Thinking about selling?  Is your home not meeting your needs?  First things first -- talk to your real estate agent.  The best agents won't try to talk you into selling; they will talk your options over with you to help you make the best decision possible.  Because your home is likely one of your biggest assets, you want to be absolutely sure you're doing the right thing.

Here are a few things to consider:

Do I really have to sell?

  • Are there things that I can do to my current home that would make it work better for me instead of selling?  Perhaps making some modifications like de-cluttering, painting and minor renovations for such things as mobility issues means you no longer need or want to move.
  • Does it make financial sense to move?  Check out your mortgage prepayment penalty with your bank, remember to include commission, legal and moving costs along with the price of what you're looking to buy. 
Once you know for sure that selling is your best option, here are a few other questions to ask yourself:
Who do I want to work with? 
  • Look for a full time professional real estate agent who is knowledgeable about your area market conditions and who has a well developed marketing plan for properties such as yours.  Marketing tools like a polished website (89% of buyers look online first nowadays), professionally taken photos, virtual tours and floor plans are essential in this challenging market.  A walk through to help edit belongings and stage the property to ensure it shows at its best is another benefit I offer.
  • Keep looking until you find someone you are comfortable with that you trust and respect.  If you aren't comfortable working with someone's assistant, make sure from the beginning that your agent will personally look after your listing all the way through.
  • Understand that offering less commission is not conducive to enticing agents with buyers to view your property.  Yes, the best realtors will bring their clients regardless of what they earn but it's entirely likely that some other agents will leave your property to the end of a showing list and often the selling price will be lower to accomodate the buyer paying their agent for their work.
Do I sell first or buy first?
  • Generally it's wiser to sell first and then buy your next home.  You won't be risking having to pay two mortgages, taxes and maintenance fees.  Any offer you make is far more attractive when it doesn't include the subject of your need to sell your property first before completing.
  • If you and your agent have done your homework, you'll generally know where you want to go and what is available so that once you do sell, you're ready to make an offer elsewhere.  If necessary, you can arrange for furniture storage or rent short term for awhile.  The best real estate agents will make sure you're prepared. 

What will it take to sell my home?

  • Six factors influence the sale of your home:
                       Competing Homes in your Market Area
                       Property Condition
  • You can't do much about your location and any competing homes in your market area.  However, everything else is well within your control and the best real estate agents will help you make the best of your situation.  Your agent will discuss with you and make suggestions about what needs to be done to get your home ready to sell, when is the best time to list, how to use effective marketing and help you set an attractive price.  
  • Talk to your real estate agent before making any changes to your home if you plan to sell in the near future.  Not all renovations bring equivalent returns for their expense.
  • The most important factor in this kind of market generally boils down to price and the value your home offers.  Your agent will do a thorough examination of comparables and go over them with you.  Your timetable for selling will make a difference in what price you set but remember that starting high and planning to come down if it doesn't sell always backfires.  More often than not, starting higher than your comparables results in a much longer selling time and a lower eventual price.
  • The commission you pay (generally 7% of the first $100,000. and 2.5% of the remainder) pays both your listing agent who incurs more costs with advertising etc. (54%) and the buyer's agent (46%).  Commissions are always negotiable; just remember though that you get what you pay for.  And no one gets paid anything until your home is sold!

I work hard for my clients to ensure that selling their home is as smooth and successful a transition as possible.  Everyone's needs are different ... call me to talk about the challenges you face so we can discuss your own individualized plan.  I look forward hearing from you.
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