Our real estate agents want to make the whole home selling process easier for you. In many cases, that starts by giving you a firm idea of exactly what you can expect. While selling will always have its ups and downs, it becomes much easier when you understand how it all fits together.
If you are considering the sale of your home, knowing your home's value is essential for pricing it accurately to get buyers interested. Whether you are considering a sale or just curious, it is always a good idea to keep on top of valuations, if for no other reason than to determine your ROI.
No matter what motivates you, having an accurate understanding of your home's estimated market value can come in handy. Today, there are several ways to do that, many of which are free and within reach online. However, some methods are better for getting an accurate real estate estimate than others.
This post will compare working with a professional agent to get a real estate estimate of value versus sourcing the information online at a website like Zillow.
In today's internet age, technology has given us the ability to perform many tasks ourselves. As buyers and sellers have become savvier, the first stop on the journey to buy or sell a home is the internet.
Online tools and home value estimators are everywhere! While you have multiple platforms to choose from, one of the most popular is Zillow. But is a "Zestimate" as a Zillow estimate is known, accurate?
So, what is a Zestimate?
This is Zillow's version of an online home valuation platform and can give you an estimate on over 100 million homes all over the country. Zillow's algorithm automatically computes values. These are based on both public-submitted as well as user-submitted data points for each property.
Like many online value calculators, The accuracy of a Zillow Zestimate will vary widely based on several factors, including your location and how much data is available.
While online sites like Zillow are helpful, you should never rely on them to make an accurate real estate estimate of valuation. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you want accurate information to make an informed decision.
Sites like Zillow have the potential to empower buyers and sellers. They have replaced the world of comparable sales and values that were once understandable only to real estate professionals. They give both buyers and sellers the ability to learn useful information about properties in their area, including their own.
Sites like Zillow do their best to provide accurate information as to the value of your home. However, Zillow is an automated system that is based on mathematical formulas and data analysis. It does not think for itself. It cannot account for variations – changes that can substantially affect the price of a home from any sort of "average."
When you are buying or selling, you cannot afford to be off on your real estate estimate by tens of thousands of dollars in your pricing or bidding!
While Zillow is fine if you are seeking a general idea of value, the fact is, analysis and a real estate estimate provided by a real estate professional will be more accurate. Real Estate professionals specialize in answering the question, "what is my home worth?" They do this for their clients by running a comparative market analysis. This consists of finding similar properties, or comps, that sold within the past 90 days and using this factual data to prepare their valuation.
The most accurate comp is a nearby home that is similar to yours in terms of square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Ideally, the lot size is also similar. Once your REALTOR® finds a few comps in your area, they will average these figures to determine a baseline home value.
Today, sellers need to take into consideration that home buyers begin their search for properties online. Assume your agent has provided you with a real estate estimate that values your home at $503,000. Most people will search for homes using $20,000 or $25,000 increments.
That means listing your home at its market value of $503,000 could prevent your listing from being seen by buyers searching the $475,000 to $500,000 range. Asking $500,000 for your home in this instance might generate more traffic and maybe even a bidding war that can push your final number well above your expectations!
If your real estate estimate is too high, your home can sit on the market, even in a seller's market. Valuing your home too high can be a big problem. If your home stays on the market too long (over 30 days), it can become stigmatized. Buyers often get suspicious when they see that a home has been on the market for an extended period. They may think that there is something wrong with the property.
If that is the case, the seller may need to significantly reduce the price, sometimes below market value, to generate interest. However, pricing your home below market in an attempt to generate interest and multiple bids can also backfire. Granted, in a hot seller's market, like we're living in right now, that strategy can be effective. However, pricing too low can lead buyers to assume that your property is only worth the list price.
While sites like Zillow can be helpful in the information gathering stage, your best bet is to work with a real estate professional. They can help you to price your home accurately and list it for close to the figure. When you are in doubt, turn to your local real estate professional. They understand your market and will help you cut through the haze to pinpoint the right price for your home.
If you're like most people buying or selling a home, you'll choose to work with a local, licensed real estate professional or REALTOR®. These professionals know and understand the local market, have outstanding negotiating skills, and as we have mentioned in prior posts (internal link to REALTOR "overview" article HERE), can make the entire buying and selling process easier.
As compensation for their expertise, your REALTOR® is paid a commission based on the sale price of your home. There are several different commission structures based on the structure of your deal. Here's a breakdown of the role of the various players, how realtor commissions work, and who pays these fees.
When you decide to sell your home and enlist the help of a REALTOR®, you sign a listing agreement. In that agreement is an agreed-upon commission rate with the listing agent, which is typically a negotiable rate, typically between 4 and 6%.
