Advantages of Using a REALTOR® to Sell Your Property
As the real estate industry evolves it seemingly becomes easier to market your property without the use of a professional. Knowing whether to use a REALTOR® or sell privately (FSBO-For Sale by Owner) can be difficult to determine. It is important to understand what a good agent will bring to the table. Some of the main advantages of using a professional include: emotional objectivity, knowledge and marketing reach.
Before you decide to take on the job of selling your property privately ask yourself a few key questions:
Am I ready to emotionally detach myself from my property?
Sellers generally become attached to their home. Most consider their home a sanctuary where they create an environment of relaxation and exhibit their own style. It is difficult to let go of something that has become a part of you over the years.
A home becomes your canvas; a painting of your life. Albums are filled with photos from 10 years of holiday family events: Christmas mornings, Easter egg hunts and 4th of July barbeques with hamburgers, hotdogs and fireworks. Walking across the floor you instinctively know what boards will creak, how to get the toilet to stop running and how to open the screen door in a second flat when no one else seems to have a clue. While some things may have once seemed like an annoyance they are now a part of what makes a home your own.
Additionally, it can be difficult to maintain objectivity as buyers critique your home. Something you find endearing, that make it so special to you, may be the opposite for a buyer. It is important to listen to buyer criticisms and to be open to suggestions for improvement. A REALTOR® will serve as an emotional bridge helping you maintain an air of calm during the selling experience.
Do I have the proper knowledge to price my house appropriately?
The first step is reaching a listing price. Some sellers have an unrealistic idea of the price their house may sell. Whether your idea is low or high, your agent will play a crucial role in helping come to a sensible price range. After completing a comparative market analysis (CMA) and examining other data, they will offer their respectful suggestion as to the price range you’ll be able to obtain. Once the listing price has been settled the marketing of your house begins.
Am I able to market my home effectively?
The initial marketing of your house is the most important aspect of the marketing process. You’re not just selling a house, you’re selling the intimacy and peace a home should make one feel. Once your agent has viewed your house, he or she writes engaging ads focused on the key elements of your house that make it saleable. These ads may be placed in newspapers, magazines and the local MLS and are crucial to successfully selling your house. While you may be particularly fond of the 1970’s feel of your rust-colored carpet, a modern REALTOR® understands that today’s home buyer will be less fond of this characteristic. Instead they may focus on the uniquely large size of secondary bedrooms, the proximity of your home to parks and schools or significantly lower taxes. Even if you’re able to detach yourself from your house and market it appropriately, will you be able to tackle problems presented during escrow?
Can I anticipate and respond to problems quickly?
REALTORS® are trained to anticipate and avoid problems or respond to difficult situations quickly. They’ve likely handled countless transactions and run into near deal breakers throughout their careers. The ability to quickly handle problems during escrow can be the difference between a closed deal and one that falls through. Real property vs. personal property can present issues during the closing process. For example, if you are selling your home FSBO and do not stipulate your expensive, antique chandelier will be moving with you, you could run into trouble. An accomplished agent would ensure any questionable items be listed in the Bill of Sale.
Do you have time to show your home to buyers and will you make yourself scarce?
Most often FSBO homes do not offer access to their home via a lockbox. This cripples the ability for agents to show your home to potential buyers while you are at work. Further, home buyers generally feel intimidated by the presence of the seller during their visit. They rush through the house and tell you how wonderful it is even if they hate it. They feel uncomfortable looking through every nook and cranny even though this is one of the most important avenues a buyer must travel to make the decision to purchase your house. Hence, your presence hinders the sale of your house.
These are but a few of the issues sellers can run into during the selling process. Depending on your personal situation, knowledge and availability, it may be in your best interest to enlist the help and expertise of a professional real estate agent. In doing so you should interview multiple agents prior to signing a contract to ensure you find the agent that is best able to serve you.
For the person selling a home for the first time, the whole process can be just as problematic as or maybe even more so than purchasing a home for the first time. One key component that will make the experience much simpler and more financially rewarding will be finding the proper realtor. With so many realtors available, it can often be difficult to find the right one. While many of them may be very well qualified, that does not mean that just picking a real estate broker at random will work for every real estate transaction.
One key to help the seller in finding the right real estate agent, is knowing some of the proper questions to ask, so that the realtor can be rightfully qualified or even disqualified in some rare cases. While this list is not exclusive, it will give anyone who is considering selling a house enough information to find a realtor who is well qualified to meet their personal needs.
Since most of the fees are going to be paid by the seller, one of the first questions should always be what fees are going to have to be paid before the sale is completed. This will give the seller an opportunity to find out how much cash on hand they need in order to complete the home sale quickly and efficiently with no drawbacks or unforeseen difficulties.
