Pricing Your Home To Sell
For The Most Money Possible In The Shortest Time Frame
By Tracy Tkac
Washington Homes Group
Evers & Co.
The single most important factor to consider when selling a house is pricing the house correctly; it’s choosing the right list price: how much your house is worth. Over pricing the house will cause it to sit on the market and lose the freshness of the home’s appeal after the first two to three weeks of showings. After a month on the market, demand and interest can wane and after that a listing can become stale to potential buyers. It is a tough concept, because no one wants to chance leaving money on the table, but pricing the home just below fair market value will often cause a seller to receive multiple offers, which will then drive up the price to market price or above. Pricing is all about supply and demand. It’s part art and part science. Beware of the realtor that advises a list price way above the range of sold home prices in your neighborhood, choosing to list with that agent may be setting you up for the delay or even failure to sell your home.
Pricing your home to sell may not be as simple as you think. Looking at what similar homes in your immediate neighborhood that have sold for in the past 6 months to a year will give you some, but not all of the data you will need to calculate the list price. It is important to compare apples to apples when looking at the comparable recently sold homes. Compare and consider not just how many bedrooms or bathrooms, but also is the basement finished, is the yard nicely landscaped, how many garage spaces are offered? Look at homes’ sizes (square feet), style, condition and if updates and renovations have been done. A good real estate professional will format all of the information for you and help you to make the comparisons to come to the right listing price that will get you the most money possible for your home sale.
Using a real estate professional, like Washington Homes Group, can save you money in the end by helping in pricing your home to sell quickly and for the best sale price. A good agent or even better- a good team, will assess what improvements should be made prior to putting your house on the market. Many times the first step is to de-clutter; when selling your home, the less-is-more concept is the way to go. Your agent should be honest and direct in telling you what needs painting and repair or replacing before making your listing “active on the market”. You only have one chance to make a good impression, and that goes for the list price and your homes presentation.
by Lindy Gelb
Washington Homes Group
Research tells us that 92% of buyers are on the internet searching for their next home even if they are working with an agent. They are sending a list to their agent of the homes they would like to see in person. We cast a very wide net to not only reach all potential buyers on all the top websites, but to generate our own buyers. Internet marketing for sellers is a very important aspect of selling your home in todays market.
Your home will be widely advertised on the Internet as well as print publications. Listings will automatically appear on the following sites:
www.eversco.com Our Company website
www.washingtonpost.com All open houses will be listed on this site
Backpage classified ad syndication for real estate. Your property will be on the following sites;
Facebook Fan Page, we have hundreds of fans who will see your home when it is listed.
Our marketing includes outstanding descriptions of your home, professional grade photographs and a true panoramic virtual tour that we upload as a video to YouTube, full color fact sheets and more.
Some Tips for The Smart Home Buyer
By Tracy Tkac
Location is key… Location is important now and when it comes time to sell. You can have a house in need of improvement with an outdated kitchen and bath, but put it on a great block or in a good school district, and your home will be coveted. Location matters on so many different levels. It works from the outside in, the town where the house is located, then the school district, then the neighborhood. Keep all of this in mind when home searching that there are many things you can change about a house- but not the location. Also remember that while real estate markets rise and fall, no one can take a great location away from you.
Which School District… The school district is right up there on the list of what’s most important to many buyers. It’s not uncommon for buyers to start their search based solely on the school district they want to be in. Parents want their kids to go to the best school, which can drive up prices of homes in those districts. Even though you might not have children, buying a home in a good school district is always smart. If the schools are desirable, homes tend to hold their value. As a homeowner, you should always be aware of how the schools are doing, not unlike being aware of your roof’s condition, the neighborhood development or city government.
What Makes a Neighborhood… More than ever, ‘walkability’ is becoming a key factor in the search process. Many buyers seek a home in a walkable neighborhood. People put high value on the ability to walk to a store, school, work or public transportation. The more we move away from cars and the more we see invested in public transportation over the coming decades, the more of a huge value-add walkability will become.
Buy Today, to sell someday… A good real estate agent who’s been working the neighborhood for some time can vouch for the long-term value or investment potential of the property. But be sure to find ways to add value, or at least be certain the home will hold its value. The market may be strong when you purchase, but ask yourself, “Am I in a seller’s market?” “What would happen to this property if the market changed tomorrow”? Keep in mind when buying, you are purchasing a home that if you need to sell, must been widely appealing to others as well as yourself.
Guidelines for Selling Your House
Preparation and timing can help you get the best price for your home.
Consult the large real estate sites, like Realtor.com,Zillow.com and HomeGain.com to see how similar homes are priced in your neighborhood. Many newspapers also list the selling and asking prices of recent sales, plus how long the houses were on the market. Note the prices for your neighborhood during the last several months.
Check how sales were running, say, a year ago, so you get an idea of whether the market is heating up, cooling down, or staying put for guidelines for selling your house . This exercise should give you a sense of what your home is worth.
Selecting an agent
You may decide that you can sell your home without an agent. It’s an attractive thought, since you would save the 6% of the selling price that a broker typically collects. But balance that against the work involved in advertising a house and being available at all hours to show it.