This commission is often split evenly between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent (if they are working with an agent). Each agent pays a portion of their commission to their brokerage.
For example, for a home with a sale price of $500,000 and a 6% commission rate – split equally between the buyer's and seller's agents – each agent would receive 3%, or $15,000. Assuming each agent must split their commission 50/50 with their respective brokerages, each agent would make $7500 from the sale (before subtracting any additional marketing costs incurred).
While this is the typical arrangement, commission splits are not always 50/50 between the agent and the brokerage. For experienced agents who reach a certain commission level, the split can step up to 70% in favor of the agent. This brokerage model relies on the agent sourcing all of their own leads, clients, and business.
Precisely who pays the commission can be a bit tricky. The standard practice is that the seller pays the fee. However, the fee is often wrapped into the home price, so the buyer ultimately ends up paying the fee, albeit indirectly.
Let's look at how this works using the above example.
Each with an agent, a buyer and seller agree to a deal on the $500,000 house. Assuming a 6% commission on the sale, the entire commission of $30,000 comes out of the home's sale.
The buyer will pay the $500,000 purchase price. The seller would receive $470,000 ($500K minus the 6% commission). Depending on who is responsible for the closing costs and other fees, these fees could either come out of the seller's $470,000, or the buyer would have to pay all or part of these additional costs (or roll them into their mortgage).
The listing agent's brokerage would then receive the entire $30,000 commission from the closing attorney. They would issue the buyer's agent or their brokerage a check for half of the commission, and each of the brokerages would pay their respective agents their 1.5% commission from the sale.
While it may seem like selling your property directly or creating a FSBO ("Fisbo" or "for sale By Owner listing and taking the real estate agent out of the process makes financial sense, in the long and short run, unless you're selling to a family member, it's rarely a good decision.
A real estate professional is vital to the process of selling (and in today's market, buying) a home. They can help to facilitate the negotiations, manage the paperwork, and maximize your chances of selling your home at a fair price through staging, arranging professional photography, as well as virtual tours, and other marketing activities. Your listing or seller's agent will represent you and look out for your best interest, making sure that you receive top dollar and that all of the legal requirements of selling your home are met.
When working with a buyer's agent, you have the best possible chance of finding the perfect house that you'll love based on your needs. A buyer's agent will research your market to find the perfect home and increase the likelihood of a successful sale.
Real estate professionals are there to ensure that the process moves smoothly. When dealing with your home, it's often the biggest investment you will make and is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you're on the brink of either buying or selling, they ensure that the process is fast, smooth, and easy.
One of the biggest contentions for selling (or buying) a home is that the real estate fees are too high or that the service isn't worth the cost. In fact, there are even newer services that will work for a flat fee – like $100 or $500 or a steeply discounted commission. While this can sometimes benefit sellers (and ultimately buyers) in terms of cost savings, typically, you get what you pay for in terms of representation.
When working with a real estate professional in a more traditional arrangement, your interests as both a seller and a buyer are protected. While it sometimes happens, if your home sells on the day it's listed, your agent could make a tidy sum for a relatively small amount of work – taking some photos, determining a price, and listing the home on the market.
However, this is rarely the case. Sometimes a home can take weeks, months, or in the case of very unique or expensive houses, can take years to sell.
For the seller's agent, this means spending hours marketing the home, making phone inquiries, staying abreast of other listings and sales in the neighborhood. The seller's agent will also bear the costs of keeping the house on the market, signage, and advertising costs. The fact is, most sellers wouldn't want to be paying their agent by the hour!
This is also true for buyers. Some might find a house immediately. However, most will look at dozens of homes over the course of weeks or even months before finding the right one. If buyers had to pay their agent by the hour, they would probably feel rushed into making a decision!
Selling or buying a home is a complicated endeavor that is made easier by working with a qualified real estate professional or REALTOR®. Having a professional in your corner, whether selling or buying, can help you find exactly what you're looking for at the right price that is fair to both the buyer and seller.
In exchange for the hours of work they do, agents receive a percentage of the sales price or a commission. While it's typically the seller who pays the commission, the cost is generally factored into the home's list price. In this way, the buyer ultimately bears the cost of any real estate fees.
While it's important to understand how commissions are structured and who is ultimately responsible for payment, it's equally important to keep in mind that commissions are always negotiable. For homeowners who are concerned about high fees and may opt to use a flat fee or discount broker or list their home as a FSBO, it's important to remember that, like many things in life, you often get what you pay for!
Your home is often the most expensive and biggest investment you'll make in your lifetime making it important to understand what your realtor commission will cost and to trust who you're working with. It's a smart choice to work with a professional REALTOR® when selling or buying your next home!
