THE ULTIMATE REAL ESTATE
Our goal is to sell your home...
- For the highest price possible
- In the shortest amount of time
- With the inconvenience possible
Selling Your Home
Selling a home is not something most people do often. There are a number of moving parts and a lot that goes on in the background, including the leveraging and coordination of many different partners involved in the process..
Whether you're a first time or seasoned seller, or if this is your primary home, vacation or investment property, this should be an exciting and stress-free journey of new experiences. That's why it's important to have a trusted professional consulting with you at each step of the process.
Selling a home consists of a series of 'phases' starting with making a decision to sell and ending with the successful closing and transfer of ownership of your home.
This Seller's Guide is intended to be a resource that will help you define your goals and guide you throughout the process so you can make informed decisions.
Follow this guide to take a closer look at each of the phases listed below.
PHASES OF SELLING A HOME
Defining Your Goals
Preparing Your Home
Pricing Your Home
Marketing Your Home
Showing Your Home
Closing the Deal
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Before starting to think about all that needs to be done, take some time to clarify why you are deciding to sell your home and clearly define your goals.
Everyone has different reasons for selling and as you start the process of discovery, take some time to focus on what's important to you and your family, as this will help streamline this process.
Some Important Questions to Ask Yourself
A Few More Questions to Consider
The selling process can be a sprint or a marathon based on a number of different factors including current market conditions. You should be prepared for both.
As you begin to prepare your home for sale, keep in mind that buyers are not looking to buy your 'home', they're looking to BUY a 'house' that they can turn into their 'home'.
To make your 'house' as marketable as possible and to achieve the highest possible selling price. consider the level one activities below to be 'must do' as they are no, to low, cost activities. Then dependent on your budget and necessity, consider the other levels as well. Your agent can help you determine which activities will have the greatest impact on your sale price.
LEVEL 1: 'MUST DO' BASICS
LEVEL 2: BASICS PLUS (Dependent on Time & Budget
LEVEL 3: MORE THAN THE BASICS
Be sure to touch base with your Realtor before starting a major renovation as they can give you an idea on whether or not the return on investment is worth having the work completed.
TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS
CLEAN / REPLACE AS NEEDED
• Light Bulbs, Switch Covers, Knobs, Vents
• Blinds, Ceiling Fans, Vents, Baseboards
• Keep coffee tables clear
• Keep furniture at a minimum
• Any toys should be stored out of sight
• Clear all items from kitchen countertops
• Clean the stove, oven, and microwave
• No magnets, pics, messages on fridge
• Keep mops, brooms, vacuums, put away
• Empty garbage before each showing
• Remove pet food before showing
• Organize pantry to look nice and neat
• Put soap and supplies in cupboards
• Keep all surfaces clean & empty
• Use high watt bulbs to make it brighter
• Remove any & all clothing, dirty or clean
• Keep floors cleared of clutter and mop
• Look at your house objectively from afar
• Clean or repaint the front door if needed
• Repaint the exterior trim if needed
• Replace any rotten wood on the exterior
• Sweep all walkways, patios, decks, etc.
• Pressure wash any dirty/stained concrete
• Re-stain deck wood as needed
• Wash windows, inside and out
• Use outdoor furniture as a display
• Clean and sweep out the garage
• Keep storage nice and neat
• Repaint dirty areas
• Pack anything you can live without
• Dining table clear except for centerpiece
• Remove extra chairs/leaves from the room
• Make beds daily
• Invest in new bedspreads if necessary
• Clear off bedside tables, dressers, etc.
• Store necessities in drawers or closets
• Organize closets to be nice and neat
• Keep closet doors closed
• Repair any damage to walls
• Clear and clean ALL surfaces
• Purchase new towels if necessary
• No unnecessary items in the shower/tub
• Clean or replace all shower curtains
• Replace caulking to make it look new
• Keep lids closed / No cloth covers
• Hide garbage cans & cleaning supplies
YARD (CURB APPEAL)
YARD (CURB APPEAL)
• Prune bushes and plants to look healthy
• Weed all planting areas
• Refresh mulched areas
• Keep the lawn freshly mowed
• Remove any dead plants
MAKE IT INVITING
• Arrange furniture to maximize floor space
• Pack up knick-knacks and figurines
• Prune and nurture all house plants
• Remove any furniture you can live without
• Pack away photos to de-personalize
• Reduce wall art to 1 or 2 items per room
• Add lamps to any dark spaces
• Create a fresh scent with an essential oil diffuser
Even if you only accomplish some of the items, you'll still be ahead of most!
Appropriately pricing a home to achieve the maximum sales price in the shortest period of time requires an objective and data driven approach. While it's sometimes difficult to look past the memories and the value those hold for you, a good Realtor will provide you with the information and data you need to set an effective listing price for your home.
Pricing sets the 'opinion of value' for the home and if priced 'too low' or 'too high', can reduce the potential final sales price significantly.
Your Realtor will provide you with the current real estate market trends, local trends in the area of your home, as well as conducting a Comparative Market Analysis of recent sales for homes similar to yours, to help determine the Fair Market Value of your home.
