedback.
Part of your emotional detachment from your home is recognizing that while you love Fluffy and your darling twins, buyers want to visualize themselves and their own family in your home. Bribe your kids if you have to, but make sure the house is neat and as neutral-looking and smelling as possible. Take the kids and your pets out (or lock up your pets) when prospective buyers are visiting: You never know if someone who is terrified of dogs or cats will be turned off from making an offer because of your adorable pet.
It’s a funny thing that in the real estate business a successful and experienced agent costs about the same as a part-timer with only a few transactions under his belt. And when it comes to selling your home, probably the most expensive thing you own, what kind of an agent do you want? Someone who knows how to attract qualified buyers. Someone who knows how to negotiate to get you the best price. Someone knowledgeable, who can guide you through the complexities of contracts and paperwork. Someone who will care about your transaction as his or her own. To find such an agent you may decide to interview several Realtors and quiz them a little bit. Is the agent a part-timer or committed to the real estate business full time? What kind of a track record does he or she have?
Can the agent provide you with references from happy past clients? Does the agent have a specific marketing plan on how to sell your home quickly and for top dollar? And there are a couple of questions you have to answer yourself: Do I feel comfortable working with this agent? Is this someone that will care about my transaction as if it were his or her own? Take the time to learn more about the agent you are considering. Since you are the one paying the commission, make sure that the Realtor you choose is the right one for you.
Some of the top real estate interview questions to consider asking include;
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