It's often said that homes are sold by emotion. A buyer falls in love with a home, and the dance between buyer and seller begins. While the process is often driven by emotion, the bottom line is that a real estate transaction is at its heart a legal transaction.
As a legal transaction, numerous players, forms, and contracts are presented and signed in the average real estate transaction. One of these forms is the brokerage disclosure. The brokerage disclosure is a written explanation signed by the prospective buyer or seller of real estate, which clearly explains the broker's role in the transaction.
In this post, we're going to take a closer look at the roles of the various players in the process of selling a home, including the buyer's agent, seller's agent, facilitators, and broker. We'll also define the brokerage disclosure form and explain its role in the process.
The brokerage disclosure form is just one of the many forms you'll see when buying or selling a home. While it is not legally binding, it is an ethically valuable piece of paper that defines the major players and their roles in the typical real estate transaction.
When you work with a real estate agent or REALTOR® whether buying or selling a property, the National Association of Realtors requires that you be informed as to whom the agent is representing in the transaction. The brokerage disclosure form outlines each agent's role in the transaction.
While the brokerage disclosure document is a form and not a contract, each is geared to the brokerage's role in the transaction (seller's broker, buyer's broker, etc.), and each state's agreement is slightly different.
As a prospective buyer or seller, you need to understand that unless the buyer chooses to establish a written Buyer's Agency Agreement:
As a buyer, it's important to understand that the seller's agent is loyal to the seller and is bound to act in the seller's best interest. However, a selling agent must treat any buyer honestly and fairly. A good seller's agent will;
If you want agent representation when buying a home, you'll need to sign a written Buyer Agency agreement. The agent is then responsible to you and your best interests, not the sellers.
The buyer's agent is typically paid a commission via a split with the seller's agency, or their fee may be included in the mortgage. It should not cost the buyer any additional funds and often cost less under a Buyer's agency agreement than under a sub-agency.
With a Buyers Agency Agreement, you can expect fiduciary duties beyond the services that can be legally offered to you by the selling agent. This should be clearly disclosed in the brokerage disclosure form.
A Buyer's Agent's duties include:
Loyalty to the Buyer: The buyer's agent has a duty to act in the buyer's best interest at all times. Including negotiating the best price and terms for the buyer.
Obedience: As long as a request is legal and within the scope of the exercise of agency, a buyer's agent is obligated to do whatever the buyer requests.
Disclosure: If a buyer gets swept away emotionally by a property, it is their agent's job to remind them that it may not be suitable based on pre-established factors. Seller's agents must disclose only material defects like structural problems or zoning issues but otherwise will stress the benefits of the property. A buyer's agent must disclose everything!
Confidentiality: The buyer's agent may not reveal by word or deed that the buyer is willing or able to pay more than the offered price. The buyer's agent must not disclose any discussions, including that they can not find a comparable property or any fact that may affect the buyer's negotiating position.
Reasonable Care and Due Diligence: The buyer's agent is obligated to be competent, make appropriate recommendations, and must call upon their full range of skills and knowledge on the buyer's behalf.
Accounting: Not only does this include accounting for deposit money, it means seeing that everything the buyer expects is included in the contract to purchase. If the agent is being paid by any source other than the buyer, they must disclose it.
Unlike the listing and selling agent, the buyer's agent's role is not as a salesman but as an agent for the buyer. They must always act in the best interest of their client, not the seller or their agent. The brokerage disclosure form clearly outlines their role and responsibilities.
An easy way to understand the role of a real estate broker is to understand that the relationship between the broker and agent is similar to the role between a principal and a teacher. A principal is not an entry-level job – you need a level of teaching experience before you can apply. While both can teach, the principal has more authority in the school.
In the US, a real estate agent needs to work under a broker for their license to be active. You don't just pass the test, walk out and start selling homes unless you're a broker; you must work under one.
This role is a little confusing. While the role of both the buyer's agent and the seller's agent are clearly defined, a facilitator is a little more complex. A facilitator is the role of an agent before the client elects the agent as either a buyer or seller's representative.
In Massachusetts, MA law requires an agent to disclose their role at the first meeting. The law states:
" When a real estate licensee works as a facilitator, that licensee assists the seller and/or buyer in reaching an agreement but does not represent either the buyer or the seller in the transaction. The facilitator and the broker with whom the facilitator is affiliated owe the seller and buyer a duty to present all real property honestly and accurately by disclosing known material defects and owe a duty to account for funds. Unless specifically agreed upon beforehand, the facilitator has no duty to keep information received from a seller or buyer confidential."