Fair Market Value
The fair market value of your home is influenced by a number of different factors including;
Comparative Market Analysis
Also known as a CMA is the analysis used by Realtors to estimate the current Fair Market Value of a home using;
Marketing a home successfully requires capturing the unique character of the home, displaying it in the most attractive light, and using the latest digital technologies, social media, effective marketing strategies, along with traditional methods to reach the greatest number of potential buyers for your home. Below are some of the basic items you should expect your Realtor to provide to maximize your efforts.
Since most buyers start their search online and you have about 5 seconds to instill interest in your home, it's critical that the photos capture the essence of the home and begin to evoke a potential buyer's emotion. This is where they fall in love first.
Print continues to play an important in a number of areas including; property brochures, postcards, yard signs, open house signs,
With a mobile population, your digital exposure should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. This gives you exposure 24 hours a day across, local, national, and global buyers for your home. This should include listing the home on the MLS system as well as across a broad number of websites, creating a web site specifically for your home, social media advertising
Networking & Referrals
Tapping into the large database of buyers currently looking for homes is another critical component of your marketing strategy. Choose an agent and broker that has a broad local, national and global network of agents and offices to maximize the exposure for your home.
Congratulations! Your marketing is working. Now it's time for live showings of your home to possible buyers.
Below are a few items to keep in mind to make the best first impressions and receive those all important offers to purchase your home.
Many buyers are on tight schedules or even from out of town, so while it may be inconvenient, it's important to try to accommodate requests for showings.
Set a goal of being 15 minutes out from being show ready. Get in the habit of putting items away after use, so you'll only need to wipe down some counters, etc.
Set a comfortable temperature for showings. You don't want showings rushed because buyers may be too hot or too cold.
A pet friendly home is a great selling point, but not all potential buyers are pet lovers. Ideally, you would want to remove them from the home during showings so they don't become a distraction
Light The Way
You want your home to feel open, bright and welcoming. Turn on the lights in each of the rooms and open curtains and blinds to let the light in for all showings. This lets buyers see the true value of your home.
The most complex moment of your sales process will likely come when you receive an offer, or multiple offers, on your home. This is where the expertise of your Realtor can be pf significant help in navigating the process.
Not all offers are equal. The strength of each component of the offer should be evaluated before make a decision on how to proceed. These include, price offered on the home, type and amount of financing, conditions and contingencies placed on the offer, and overall strength of the offer in general, to name a few.
After completing the review, you have a number of choices on how to respond to the offer. You can accept the offer, decline the offer, or more likely, counter the offer. Your agent will work on your behalf to negotiate acceptable terms of the offer.
Are generated by the seller after an offer is submitted. This typically means that the seller will accept the offer if certain adjustments are made to the offer, such as....
The process can go back and forth several times before coming to a successful, or unsuccessful, conclusion.
Once an accepted offer is negotiated, it becomes the responsibility of the legal and financial institutions to perform their due diligence and prepare all the necessary paperwork for both the you, the seller, and the buyer.
Some of the steps include; contracts being signed by both parties, deposit monies being placed in escrow, title search to ensure free and clear ownership of the property, mortgage underwriting for the buyer if they are financing the purchase, appraisal conducted by the lender, and more.
Be prepared to provide requested information during this time to ensure smooth continuation of the process.
Once all due diligence in completed, a final closing date will be scheduled with all involved parties, to sign and finalize all documents associated with the transfer of ownership from you to the buyer.
When closing is completed, you should not only be prepared to hand over the keys, but also any copies of documentation that relates to the property and amenities. You'll receive a copy of the documentation you signed together with a statement of costs. At the end of closing, the deed will be taken and recorded at the county clerk's office.
A truly successful closing is when the process runs smoothly and all parties leave amicably and excited about the next step in their life's adventure.
6 TO 8 WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY
• Set the date
• Interview moving companies & get estimates
• Get costs from truck rental companies if you plan to do the move yourself
• Inventory household goods
• Choose a mover
4 WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY
• Contact utility companies to arrange for transfer or shut off
• File change of address forms
• Notify friends and family of your new address
• Start organizing items to be moved or packed
• Get rid of unnecessary items
2 WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY
• Return any borrowed or rented items
• Pick up any personal items
• Begin to clear out refrigerator and freezer
1 WEEK BEFORE MOVING DAY
• Confirm arrangements with movers
• Notify friends that you may need their help
• Make arrangements for care of small children and pets for the day
THE DAY BEFORE THE MOVE
• Make sure each person has a bag packed for essentials at the new address
• Defrost the refrigerator and freezer
• Confirm the arrival time fo the movers
DAY OF THE MOVE
• Get an early start
• Make sure movers have your contact information during the move
• Be available to movers for questions
• Perform final check of the home once movers have left
• Make sure any appliances left behind are turned off
• Be sure to leave keys & garage door openers
• All rooms should be at least swept clean and prepared for the buyer walk through inspection
ON DELIVERY DAY
• Make sure you understand how the mover expects to be paid
• Supervise unloading and any unpacking
• Confirm receipt of all items on inventory sheets
Not Hiring a Professional
You need the expertise of a REALTOR. Sellers who try to sell it themselves end up taking longer to sell and typically sell for far less than those who work with an agent.
