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Selling Your Home in the Houston Area
27 Essential Tips That You Should Know
To ensure you understand the home selling process, this important guide has been created based on real estate industry reports. By reading the 27 tips below you will learn how to protect and capitalize on your investment, reduce the stress typically associated with the process, be in control of the process, and also make as much on the sale of your home as possible.
1. Determine for Yourself Why You Are Selling Your Home - Why you wish to sell your home determines how you approach the selling process. Your motivation has an affect on every aspect of the process, from the price you ask to how many resources (time, effort, and money) you are ready to invest in the selling process. For example, if you wish for a quick sale you might take different steps than someone motivated by making a huge profit.
2. Ensure the Motivation for Selling Your Home is Kept Private - The reasons for why you want to sell your home will likely determine the manner in which you negotiate the sale. By keeping your motivation for sale private, you avoid the risk of your potential buyer using your motivation to gain an advantage during the negotiation. For example, if a prospective buyer learns that you must move quickly and haven't the time for a lengthy sale, you might face a disadvantage during the negotiation. If you are pressed for a reason, offer an obtuse motivation: "my housing needs are now different". Your motivation for selling is a private matter not to be shared.
3. Do Research Before Setting a Price - An asking price is considered the maximum a buyer should have to pay for your home. Your aim should be to acquire a sale price as close to your list price as possible. Asking too high a price might signal to buyers that you are not serious while asking too low a price can result in a disappointing sale for you.
How to Set Your Home's Price
In a Subdivision - If your home is of a similar floor plan, size, and age as those around you consider recent sales in your subdivision to provide you with a good indication of what your property is worth.
In an Older Neighbourhood - Neighbourhoods change over time and each home within an older neighbourhood may be of a different floor plan, condition, size etc. As such, you may not find a home comparable to yours that has sold recently. If this is the case, it is best to contact a realtor, whose professional experience can aid you in the pricing process.
If You Sell on Your Own - Establish a value by considering homes that have recently sold in your area. Consider homes that have sold within the last six months, and do not forget those that are currently on the market. Prospective buyers will conduct the same research when they determine if the price of your home is fair. Additionally, consider contacting your city hall, which can provide you with home sale information.
4. View Other Open Houses - By viewing the open houses of comparable homes, you will learn about your competition and why some homes do or do not sell. Make a list of items to consider, including the floor plan, condition, and location of the home as well as the lot size and other features you think are important. Make note of both the asking price and the sale price as these two figures may be markedly different. If you are a motivated seller, be sure not to price your home higher than comparable homes for sale in your neighbourhood.
5. Understand the Benefits of a Home Appraisal - Having a home appraisal conducted can serve as an excellent marketing tool. It signals to prospective buyers that your property will not be rejected for financing. Keep in mind, however, three important points about home appraisals: it does cost money, is only valid for a limited time, and your home may be appraised at a value you are not pleased with.
6. Understand Tax Assessments - Tax assessments are not always the best indicator of the value of your home. The tax assessment is based on a number of factors that are not necessarily connected to the property value. As such a tax assessment may not point to the true value of a home.
7. Select a Realtor - The National Association of Realtors reports that two thirds of home sellers who sold their property independently would hire a realtor the next time. Indeed, an individual wishing to sell their own home may find that they are inexperienced or have other difficulties setting a price, concerns with liability, time constraints, and limited marketing experience. If you wish to employ a realtor to navigate these issues, consider two or three individuals. Be wary of quotes that seem far too high, or far too low.
Importantly, realtors are not all cut from the same cloth. A professional realtor understands the housing market and is prepared with information about previous sales and listings currently for sale. He or she will also present you with a marketing plan and provide references and background information. Evaluate a potential realtor's previous experience, qualifications, personality, and enthusiasm. Select a person you can be sure will do their best on your behalf.
If you do want to try selling your home by yourself, it is still advisable to speak with a realtor. Many realtors will be happy to assist with paperwork, contracts and other issues and you can contact them should problems arise.
8. Make Sure You Have Room to Negotiate - When determining your asking price, be sure you have left yourself enough room to bargain. Select your highest and lowest price and then consult your motivation for sale: do you want to price high to earn the most, or price low for a quick sale?
9. The Appearance of Your Home Matters - It is imperative that your home have a welcoming appearance. Pay attention to both the look, and "feel" of your home. Paying attention to these details will benefit you as the look and feel of a home can generate the greatest emotional response in potential buyers. Potential buyers pay attention to what they can see, feel, hear and even smell.
10. Enlist the Opinion of Others - Do not rely solely on your own judgement when preparing your home for sale. Ask others what they honestly think so that you can be objective about your property's strengths and weaknesses. A good realtor will provide you with an honest opinion about what steps need to be taken to make your home as sellable as possible.
