FAQ's for Sellers

When I represent sellers the first thing I want to know are the questions and concerns they have.  Any real estate agent can ask how much you want to sell your house for or how many bathrooms you want in your new home.  I like to take the time to get to know my client’s goals and priorities.  My role is to help point out all the pros and cons for all the decisions being made throughout the home selling/buying process and beyond.  I will even tell my clients things they may not want to hear because as their agent, I want my clients to make informed decisions.  My value isn't as a salesperson, but more as a problem solver.

 

What’s my home worth?

When I ask a homeowner what the value of their home is it is almost guaranteed they will respond with some number.  I follow up with what value does that number reflect?

  • assessed value (the valuation placed on a property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation)

  • market value (the amount a buyer is willing to pay, not the value placed on the property by the seller)

  • appraised value (the value the interested buyer's bank or mortgage company places on the property)

  • guesstimated value (the value based on a mixture of guesswork and calculation)

The list price is a figure that the seller and I agree on based on the selling strategy that will achieve the client's goals.  Some items to consider are recently sold properties in the same area, the current inventory, prevailing market trends and area-specific factors.  I will be happy to provide a complimentary value consultation. 

JessieWebster_Squarespace_28.jpg

Zillow, Redfin, Trulia and Realtor.com showed my home is worth X amount?

There are many real estate sites that offer computer generated "guesstimate home values" based on homes sold with similar square footage and lot size in a broad area.  The specific location, interior and outdoor features, upgrades and improvements of the property are not taken into account.  The accurate way to establish a property's value is with the guidance of a knowledgeable REALTOR®.  In need of a second opinion, I will be happy to provide a complimentary value consultation.

Aren’t all real estate agents basically the same?

No!  It comes down to the details.  Is the agent equipped to handle unique situations.  There are tangibles and intangibles that only a full-time, experienced REALTOR® would know.  Have they worked with long-term investors, first-time homebuyers, house flippers, seniors, military, self-employed or have the knowledge of selling a luxury estate.  Do they have a list of vendors such as lenders and title companies to contractors and inspectors - your agent should be able to refer you to multiple resources so you can ultimately determine who works best for you.

I have learned that every escrow has its own set of challenges and being able to skillfully navigate through each one to overcome obstacles makes all the difference.  Sellers and buyers often assume all agents who are in the business have the same basic skill sets.  There have been times where I have had to handle both sides of the transaction because the agent was not capable of completing the sale.  In fact, 50% of the time agents do not fill out the contracts correctly and I ask for corrections to ensure my client's best interests are being protected.  As an agent I have a legal and ethical responsibility to my clients.

Selling or buying a property has many complexities to ensure a smooth, successful closing.  My job is to anticipate problems in advance.  A detailed real estate professional will want every piece of information about the property then can get.  If all of this work is done on the front end, a buyer will have everything they need to make an offer decision quickly and are less likely to have second thoughts and back out of the deal.

Having questions answered before they are asked isn’t only professional, it accelerates the process from looking through an offer to a successful close of escrow.  Unanswered questions = fewer and lower offers.

What Are The Costs Of Selling My Home?

Many home sellers don't realize the costs to sell a home.  Since a home sale is one of the biggest transactions someone will be involved in, it's critical to know what all the costs involved are.  Below are some of the most common costs of selling a home:

  1. Brokerage fees

  2. Seller concessions (if applicable)

  3. Title search

  4. Home warranty (if applicable)

  5. Transfer taxes

  6. Capital gain taxes (if applicable)

  7. Costs of various repairs from inspections (if applicable)

  8. Existing mortgages or home equity loans (if applicable)

Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?

Today's home buyers are savvy and do a lot of comparison shopping.  The homes that are priced right and show well are the ones that bring in qualified buyers.  The longer a home stays on the market both buyers and other agents begin to wonder if there is something wrong with the home.  An overpriced home can signal to potential buyers that the seller is unrealistic or difficult to work with - both of which will result in fewer and/or lower offers.  If you set your listing price too high your home could languish on the market, making it harder to move even if you slash your price later on.  Once you start the downward cycle of price reduction your negotiating power is diminished.  If you start out overpriced you may have just helped your competition sell their home.

What is a stratified market?

A stratified market happens where supply and demand characteristics differ by price point, in the same area (typically by city).  For example, home sales for properties at $1.5M and below may be brisk (seller’s market) while homes at $5M or above may be sluggish (buyer’s market).

Is it important to prepare my home for sale?

The first showing of a property takes place online.  First impressions are critical and it’s important to have your property look as “move in ready” as possible.  I always recommend to make sure your home looks its absolute best to get top dollar.  Not preparing the home for sale is like not washing your car before you sell it.  You wouldn’t sell your car unwashed, would you?

90% of home buyers research property online.  It is imperative to have the property prepared in advance and use a professional photographer to enhance the home’s features.  Some agents think no one will notice that they did not hire a professional photographer and take the pictures themselves with their smartphone or do not prepare the home for photos to be taken.  Do we really want to see pictures of dirty dishes in the sink or pictures with bad lighting that are blurry?  I am of the mindset to always be professional and work with like minded professionals. 

Do I need a home inspection?

When I represent a client, I strongly recommend my clients have a home inspection whether they are the buyer and/or the seller. 

While home inspections are typically done by buyers, I recommend the seller having a home inspection to learn if there are any issues with the home before it goes on the market.  This way the seller can take care of any issues that may arise or make price adjustments accordingly.  Buyers and their agents always appreciate when sellers and their agents are transparent - they have added incentive to work with the seller and make concessions.

What is your role as a realtor?

There are more than 180 moving parts to a real estate transaction. The most important tasks I will normally perform for you include:

  • evaluating the local market and comparable home values

  • suggesting an appropriate listing price

  • advising you on how best to present your home

  • helping coordinate preparation of disclosure and other needed forms and documents

  • implementing a cutting edge strategy commanding top market price for your property through a customized marketing and advertising campaign

  • networking among the top brokers about the intricacies and uniqueness of your specific property

  • providing your property with maximum exposure

  • arranging for individual visits to the property -- if you're no longer living there, providing a lockbox for use by other realtors (at seller's discretion) and meeting with individuals who don't yet have their own agent

  • answering questions and providing documents such as disclosure packets to potentially interested buyers and their agents

  • holding one or more open houses, possibly including weekday open houses for other real estate brokers to visit and open houses for the public

  • receiving and vetting offers to buy your house including the Proof of Funds to ensure you have legitimate offers, whether via email which is standard or in person if other agents wish to formally present their offers

  • helping you evaluate the strength of each offer and strategize on issues like whether to accept or reject an offer outright or make a counteroffer - also whether to look for or arrange a backup offer

  • negotiating with the other agent until the purchase contract is complete

  • coordinating with the other agent throughout the escrow period, helping to make the house available for inspections and appraisals and make sure you're doing your part to close the deal

  • helping you strategize over requests made while in escrow, such as for a reduction in purchase price due to repair issues revealed in the inspection and negotiating such issues with the other agent

  • attending the final walk through to verify the home is in order

  • attending the closing of escrow

Sound like a lot?  Indeed, it is a 24/7 constant on call job and not just while your home is on the market.  Contrary to what you see on TV, it's not all glamorous.