Why Use a REALTOR® When Selling a Home?
A real estate agent can help you understand everything you need to know about the home selling process.
Not all real estate licensees are the same; only those who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®(NAR) are properly called REALTORS®. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reported that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
Real estate transactions are one of the biggest financial dealings of most people’s lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $250,000. If you had a $250,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a certified professional accountant? If you had a $250,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be wise to work with a professional REALTOR® when you are selling a home. If you’re still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are more reasons to use one:
- When selling your home, I can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the Midcoast Maine marketplace as well as the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
- I can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property.
- I can market your property to other real estate agents and the public – in many markets across this country and other countries. Over half of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than myself brings in the buyer.
- I will act as the marketing coordinator, distributing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc.
- The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires me to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit clients.
- I will know when, where and how to best market your property, but it’s a joint strategy that we both collaborate on developing.
- I can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing – and the possibility of a lot of pitfalls.
- I can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
- I can help close the sale of your home. Issues may arise between the initial sales agreement and closing (also called settlement or escrow). For example, unexpected repairs might be required to obtain financing or a title problem is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers.
- I am confident that my knowledge and experience allow me to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to the closing table.
Thinking About Selling Your Home Yourself?
There’s More to Selling Your Home Than a “For Sale” Sign In Your Front Yard!
National Association of Realtors studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. No longer are “For Sale” signs and advertising the primary source of generating interest in your property. If your property isn’t in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) it’s not going to get maximum exposure to prospective buyers. Buyers have a kneejerk tendency to avoid “For Sale by Owner” signs. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. I will prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property. I’ve been a REALTOR® for over 30 years. I know this marketplace better than any of my competition; I’m a good listener; I keep in close touch with my clients and work tirelessly to achieve satisfying results for them. I’m interested more in building lifelong relationships, based on mutual trust and friendship – than getting my commission. Negotiating “the best deals possible” has long been part of my DNA
However, If you want to “do it yourself” to avoid paying a commission, you should have some important knowledge and skills. Even if a simple sign in your yard did produce a buyer knocking on your door, how will you handle the following questions?
- How does your home compare to others like it in the Midcoast Maine Area?
If you overprice it because of an emotional attachment or because you have a large mortgage to payoff, you may end up with a pet rock that doesn’t motivate any serious buyer interest.
- How did you determine the fair market value of your property?
Remember “value” is a constantly-fluctuating variable. If the housing market supply where you live is less than “five months,” then it’s a seller’s market. You will be able to get top dollar because the supply is limited. However, if the housing market supply where you live is greater than “five months,” (which was the case from 2007 – 2014) then it’s a buyer’s market. You will not be able to get top dollar because there is an oversupply of homes for the buyer to choose from – regardless of low interest rates. If you want to sell it, you should consider putting your best lowest price on it! If you price it 5% below the competition and you clean/fix it up to show well, you should get serious offers within the first 30 days that it’s on the market! The longer it languishes on the market, the less interest will be generated in it because buyers will think that something is wrong with the property.
By the way, I don’t list properties that are overpriced. I only work with clients that appreciate the realities of the marketplace and those who want to get their property sold quickly and move on with their life.
- What about financing? Can you help?
Every seller would like to get a cash buyer, but more often the buyer will need to obtain a mortgage – especially first-time home buyers. Lender’s routinely do an appraisal on the property (which is usually lower that it should be to provide a cushion of protection for the lender.) Banks are very goosey these days to aggressively give home loans, given the recent increase in bank regulation and the high rate of foreclosures.
If the buyer can’t get enough mortgage financing to buy the property… and they can’t afford a larger down payment… they may have to consider “holding some paper” (taking a second mortgage.) This may, or may not, be something that you should do. Your attorney, accountant and REALTOR® should be able to help you with that decision.
- If get an offer, will you be able to carefully scrutinize it, protect your interests, negotiate a better deal for yourself and craft a counter-proposal… or will you need to pay an attorney to do that – which can be very expensive?
REALTORS® routinely do this with extensive knowledge and experience. Selling your home is one of the most important financial transactions you will make in your lifetime. Don’t take risks. Selling your home is nothing like selling a car. Every home is different, and every homebuyer wants to offer you as little as possible. These days most buyers are exclusively being represented by their own professional REALTOR® who is trying to get the best deal for their client… not you.
- Why aren’t you using a real estate agent? Is there something wrong with the property that you don’t want to disclose?
