10 TIPS FOR SELLERS

Some properties sell quickly, while others seem to be on the market forever. Some sell for their asking price, while others don’t sell at all. What can you do to avoid the biggest mistakes many homeowners make?

Strategize with your real estate agent about the best time to sell your home.

Staging your home for sale before going on the market could help you make 8 to 10% more when you sell.

Before you can stage your home, you need to declutter.

People can’t but a house they can’t see.

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Some upgrades may be worth the investment.

Almost every buyer starts their search online and decides which homes they want to view based on the photos.

Sellers often think they should start the price high and then lower it later if the house fails to sell, but the first 30 days a home is on the market is when it gets the most showing activity.

I ask all of my clients to write a letter/list, or make a video with me which we can post on YouTube telling prospective buyers what exactly you have loved about living in your home.

SELLER FAQS

WHAT’S MY HOME WORTH?

A good Realtor who sells in your neighborhood can help you determine your home’s current market value. Although there is more than one method to determine the value of a home, the most common is the completion of a “Comparative Market Analysis,” also known as a CMA. A comparative market analysis is an evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes over the last 6 to 12 months that will summarize the sales data for similar homes in your area. This data will show you what other homes have been selling for and how your home compares to these other properties. From this data, your home’s current market value will be determined. Knowing this value will help you determine whether you’d be interested in selling or not. There is no cost to having a market analysis. Realtors provide them for free. To derive a more accurate market value, it’s recommended that you utilize more than one type of home pricing methodology as a cross reference, such as the “inflationary method,” or the “income-approach” depending on the property type. An experienced Realtor will be well versed in all of these methodologies.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE AGENT?

The first step in choosing a real estate agent is to seek someone who has sold other homes in your neighborhood and/or to get referrals from friends or neighbors. Selling a home is a complex transaction so you want to seek someone with experience. Number of years in the business is a good indicator. You also want someone who knows your neighborhood. Ask for a list of recent homes they have sold near you own as evidence of their track record. Once you have the name of a potential Realtor, you’ll want to reach out to them to set up an introductory meeting so you can interview them in person. This will give you a chance to evaluate them to see if they have the experience you need AND if you think you’d enjoy working with them as your advocate. If you don’t feel comfortable upon your initial meeting, it’s recommended you interview more agents until you do.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL?

A good Realtor can provide you with data on values and market times to help you get a better understanding of how the market in your neighborhood is now. By looking at a graph of the “Average Sale Price” you can see if prices are heading up, or going down. You should also look at the “Average Days on Market” to get a sense of how quickly homes are selling. Although homes are sold all year long in Chicago, typically the strongest months for selling are February, March, April, May & June. The month with the least amount of housing inventory and the most buyers looking is February. Many seller are surprised to learn this. The housing inventory peaks in late May, making it a good time for buyers to be looking, but not always the best to time sell, as you have more competition as a seller. If you’re contemplating selling, you’ll want to see a “MSI” analysis (Month’s Supply of Inventory) for your property type and location. This will tell you when is the best or worst time to put your home on the market by giving you a sense of exactly how many competitors you will have and how many buyers there are at various times in the year in your area.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED IN SELLING MY HOME?

Your real estate agent or attorney can provide you with the estimated costs of selling your home. The commission charged to sell a property is always negotiable between a seller and their real estate broker and can vary by the property type and the price point.  

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE MY HOME FOR SALE

If you’re thinking of selling in the near future, it’s recommended you reach out to a Realtor to have them stop by and take a look at your property. A successful real estate agent spends hours every week showing homes to buyers and as such, they know what buyers are looking for in a home and what they are not. In general, you want to minimize the amount of personal possessions and furniture in your home as most of us have too much which can make a home seem cluttered and small. Staging your home for sale before going on the market can help you make 8 to 10% more when you sell. Buyers today are pickier than in the past. While “fixer uppers” used to be a popular choice, today’s buyers “just want to move in.” It’s all about instant gratification. Enlist the help of a Realtor or stager to achieve the absolute best results you can. I personally stage all of my properties with the assistance of a professional stager prior to going onto the market. Even doing the simplest of things to improve how your home shows and appeals to buyers makes a huge difference in whether you sell or not and also for how much money you get once you do receive an offer.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIST PRICE AND SALE PRICE?

