Are you ready?
Ask yourself: If you were buying this home what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers — and as much demand — as possible.
While part of the “getting ready” phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, this is also a good time to ask why you really want to sell.
Selling a home is an important matter and there should be a good reason to sell — perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it’s important to discuss your needs and wants in private with your Realtor.
When should you sell?
Generally speaking, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round. In a given community, for example, there may be fewer buyers in late December, but there are also likely to be fewer homes available for purchase. So, home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year.
Owners are encouraged to sell when the property is ready for sale, there is a need or desire to sell, and the services of a great realtor have been retained.
How can you quickly improve your home’s value?
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved.
Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale. Furthermore, improvements should reflect community preferences.
Cosmetic improvements – paint, wallpaper and landscaping – help a home “show” better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs – to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition – are required to get a top price.
Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community. Your realtor, who see numerous homes, can provide suggestions that are consistent with your marketplace.
What is your home worth?
Sale prices are a product of supply and demand. If you live in a community with an expanding job base, a growing population and a limited housing supply, it’s likely that prices will rise. Alternatively, it’s important to be realistic. If the local community is losing jobs and people are moving out, then you’ll likely have a buyer’s market.
Owner needs can impact sale values. If the owner “must” sell quickly, he or she will have less leverage in the marketplace. Buyers may think that the seller is willing to trade a quick closing for a lower price — and they may be right. If the seller has no incentive to sell quickly, he or she may have more marketplace strength.
Sale prices are not based on what owners “need.” When an owner says, “I must sell for $300,000 because I need $100,000 in cash to buy my next home,” buyers will quickly ask if $300,000 is a reasonable price for the property. If similar homes in the same community are selling for $250,000, the seller will not be successful.
Sale prices are NOT the whole deal. Which would you rather have: A sale price of $200,000, or a sale price of $205,000 but where you agree to make a “seller contribution” of $5,000 to offset the buyer’s closing costs, pay a $2,000 allowance for roof repairs, fund two mortgage points, re-paint the entire house and leave the washer and dryer?
Myths and Facts about Appraisals:
Myth: The primary purpose of an appraisal is to make sure the buyer doesn’t pay too much for the house.
Fact: An appraisal provides valuable information for the buyer and the seller, but the appraiser’s primary mission is to protect the lender. Lenders don’t enjoy owning overpriced property any more than they relish lending money to irresponsible borrowers. That’s why the appraisal takes place before the lender grants final approval of the buyer’s loan.
Myth: Good housekeeping can improve a home’s valuation.
Fact: Appraisers aren’t interested in dirty dishes or dusty dressers, but they do notice such signs of neglect as cracked walls, chipped paint, broken windows, torn carpets, damaging flooring and inoperable appliances.
Myth: Appraisers have no obligation to reveal home defects to buyers.
Fact: If the buyer is applying for a mortgage that will be insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the appraiser must survey the physical condition of the home and disclose potential problems to the buyer. No such obligation exists for non-FHA mortgages.
Myth: An appraisal is identical to a home inspection.
Fact: The FHA disclosure requirement notwithstanding, an appraisal isn’t a substitute for a professional home inspection. The appraiser formulates an opinion of the property’s value for the lender, while the inspector educates the buyer about the condition of the home and its major components.
Myth: If the appraiser’s opinion of value is lower than the purchase price, the buyer won’t be able to purchase the home.
Fact: A transaction can sometimes survive a “low” appraisal if the seller reduces the purchase price, the buyer makes a hefty downpayment or a separate escrow account is set up to fund repairs that will increase the value of the home. On rare occasions, an appraiser will reconsider his or her opinion if new evidence supports a higher valuation.