Selling Your Home
Selling your home at today's prices can be stressful and disappointing. A sad twist of fate, at a time when we're ready to relocate at retirement. We all know, real estate market prices were driven up excessively in the early 2000’s peaking in 2007. In the mid 2000’s, many of us had a false perception of our home's value because the homes next door were being purchased quickly at very high prices. Cocktail conversations across town centered around how much the house next store just sold for. We could feel our equity building up, delusional if we didn't sell. Financing was easy to obtain, sickening some joke - if you had a pulse, the impact fueling inflated prices.
Disheartening when we discover our home's true value today, mad at ourselves we didn't sell at the top of the real estate market in 2007. A painful pinch when your real estate broker tells you "your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it" and today, that's not much. Add to the pain, short sales and foreclosures have thrown havoc into the real estate market. How can you compete with these deeply discounted homes? You can't.
What you can do - TIPS ON SELLING YOUR HOME
Prepare your home properly for the sale - make it pretty
Find an expert who knows how to sell homes - don't mess around
Price your home right - get it right the first time
When you decide to sell your home, we suggest you find the most visible real estate brokers in your neighborhood. Look for Home for Sale signs and Open Houses. These real estate brokers know your neighborhood best. They are in your neighborhood showing homes all the time. Choose 3 to 5 of these real estate brokers to interview. During the interview, it is customary for them to provide you sales figures for the last six months and what homes are for sale.
Many buyers complain once a real estate broker has their listing, the broker disappears into never never land. Get a written commitment from your broker upfront: when open houses will take place for the duration of the listing, what day you will hear from them each week, what marketing efforts will be made to promote your home to other real estate brokers, how your home will be exposed on the internet and in print materials. Don't leave these services open ended.
Pricing your home will be the toughest part. We suggest three ways to calculate the listing price of your home:
1) Price Your Home Correctly. Take a look at the MLS print out your real estate broker provided you, of all the homes for sale in your neighborhood. Notice the lowest price. Removing the lower prices and higher prices, find the average of the remaining group. If you price your home on the low end of this group, more buyers will inquire to see your home, because like it or not, buyers search by price first. The more buyers who see your home, the more likely it will sell quickly with smart pricing.
2) Get An Appraisal Before You List Your Home. Let the appraiser take the guess work out of determining your home’s value. Appraisals cost about $350. Ask the appraiser to provide six sold homes in the report that are similar to yours; same size, same bedroom count and features. An appraiser has access to information you don't. The appraisal will also be a helpful tool when negotiating with a buyer. A buyer’s lender will still require a new appraisal when they seek financing.
3) Consider Staging Your Home. If you have not looked to buy or sell a home recently, you will be surprised to see the condition of homes on the market today. Homes left abandoned, smelly and needing repairs. Homes cluttered with junk, painted funkadelic colors from the 60's or homes which seem like indoor animal shelters. It's crazy how people live. Sellers don’t always ‘clean up’ the house for buyers to see because they don't think their taste is abnormal.
You will have a distinct advantage if you include a professional stager on your sales team to help staging your home. The professional stagers role is to bring your home back to ‘model’ condition, as if your home was brand new and never occupied. And buyers like to buy new things. With a coat of neutral paint, a splash of curb appeal, the lack of needed repairs and all your personal effects removed, your home will sell quicker if it has been staged properly. It may cost you a thousand dollars or so up front. Staging can save you money in the long run. A client of ours sold their home in record time in the worst real estate market environment simply because their home was staged, making it irresistible.
Sellers tell us "maybe I should wait to sell my home until the real estate market improves or prices go up". Underlying reasons kept secret; maybe sellers are upside down owing the bank more than their home is worth or the pain of selling so low is hard to get beyond. But isn't this true? If you sell today at low prices, you also buy today at low prices. The exchange is the same. Hope will delay your retirement. We are not getting any younger and as we age, our health will inevitably deteriorate. Poor health will steal your ability to enjoy your retirement. Re-think the delay.
Most likely, you have considered downsizing your new home purchase and that's okay. ‘McMansions’ went out of style in 2007 when real estate prices tanked. Most people relocating to the Southeast are moving to save money on real estate taxes, state income taxes and lower their cost of living. Why wait? Play with the numbers. If you move today, what is your annual cost of living? Move two years from now, what is your annual cost of living if you stay? The immediate savings could be more than you realize. Read this link- Lower Cost of Living Comparison - Cities in the Southeast which may help you.
Let me gently say it again. If you expect the real estate price of your existing home to increase, then it would be reasonable to expect the real estate price of your new home to rise too. We understand, selling your home is a big hurdle to jump over. We are here to help providing more tips on selling your home.
Let us know if you would like the recommendation of a real estate broker we know and trust to help you sell. We are happy to recommend a Professional Stager and Appraiser too. When you are ready to buy, our Real Estate Reviews will be a valuable tool to help you with your search. Property owner reviews and communities are adding frequenly to our website. Wishing you a quick sale!
Margie Casey, Founder