Full disclosures and fair dealings with prospective buyers is a must in today’s world of litigious law suits. You might be setting yourself up for a damages lawsuit plus the possibility of an assessment of punitive damages. Do you really want to take that risk?
- How do you determine the real market value?
Almost all homes are sold using a real estate agent. As real estate professionals, it is our job to help you negotiate with all those buyers who want something for nothing. Plus preparing your home for sale, marketing it locally… and even nationally and internationally… and guiding you through the complex paperwork and pitfalls of escrow and closing. Make sure you are really ready to handle all of that before pounding that “For Sale By Owner” sign into your front yard. Errors can be extremely costly.
Remember: Buyers want to offer you as close to nothing as possible! While that “For Sale By Owner” sign might sound like a good idea, it usually means a different thing to buyers… Oftentimes, “I’ll try to steal this one.”
If you must sell your own home by yourself, at least let me give you a sense of its true market value. I’ll do a quick Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and let you know what I feel it is worth. I’ll also tell you about the Midcoast Maine Market and suggest a strategy of how I would market your property.
This is free, with no strings attached.
How to Set a List Price for Your Home
Setting the list price for your home involves evaluating various market conditions and financial factors. During this phase of the home selling process, I will help you set your list price based on:
- pricing considerations
- comparable sales
- market conditions
- offering incentives
- estimated net proceeds
Pricing Considerations – Find a Balance Between Too High and Too Low
When setting a list price for your home, you should be aware of a buyer’s frame of mind. Consider the following pricing factors:
If you set the price too high, your house won’t be picked for viewing, even though it may be much nicer than other homes on the street. “Buyer Brokers” won’t be interested either since it’s their obligation to find the best home for the best price for their client. Practically speaking, you have limited yourself to only 20% of all prospective buyers! You may have told me to “Bring me any offer. Frankly, I’d take less.” But compared to other houses for sale, (especially in a down market) your home simply appears to most buyers to be too expensive to be seriously-considered by them. Also the longer it languishes on the market, the less interest will be shown in the property because buyers will think that if no one else has bought it, there must be something wrong with it. Better to at least price your home in the middle of the competition and you will get a larger percentage of prospective buyer interest. If you want to sell you home in 60 days, price it below the “middle of the market” and you many have it “bid up” by competing buyers!
The days of “running it up the flag pole to see what might happen” are no longer a winning strategy. Mainers are often stubborn sellers who convince themselves that “they don’t have to sell and can wait out the market until better times come back.” But, if you are selling to move to warmer climates for medical reasons… or, wanting to be nearer your grandchildren… how can you put a price tag on wasted time holding out for a miracle to happen. Lower your price and get on with your life, do what’s best for your health and enjoy your grandchildren before they are in college – or worse, you have passed on! Is it really worth the price of delaying an opportunity to cash in your chips move on?
TIP: Never say “asking” price, which implies you don’t expect to get it.
Price Against Comparable Sales in Your Neighborhood
No matter how attractive and polished your house, buyers will be comparing its price with everything else on the market.
Your best guide is a record of what the buying public has been willing to pay in the past few months for property in your neighborhood. I can furnish data on sales figures for those comparable sales and analyze them to help you come up with a suggested listing price. The decision about how much to ask, though, is always yours. However, if I think it is overpriced, I probably will encourage you to find another broker.
Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) The list of comparable sales that I can provide you (along with data about other houses in your neighborhood that are presently on the market) is used to prepare a “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA). To help in estimating a possible sales price for your house, the analysis will also include data on nearby houses that failed to sell in the past few months, along with their list prices. “Adjustments” (both plus and minus to the comparable properties) are done to make the analysis as realistically-weighted as possible.
A CMA differs from a formal appraisal in several ways. One major difference is that an appraisal will be based only on past sales. Also, an appraisal is done for a fee while the CMA is provided by me for free and may include properties currently listed for sale and those currently pending sale. For the average home sale, a CMA probably gives enough information to help you set an enticing price.
Formal Written Appraisal: A formal written appraisal (which may cost a few hundred dollars) can be useful if you have a truly unique property, if there hasn’t been much activity in your area recently, if co-owners disagree about price or if there are any other circumstances that makes it difficult to put a value on your home. I highly recommend that sellers get a formal written appraisal. It’s always effective to tell a prospective buyer that that you have a recent appraisal and feel quite comfortable with the price.
