Questions Every Buyer and Seller Should Ask

Questions You Need to Ask When Buying or Selling

RISMEDIA, June 7, 2010—When selling your home, it is important to keep the following tips in mind so that you get the most money for your property in the least amount of time. Whether you are selling the home yourself or working with an experienced agent, it is crucial to

5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Selling a Home

RISMEDIA, June 7, 2010—When selling your home, it is important to keep the following tips in mind so that you get the most money for your property in the least amount of time. Whether you are selling the home yourself or working with an experienced agent, it is crucial to keep these five tips in mind as you go through the selling process.

Tip 1: If you decide to use a full service broker/agent, first identify three experienced agents who are familiar with your neighborhood. Look for agents who have for sale signs placed in your neighborhood. Ask each prospective agent to prepare a market analysis and a marketing plan to show you how they will market your home. Include the main points of your marketing plan in your listing agreement so that all parties will know what is to be expected (i.e. frequency of ads and the publications/websites where they’ll appear, frequency of open houses, etc.). Limit the length of the listing – two months or less is good, but no more than three months. If the agent is doing his/her job as set out in the listing agreement, you can always renew the listing when it expires. If they’re not producing results, you’ll be able to document the reasons if you decide to cancel the listing early or be able to show them why you aren’t renewing the listing with them.

Tip 2: If you decide to market the home yourself, it is still a good idea to talk to three full service broker/agents before making a final decision. It will provide an additional reality check to make sure you really are prepared to market the home yourself, and the market analysis and marketing plan information will be helpful in any event. Even if you still feel good about selling the home yourself, supplement your marketing efforts by using a limited service or flat fee broker who will list your home in the local multiple listing service (MLS) for as little as $200. This is extremely helpful to your marketing efforts because the MLSs feed the listings to the consumer-facing websites of most of the other local real estate brokers and to realestate.com, one of the world’s largest real estate websites. With 80% of home buyers now using the Internet, it’s important that your home gets broad Internet exposure.

Tip 3:
Price your property realistically, especially in slow markets. When markets are slow, buyers are psychologically unprepared to overpay – and they apply stringent standards of value. They will heavily discount many expensive and unusual improvements unless they appeal very strongly to their own personal tastes.

Tip 4: Consider providing owner financing if you can, but be cautious. If you can provide some financing, even if it’s a small second trust, you may be offering the deal maker. At the same time, you can often earn a considerably higher interest rate than you would have earned with the same money otherwise. Caution: Fluctuating real estate markets can wipe out your security in the event of foreclosure. Foreclosures cost money and a second trust only gets paid after the first mortgage is satisfied, and then only if there’s money remaining from the sale. Make sure to run a credit check on the buyer and make sure they put up a substantial down payment if you’re providing owner financing.

Tip 5: Make sure you don’t prematurely give away any bargaining leverage. All home purchase agreements must be in writing to be binding. If someone asks if you would take a specific lower figure and you agree, that’s not an enforceable contract. All you have done is to lower your asking price. The correct response should be: “I’ll consider all written offers.”

For more information, visit www.AmericanHomeowners.org.

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