Selling Your Home
There are many reasons why people sell their homes, but almost every seller wants the same thing:
To get the most money from the sale of their home!
At the Olson Group, we work to get the best deal for our clients, because a client of ours should never, ever leave money on the table.
- Do you need a bigger place?
- Or a smaller place?
- Are you relocating for work or family?
- Do you want to be in the hip part of town?
- Maybe you want to move out into the suburbs.
Whatever your WHY, we can do it, and do it better than the competition.
Repairing Home Wear and Tear
No one wants to sell a fixer-upper (which means a lower selling price). With our guidance, you will want to assess the wear and tear on your home and fix any flaws that could lower your home’s appeal and value.
Make your house a home people will want to buy.
Hopefully, most of the improvements will be cosmetic, which you can probably handle on your own. These improvements include a fresh coat of paint, sprucing up the yard, updating lighting and replacing out-dated door hardware (yes, really).
Other more significant issues may require complete replacement or hiring
You will want to be strategic how you fix your known issues. Your investment of time and money can help you get a higher sale price, and make the process faster and smoother.
Get the Help of a Professional
Don’t go it alone! A REALTOR® is a trained professional who knows all aspects of the real estate market. Asking friends, family, and colleagues for a referral to a trusted REALTOR® is a good start. Then make sure to narrow your selection down by location. You should do your research online and conduct interviews to find the agent that has the right mix of expertise, experience, and personal chemistry.
Getting a REALTOR® will save you time, money and many headaches. A REALTOR® listed home sells for 8-18% more than a For Sale By Owner.
A REALTOR® should:
- Outline their responsibilities to you, including complete disclosure, loyalty, confidentiality, and accountability.
- Help you determine the best market entry point.
- Extensively market your home, and be able to explain what sets them apart.
- Offer expert advice on ways to prepare and show your property.
- Assist you in finding any home-related services or professionals.
- Provide feedback from all showing and open houses.
- Provide feedback on all marketing campaigns.
- Update you on market conditions and changes that could affect the sale.
- Be available to help pre-qualify potential buyers.
- Present and evaluate each offer to you.
- Negotiate the highest possible price and the best terms for you.
- Manage the entire transaction.
- Ensure mandatory items are signed, sealed and delivered on the closing day.
- Arrange a moving company if needed.
Pricing Your Home
Pricing is a delicate balance; too high and your home will sit on the market for months; too low and you will be missing out on a lucrative outcome. Trusting your real estate agent is essential, as they will have the experience and knowledge on pricing your home right!
Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
A CMA is a document that shows pricing information, property details, and photos of recently sold homes that are similar to yours. We call these “comps,” or comparables. This document is one piece of information your agent will use to help determine an accurate price for your home.
Your agent will provide a CMA as part of the listing presentation. This CMA will include a price or price range they suggest for your listing. Your real estate agent will use this document and their knowledge of what has worked in your area, and what hasn’t, to price strategically.
If you want to get a headstart, you can get your own CMA or estimated home valuation using our free services. Check out our Services Page for more information!
Marketing Your Home
Equally important as pricing your home correctly is reaching the maximum number of potential buyers. Today the Internet is the primary source for marketing your home. Other sources are yard signs, open houses, billboards, radio, television, and other real estate agents.
The First Showing Happens Online
The main things buyers look for when searching for homes online are:
- High-resolution property photos.
- Detailed property information.
- Virtual, interactive tours.
- Real estate agent contact information.
- Neighborhood information.
Real Estate Agents should deploy a comprehensive approach to showcase your home and community. While the Internet is the go-to source, you want to maximize the number of people who see your home for sale. Your agent should provide a broad spectrum of advertising, including:
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Company websites
- Personal websites
- Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Contacting potential buyers in their database
- Open Houses
- Direct mailers and email campaigns
- Home details to other agents in their office
- Notifying other real estate agents
- For Sale sign
- Networking events
Prepare Your Home for Showings
Putting your home on the market is almost like your profile on an online dating site. You want to put your best face forward, minimize your flaws and show your most appealing qualities.
Our theory is you have 6 seconds to sell your home: 3 at the curb, and 3 at the front door.
You will want to address each room and pare down. Rid your home of clutter, extraneous objects, and mess. You want an attractive, well-organized home
Allow potential buys to picture themselves living in the space by getting rid of personal items such as framed photos, kid’s artwork on the fridge, and your collection of ceramic frogs.
Your potential buyers will be checking out the closet space, and they don’t want to find it crammed full of your ceramic frogs. Instead, find a place to store your stuff neatly in the attic, basement, garage or at a friend’s home.
Finally, you will want to take a good, impartial look outside. The first thing a potential buyer will see is your yard when they pull up to your home. You will want to work that curb appeal hard.
