BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
If you have decided to sell your home and it’s going on the market, you may have mixed feelings. It’s not unusual to feel stressed, nervous, and excited about listing your house — all at the same time.
The selling process might create anxiety and worry about what is to come because you have little or no control over the market. Fortunately, you can do things that will put your mind at ease and ensure your home gets noticed and sells quickly.
Before you list your property for sale, consider the following:
Hire a Selling Agent
The best option for selling your home is to hire an experienced listing agent. A selling or listing agent is one that represents the homeowner in all sales negotiations. Their expertise is in properly marketing the property to potential buyers, and preparing the seller with information about the process.
Spread the Word
Even if your property has not hit the market yet, that doesn’t mean you cannot start creating awareness about the ‘for sale’ status. The more interested individuals you can get before the house gets into the market, the higher the chances of you selling quickly. Let friends and family know that you plan to sell and give them your agent’s information to share.
Clean Out Your Excess
Just before you list your home, clean up and get rid of unwanted stuff. Getting your things organized, aside from making moving day easier for you, also declutters your home. Fewer personal items in the home allows buyers to see themselves occupying the property. Find a place to store family photos and heirlooms, important documents, and other items you need to protect when your home is open for buyers to view.
An excellent way to get buyers interested in your property is to accentuate its best features, which is part of the staging process. Staging is an essential part of the house selling process and one you should not ignore. Allow your agent to offer suggestions about what furniture should remain and what to put in storage during the selling period.
Plan for Your Pets
It can be stressful to have pets around when your home showing begins. Before your home is listed, have a plan for occupying your pets during a home showing. It could be helpful to find a local pet sitter or friend that can take your fur-buddy when your agent calls.
Set Expectations with Your Realtor
Before your property goes live, you should speak to your realtor about any expectations you might have concerning the home selling process. You should also ask questions about what to expect and inform your realtor if you have rules for buyers and their agents when they come to look at your property.
Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Putting effort into the exterior of your home goes a long way to create a great first impression. After staging the interior of your home, spend some time on the exterior. Great curb appeal can decrease the time it takes your property to leave the market. Your agent can suggest curb appeal options that are trending in your selling market, seek their advice as you plan for improvements.
The period before listing your home is the time for you to get organized. As soon as your house gets into the market, you might be too busy to get things fixed. Let your agent guide you on the best use of your pre-selling efforts.
When you’re buying or selling a home, you may hear the terms, “assessed value” and “market value.” There are few things that you should know about these terms. First, they cannot be used interchangeably. The assessed value is generally much less than the market value. If you’re buying a home, you probably would rather see the assessed value of the home as a price! If you’re selling, the same holds true for the market value of the home for you.
Market Value Is Used Differently Than Assessed Value
The market value is how much your home is worth on the market currently. The definition is exactly as the term sounds the home is looked at by an assessor and given a value. The assessed value is used to determine property taxes, among other things. As you can imagine, the assessed value can become a point of contention for many homeowners especially when it comes to paying their tax bills. Many homes end up being assessed at a higher price than their current value, bringing tax bills to higher levels. The market value is what the home will sell for when it is listed for sale.
Be careful when searching for a home to buy. Many sites list the assessed value along with the price of the home or estimated market value of the home. You don’t want to get these numbers confused when budgeting and searching for the perfect house.
If you’re getting ready to sell your home, pay little attention to the assessed value of the home. That is not what your home will sell for.
The market value is a good reason to hire a realtor to help you sell your home. Realtors are experts in finding the market values of homes. They will even do something called a CMA (comparative market analysis) for you to help you determine the right price for your home to sell at. This is where comparable properties in the area are examined for their selling prices and all the perks of your home and neighborhood are considered. The market value is determined by the price of the homes that have recently been sold in the area based on the location of the home and how close it is to certain amenities like schools, parks, and the probability of future construction.
Finally, know that the market value and the appraised value of a home have a lot to do with how much a lender will give you to buy the property. Every home that is being bought must go through an appraisal, to protect the lender from overpaying for a home.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, knowing your value terms can really be a help in understanding the sweet spot for pricing a property
Finding the right vacation house is rarely simple. Dozens of quality vacation residences are available in cities and towns nationwide. Yet if you make even a single mistake during your search for the ideal vacation residence, you risk making a poor property buying decision.
As you get set to begin a search for a vacation home, there are many things you can do to boost the likelihood of finding a residence that matches your needs. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you conduct a comprehensive – and successful – vacation home search:
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
Prior to launching a search for a vacation house, consider the features you want in your dream residence. Then you can hone your search for vacation homes that fall in line with your expectations.
Crafting a list of vacation home must-haves usually is a good idea. This list can focus on distinct features you want to find inside your home – from a modern, state-of-the-art kitchen to a spacious master bedroom. It also can focus on home exterior features like a beautiful front yard or a large driveway.
2. Determine Your Preferred Cities and Towns
Once you know what you want to find in your ideal vacation residence, make a list of preferred cities and towns. With this list in hand, you can focus exclusively on vacation houses in cities and towns you know you will enjoy.