11. Clean and Fix Everything in Sight - Ensure that every possible area of your home is spotlessly clean and free of damage. View your home with fresh eyes and tackle every nook and cranny. Be sure to scrub your floors, clear the clutter, repair squeaky stairs and broken light switches. What might seem inconsequential to you may be a deal breaker for a prospective buyer. Keep in mind that your home is in competition not only with other resale homes, but with new builds as well.
12. Help Potential Buyers Visualize Themselves in Your House - No buyer wants to enter a home, only to feel as if they are intruding upon the lives of its occupants. Depersonalize your home by de-cluttering, beginning with knick knacks and an abundance of photos. Decorate your home in neutral colours (think white or beige) to appeal to as many buyers as possible. Accessorize with a few carefully planned items that highlight your home's character. Make your home even more attractive to the other senses by purchasing fresh flowers and placing some potpourri in your bathroom. Home decorating magazines can provide a wealth of information about desirable decor.
13. Eliminate Odors That Can Cost You a Sale - You may be accustomed to the smell of your home, but prospective buyers will immediately respond to the lingering odor of cigarette smoke, pets, and even food. If a potential buyer realizes you smoke or have a pet, he or she may judge your home based on this knowledge, even "finding" other smells or stains that do not exist. Rid your home of any smells that can jeopardize the sale of your home.
14. Disclose Everything - Be a smart seller and be proactive about revealing any and all defects in writing to your buyer. Doing so reduces your liability and can prevent a lawsuit.
15. Attract More Buyers - You can attract numerous potential buyers by maximizing your home's marketability. If more than one person has fallen in love with your property, they might compete with one another to purchase your home. If only one person wants to buy, he or she will compete only with you.
16. Control Your Emotions - People can grow emotionally attached to a home, but it is important to set aside this attachment when trying to sell. Approach the sale of your home as a business transaction and conduct yourself in a business-like way. This approach will provide you with an advantage over sellers who are emotionally driven during the sale.
17. Determine What Motivates Your Buyer - Information about your buyer and his or her motivation for buying can be used to your advantage. You can then control the pace of the sale and the duration of the selling process.
Typically, buyers aim to purchase the best property for the least amount of money. Understanding why they want to buy can help you make the most of the negotiations. For example, if you know your prospective buyer must move soon, you are in a better position to bargain by offering what they need for what you want.
18. Know How Much the Buyer Can Really Afford - Try to find out how large of a mortgage a potential buyer has been approved for, in addition to the size of his or her down payment. If the offer presented seems low, enquire from their realtor if they are able to afford what the home is worth.
19. Know When the Buyer Wants to Close - The date a buyer would like to close is often the same as when the buyer must to close. Being informed about their deadlines can work to your advantage during the negotiation process.
20. Do Not Complete a Deal for Your New Home Unless Your Current Home Has Sold - Do not close on your next home purchase while still obliged to make mortgage payments on your current home. Doing so could reduce your negotiating advantage by producing a situation in which you must sell your home quickly and perhaps accept the first offer presented.
21. Do Not Move Out Before You Have Sold - It is a fact that a vacant home is more difficult to sell. To potential buyers, a home devoid of furnishings can appear forgotten, forlorn, and less desirable. It also suggests a strong motivation to sell and could cost you thousands of dollars during the negotiation process.
22. Setting a Deadline is a Disadvantage - Setting a deadline by which to sell your home adds unnecessary pressure and can prove to be a disadvantage during the negotiation process.
23. Don't Be Offended by Low Offers - You and the buyer both know that the initial offer presented is below what he or she is willing to pay. Though the number may offend you, consider the offer objectively. Consider other factors and make sure it outlines the offered price, deposit, down payment, mortgage amount, closing date and additional requests. The initial offer marks a starting point and begins negotiations, so do not reject it outright.
24. Counter a Low Offer - You can counter an offer, whether it is markedly lower than, or just slightly below, your asking price. Your counter offer signals to the potential buyer that you aren't interested in offers that are not serious, but will consider those that are.
25. Find Out if the Buyer is Qualified - If you are presented with a very low offer, find out if the buyers will even be approved for the size of mortgage your asking price requires. Find out why they offered what they offered and suggest that they research the asking and selling price of comparables.
26. Make Sure the Contract is Complete - Be certain that all terms, responsibilities and costs are clearly outlined in the contract of sale. Items such as the date it was made, the names of the parties, the address of the property and the purchase price should be included. Also be certain the location of deposit monies is written down, as well as the date for loan approval, the date and location of closing, the kind of deed, the property that is or isn't included in the sale and contingencies that are still to be settled.
27. Try Not to Deviate From the Contract - Do not take any chances that could jeopardize the deal. Even if a seller asks for a moving in date different than that outlined in the contract, explain that you have been advised against any changes.
All this may seem overwhelming; however, if a seller wants to get their home sold fast and for top dollar these important tips should not be ignored.
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