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Your home is probably your largest asset.  To better understand the home selling process, a guide has been prepared from industry insider reports. These 27 tips will help you understand how to sell your home fast and for top dollar, with less hassle and stress.  Read on...

1.  Why Are You Selling Your Home ?

Your motivation determines how you will approach the process. It affects your asking price.  Sellers often fail to understand that your home QUICKLY becomes worth less and less as it sits on the market longer and longer.   Pricing your home RIGHT from the outset is foremost in selling a home fast and for top dollar.   

2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to Yourself

Don't disclose too much to a buyer.   If a buyer knows you are relocating and need to sell soon, a buyer's offer may be lower.   Same with divorce or with financial difficulty.  You (and your agent) must be careful to protect your interests---and the equity in your home.

3. Before Setting a Price - Do Your Homework

Setting a price to low is something few sellers do.   Do your research up front and you'll have a good idea about what the right price is.   OVERPRICING often leads to a home sitting on the market too long----where buyers (and other agents) begin to ask the age-old questions......"I wonder what's wrong with that home ?"

Setting Your Home's Sale Price
If You Live in a Subdivision - If your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans built in the same period, simply look at recent sales.
If You Live in An Older Neighborhood¬†- Older homes are often remodeded.¬† That makes it much harder to look at comparable sales to determine an accurate estimate.¬† While an appraiser typically chooses comparable sales from the same neighborhood, similar homes in other neighborhoods might be considered.¬† In this case, you may want to consider seeking a Realtor ¬ģ to help you with the pricing¬†process.
If You Decide to Sell On Your Own - A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6-12 months, including those now on the market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.   The assessor's public records are often helpful.  Selling on your own is a challenge in both qualifying prospects--and the concern about safety.    If you have the time to both market and show your home, and a full understanding of the contract and closing process, it's something you can consider navigating.   We're here to take command of the entire process if you decide you need us !

4. Do Some "Home Shopping" Yourself

The best way to learn about your competition is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and other features. Research asking prices and then compare what they are actually selling for.  Remember, if you're serious about getting your home sold fast, don't price it higher than your neighbor's, unless you have more amenities or desirable features.

5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit

Sometimes a good appraisal can be a benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an appraisal does cost money, has a limited life, and there's no guarantee you'll like the figure you hear.  In addition, today's mortgage regulations require that the buyer's lender order the appraisal from a neutral, 3rd party service....so that neutrality is observed.  Neither you, the buyer, any agent or the buyer's lender is allowed to specify a specific appraiser in most all cases.

6. Don't Trust the Tax Assessor's Value

Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home's true value.  Assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values, so they may not reflect your home's true value.   For instance, the assessor's estimate can't "see" that a home has plantation shutters, granite counters or wood flooring inside a home.   All of these features are typically very desirable.

7. Deciding Upon a Realtor

According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed-- who sell their own homes-- say they wouldn't do it again themselves. Primary reasons included setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints. When deciding upon a Realtor¬ģ , consider two or three.

All Realtors¬ģ are not the same.¬† Unlike others, we offer our exclusive Guaranteed Home Sale Program, and we'll offer to buy someone's currentl home so that they can buy yours. (reasonable conditions apply.)¬† This helps you avoid a conditional offer from a buyer. A professional Realtor¬ģ knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan, and will provide their background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of their experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and that has experience selling MANY homes at your home's price point,

8. Ensure You Have Room to Negotiate

Before settling on your asking price, make sure you leave yourself enough room in which to bargain. For example, set your lowest and highest selling price. It will likely hinge on your priorities.   Is your priority TIMING or the HIGHEST POSSIBLE SELLING PRICE......or a little of both ?

9. Appearances Do Matter - Make them Count!

Appearance is critical.   The look and "feel" of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to everything they see and hear.   Is your outside AC unit noisy when it runs, or does it appear rusty ?  What about the water heater.....is it rusty around the top of bottom ?

10. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others

Do your best to see your home from a buyer's viewpoint.   Don't be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others.  Face it---most home owners feel they own "the best home available.   Most all homes have a few weak points or aspects.   Be objective by realizing there are "other homes for sale" that compete with your home.  

11. Get it Spic n' Span Clean and Fix Everything, Even If It Seems Insignificant

Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten and get rid of the clutter.   Declare war on dust, repair squeaks,and replace the light switch that doesn't work.   Spackle and paint any minor cracks that might concern a buyer that your home has settlement or foundation issues.   Clean the carpets.   Remember, you're not just competing with other resale homes...there may be new homes available at your price point.   Those have that "new car feel" about them....and typically offer a 1 year warranty from the builder   This creates piece of mind for most any buyer, and insurance is typically cheaper. 

12. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your Home

Give them room.  Showing your home on your own leaves the buyer little room for making honest comments about what they don't like or what they'd change.  Avoid clutter and knick-knacks.  Change colorful rooms to neutral colors and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers.

