5 Questions Sellers Have Before They List their House
Whether you are getting ready to sell your first home or it simply has been a while since you put a house on the market, you probably have some questions – and you’re not alone. Selling your house can be an emotional, and sometimes stressful, decision to make. Questions are part of the process!
The following are five frequently asked questions from home sellers. These questions even tend to pop into a sellers’ head before they contact a Realtor. Here are some general answers to ease any uncertainty you may be feeling:
- Is there a best time of year to sell my home?
This is not a simple question. Often, spring is the most popular time to sell a home, and the market is flooded with buyers looking to relocate before the fall. However, when you list your home should also depend on your own needs, and you should discuss the timing of your home sale with your Realtor. Sometimes selling in the fall and winter brings more serious buyers and less competition as you look to place an offer on your next home.
- How much is my home worth?
Before you list your home, you probably wonder what you will be able to get for it and how much profit you will have to use toward your next home. Your Realtor will provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), a free report which will give you an accurate, fact-based market value for your home. A CMA determines a reasonable asking price based on what homes like yours are selling for today.
When putting together your CMA, your Realtor will research similar homes with comparable features that have recently sold in your community. Here is what to look for in your CMA:
- It should compare and contrast three to five recently sold homes that possess the same characteristics as your home. The goal is to use homes with same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc., whenever possible.
- If there are differences between homes, there should be a method that uses cost data to adjust the sold price for those differences. In other words, there is a method to determine how much to add or subtract if the report compares properties with different numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
Your Realtor will determine a listing price range for your home and make a recommendation as to which listing price they feel will accomplish your goals.
- Should I price my home higher to be sure I get top dollar?
The short answer is no. You might think that buyers will just place an offer with a plan to enter into negotiations with you, but that is not what usually occurs. The reality is the number one reason a house doesn’t sell in a healthy real estate market is that it is priced too high.
It is not uncommon right now for there to be multiple offers coming in from several potential buyers. However, this occurs with homes that are priced correctly or priced slightly (3% - 4%) below market value.
- What is a sale contingency?
If a buyer decides to place an offer on your home but they have to sell their existing house first, the sale of your home is contingent on the sale of their home (if you accept the offer). There is some risk in this – examples are if their home takes a long time to sell, or fails an inspection, causing the deal on their house to fall through. This would leave you back at square one.
- How do I prepare my home for sale?
As you get ready to list your home think about how a buyer will feel when they see your home for the first time. Remove clutter, add a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint to each room, install new carpeting, refinish wood floors that are scuffed and old looking, and clean everything to a sparkle. Outside, mow your lawn, trim shrubs, and add pops of color by planting some annual flowers.
Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question when you’re selling one of your biggest assets! When in doubt ask your Realtor, and make a list of questions as you go so you remember everything that needs clarification.
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