TIP: If you do order a market value appraisal, make it clear you don’t need an elaborate, or full narrative report (the kind that’s complete with photos of the house and neighborhood.) Floor plans and a site map are sufficient in most cases.
Market Conditions – Is it a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market?
A CMA often includes a Days on the Market (DOM) value for each comparable house sold. As mentioned early, when real estate is booming and prices are rising, houses may sell in a few days. Conversely, when the market slows down, average DOM can run into many months – sometimes years. I can tell you whether we are currently in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, you can price a bit beyond what you really expect, just to see what the reaction will be. In a buyer’s market, if you really need to sell promptly, offer your best attractive bargain price.
If You decide to Price your property “a little on the High side”, set a Schedule for Lowering the Price if you don’t get any lookers.
Some sellers list at the rock-bottom price they’d really take, because they hate bargaining or they are happy going with a “take it or leave it” decision. Others add on thousands to the estimated market value “just to see what happens.” If you want to try that (which I don’t recommend), and if you have the luxury of enough time to feel out the market, let’s work out an advance schedule for lowering the price if need be.
If there haven’t been many prospects viewing your home after three weeks, you may need to lower your list price. If that doesn’t bring any prospective buyers, you may need to lower your list price again. Plan on doing this regularly until you find a level that attracts buyers. Make a written schedule in advance, before emotion takes over and you’re tempted to dig your heels in.
Offering Incentives to Hasten a Sale
Sometimes cash incentives are as effective as lowering the price, especially in the lower price range where buyers may be “cash poor.” You may offer to pay some or all of a buyer’s closing costs and discount points required by the buyer’s lending institution. One seller client of mine sold his house quickly by offering to pay for a winter’s fuel cost. That got buyer attention.
If you haven’t had much traffic through your house and you’re in a hurry to sell, you may want to add the offer of a bonus to the selling broker, in addition to their commission. An example of the wording for such an offer may be ” $5,000 to the broker who brings a successful offer before Christmas.”
Estimating Net Proceeds
Once I have given you an estimate of market value, you can get a rough idea of how much cash you might walk away with when the sale is completed. This can be particularly useful when you start looking for another home to buy. By the way, if you have been happy with my services to get your property sold, I hope you will have a knee jerk reaction to have me be your “buyer’s broker.” Of course, The greatest compliment I can receive from you …is a referral from you.
To estimate your net proceeds, from the estimated sales amount, subtract the applicable costs in the three sections outlined below: seller’s costs, buyer’s/seller’s costs and closing costs.
Seller’s Costs: Subtract the following costs as applicable.
- payoff figure on your present loan(s)
- your share of the broker’s commission
- prepayment penalty on your mortgage
- attorney’s fees
- unpaid property taxes
Buyer’s/Seller’s Costs: Additionally, I can tell you whether local customs or rules dictate whether the buyer or seller pays for the items listed below. Subtract the following costs, as applicable.
- title insurance premium
- transfer taxes
- survey fees
- inspections and repairs
- recording fees
- Homeowner Association transfer fees and document preparation
- home protection plan, if applicable
Closing Costs: As far as closing costs are concerned, you and your eventual buyer may agree on any arrangement that suits you, no matter what local practice dictates. I will assist you in estimating what your final closing costs will be.
Get Your House Ready to Show to Buyers
A house that “sparkles” on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well maintained.
I know that a “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is well maintained, they assume that what they can’t see has probably also been well maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:
- how much should you spend to prepare your house for sale?
- exterior and curb appeal
- interior appeal
Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal. Certain improvements will yield greater buyer interest while others are not really worth the extra expense. I will help you explore those possibilities from an investment perspective.
How Much Should You Spend to Prepare Your House for Sale?
In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive polishes and touch-ups to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, than doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.
I am familiar with buyers’ expectations in your neighborhood and can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made and which improvements are most effective. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
Maximizing Exterior and Curb Appeal
When preparing to put your home up for sale, your first concern is the home’s exterior. If the outside, or “curb appeal” looks good, people will more than likely want to see what’s on the inside.
Here are some tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal to buyers:
- Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered.
- Regularly trim hedges and weed lawns and flowerbeds.
- Be sure your front door area has a “Welcome” feeling.
- Paint the front door.
- In spring and summer, add a couple of pots of showy annuals near your front entrance.
- In snowy areas, keep walks and driveway neatly cleared of snow and ice.
- Check foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and deterioration, and fix any problem areas.
- Remove and repaint any peeling paint on doors and windows.