Not Pricing the Home Correctly
Overpricing or underpricing your home can be a costly mistake. It is critical to know the market and review comparisons to estimate the home's market value
Neglecting Necessary Repairs
It will always cost less to to fix things ahead of time, rather than having buyers negotiate a lower price or request that you use their vendor of choice, which can be costly
Clutter lowers the offer price and can lose deals. One of the least expensive improvements you can make to your home is to de-clutter and create a more spacious environment.
Getting in the Way of Negotiations
Many sellers take negotiating personally, and lose out on creating a win-win deal. Keep in mind, this is a business transaction
Overlooking Fees & Expenses at Closing
Request a list of fees and expenses before closing. Review these with your Realtor and discuss them ahead of time.
Not Hiring a Professional Photographer
More than 84% of all buyers start their home search online. Make sure you and your Realtor make your home dazzle with great photographs.
Not Trusting & Communicating with your Realtor
They are your biggest ally. Trust them to be the expert and guide you through the process. Be open and honest and allow them to do the job you hired them to do.
Whether you're listing a home for sale, searching for a home to buy, or both, there are many terms that you will begin to hear and should become familiar with. These are some of the most common terms you'll encounter throughout the process.
Appraisal / Appraised Value
A professional appraiser's estimate of the fair market value of a property based on local market data and recent sales.
The value placed on a home by municipal assessors for the purposes of determining property taxes.
It is sometimes referred to as the Settlement, this typically refers to all the final steps in the transfer of property ownership. Prior tot he closing date, the buyer inspects and signs alll documents relating to the transaction and the final payments are transferred. On the day of closing, the sale is recorded with the appropriate municipality and is made official
Buyers and sellers are responsible for certain costs associated with the sale and purchase of a home. For a complete list, contact your lender or attorney.
A percentage of the sale price that is paid to the real estate agents as compensation. In most situations, commissions are paid by the seller of the property
A clause in the purchase contract that describes certain conditions that must be rmet and agreed upon by both buyer and seller before the contract is binging (i.e., many agreements are contingent upon the buyer performing an inspection of the home.
The most common type of mortgage you make with a bank for a fixed period of time (Usually 15 or 30 years) It is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government.
Deed / Title
An offer, made in response to a previous offer, that rejects all or part of it while enabling negotiations to continue toward a mutually acceptable contract.
The right to, and the ownership of, property. A Title or Deed is sometimes used as proof of ownership of land. Clear title refers to a title that has no legal defects.
The money paid by the buyer to the lender at the time of the closing. The amount is the difference between the sales price and the mortgage loan. Requirements vary by loan type. Similar down payments, less then 20% usually requires mortgage insurance.
A deposit given by the buyer to bind a purchase offer. It is typically held in escrow and if/when the sale is closed, the deposit is applied to the purchase price. If the buyer does not fulfill their contract obligations, the deposit may be forfeited to the seller as damages offer, made in response to a previous offer, that reject
A neutral, third party facilitator who holds and coordinates funds until certain conditions of a contract are met. Typically used as a loan servicer as well to coordinate payment of property taxes. deposits, title fees, homeowner's insurance, prorated utilities and lien funds.
Professional inspection of a home, paid for by the buyer, to evaluate the quality and safety of its plumbing, heating, wiring, appliances, roof, foundation, etc.
A policy that protects the owner and lender from fire or flood, a liability such as visitor injury, or damage to you personal property.
The posted information about a home that is currently on the market for sale.
Multiple Listing Service
The MLS is a database of listings that includes all available homes for sale in a particular area, as well as those under contract and sold. It is the primary source of information that is used when you search, for a home.
The amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for a home. An appraised value is an estimate of the current fair market value. In particularly hot markets, these numbers can be different.
Purchased by the buyer to protect the lender in the event of default (typically for loans with less than 20% down). Available through a government agency like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or through private mortgage insurers (PMI)
The date, as specified by the sales agreement that the buyer can move into the property. Usually, it occurs on or within a few days of teh Closing Date.
Purchase & Sale Agreement
A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that a buyer qualifies for a mortgage of a specific amount.
Also known as a purchase offer, contract of purchase, purchase agreement, or sales agreement depending on region. It's a detailed
written document which makes an offer to purchase a property, and which may be amended several times in tthe process of negotiations. When signed by all parties involved in the sale, the purchase offer becomes legally binding.
Title Search & Report
A complete search, review, and report on the history of a property, as recorded in public records. It's everything related to the legal ownership from the first time a property was owned or built to the present. It is used to determine if there have been any flaws in prior transfers of ownership of if there are claims or encumbrances on the title to the property
Insurance policy that guarantees the accuracy of the title search and protects lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title.
Truth in Lending Act
Federal law that requires disclosure of a truth-in-lending statement for consumer loans. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit.