Selling FAQs

How much is my house worth?

When you want to sell your home, one of the first things you want to know is how much it is worth. Knowing the worth will help you decide on a price to ask for. You can use a home valuation to get an idea of the approximate value of your home. For a more accurate valuation, give me a call and I’ll look at all the details to provide you with insight into how to price your home.

What’s the difference between list price and sales price?

The list price is how much a house is advertised for and is usually only an estimate of what a seller would like to get for the property. The sales price is the amount a property actually sells for. It may be the same as the listing price, or higher or lower, depending on how accurately the property was originally priced and market conditions. If you are a seller, you may need to adjust the listing price if there have been no offers within the first few months of the property’s listing period.

What are the two most important factors when selling a home?

Price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home. The first step is to price your home correctly. Use comparative sales information from your agent or pay for a professional appraiser (usually $200 to $300) to objectively evaluate your home’s worth. Second, go through the house and repair any obvious cosmetic defects that could deter a buyer. Depending on market conditions, you may have to consider lowering your price and/or making a major repair, such as replacing the roof, in order to lure a buyer.

What does “contingent” mean when selling a home?

The word “contingent” means that one thing must happen before another thing can happen. In a real estate sale, contingencies are certain conditions that must be met by either the seller or buyer. If they are not met, then the deal cannot go through. Contingencies may also be referred to as contract clauses. The purpose is to protect either party if something is not done.

What is an appraisal?

A home appraisal approximates the value of your home. It lets the lender or bank know that the property being purchased has a certain value. An appraiser conducts an appraisal after a purchase price has been agreed upon by the seller and buyer.

During an appraisal, the appraiser will walk through the home and take note of the home’s features and condition. Unlike an inspector who searches for problems, an appraiser’s goal is simply to vouch for the home’s value. Home appraisals are typically paid for by the seller and typically cost a few hundred dollars.

How can I increase my home’s value?

There are a lot of things you can do to increase the value of your home. Some of the most common ways are making small upgrades to the kitchen and bathroom, including changing out handles and fixtures, painting or staining cabinets, and installing low-flow toilets. Other great ways to add to the value are sprucing up your landscaping, putting down new flooring, installing solar panels or a tankless water heater, and painting the walls.

Does the seller have to pay closing costs?

Most closing costs are traditionally paid for by the buyer. These include the application fee, escrow fees, credit report, property taxes, underwriting fee, origination fee, title insurance, etc., and cost about 3% of the sales price.

Sellers, however, must also pay costs at the end of the sale. When a seller uses a real estate agent, they must pay commissions. This is not technically a closing cost, but this can cost an average of 5 to 6% of the home’s final price. This money is split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents.

How do you prepare / stage a house to sell?

Doing whatever you can to put your house’s best face forward is very important if you want to get close to your asking price or sell as quickly as possible. Short of spending a lot of money, here are several ideas for making your home show better:

      • Clean the windows, both inside and out. Make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking.
      • Touch up interior and exterior paint as needed.
      • Clean and spruce up all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It’s especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless.
      • Organize closets.
      • Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords.
      • Make sure the front is clean – curb appeal will create a favorable first impression.
      • Trim bushes and plants as needed, and make sure the lawn is kept mowed and trimmed. In autumn, rake the leaves; in winter, keep the snow shoveled.
      • Keep the interior clean, decluttered and odor-free. Eliminate evidence of pets.
      • Minimize personal items such as family photos. You want buyers to see themselves living in the home.
      • Consider putting excess furniture and belongings in storage. Now’s the time to clean out the garage and basement and sell, give away or throw away items you don’t need anymore.
      • Consider having a pre-listing inspection performed. Buyers will be hiring professional inspectors; here’s your chance to address problems in advance.
      • Consider engaging a home stager to give your home the right emotional appeal.

During the listing period:

        • When potential buyers visit your home, it is best to be absent. If that is not feasible, make yourselves as inconspicuous as possible.
        • Have fresh flowers in the entryway. It makes for a friendly introduction into your home.
        • If offers are made that don’t match your hoped-for price, don’t reject them out of hand. Pay attention to your agent’s advice.
        • Consider dropping the price if several months go by with few or no offers. But if you and your agent have priced your home properly from the start, this shouldn’t be necessary.
        • Don’t get discouraged. In buyer’s markets, homes take longer to sell than during boom times. Your home will eventually sell; it’s a matter of your agent finding the right buyer for you.

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