- Clean and align gutters.
- Inspect and clean the chimney.
- Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
- Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
- Reseal old asphalt.
- Keep the garage door closed.
- Store RVs, boats and old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.
Maximizing Interior Appeal
You want your home to look as spacious, bright and clean as possible. It should “sparkle!” Also the home should look neutral – without a lot of your personal and sentimental objects – so buyers can begin to imagine living there. You may love your Buddha statute, but it may turn off a prospective buyer.
Here are some tips to enhance your home’s interior appeal to buyers:
- Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. Don’t stack stuff in boxes or have an exercise machine in the kitchen. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. “More… is less!” Today’s decorating trend is more towards minimalism. People are considering smaller homes then the used to want – especially, with the high cost of heating fuel. Some homeowners with crowded rooms actually rent storage garages and move half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look. It’s surprising how little it costs to have your home “staged” by a staging company. They store some of your tired furniture and replace it with a much more appealing décor. I can help you explore this option.
- Use a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market.
- Remove the less frequently used, and even daily-used items from kitchen counters, closets, basement and attic to make these areas more inviting.
- Make sure that table tops, dressers and closets are free of clutter and dust.
- Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms: they should look as modern, bright and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free. If you smoke in the house, you should have it de-odorized by a professional service like ServiceMaster™
- Repair dripping faucets and shower heads.
- Buy showy new towels for the bathroom, and put them out only for showings.
- Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by installing new curtains and cabinet knobs, or applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.
- Clean walls and doors of smudges and scuff marks.
- If necessary, repaint dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
- Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement, and fix any problem areas. If you have cobwebs in the basement, remove them with a cobweb brush. Old furnace parts, water heaters and stuff that needs to be taken to the dump needs to happen. Hire someone to take it away. It’s probably best to hire any experienced mover who is insured so you don’t end up with a liability claim.
- Seal basement walls if there are any signs of dampness or leakage.
- Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles.
- Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
- Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems.
Home Selling Tips
If you’re thinking of selling your home, keep in mind that buyers appreciate a clean look in the homes they view. You can increase the value of your home and decrease the time it takes to sell by making a few simple improvements. Below are some additional suggestions to help you sell your home.
- Aroma is the first thing prospective buyers notice when they step inside a home. To eliminate odors, steam clean your carpet and wash walls and floors with household cleaners and disinfectants. Keep your home smelling fresh by burning candles or potpourri or putting a dab of vanilla on cold light bulbs before turning them on.
- If your carpet is badly worn, outdated or stained, consider replacing it. If your carpet is heavily soiled, you may want to have it professionally cleaned. Brighten the interior of your home by cleaning your windows and opening your curtains to let light in to make a cheery ambiance. Clean hanging light fixtures and add the highest-wattage bulbs allowed. Remember, prospective buyers would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, “with a little work.”
- If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.
- Think safety. Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.
- Make room for space. Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They’re looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items. The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now’s the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.
- Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine and sparkle. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned out bulbs leave prospects in the dark. Don’t let little problems detract from what’s right with your home. For added allure, display your best towels, mats and shower curtains.
- Create dream bedrooms. Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.
- Maximum lighting is a must. Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights – both inside and outside – not just when showing your home in the evening. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.
- Avoid crowd scenes. Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they’re likely to hurry through. Keep the company present to a minimum.
- Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everybody a favor: Keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
- Think volume. Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. When it’s time to show your home, it’s time to turn down (way down) the stereo or TV.
- Nobody knows your home as well as you do, but I know buyers – what they need and what they want. I will have an easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay away from the showing.
- I will have an easier time selling your home if showings are scheduled through me. Offer to keep an eye on the brochure box attached to your sign and make sure it is always filled with flyers. Try to accommodate prospective buyers when they want to see your home as much as possible. It may be an inconvenience to let your home be shown on short notice, but it’s been my experience that it is oftentimes that showing accommodation may well produce an offer. Many times, distant buyers only have a brief window to shop home possibilities before returning to their homes. Their buyer broker will be trying to expose them to as many listings as possible. Bending a little might be a wise thing to do. I certainly, will make it happen as a priority consideration for me!
Common Mistakes Sellers Make
- Basing the asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value. Many times sellers base their pricing on how much they paid form it or how much they invested in improving their home. This can be an expensive mistake! If your home is not priced competitively, buyers will reject it in favor of other larger homes for the same price. At the same time, the buyers who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads. The result is increased market time, and even when the price is eventually lowered, the buyers are wary because “nobody wants to buy real estate that nobody else wants”. The result is low priced offers and an unwillingness to negotiate. Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible from the sale, but a listing priced too high often eventually sells for less than market value. An accurate market evaluation is the first step in determining a competitive listing price!