Check the condition of the exterior paint, your lawn and landscaping, your front door (check the hardware and doorknob and repaint if necessary), the driveway, a pool if you have one, even the mailbox. If anything seems neglected, damaged, dingy or in disarray, you will want to remedy those issues, so you don’t drive away your buyers before they even park their car.
Tips for Showing Your Home
- If you’ve painted in neutral tones, add pops of color with accessories or pillows.
- Place fresh flowers where they will stand out.
- Open some windows to circulate fresh air.
- Pick up toys, remove all clutter, and make your beds.
- Floors should be clean, and carpets vacuumed.
- Trash cans should be clean and odor-free
- The kitchen and bathrooms should sparkle.
- Some agents will tell you to light a candle to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Do not do this. We can’t sell your home if it burns down.
- Ideally, pets should be unseen. Pet areas should be clean and odor-free. Not everyone is a dog lover, and some may be allergic.
- Remove all cash, jewelry, medications and small valuables from view and secure them in a locked firebox or safe
When a buyer makes an offer on your home, they’ll do so by using a contact developed by the local real estate association following all local laws. This contact enables the buyer to set a sale price, and include any terms on the purchase, such as closing and possession dates, the deposit amount, and many other conditions.
Most real estate deals involve some negotiations. Your real estate agent will be your most reliable ally when there are negotiation obstacles
The buyer’s agent will deliver this offer to your agent, who will present it to you promptly. You will want to review this contact with your agent
You may then accept the offer, reject it, or counter it. Countering the offer begins the negotiation process.
Successive counteroffers, with deadlines for responding and meeting various contingencies and conditions (e.g., home inspection, buyer securing financing) will be exchanged between you and the buyer until everyone is in agreement.
Basic principles for successful negotiation:
- Disclose everything. Smart sellers will go above and beyond legal necessity to disclose all known defects to the buyer. There are disclosure forms. Your real estate agent will provide you with these forms.
- Ask questions. Offers may be complicated with many terminologies, sometimes three or more
addenda. Your agent will help you clarify.
- Respond quickly. When a buyer makes an offer, they are in the mood to buy. However, don’t let that turn into buyers’ remorse. Don’t cause any unnecessary delays.
- Stay calm and patient. You want to keep all communication civil and agreeable. This can be difficult, and sometimes things get heated. It’s important to keep open and honest lines of communication.
- Be cautious with contingencies. When you’ve found your buyer, your signed acceptance of the written offer becomes the sales contact. Except for removing any contingencies and mutually agreed-upon addenda, this document is the binding basis for the sale.
- Rely on your real estate agent. Your agent’s responsibility is to represent your best interests. They handle many transactions and should be knowledgeable in the market. Your success is their success. If at any time you do not feel that your agent is looking out for you, call them out on it. Your agent is bound by fiduciary responsibility to put your interests above all else – except the law.
Closing the Deal
If you and the buyer have both efficiently taken care of your respective contractual obligations, the process of completing the transaction should go smoothly with no surprises.
A pending sales agreement generally includes contingencies and special conditions that must be satisfied by the buyer and seller on or before the closing date. This date usually falls between 30 to 60 days after you both have signed the contract.
Common contingencies and conditions include:
- The buyer securing financing
- A Title Search – a historical review of all the legal documents relating to the ownership of the property to ensure there are no outstanding claims, or clouds, on the title.
- The purchasing of Title insurance in case the record contains any error or mistakes
- A professional appraisal of the home, requested by the lender to ensure that the home’s actual value justifies the loan amount
- Any additional contractual promises you have made in connection with buyer incentives, home improvements, etc.
- An independent inspection of the home’s structure and condition (foundation, roof, electrical, heating, plumbing, etc.)
- An independent termite inspection
- A final walk-through by the buyer to verify that the home is in the same condition as when the sale agreement was signed
Carefully review the sales agreement with your agent to have a clear understanding of your obligations.
Completing the transaction
Your Escrow Officer will review the sales agreement and do the following:
- Determine the total amount due from the buyer and collect the payment
- Determine all the adjustments (e.g., seller prepayment of taxes, utilities, etc.) and ensure that they’re factored into the transaction
- Assures that the transaction costs (closing, legal fees, etc.) are paid
- Determine the seller’s payment, credits, and adjusted net proceeds
- Witnesses the seller’s signing of the property title and all other documentation associated with the transaction
- Collect the keys and any other necessary items from the seller
- Provide the seller with the net proceeds as well as copies of the paperwork about the sale
- Ensure that buyer’s title is accurately recorded in the local recorder’s office along with any mortgage liens
In most cases, the buyer’s possession date will fall within a couple of days of the closing date, at which point your former home will have new owners, and your home selling journey will be complete.