One of the goals of a real estate agent is to try to minimize the stress involved in selling your home.
I have received additional training on pricing strategies and on marketing strategies. Contact me to learn how I can help you.
Remodeling vs Selling In a buyer’s market, some folks will consider remodeling their home instead of selling it. You do not want to do anything that will not add value to your home. There are a couple of sites that can help you make the decision.
One site is a remodeling calculator where you submit the project and you will receive a report giving you approximate cost and a recommendation as to whether, moving or remodeling is more cost effective.
The other site is to a remodeling magazine that has a table showing how much of the cost of a remodel is usually recouped when selling.
If you decide to sell your home, this shouldn’t be a stressful ordeal. Making the smart move of choosing a REALTOR® is your first step to ensuring that your investment in your home pays off. My services and experience allow you to focus on your move while I manage your home sale from our initial consultation to the closing deal, and beyond.
I pride myself on repeat business and hope you’ll come to understand why.
Working with Agents In North Carolina, agent/brokers are required to explain to consumers how to work with a real estate agent. The Working with Agents brochure explains the various working relationships you could have with an agent. When you have an interview with an agent, he or she should discuss the brochure with you and get your signature indicating that you understand its contents.
Remember this is not a contract. You are not committing yourself to working with that agent. Basically, this is similar to the Miranda law where anything you say can be used against you unless you have signed an agreement with an agent. So be very careful what you say until you sign a listing agreement.
Preparing the home When putting your home on the market, you want it to look the best it possibly can be. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Please refer to the “getting the highest price ” section below to get information on staging your home and preparing it for market.
Averting problems One of the main causes that contracts will fall apart is due to disagreements over repairs after a home inspection has been performed. You can avoid this by getting a home inspection and making the required repairs before putting your home on the market.
Some of the advantages to this is being able to choose who you wish to make the repairs and when (saving money and aggravation), thus increasing your negotiating position and receiving a higher price for your home. At the same time you should also get a radon test done and install a remediation system if required.
To encourage you to obtain your inspections, I will reimburse you 50% of the cost of the inspection at closing.
Another strategy to relieve buyers’ concerns is to offer a home warranty. This is especially important for older homes with older appliances. The savvy buyer knows to ask for this, so you may as well offer one upfront. They cost about $550 depending on the size of the home and the amount of coverage. You do not pay for the policy until closing. One of the home warranty companies we work with will also cover the seller up to closing.
Communication is extremely important. Together we will determine the mode and frequency of communication…email, telephone, or text. I will keep you informed of developments in the market, as well as, updating you on the status of your home. I will not desert you!
Disclosure Please note that most states REQUIRE a home seller (including For Sale By Owners) to provide the buyer with some type of disclosure form. What might the seller have to disclose?
A Residential Property Disclosure Form requires the home seller to disclose facts about the home’s heating, wiring or plumbing systems, including any defects that may exist, such as leaks in the roof or cracks in the foundation. If something in your home is not working properly or needs repair, you will need to either fix it or disclose the material defect to the prospective buyer.
There are other disclosure forms, unique to each local area, that require sellers to disclose negative environmental factors or local building code issues. A lead-based paint disclosure form is required for homes built prior to 1978.
As part of your “real estate” education, you may want to look at the seller agreement and offer to purchase forms. I will go over these forms with you and answer your questions, but you may wish to study them first.
Don’t worry, I will not allow you to get lost in the paperwork!
What I will do for you
Tools for determining the market value of your home
Getting the highest price (staging articles)
Dealing with buyer objections: kitchens , bathrooms , odors and fresh air , floor coverings
4 minor modification that reap great benefits
Pricing articles including “The first offer is usually the best”
As Your Agent, I Will:
- Complete a comparative market analysis that will compare your home’s value to that of your neighbors.
- Compile a comprehensive plan detailing all the efforts I will employ to sell your home, including Internet and local media.
- Present your home to as many qualified buyers as possible getting your home maximum exposure.
- Help you stage your home and generate curb appeal to ensure you get the highest price.
- Assist with obtaining offers and help you in negotiating the best deal as smoothly as possible.
- Help you find your next home and answer all of your questions about the local market area, including schools, neighborhoods, the local economy, and more.
