One service that we believe is extremely important in helping our listing clients to objectively evaluate their homes for marketability. Some brokerages do a once–over to get the information to put into the various information fields in the MLS, Multiple Listing Service. However, we go much more into the detail of the features, characteristics and condition of your home.
We will want to postpone some photos until we’ve worked with you to do a thorough inspection of your home with a whole lot of details in mind. Every buyer who sees your home will be comparing it to the competition in your area and price range. How your home compares is critical to how soon you sell it and at what price. We’re going to work with you in several areas of concern:
- Interior features & characteristics – While the number of bedrooms and baths are not something you’ll be changing to compete better with other homes, you do need to objectively compare them in order to end up with a listing price that will get your property sold. Some things we can consider for improvements, others we just need to know how your home compares to other homes buyers will be seeing. Other features/characteristics:
- Floor plan
- Built date and obsolescence
- Floors & walls condition, paint, etc.
- Kitchen features
- Room sizes
- Lighting, skylights, windows
- Exterior – That “curb appeal” thing really does mean something. When a prospective buyer first drives up in front of your home, they’re going to get a first impression that is very important. We help you to look at things like landscaping, exterior paint and condition. Here is an area in which small expenditures can yield big results. It’s a fact that some buyers will ask to leave without ever stepping across the threshold if they get a bad first curb appeal impression.
- Condition – Minor repairs can also make a major difference. Many buyers assume that a need for minor repairs indicates a general lack of fundamental maintenance over time. They’ll discount their offer, if they make one, thinking they’ll have a lot of work to do to bring the home to a good condition. So, we’re honest with you about things that we see and buyers will see and consider in their evaluation. From cracked window panes to scarred walls or doors, we’ll let you know what we believe is important and make suggestions.
All buyers want to pay as little as possible for the home they purchase. Buyers in slower markets are definitely looking to score a bargain. Our job is to combine services to our sellers that include marketing to improve the competitive position of their homes, and then to assist them in countering low offers and buyer resistance to fair pricing.
Part of this process begins with the CMAs we do and the price at which we suggest that you list your home. Starting at the right price for the market with a little room for negotiation combines market specifics with buyer human nature factors. We’re really good at this negotiation thing, as we do it every day. We’re on your side, and our job is to get a combination of the best price and contingencies resolutions for your home.
Many sellers are intimidated when there are distressed properties for sale in the area or foreclosures putting downward pressure on prices. However, generally there is a 20% to 30% difference in selling prices between those homes and seller-occupied homes in good condition. You see, those distressed properties are usually in poor-to-terrible condition. In many cases, they will not even qualify for a mortgage without extensive modifications and repairs, and that’s not going to be possible for most buyers.
So, the first thing to remember is that you’re selling a “ready to move in” property, and this commands a higher price. The more “ready to move in” it appears to the buyer on that first walk-through, the better the price you’re going to get. So, we’ll make some suggestions as to landscaping, curb appeal, outdoor and indoor improvements, and possibly even “staging.” Staging is the process of moving, adding to or taking away from furnishings in the home to make it seem more spacious and to allow potential buyers to view it as “their home” in the future.
Consider the possibility of post-inspection repair requirements by the buyer(s) as well. The time to think about this is from the first offer, as you don’t want to negotiate a purchase price that leaves you little or no room for possible repairs or condition corrections. This single item is the cause for the vast majority of deal failures after a successful initial price negotiation.
Some negotiations are short and sweet, while others can involve multiple counter offers with terms and conditions related not only to price, but also related to closing costs, items included in the sale, partial owner financing and more. Our job is to work with our sellers to know their needs and to tailor the negotiation to those requirements to get the best deal for them.
Contract to Close
Our seller clients really appreciate our services in listing, marketing and getting a buyer signed on the dotted line on a purchase contract. However, neither they nor we can rest just because a contract is inked. There are more than 50 tasks and deadline deliveries on our normal residential seller side real estate transaction checklist. And, we take our responsibilities seriously in the processing of all documents and meeting of all deadlines.
The process of taking a signed purchase contract through to closing involves a great many details, deliveries and document submissions. We coordinate all of this for our sellers, making sure that all phases of the closing process move along smoothly.
- Title – We work closely with the title company and attorneys to make sure that all documents and deliveries are processed in a timely manner. We work with our sellers to examine all of their title and recorded documents to uncover all material defects and items of importance. Though this is normally of more concern to the buyer, sellers must respond to their objections, so it’s important to know what’s in all recorded documents. Example: while there are normally few items in a title binder that can be corrected as they’re recorded and pass with the property, sometimes there are requirements or exceptions that weren’t expected but must be addressed. With the more careful lending environment, more “quit-claim” deeds are being required as one example. Perhaps you have a previous divorce and the lender wants better protection against claims and will require a quitclaim deed from your former spouse.
- Inspections, Survey & Appraisal – Our job is to coordinate access for inspectors and the appraiser, and to accept deliveries of reports as well as any objections or correction requirements from the buyers. We take this job seriously and will be with our sellers every step of the way. Every instance of delivery of an inspection and/or buyer objections requires a response in most cases, and there are deadlines. We stay on top of these deadlines, make sure reports are delivered to you on time or extensions are put into place, and that you respond within required time lines. Failure to do so could obligate you to repairs or other corrections or kill the deal.
- Repair Negotiations – If the buyer submits requirements for corrective actions to items on reports, we work with our sellers to determine the cost of those requirements and the appropriate response necessary to keep the deal going in a way beneficial to our seller clients. Should you agree to make certain repairs, there will be deadlines associated with completion, and possibly requirements for the buyer’s inspector to return and re-inspect for completion and repair quality. We keep all of this on track for you, and can recommend contractors we know do quality work at fair prices.
- Lender Document Coordination – One of the leading causes of delayed closings is some problem with funding due to lender last minute requirements or other document demands. We are monitoring all document flows to make sure this doesn’t happen for our sellers. As the seller, you aren’t getting a mortgage, but you need to be very concerned with the buyer’s ability to do so and their lender’s process and ability to meet deadlines and fund at closing. Mortgage problems kill a lot of deals, so we’re going to be involved in the buyer’s process to protect you, our seller client.