A Sellers Guide In Contra Costa
Know Why You are Selling
If you know exactly why you are selling then it is easier for you to follow the right plan of action for getting what you want.
If you are a seller who needs to close a sale as quickly as possible, then you should know that getting the highest price possible is not one of your priorities. It does not mean that you won’t or cannot get the highest price, but it means that the price is not the deciding factor. A buyer who can give you a quick closing time will appeal much more to you than a buyer who can offer you more money but the negotiation and closing time drag on.
It’s always good to know how low you will go, in terms of selling price. This will help to eliminate some of the offers that you ﬁnd simply offensive or ridiculous. Even though you should consider all offers seriously and take into consideration the terms of each offer, sometimes, if you know the bottom line and are strict about it, you can save yourself time.
Once you know what your limits and reasons are, discuss them with your agent so that they can help you set your goals realistically. If you decide to list your home on your own, make sure you do research on the current market, and you get the proper advice you need in terms of legal issues, etc. The key is to be realistic and to know what your goals are so they can be met.
Plan of Action
Finding the Right Agent
- Analyze why you are selling – If you understand your motives, you will be able to better negotiate and to get what it is that you want, whether it be a quick sale, high price, or somewhere in the middle.
- Prepare your home for the buyer – Maximize the strengths of your property and ﬁx up its weaknesses. You want the buyer to walk away from your home with a lasting good impression.
- Find a good real estate agent that understands your needs – Make sure that your agent is loyal to you, and can negotiate to help you achieve your goals. In addition, they should be assertive and honest with both you and the buyer.
- Be prepared for negotiation – Learn and understand your buyer’s situation; what are their motives? Can you demand a big deposit from them? Try to lock in the buyer so that the deal goes through.
- Negotiate for the best price and the best terms – Learn how to counter offer to get maximum value from every offer.
- Make sure the contract is accurate and complete – Be honest with your disclosures; you do not want to lose the deal because you were lying or diminishing your home’s defects. Insist the buyers get a professional inspection. This will protect both you and the buyer.
Not all agents work the same way. The most important attribute of an agent is that he/she is well connected to the real estate industry. He/she should know the market and provide information on past sales, current listings, his or her marketing plan, and at least 4 solid references. In addition, you also want to look for an agent that is honest, assertive, and one that best understands your needs.
Try to go with a local agent. They can better serve your needs because they should be more familiar with the local market conditions, local prices, and what’s hot or not in your community.
When reading an offer, keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you. If you focus solely on the price, you may overlook terms that could be favorable to you as a buyer.
Some terms that may work in your favor:
For Sale By Owner – A Good Idea?
- Higher-than-market-interest in a second mortgage for your home
- The buyer will pay for most or all of the closing costs
- The buyer will take care of any repairs
- Quick close – the buyer is pre-approved and ready to close in a timeframe that best suits you
- All-cash deal
- When reading through offers, remember to look at the whole package. Take the time that you need to assess what is being offered and if it meets your needs.
FSBO (pronounced ﬁzz-bo), or For Sale By Owner, is a way of selling your home without the use of a professional real estate agent or broker. The idea behind FSBO is that by selling your home yourself, you save the approximate 6% that would be the agents’ commission.
6% may not sound like a lot, but it can add up, especially on more expensive homes. But before you run off and decide to sell your home FSBO, you must remember that to get a savings like that, there must be a cost. So what’s the catch? Selling FSBO is hard. A lot harder.
Only about 10% of sellers that decide to do FSBO are successful at it. And not all of them end up saving themselves money. FSBO sellers often end up accepting a lower price for their home than they would with an agent.
There are of course other issues as well. Can you afford to make selling your home your fulltime job? Because for a lot of FSBO sellers, that’s exactly what it is. Do you have the time and capital to spend on the marketing, advertising, inspections, paperwork, phone calls, showings, and problems that come up when any home is sold?
Selling with a professional agent also has other advantages. An agent can get your home listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and other popular websites where not only homebuyers but also other agents can easily ﬁnd it. Professional real estate agents also have an extensive network that allows them to more easily ﬁnd a buyer.
So before you decide to sell your home yourself, thoughtfully consider just how much time and effort you can spare for selling your home, as well as how important it is that your home sell sooner rather than later.
Setting the Price
The price is the ﬁrst thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reﬂects how serious you are about selling your home.
Several factors will contribute to your ﬁnal decision. First, you should compare your house to others that are in the market. If you use an agent, he/she will provide you with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). The CMA will reﬂect the following:
- Houses in your price range and area that were sold within the last half-year
- Asking and selling prices of houses
- Current inventory of houses on the market
- Features of each house on the market
From the CMA, you will learn the difference between the asking price and selling price for all homes sold, the condition of the market, and other houses comparable to yours.
Also, try to ﬁnd out what types of houses are selling and see if it applies to your area. Buyers follow trends, and these trends can help you set your price.
Always be realistic. Understand and set your price to reﬂect the current market situation.
Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time
In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.
The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should be adjusted to reﬂect the market and your property’s worth. The key is to get as many people as possible checking out your fairly priced property. If your property is not priced fairly, there will be no buyers because your price is set too high.
Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks ready to be sold. Fix any defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks, stains, etc.) Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions. Not only should you ﬁx any defects, but consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a ﬁnancial response.
Learn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor that may be adjusted to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer to the buyers. For example, improvements you’ve made or even offering seller ﬁnancing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. Convince them why they should be paying the price you have set.
Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a hot agent that ensures your house is listed on the MLS and on the Internet. On your own, get the word out. It should always be visible to passersby that your house is for sale, whether it is through signs, local advertisements or you telling friends, family, and acquaintances.