- Contact me to learn what other services I provide.
Tools for Determining the Market Value of Your Home
It is essential to list your home at the right price and it is important to get it right the first time. The pricing of a house is a major component in ensuring that your home sells quickly. There are several ways to determine the market value of your home, including an Automated Valuation Model, Comparable Market Analysis and Appraisal.
An Automated Valuation Model is an electronic appraiser that provides a Homes Sales Valuation Report by entering your property address (this is what you see in Zillow) . This method would work okay if there are a lot of sales in a large neighborhood of comparable homes. However, in this area you can have small homes next to very expensive homes so the electronic value can be meaningless. A Comparable Market Analysis is generated by your local real estate agent by comparing prices of similar properties in your area that have recently sold, are currently on-the-market or were taken off the market unsold. Unlike a Comparable Market Analysis, which is often obtained at no cost, an Appraisal is completed by a professional appraiser specifically for your home and costs between $200 and $300 if it is not for a bank. Remember the price range obtained using these methods is a snapshot at that period of time.
After inspection, the appraiser will determine the value of your home based on its condition, location and a Comparable Market Analysis of sold properties in your area.
Methods of Setting the Price:
- Abandon your Personal Bias.
In order to determine the market value of your home, you must objectively establish what someone else would pay for your house.
This means setting aside your emotional attachment to the many wonderful memories you have shared in your home. Some things to consider when determining the price of your home: total square footage, floor plan, construction quality, condition, amenities, lot size, topography, view, landscaping and neighborhood.
- Educate Yourself.
Visit local open houses and compare the location, condition, size and amenities of these houses to your own as objectively as possible. If your house is located in a neighborhood that is highly in demand, you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area. A house that has been well-maintained will show better and, therefore, is likely to sell more promptly and for a higher price than one that needs work. When a house offers amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it will invite a higher price.
- Calculate the Price per Square Foot.
Using homes from the Comparable Market Analysis, divide the list price by the total square footage. This will establish a baseline value per square foot of homes in your area. Multiply this number by the total square footage of your house and adjust based on amenities.
- Consider Market Conditions.
How is the economy? Interest rates? Local job market? What season is it? Homes tend to sell more quickly in the Spring and Summer months than in the Winter because people prefer to move during the longer warmer days and between school years. Are prices of homes in your neighborhood on the rise? Are they selling quickly? Check your Comparative Market Analysis to determine the Days on the Market for each comparable house sold. When real estate is booming, houses may sell in a few days. Ask your local real estate agent if it is a buyer’s or seller’s market. The Unsold Inventory Index, which indicates the pace of the market, is calculated by measuring how long it would take for all the homes currently on the market to be sold at the current rate of sales. A smaller index signifies a seller’s market, whereas a higher index suggests a buyer’s market. The Price Discount is the percentage difference between the seller’s initial asking price and what the house actually sold for. A small percentage means the market favors sellers, while a large average discount signals a buyer’s market.
- Offer Incentives.
Be creative and flexible in meeting the buyer’s needs. For example, you might propose paying the buyer’s closing costs to seal the deal. Cash incentives will help first-time buyers who need assistance with their down payment.
Here is a good article [secret to pricing your home to sell] about pricing your home to sell.
What are homes selling for on your street or in the neighborhood in which you are interested in purchasing? Call me today at 828-553-9019 to find out what neighborhood homes are selling for, free of charge, with no obligation whatsoever.
Getting the Highest Price for Your Home
Curb appeal is key and could make a difference whether people stop and take a look, check out your listing on my website from the hanger on your yard sign, call me from their cell or when they get home, or drive right by. There are many ways to increase the curb appeal of your home: tidy up the entrance, yard area, spruce up the landscaping, all to make it more invitingto a potential buyer.
Staging your home is important. Many buyers will stay in your home longer if it’s staged appropriately. I have compiled some ideas to present your home in the most effective manner. On the home page of this website is a link to some excellent videos on the topic. Below are additional articles and tips concerning preparing the home for market.
