Home Seller's Guide
Selling a house can be stressful. Making the decision, preparing the house for sale, keeping it clean, waiting for a buyer, dealing with offers, and advancing to the closing table – all of these steps can involve discomfort. This is a huge financial transaction with many emotional aspects. But you can get it done – and it may even be easier than you anticipate.
One thing to keep in mind is that you're not alone. Tom Carris and ‘The Carris Team’ can guide you through the process, help resolve any issues that come up, and ensure that your home sells for the optimal price in a timely manner.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when putting your home on the market:
The Right Listing Agent
A skilled, qualified real estate agent brings tremendous value to the process of selling your home. You're relying on this agent on many different levels, so be careful to select someone with the right combination of education, experience, performance and local insight. Tom Carris is a proven expert who can cast a wide marketing net and attract as many potential buyers as possible.
Be sure to let Tom know the particulars of your situation. Perhaps you need to sell within a certain time frame, are relocating out of state, or are facing foreclosure. Keeping Tom informed helps set the path for the best way to proceed, ensures that your needs are met, and ultimately contributes to a successful transaction.
Pricing Your Home
Smart, competitive pricing is essential. When you price too high, your home stays on the market longer, prolonging the process and increasing your expenses along the way.
Home Seller Mistake No. 1: Pricing Too High
“I can always lower the price later if I don't get any offers.”
That statement costs home sellers millions of dollars every year.
Yes, you can always lower your asking price, but that’s not a good strategy. Time and time again, experience shows that sellers who list competitively from the start get a better price than sellers who list high and then go lower and lower.
When you price too high, here's what buyers think:
“Wow, three price cuts in the last four months… There must be something wrong with that house.”
“With all the price cuts on this house, the sellers must be desperate. Let's offer them far below what they’re asking and see if they bite.”
Sound Pricing Strategies
When you hire Tom Carris he will work with you to understand the local market and then decide together on setting the right price. Tom can help you avoid the overpricing trap.
• Tom Carris will help set the right price for your home by considering the following: Similar homes, via a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Tom will provide a professional analysis that goes deep into stats about recent sales and current listings similar to your home in size, age, condition and features. Sales within the past six months are especially relevant.
• General market conditions: Is it a seller's market or a buyer's market in your community? It's important to note that what's happening nationally may not reflect local conditions. What is the current absorption rate in your area? Tom can explain each of these factors and clear up any misconceptions you may have.
The Pricing Pyramid
If you price your home too high for the market, very few, if any buyers will come to view it. Your home needs to be priced properly from the start. Setting a realistic price from the start equals more money in your pocket at closing. You do not need to be the ‘cheapest’ home amongst your competition, rather the best ‘value’.
Preparing your Home
Potential buyers get an impression of your home – either positive or negative – within 30 seconds of walking through the door. Having them see your home in tip-top selling shape is an absolute must.
There are countless ways to put the freshest face on your home, many of them costing little more than a bit of your time. Here are a few pointers for the most significant impact:
Outside: The Power of Curb Appeal
• Clear any clutter and keep lawn decorations to a minimum.
• Mow your lawn and trim shrubs.
• Add bushes and/or colorful flowers.
• Sweep or shovel sidewalks, porch and driveway.
• Fix damaged gutters, shutters, siding or roof shingles.
• Clean all windows inside and out.
Inside: De-cluttering is the key
Check for cobwebs on ceilings, dust on baseboards – everything.
De-clutter. Then de-clutter again. Rent a storage locker if you need to. This is very important for increasing your home's appeal.
• Add a fresh coat of paint to the walls if needed.
• Remove excessive family photos, wall decorations and furniture.
• Replace worn carpets, and shampoo carpets that are dirty but still in good shape.
• Maximize your home's natural light by opening blinds and shades.
• Do a smell check and address any odors.
• Pet owners: Take Fido or Fluffy with you while your home is being shown.
Tom Carris can provide additional advice on prepping your home, and also give you insights into the preferences of local buyers as well as provide a professional stager if necessary
Marketing Your Home
Tom Carris understands how to accurately price your home and make it stand out in the market. He also has access to a vast referral network, enabling him to connect with potential buyers across town or around the world.
Here are a few avenues Tom Carris and ‘The Carris Team’ use to market your home, both online and off.
Multiple photos: Studies show that buyers are more likely to visit a home that includes multiple photos of the listing. Well-lit, wide-angled photos highlight your home's best features and important rooms.
Virtual tours: Video tours give buyers an inside look at your property online and can get them interested enough to schedule a showing.
Home search websites: More than 75 percent of buyers start their home search online. It’s important that your listing receives full exposure in the MLS and in search engine results. Posting your listing on Realtor.com. Trulia.com, Facebook, Twitter, newspaper websites and elsewhere can also be effective in reaching potential buyers.
Print advertising: Tom will feature your home on a postcard that goes out to over 15,000 homes in the area.
remax.com: All RE/MAX listings appear on remax.com, where millions of buyers browse for homes and see listings with multiple photos, property descriptions and other details.
The RE/MAX network: Another advantage of choosing Tom Carris from RE/MAX Showcase is direct access to a network of nearly 90,000 RE/MAX agents around the world, many of them working with motivated buyers.
The RE/MAX yard sign: The RE/MAX Balloon is among the most recognized logos across all industries, not just real estate. A RE/MAX yard sign in front of your house makes an immediate, positive connection with potential buyers who already know the brand.
When you schedule a consultation with Tom Carris, he will go over his detailed marketing plan with you.
Home Sale Outline
Buyers make a purchase offer.
This is it! A buyer has fallen in love with your home, looked over disclosure documents, reviewed comparable sales data, and submitted an offer. You may accept their first offer, but more often will return a counteroffer. In fact, additional negotiations are common, and this is where Tom’s experience can really help. He will negotiate not only the best price for you but also the best terms, including earnest money, closing date and more!
The sellers accept.
Once everyone is happy with the terms, the parties have reached what is known as mutual acceptance and enter into a purchase and sale agreement.
Buyers put up earnest money.
To solidify their intent to buy, the buyer will place a deposit, or earnest money, on the property. The amount varies, but is generally at least 1 percent of the purchase price. They write the check to the escrow company or listing office. Note: This money counts toward their down payment later.
Buyers apply for a mortgage.
This step is streamlined if they have already been preapproved for a loan (which is a smart thing to know before we accept an offer).
A home inspection takes place.
The buyer will hire an inspector to check the home and point out minor and major problems that should be fixed before closing. Through your attorney, the buyers will submit a list of requested work, and you have the option to complete the tasks, do some of them but not others, or reject the request. The sides will negotiate until reaching an agreement.
Closing time arrives.
Once financing is set, all parties sign a seemingly endless stack of documents, and the transaction closes. Tom Carris has been with you from start to finish…Congratulations on your home sale!!