Does the realtor in question have any references who may be able to give insight into their abilities, skills and any other information that may be relevant in the sale of a piece of real property? If there is a problem with references, that is a major red flag and should make the seller wary of doing business with that real estate agent in particular.
Is the realtor familiar with the surrounding neighborhood? A real estate agent who is trying to sell something in a neighborhood they are not familiar with will have a difficult time explaining any advantages of living in that neighborhood to the real estate investor looking to buy the home.
Figuring out where the real estate broker will be advertising the home and what means they have available to them will often be a deciding factor in how quickly the home is sold. While it may be said that more is better, more advertising where nobody will see it or at least, where no qualified buyers will see it, is not going to be any improvement over a more limited marketing campaign that will direct the advertising to those people who are more likely to buy a new home.
With a little bit of planned questioning, the skills and ability of the real estate agent will be beyond question. While most real estate agents are actually very well qualified, there are always going to be some who are not. There is good and bad in every field or endeavor. Real estate investment is no different from any other business. For the person selling a home, finding a qualified realtor should be the very first step.
Preparing to Sell Your Home
1. Prepare Yourself.
Although you have many memories in your home, try to see the house as a product to be marketed. This will help to prepare yourself for the things you will need to do in order to promote the house effectively.
2. Hire a Professional.
Interview several agents and compare background, experience, personality, commission, suggested list price as well as anything else you value in a professional. Choose a real estate agent in whom you have confidence.
3. Familiarize Yourself on How to Price Your Home.
Some things to consider when determining the price of your home: Total square footage, floor plan, construction quality, condition, amenities, lot size, topography, view, landscaping, location and market conditions. Visit local open houses and compare the houses to your own as objectively as possible. Ask your agent for a Comparable Market Analysis.
4. Develop an Effective Advertising and Marketing Plan.
Work with your agent to determine the most valuable places to advertise. Ask your agent to put a for-sale sign on the property, input the property in the Multiple Listings Service, create flyers as well as advertise on their website and in local newspapers and real estate magazines.
5. Make Your House Shine.
Make certain that your house is cleaner, fresher and better maintained than other houses on the market, so that it stands out from the competition.
Preparing your home for a sale
Whether the real estate that is for sale is a primary residence or one that has been used as an actual investment to generate positive cash flow, there are some steps that will need to be taken before the house is ready for the local real estate market. While the real estate can be prepared to whatever extent the current homeowner wishes, better prepping will often lead to faster home sales for more money.
While home improvements are an important part of any real estate sale, it is not recommended that the homeowner mortgage the house in order to fix it up and sell it. Basic improvements in the appearance of the real estate are always a good idea however. If there are any defects in the home or problems that may prevent a sale, they should also be repaired before listing the house with a realtor.
Any problems that may be considered major will often prevent the home from being sold at all. If there are leaks under the home or in buried plumbing that may not be immediately seen by a potential real estate investor, they should still be repaired. Many states have lemon laws for homes similar to those for used cars. If problems are discovered, the financial burdens will be placed on the seller, not the purchaser of the home.
The home should be aesthetically appealing to the buyer in order to better facilitate a rapid sale of the real estate in question. While it may not be necessary to hire a landscaping crew to fully manicure every inch of the lawn, care should be taken that the outer appearance of the home is pleasing to the eyes. Broken windows, missing shingles and anything else which distracts from the beauty of the property for sale will result in many less offers at much lower prices for the home.
Similar care should be taken inside the home to make it appealing to potential home buyers as well. Clean carpets, appliances and an overall appearance of neatness will give the buyer a higher level of confidence that the home has been properly maintained and cared for. This will not leave the buyer to wonder what else may be wrong with the house and dissuade them from wanting to purchase it.
The two most important factors in home preparation before selling any piece of real estate are functionality and aesthetics. The home must be safe, secure and appealing to the real estate investor if it is ever to be sold. The more appealing it is, and the more comfortable people are there, the quicker it will sell ... and for a much better price.
Preparing Your House for Showings
1. Inspect Your House.
Make sure that your house is safe. Fix any loose rails, steps, etc.
Check electrical items, faucets, toilets and windows for correct operation. Make certain that all built-in appliances are functioning properly. Consider a professional whole house inspection, which will indicate to buyers that you are a responsible seller and uncover any major defects before they can cause trouble.
2. Know What You Can Change about Your House.
Discuss with your agent about what is necessary to change in order to sell the house. Keep a record of all home improvements you have made.
3. Get Rid of Clutter.
If an item is not necessary for your everyday life, then store, sell, donate or toss it. Have a garage/yard sale before you list your home.
This will encourage you to go through and get rid of all the things you don’t need. If curio cabinets, shelves and tables are overflowing with books and knick-knacks, remove some of them.
4. Remove Your Imprint.
It is acceptable to have a few personal pictures around the house.
