10 Tips for Selling a Home
1. It’s a SELLERS MARKET, meaning the inventory is low so, right now, Sellers have the upper hand in trying to get the price they want for their house.
2. If you are going to sell your house, we recommend using a licensed experienced local realtor who can give you a comparative market analysis of sales of similar homes in your area. This realtor can walk through your home and give you an estimate of the selling price range for your home. We recommend interviewing at least 2 realtors.
3. If you do not need a realtor because you already have someone interested in your home, then we would recommend spending about $350 on an appraisal from a licensed appraiser who will give you a real value for your home, using area sales.
4. When negotiating, you do not have to SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE. Too many people think they need to split the difference with each counter offer. You do not.
5. If you are a few thousand dollars away on coming to terms with a buyer, offer a home warranty instead of coming down thousands of dollars on your price. These cost about $500 or $550 and are given by Seller’s in about 1/3 of the sales. It’s like an insurance policy for a year in case something breaks or needs repairs. Realtors love these.
**After the contract is signed, the buyer has 5 business days to conduct a thorough professional home inspection (which takes about 2 hours) and a radon test (not required). Inspectors usually find 5 to 10 items wrong with your house, but the contract says you only have to fix major items like electric, plumbing, heat, a leaking roof, mold, windows, etc. It does not cover an old furnace (as long as it works) or aging siding, etc. For radon, they leave a monitor in your house for 2 days and you have to keep the windows closed. If the radon come back an unacceptable level, you will have to install a mitigation system which costs about $1,200. Within the 5 business days, the buyer’s lawyer will send you a letter asking your to fix items the major items–and sometimes they will ask for minor items (which you can decline). Expect that your GFCI outlets in the kitchen and bathroom do not work properly (as they don’t in 80% of homes). Once your lawyer receives the letter he will go over it with you. You also can offer money instead of fixing items but this is problematic as many lenders will require major items to be fixed BEFORE they let the buyer close on your house.
6. Be prepared to be frustrated by the process. It rarely goes super smoothly and quickly. Banks are very conservative these days, so they ask buyers for a long list of documents from buyers. Once they verify the buyers employment income and all of their monthly bills (which can take time) they then order an appraisal. This can take 2 weeks. I would say that at least half of the closing dates are delayed one to three weeks. And this is because the buyers’ lender is not ready.
7. Hire movers, and schedule them 2 to 3 weeks in advance because they schedule out this far and get busy, especially during peak times in the fall, spring and summer
8. Start boxing, cleaning, and giving away stuff early. You must be totally OUT of your house by the closing date and you must leave your home totally clean, including wiping out all the cabinets. We recommend using a cleaning service because normally you will be exhausted from packing and boxing and are too tired to thoroughly clean your house and we have seen closings delayed because the house is not clean.
9. THIS IS A STRESSFUL PROCESS! Being ahead of the process by being prepared by scheduling movers and cleaning people in advance helps!
10. Hire an experienced real estate attorney. A friend or relative that does divorce law is not a good candidate to handle your closing. We don’t do personal injury or many other types of law. We concentrate on real estate. Closing do get delayed because the seller’s attorney does not have all his documents in order!
© Judd Lofchie, LLM, P.C. 2018