If you are considering selling your house, one of the first things you will want to do is to take a good look at your home and address all of the deferred maintenance and make any necessary repairs that are needed.
Most home buyers will hire a professional home inspector to perform an inspection of the house during the ‘Option Period / Due Diligence Period’. The inspector will locate, identify and report of any maintenance issues, defects and any repairs that are needed which are discovered during the home inspection. Any defects or issues discovered during the home inspection will need to be addressed and/or repaired by the seller or the buyer may prefer to re-negotiate with the seller on the price of the original offer in lieu of repairs moving forward with the purchase of the home. This should be motivation for making necessary repairs to your home prior to listing your home on the market for sale. Before inviting potential homebuyers into your home, be proactive and make repairs to any items in need of repair and address any known defects around the house. Making such repairs ahead of time can help lessen the chances of having potential buyers walk away during the purchase of your home or having buyers try to re-negotiate for a much lower purchase price of your home.
You should perform an evaluation of your home to determine which updates are needed in or to your home. Updates are also recommended because they help increase the chances of you receiving a higher and better qualified offer. You should compare your home with other similar homes listed for sale in the neighborhood with the help of a Local REALTOR® or by taking the time to do some research and online comparisons yourself. You should update your home by adding or replacing items that will increase the overall value of your home such as new appliances, granite counter-tops, new light fixtures, new faucets, and/or tile or hardwood floors. Making these updates is especially important if other homes in the area that are listed on the market offer these features and upgrades. There are two drawbacks of not offering the updates that most other comparable homes have; your house may end up staying on the market for a longer period of time than those homes offering such updates and second, you could possibly receive offers that are considerably lower than what you were expecting. Generally, the return on investment is worthwhile when these updates are made to your home. Your REALTOR® should be able to provide you with some recommendations on which features you should upgrade to get the best return on investment. Here is another helpful article full of information on the 5 Best and Worst Home Improvement Projects When Selling a House, by Jeff Sadler.
The last thing to do before listing your house for sale is to make sure it looks as good as possible and make it stand out. This is usually achieved by getting rid of all the obvious signs of wear and tear around the home. This entails a new coat of paint on the walls, thoroughly cleaning all rooms, cleaning the baseboards, having the carpets professionally cleaned or replaced, making sure the lawn is mowed, add a fresh layer of mulch and add seasonal flowers to flowerbeds, trim the shrubs and make sure the landscaping is neat & clean, clean the gutters, and taking care of any other similar items around the house. Buyers may take one look at a home that is not looking at its best and lose interest because they may think they will need to spend too much money on getting the home back in shape and looking good again all because of the usual every day wear and tear. You do not want to have potential homebuyers come into your home and have their first impression lead them to believe that your home is going to be too much work before ever getting to relax and enjoy the home. Most homebuyers want to buy a home that is move in ready and they can start enjoying the comforts of living in the home right away.
Remember: First Impressions are very important when selling your home and can mean the difference of a buyer stopping and wanting to see more or deciding to overlook it and pass it right on by.
Another thing you should do is remove all signs of “you” from the house, de-personalize your home. You will be packing for your new home soon enough anyway, so get started early by wrapping, boxing and storing all your personal photographs and all other personal items you may have sitting out as well. The goal is to provide a neutral and clean property which potential home buyers can picture and easily envision themselves with their own personal belongings living in that space. You can present your house in an even more impactful way by hiring a professional home stager who can professionally arrange your furniture and décor allowing your house to show in the best way possible. Staging has become an increasingly popular choice for many sellers and it is likely that other home sellers in your area may be opting for professional home staging, increasing their chances of a quick sale and at top dollar. Therefore, you may want to consider home staging as an option for your home to remain competitive against other homes listed for sale on the market. Many times staging your home can mean the difference of your home selling quickly vs. having it sit for sale on the market for several weeks or even months.
The first step is to hire a competent REALTOR®. Don’t just ask around for referrals from your neighbors, friends or family. Friends, family, and neighbors are not always the best place to seek advice for hiring a Realtor®, especially when you are making one of the largest purchases of a lifetime. Taking the time to do some online research will lead you to a REALTOR® who is firmly established with a local knowledge, a good reputation and has good reviews. Hiring a full-time REALTOR® is highly advisable, preferably a REALTOR® from the area, not one that just recently relocated from another state and decides all of a sudden he or she is an expert on a particular area. These days many REALTORS® choose to work as a part-time agent to supplement their main income or while holding other jobs, is that who you really want representing you on one of the largest most important purchases of your lifetime? Remember: Do not hire your Realtor® out of guilt or pressure just because you have a hard time saying no or because the Realtor® is family, a family friend, a friend of a friend or a Realtor® that someone you know has previously hired. If you do not feel you get along with the Realtor that you interview – do not hire them. It is important that you like, trust and get along with the Realtor® that you choose.