Removing the Seven Most Deadly Common Buyer Objections
by Jim Remley, Pro Performer Seminars
- Horribilize – it’s not really a word but it’s exactly what many buyers do when they walk through a home for the first time. They look for the negatives, the reasons they can eliminate a home from consideration. Even the smallest flaw in your listing can be seen as a much bigger problem that what it really is. A classic example of this is a ceiling stain. Countless times over the years as I’ve walked a buyer through a home they have looked up and noticed a stain on the ceiling. Inevitably they will point up and say something to the effect of “Uh-oh, look at that.” Translated, “Scratch this home off the list.”Now a ceiling stain is definitely something to be concerned with as it might indicate that the roof is leaking, or the gutter system is failing, but in the vast majority of these cases what has happened is that there was a previous problem that has since been fixed. The problem is the homeowner didn’t take the next step and repair or repaint the ceiling. To be clear this is not a matter of hiding a problem as most states require that homeowners disclose any known defects in a home with a standard disclosure statement. Instead this boils down to a buyer’s overzealous imagination. Once they see that stain, they picture the whole attic full of water, a gaping hole in the center of the roof, and rain clouds on the horizon.
- Buyers horriblize problems. Now it might be natural to think that a real estate agents job is to convince a buyer to overlook these small flaws. Wrong. A listing agent’s job is to expose a home to the maximum number of buyers through marketing and promotion, and one inescapable truth in marketing is that top condition equals top dollar, and less than top condition equals less than top dollar.When a home has flaws one of two things has to happen – either the sellers will have to pay a buyer to ignore them by reducing their price or the seller will have to fix them. So what areas of a home are buyers most concerned with? Let’s take a look at the seven most deadly buyer objections. (Don’t be alarmed you might notice that the intended reader is actually the homeowner – I stole these recommendations from my new book Sell Your Home in Any Market – 50 Surprisingly Simple Strategies to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar! )
- Ceiling Stains Since we already cracked the shell on this rotten egg let’s deal with it first. If your home has any roof leaks, seeping around vents, chimneys, or additions, or if your home’s gutter system is blocked or failing, these items must be fixed in order to secure top dollar. If you don’t happen to be a licensed roofing contractor, it may be wise to have the work done by someone who can provide a certification that the work was done to local building code standards.But as important as fixing the source of the problem is repairing any damage done inside of the home is just as important. These repairs could include new sheet rock, wood paneling, paint or wallpaper. Just be sure your repair fully matches the rest of the homes finish.
- Kitchens The kitchen is the center point of most homes, the hub around which the family wheel spins. It’s no wonder then that a kitchen can make or break a home sale. While a buyer may be willing to overlook a small bedroom, or a missing closet, if a kitchen does not measure up to a buyers standards all bets are off. To improve your kitchen you may want to follow the advice of home improvement experts by looking at these top five ideas:
|Top Five Kitchen Improvements Sinks and Faucets – Even the best quality sinks, and faucets can get beaten up over time. When it’s time to sell it’s a good idea to, at the very least, clean the faucets, re-caulk the sink, and if your sink is chipped take a trip to Home Depot for a low cost fix. If your sink or faucet is beyond repair it may be a great time to upgrade to a more modern sink system.Appliance Upgrade – Although not cheap, new or updated appliances can excite a buyer who may be leaving older appliances. In addition matching the appliances by color will provide continuity to the kitchen. Obviously small home appliances that are rarely used but take up counter space like bread makers and toaster ovens should be packed and stored.
New or Refaced Cabinets – When selling many homeowners make the choice to invest in new cabinets or opt for the less expensive option of re-facing older cabinets. Re-facing cabinets means that you leave the cabinets in place but add a new veneer to the exterior. Can’t decide what to do – replace or reface? Visit www.thisoldhouse.com for ways to make your decision easier.
New Lighting – According to www.homefocused.com – “Bright, airy lighting makes working in the kitchen easier. Fluorescent lighting on the ceiling provides a bright, but soft light. Fluorescent lighting can also be installed under cabinets for task lighting, throwing light directly onto the countertop below them.”
New Counter Tops – A kitchen counter is the face of your kitchen, sure you can have the best cabinets, appliances, lighting, flooring, and paint but if the counter top doesn’t hit a home run your still three bases short of a win. The counter top ties every piece of your kitchen together. Ask yourself – Do my counter tops live up to the rest of the kitchen, if not consider an upgrade. Also don’t forget the back splash, a worn out back splash can make even the best counter tops seems dull or dated.