However, if your home is a shrine of your loved ones, take steps to depersonalize it. Buyers must be able to envision themselves in the house, which is impossible if everywhere they turn they are staring at you.
5. Have a Plan.
Give each family member assigned jobs that will go into action when a short-notice showing is scheduled.
Checklist for Showings
1. Make the House Spotless.
Pay particular attention to the bathrooms and kitchen. Scrub baths, showers and sinks. Towels should be washed. Make sure all dishes are put away and counters are freshly cleaned.
2. Make the House Light and Bright.
Open window coverings, such as blinds, curtains, drapes and shutters, to let in maximum sunlight. Turn on lights.
3. Make the House Smell Good.
Air out the house to get rid pet and cooking odors. Light candles or bake cookies to make the house smell yummy just before the buyers arrive. (Make sure you turn off the oven and blow out the candles before you leave!)
4. Set the Thermostat to a Comfortable Temperature.
Make certain the house is not too hot or too cold. A home that is too hot or too cold can make for a bad experience and the potential buyer may leave prematurely.
5. Keep Fact Sheets Easily Accessible.
Ask your agent where to place the flyers for showings and who will be responsible for restocking them.
6. Keep Pets Out-of-Sight.
Remove pets from the house or keep them outside. If your pet must stay at home, put them in a particular room and shut the door. Make sure the agent knows where the animals are.
It is best for the sellers to be away from the house during a showing so that the potential buyers can cruise through the house at their own pace and talk openly about their feelings with each other and the agent. Take the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the day. Do errands or take pleasure in a favorite pastime.
Staging your home
For the average real estate investor, selling a home can be a difficult task at best. Even when the home to be sold is aesthetically pleasing, everything that needed to be fixed and repaired is now working properly. Still, there is a desire to make the real estate even more appealing. Some homeowners do this by actually staging their home for an open house or for other showings.
One company in Arizona recently even resorted to hiring actors to portray the all-American family enjoying the comforts of their new home by that company. While the results are not yet in on how well the experiment worked as far as new home sales, it does exemplify what is meant by staging your home for selling.
While some experts may claim that staging the house for sale to look like the set from a nineteen fifties sitcom with the perfect wife and the perfect family, not everybody lives in a perfect and pristine bubble. It really is proven more effective for the home to have a lived-in and comfortable appearance to it.
This does not mean there is no need to dust or to pick up after the kids, or even wiping the fingerprints off the wall. The house should always appear neat and clean to give a sense of psychological comfort to the potential real estate investor.
If there are children playing on the floor in the family room, do not be so quick to chase them outside. The sounds of laughter and happiness fill a home nicely and make it warm and appealing to the buyer. If someone is in the kitchen making a snack, do not try and chase them off before they are seen and hide the one dirty plate somewhere. When the people who are viewing the house for sale can see that it is lived in, they will relate those little things to what their life will be like in that home.
By making sure that the house for sale is aesthetically pleasing to behold, the potential home buyer will be happy to find some place that they will feel good about coming home to at night. By making sure that everything is in proper working order, the real estate investor can be allowed to roam freely as they are want to do anyhow. By filling the home with a lived-in and comfortable feel, you are giving positive reinforcement to the idea that the new homeowners will be just as happy in the home as you have been.
When all of these factors are combined together by the seller in order to stage the home for a sale, the offers will likely increase in volume as well as in price. Real estate may be a major financial investment, but it is an investment that everybody from the realtor to the homeowner know is ultimately about finding a place that will be home, in every sense of the word.
Setting the Price
When pricing your home, you may consider the price you originally paid, add a substantial markup and presume you’re done. This would be a grave mistake; one that could wind up costing you thousands or end in no sale at all. In order to price your home to sell there are many things that should be considered:
Obtain A Few CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis):
When interviewing agents, you should obtain CMA’s from each agent offering an idea of the price your home should sell. A CMA details the prices of similar homes recently sold, on-the-market homes as well as homes that simply did not sell in your area.
Be wary of agents attempting to “buy” your listing. An agent practicing this technique will often sweet-talk you with their elevated price recommendation waiting only a few weeks to insist on a price reduction. Be mindful: a home on the market for extended periods become less saleable. People begin to wonder if there are significant defects with the property or whether the seller is truly motivated.
Some agents suggest underpricing your home hoping to start bidding wars amongst hungry home buyers. While this technique may work to an extent in some markets, it is often a wiser decision to market your home at an appropriate price from day one.
Calculate the Price per Square Foot
The average square feet of homes in your area can be considerable help in determining a proper listing price for your home. However, it is not recommended you rely on this tidbit of information solely.
Evaluate Market Trends
How quickly are homes selling in your area? Are prices increasing or decreasing? Are you in prime selling season (typically during spring) or attempting to sell in the drooping winter season? How many offers are sellers typically receiving once on the market? These are only a few of many questions that your agent can help answer.
