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Deciding to Sell
You’ve probably already considered your personal reasons for selling. Now you need to take into account the other factors involved, such as market conditions, your property’s value and tax implications:
Assessing Market Conditions
There’s a rule of thumb to keep in mind when deciding to sell your home: Your home is only worth what a qualified buyer is willing to pay at the time it’s on the market. The current real estate market fluctuates based on supply and demand, interest rates, general economic conditions, and other factors. The same house may sell for more or less under a different economy. Your REALTOR® can inform you of the going price for homes in your area at the current time; this data is included in a comparative market analysis.
Tax Implications of Selling
There are many dynamics that can affect your tax liability upon selling your home. These issues include whether you purchased the home or inherited it, if you used your home for business or rental purposes, costs associated with selling your home, and any home improvements and additions that you’ve undertaken.
It’s wise to discuss your home’s sale with a tax professional who can advise you on tax benefits in more detail.
Timing Your Decision to Sell
Because most sellers finance a new home purchase with the sale of their present home, they usually put their homes on the market before they begin their search for a new home. Learning the price you can expect from the sale often sets the pricing parameters for your new home search.
Obviously, it’s not wise to wait until the sale on your property closes completely before beginning to look for your new home. Timing your search properly with the buyers’ transaction can make the difference between having the available funds to buy a new home and cutting down on the interim period between homes.
SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER HOME SHOWINGS
1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
2. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it
3. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
4. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
5. Don’t disregard minor repairs.Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, buth they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
7. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
8. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.
9. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.
10. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, on a small table you may display a chess game in progress.
11. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.
12. Accentuate the fireplace . Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
13. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sigh.
14. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room, and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
15. Lock up valuables, jewelry and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
16. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
Why Use a REALTOR ® ?
Selling a home is a complex process involving what’s likely to by your most prized financial asset. Enacting a smooth transaction for your home’s full value requires the expertise of a REALTOR ® whose extensive training has prepared him or her to generate the best possible results on your behalf. Just like you shouldn’t treat a broken leg without a doctor or handle a major legal dispute without an attorney, it’s unwise to sell your home without the professional assistance of a REALTOR® .
Naturally, every seller wants to reap the highest return from the sale. It’s tempting to sell the home on your own, thereby saving the REALTOR®‘s fees. However, a study conducted by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ® found that 82 percent of real estate sales result from REALTORS® contacts with previous clients, referrals and other sources. Additionally, NAR concluded that most homes sell for 3 to 9.5 percent more when sold through a REALTOR® .
Selling your home with a REALTOR® yields abundant advantages, including the following:
- REALTORS® have access to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) to disburse information about your property to thousands of consumers via their REALTORS®. They also have other marketing efforts, a much broader range of qualified buyers will be informed of your property’s availability. As a seasoned professional at negotiation skills and tactics, your REALTOR® can maintain objectivity in assessing buyers’ proposals and developing offers and counteroffers. Throughout the transaction, including appraisals, inspections and legally binding agreements, you can depend on your REALTOR®‘s know-how to avoid any pitfalls. Sales transactions compromise intricate legal and regulatory requirements. REALTORS® are familiar with the regulations and can help you understand and adhere to them.
- REALTORS® work with their clients to address home improvements and tips that will enhance the home’s saleability.
- REALTORS® offer extensive, professional sales training.
Setting The Price
In establishing the listing price for your home, you need to strike a delicate balance between a figure that will scare off potential buyers and a low price that doesn’t represent your home’s worth. Buyers will compare your home’s price with other properties on the market. Therefore, you should use a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to assess what consumers are paying for similar homes. CMAs also include information about area homes that failed to sell in recent months along with their corresponding list prices. Your REALTOR® can assist you in obtaining and analyzing that information.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® suggests some additional steps to help you set your list price. After analyzing sales data, conduct some market research on your own. Attend an open house or two and make an impartial assessment of how those homes compare to yours in terms of size, location, amenities and condition.
Your REALTOR® can be a vital resource in analyzing all the pertinent information with you to develop a list price. Trust your REALTOR®’s judgment, as he or she offers experience in this arena. However, the final decision on the listing price for your home is your choice to make
Once you’ve selected a REALTOR® to market and sell your property, you and the agent will enter into a written, legally binding contract called a listing agreement. The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® offers its own official agreement for California REALTORS®, the Residential Listing Agreement (Exclusive Authorization and Right to Sell). This standard form stipulates all agreement terms, including the listing price, the listing time period, the broker’s commission and more. It also informs the seller of issues and legal requirements that may be involved in the process.
Before you enter into any listing agreement, you’ll want to thoroughly understand all the terms and each party’s respective roles — information that your REALTOR® can provide.