The list price is the asking price for a home. The sale price is what the home sells for once a sale occurs. It is the price that the buyer and seller both agree to while negotiating a real estate contract.

HOW MUCH ROOM IN PRICE SHOULD I LEAVE FOR NEGOTIATING?

The average difference between what a seller is asking for their home and what they sell it for is around 5% in Chicago, although in some highly desirable neighborhoods, the percentage is much smaller. My own two-year average for all of my properties sold is 1.8%. Pricing too high above the average negotiating margin for your neighborhood puts you at risk of overpricing your home.

HOW MUCH NOTICE IS GIVEN BEFORE A SHOWING HAPPENS?

Typically buyers today request showings one day prior to the day and time they wish to view your home. In some cases, you may have two to three days notice. Every once in awhile, especially in a hot market where homes are selling quickly, a buyer may request to view your home on the same day, only giving you a few hours notice. Keep in mind that you always have the right to say no to any request made. It is, however, always recommended that whenever possible at all you allow an interested party to see your home. Remember that buyers can’t buy your home without seeing it first…. and it only need one person to fall in love with your home in order to have a sale.

WHAT IS A LISTING AGREEMENT?

The listing agreement is the marketing agreement you sign when you hire a real estate broker to sell your home. It spells out the terms of your agreement; your asking price, the fee you’ll pay to have your home sold, the length of time of the agreement, etc.

HOW LONG DOES A LISTING AGREEMENT LAST?

The length of the term of a real estate listing agreement is always negotiable and varies from broker to broker and by the type of property that you have. Many real estate agents will ask you to sign a one-year contract. Don’t ever agree to this. No residential property takes one year to sell. The average market time in most Chicago neighborhoods is no more than four months and in some cases only 30 to 60 days. You do, however also need to factor in the time it takes to get to the closing table as well and this adds another 45 to 60 days on average. As such, the maximum necessary agreement time would be 6 months (which is in fact the average contract time in the Chicago). My own marketing agreements with sellers are usually for 150 days or less.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SELL MY HOME?

The average market time in most Chicago neighborhoods is between 30 to 75 days.  It can be less in a very desirable location and is almost never any longer than 100 days.  10)  What is my role in the selling of my home?

Your role as the seller is to work with your Realtor in preparing your home for sale and to have your house ready (clean and de-cluttered and looking good) whenever a buyer wants to see your home.  By having your house ready and allowing access to your home for buyers you’ll be doing what you need to do.  Everything else, quite frankly, will be taken care of for you by your Realtor and your real estate attorney once you have an actual sale.  

ONCE MY HOUSE IS UNDER CONTRACT, HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO MOVE?

The closing date in a contract is always negotiable between the buyer and the seller and as such, can be whatever is agreeable to both parties. However, the typical real estate contract in Chicago will call for a closing in 45 to 60 days and sometimes up to 90 days. In other words, once your home goes under contract, you’ll most likely have around 45 to 75 days to vacate.

WHAT IS

A contingency is anything that is built into a real estate contract as a requirement of the purchase. Common real estate contingencies are; a home inspection contingency, an attorney approval contingency or a mortgage contingency. A contingency is something that has to occur in order for the contract to proceed to closing. If a contingency doesn’t happen successfully, the contract can be cancelled by the buyer or the seller. Your Realtor and real estate attorney can guide you through the details of any contingencies and what they mean to you for the sale of your home.

Thinking about selling your home but don’t know much it’s worth?

We’re here to help! Contact Michael today to get your free home valuation.

 

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