Using Comparable Sales
No matter how attractive and polished your house, buyers will be comparing its price with everything else on the market. Your best guide is getting your homes value using our CMA tool.
The CMA will provide you with data on “comps” so you can analyze them for a more accurate listing price. The list of comparable sales, along with data about other houses in your neighborhood presently on the market, is used for a “Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).” To help in estimating a possible sale price for your house, the analysis will also include data on nearby houses that failed to sell in the past few months, along with their list prices.
In the normal home sale, a CMA is probably enough to let you set a proper price. A formal written appraisal (which may cost a few hundred dollars) can be useful if you have unique property, or if there hasn’t been much activity in your area recently, or if co-owners disagree about price, and any other circumstance that makes it difficult to put a value on your property.
In setting the list price for your home, you should be aware of a buyer’s frame of mind. Based on a list of houses for sale in your neighborhood (online search results that you’ve found yourself or from your CMA), buyers will determine which houses they want to view. Consider the following pricing factors:
Fair market value attracts buyers, overpricing never does.
The first two weeks of marketing are crucial.
The market never lies, but it can change its mind.
If you set the price too high, your house won’t be picked for viewing, even though it may be much nicer than others in the area.
If you price too low, you’ll generate a lot more activity and might end up with multiple offers which will drive the price up. Remember, you don’t have to accept any offers, even if they are at your list price.
Sellers often view their homes as special which tempts them to put a higher price on the home, believing they can always come down later, but that’s a serious mistake.
Overpricing prevents the very buyers who are eligible to buy the home from ever seeing it. Most buyers shop by price range, and look for the best value in that range.
2. If you don’t get many showings or offers in the first two weeks, you’ve probably overpriced your home, and it’s not comparing well to the competition. Since you can’t change the location, you’ll have to improve the home’s condition or lower the price.
Consult with buyers and agents for feedback. Perhaps you can do a little more to spruce up your home’s curb appeal, or perhaps stage the interior to better advantage.
The market can always change its mind and give your home another chance, but by then you’ve lost precious time and perhaps allowed a stigma to cloud your home’s value.
Intelligent pricing isn’t about getting the most for your home – it’s about getting your home sold quickly at fair market value.
From experience, a REALTOR® also knows that a “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been maintained. When getting you house ready for sale, there are a few things to consider:
In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive “polishes” and “touch-ups” to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.
Preparing the exterior (curb appeal) of your home for sale is probably the most important step you can take. If you can’t get them through the front door, you can’t get them to buy. If they don’t like what they see when they drive up, you’ve lost a potential buyer. So take some time, and get unbiased opinions of what needs to be spruced up, changed, or removed.
Keeping the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly Trim hedges, weeding lawns and flowerbeds, and pruning trees regularly Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
Clean and aligning and fix gutters
Inspect and clean the chimney
Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles
Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking During spring and summer months considering adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance
Re-seal an asphalt driveway
Keep your garage door closed
Store RVs or old and beaten up teens’ jalopies elsewhere while the house is on the market Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door
Once you have the “curb appeal” taken care of, it’s time to head inside and prepare the inside as well. Again, get some unbiased opinions of what should be changed, what should be cleared out and put in storage, and what should be emphasized. You have a potential buyer’s interest if you got them inside to look around… don’t lose them now.
Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms have actually rented
Storage garages and moved half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look. Hiring a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market. This may be a good investment for owners who are busy elsewhere. Removing the less frequently used, even daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics, making these areas much more inviting. Since you’re anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea.
If necessary, repainting dingy, soiled or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum. Checking for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement. Repairing cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles. Replacing broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork. Inspecting and repairing the plumbing, heating , cooling, and alarm systems. Repairing dripping faucets and showerheads. Buying showy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way.
Sprucing up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of neutral paint.
Eliminate clutter: Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementoes, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months.
Keep, donate, throw away: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations than pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people.
Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.
Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.
Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.
Have a family plan of action: Sometimes showings aren’t convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about.
Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.
Clean out the garage and attic: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is.
Everyone gets their baskets and cleans up clutter. Check for hazards, like toys left on the floor. Make sure all toys, including bicycles, are put away.
Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you: In the listing instructions, there should be a warning if there is a big dog on premises. Buyers with allergies also may appreciate knowing in advance if you have pets.
Turn on lights: Open the drapes, turn on lights so buyers can really see.
Give the buyer privacy: The buyer can not come to your home without being accompanied by an agent. The buyer can assess your home more honestly without your presence.
Listed Simply doesn’t hold open houses which is one of the ways we are able to keep the cost of selling your home low. In certain markets, we are able to have a licensed agent hold an open house for you.
If you decide to hold an open house, Listed Simply will post your open house on the MLS and all major real estate website to help drive traffic to your open house. This is the most important step in advertising your open house and getting buyers in your home.
Listed Simply will provide you with an open house kits, mailed directly to your home. This includes a stand to hold open house flyers, booties (protective coverings for shoes) and a market report. If needed, we can also provide you with open house flyers upon request.
Redfin: Redfin will show their own agents on your listing. In most cases, even the listing agent of your property doesn’t appear on this website as Redfin is trying to get all the buyer inquiries to go to their agents.