The brokerage disclosure form is a vital component of a real estate transaction. It is important to disclose and define each person's role in the process when buying or selling a home. However, at the end of the day, choosing an agent should be about more than a recognizable brokerage office, designation, affiliation, or years in the industry, although these factors are important.
The core of every real estate transaction is trust.While you need to understand the role of the players in every transaction and who they represent, the bottom line is that you need to do your due diligence and ultimately trust the professionals you choose to work with when buying or selling a home.
Explain the role the buyer's agent, the seller's agent, facilitators, Transaction, Broker, etc., and others all play in the process of selling you a home.
It is a form, not a contract
Nuances by state
It doesn't happen often, but like buyers, sellers can get cold feet. Between the work of personalizing your home and the memories you've created there, sometimes it's hard to let go. Even if you don't get cold feet, there are plenty of other reasons to change your mind about selling.
Buyer's who back out of a deal forfeit their earnest deposit money (typically 1-3% of the offer price). As a seller, if you decide to cancel after the home is under contract, you can either be legally forced to close, or sued for financial damages. Of course, the specifics depend on the terms of your sales contract.
While technically the answer to this question is no, it's actually not uncommon, especially in a hot market. Selling a house is complex, time-consuming, and can be expensive. When a deal is struck and closed, there's usually a sigh of relief.
That being said, even when the seller doesn't have a clear legal right to back out, it can happen. This is generally tough for the seller. While a buyer has the benefit of contingencies that can make it easier to walk away, it's hard for a seller to do so without a penalty.
As a seller, if you're selling your home, you should not enter into any purchase and sale agreement if there is any doubt on your part. There is really little wiggle room for doubt, second thoughts, or cold feet. Buyers have ways out, the seller, not so much!
Sellers may have many reasons for trying to back out of a purchase and sale agreement. While some may hold up in court, others are actionable and can result in penalties.
Among the reasons a seller may give for backing out of an agreement include:
Both sellers and buyers should understand that any offers, counteroffers, and acceptances should be in writing and signed by both parties agreeing to the contract.
Typically, when a seller accepts the buyer's signed offer, or counteroffer and communicates that acceptance to the buyer, or the buyer's representative it is considered a binding agreement. Until that time, there is no obligation on behalf of the owner to sell. An oral agreement is typically not binding. A contract for selling real property must be in writing and signed by both parties.
There are some instances when a seller can back out of an agreement without consequence. Here are a few examples:
A home seller that backs out of a purchase and sale can be sued for breach of contract. A judge could find the seller at fault and may order the seller to sign over the deed and complete the sale. A seller that loses in court is often ordered to pay the buyer's legal fees along with their own and there could be a harsh penalty.
The seller may also be ordered to:
A seller that wants to walk away and avoid a court fight could offer to pay the buyer enough to make them whole and hope they agree to cancel the contract.
Generally, a seller can not cancel without cause. Your attorney should look at any purchase and sale agreement and make sure that there are protective measures included to protect the seller in the event of a change of heart.
The bottom line in this instance is to think through the purchase and sale before taking any action. If there is a potential for a change of heart, do not sign any agreement unless and until you are sure. Think about your initial reasons for selling your home. Chances are these reasons will hold up and perhaps is just a temporary bought of remorse that will fade with time, or when the check clears!
When selling your home, a REALTOR® completes dozens of steps and tasks to get you to the point at which the closing occurs. Some of these steps include;
Your REALTOR® has been there every step of the way, keeping your best interests front and center. They fielded offers, negotiated terms, and kept you abreast of every development regarding your home. From arranging the septic inspection to monitoring your buyer's financing to arranging the inspections to keep you compliant with the Contract to Purchase terms, your REALTOR® has made the process of selling your home a smooth one and has brought you to the final step... the closing!
This is the stage where your REALTOR® will "dot the i's and cross the t's." It's the stage where all of their hard work, compiling documents and preparing all of the forms needed to complete the closing comes to fruition. Even after the closing is complete and the new owners have the keys, your REALTOR® is still there working on your behalf.
In this post, in our selling your home series, we will examine the final steps your REALTOR® will take to prepare you for closing, close on your home, and follow up post-closing to answer any questions or resolve any issues that may arise.
You've arrived at the closing. Your REALTOR® has arranged inspections, worked with your buyer to secure financing, and completed a few dozen other tasks since the buyer signed the Contract to Purchase. Any repairs or issues have been addressed, the bank approved the financing, and now it's time for your REALTOR® to put together all of the paperwork and schedule your closing. As the seller, your REALTOR® will typically act as your representative at the closing.
These are the steps they will take before closing day.