13. Deal Killer Odors - Must Go!

Traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly.  You may have lived with the odors long enough that you no longer notice them.   If there's any question in your mind, ask a friend or relative to visit your home----and INVITE their honest opinion without being offended.

14. Be a Smart Seller - Disclose Everything

Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent lawsuits later on.   There's much to be said about sleeping well at night after your closing is completed.   Disclose your defects UPFRONT.

15. It's Better With More Prospects

Pricing your home COMPETITIVELY will likely attract more than one prospective buyer. It's better to have several buyers competing for your home---your price goes up when there's competition for your home.

16. Keep Emotions in Check During Negotiations

Let go of the emotion you've invested in your home. Be detached, using a business-like manner in your negotiations. You'll definitely have an advantage over those who get caught up emotionally in the sale.   It's a BIG decision to sell a home and move.   Be prepared for the emotions that will accompany the selling process.

17. Learn Why Your Buyer is Motivated

The better you know your buyers, the better you can use the negotiation process to your advantage. This allows you to control the pace and duration of the process..and perhaps the price!
As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money. Knowing what motivates them enables you to negotiate more effectively. For example, does your buyer need to move quickly ?  If so, you're in a better position to negotiate a stronger selling price.

18. What the Buyer Can Really Pay

As soon as possible, try to learn the amount of mortgage the buyer¬†is qualified to carry and how much his/her down payment is. If their offer is low, ask their Realtor¬ģ about the buyer's ability to pay what your home is worth.

19. When the Buyer Would Like to Close

Quite often, when buyers would "like" to close is when they "need" to close. Knowledge of their deadlines creates a negotiating advantage for you.   If the buyer's' home is already under contract, they are likely under a "time crunch" in finding another home.   This can put you in a stronger position to negotiate your price and terms.

20. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home Until You Sell Your Current Home

Beware of closing on your new home while you're still making mortgage payments on the old one. You might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for the first deal that comes along.   Our Guaranteed Home Sale Program was designed with this in mind.   We can Guarantee the sale of your present home so that you avoid owning 2 at the same time.  See addtional information on our website, or call us at 405-330-3000 for a friendly conversation about how the program can help you.

21. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You at a Disadvantage

It's been proven that it's more difficult to sell a home that is vacant.  Buyers start getting the message that you have a another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.

22. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage

Don't try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations.

23. A Low Offer - Don't Take It Personally

Many buyers believe if they don't offer low enough to insult you, they are poor negotiators.  Don't be upset.  Evaluate the offer objectively.  Require a sufficient deposit, review the strength of the offer based on the  down payment, mortgage amount, closing costs and check these details against the buyer's preapproval letter.  Most buyers EXPECT a counteroffer !

24. Turn That Low Offer Around

You can counter a low offer or even an offer that's just under your asking price. Remember, buyers are conscious about how long your home's been on the market.  The longer it sits, the lower the opening offer is likely to be.   Price your home carefully.

25. Maybe the Buyer's Not Qualified

The difference in a "pre-qualified" buyer and a "pre-approved" buyer is HUGE.   A pre-approved buyer has had credit, income and funds necessary to close verified before the letter was issued.   ALWAYS ask your buyer to provide a letter of loan PRE-APPROVAL---and make sure the letter matches the loan amount shown in the purchase contract.

26. Ensure the Contract is Complete

To avoid problems, ensure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. It should include where deposit monies will be held, date for loan approval, date and place of closing, type of deed, including any contingencies that remain to be settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale.   Is the contract contingent upon the sale of the buyer's home ?    Do they have an offer from a third party on a home they need to sell and close FIRST ?   It could be a "domino" transaction, where there are 2 (or more) homes in line that need to close first--before your sale can close.  Are all buyers qualified ?  Do they have pre-qualification letters, or have they actually been pre-approved ?  Will those homes appraise for enough to satisify the purchase price ?  Have inspections been completed ?   What if you move out of your home just before closing and one of the buyer's in this transaction chain is NOT approved for their loan ?  Real estate is complicated.   There is where you may feel you need us the MOST...to manage all of these details.   Call Wally or CIndy at 330-3000 if the process sounds daunting.   We're ready to work for you when YOU are ready. 

27. Resist Deviating From the Contract

If the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, we recommend against it.   Real estate sales fail for a multitude of reasons.   Once a buyer is living in your home, they may be far-less motivated to push for a closing.   Face it----they are living in YOUR home....which is what they really wanted.   What YOU want is your closing completed and your money in pocket.
Simply put, require that the sale close before you give possession of your property.

These tips were written by Wally and Cindy.   We hope you find them helpful.   If you decide to hire an agent to sell your home, please include us in the list of agents to interview !
Call and ask for either of us most any day at 405-330-3000.   Be sure and mention that you have a home to sell.   You'll be surprised how quickly you hear from us...!   If you prefer, email wally@kerrteam.com for a prompt response.