- Will they use professional photographers for taking photos of your home?
- If not, will they use a professional camera with a wide angle lens imaging software for the best results? Ask for sample photos.
- Do they coordinate the showings on their own or with a professional Showing Service?
- Are Secure Electronic Lock-boxes (SUPRA) used by your REALTOR® or do they have low-quality combination lock-boxes (not recommended)?
- What is the average number of homes they sell per year, and is it a good average for your area?
- Does their online reputation precede them and what kind of reviews have they gotten from previous clients?
- Is it convenient for you to communicate with them using email, calls, text and/or social media?
- How much is the buyer’s agent getting from their commission?
- What more can they offer compared to other agents?
- Where will your listing be advertised by them?
- Will you be able to use convenient electronic signing services (Docusign)?
- Do you like the REALTOR®, do you think you will get along with them and do you trust them?
If you like the REALTOR®, think you can get along and trust them, then go for it…these are all very important aspects that ultimately lead to a successful transaction and are critical considerations when making a final decision of which REALTOR® to hire and work with.You should freely ask any questions that come to mind in addition to the ones given above, because any REALTOR® you hire will have a significant impact on your overall experience and success in selling your home. Thorough research before choosing a real estate agent is of utmost importance. You can get some more great information on Top Home Seller Mistakes When Selecting a REALTOR, by Jeff Sadler to help you find the right person for the job.
You should also put a great deal of thought into determining the sale price at which your home will be listed. Your REALTOR® can give advice and provide comps to get an idea of the prices of similar properties. You must determine a sale price that lets you sell the house quickly, but doesn’t result in a loss either. Sellers start getting lower offers when their property stays on the market too long. A lack of offers or showings is commonly seen when sellers initially set the price too high. They are subsequently forced to lower their price. Typically, the chances of receiving a good offer are the highest right after you list the house, because if your home remains unsold for a month or two, buyers will sense your desperation and will know you are exhausted and anxious by then. Therefore, their offers tend to come in lower than what you could receive within the first week or two of listing your home for sale. Serious home buyers are also aware that during the first few weeks’ interest from other home buyers is generally higher and that you may be receiving other offers on your home during this time. If you have an experienced Realtor®, he or she will have actively marketed your property wisely and strategically to create this high level of interest in your home and will be able to use this additional attention and competition between buyers to your advantage by getting multiple offers to purchase your home from all potential buyers.
Last but not the least, your home needs to be kept presentable for all showings at all times while your home is actively being marketed for sale. We have seen too many times that homes for sale turn out to be dirty, dingy and unkempt not fit to be shown to potential home buyers when Realtors® arrive to show the home. It is inevitable that homes will look different in person than they do online in photos, therefore it is imperative that your home is presentable, kept neat & clean, has a pleasant smell and portrays the same appearance as seen online in photos. These are all crucial points to helping you get your home sold. If you are not hiring a professional home stager, you can use some simple steps to showcase your home to show it best points and make it appeal to potential homebuyers. Make sure all the lights and lamps are turned on to allow homebuyers to see a brightly lit and inviting home. You can highlight the best areas in your house by letting natural light in, so be sure to draw open the curtains and window blinds for maximum impact if the home is being viewed during the day time. Although the house needs to remain a neutral space, potential home buyers should feel welcome and warm as well as get homely vibes when they enter your home.
Hopefully, once you have taken the right home selling steps and gotten your home listed on the market you will start receiving offers. If you are someone inexperienced at selling homes, you may feel like jumping at the first offer you receive, but being patient and waiting for the right offer to come along is important. There are other factors to consider other than just the price they are offering. It is crucial to also take a look at the pre-approval letter, down-payment amount, loan type and terms before deciding which offer to accept. Professional REALTORS® know that deals can fall apart because of some of the issues noted above. We have seen that the deals which fall apart most are often the ones where the buyer has a low down-payment with inadequate finances on hand, poor and/or extremely low credit scores and is requesting assistance with the closing costs. The chances of a successful transaction diminish when the home buyer barely qualifies for a home mortgage loan and does not have sufficient funds in their bank account to cover all known or unexpected costs associated with buying a home. You are more likely to close on the sale of your home by choosing the offer wisely and are in a position to wait for a well-qualified homebuyer to come along who qualifies strong for a home mortgage and can offer a larger down-payment with better terms and can bear all the costs associated with purchasing a home. These are just some of the factors you should look for when you start receiving and reviewing offers for your property. There are many good loan programs that offer financial assistance to home buyers, just be prepared to do a little research and make a well informed decision when deciding which offer to accept. You Realtor® should be a good source for helping choose the right offer. Communication between all parties is critical during this stage of the transaction.
