People choose to sell their homes for many reasons. Some sell to relocate for a new job, some outgrow their home and want to upgrade, while others want to downsize. Whatever the reason you’ve chosen to sell, you’ve made an investment in your home. For many of us this is the largest investment we are likely to make in a lifetime. That’s why, when you choose to cash in that investment, you want to be sure to get the most out of it.
Here are eight strategies an educated consumer needs to know to make the most when selling a home.
1. Choose the Right Realtor. First and foremost, you need a top-notch realtor to help you navigate today’s sophisticated real estate market. An experienced salesperson with creative promotional skills and knowledge of the local market can successfully leverage all channels to advertise your home to the widest available audience. Choosing the right realtor often means a better selling price and a faster closing.
What to do: Interview no less than three Realtors. Check references. Look for someone with experience and personality. Ask what percentage of the sale is their commission.
2. Don’t Sign a Listing Contract. When it comes to choosing a realtor you want the flexibility − and should have the right − to find a new realtor if you are unhappy with your first choice. Protect yourself by getting a performance guarantee with an option to cancel.
What to do: Once you’ve found the right realtor, let them know up-front that you are not interested in signing a contract. An experienced realtor who knows he can do the job will not object.
3. Make Sure the Price is Right. Here’s where the experience and market knowledge of your realtor can really help. A good realtor will look at the big picture. By comparing features and recent sales for other homes in your market, your realtor can help you determine a realistic selling price.
What to do: Make sure your realtor is aware of all upgrades and renovations. Don’t hide anything that you feel may affect the price. A potential buyer is going to want an inspection, and any defects or repairs required will be included in negotiations.
4. Showcase Your House. The proper presentation of your home and property is critical when it comes to attracting the right buyer. Your realtor can help you prepare your home and offer some suggestions that will help present your home to its best advantage.
What to do: Make sure your home has curb appeal. Eliminate clutter and thoroughly clean throughout. Don’t under estimate the power of a fresh coat of paint.
5. Market to Reach the Widest Audience: A good realtor knows that selling a home is more than simply planting a for sale sign on the front lawn. An Open House combined with online promotion, as well as traditional media, all contribute to reaching qualified buyers.
What to do: Review the details of your realtor’s marketing plan. Also, make sure your realtor invites other realtors in their office to see the property.
6. Focus on Qualified Buyers. Obviously, you hope to show your home to as many potential buyers as possible. But you want to be sure they are qualified buyers − that is, buyers who have been pre-qualified, or even better, pre-approved. A pre-qualified buyer is one who has had a cursory review of their income, expenses, and credit, and is likely to be approved for a mortgage within a given price range. A pre-approved buyer is one whose lender has reviewed their financials and credit thoroughly and, barring any title or inspection issues that may arise can pretty much be counted on to approve the buyer’s loan. A pre-approved buyer is often in a position to close faster as well.
What to do: Let your realtor know that you’d like to screen offers based on pre-approvals.
7. Knowing your rights and obligations. A purchase and sales agreement is a binding document. Before signing, make sure you understand both yours and the seller’s rights. Who is responsible for closing costs? Is the final closing contingent on specific repairs? In the event that issues with the deed, title, or local zoning restrictions are discovered in the eleventh hour, what are your obligations to the seller?
What to do: Your rights and obligations are areas where an experienced realtor is truly essential. Ask questions and read the fine print before you sign.
8. Protect Your Equity. You’ve worked hard to prepare your home for sale. The equity resulting from increased value over time as well as any improvements you’ve made to the property is the profit. To be sure you’re getting the most from the sale you need a thorough understanding of all the costs and fees associated with your closing.
What to do: Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor for a detailed description of all closing costs and fees. This includes any concessions made to the seller as well as your realtor’s commission.
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