Frequently Asked Questions
“Flexibility is the Key to a Quick Sale!”
Q. When is the best time to sell a home?
A. The best time to sell is when you are ready, or when you must. That is, when you have outgrown the space in your current home, or you prefer to trade down to something smaller. Perhaps your martial status has changed, which necessitates a move, or you need to relocate for a job. Market conditions also play a role, as do seasonal conditions. For example, your chances of getting top dollar for your home are more likely in a seller?s market, when demand outweighs supply, than in a buyer’s market. Local and national economic factors also may dictate when to sell. If a major employer in your area is laying off workers, it may not be a good time to put your home up for sale. People will be cautious about buying when the future seems so unpredictable or bleak. Most agents agree the best time to sell is in the spring. This is when the largest number of potential buyers hit the market. Your home is likely to sell faster and at a higher price, although sales begin to pick up as early as February and start to slack off in July, the slowest month for real estate transactions.
Q. Should I sell my home first or wait until I have bought another home?
A. This is a tough decision, but the answer will depend on your personal situation, as well as the condition of the local housing market. If you put your home on the market first, you may have to scramble to find another one before settlement, which could cause you to buy a home that does not meet all your requirements. If you cannot find another home, you may need to move twice, temporarily staying with relatives or in a hotel. On the other hand, if you make an offer to buy first, you may be tempted to sell your existing home quickly, even at a lower price. The advantage of buying first is you can shop carefully for the right home and feel comfortable with your decision before putting the existing home on the market. On the flip side, the advantage of selling your existing home first is that it maximizes your negotiating position because you are under no pressure to sell quickly.
Q. Are there any tips for selling a vacant home?
A. Yes. Once furniture is removed from the home, you will notice all kinds of imperfections you never paid attention to before ? rips in the carpet, holes in the walls, and dinginess. In an empty house, everything stands out. What you see is what potential buyers will also see. So you may need to paint, tear up old carpet, and replace the kitchen floor. Pay special attention to maintenance. Someone will need to dust and vacuum, leaves will need to be raked, and the grass cut. In the winter, consider having the heating system shut down and drained to save money. But keep the electricity running because lights will be needed to show the house. Watch out for that musty smell, particularly during the summer months, that settles in from having the windows sealed and locked. And beware of pests such as mice, squirrels, ants and bats.
Q. How can I get a quick sale in a slow market?
A. One of the most important things to consider is price. You may want to reduce the price of your home or, at the very beginning, set it at a low price that will generate more buyer interest. Cash is often an incentive, both for the buyer as well as the agent. You could offer the buyer a $1,000 to $2,000 decorating rebate upon closing the deal. It is also not uncommon to offer the selling agent a $500 bonus. However, some brokers ? who supervise agents and run real estate offices ? may prohibit such incentives, as do some Realtor boards. Check to find out. Other common incentives: paying for the property inspection and warranty policy and getting your home preliminarily approved for FHA and VA loans, thereby making it more attractive to a larger number of buyers.
Q. What are some costs associated with selling my home?
A. Besides the costs related to making repairs and improving the overall appearance of the home, as the seller you will also need to pay attention to things such as: A real estate commission, attorney & closing costs, title insurance, pro-rated costs for annual expenses such as property taxes & homeowner association fees, any other fees normally paid by sellers in your area, including points, survey, and appraisal fees.
To get a better handle on all costs, ask a real estate agent. Agents deal with this information daily and can give you a pretty good estimate of the closing costs you can expect to pay.
Q. Do I need an attorney to sell my home?
A. Although most sellers can handle routine real estate purchase contracts, some experts say it is a good idea to be represented by an attorney, particularly if you are selling on your own. You should choose one with expertise in real estate transactions. Before hiring someone discuss all the details of the transaction, including all legal costs you will incur. A good attorney will assist you in completing the deal swiftly and with confidence.
Q. Why shouldn’t I price my home to high?
A. A home has the most activity within the first weeks that it is on the market. If your home is overpriced it will compare with homes on a higher price level that are usually bigger, newer or has more features.