The basics of selling your house include preparing it to be attractive to buyers, setting the right selling price, effective marketing, being certain your house is shown at its best, negotiating an acceptable deal and completing the transaction. An experienced and trusted REALTOR® will help you through each step of the sales process offering expertise to obtain the most beneficial transaction for you.
Many people sell their own house. Do I really need a REALTOR®?
Yes, most definitely. With the complexities of the current market, a REALTOR® has the expertise to assist you in securing the best price in the most reasonable amount of time, depending on your circumstances. A REALTOR® is required to stay current with education and must adhere to a strict and rigorously enforced Code of Ethics. As specialists in their field, they are a great asset when it comes to marketing, networking and negotiating on your behalf.
How do I list my house for sell?
Once you find a REALTOR® you are comfortable with, a listing agreement and disclosure forms will be completed and signed. A good amount of information will be needed, and it is important to provide as many details about your house as possible. Expect an overview explaining the process involved in placing your house on the market and following through with negotiating and closing the transaction.
What might I do to help my house bring top market value in the most reasonable time?
First impressions are crucial to a prospective buyer. An experienced REALTOR® can advise you if improvements in the way of renovations, upgrades and repairs, reorganization and maintenance may help your house sell at the top of the market. Minimally, anything broken or not in working order should be repaired. Many times small things can go a long way. Clearing clutter, a thorough polishing and cleaning, touching up paint, repainting a front door, a new welcome mat, adding a few flowers to outside beds, placing pot plants to welcome visitors, power washing siding, concrete drives, patios, as well as outdoor furniture are just a few things that can improve your home’s curb appeal. A REALTOR® will help you determine items that should be on a “must do” list and other optional helpful things to consider.
How do I know what my house is worth?
Determining the best asking price is the most important aspect of selling you house, but can also be the most challenging. Basically, your home’s value is determined by what the market is willing to pay for it at a given time. A Comparative Market Analysis prepared by a REALTOR® will prove to be the best gauge in setting a price. This report compares recent sales of houses that are similar to yours as well as houses currently for sell. It gives the most accurate picture of how the market is performing at the time you decide to sell. Strategically pricing your home is of utmost importance, and seeking advice from a professional REALTOR® in this area will serve you best. The closer your house is priced to its eventual true market value, the higher percentage there will be of potential buyers who will look at and consider the house.
How long should I expect my house will be on the market?
There is no magic frame of time, and the given market does greatly influence how well and quickly real estate sales occur. The key elements are to make sure at the time of listing, your house is not overpriced, it is clean, clutter free, and in good repair, a good marketing plan is in place, and to keep in constant communication with your REALTOR®. A REALTOR® has the knowledge, expertise and resources to implement a plan that will effectively coordinate all activities needed to maximize the sale of your house in the least amount of time.
What might an effective marketing plan consist of?
It includes all the things we’ve talked about, an experienced and trusted REALTOR®, strategic pricing, creating a good first impression and finally, effectively exposing your home to the marketplace through a variety of advertising media. Today’s primary source for real estate is internet based. So many great avenues are available that provide information to prospective buyers, including websites, social media, blogs, REALTOR.com®, etc. Other advertising sources are yard signs, open houses, print ads, direct mail, television and simply spreading the word through networking. When your house is listed with a REALTOR®, information is shared with all real estate agents who participate in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Multiple Listing Service, exposing your home for sell to all of their clients as well. It is a multi-faceted effort, and this is where a REALTOR® is your greatest asset.
In what ways can I provide help to my REALTOR®?
It is especially important to keep your home available, attractive and ready for showings. An effort is always made to schedule showings, giving you plenty of advanced notice, but being ready at all times is helpful. An electronic lockbox can be placed on a door. Allowing this provides additional ease of showing. It is also very important to be forthright and disclose all information about your property to your REALTOR®, whether you think it is important or not. Your REALTOR® is obligated to provide confidentiality, and will only share information with others that they are legally entitled to know.
If I receive an offer to purchase, what is involved?
A prospective buyer will provide a written sales contract including disclosure forms where they acknowledge the information you provide about your house. Your REALTOR® will review and explain the offer price and terms, including a time frame for closing, moving date, and the buyer’s financing and costs involved. Once the offer is presented, as the seller, you may accept, reject or execute a counter offer back to the buyer. Your REALTOR® is most important to you during this process, and will work to negotiate the best transaction for you. Once all parties have agreed in writing to the terms, both the buyer and you will be under a legally binding contract. Your bottom line is determined by the contract terms. It is very important that you understand it. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and keep asking until you have a complete understanding. An inspection clause is included in the written contract that allows time for an inspection to be completed by a professional, and states the agreed terms in the event issues are found.
Who pays what?
If a buyer is obtaining a mortgage loan, there are numerous fees connected with securing the loan. These and other fees such as those for the appraisal, pest inspection, survey, attorney, title exam, title insurance, recording, notary and any other closing costs can be negotiated and outlined in the sales contract. In most cases, the commission paid to the REALTORS® involved is usually paid by the seller and is also a part of the contract negotiations.
What should I expect on the day of closing?
A Settlement Statement reflecting the terms of your sales contract will be provided by the closing agent for your review. It contains a detailed description of all costs associated with closing a loan, if applicable, and transfer of title, and details what your bottom line is. An opportunity will be given for the buyer to walk through of the property prior to closing to assure the condition of the home has not changed since the time of completing the contract. Typically you will go to the office of a title company or attorney at a time arranged by the lender or REALTOR®. The closing agent will coordinate the signing and recording of documents as well as collection and disbursement of funds.
Is there anything I need to follow up with?
If you have a mortgage, it will be paid off by the closing agent from the proceeds of the sale, and your lender should execute and mail a release of mortgage to you. It is always a good idea to follow up if you do not receive this.