Century 12, Coldwell Banker and other brokerages: These brokerage sites also pull the listing from the MLS once they are listed. Yes, your home is getting more exposure by being on all sites, but these brokerage sites display the contact information for their agents.
Summary: Being on all consumer sites is great because you get the most exposure. Don’t worry too much about not having your contact information on these sites because a majority of the time, consumers find properties on these sites, call their buyer agent and their buyer agent will go on the MLS for more information where the best contact methods are listed. Remember, buyer agent commission is paid by the seller so over 94% of buyers use a buyer agent as they are free to the buyer.
If the offer is low, but close to what you want, study the terms carefully, adding up possible expenses such as paying the buyer’s closing costs. Ask for the buyer’s reasoning behind the offer to give you insight into the buyer’s mindset. Could the buyer be trying to buy more house than he or she can afford? Could a change of financing help get closer to your price? Can you afford to help with the buyer’s closing costs if he or she will raise the offer price?
Before you agree, make sure the buyer is pre-approved with a lender and working with a real estate professional. Serious buyers have access to the same comparables as you do, so a buyer working with a real estate professional is more likely to be pre-approved by a lender and informed of current market conditions. A full price offer doesn’t mean negotiations are over. It could signal that the buyer intends to negotiate a lot of repairs or refurbishing costs during the inspection period. Stay calm and reasonable. If you’ve done your homework – priced and prepared your home for the highest, best offer, your home will sell at a fair price.
If you need help reviewing offers, making counter offers, getting disclosures and managing all aspects of the transaction, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about the Transaction Management Service.
Inspections are designed to help the buyer understand the overall condition of a property, potentially saving them considerable time with the purchase process and hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. Below are the most common inspections recommended by real estate professionals:
Standard Home Inspection – The areas which may be covered include lot and grounds, roofs, exterior surfaces, garage/carport, structure, attic, basement, crawl space, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, fireplace/wood burning devices, and appliance condition. Remember that your inspection rights are clearly stated in the Contract For Sale and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some cases homes can be sold “as-is” even though an inspection may take place.
Termite Inspection – A termite inspector will inspect the property for the presence of wood-destroying insects (WDI) or wood destroying organisms (WDO, i.e. fungus) and conducive conditions that exist. Inspection requirements vary by state.
If you’re selling your home, you might wonder if there are common repairs needed after a home inspection. Most buyers, after all, won’t commit to purchasing a place until it’s been thoroughly vetted by a home inspector—and rest assured, if there are problems, this professional will find them!
So if your home inspection turns up flaws that your home buyer wants fixed, what then? To be sure, repair requests after an inspection are a hassle, and liable to cut into your profits. So for starters, make sure to read your contract carefully to make sure you don’t get locked into repairing something you don’t want to fix.
You should never sign a contract until you fully understand its obligations, particularly where it concerns your responsibility for repairs. And rest assured, there’s no need for you to fix everything a home inspector thinks could stand for improvement; a home inspection report is not a to-do list.
Basically repairs fall into three categories: ones that are pretty much required, ones that typically aren’t required, and ones that are up for debate. Here’s how to know which is which.
There are some repairs that will be required by lenders before they will release funds to finance a buyer’s home purchase. Typically these address structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues.
If a home inspection reveals such problems, odds are you’re responsible for fixing them. Start by getting some bids from contractors to see how much the repairs will cost. From there, you can fix these problems or—the more expedient route—offer the buyers a repair credit so they can pay for the repairs themselves. This might be preferable since you won’t have to oversee the process; you can move out and move on with your life.
Cosmetic issues and normal wear and tear usually don’t have to be fixed.
Some contracts will expressly state that the buyers cannot request any cosmetic repairs to be made and can only ask for fixes to structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues. State laws may also impact your liability as a seller for any issues uncovered during an inspection.
Be sure to check your local ordinances to know which fix-its legally fall in your realm of responsibility.
Between repairs that are typically required and those that aren’t is a whole gray area of repairs that are up for grabs. How you handle those depends in part on the market you’re in. If you’re in a hot seller’s market, you have more power to call the shots.
While buyers are always advised to have a home inspection so they know what they are buying, when there are a limited number of homes for sale and buyers need to compete for homes, they are more likely to waive their right to ask a seller to make repairs.
However, in a normal market, you won’t be able to draw such a hard and fast line. Work with your real estate agent to understand what items you should tackle and where you might want to push back.
You’ll want to be reasonable—after all, you’ve already put a lot of time into the selling process, and it’s likely in your best interest to accommodate some repairs rather than allowing the buyer to walk away. Also, depending on the magnitude of the requested repair, it’s not likely to go away. Now that it’s been uncovered, you’ll need to disclose the issue to the next buyer.
Notify magazines, charge accounts, insurance companies, clubs, and all other organizations of your address change.
Clean the stove and finish up any last minute cleaning
Say goodbye to your neighbors!
This ebook was written and designed to help everyday homeowners sell their home by owner and avoid paying high commissions to listing agents. You will find everything you need to know from pricing strategies, showing tips and getting the most money for your property.
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