FAQs when Selling Real Estate:
Do you have questions about selling a home?
Selling a home:
- What is the best time of the year to sell a home? It is always a subject of debate but the normal thought in the real estate world is in the spring. Many people want to get settled in their new home before the summer and summer activities and as spring weather starts to appear so do the buyers. Also the market does slow down starting in June but can stay a bit more stable as families with children want to be prepared for the new school year.
- Do I have to fix up the house to sell it? That really depends upon the condition. While it is not required, it is always a good idea to put your best foot forward. If that means sprucing up something within your budget, that can be done but it is always a good idea to do a deep clean and make everything sparkle. It also helps to de clutter. You plan on moving soon so packing up some boxes with extra things just gets you ready for your move.
- What about curb appeal? Curb appeal is important. You never get a chance to make a first impression again. A welcoming front starts off the showing with a good feelings. If you take care of the exterior of the home you take care of the interior
- What are the things I need to do to get top dollar? Make the home easily accessible, curb appeal, being open to last minute showings, keep the home and yard clean and presentable at all times, do not be home during showings, open the blinds or curtains, turn on all lights before you leave, if your house is dated with older decor remove. If you have the budget do the things that appeal to buyers such as neutral paint, maybe replace older light fixtures, fix minor issues like chipped paint or dirty entry doors, dress up the patio area with lawn furniture. Another good blog by a stager which gives one an idea in pictures how presentation affects the first impression- How Are You Greeting Your Buyers
- Do I really need a Realtor when selling a home? Yes, if you want to limit your exposure. Per National Association of Realtors a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) typically sells for a lower price than a traditional listing and is on market longer. While FSBOs feel they are saving money on commission, they typically will have to pay a Buyer’s agent commission and have to handle all the legal paperwork on their own; not to mention the showings and negotiating directly with emotional buyers as well as their own emotions. Does the average person have the ability to navigate the 15+ pages of a contract and fill it out correctly (in the event of a dispute who will get sued?) Does the average person even know what pages they need for a contract? Then if they are dealing with an experienced buyers agent on the other side can they know they are proceeding correctly and are on a level playing field with the agent? A real estate agent acts as a seller’s agent in the sale of the owner’s property. The agent represents the seller as a client. The agent owes the seller client undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality, and accountability. The agent must put the seller’s interest first and attempt to negotiate terms acceptable to their seller client.
- Who pays the Realtor fees when selling a home? The Seller
- How do I pick a real estate agent? Many people rely on referrals from friends. Another is real estate company brands such as the big box real estate offices. Another is real estate websites but be aware places like Realtor.com, Zillow, Homelight, TopAgentsRanked, etc as they all charge fees to agents to advertise on their sites so the names you are getting from those locations are not necessarily all the agents available for you to use but only the ones who are paying the dollars to get in front of the public on that website. While you may get a good agent that way there isn’t a way to know that for sure. Another website where real estate agents gather to talk and discuss the market and market conditions is Active Rain for Real Estate. It is a good place to read and see what the agents think and how they operate. Search the city or zip code you want to buy in and the agents that work in that area will show in the results. It is a really good place to see how they interact and how they do business. Some of the agents may no longer be working as agents because the business is hard but there are a lot of active agents on the site. Not all agents use Active Rain but it gives you a good idea of how all agents think and what they believe. It is a WEALTH of good information for agents and the public.
- Do I have to be concerned when people come to look at my home? It can be a concern especially for FSBOs. Agents have somewhat vetted their clients and know they are ready to purchase. They have done their loan paperwork and are seriously looking. While agents cannot vouch for everyone they bring into your home the brokers teach safety classes about factors to be safe in the field. At KW we had to take the DL of a potential client the first time we showed them properties and leave a copy at the front desk. Does that procedure always happen? No but agents do have to alert and concerned about their safety so they are more cautious than the average homeowner who might open the door to any potential buyer. But there are things that sellers need to do to prepare their homes for viewings such as put away valuable items like jewelry, artifacts and guns and a major item is medicine. Items to Never leave out by Bill G.
- Do I have to leave when the house is shown? What about pets? Yes, Yes, Yes, because potential buyers are uncomfortable when they are looking and you are home. Even if you step out into the yard there is still that feeling of someone lurking. Many people want to point out features of the house and while that can be understood, it is not a good idea. Your real estate agent should prepare a sheet for the local MLS and to give to the buyers agent for review with the potential buyers. Some feature that you may love may not even appeal to the buyers and their agent knows what they desire and can point out those items to them,. Pets actually distract buyers. Pet lovers want to stop and talk to them and pet haters want to avoid them. So do you want the potential buyers thinking about the pets instead of the house?
- Once we have an offer, what happens next? Your agent will meet with you and give what is called a net sheet. The net sheet shows your bottom line if you accept the offer as it is being presented. Then you and your agent will discuss the offer in comparison to your listing price and the value of your house and what you want to accept or counter. That is based upon market conditions such as hot sellers market vs. hot buyers market. The other factors besides price in the offer is the amount of concessions, the option period, the earnest money (down payment in real estate terms) and any other items you want to address or change. In Texas, a seller is not obligated to accept any offer.
- How long do I have to respond to an offer? The seller may take several days to respond but normally you will want to have an answer within a couple of days at the most. Sometimes the buyer agent will put a respond date in the offer. If it is a very hot market the seller might take a bit longer to respond in the hopes that they will get more offers. The seller is not obligated to accept any offer and does NOT follow a first come, first gets it situation. They can look at multiple offers at one time and choose the best offer for them. That is why if it is a home a buyer really wants they need to make a good offer the first time. But if a seller delays a response for a long time the buyer may move on.
- Do I have to fix things on the inspection report? No, but that means the buyer might walk away from the contract. Most buyers will share the inspection report so the seller can see what the inspector pointed out and if it is a safety issue or just something that the buyer wants fixed. It is common for a buyer to ask for the HVAC unit to be cleaned and serviced and that makes sense for the seller to do. That is giving the buyer a clean HVAC system when they move in. Other items depending on what arises are all negotiable.
- What if the appraisal is low? If that is the case, all the agents will review the appraisal. It may be contested and possibly changed. The other options are based upon the way the contract is written: the buyer can only get a loan for the appraisal amount minus the down payment so any difference must be paid out of pocket by the buyer, the buyer can cancel the contract and get a refund of their earnest money or the two parties can negotiate a change in sales price.
- When do I have to move out? A closing date will be determined by the contract. The seller is required to be moved out of the house by the closing date so it is normal to move out anytime before closing but has to be done by the day before closing. Both the seller and the buyer will attend closing, sign all the required paperwork, the paperwork is sent back to the mortgage lender to review and when approved, the mortgage lender will send the funds to the title company. At that point, it is called “funding the loan” and title can disperse the proceeds to whomever is due money be it either the seller or the sellers home loan company. At that point, the buyer is given keys to the property.
Many of these questions and other topics are answered in more detail on the blog pages. See Realtor website blogs
Floresville Real Estate Agent – Faye Y Taylor is here for help and to answer any questions you might have