What Major or Minor Problems Exist Within Your Home?
If you’re in a seller’s market you may not need to worry about fixing most problems in your house. Buyers are much more open to problematic homes when they are having a tough time finding one in the first place. However, if you’re in a buyer’s market it would be wise to fix as many problems in the house as you’re financial able to.
Either way, a home with problems will not generate as much value as a home in almost perfect condition (no home is perfect!). An advisable solution would be to evaluate the potential cost of repairs. Determine whether these costs could be recouped during the sale of your property. It is certainly worthwhile to consult your agent as well as other professionals for matters such as these.
Jazz Up the Deal
Often, buyers come to the table with terms that some sellers are not open to accept. Some include quick sales, lease-options, or asking that closing costs be paid by the seller. If you are motivated to sell offer something up front to attract buyers that may be interested in such terms.
Reaching a listing price can be tricky; however, using reliable information with personal feelings aside, you can reach an acceptable agreement
Common mistakes when selling a home
For the person who is selling a home for the first time, the experience can be almost as troubling as their first purchase of real estate. There are many pitfalls and many traps for the first time seller. Having the proper knowledge will help to make the sale go smoothly. Trying to sell real estate without the proper knowledge is detrimental at best and costly at worst. Real estate investments are called investments for a reason. Just as with any business, there are applicable laws that must be adhered to.
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that selling real estate is as simple as selling a used car. Just slap a couple of classified ads in the local paper and wait for the phone to ring and all they will have to do is cash the check. Unfortunately, nothing is that simple, especially when it comes to real estate investments.
The laws regarding real estate sales are there for a reason. Since an investment in real property is a major expense for anyone, the laws offer protection, mostly to the buyer. It is very important to know each one of the laws that are applicable wherever the home is to be sold. While this may seem a daunting task to many people, some may find it easier than others may.
If there is any doubt about any of the laws or requirements for selling a home, a qualified realtor should be used for the sale of the real property in question. While this may cost a little extra and decrease the profits marginally, the homeowner who is selling the property is given a great value for their investment dollar when they do use a good real estate agent.
Real estate agents actually do earn their commissions, perhaps unbelievably. They are responsible for knowing all of the laws in any communities where they are licensed. If there are any difficulties with the sale, the realtor is qualified, certified and trained to handle them quickly and efficiently so that they do not interfere with the sale of the property.
Real estate agents are familiar with all of the aspects of home sales from the beginning until the very end where the homeowner and seller can actually cash the check from the sale of their house. From the time an offer is made on the home, processes such as escrow, closing, financing and many other hidden aspects may rear their ugly head and catch the seller off guard. A quality real estate agent will be aware of every step and be able to guide the homebuyer as well as the real estate investor closely, so that every aspect of the sale goes well for all of the individuals involved.
While selling the house may seem like a simple process, just remember what it was like when you purchased your first home. There is a lot of information necessary for the real estate investors and qualified and licensed real estate agents will know all of the answers. Hiring the real estate agent can be seen as an investment as well; and a worthy investment in any real estate transaction.
The standard practice throughout The Bahamas is that an Attorney affects the closing process of a real estate sales transaction, this will involve but not limited to a 30 year property title, restrictions and encumbrances search, Conveyance, Mortgage Agreement, Deeding and registering of documents.
Therefore, the Buyer and Seller should retain their own respective Attorney and ascertain the closing process and the related cost involve.
At Bayshore Realty we have built strong relationships with a first-rate team of Real Estate Attorneys who have a longstanding experience in local real estate transactions and successful closing. Whether you're a buyer or a seller you need to advise your Broker/Agent prior to the preparation or the offer or contract to purchase the name of the Attorney you have chosen.
Although professional ethics would not allow us to recommend one in particular. Please contact our office if you need a list of Real Estate Attorneys for your choosing who have worked with us and other Realtors in Grand Bahama.
If you are a buyer and you are considering financing the home or property you are purchasing, your Mortgage Agent will require you to use one of their approved and insured Attorneys.as part of your mortgage application
At Bayshore Realty we have built strong relationships with a first-rate team of professional appraisers who have longstanding experience in analyzing local properties of all types.
Whether you're a buyer seeking financing or a seller wishing to secure a fair market value on your property and a return on your investment, these courteous and fully accredited experts are committed to providing you with the very highest levels of service, consistently delivering reliable, timely and impartial opinions of value.
If you are a buyer and you are considering financing the home or property you are purchasing, your Mortgage Agent will require you to use one of their approved and insured Appraisal as part of your mortgage application
Although professional ethics would not allow us to recommend one in particular, Please contact our office if you need a list of Real Estate Appraisal for your choosing who have worked with us and other Realtors in Grand Bahama