Frequently asked questions from home sellers begin to accumulate before even starting the process. If you are going to be selling your home its suggested you are prepared and have a strong understanding of the process ahead.
You should know how to interview a REALTOR when selling a home and a top REALTOR should be able to reduce the amount of questions a home seller has because they should address these questions in their presentation. So lets go over some of the frequently asked questions.
* When is the best time to season sell my home?
This question does not come with an easy answer. The real estate market is considered local and each market is different. Commonly you hear Spring is the best market but I also think the end of January when people are getting their taxes back and want to be in their new house in the Spring. Every sellers situation is different so you should be discussing your situation with your agent to decide what works best for you
*How is the real estate market today?
Sellers always want to know what their current market is doing when they are deciding to put their home on the market. There are many indicators to determine the market but the most accurate one is the DOM(days on market). This tells the seller how quickly houses are selling in their market. Another way to look at the market is the absorption rate, how many months it will take to currently sell your home. If it is many months then you are looking at a buyers market and that’s not a good time for a seller.
*What steps should I take to stage and prepare my home?
One of the most important things to remember is you only get one first impression with a buyer.
If your home is not ready to show and in pristine condition you will not get the chance with that potential buyer. Make sure your home presents itself with minimal clutter, freshly painted rooms, new carpets where needed and making sure odors are non-existent. These are a few things that should be done prior to listing your home.
*What should I disclose and what shouldn’t I disclose to potential buyers?
When selling a home ,it’s important to disclose to potential buyers anything that you are aware of that is a defect in your home. If you are aware of roof, electrical, plumbing, furnace or appliances that have issues you are better off disclosing this rather than ending up in a lawsuit later on. It is better to be honest and upfront because these potential defects can show up in a home inspection or later on after the property is sold. Honesty is the best policy.
*How much is my home really worth?
Assessed value or appraised value are not the value of your home. Many homes can sell higher than assessed value or lower than assessed value. The assessed values are for purposes of taxes in the local municipalities. This value has no impact on the value of your home to a potential buyer. It’s unfortunate there are many home buyers who believe that a home that is listed higher than the assessed value is overpriced. This is not true and then home buyers question if there is something wrong with the home if it is assessed higher than the listed price.
The bottom line is the assessed value has no impact on the market value of a home. Many homeowners never pay attention to this number which sometimes creeps up yearly even when the real estate market hasn’t.
*How is the price of my home determined?
There are a few ways that REALTORS use to determine the value of your home. The most common method to determining the value is a comparative market analysis. This is an in-depth way of studying the recently sold properties in your area that are similar to your home. It also looks at the current active listings that are direct competition, how long homes are on the market before they sell and the ratio of listed price to sale price. This gives you and the professional a good study of the current market.
A professional “CMA” will take in to account these items:
Square Footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, any upgrades to kitchen and bathrooms, roof age, furnace age, window age, lot information, fireplaces, and style of residence.
The next question that comes up quite a bit is can I price my home using the internet, the answer is NO! The internet only takes an average of the current sales in your area and doesn't take into account the above features because it doesn't know the current market.
These third party websites aren’t even from this area. You will get a much better pricing evaluation by a local real estate agent.
*Should I price my home higher for negotiations?
This questions always comes up when getting ready to put the home on the market. This usually leads to a mistake because once the price is on the home the seller feels if an offer comes in less that they are dropping to far, when in fact they were told in the beginning that the price they are choosing is two high. Also a well priced home will sell quickly for close to asking price. If a seller prices their home to high for negotiations they may in the end, end up losing money because of this tactic.
*What is your commission ?
Commission is negotiable, end of story. Don’t let any REALTOR tell you differently. This being said you get what you pay for often is true when it comes to real estate. If a REALTOR offers a lower commission, how well do you think they will negotiate for you, when they didn't negotiate for themselves. Also, if you were working for less money per hour from your normal wage, would you work as hard. Choosing a REALTOR solely on the fact that they offer a lower commission is a top mistake made by home sellers.