- Failing to “Showcase” the home. A property that is not clean or well maintained is a red flag for the buyer. It is an indication that there may be hidden defects that will result in increased cost of ownership. Sellers who fail to make necessary repairs, who don’t “spruce up” the house inside and out, and fail to keep it clean and neat, chase away buyers as fast as I can bring them. Buyers are poor judges of the cost of repairs, and always build in a large margin for error when offering on such a property. Sellers are always better off doing the work themselves ahead of time.
- Over-improving the home prior to selling. Sellers often unwittingly spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior to attempting to sell in the mistaken belief that they will recoup this cost. If you are upgrading your home for your personal enjoyment – fine. But if you are thinking of selling, you should be aware that only certain upgrades to real estate are cost effective. Always consult with me BEFORE committing to upgrading your home.
- Choosing the wrong REALTOR® or choosing for the wrong reasons. Many homeowners list with the real estate agent who agrees to the asking highest price. You need to choose an experienced agent with the best marketing plan to sell your home. In the real estate business, an agent with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced. That experience could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with a minimum amount of hassles.
- Using the “Hard Sell” during showings. Buying a home is an emotional decision. Buyers like to “try on” a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It is difficult for them to do if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you made. You shouldn’t be present when I am showing your home. Good showings are a casual (but well-planned) art form. They should take as much time as the prospective buyer has to spend previewing your property. I often invite them to sit down and relax in front of a cozy fireplace fire and think about how their furniture might fit in the house, how they might entertain in the house and how holidays might be celebrated. They need to visualize making the house work for them. Good REALTORS® let the buyers discover the home on their own, pointing out only features they are sure are important to them. Overselling loses many sales. If buyers think they are paying for features that are not particularly important to them personally, they will reject the home in favor of a less expensive home without those features.
- Failing to take the first offer seriously. Often sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come. There is a tendency to not take it seriously, and to hold out for a higher price. This is especially true if the offer comes in soon after the home is placed on the market. I know that more often than not, the first buyer ends up being the best buyer, and many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. Real estate is most saleable early in the marketing period, and the amount buyers are willing to pay diminishes with the length of time a property has been on the market. Many sellers would give anything to find that prospective buyer who made their first offer which they didn’t take seriously.
- Not knowing your rights and obligations. The contract you sign to sell your property is a complex and legally binding document. An improperly written contract can allow the purchaser to void the sale, or cost you thousands of unnecessary dollars. I know the “ins and outs” in the offer language of the contract you are considering signing. I can be an invaluable resource for you!
- Failure to effectively market the property. Good marketing opens the door that exposes real estate to the marketplace. It means distinguishing your home from hundreds of others on the market. It also means selling the benefits, as well as the features. I will employ a wide variety of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones I believe to work best for your home.
Avoid Common Blunders that Seller’s Often Make in Staging their Homes for Showings!
To make sure that response is positive, avoid these six toxic, cosmetic blunders. Bold paint choices – Neutralize, neutralize, neutralize to increase your buyer pool. You may love forest green or deep purple walls, but there’s a good chance your buyers won’t. Give buyers a clean slate and a sense that your home is move-in ready for them, by going with a fresh coat of neutral paint.
Clutter – Piles of “stuff” are visually distracting from what you’re trying to sell. Sell, discard, give away or pack away unnecessary items. Keep what remains looking neat and tidy.
Poorly maintained front door – The front door is the portal to your home. It’s the first feature that a buyer sees up close. A marred, scratched or soiled surface suggests the home isn’t getting the tender loving care of proper maintenance. Don’t sent that message to a potential buyer. Tackle the mess with a good scrubbing, shine up the hardware, and consider repainting or replacement, if necessary.Overgrown landscaping – Regular mowing, weeding and pruning eliminates the creepy, blighted, abandoned-home look. If you’ve already moved out of the home you’re selling, maintain the landscaping yourself or hire a professional.
Dirt and odors – A foul odor instantly triggers a negative response and can often recall a bad memory. Buyers could subconsciously consider the smell permanent and will quickly move on to a less odorous property. Identify odors, then eliminate them with deep cleaning. Steam cleaning can work wonders. Shampoo carpets, let in fresh air, and deodorize appliances to elevate a home to put its best fragrance forward.
