The Go-To Guide for Selling Your Home

March 9, 2022

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The Go-To Guide for Selling Your Home

Hire a real estate agent

Some people prefer to sell their home on their own – by going the “For Sale By Owner” route – but it’s much easier to navigate the process and maximize your earning potential by hiring a licensed real estate agent to support your home selling efforts.

It’s important to know, though, that not all real estate agents are equal. They can have varying levels of experience, negotiating skills and availability, among many other characteristics. You can check out reviews of real estate agents on various websites, including their Google My Business profile.

At UMortgage, we have strong relationships with some of the savviest, most knowledgeable real estate agents in your local area that can utilize their experience to make your home selling process an enjoyable one.

Preparing your home

First impressions are key! In today’s age, “house browsing” is a recreational hobby for a lot of people – whether they’re actively looking to buy a new home or not. It’s critical that you have your home in tip-top shape so that it’s appealing to anyone. Generally speaking, people prefer homes that are clean, well-maintained and clutter-free.

You may consider various renovation projects to increase the value of your home – such as updating the kitchen or bathroom(s) if they are dated – but the argument could be made that those things aren’t worth the investment if you’re already going down the selling path. Oftentimes, as it pertains to amenities, homebuyers prefer to customize the home to their own liking, so a new bathroom vanity might just be a waste of your money.

Instead of larger renovation projects, there are smaller upgrades or repairs you could consider to make potential buyers more confident that you’ve taken good care of the property. For example, touching up interior and exterior paint, planting fresh grass seed in the lawn, repairing decks, porches or other easily visible features inside or outside the home.

Once you have everything ready, work with your agent to have a photographer take professional photos to use for your online listings. They’ll have tips on how to best highlight each room and the higher production quality will appeal to potential buyers more than photos taken on your cell phone.

Price your home realistically

It makes complete sense that you want to maximize your profit when selling your house, and depending on the market, it can be tempting to list it based on what other homes are listed for/selling at. But it’s important to price your home realistically based on its own standing. Just because your home has sentimental value or your neighbors are selling their homes for considerably over the asking price, doesn’t necessarily mean that your home should be priced that high. Too high of an asking price – based on the age, space, condition or location of your home – might sabotage your selling efforts from the get-go. Instead, work with your agent to come up with a strategic price point that would satisfy you, but also encourage multiple offers so that you can ultimately select the highest and best.

Make your home accessible for showings

Similar to the buyer’s guide, which encourages you to view homes in person before making an offer, the only way a potential buyer will take your home seriously is if they can view it in person. And, sometimes, a prospective buyer will want to view it more than once – take that as a good sign.

Work with your agent to schedule a weekend open house so prospective buyers have an opportunity to check it out. Additionally, do your best to keep your home as tidy and organized as possible to allow for weekday and weekend showings. They can really add up, and it’s annoying to frequently leave your house – especially if you have kids and/or pets – but it’s best to accommodate potential buyers. The more people you let attend a showing at your home, the higher your chances of getting an offer.

Offers are exciting, but don’t be in a rush

Receiving an offer on your home can be a great feeling! It’s exciting, as you’re one step closer to accomplishing your goal. But don’t be in too big of a hurry. Unless the offer has a specific deadline attached to it, take your time to (hopefully) allow for more offers to come in. You’d kick yourself if you jumped at the first offer you received and had to pass up subsequent higher offers. Don’t take too much time, however, as the prospective buyer may feel that you’re not interested and rescind their offer.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Your agent will advise you and help with this process, but just because a buyer offers one amount doesn’t mean you can’t ask for more. It’s all part of the negotiation. A negotiation is about two parties coming to an agreement on a number they’re both happy with. If the prospective buyer isn’t willing to compromise, don’t be afraid to simply reject their offer altogether. Chances are good you’ll get more than one offer, just give it time.

Completing the extra items

Just because someone made an offer on your home doesn’t mean you’re totally in the clear – yet. Your home will still have to pass an inspection – in which a third-party inspector will thoroughly investigate your property to confirm it is in good standing. Sometimes an inspector may raise a concern over an issue that may simply be cosmetic, or it can be a bigger issue that causes some concern for your buyer. At that point, it comes down to having a dialogue with the buyer (through your respective agents) about what updates or fixes they’d like you to perform before agreeing to the purchase. This, too, can be negotiated. You can reject their requests, but put the transaction in jeopardy. Or, you can be amenable to their requests, either by fulfilling them pre-sale or providing them money in the form of a seller concession by reducing the sale price by the appropriate amount.

On top of the inspection, your local municipality may require you to make certain repairs in order to receive a certificate of occupancy. These are required changes – for instance, adding a handrail to steps or leveling out a driveway with new cement – that can accumulate and become costly, but are required in order to complete any home sale transaction.

Additionally, in many cases, your home will be required to get an appraisal. A third-party professional will assess the value of your home, largely based on recent and relevant market data in neighboring areas. This is another good reason to price your home realistically. If you list your home for $400,000 but it only appraises for $350,000, your buyer’s mortgage lender won’t provide a loan for more than the appraised value. In that case, you’d have to come to an agreement with the buyer on how to handle that gap in financing – either lowering your sale price to that appraised value or agreeing to split the cost – or there’s a risk that your deal could fall flat.

Close the deal

If that all works out, then it’s time to close and celebrate the sale of your home! Work with your agent to schedule the closing date, where you’ll sign the necessary paperwork, hand over the keys, and receive your sale proceeds from the title company.

Be sure to pay your final electric and water bills and transfer utilities out of your name. Congrats on the sale of your home - what an exciting ride! 

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