FAQ for Sellers
Selling your home may feel like a very expensive endeavor. There is not a set amount that it costs to sell your home, but there are costs associated with the process that must be accounted for. When you hire an agent to represent you in the sale of your home all of the costs associated with the sale will be discussed. The listing agent will charge a commission for their work, and that commission will be shared with the buyer’s agent. This amount can vary depending on several factors. There are also title fees, HOA fees for disclosure and transfer, and escrow fees…plus any of the buyer’s fees that are negotiated for the seller to cover. It is important to be very clear about all of the fees up front, and throughout the negotiation process…so if you ever aren’t certain please ask for a worksheet of estimated costs from your agent.
There are advantages to selling your home at any time of the year. Traditionally the MOST homes are sold in the early summer…closing before the next school year starts in early August. This means listing your home February-May will be when MOST homes sell. This doesn’t mean though that other times of the year are not good times to sell. Over the holidays for instance…many people do not want buyers walking through their home. If a seller is willing to put up with buyers over the holidays, or if the home is vacant, it will have less competition than the spring months…and buyers will be more serious….less looky loos.
I would love to answer this with an unequivocal YES…but sometimes things happen. Knocking on wood as I write this, but this has never happened with any of the listings I have had over the past 15 years…no one has ever reported anything stolen. But to be safe I suggest not leaving certain things out in the open. Prescription medication, cash, jewelry, and guns should not be seen….even if the buyers open closets, medicine cabinets, or drawers. Licensed agents will usually only take pre-approved serious buyers out to look at homes, so this shouldn’t be a top concern for you.
As soon as you start to think about it. Seriously. Have your agent over to chat. Talk about the market, talk about the costs to selling, talk about the future and what you want it to hold. Often small things can be done to your property to help you increase your sale price, and DECREASE your time on the market. Things like sprucing up your landscaping, making repairs, or even a coat of paint or new counter tops. Talk about everything with your agent so you have all of the information to make educated choices…and the TIME to do any updating or upgrading you might choose to do.
Yeah, you do. Disclose, disclose, disclose. There are a few protected things you don’t have to disclose, such as death on the premises, a person with AIDS or HIV living there, or if a crime occurred on the property…but outside of those things…just tell the buyers. Before you list the property your agent will give you a form to fill out that asks a gajillion questions. Answer them all, truthfully. Back up your answers with receipts and warranties, and any other paperwork you have. If a buyer loves your home many of them will overlook pretty much anything, especially if you handled it appropriately. For instance, if you had a flood…but you dried the property out and made repairs…tell them about it. Chances are they will find out anyway when they see your insurance history and see what claims have been made on the property. Then you look shady…and that will cause worse feelings than if you had been open and upfront right from the beginning.
For the most part, pretty darn clean. Remember you are selling something here, something that is most likely the biggest thing the buyers have ever bought. So you have to sell them the experience of what their life will be like if they make this home their own. So it needs to feel good, smell good, and be completely distraction free. You don’t want them seeing your dirty dishes and wondering what you had for breakfast…or tripping over your kid’s toys. Yes, it isn’t easy to live in a home and have it on the market, which is why I suggest talking with your agent about your challenges and working out solutions to make the process easier, right from the beginning. Sometimes an agent will have brilliant tips to make things easier…remember this IS what they do for a living.
The easiest way I can think of to say this is…NO! NO NO NO! No matter how tempting it might be to stay to demonstrate the cool LED lighting in the pool, or the remote control for the fountain…let the buyers look around with their agent alone in your home. If they have questions about the fountain, or the pool…they will likely ask…and maybe you can give instructions to your agent to tell their agent. Even if the buyers LOVE your home, you being there will make them uncomfortable. They might not spend the time looking at things like they want to, because they will naturally want to hurry out of your home so you can get on with your day. Let them take the time to explore your home, experience how wonderful it is to live there, and chat with each other and their agent without filtering their words for your ears.
Well, let’s put it this way. I hope so. I prefer to request feedback via email and not with the check box questionnaire that can be sent out automatically. I like the email because it gives the agent an opportunity to give better feedback, feedback that might actually be useful. Sometimes I miss things about a client’s house…and the feedback will help a seller know if something is distracting, or unpleasant. For instance once we heard poopy diapers in the trash were a little stinky. I hadn’t experienced that ever, but the feedback was good stuff for the sellers to remember! But LOTS of agents don’t respond to requests for feedback, and that is annoying. But just know that it isn’t you, or your property…it is common and doesn’t mean anything other than agents are busy.