Packed closets – Jam-packed closets send an undesirable message that says, “This house doesn’t have enough room.” Adequate closet space is a must-have for contemporary home buyers, and can elevate your property to the top of a buyer’’s list. To reveal your closets as tidy and roomy, remove the excess and organize what’s left. When preparing your home for sale, remember that a large part of the purchase decision rests upon a buyer’s psychological response to the look and feel of your property. Giving your home a cosmetic boost helps prevent any negative emotional responses, and increases your odds of a quick sale.
The Basics of Marketing Your Home
My marketing efforts and considerations will include your property being featured on my website and other social media websites, professional preparation of a virtual tour (unless you don’t want one), preparation of a “Selling Broke Profile” (that alerts the buyer to the best features of the property and the neighborhood), showing the property, and monitoring the buyer interest in the property to make any mid-course adjustments in marketing strategies. I will need to have you sign a written listing agreement, but unlike other brokers, my listing agreements are cancelable by the seller at any time and for any reason! I don’t want you to feel legally-shackled to me.
My property listings are not only promoted on my website but also through other real estate agent’s web sites with whom I have confidence an firsthand knowledge of their professionalism, Internet home search/listing services, classified advertising and real estate guides. However, I have found that personalized promotion of your listings is often most effective when I budget my time to contact my buyers who are registered with me and are looking for a home that meets their needs.
Even with all these promotion avenues, “For Sale” signs on front lawns are still effective for those buyers who routinely cruise neighborhoods that they like for homes that might be for sale. You may be surprised to learn that many times a valuable lead will come from other people living in the same neighborhood. Sometimes one of them has a friend or relative who always wanted to live near them. You never know how far reaching the benefits of word-of-mouth advertising by friends, relatives and neighbors can be.
Showings and Open Houses
To prepare your home for viewing, make it as bright, clean, cheerful and serene as possible. Always look at your home from the buyer’s point of view. I will probably suggest that you be absent while the house is being shown to prospective buyers, because your presence will inhibit their actions and conversations. They won’t feel free to open closets and cabinets, test out the plumbing and discuss their observations objectively as they walk through the house. It goes without saying that your children and pets should not be on the premises either.
You may want to have me notify the neighbors, and assure them that they’ll be welcome to see you home. They usually jump at the chance to poke around in your house, and sometimes they can turn up a buyer among their friends.
“Homes” are all about nesting comfortably, family living and traditional celebrations. It’s where we eat and sleep in pleasant surroundings. Here are some quick tips for showings and open houses:
- Clean or replace dirty or worn carpets.
- Open all curtains and blinds. Turn on all the lights and open all the doorways.
- Replace any burned out light bulbs. Dimmers are very effective mood setters
- Clear all clutter and unnecessary items.
- Clear all counter tops, if possible to create the feeling of spaciousness.
- Wash and put away any dirty dishes. Trash should be emptied.
- Set the dining room or kitchen table if you have particularly nice linen or china.
- Simmer a few drops of vanilla on the stove. A pot of simmering mulled cider on the back burner – better still is baking bread.
- Put on soft music.
- Burn real wood in the fireplace on cold days, otherwise, clean the fireplace.
- Put fresh towels in the bathroom.
- Take any laundry out of the washer and dryer.
- Leave the house so I host visitors and deal with prospective buyers in a professional manner.
- Put pets in cages or take them to a neighbor.
How Long Has Your House Been on the Market?
Professional appraisers sum up their entire body of knowledge in three words: “Buyers make value.”Your home is worth as much as a buyer will pay for it.
If your home has been on the market for months, it’s a clear message that the property may not be worth what you’re asking for it. This is particularly true if there haven’t been many prospects coming to see it. What you do at that point depends on whether you really need to sell, and whether you’re working with a time limit.
If you’re not really motivated to sell your property soon, you can always stubbornly wait – years, sometimes – and hope inflation will catch up with the price you want. The problem is that in that time, your home begins to feel shopworn. Buyers become suspicious of a house that’s been for sale for a long time.
If you really do need to sell, tell me and we will discuss a schedule for gradually dropping your price until we find a level that attracts buyers. There’s no point in saying, “We simply can’t sell our house.”Anything will sell if the price is right!