The communication between you and your REALTOR® should be ongoing even after the contract has been signed, executed and been placed at the title company. Your real estate agent should correspond on a regular basis with the home buyer’s lender and the buyer’s agent. Your Realtor® should be made aware of any progress and/or of any changes during the loan process and at the same time continue to keep you informed on a regular basis. Some real estate agents do not keep in contact with the mortgage lenders and just assume the lender must be working on your transaction. Many times Realtors® will not contact the lender or title company until a week or two before the final closing date and at which point the real estate agent will often find out that the transaction is experiencing delays, the lender needs more documentation from the buyer, stalled due to lack of communication or lack of correspondence with the buyer and buyer’s agent causing the need for an extension or even worse the transaction could fall through and terminate. As a seller you will want to be sure that all the parties involved in your transaction continue to do their job properly and communicate regularly. It is not a good idea to simply assume that the lender, REALTOR®, Title Company and appraiser must all be communicating regularly and working diligently to keep the process moving forward. I highly recommend that you contact your Realtor® on a regular basis to stay on top of the progression and status of your transaction. A top notch REALTOR® will be proactive and ahead of you on this matter and will already be keeping you in the loop on a regular basis. Therefore, be sure to keep the important factor of communication in mind when hiring your REALTOR®.
Last, be sure to choose and set a closing date and time with the title company once the lender gives a clear to close on the transaction. You should schedule the closing earlier in the day if you need the funds wired to your account on the same day. Additionally, you might want to avoid closing on a Friday because it is typically a busy day for most title companies and should something be delayed or additional items or time is needed it could push the closing to the following week. The closing of your transaction and wire transfer are more likely to go more smoothly between Monday through Thursday which typically allows room for error, otherwise you may be forced into closing the following week should you choose to close on a Friday and something get delayed.
The items you will need to bring with you to the closing include house keys, any government issued photo identification (passport, driver’s license, ID, etc.), receipts for repairs, appliance manual’s/documentation (if any), warranties, garage door openers and any other relevant items related to sale of your home. It is always nice and helpful to provide any important documentation pertaining to your house to the buyers at closing. Typically, signing the final closing documents should not take as much time for the seller as there is much less paperwork for the seller to sign vs. the buyer. The title company will deliver the final closing documents to the mortgage lender once all parties have signed. If all the proper steps were taken, it is common for the lender to fund the transaction within only a few hours after all parties have signed the final closing documents. Any funds due to the seller will be paid to the seller by check or will be wired to sellers account depending on seller’s request of how funds should be paid, check or wired. The funds due to seller will be paid to seller by the title company.
This simple guide gives you a basic idea of how to and what to expect when selling your home. This guide is not exhaustive but clearly gives you a basic overview of selling your home and what to expect. A skilled REALTOR® is equipped to assist and help you navigate through the home selling process. Team Sadler takes great pride in helping clients get their house priced right and sold in the least amount of time. We are happy to help you get your home sold using our considerable amount of knowledge and experience in buying and selling of homes, using the latest technology and our real estate marketing expertise.
Additional Resources for: Basic Steps to Selling Your Home
We hope you find the additional resources listed above helpful.
Thinking of buying or selling your home? We are passionate about real estate and would love to put our local real estate knowledge, marketing expertise and experience to work for you. You can contact Team Sadler here or Call or text: (713) 628-4487.
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Jeff & Whitney have successfully helped many wonderful clients move in and out of Sienna Plantation – Missouri City, TX and surrounding areas.
We service Real Estate Sales in the following Harris County & Fort Bend County areas: Missouri City, TX – Brightwater, Lake Olympia, Sienna Plantation, Riverstone, Quail Valley. Sugar Land, TX, Aliana, Avalon, Commonwealth, Greatwood, Heritage Colony, Sugar Creek, Sweetwater, Telfair, Riverstone, First Colony.
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BASIC STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME
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