1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your Home
Your motivation to sell is what determines how you will approach the process, from what you set as your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you're willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale. For example, if your goal is a quick sale, you would take one approach. If you are not in a rush and want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer and require a different approach.
2. Keep the Reason You Are Selling to Yourself
The reason you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By not telling prospective buyers your reason, you don't give them any leverage. For example, should they learn that you are in a hurry to move, you could be placed at a disadvantage in the negotiation. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason you are selling is between you and your agent.
3. Before Setting a Price, Do Your Homework
When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As the seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to your asking price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents, but pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you could have. As your Realtor®, I can help you establish the best price based on recent comparable sales in your area. I also have a FREE tool that can give you an idea of prices on homes for sale and recently closed homes in your neighborhood. With our Market Snapshot tool, you input a bit of information and you are emailed an interactive neighborhood report.
4. Do Some "Home Shopping" Yourself
The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to look online for homes selling in your neighborhood as well as checking out open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and other features. Pay special attention not only the asking prices but to the actual sale price. Remember, if you're serious about getting your home sold fast, don't price it over market.
5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit
Sometimes a good appraisal can be a benefit in marketing your home especially if you have a unique home and there aren't any comps in the area to gauge the sales price. It can help you know exactly what your home is worth so its priced right from the beginning and you know what you can realistically negotiate with any potential buyers. Having an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home isn't overpriced for the market and they can get it financed. However, an appraisal does cost money, is only good for 6 months, and there’s no guarantee you’ll like what the appraiser tells you.
6. Tax Assessments - What They Really Mean
Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty here is that assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home's true value.
7. Deciding Upon a Realtor®
According to the National Association of Realtors®, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed who sell their own homes say they wouldn't do it again. The main reasons were setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints.
All Realtors® are not the same! A professional, knowledgeable Realtor® knows the market and has access to information on past sales, and current listings. They should have a solid marketing plan, and will provide homeowners with their background and references.
8. Appearances Do Matter, So Make Them Count!
A homes appearance is so critical to the sale that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and "feel" of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers respond to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell. They want move in ready homes, not projects.
9. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others
The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don't be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home's good and bad points. Your Realtor® will guide you as to what will make your home more marketable.
10. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your Home
The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they are intruding. Be sure and leave when you know you will be having a showing so they can feel comfortable discussing the home with their Realtor®. Also get rid of the clutter. Avoid too many Knick knacks. Buyers are buying the home, not your personal effects. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home décor magazines are great for tips. You can also hire a home stager to help you stage the home.
11. Deal Killer Odors Must Go!
You may not realize but odd smells like food, pets and tobacco smoke can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a pet, or that you smoke, they'll start smelling things and seeing stains that may not even be there. Don't leave any clues.
12. Be a Smart Seller - Disclose Everything
Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent lawsuits later on.
13. Keep Emotions in Check during Negotiations
Let go of the emotion you've invested in your home. Be detached, and adopt a businesslike manner in your negotiations. You'll definitely have an advantage over those who get emotionally caught up in the situation.
14. When the Buyer Would Like to Close
Quite often, when buyers "like" to close is when they “need” to close. Knowing their deadlines for completing negotiations again gives you the upper hand.
15. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home Until You Sell Your Current Home
Beware of closing on your new home while you're still making mortgage payments on the old one or you might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for the first deal that comes along.
16. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You at a Disadvantage
It has been proven that it's more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it looks abandoned, forgotten, and unappealing. Buyers get the message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.
17. Deadlines Create a Serious Disadvantage
Don't try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations.
18. Don't Take a Low Offer Personally
Invariably the initial offer for your property is below what you want and below what the buyer knows he'll pay. Don't be upset; be objective. Ensure the offer spells out the offering price, sufficient deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, a closing date and any special requests. This can simply provide a starting point from which you can negotiate.
19. Turn That Low Offer Around
You can counter a low offer or even an offer that’s just under your asking price. This lets the buyer know that the first offer isn’t being taken seriously. Now you’ll be negotiating only with buyers with serious offers.
20. Ensure the Contract is Complete
To avoid problems down the road, ensure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. It should include such items as the date it was signed names of parties involved, address of property being sold, purchase price, where deposit monies will be held, date for loan approval, date and place of closing, including any contingencies that remain to be settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale.
21. Don’t Deviate from the Contract
For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, say that you’ve been advised against it. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.
There are many facets to selling a home, these items are just a small amount that is required to successfully sell your home. You wouldn't go to court without a lawyer, so why sell your biggest investment without the help of a Realtor®? I've been selling in San Antonio for 24 years. Call or email me with any questions or if you would like to set an appointment to sell your home. If you would like to see “What your current home is Worth” click on the link to receive a FREE report on your homes current value. Then contact us at 210-826-3134 when you are ready to sell your home fast and for top dollar!