Tips for a Profitable Home Sale
By Phillip B. Burum
The summer home sales season is in full swing, so if you are selling your home here are some important steps that should be taken to maximize the value of your home before any prospective sale.
Because the home is for most Americans the biggest and best investment they will make in their lifetimes, whether listing the home yourself or retaining an experienced professional, treat the sale of a home as you would any other major financial transaction. While some home sellers chose to the ‘for sale by owner’ approach, others choose to use a realtor. Whichever approach you use, it is always important to consult with a certified real estate professional before you begin any efforts to sell your home.
If retaining an agent, remember a qualified agent in control of your listing will make a huge difference in the sale of the home. Verify his or her license with the California Department of Real Estate at www.DRE.ca.gov and check to see if your chosen agency or broker is a member of the Inland Valley Board of Realtors (IVAR) or your local chamber of commerce. A professional agent will serve your needs, negotiate the best deal for you and get the sale in escrow on a timeline that works best for you.
Make inquiries of friends that have sold homes in the past, search the internet for comments about agents and experiences Choosing the wrong agent can cost a seller thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours or worry whereas the right agent can make a home sale a profitable and reasonably pleasant experience. When selling your home, you are the business and your home is the product your agent is your representative. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you and your product are accurately represented.
Work with your agent to price your home appropriately. You will have to have a basic understanding of comparable listings (or ‘comps’) in your area in order to price the home properly. Your agent will be a great resource but, with an investment as big as a home, take the time to familiarize yourself with the market. While most sellers in conjunction with their realtor will examine comps to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (an examination of the prices at which similar properties in the same area recently sold), sellers can check their local newspapers or go online to get a sense of what comparable houses are selling for. This can often help determine just how much one should invest in any major improvements beyond a general ‘sprucing up’ to make the home more marketable.
Today, the key portals to reach homebuyers are local newspapers and the internet. The first step for serious home sellers is to pick up copies of their local newspapers, then spend a few hours online visiting real estate sites and local listing services before reaching out to a real estate professional. These sites will provide valuable insights into online marketing opportunities such as video-sharing sites.
Set reasonable expectations for the timing of the sale and the conditions for showing the home. If you are looking to top the market with the sale of your home versus comparable homes, it will likely take longer to find the buyer who appreciates your home the way you do. However, if your goal is a faster sale, be open to a price below market comparables to entice a buyer that can move quickly. Whatever your motivation, set and agree on reasonable expectations.
Stage the home for successful showings. The viewing process should not impair one’s ability to make enjoyable use of your home but consider how your living conditions might impact a buyer’s first impression. Remember, regardless of your agreement for showing times, a buyer might request a showing at any time.
Never rely on any verbal communication – request everything in writing. Plan your home sale as though you may one day be recounting the entire transaction before a judge or state agency. It sounds ominous, but an accurate recounting may be required if something goes wrong in the transaction.
The Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of homeownership. For more information on homebuying, selling, finance or improvements; visit www.biabuild.com on the web.