If you have the notion of going big by completely remodeling your kitchen, or perhaps building a new home from scratch to resell check out the top items buyers are looking for in a new kitchen.
- Upper End Appliances 65%
- Increased Pantry Space 64%
- Renewable Flooring 53%
- Wine Refrigerators/Storage 53%
- Integration with Living Space 53%
- Recycling Center 48%
- Bathrooms Your bathroom is about to have a top to bottom inspection so be sure to re-caulk around the tub and toilet, replace rusted or worn out fixtures, and remove all of the unnecessary items taking up space on the counter. The tub and shower are of critical concern, if they are chipped or damaged cancel your golf game and head down to your nearest hardware store. Buyers also hate to see leaking faucets, or drains that don’t, you know drain, and don’t be surprised if they flush the toilet to watch how fast the bowl refills. If you plan to remodel or add a bathroom to your home check out this list of what home buyers want in a new bathroom:
- Radiant Heated Floors 62%
- Multi-Head Showers 62%
- Accessibility/Universal Design 48%
- Door-less Showers 47%
- Linen Closet Storage 36%
- ** Based on American Institute of Architects Poll Smells. If you are a smoker, who actually smokes in your home, be warned your home could take a lot longer to sell. Why? Only 25% of the American population smokes and of that group a big percentage don’t smoke in their homes.Of course smells can come from other sources as well – cooking odors, oven fires, trash or compost, and one of the worst animal odors. To remove smells from your home take a look at these tips from home cleaning expert Linda Miller of Hermiston, OR.
|Ten Ways to Breathe Easier
4 Minor Improvements That Bring Big Results
Sellers who refuse to make minor repairs are likely to pay dearly for their stubbornness, says Sid Davis, author of the book Home Makeovers That Sell (AMACOM).
Here are some of Davis’ suggestions for sellers who want to get the most out of the deal.
- Start with the kitchen; it’s the most important room in the house for most buyers. Refacing the cabinets or sanding them and painting them white is often a worthwhile undertaking. If the flooring is in poor condition, replace that too.
- Update the bath. While paint and flooring help here too, sellers may find spending $200 to replace the mirror and vanity set will net them the greatest payoff.
- Clean the laundry room. Hire a carpenter to install built-in shelving and repaint and replace worn flooring. Upgrade the light fixtures.
- Scrub, scrub, scrub. Squeaky clean wows buyers, Davis says. “If people think a home is super neat, they’ll give the seller the benefit of the doubt. If it’s dirty, they’ll assume it’s ridden with hidden defects,” he says.
Source: The Miami Herald, Ellen James Martin
|The Secret to Pricing Your Home to Sell by Jim Remley, Pro Performer SeminarsReprint from Broker Agent News|
|Contrary to popular belief, when selling your home its value is determined by one thing and one thing only – what a qualified buyer is willing to pay for it. No more and no less. Sure, many sellers will argue that their home has an insurance replacement value, or an appraised value, or a tax assessed value, but unless your insurance agent, your banker, or your tax assessor is willing to write you a check for the home – guess what? None of that matters.A home without a buyer has no value in the market place. Sure it might have a value to you the seller, and it might have a value to your banker, and to your insurance agent, and to your appraiser.But none of these people are buyers.So here is the secret to pricing your home to sell – It’s not what you think the home is worth that matters, it’s what a reasonable buyer will think your home is worth that will ultimately determine if your home will sell.Now you maybe thinking – Hey wait, if I left it up to a buyer, they would pay me as little as possible for my home.True, they would. But in the real world every buyer knows that you, the seller, have no obligation to sell your home at any price. To purchase your home the buyer will have to make you an offer you can’t or won’t refuse. One that will motivate you to pack up your Ken and Barbie collection, hire a local mover, and wave good bye to a home full of memories.