If you do decide to work through an agent, ask for referrals from friends or check the Web and local newspapers for advertisements. Don’t simply accept any recommendation. Make an appointment with an agent and interview him or her for the job.
Evaluate the person as though you were a buyer: Is he or she professional and personable? Does he say the right things to make you want to see the home? Also, since the agent will likely be able to advise you on a selling price, how well does his or her price jibe with the homework you did on your own? Don’t be fooled by an agent who is merely flattering you with an inflated price. Go by what you already know about your house and the current housing market.
Ask whether he or she will be the agent actually showing the house. Some brokers have specialists whose main duty is to win the listing. Then another of the broker’s agents takes over.
Once you find an agent you like, you have to formally sign a listing agreement. This is a contract, laying out the specifics of your arrangement, including how long you will let the agent represent your home and what the compensation will be.
Many agents prefer an exclusive listing, meaning you agree to pay a commission regardless of whether the agent is actually responsible for finding the seller. You should commit for no longer than three months (one month, in a hot market). In case you find the agent lacking in enthusiasm, you don’t want to be locked into a bad situation.
When you discuss the listing agreement, discuss other issues as well. For instance, if there are certain times when you want the house off-limits for walk-throughs, let the agent know.
Also, consider negotiating the commission. If your house is expensive, an agent might not flinch if you suggest 4 or 5% instead of the usual 6. Conversely, if you know it’s a buyer’s market, consider offering the incentive of a higher commission if the agent can land you a sale within 5% of your asking price.
After you’ve signed a listing agreement, you may want to give your lawyer a call to notify him or her that you’re selling your house and will need help reviewing bids and contracts. If you don’t want to pay for a lawyer, your agent should also be able to guide you through this process.
Getting ready for an open house
Whether you sell on your own or work with an agent, you’ll want to spruce up your house before it goes on the market.
Take an objective look at it: Is it cluttered? A little worn and tired? Consider a new paint job. Tidy up. Move unneeded furniture into the attic, basement or rented storage. Remove some of your personal items, like family pictures and knickknacks. Mow the lawn. Plant flowers, if it’s the right season. These seemingly insignificant details can add many thousands of dollars to your eventual sales price.
If you’re no good at this kind of thing, consider hiring a home “stager,” someone with experience preparing homes for showings. Their fees can be more than offset by quicker sales and higher selling prices.
Speaking of which, you’ll need to settle on an asking price. In doing so, forget what you originally paid for the house, how much you’ve spent on renovations or remodeling, and even how much money you need to move on to your next home. When it comes to pricing your property, the only yardstick that matters is what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood now — which may be more, or less, than you sank into it.
Your research will already have given you a good idea of how the market is faring. Your agent should also provide you with comparable sales and discuss why your house should be priced higher or lower.
Timing is the key
Also note how long the homes were on the market. If you’re in a seller’s market, with listings moving in a week or two, think about adding a premium to the asking price.
In a buyer’s market, it’s especially important to get the price right. The critical selling time is within the first month after your home hits the market. If the price is too high, you’ll turn off potential buyers and agents and then have a hard time attracting them back, even if you lower your sights later.
When you receive a bid via your agent ask for guidance in how to respond. This will depend on how you priced the house, what the housing market is in your area and your urgency to sell or wait for a better price.
Make sure your lawyer or agent reviews the contingency clauses included with the bid. For example, it’s generally not a good idea to agree to sell your home with the contingency that the buyer must first sell his or her own home.
Also make sure that all the buyer’s contingencies are restricted within specific amounts of time. For instance, if the deal is contingent upon the home passing an inspection, then the inspection must occur within a week to 10 days of an accepted bid. The same is true of the closing date: Make the buyer commit to a reasonable date, usually 45 to 60 days from acceptance.
The Home Buying Process
Basic guidelines for the first time home buyer and the home buying process, simplified.
by Tracy Tkac
Even when you love the house, making an offer to purchase it can be intimidating and scary, it’s a big commitment that will require a chunk of your financial resources. It’s also exciting and wonderful! You will be building equity and getting tax breaks for mortgage payments, but importantly , you will have a place of your own to do with what you wish. When you make improvements to your home, you will likely make a return on your investment while you enjoy living in your home. Most of all, your home will be the place where you will build memories and entertain friends and family. You will make your house into your lovely home. Below are the basic guidelines and the home buying process simplified.
Making an offer
Even though it’s early in the buying process, you still must sign a legally binding contract. With your signature, you’re committing to moving ahead with the seller. Keep in mind you can add contingencies to many real estate contracts. For example, most real estate buying offers will be contingent on a property inspection, radon inspection, loan approval, appraisal and sometimes other matters. Such contingencies enable buyers to opt out of the contract if unexpected problems or concerns pop up.
