Five Topics to Discuss With Your Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Home
Thinking of selling your home? Before you place the "For Sale" sign in front of your house, there are a few things you should consider in order to maximize your home value and make the sales process smooth and efficient. Be prepared to discuss the following subjects with your real estate agent when you’re ready to sell your home and you’ll be one step ahead in the market.
1) Best Time of Year to Put Your House on the Market
Conventional wisdom dictates that spring is the best time for selling a home. The weather is getting warmer, the school year is coming to an end, and people who have just received their tax refunds may now have extra cash to use for a down payment on a home. However, since not everyone can sell a home in the spring, here are some other seasonal factors to consider. According to annual home sale data from the National Association of Realtors, the slowest selling months of the year are typically January and February, since fewer home sales occur during the holidays. In spite of this, with less competition in the marketplace, you may be able to ask for a higher price for your home, or a quicker closing. Additionally, temperate locations like Florida and California don’t see the seasonal fluctuations in the housing market, where house-hunters are almost always looking. And a late winter or early spring in the Northeast may extend the typical "selling season." These seasonal variations, as well as a variety of local factors, will all influence the housing market in your area. Be sure to talk to your real estate agent regarding the current state of the market and how it will affect the sale of your home.
2) Open House Strategy and How to De-Clutter
At an open house, first impressions count, so you’ll want to enhance your home’s perceived value. Make your home inviting by taking care of bothersome minor repairs; clean bathroom and kitchen counters and clear them of dishes and clutter. Arrange storage areas neatly and put unused items in a closet. If you have pets, consider having a neighbor watch them for the duration of the open house. It’s a good idea for you to be absent during the open house, also. If you must be present, let your agent do the talking.
Decorate your home to sell by arranging the furniture to look as spacious as possible. Add color and fragrance to any room with fresh flowers. Lastly, don’t forget the outside of your home. Put away all gardening equipment and neatly arrange outdoor items like firewood or furniture. Even take a hard look at your mailbox and make sure it reflects the value and character of your home.
3) Features to Accentuate
While you may have long determined which aspects of your home you love, having a fresh set of eyes assess its best features is a smart idea. If you’re considering selling your home, take the time to walk through it methodically with your real estate agent. Together you can determine which features of the home should be accentuated. Does your home have a wonderful view? Make the most of it by sprucing up window treatments and arranging furniture to draw the eye toward the windows. Perhaps the location of your house is truly incredible. Your real estate agent can help accentuate this feature in sales and marketing materials.
4) Desired Price and Bottom Line Price
It’s great to shoot high, but when determining your home value, it’s also important to identify your bottom line. By assessing recent home sale statistics in your area, your real estate agent can recommend an appropriate target price range. Working with your agent, you can set an initial asking price, as well as privately determine the absolute lowest price you would comfortably accept for selling your home. By crunching the numbers and setting parameters early on, you can avoid emotional rollercoasters during the process of receiving, countering and accepting offers.
When selling your home, you may be obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property’s value or desirability. In most states, it is illegal to fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your property, such as a basement that floods in heavy rains. And many states now require sellers to take a proactive role by making written disclosures on the condition of the property. Ask your real estate agent for the particular laws of your state.