But here-in lies the trap that many sellers fall into (myself included), which is the mistaken idea that we can hold out for an inflated price and eventually the market will come to us. Wrong! Buyers are under no obligation to buy any particular home, and no amount of marketing, open houses, websites, or signage will motivate a buyer to purchase an overpriced home. Why? Because they can buy one of your neighbors homes for less! This reveals one of the most important considerations in pricing your home – Price VS Time.Understanding Price VS Time
The age old dilemma that has faced buyers and sellers since the dawn of private property rights is a simple question: What is more important price or time? Believe it or not this conundrum underlies and controls every sellers decision to sell, and every buyers need to complete a purchase. For sellers this boils down to the need to sell within a set time frame or instead to hold out for the best possible price, and as you might guess, for buyers it’s the need to buy within a set time frame or to purchase a home for the lowest possible price.
A seller who would like to sell for top dollar should be prepared to potentially wait longer for a buyer willing to pay a premium price. Like trying to sell ice during December, a seller might have to give the stuff away just to get rid of it, but if they wait long enough, say until mid-August when temperatures crest over 100 degrees suddenly that same ice can have real value. On the flip side, a seller who needs to sell quickly, and doesn’t have time to wait, should expect to discount their price somewhat because of the limited time they have to expose their home to the market.
What’s the difference? Timing!
Buyers are in the same boat. A buyer who has the luxury of shopping for a home over a long period of time can probably wait to find a bargain, while another buyer who must buy a home in the next few weeks will probably be willing to pay a premium. Again it boils down to price vs time. So you might ask yourself what is your highest priority – Selling quickly or selling for a higher price?
To be honest when I pose this question to my own clients they often smile coyly and then answer – I want both! The funny thing is that they aren’t kidding! This sticky situation often reminds me of one of my first jobs after graduating high school, which was working graveyard at a local lumber mill. Like clock work every night, the foreman would come by to monitor my production.
We called him Perry, which could have been his last name or his first name because he never clarified it. Over the roar of the machinery Perry would cup his hands together and yell “You need to put out more wood!” Finally after an especially tough day, I looked him back in the eye, and yelled back “Do you want quantity or quality?” Throwing his yellow hard hat down on the concrete floor and then kicking it for emphasis he snarled back “I want both!”
Like Perry, most of my clients want their cake with the icing generously slathered on top. Because of this, many homeowners will attempt to put the responsibility of getting both top dollar and fast sale on the back of their hired gun, the real estate agent. The result can be summed up in one word – frustration. Why? Because no matter how much a seller yells, screams, and kicks a real estate agent, they don’t do miracles.
This is why successful sellers understand that while a real estate agents job is to provide marketing, expert advice, and negotiating services, in the end they don’t own the property. They don’t make the final decisions on pricing. The seller does, and ultimately the seller’s asking price will in large part determine how slowly or quickly the home will sell.
To frame this discussion in a different way, consider what you will do should you arrive luggage in hand at the end of your listing period and the home has not yet sold. At that point are you more likely to give it a little more time or adjust your price? I know – Neither, I’ll just fire the agent! To be honest, this is exactly what many sellers’ do, they fire their agent and reboot the marketing.
Does it work? Sometimes it does, but often these sellers end up three months later in the same slow boat to nowhere. Successful sellers on the other hand take ownership of their pricing decisions by making a clear decision about which is more important to them, selling quickly or selling for top dollar.
Successful sellers have learned that to price their home accurately means they need to think like a buyer, they need to get inside a buyers skin and look at the world through a buyers eyes. For instance, imagine for a minute that you are moving to another area of the country, to a city that you are completely unfamiliar with. If you were faced with buying a home in strange city what would be your first step?
If you’re like most buyers you would probably start online by viewing listings at websites like www.realtor.com or www.yahoo.com/realestate to get a general feel for local home prices. Next you might narrow your search down to a specific community or neighborhood by comparing utility costs, school reports, and crime statistics with other online tools like www.homefair.com or www.neigborhoodscout.com. Feeling good about your findings you might then venture out into the real world to begin viewing homes in person.
As a typical internet empowered real estate buyer you will look at an average of nine homes over eight weeks with the assistance of a real estate professional. By the end of your journey, like many buyers, you become so knowledgeable about the market that by the last showing you are able to guess, with reasonable accuracy, each homes listing price before your agent can even tell you.
