Selling Your Home Can Be Stressful
Yes, selling a home can be time-consuming, it can stressful – let alone possible ties and emotional attachments that you may have to the history of the house.
We understand that and we will be there every step of the way to guide you through the process, keep you on track and remind you of the exciting parts as you embark on the new adventure of finding your next home! We’ll provide you with helpful tips and information to get your home looking its best before you list so you can get the most for your home. We have a full list of service providers and contractors to help you no matter what you might need, from contractors and inspectors to stagers and movers and everyone in between; we’ve got you covered!
Selling a home seems to come with many more questions than buying a home… so we’ve put together a condensed list of my most common questions that we’re asked (with the help of MREG)
The exclusive right to sell. It gives the real estate broker the exclusive right to sell your home during the term of the listing. If a sale occurs – even if you sell the home yourself – the broker gets a commission. The broker may share the listing with other brokers on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to get the widest possible exposure for your home. If you request that the property not be listed on a multiple basis, only the broker named in the contract and his or her sales agents can market and show it.
To begin with, think local. Select someone who is very familiar with your neighborhood and the properties for sale in it. Then, if you are selling, say, a condominium, choose an agent with expertise selling apartments to potential homeowners.
Because you will want the widest possible exposure for your home, you also will want a real estate firm that works with other agencies to get your property sold. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) used by REALTORS®, licensed members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, is still the most common and effective form of cooperation used today.
Beyond these parameters, select an agent who is competent, efficient, and ethical.
Perhaps the agent who first sold you your home would be a perfect candidate. If not, ask family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations, or choose a firm headed by an individual who is known in your community.
Most home sellers hire real estate agents to list and sell their homes. Most of those who do not are known as For Sale By Owners, or FSBOs. They market and sell their homes themselves.
However, a small number of people sell without marketing their homes. They include homeowners who transfer property to family members or landlords who directly offer tenants the first right to purchase property before they place it for sale on the market.
In the end, most FSBOs eventually hire an agent because the agent will handle all the details of a successful home sale – including the contract, forms, and disclosure statements – and expose the home to the widest range of prospective buyers through the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Let your agent know it is too low to warrant a counteroffer and that you are willing to negotiate but only once a more reasonable offer is made. Ask the agent if the buyer was shown comparable market values of similar homes that have recently sold in your area; and ask if the buyer was ever properly qualified. You do not have to settle for less if you are realistic about your chances of getting more.
Yes. For example, if you decide to sell your existing home first before buying another one, you can make the sale of your home contingent on finding a replacement home.
Some sellers opt for this contingency to avoid a double move, such as moving to a hotel or rental until a new home is found and made available.
However, there is one problem with this type of contingency: it can inconvenience the buyer, particularly if his own home is in escrow. He may not be willing to wait for you to move.
This strategy has a better chance of working when the market is relatively strong, your home is a rare find, the price and terms of the transaction are very favorable for the buyer, or the buyer is in no hurry to move.
Be patient, know your home’s worth, adopt a positive attitude, and do not let emotions – anger, pride, greed, or prejudice – get in the way of negotiating the best deal.
Your home obviously means a lot to you, but you have already made the decision to move on, so begin to think of your home as “the house” or “the condo,” instead of “my home.”
When reasonable offers come along, take them seriously. You can always counter any offer made by the buyer that comes near your asking price. Do not spoil a good deal over a few hundred dollars.
Sometimes. But it is a complicated process and a lot will depend on the lender. This process is called a “short sale,” which occurs when a lender agrees to write off the portion of a mortgage that’s higher than the value of a home. But, usually, a buyer must be willing to purchase the property first.
A short sale may be more complicated if the loan has been sold in the secondary market.
Then the lender will need permission from Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, the two major secondary-market players.
If the loan was a low down payment mortgage with private mortgage insurance, the lender also will need to involve the mortgage insurance company that insured the low down payment loan.