In most states, sellers are legally required to provide buyers with disclosure documents including any know defects, lead based paint information, real tax bills from the current year and the estimated property tax bill for the next year. In addition, sellers must disclose any known issues that might affect the property’s value or habitability. Usually, in a transfer disclosure statement, sellers must answer a series of “yes” or “no” questions about the property, and provide the neighborhood homeowners association/ or condo information. If there have been leaky windows, work done without permits or plans for a major nearby development, the seller must disclose them. You will have the opportunity to view the areas master plan and the will be provided with a list of nearby airports. The disclosures will need to be signed by the purchaser and will become part of the offer to purchase and then after all terms are agreed to, they will be part of the contract.
Most buyers put a certain amount of money down toward the purchase price. The balance will come in the form of a bank loan (usually). But a bank isn’t going to hand over that money without due diligence. An appraisal is the financial institution’s way of making sure the contract price is the right price. So the lender sends out a third-party appraiser, which the buyer pays for, to confirm that the contract price is in line with the neighborhood’s comparable sales. If it’s not, the bank can deny the loan or change the terms.If a property does not appraise, the contract price can be renegotiated or contract voided.
As part of the real estate contract, you have the right to a property inspection The most common is a “general” property inspection, in which the inspector checks the home from the foundation to the roof and investigates all major systems and components. As the buyer, you should follow along with the inspector to learn more about the property. For example, you’ll want to know about the components (such as the water heater) and have a plan in place for maintenance.
After the general property inspection, the inspector may suggest having a specialist come out. This could be a roofer, electrician, HVAC specialist or even an engineer. Listen to the inspector and have any recommended follow-up inspections. Remember: This is your one chance to approve the property from top to bottom. If issues arise, you may be able to negotiate repair or a buyer credit. If something major arises and it’s not what you signed up for, you can void the contract via your inspection contingency.
Loan approval or commitment
In addition to making certain the property appraises at no less than the contract price, the bank will want to fully approve your credit, debt and income history. The bank will also want to approve the property’s preliminary title report to make sure there are no liens recorded against the property that might affect its value. The bank can take up to 30 days to complete its review, which should result in a loan commitment or full loan approval. Once that’s completed to the bank’s satisfaction, you’re guaranteed a loan, and you’re one step closer to closing.
Just before closing, you will do a final walk through in the property to make sure it’s in the condition it was when you last saw it. Make sure the seller didn’t remove any fixtures, make modifications or leave behind garbage or debris. You also want to be sure any fixes you negotiated with the seller have been completed.
Depending on the market, the closing may happen at an attorney’s office or at a title company. In some situations, the buyer and seller don’t ever meet. Each goes in to sign their closing papers separately. In others, the buyers and sellers sign the closing documents together. Regardless of how a closing happens, if you’re a buyer and getting a loan, plan on signing dozens of documents at closing. You’ll need to show photo ID, as your signature will be notarized. Prior to the closing, your real estate agent or attorney should send over a closing statement to review. The statement details your final closing costs and the money you need to bring to the closing. The funds can be wired in or paid with a cashier’s check on closing day. Be sure to ask for the statement early, so there aren’t any last-minute surprises.
1. Get Loan Pre-Approval
This step is extremely important. It will help you to know what you can afford and determine if there are any glitches in your credit that need attention before buying. Talk with a few lenders to get rate quotes and to find one that fits your working style. After you are pre-approved, make sure to pay close attention to your finances and do not make any rash decisions or large purchases, such as a car, until after the purchase of your new home.
2. Find An Agent
An agent will lead you through the process of the paperwork, negotiation strategies, inspections and ultimately settlement by placing offers, negotiating final prices and settlement terms and closing costs to settlement.
Find a professional agent that is knowledgeable in the area in which you are looking to buy. In most cases in the MD, VA and DC area, if a home is listed in the MRIS, the area multiple listing system, then the commission is paid entirely by the seller- not the buyer. A Buyer Broker is an agent that advocating and working exclusively for your best interests.
By finding a knowledgeable real estate agent that you trust, you are likely to save money, purchase the home of your choice and have a smooth and successful transaction.
3. Prioritize Your Needs and Wants
While location and price range will dictate a lot about the home you will be looking for, you should also think about what amenities you hope for. Start big with the non-negotiables such as the specific communities you want to live in, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, what style of homes you are interested in looking at, whether or not you need a garage, etc. After the larger must-haves are established it is easier to understand what is negotiable in the long run. If you are prepared beforehand you can assure that you are looking for everything that is necessary.
4. Look Into Potential Programs
In recent years there has been an increased effort by the government to try and stimulate home purchases. One of these efforts includes tax credits and benefits for first time homebuyers. During your home buying process, be sure to look and see if any credits or benefits are available for you. Some of these programs will allow savings on the initial purchase of the home and others will save money back in the form of a tax return. Either way, the saved money can be a major bonus and it is well worth the effort to find out. Your realtor and lender will help you determine if you qualify for any programs.
5. Inspect Your Future Home, Choose Your Settlement Company ect.
Research the companies you will want to use for your inspections and settlement. Your contract to purchase your home may be contingent on certain inspections such as termite, home inspection, radon or well and septic. Looking into the cost of these inspections and choosing what company fits your expectations will put in a position to be prepared to move forward. A choice of settlement company is generally the purchasers to make. There are many factors to consider, your agent will help you navigate the way to a successful conclusion!