*What happens if I’m disappointed and want to cancel the contract?
This frequently asked question is not one sellers like to ask when selling a home, however, it can come up. You always hope that selling your home is a quick sale and top dollar and the least amount of stress. This doesn’t always happen and every state and contract Is different but if you cancel the contract you could be held liable for any expenses the brokerage incurred. It is something that you would certainly want to discuss with the broker to see what their policy is.
*What if the offer comes in really low?
This happens from time to time buyers are told by friends and family to go in low people are selling their homes for a lot less than asking price. Don’t take this personal it is a business deal and they are looking to see if they can get a good price. A low offer can turn into a sale for you, if the agent knows what they are doing and you respond the buyer may come up and you come to terms with them. Remember it is a compliment the buyer liked your home enough to place an offer on it. The worst thing you can do is not respond. Don’t shut the negotiations down respond and let everything come together.
*Does the bank require repairs and is that our responsibility?
Depending on the loan there could be repairs. FHA has standards the house needs to meet.
Your agent knows what these requirements are and when they list the house they will go over them with you ahead of time. The purchase contract has a spot in it for bank repairs and there it will state who pays for them and what the limit is on the repairs.
*The house didn't appraise what happens now?
There are several things that can happen and in this current market we are seeing some of that.
The buyer can come up with more down payment money to cover the difference very seldom do we see this, the seller can come down to the appraised value and move forward or the transaction is voided and neither party moves forward. The problem with this is if it is an FHA loan the appraisal is good for 6 months with any FHA buyer. That will hurt because it won’t change the current appraisal and debating with an appraisor is difficult because they will usually pull the same comparable we pull. Unfortunately it is not a good situation to be in
*Contingent Offer what is that?
There are times when buyers have to sell their current home before purchasing another home. This is called a contingent offer, when you receive a contingent offer and you accept it we still market your home. This offer sits dormant until they sell their current home or another comes in and they activate a recall which means they either have to move forward without selling or void their contract for the next contract to move forward.
*Is a home inspection a deal killer?
Inspections are common when buyers make their purchase. There are different types of inspections but most are the same. The home inspector can also do a radon test while he is there. The inspectors look for major structural items and also maintenance items that will need to be addressed in the future. Home inspections are not the kiss of death but there can be more negotiations after the inspection
*What is your marketing plan?
Today’s real estate sure has changed and your agent should be on top of social media. The buyers today usually find your home on the real estate websites such as Zillow, realtor.com.
Your agent will need to make sure you have good pictures, good comments and be on all the social media platforms to get your house out there. Newspapers and magazines are not where the buyers look anymore, they are technology savvy and watching daily. Your sign in your yard and your social media presence are very important in todays real estate market.
*I haven't had any showings why aren’t you showing my house?
In most cases there are a couple reasons this can happen. The first being the price if your home is priced over the market the buyers will pass on it and go to the property that is priced more suitable for the current market. There are other reasons it could be curb appeal, location sometimes (ex busy road, close to commercial properties) or just a REALTOR that hasn’t pushed the technology and social media sites. There are several reasons this can happen but it is not usually the REALTOR’s fault.
*Preparing my home for showing and should I be there?
Getting your home ready for showings is not always easy. Make sure the curtains are open, its smells fresh, clean and decluttered and easy to walk through. You should definitely leave during the showing, it makes the buyer uncomfortable to speak with their agent when your there.
*When will you be doing an open house?
I tell sellers today do you really want a stranger walking through your home that has not been prequalified. When you do an open house we have no idea are they looking at the home to purchase or maybe scoping it out to break into. Open houses are not for everyone. Today by the time the open house is scheduled the buyers have already seen the house online and have either looked at the house or have passed on it.
If you have questions about selling your home please do not hesitate to contact me. I will surely do what I can to answer your questions and to help you move forward in your next adventure.