At this point, your REALTOR® will begin the final processes, starting with a request for the final closing figures from the closing agent (attorney or title company).
They will receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure that they are accurate.
Upon closing, your REALTOR® will forward all of the closing documents to you as the seller, as requested. If applicable, they will refer you to one of the best agents at your new destination if needed.
The last step is changing the MLS status to sold, entering the date, price, selling broker, and Agent ID numbers, etc. Finally, they will close out the listing in their transaction management program.
Even though your home is sold, and your listing is closed out both internally, and on the MLS, your REALTOR® remains ready to answer questions and provide support even after the sale. They are available to the new buyer to answer questions about filing claims with the Home Warranty Company if requested.
They will also remain available to clarify and resolve any issues or conflicts about repairs if the buyer is not satisfied. Your REALTOR is on call to respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from their office files.
Working with a REALTOR® to sell your home is a smart business decision. They are pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® code of Ethics in all of their professional dealings with the public. A REALTOR® has the level of skill, knowledge, and attention to detail that's required in today's complex real estate transactions. Not every real estate licensee holds REALTOR® membership. If you want a smooth transaction, make sure yours does!
Your REALTOR® has researched the market, determined your home's value, listed your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, and begun marketing your home to their contacts and other agents, literally throughout the world...
If they've done their job well, you should receive an offer for your home. Actually, in today's market, you'll most likely be receiving multiple offers. It can be a pretty long road between receiving an offer and scheduling a closing. This is where your REALTOR'S® expertise really shines!
Your REALTOR® is there to help you sort through and understand any offers and help you to make an informed decision about which is the right one to accept. The Offer/Contract process can be tricky. It's the right time to have a REALTOR® on your team to negotiate the right deal.
In this selling your home post, we're going to explore the process and steps your REALTOR® will take from the moment an offer (or offers) is made until the day a Contract to Purchase is signed!
Once you've received an offer for your home, there are several steps your REALTOR® will take that will keep the process of selling your home on track. An offer is the first step toward a signed Contract to Purchase. The buyer may have contingencies like home inspections, and your REALTOR® will take steps to verify that the buyer is pre-qualified.
During this part of the process, there is a lot of paperwork, deposits must be properly handled, and the buyer may need additional information that your REALTOR® should have in the Property File. Here are the steps and tasks your REALTOR® will manage from receiving an initial offer, culminating in a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement:
This process should culminate in a signed Offer to Purchase. When the Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by you, your REALTOR® will deliver the signed contract to the buyer's agent. They will then record and promptly deposit the buyer's earnest money into an escrow account, disseminate "Under-Contract Showing Restrictions," and deliver copies of the fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to you.
Your Realtor will also deliver copies of the Offer to Purchase to the selling agent and the lender. They will add copies of the contract to the office file and advise the seller in handling any additional offers to purchase submitted between the contract and the closing. At this point, the process of selling your home will enter into the final stages. This includes:
If your home has a septic system and/or a well...
Your REALTOR® may also work with the buyer to assist them in securing a loan. Loan approval is a major element of a successful sale and as such, your REALTOR® will spend time tracking the process. They will:
The lender will require an appraisal to approve the loan. Your REALTOR® will schedule the appraisal and provide the comparable sales used in market pricing to the appraiser. After the appraiser has left the property, your REALTOR® will follow up with them and enter the completion of the appraisal into the transaction management program. If you have any questions about the appraisal report, for example, if it seems too low, your REALTOR® will assist you in questioning the report.
Your buyer and their lender will require a home inspection before approving a loan. Along with the appraisal, this is an important element. Your REALTOR® will work with you to coordinate the buyer's professional home inspection. They will then receive and review a copy of the inspector's report and enter its completion into the transaction management tracking software.
They will sit down with you and explain your responsibilities concerning loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract. They will also ensure your compliance with any Home Inspection Clause requirements.
If issues arise, your REALTOR® will assist you with identifying and negotiating with qualified contractors to perform any repairs required by the seller or their loan underwriter. They will also negotiate payment and oversee the completion of all required repairs on your behalf if needed.
Once you've received an offer for your home, the process can move quickly, and there are many moving parts to selling your home before closing. Your REALTOR® has the experience, expertise, and contacts to assist you and make the process as smooth as possible. Should a problem arise, they are there to help you resolve it, whether it's hiring a contractor for needed repairs or explaining the appraisal or home inspector's report.
In our next blog post, we're going to take a look at the final steps of the process when selling your home – the closing, and how your REALTOR will continue to work for you, even after you've given the keys to the new owner!
