January 26th, 2015 7:18 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
A number of economists are forecasting an
increase in home sales this year, and some are predicting that more first-time
buyers will be in the mix.
That’s great news for sellers, particularly
first-time sellers most likely to have the kind of starter homes these buyers
will want. Below are some tips for those selling a home for the first time.
Prepare for your own purchase
Before selling your home, give some careful
thought about where you will live next, said Hedda Parashos, owner of Palisade
Realty in Spring Valley, Calif. “Planning ahead will save the time and money
associated with moving multiple times or trying to get out of a deal after you
sign a purchase agreement,” she said. “Your Realtor can help you locate a new
home or rental before you close escrow or negotiate a lease back.”
If your plan is to buy another home and
finance it, get preapproved for a mortgage. That way, you’ll know what you will
be able to afford—and can eliminate surprises, she added.
It’s also getting more common these days—in certain
markets—to purchase a home contingent on the sale of your existing one, said
Christina Esala, associate broker and team leader with Tierra Antigua Realty,
in Tucson, Ariz.
Get the home move-in ready
If you can afford it, do whatever you can to
make your home move-in ready. That means replacing ripped screens, broken
baseboards, leaky faucets and making cosmetic repairs, as well as updating
landscaping, Parashos said. Your house needs to be in showing condition all the
time, she added.
At this point, start looking at your home as a
house—stripping all sentimental value from the place, since your buyer won’t
care about the tree you planted or the kitchen tile you installed yourself,
said Geoff Bray, real-estate agent and partner at the Reuter Bray Group of
RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis.
Enlist the help of a good real-estate agent
Many people choose real-estate agents based on
referrals from family and friends, but look beyond that to make sure you’re
working with someone who does a lot of business in your particular
neighborhood. While sales information for individual agents often isn’t
publicly available, you could check with your local Realtor association group
for the data, call the local multiple-listing service or ask a brokerage about
their top sellers.
Online reviews of real-estate agents can also
be helpful, Esala added. At the very least, get statistics from the agent,
asking him or her how many homes they’ve sold recently, where the homes have
been located and what the average sales prices have been, Esala said.
Price it right
A good real-estate agent will help you price
the home right—from the start. “Nothing will attract more buyers than making
the right choice when pricing your home and nothing will deter buyers more than
overpricing,” Parashos said. Overpricing often means a longer stay on the
market as well as future price cuts—which often makes a home listing look stale
and less desirable.
Market the home appropriately
In addition to getting on the multiple-listing
service, or MLS, as well as home listing sites online, your real-estate agent
might recommend other methods of advertising, including open houses and direct
mail postcards. Ask the agent how he or she plans on marketing the property
before hiring the agent.
Quality photography of the home is also
important. Those who use professional real-estate photos sell listed homes 32%
faster than all other listings, according to VHT Studios, a real-estate
photography network for homes and businesses. Take it for what it’s worth, a
statistic from a company in the photography industry. But also think about the
homes that you spend the most time looking at online; chances are they’re the
ones with a variety of clear, quality pictures.
Make the house available
Some sellers create restrictions on when their
home can be shown, but being inflexible on this point can hurt you. “People, if
they want to see it now…they’re going to contact that agent and going to want
to see it immediately,” Esala said. “Make your home available for all of the
daylight hours,” she said. Otherwise, within two days, prospective buyers will
find another home and forget yours.
Plan your negotiation
Know what you will and won’t give up when it
comes to your sale, from price to closing date, repairs to closing costs.
“Knowing what outcome you want in advance will help you avoid haggling over
minor items that could cost you the sale,” Parashos said.
Finally, don’t focus as much on the final
sales price as on the final net price, Bray said. Many first-time buyers ask
for sellers to help with closing costs, for example, which affects the net
By: Amy Hoak | To view the original article