If You’re Buying Another Home
You may wonder what will happen when you’re selling one home and buying another – how will all the details work out? This is a common situation and REALTORS®, lawyers, and title and escrow companies have plenty of experience in arranging contracts and loans so that the two transactions dovetail smoothly.
Should you sell your home first then buy or buy first then sell? Ideally, it’s best to find a home you like and make an offer subject to selling your current home. Sellers will probably insist on having you agree to “a Kickout Clause.” What this does is create a brief window (usually 2-3 days) to see if you will remove the condition of selling your house before buying the house for which the a seller has another buyer in hand who wants to buy the property you were hoping to buy… after you sold your property. This generally works in a normal or slow market; however, in a “hot” market most sellers will not accept a “subject to sale” offer. In this situation, you need to sell your home first and then buy a new home in the interim period between selling and vacating your house.
If you find that you need to buy the next house before you’ve received the proceeds from the present one, lending institutions can sometimes make you a short-term “bridge” loan to tide you over between the two transactions. Make sure you fully understand the exposure and emotional investment before proceeding with this type of loan. Double mortgage payments can be a real frustration.
Request a Free Presentation On How I Will Market and Sell Your Home. Remember, All Real Estate Agents Are NOT Alike.
- A “Listing Presentation” is an industry term for the formal presentation that a real estate agent makes to prospective home sellers, trying to earn their trust and business. Don’t list your home without one! I would love the opportunity to make such a presentation to you.
- I’ll visit your home and together we will walk through it, considering the positives and negatives (if any!). You will then see exactly how I would propose to sell your home, for as much as the market will bear, and within your time frame. I will tell you where I will promote your home, both in print and on the web. With the dramatic growth in homebuyer usage of the web, you MUST have a real estate agent that can extensively market your home online!
- You’ll also learn what your Midcoast Maine home is really worth, because part of our presentation will include a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) of your home. I’ll compare your home to others like it in the Midcoast Maine Area that have recently sold, and also to others that are currently for sale. This is a very valuable way of determining the fair market value of your home.
- I make a lot of free presentations and prepare CMAs for prospective home sellers. I know what puts a big SOLD sign in your front yard.
- I’d love the chance to make a presentation for you. It is totally free and without any obligation. Call me at 207-389-4484. Quickly Find Out What that Home Down the Street Sold For, By Email, for Free.If you are considering selling your Midcoast Maine home, you are probably wondering what other homes in the same area are selling for. There might be one home in particular that you’d like to know what it sold for, or you might be interested in all the homes that have sold recently in your area. I can provide that information.I can tell you exactly what any home sold for in your area. I will furnish you with a list of homes that have recently sold on your street or in your neighborhood. I can also tell you about homes similar to yours that are currently for sale. This service is entirely free, without obligation. As an experienced Midcoast Maine REALTOR®, this is part of the service that I provide to home sellers on a daily basis.
I can find you international buyers for your Maine property… and conversely, I can find you a home anywhere in this country and…anywhere in the world!
Truly, we now live in a “global marketplace”… not only for the love of discounted prices for Chinese products, but I’m now working with Europeans who want to own vacation properties in Maine!
Europeans traditional take long vacations and they are attracted to “Maine” because we have such a pristine environment and we are known for “living life the way it should be.”
Our real estate agency (Maine Real Estate Network) has an exclusive affiliation with the leading international real estate referral agency! Luxury Homes of the World is our porthole to occasioning national and international buyers for your property. Hmmmm… that means that you will have “global” prospective buyers (if your property is listed with me) rather than just those who live in this country.
Over the last few years, I have had an increasing number of international buyers ask me to find properties in Maine for them to consider purchasing. Also, I have experienced a growing number of celebrities who want me to help them buy a “piece of Maine dirt.” Martha Stewart bought a classic home in Seal Harbor, Maine and I’m finding that other celebrities are equally motivated to buy Maine property.
Most of these buyers pay cash for their secret retreats and they encourage their friends to similarly buy a vacation home in Maine.
This all means that I have the potential for occasioning a greater number of potential buyers for your property than was possible in the past!
Also, it works in reverse. If you are moving to another part of the country… or the world, because of a new work assignment or because of a retirement decision to move to a warmer climate, then I can find you a seasoned buyer broker at your preferred new location that will collaborate with me to make sure you get a satisfying new home at the best deal possible.
So, I have the tools and connections to fully service your real estate needs. Whether it’s finding you a distant buyer or helping you relocate to California… or London… I can make it happen for you seamlessly.
I truly can be a resource for everything you may dream of doing!