If you're considering selling your home, you will want to find a professional to represent your interests. Properly selling your home is a complicated process, from the initial market research to signing the papers at closing. Your REALTOR® works hard from before you choose to list your property with them until well after the new owners take possession.
To properly and legally sell your home is not an easy task. For the typical sale, there are nearly 200 actions taken when selling your home. These include research steps, processes, and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction that your REALTOR® and their team will undertake in return for their commission. Some take minutes, some may take days, and some may not be needed, but each is critical to a successful outcome.
In this selling your home post, we're going to take a closer look at the elements of a sale that your REALTOR® and their team will undertake before they've even signed you to a contract and listed your home.
The second level of research begins. This includes the legal side of researching for your property, for codes, ownership, and more.
Finally, your realtor and their team will prepare a listing presentation package with all of the above materials included. As a part of the presentation package, your team will perform an exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of your property and compile and assemble a formal file. As part of the report, they will confirm current public schools, explain the impact of schools on your property's market value, and review the listing appointment checklist with their team to ensure that all of the necessary steps and actions have been completed.
Once your REALTOR® and their team have completed their research, they will meet with you to give you a formal presentation. There will cover some general information about the market and some specific information they have compiled about your home. In this meeting, your REALTOR® will:
As you can see, once you decide to list your home for sale, your REALTOR® begins working on your behalf to research, strategize, and organize your property listing to make sure that your home is positioned and priced appropriately for your local market. They will present you with a well-thought-out marketing plan, a well-researched and appropriate price for your home, and will review and organize property records to include in your formal file to prepare for the next steps in the process.
In our next blog post, we're going to take an in-depth look at the next steps your REALTOR® will take when selling your home once you've signed a formal listing agreement.
Once you've settled on terms, defined the agency relationship, reached an agreement, and signed your listing contract, your REALTOR will take the next steps. They will begin working in earnest preparing your home's MLS listing and begin organizing much of the legal paperwork and information needed when selling your home.
Simultaneously, they will prepare your listing, take photographs, prepare a profile, organize and prepare your Property File and Property Listing File before moving on to the next step; entering your property in the MLS and developing a marketing strategy to maximize exposure for your property in the market.
In this selling your home post, we're going to examine all of the steps your REALTOR® will take from the time you signed a listing agreement until it's time to list your home on the MLS and begin marketing your home.
Your REALTOR® will have done a lot of preliminary work even before you've signed a listing agreement. They will have conducted a significant amount of research to determine the status of your local market, pull together preliminary documents, determine legal statuses like ownership and zoning, and developed a preliminary marketing strategy.
Now the work begins. Selling your home means pulling together the detailed information, data, and legal paperwork needed to prepare your MLS listing and compile your property listing file.
Once they have gathered the documents needed for the property listing file, your REALTOR® will gather your current financing information that includes:
If your home is in a neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association, it may be necessary to adjust your sales plan to meet the HOA bylaws. Your REALTOR® will research and contact the HOA to verify fees and bylaws.
The next step is to gather and analyze all utility information to include in the MLS listing and property listing folder. This is an important element of preparing a cost analysis for any potential buyers so they can understand your home's operating cost. This step includes the following tasks:
Research electricity availability, including the supplier's name and phone number.
If your home has a rental component, your REALTOR® will complete this next series of tasks to prepare the information a buyer will need to assess the rental potential of your property. If there is no rental component, they may not need to take all of these steps. These tasks include:
At this point, your REALTOR will take the final steps necessary for selling your home, including the preparation and staging of your home before it's officially listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) databases. This includes:
Up to this point, you have a signed Listing Agreement, and your REALTOR® will have taken all of the necessary steps to gather the needed information to prepare your home's MLS listing properly. They will have all of the legal information necessary in the Property File and Property Listing File, which will include verified square footages, operating costs, utility information, and any additional information needed, for example, rental and lease data.
In the next selling your home blog post, we'll look at the next steps in the process of marketing and selling your home, which includes entering the property in the MLS Database and creating a marketing strategy for your property to build interest, drive traffic, and generate offers for your home.
Your home is one of the biggest investments you'll make in your lifetime. When it comes time to sell, some homeowners will take it upon themselves to sell their own home. This is known as "FSBO" or "for sale by owner." Over half of FSBO sellers (63%) choose to sell their own homes to avoid paying a commission.
Today, with Facebook marketplace, social media, and services like Zillow, many homeowners are under the mistaken idea that it's easy to sell a home. Just check the price trend on Zillow, and create a social media post, and your home is "sure" to sell. However, the fact is that unless you have experience selling homes, a FSBO listing is almost always a bad idea. It just might end up costing you in the long run.
