Thinking about selling your home? Realtors share insights
By Rob Jordan
We contacted three local Somersett realtors and asked them some common questions about the home selling process. Here’s what they said.
How should I pick my realtor?
Look for a realtor who has demonstrated continuous success in Somersett. Consider a realtor who lives in Somersett and will enthusiastically inform buyers about the neighborhood personality and wonderful features of our community (the clubhouses, tennis, golf, parks and recreation areas, events, etc.)
Depending on your home (production/tract home, or semi-custom, or full custom) talk to realtors who have experience matching your home. Selling a 1,500 square-foot townhome in the Vue is different from selling a 6,000 square-foot custom estate in a gated community.
Look for someone who demonstrates knowledge about Somersett market conditions, current listings, recent sales, etc., and who has a broad marketing plan to promote and advertise your home to fellow realtors and directly to buyers all across the internet.
Above all, pick someone with whom you feel you can communicate well and often. Selling your home is an important, often stressful, and financially important transaction. You may need the combination of a warrior and a psychologist as a partner to look out for your interests and guide you through the transaction.
How should I price my home?
Price your home to SELL, not to SIT! This doesn’t mean leaving money on the table, but overpriced homes often languish without many showings and become stale rapidly. This forces multiple price reductions down the road. Better to price to market and hang tough than to tell your realtor: “Yeah Bob, I know I’m pretty overpriced. Just bring me an offer and we’ll negotiate.”
Be HONEST about your home’s condition. It likely falls into one of these categories:
- Highly desirable/sought after
- Below average/problems (neglect or repairs needed; busy street; power lines in the back yard, etc.)
Discuss with your realtor how to maximize the positive and minimize any negative features.
Priced accurately, most realtors will achieve 98-100% of your desired selling price within 2-3 weeks. If your home does NOT sell in 3 weeks, it’s likely overpriced.
How can I negotiate with the buyer?
Get where you can get; give when it’s prudent!
If you get a nice, near-full-price offer, be happy about it! If after an inspection the buyer comes back and asks for $500 towards repairs, agree to make the repairs. Or perhaps split the cost. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.
Try not to say a flat NO to requests. Instead, offer an alternative. “Well, I can’t do that, but I can do this.”
Don’t negotiate emotionally. You may love the shiny, jet-black tile in the living room which you installed yourself in 2004. So, everyone better love it too, right? Maybe you should give a bit on price and let the buyer replace it with current lighter flooring. Be honest about things like that.
Don’t box yourself in! Don’t say, “I’ll never take a penny less than $650,000!” Well, maybe $650,000 isn’t a market price, and you may end up taking less than $650,000. Why put yourself in a position from which you don’t feel you can emotionally retreat. This isn’t personal, it’s a real estate TRANSACTION. You want to sell; the buyer wants to buy. It takes the two of you to tango! Try to work with your realtor to make ends meet amicably.
What can I do to make my home attractive … without breaking the bank?
De-personalize and de-clutter! Buyers want to view a home that they immediately envision themselves living in. Remove as many personal items as possible: photos, collectibles, etc. STASH YOUR STUFF! Make rooms look large; make closets and cabinets seem ample. Put all of your extra stuff in a storage pod in the driveway or on the street. And bring it all out again … when you’re in YOUR new home.
Clean, clean, clean. This is a small investment that pays big dividends. Everything should be sparkling: windows, kitchen, bathrooms and especially the front entryway, which makes an important first impression. Get a new welcome mat. Put flowers out. Put bright lights everywhere and open the blinds. Little touches that say “this home is well-cared for” gives buyers confidence that they could love living here.
Have a professional home inspection done and attend to any important issues in advance. This will go miles towards minimizing surprises and repair dollars. When transactions fail, it is often over the issue of inspection reports and requested repairs. Better to have YOUR professional inspect your home and give you a report, than to be surprised by the BUYER’S home inspection … and their attached list of repairs and costs.
Is winter a good time to sell?
While it’s true that the number of homes listed for sale declines in the winter months, it’s also true that buyers who are out looking in the cold are often MOTIVATED BUYERS! Maybe they must move while school is out for the holiday break, or when they have end-of-the-year time off work. Maybe the buyer has been transferred from the East Coast and needs to be in a new home by January. If your home is one of only a few listings in the buyer’s price range, you’ll have less competition, and perhaps put a deal together. Maybe someone here for a ski vacation will find your snow-covered home just what they’re looking for!
Finally, you can make the escrow process smoother if your HOA dues are current. One less thing to worry about! Call or email the SOA offices to check (775-787-4500; firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, there is a Transfer Fee which is paid through escrow to set up the new homeowner in our system. This fee can be paid by the seller or the buyer.
Good luck with your moving plans!
Note: These realtors contributed to this story: David Hughes, Dickson Realtors; Ruby Von Schwerin, Chase International; Karen Falocchia, Entrepreneur Realty. The SOA appreciates their information. No SOA endorsement is implied.
The author, Rob Jordan, is a Somersett resident.