Top Ten Things Sellers Should Know!
1. Prepare your house for sale. Remove most of the clutter. Be sure that the entrance to the house is neat and clean to welcome your customers.
2. You may have entertained the thought of selling your house on your own. If you would really like to do that, give it a try. You may be able to find some buyers, but they will be looking for a bargain. Then you will have the job of holding the deal together. This is where most of the task of a listing agent begins. Constant communication must be maintained among the Buyer´s and Seller´s attorneys, home inspector, appraiser, bank and other agencies. You will also need someone to mediate situations which undoubtedly will come up. It is no easy task.
3. The best way to choose a listing agent is by a referral from a past client. If you do not know whom to ask, make use of the internet. Look up the Brokers and Agents in your town by going to their websites. Look for a Biography and Testimonials, which are comments from past clients and customers. Call the agents and ask questions. If they do not answer the phone or call you back within an hour or two, move on.
4. Invite a few agents to your home and interview them. Ask them what they will do for you. Be aware that some agents will tell you what you want to hear, including the asking price. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you are comfortable with the listing agent you choose. You will be working closely together until closing.
5. Choose a real estate company which is a member of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Your house will be exposed to thousands of agents instead of just a few.
6. Some real estate companies will offer a low commission rate. You usually get what you pay for. Some will offer full service at a low rate but not define full service. A reasonable commission will enable your listing agent to market your property properly and it will also encourage cooperating agents to show your property.
7. Do not withhold any information from your listing agent. If there are liens on the property, structures on the property or house which do not have Certificates of Occupancy, serious defects in the house, etc., let your listing agent know so that issues can be corrected ahead of time. These items will eventually surface and either hold up the closing or kill a deal. A good listing agent will ask you about these items when you meet.
8. Ask the agents how they will market your property - magazine advertising, internet advertising, brochures, pictures, virtual tours, and Open Houses. The internet has become a very important means of advertising, since 80% of the buyers are going to the internet first.
9. One of the most tempting things to do is to overprice your house. Maybe someone will come along and buy it at that price. However, today´s buyers are very educated. Your asking price will be determined by Comparative Sales in the area (Comps), not what you would like or need. Your listing agent will do a Comparative Market Analysis in order to determine the asking price. If you must, hire a Certified Appraiser. If you overprice, you will lose many prospective buyers at the beginning of your listing, when activity is usually very good. Those buyers will go elsewhere. If a buyer does offer a high price and you accept it, your house may not appraise for that amount by the bank granting the mortgage and you will lose the deal.
10. You may receive several offers. The highest offer may not be the best. Be sure your buyer has been pre-qualified or pre-approved before considering their offer. Down payment, contract date, total money down, any contingencies and closing date are factors which are part of the offer. Your listing agent will negotiate for you and guide you through the process.
For further information, see my Buyers Resources page. If you need advice or further explanation, feel free to contact me at any time.