Before you craft a list of preferred cities and towns for your vacation home search, it is important to remember that house prices vary nationwide. Thus, it often helps to take a look at home prices in various cities and towns. This will give you an idea about the average price range for houses in different areas.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to streamline your search for a vacation home, it typically helps to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support as you navigate each stage of the vacation homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to share his or her housing market knowledge with you. First, he or she will learn about you and your vacation homebuying goals. A real estate agent next will craft a custom strategy designed to help you achieve your homebuying goals as quickly as possible. Finally, you and your real estate agent can put this plan into action.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when a homebuyer is ready to submit an offer to purchase a vacation house, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help a homebuyer put together a competitive homebuying proposal. And if a seller accepts this offer to purchase, a real estate agent then will guide the buyer through the final stages of the homebuying journey.
Take the necessary steps to find your dream vacation home – use the aforementioned tips, and you could accelerate your quest to discover a vacation residence that suits you perfectly.
You and your agent invested hours, days, weeks and even months searching for the right house. Time spent visiting open houses. But now all your efforts pay off. You’ve found the one. It’s the right size, the right neighborhood and within the budget parameters. This is the home of your dreams. It’s time to make an offer.
First Things First
Let your agent guide you. A great agent knows what the market will bear. They also have the experience and know-how to save you thousands on your home purchase. When you work with an agent, you can submit an excellent offer that the buyer wants to accept.
Don’t make the mistake many first-time homebuyers do of low-balling the offer. Of course, you want to pay as little as possible for the house, but too low of an offer, one that doesn’t account for proper market analysis, just frustrates the seller. If nearby, comparable homes recently sold for five to six percent less than the asking price, you can reasonably offer seven to nine percent less, leaving both of you room for negotiation. But if this is a seller’s market, offering less than the asking price exposes you to the risk of being outbid by other buyers. Your agent knows the temperature of the market. They’ve already experienced what buyers accept and what they reject. If this is the house you want, follow the guidance of your agent when making the offer.
Dot the I’s
Submitting a bid for real estate is a legally binding document. You don’t want to make a costly mistake that jeopardizes your purchase or forces you to buy a home that requires a lot of repairs and renovations to be livable.
Cross the T’s
Having a pre-approval sets you up for negotiating power. Remember that the seller actually wants to sell. And you actually want to buy. This is where a little give-and-take compromise wins the day. Once you make the offer, the seller counters, you resubmit, and they accept, your next action includes a home inspection. Your knowledgeable agent will have written contingencies into your offer for failures in significant systems that the inspection reveals. At this point, any HVAC, plumbing, electrical, foundation and roof systems that need repair are negotiable. Do not let anyone talk you out of doing an inspection. It is well worth the cost to protect yourself from major but hidden issues. Your agent can recommend a home inspector, or you can hire one yourself. Make sure they have all licenses and certifications.
The other primary contingency should be the final appraisal. To qualify for your loan, your lender will require an appraisal of the property’s fair market value. While the inspection protects you from future problems, the appraisal protects you from overpaying. If the appraisal comes in lower than your accepted offer, your agent will begin renegotiation for you.
Now you’re on your way to closing. The best day in the process. Use your professional real estate agent’s abilities to get you to the finish line.
If you're a homeowner or are planning to become one in the near future, hiring contractors to maintain and upgrade your home is a fact of life. Although older homes often need more TLC than newer ones, "newness" (like youth) can be a fleeting quality! Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your house needs a fresh coat of paint, landscaping improvements, or even wet basement solutions.
There may be times when you're tempted to accept the first estimate you're given for a home improvement project, but there are sound reasons for taking your time and choosing home contractors carefully and in a methodical way.
- Saving money: It's not unusual for one home contractor to quote a price that is literally thousands of dollars more than the competition. While, on one hand, very low prices may be a sign of inferior quality, there is no guarantee that high prices assure superior quality. Fortunately, there are plenty of good contractors who charge competitive prices and make it their business to provide customers with exceptional value. If you get references, read online reviews, and make sure your prospective contractor has all the necessary insurance coverages, licenses, and relevant experience, then you'll be ready to make an informed decision based on quality, service, and pricing. Regardless of the caliber of a contractor's work, if you don't get at least two or three estimates, you'll always be wondering if they overcharged you. When you get multiple quotes, you'll never be plagued by that nagging question!
- Getting helpful ideas: In addition to finding a qualified tradesman with solid expertise, project management skills, and competitive pricing, it also pays to choose one who offers innovative suggestions and creative ideas. By interviewing three contractors, you'll gain insights into their communication style, their overall attitude, and their willingness to provide helpful advice when needed.
- Personality factors: After meeting with prospective contractors, you'll know which of the three you feel the most comfortable doing business with. Many home improvement projects can easily last between 3 days and a couple weeks, so you'll tend to be a lot more satisfied with a contractor who's courteous, punctual, above the board, friendly, professional, and customer-service oriented. If they seem annoyed with your questions or evasive in their responses, you can be reasonably sure there will be problems down the road in working with them -- possibly even quality assurance issues. If they tend to complain about other customers or berate their competition, then that is also a potential red flag.