To properly and legally sell your home is not an easy task. There are nearly 200 typical actions taken when selling a home. They include research steps, processes, and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction normally provided by a full-service real estate brokerage in return for their commission. Some may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete depending on the transaction, while some steps may not be needed.
More importantly, these actions reflect the level of skill, knowledge, and attention to detail required in today's real estate transaction. This underscores the importance of having help and guidance from someone who completely understands the process – a REALTOR®.
In this post, we're going to take a general look at the key elements of a transaction that your real estate professional will address when selling your home. In future posts, we'll break down the steps in more depth.
Your REALTOR will begin working on your sale, even before you've home is listed on the MLS. Before listing your home, a fair amount of research must be done. This includes researching comparable homes in your area, sales records for the previous 18 months, and "average days on the market" for properties similar to your home's style and location.
Once you've signed a listing agreement contract with your REALTOR®, they will begin working in earnest to prepare your home's MLS listing.
As soon as your REALTOR® verifies all of your information, they will prepare your home's MLS listing and implement their marketing strategy to sell your home.
When your home's MLS listing has been verified, your REALTOR® will begin implementing their marketing strategy for your home.
This is where the experience of your REALTOR® shines. In today's market, you will likely receive multiple offers. When the offers come in, your agent will receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyer's agents.
If everything is approved and the home passes inspection, a contract is prepared and signed by all parties. Your agent will coordinate the closing process with the buyer's agent and lender to ensure everyone has all of the necessary documentation needed and schedule a time and place for the closing occurrence.
Even after your home is sold, your REALTOR® is working to ensure that the buyer is satisfied. They remain available to answer any questions they might have about filing Home Owner Warranty claims. They also remain available to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if the buyer is not satisfied and respond to any follow-up calls for additional information your buyer might request.
Selling your home is an important milestone. Engaging a REALTOR® to handle all of the details is a smart decision. It's a fact that working with a real estate professional can help you get the best price for your home and make sure that all of the details and legal necessities are taken care of properly.
Your real estate professional possesses the level of skill, knowledge, and attention to detail that's required when selling a home. They are there to guide you and protect your interests in an often complicated and sometimes complex transaction. And it's important to remember that your REALTOR® has pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR Code of Ethics in all of their professional dealings with the public. Not every real estate licensee holds REALTOR® membership. Make sure yours does!
Home improvement shows can be pretty intriguing. With the exquisite finishes, the grand reveals, the hugs, and the grateful smiles, it's easy to get sucked into a five-hour marathon session of entertaining reality TV. Unfortunately, these shows can be misleading. They give viewers unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished when it comes to remodeling, flipping, buying, and selling a home. Our real estate agents reveal 5 things that home makeover shows never tell you.
Home inspections are an important part of the home selling process, and in some cases, they can complicate or even derail the sale. That's why it's important to understand exactly what a home inspection covers and how it can affect the pricing and sale of your home.
Our real estate agents share the following things that sellers should know about home inspections:
With social distancing giving a boost to the already growing work-from-home trend, any place with a WiFi signal can become an office. If commuting is no longer an issue, why not live in a Zoom Town, where every day is a vacation?
Leave the urban hustle and bustle behind. Our real estate agents share some appealing reasons why Maine's Lakes Region should be your new home.
With this year's pandemic accelerating the shift towards remote work, living near the office is quickly becoming a thing of the past. With so many people working from home, many are taking advantage of the opportunity to reconsider their home's location. Not only is this spurring a quick recovery for the housing market, but it's also leading to an exciting new trend that's popping-up here in 2020: the rise of the Zoom Town.
So what exactly is a Zoom Town? It's often a beach town, lake town, or even just a peaceful secluded area of the country. More importantly, it's far away from the normal bustling cities that have traditionally served as the heart of the business world. Zoom Towns are seeing rapid growth this year, as many people are choosing to work where they vacation and vacation where they work.
You've bought your dream house. You're ready to move in. Now comes the really stressful part: packing and moving. Remember that the key to a smooth move is good organization. Even if you're hiring professional movers to take some of the load off you, it's still wise to have a plan when you move.
Take a look at these tips and live by them as you organize and pack. You'll be glad you did.
Fashions in interior design come and go. When getting ready to list your home, you might be tempted to try the latest trends to help make your home stand out from other listings. But sometimes, those trends can have the opposite effect. If you're planning on selling your New England home, our REALTORS® can help you sort through fads and nail down the fashions as you get your home ready for the market.
Here are some timely warnings about what to avoid.
If you find yourself spending more at home this year, your living space may be starting to feel a little cramped and claustrophobic. A comfortable living space is important, and studies have suggested small spaces can negatively impact your overall mood and mental health. Not only does more space equal more happiness, but it can also increase your home's overall value.