So what happened here? As a buyer you went from a blank slate, with no impression of the market to having the ability to predict listing prices. A big leap sure, but this description is exactly what most buyers’ experience. But this is only the build up, the next step for buyers who have found their dream home is to review a Comparative Market Analysis.
A Comparative Market Analysis is a report that compares a specific home, often called the “subject home” with other homes in a specific neighborhood. This analysis is then used to provide an anticipated sales price or price range for the subject property. Although not formally called an appraisal, the report provides a similar function by giving home buyers and home sellers a clear understanding of the market data that might affect their opinion of value. To learn more about using a CMA to help price your home talk to your local REALTOR®.
Note: In addition to the items mentioned in the following article, you need to consider the number of similarly-priced homes in your area and how many of these are selling each month. If there are a lot of homes on the market and sales are slow, it becomes critical to price aggressively and to find ways to make your property stand out from the crowd. Also remember that home value estimates found on various websites consider all homes that closed including foreclosures which are pushing down home prices.
Why Your First Offer is Usually Your Best Offer
There’s an old real estate rule of thumb that the first offer you receive is usually the best one. I’ve run into this with several listings where the seller received an offer early on, made a stiff counteroffer back to the buyer and the buyer headed for the hills. In some cases, as much as 24 months and several price reductions later, another offer finally came in only to be significantly lower than the first buyers’ offer.
While your first offer may not be what you were hoping for, it is a good idea to consider several things when choosing how to respond to that offer. Length of time on the market, time of year, initial asking price compared to the price recommended by your agent, and current competition should all be taken into account when determining whether to accept, reject or counter the first offer you receive.
It may be tempting to hold out for a better price, especially in the first few weeks that your home is on the market when there is a high volume of showing activity. However, that activity typically wanes after about three weeks, at which point the buyers who have been waiting for “just the right house” will have already considered your property. Buyers rush to see new listings, and if it’s the best thing they have seen they will probably make an offer.
Most of these buyers have been at it for a long time and know the values very well, in some cases understanding market realities in their price range even better than realtors who have been tracking a broad market. Therefore, an offer received in the first few weeks on the market is probably appropriate to current conditions and worth serious consideration. Comparing the offer to your realtor’s initial price recommendations can help you decide what action to take.
After the first several weeks, the activity that remains is buyers just entering the market. Since they are at the beginning of their house hunting, they generally have more time to look and are less motivated to act quickly. They are less educated about the market than those who have been shopping for a long time and will err on the side of caution when making their offers, especially in a buyer’s market. Consequently, offers will more likely be lower than early on.
Time on the market erodes value as well. The longer a house is listed for sale, the less interested buyers and Realtors are in the property. People will begin to wonder what is wrong with the property, and even if they like it will offer a lower price so they won’t lose money if they end up having to sell.
Be sure to consider the opportunity costs. While your first offer may be lower than you had hoped, every month you keep the property is another month you must pay mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance for a home you are hoping to leave. These costs can add up quickly and end up costing you more in the long run.
Time of year is another factor that can affect the offer. Your offer in March or April will most likely be much higher than in September or October. Sellers who were optimistic in the spring will be lowering their prices quickly to try and sell.
The bottom line is that you are never in a better position to get the best price for your home than when it is fresh on the market. Even if the offer and subsequent negotiations are less than you are hoping for, don’t kick yourself months or even years later wishing you had taken the offer. That real estate rule of thumb stays true: your first offer is usually your best.
Shawn Buryska is a real estate agent, providing Rochester, MN MLS Listings, and specializing in listing your home for sale in Minnesota.
Closing Costs to Expect:
- Documentation preparation fees for the attorney to prepare the deed.
- Broker’s commission is a full-service fee and will cost anywhere between 5% to 7%.
- State Excise Tax/Revenue Stamps are the charges that you’ll pay for the privilege of selling your home. The tax is $1 per $500 of the sales price. Credit to the buyer of unpaid real estate taxes for the prior or current year are variable and depend on when you close and when your taxes are due.
- FHA fees and costs are all fees are now negotiable between an FHA buyer and seller.
- Home inspections fees are in some circumstances paid for by the seller and include pest, radon and other inspections.
- Miscellaneous fees can accrue from correcting problems noticed during the home inspection. You will usually see the cost for a Home Warranty policy here as well.