Selling A Home: FAQs

Frequently Asked Question about selling a home.

Q: If I hire a real estate agent to help with the sale of my home, what information do I need?
A: Make sure the person is local and knows the community. Get references from the agent. Ask the agent what will be done to market your home. Make sure the agent is someone with whom you are comfortable. Also make sure you have a full understanding of the agent’s fees.

Q: Before I move, who should I make sure knows my new address?
A: Give a forwarding address to your post office, make sure you get all subscriptions changed, and contact friends and relatives.

Q: What is the first thing I should ask myself when I decide to sell my home?
A: Is it a home you would consider buying? You must look at the house through the eyes of a prospective buyer and decide what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired or thrown away.

Q: Is there a best time to sell?
A: The market generally is more active in the summer because parents prefer to move their children during the summer vacation. That’s also the time that more homes are available. Experts advise owners to sell when the house is ready for sale, when there is a need to sell and when the services of a real estate agent have been acquired.

Q: How do I improve my home’s value?
A: Improve it so it shows well and so it is consistent with the neighborhood. Properties that are over-improved for their neighborhood are harder to sell. Cosmetic improvements such as painting and landscaping are good investments. Mechanical repairs to make sure systems are working are required to fetch the best price.

Q: What’s the best way to choose a real estate agent?
A: You can use the Internet, obtain recommendations from acquaintances you know who’ve sold their home, check newspaper classifieds and look at listings in real estate magazines.

Q: What should I expect when working with a real estate agent?
A: The agent will market your home, keep you informed as the marketing process takes place and potential buyers express interest in the home and communicate written offers to you.

Q: Why must it be a written offer?
A: Oral offers can’t be enforced. Written offers put the terms, conditions and price in black and white for all parties to see and provide a foundation for subsequent counter-offers from both parties.

Q: What determines how much I can get for my home?
A: Two primary factors, market conditions and interest rates, will be the largest determinants.

Q: How do I price my home?
A: Begin by considering that the value of your home relates to local sale prices. That is, the same home in another community would probably have a different value. Prices also are a product of supply and demand, and remember the sale price isn’t everything. There’s always terms and conditions that can be used to sweeten the pot.

Q: What’s the most practical process to set the price of my home?
A: Ask several real estate agents to give you a comparative market assessment (CMA), do your own market research and calculate the price per square foot while keeping market conditions in mind.

Q: What are the five general areas where a real estate agent can help market my home?
A: They can assist in preparation, pricing, marketing, negotiation and closing.

Q: What are the advantages of an open house?
A: It gives your agent a chance to serve as host of your home for a couple of hours and answer questions from prospective buyers in a low-key atmosphere.

Q: How do I show my home online?
A: The Internet is expected to have a continually growing impact on the real estate business. It is a place where existing homes can be viewed by potential buyers, and it also is a place where buyers can do research on neighborhoods and other community amenities before making a purchase decision.

Q: What factors determine if a buyer’s offer is acceptable?
A: Is the offer at, near or above the asking price? What are the alternatives to the offer? Can I wait for other offers? What if I receive several other offers? In each case, the seller should carefully consider each question noted before determining if the offer is acceptable.

Q: When should I close on a house?
A: In this day and age, closings can occur within a week in some areas. However, experts advise that the process take place 30 to 45 days from the point an agreement has been reached. This will allow for financing to be arranged, inspections and appraisals to take place and any repairs promised by the seller to be taken care of.

Q: What’s the disadvantage to waiting too long to close?
A: Trying to lock in on a mortgage rate is difficult if it is 60 days or more from reaching an agreement. Consequently, if rates go up, it may knock the buyer out of the running because he will no longer be able to afford the home.

Q: How do I prepare to sell?
A: Make sure you look at the sales agreement and review your obligations. If you’ve promised repairs, they must be done by the time you close.

Q: So I’ve sold the home and I’m ready to move. What’s the best advice you can give me?
A: Get a checklist made. Moving is a huge undertaking, whether it’s down the street or across the country. Some major items to consider:

  • Money: make sure you have enough to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
  • Medicine: Keep medication and prescriptions where they will be available during the move.
  • Number boxes so they can be counted on arrival.
  • Have address books available in case you need help.

Q: The home inspector is coming. What do I do?
A: As the seller, the best thing you can do is leave the premises and turn his visit over to your real estate agent. Keep in mind, the inspector is an objective third party, not someone sent over to find every possible little thing wrong with your home.

Q: What factors determine how quickly my home will sell?
A: There are five primary factors: product, price, financing, timing and competition. Promotion is another factor, but always remember the best promotion in the world can’t overcome any of the previous five factors.

Q: What costs and fees will I incur while selling my home?
A: It varies from market to market, but major ones are: your agent’s sales commission, closing costs, mortgage payoff, moving expenses and any money you will spend on promised repairs to sell your home.

Q: How do I pick the best offer for my home?
A: Remember you don’t always have to accept the highest offer. There might be a lower offer with better terms. You also are allowed to counter more than one offer, although experts advise using a standard counter-offer form so you don’t accidentally sell your home to two buyers.

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