Luckily, when it comes to interior design there are simple ways to make your home appear more spacious. Our real estate agents have several tips for making your home appear more spacious. Whether you're looking to put your home on the market this year or simply looking to make things more comfortable, consider these design suggestions that can actually trick the eye into seeing more space:
Staging your home is an important step to take before putting it on the market. It helps your real estate photos look more appealing, which brings potential buyers inside your door. And once the buyers are there, a perfectly staged home lets them visualize their family living happily in your home. Home staging mistakes, however, can have the opposite effect.
Our real estate agents point out the following common staging mistakes you might be making in your home.
Contact us to learn more about how to avoid staging mistakes so you can present your home in the best possible way. Our agents have a great deal of experience buying and selling homes and can advise you on how to stage your home to attract buyers.
Our real estate agents love welcoming new residents who are relocating from another state. While every move is exciting, there's something really special about starting the next phase of your life in a completely new location.
However, moving from one state to another also requires a bit more thought. Here are a few of the most important things to consider before taking the plunge.
Our real estate agents know one of the biggest reasons many people look forward to owning a home is to have a garden. Gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby, but it also means staying vigilant for that ever-present pest: Weeds.
National Weed Your Garden Day is June 13, a Saturday this year. It's the perfect time to get some fresh air and work on the best ways to protect your garden from weeds. Here's how to stay one step ahead of these troublesome invaders:
Contact us for expert advice on buying or selling your home.
If you're a first-time homebuyer or seller, you may not be familiar with the lingo used during the process. Even those who've been involved in a real estate transaction can usually do with a little brushing up. While this list isn't comprehensive, it'll get you started with some of the real estate terms you might run into.
You've decided to sell your home, and now want to show it off to potential buyers. More potential buyers are attending virtual open houses and showings to find their dream home from the comfort of their current residence. Just because they won't be there in person, doesn't mean you can skip vital steps in presenting and staging your home. Our real estate agents compiled a checklist for a virtual open house, so your property stands out from other New England homes for sale. Make sure to do these things before your virtual open house or showing.
With a few small changes, you can transform your bathroom from blah to beautiful. Remodeling your bathroom can have a significant impact on how much you enjoy your home, and it's also a project that can increase your home's resale value.
Our real estate agents suggest the following seven bathroom remodeling ideas you'll want to try:
If you are planning on using a VA loan to purchase a home this year there are several changes you should know about.
Following the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, veterans and military service members will enjoy more borrowing power but pay slightly higher fees when applying for VA home loans. The Act was signed into law in June 2019 but took effect Jan 1, 2020.
Navigate these changes to VA loans with a little help from our team. Our REALTORS® highlight everything you need to know about using VA loans in 2020!
The VA loan limit is the maximum loan amount the Department of Veterans Affairs can guarantee a veteran or military service officer without making a down payment. The loan limit adjustment is a big win for veterans across the nation, especially for those buying in pricier markets. Extending the zero-down purchasing power will save many veterans a lot of cash and help them remain competitive.
However, the elimination of loan limits doesn't signify unlimited borrowing power with no down payment. Veterans will still need to have adequate income and meet their lender's credit demands to qualify for the VA loan amount. And if you still have impending VA loans or have defaulted on a previous loan, the loan limits will still be applicable throughout 2020.
Before this act went into effect, VA loan limits equaled the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on complying loans. In 2019, the limits were set to $484,350 in a typical US county and slightly higher in high-cost counties.
Our REALTORS® are there to guide you every step of the way when it's time to buy a home. Still, it's important to understand what you're getting into – and how to advocate for your interests.
Buying a home can include twists and turns, even when everyone has the best intentions. Knowing which questions to ask will help you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your real estate options.
Don't forget these vital questions when you're getting ready to buy a home:
The landscape of the real estate market is changing dramatically, thanks to short-term rental properties. The increasing popularity of Airbnb and other similar services is encouraging property owners to invest in homes and condominiums that tourists find desirable. Our REALTORS® want you to make the best long-term investment choices possible. When considering properties to invest in for these purposes, we encourage you to ask the following questions:
Our REALTORS® strive to help everyone they meet make informed decisions about buying and selling a home. No matter if you choose to use our team in the long run, you deserve to have all the facts that will help you achieve the results you want.
One of the most important things a seller can understand is the value of professional advice when it's time to list a home. "For Sale By Owner" may seem fast and convenient, but most sellers who try to do things all on their own will find themselves frustrated – and never reach their goals.
A REALTOR® provides benefits you won't want to pass up. They include: