1) Can I sell my house myself?
Sure you can. Anyone CAN sell his or her own home. The more important questions are:
- Can you determine a realistic listing price for your house?
- Can you create your own advertising, and get it placed in the real estate publications?
- Can you determine if prospective buyers are financially able to buy your home?
- Can you take the time from your daily responsibilities to show your home to prospective buyers?
- Can you reach as large a market as a real estate professional can?
Of the above points, perhaps the two most important are the demands that would be made on your time, and the potential for making a simple mistake that might end up costing you money.
In this area, less than 1% of all homes sold are sold by the owner. The peace of mind that working with a real estate professional brings, relative to the expense of paying a commission, outweighs people's desire to save some commission. With 99% of all homes being sold by a Realtor® , if your home is not exposed to the real estate professionals in your community, it may well be very difficult for you to obtain the maximum return on the investment in your home.
A few of the many benefits of working with a real estate professional are:
- They have a vast amount of information at their disposal; information that can be very beneficial in the marketing of your home, therefore possibly resulting in a higher return on your investment.
- Realtors® are up to date on the very latest market trends, the homes in your area, and may well know of other Realtors® who have clients looking for a home such as yours.
- A Realtor is always on call; always available to do things like working on weekends and often up until midnight; answering inquiries from potential buyers, and giving just enough information; and dealing with many of the other stresses selling your own home would add to your daily life.
2) What are the most important things when I'm selling my house?
There are many things to consider, but the most important things are price; condition; terms; location, and exposure to the market.
3) When is the best time to list a house for sale?
Once you have made the decision to move, you should give yourself as much time as possible to sell your home. The more potential buyers your home is exposed to, the better your chances of getting a higher price for your home.
This is not to disregard the necessity of pricing your home to get maximum attention from prospective buyers right from Day 1.
4) Is there any seasonality to the market?
With the nature of the resale housing market in this area over the last 18 months, the seasonality seems to have gone. Traditionally, the busiest times of the market are in the spring and the fall. Now, the market seems to be steady most of the time. In other areas of the country, the markets may well change greatly. An important point to consider is; the more homes on the market, the more competition you face. Some of the better times to sell your home are: December Holidays and the summer. Why? Because you have less competition.
5) Should I wait for prices to go up, or interest rates to go down?
Remember, there are no guarantees that the prices will go up, or that interest rates will go down. The experts in the financial markets have forecast steady interest rates for the foreseeable future. Real estate analysts do not forecast any great variations in house prices. Your best bet is to decide if you are going to sell, and then (to steal a line from Nike) "Just Do It"!
6) How long should it take to sell?
The time your home takes to sell will depend on the items addressed in #2. There are various factors that affect the time it takes to sell your home, including:
- The supply of comparable homes
- The condition of the economy in general.
- The demand for homes such as yours.
7) Should I buy first, or sell first?
While this is a decision that rests with you, your real estate professional will be able to give you some good guidance in making this decision. If there are a number of homes available that you would consider investing in as your next home, then you probably should list your home first. If you are looking for an un-common type of home, or there is a definite shortage of homes that meet your criteria, some believe that you should hold off on listing your home until you find a home that will be suitable for your next home. We recommend that you get your home on the market, and make any offer on your current home conditional upon your finding suitable accommodation.
As with the other factors in selling and buying a home, the laws of supply and demand will have a major bearing on your decision.
8) How do I set the price my house?
The key in setting the price on your home is to be realistic. This area is one where you should draw upon the experience and expertise of your real estate professional. Setting the price on your home realistically, in terms of the current market, is a big part of the marketing of your home.
9) What is 'fair market value'?
Basically, Fair Market Value is what the seller is willing to accept and an informed buyer is prepared to pay.
A buyer will be armed with a CMA, showing them what other, similar homes have sold for. When a house is sold, it has to be sold to not only the Realtors and the buyers, but also the buyer's financial institution. For this reason, a CMA is very important in both setting the price on your home, and determining if an offered price is realistic.
10) How much room should I allow for negotiation in my asking price?
Again, this is an area where your real estate professional can be of assistance to you. Only in the 'hottest' of markets will you find homes selling over the listed price. The ratio of list price to sale price varies from area to area; Another factor to consider in the negotiation is the track record of your Realtor; while the real estate board average is 96% of list price, I am able to, on average, negotiate on behalf of my selling client's, a ratio of 98.6%. So, if you are selling a home at $200,000, this difference means that you may well end up with an extra $5,200 in your pocket!
11) Should I fix my house up before listing?
There are some things that you will want to do to make your home show at its best. These are generally minor things such as painting, a thorough cleaning, fixing loose doorknobs, etc. When considering any more significant fix-ups, ask the opinion of your Realtor.
We offer several exclusive systems that will assist you in making the right decisions on what you should do to prepare your home for sale.
12) Should I hire professionals to do any work?
If, like me you have neither the time, talent, nor patience to do the work, then the answer is a resounding YES. However, most people don't mind doing the smaller fix-ups, such as painting, replacing washers, etc. themselves. For larger projects involving the mechanical systems of the house, or anything that requires inspection by various authorities, be sure to use a professional to do the work.
When using the professionals, ascertain beforehand that any warranties on their work can be transferred to the new owners.
13) What advertising is the best?
It will probably come as a surprise to you to learn that newspaper advertising is just about the least effective method of advertising your home when it is for sale. Nationwide, less than 5% of all houses sold are sold through the newspaper advertisement. The best, most cost effective form of advertising has been the Realtors MLS. Why? Because, as pointed out in #1, 99% of all homes sold are sold by a Realtor. The up-and-coming leader in marketing is the Internet. Technologically savvy real estate professionals will make sure that their client's homes are featured on as many websites as possible, including their own personal home page.
When hiring a Realtor to market your home, you should insist that they have a home page of their own; one that actually generates inquiries about the homes they have listed for sale.
14) Should we hold public open houses?
As with many of the components of the home marketing process, the effectiveness of open houses for the public varies regionally. Here, very few of the homes available for sale are held open for the public to view.
The main reason for public open houses, in this area at least, appears to be for Realtors to gather new buying clients. I will add one caveat - it is often good to hold a well-promoted public open house the first weekend that your home is on the market.
The police department advises against open houses. The typical visitor to open houses in this area is more likely to be a curious neighbour.
A critical part of the home marketing process is to hold the house open for the other Realtors to inspect. These inspections are usually held during weekdays, at pre-set times. This Realtor Open House offers a chance for all Realtors to view your home, at a time when most people are at work, thus gaining mass exposure in a very short period of time.
15) Should we avoid being home when the house is shown?
Yes, definitely if it is at all possible. Prospective buyers will feel rushed, and will not be able to relax if you are at home when your house is being shown. If you have young children, or elderly people living with you, you can ask your RealtorÒ to restrict the showing times to hours that suit your children's bedtime, etc.
16) Do I have to pay commission even if I find the buyer?
Yes, once you have signed a listing contract, you are contractually obligated to forward all inquiries about your house to your Realtor. If you find a buyer, you will still owe the commission that is spelled out in the listing agreement.