Selling your home or property is hard work! Nine out of ten times, most owners do not have the time or the resources that a real estate agent may have, so it is best to use someone that is fully committed to selling your property, has access to a wide variety of resources and is focused on getting the highest price possible for the sale of your property.
Lets do the homework together! We would like to share the following checklist which helps to take you through the process:
Know your property. If you are not already, become familiar with such facts about your property as property taxes, zoning, lot size, square footage, etc. Look at the terms of your existing loan. Research the current market and property laws. How much are properties similar to yours selling for? What are the terms of the sales? What property disclosure laws do you need to take into consideration?
Set the price. Once you know the specifics about your home or property and have checked out what similar properties in your area are selling for, set a realistic price.
Determine financing alternatives. Contact lenders to determine what the options are for your prospective buyer. You want to be informed before they ask, or your lack of knowledge may turn them off from dealing with you.
Perform a “walk through” of your property. Look at it from the perspective of both the prospective buyer and the inspector. Take notes on all items that need to be repaired or replaced. Things to consider include:
• From the street, is the house appealing? This is called “curb appeal”.
• Does it need a new coat of paint (either because the old paint is obviously cracked or faded, or because of an uncommon choice in color that might turn off prospective buyers)?
• If a house with a yard, is the lawn and landscaping attractive and well-kept?
• If it is a condo, you can’t do much about the building, but is the front door (and balcony, if there is one) appealing?
• Are the windows and doors attractive and in good condition?
• Is the roof and drains in good condition?
• Is the grass nicely cut, are the hedges trimmed, are the leaves swept up? Are all toys put away such as bikes, scooters, etc.?
• Are the interior paints and finishes in good condition (recently updated), or do they need to be freshened up? This is one area with the best ratio of least expensive to most desired. For a minimal investment, you could possibly make or break a sale by having your home look well-kept and inviting.
• Are the appliances in good working order and of recent vintage?
• Are the plumbing and electrical systems in good condition? Are they fully functional?
• Are the carpets or other floor coverings clean and in good condition? Like the paint, are they attractive and well-kept? Floor coverings are worth paying for so that your home makes a good impression.
• Are the sealants (sink, shower, tub, windows) in good condition?
• Are all light fixtures working properly, and is there good lighting in each room so that prospective buyers won’t think you’re hiding something?
**Make all repairs noted in your inspection.
Know your neighborhood. Most prospective buyers will want to know about the local schools, stores, shopping, recreational facilities and parks, transportation, etc. Be prepared so you can knowledgeably answer these questions.
Estimate the cost to sell your property. Most costs may be deducted from the sale proceeds at closing, however; some may require payment in advance in order to close the transaction.
• Real estate commission.
• Advertising costs, signs, other fees if not working with an agent.
• Attorney, escrow, closing and other professional fees.
• Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner association fees, etc.
• Any other fees typically paid by the seller (property surveys, marker relocation, etc.).
• Real estate and escrow companies deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.
Don’t forget the Internet. As you have probably noticed from the website you have found this article on, most real estate companies have their own website, which includes their clients’ listings as well as the entire MLS search. If you work with an agent, your property will most likely be placed on their web site (if they have one) and on the full MLS search as part of the services they will offer you.
Establish a marketing plan. In addition to strategic advertising, the agent will create a plan on how to best (within the budget) reach prospective buyers, both local and off-island. Internet advertising is always part of the plan, in addition to a host of potential buyer contacts the agent or company has available to them.
Showings. Your agent will take care of showings and open houses on your behalf. It is best to allow your agent to show your home on their own so that the prospective buyer does not feel uncomfortable or pressured.
“For Sale” sign. Your agent will provide the proper sign. This should be well-designed, attractive and weatherproof. The sign must be placed where it can clearly be seen from the street.
Prepare a fact sheet. Your agent designs a single sheet description of your property listing the features and benefits that will draw in prospective buyers. This should be attractive and professional looking. Enough copies will be on hand to give out at showings or open houses.
“Open House” signs. They include a place to write the address of your property and the date/time of the open house. In addition to one for the front yard, they can also be placed in conspicuous locations around the neighborhood, such as main streets leading to your house. For these, directional arrows can point prospective buyers to your house even if they don’t know the area. Your agent will provide these signs and make sure that they are taken down as soon as the open house is over. You don’t want people showing up on your doorstep at all hours of the day and night.
Setting up a schedule of open houses. While most are held on the weekend, this is not convenient for all buyers. Your agent will coordinate the print advertising to include information about your next open house.
Keep a list of prospective buyers. As people come through during open houses, or as they call from reading your ads or seeing the sign out front, your agent will keep a list with their names and phone numbers. Attention will be concentrated on those who seem serious about your property, as opposed to those who are just checking out the neighborhood or whiling away a Sunday afternoon. Your agent will make follow up telephone calls to all those who seem seriously interested in your property.
Once you have an offer, it’s time to negotiate. Having a real estate agent is very helpful in this area. Leave your emotions behind when you enter negotiations. You never want to get angry or give away the fact that you’re overly eager.
Get your documents in order. There may be other documents required for the legal sale of your property, in addition to the purchase contract and any counter offers. Your agent will explain the contract carefully and determine which other forms or documents are required and when they are due. He or she will also explain what the buyer’s rights are once they receive the documents. The form and content of many of these documents are prescribed by local or federal law and must be adhered to in their entirety. The proper forms may be obtained from your local Association of Realtors or from your agent who represents you.
Negotiate final terms of the sale. Buyer(s) need to come to an agreement (in writing) regarding the following:
• Inspection contingencies
• Financing terms
• Date of closing
• Date of possession
• It would be prudent for you to have an attorney review any and all contracts before the deal is finalized.
Final walk-through. When both the buyer(s) and agent(s) can be present, a final walk-through will be scheduled before you complete settlement in order to determine that the property being conveyed meets the expectations of all parties involved. Any disputes should be resolved before the transfer of title.
Find and make arrangements for the home you will be moving to. Unless you have already built or bought a new residence, you may need to be the “buyer” for a new property. We will be happy to represent you in this capacity as well.