The short sale can keep the homeowner from landing in bankruptcy or foreclosure. But it is not an easy procedure to approve, and it involves as much, if not more, paperwork than an original mortgage application.
Instead of proving your credit worthiness and financial stability, you must prove you are broke. And any remaining difference between your home’s value and the balance on your mortgage is considered a forgiveness of debt, which usually means it is taxable income.
Seller financing is a viable option when the seller does not immediately need the entire cash equity they have accumulated in the home.
In return for providing financial assistance to the buyer, the seller receives tax benefits, attracts a larger pool of potential buyers, generally completes the sale sooner, and gets good interest earnings.
As for the buyer, seller financing offers less rigid qualification requirements and cost savings by eliminating nearly all loan fees.
Fear of default often makes many sellers reluctant to take back a second note or finance the entire purchase. A thorough credit check should help to dispel many of these fears, although the mortgage also allows the seller to foreclose on the property in case of default.
A seller may also require the buyer to carry hazard insurance on the property and include a due-on-sale clause, a provision in the mortgage note that allows the seller to demand full repayment if the borrower sells the property. Other financing, disclosure and repayment-term requirements also will need to be met.
It is a good idea to consult an attorney when putting together this kind of transaction.
Also known as a purchase money mortgage, it is when the seller agrees to “lend” money to the buyer to purchase and close on the seller’s home. Usually sellers do this when money is tight, interest rates are high or when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.
Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not actually give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does the lender. Instead, it involves issuing a credit against the purchase price of the home. The buyer executes a promissory note or trust deed in the seller’s favor.
The seller may take back a second note or finance the entire purchase if he owns the home free and clear.
The buyer makes a sizeable down payment and agrees to pay the seller directly every month.
They can certainly be held accountable, particularly if they had prior knowledge of a material fact or should have known about it. For example, if the seller has to use pans to collect water after a heavy rain, it is the agent’s responsibility to question the seller about the integrity of the roof, and then relay this information to potential buyers. However, if the seller deliberately hides a defect from the agent for which the agent had no prior knowledge, then the agent is not accountable.
Experts say agents are not home inspectors, but they are expected to use their best judgment when something appears suspicious. Which is why finding a good agent, that knows the area well, is so very critical to a good home-buying experience.
Yes. A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the two most common and reliable ways to determine a home’s value.
Your real estate agent can provide a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties. Reviewing comparable homes that have sold within the past year along with the listing, or asking, price on current homes for sale should prevent you from overpricing your home or underestimating its value.
A certified appraiser can provide an appraisal of a home. After visiting the home to check such things as the number of rooms, improvements, size and square footage, construction quality, and the condition of the neighborhood, the appraiser then reviews recent comparable sales to determine the estimated value of the home.
You also can check recent sales in public records, through private firms, and on the Internet to help you determine a home’s potential worth.
Start by finding out its worth. Contact a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties. Or get a certified appraiser to provide an appraisal.
Next, get busy working on the home’s appearance. You want to make sure it is in the best condition possible for showing to prospective buyers so that you can get top dollar. This means fixing or sprucing up any trouble spots that could deter a buyer, such as squeaky doors, a leaky roof, dirty carpet and walls, and broken windows.
The “curb appeal” of your home is extremely important. In fact, it is the first impression that buyers form of your property as they drive or walk up. So make sure the lawn is pristine – the grass cut, debris removed, garden beds free of weeds, and hedges trimmed.
The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs and fix-ups, especially if there are few homes on the market but many buyers competing for them. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to sell your home in a down market.
Besides the costs related to making repairs and improving the overall appearance of the home, as the seller you will also need to pay the following:
- A real estate commission, if you use an agency to sell.
- Advertising costs, marketing materials, and other fees if you sell the home yourself.
- Attorney, closing, or other professional fees.
- Title insurance
- Excise tax for the sale.
- Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
- 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.
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. It also eliminates the need to carry two mortgages at once.
Talk with your agent for advice. Discuss the pros and of each and whether certain contingencies written into the contract can ease some of the pressures.
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.