1: DEFINE NEEDS/WANTS
You’ve decided to sell your home. What do you think your home is worth and what price do you expect to sell it for? How long do you expect the sale process to take? What is the time frame in which you would like to sell? Are you planning to purchase another property before selling your current home or do you need to sell first? These are all questions that are important in order to make the sale of your home happen quickly and efficiently.
2: INTERVIEW AND HIRE AN EXPERIENCED LAKE AGENT
The agent that you hire has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for you and your best interests. Discuss your needs and wants as well as your expectations with the prospective Realtor and find the right one that suits you. Make sure your agent is someone that you trust and will enjoy working with because you will be dealing with them regularly until the property is sold. Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.
Read my articles on How to Hire A Lake Agent and Selling Your Home? Why To List with A Licensed Realtor for more details on finding the right agent for you.
3: PRICING STRATEGY
Work with your agent to determine the best possible asking price for your home. Ask your agent to provide recent comps to determine the sales price vs. original list price ratio (ie. Asking price was $500,000 and it closed for $475,000 – this would be a 95% ratio – you can read more here). Knowing the average ratio will help you determine what final price you can expect and help with negotiations. Average days on market of comps is also very important. If the best comps were on the market on 5 days then you should be prepared to move quickly. If the comps were on the market for 6 months then chances are it will take some time for your home to sell. Other considerations include overall condition of your home.
Be reasonable with the asking price that you choose and open to suggestions from your Realtor. This is their job and if they are experienced lake agents they have a wealth of knowledge in pricing homes. It will also keep frustrations low and allow the property to sell in a timely manner.
4: PREPARE YOUR HOME
Ask your agent to walk through your home with you and make a “to do” list to prepare it to be in perfect showing condition. Your agent may even want to rearrange some furniture to show off the selling points of a home. Sometimes your agent will suggest hiring a qualified stager to help you take a fresh look at your home. Staging your home will impact how quickly it sells and get you the best offer. You can make the rooms looks larger by doing some decluttering. Clean up the yard and fix rotted wood on the exterior. Pressure wash and get a fresh coat of paint if necessary. Clean up and pressure wash the dock if necessary. You may want to consider doing a pre listing inspection which will help you identify any issues before you put your home on the market. Take your agents advice and it will pay off!
Below is a list of some common things that you can do to prepare your home.
- Make your interior appear more spacious by removing small appliances from countertops, and clearing knickknacks off coffee tables and shelves.
- Organize your closets, pantry and kitchen cabinets.
- Make sure items stored in the attic or basement are neatly stacked and tidy.
- Open the curtains or blinds during the day to maximize the natural light.
- Turn on the lights to create a bright and welcoming environment for prospective buyers.
- Paint brightly colored or dark walls a neutral color. Your agent can help you with color choices. This can help the buyer to visualize the home as theirs.
5: LIST YOUR HOME/MARKETING STRATEGY
Once your home is ready to show, it’s time to establish a marketing strategy with your real estate agent. Hopefully, your agent will expose your home to the greatest number of potential buyers possible. He or she will use a marketing plan that will bring not only the most buyers, but also the most qualified buyers to your doorstep.
A yard sign, flyers, and direct marketing are just a few of the many options available. According to the National Association of Realtors, 50% of buyers in 2018 found their home on the internet, so make sure you work with your agent closely to choose the perfect web marketing plan. Keep in mind that the first 2 weeks of your property being on the market you will have the most showings. Don’t go by the old saying that you should not accept your first offer – it’s not always true!
Make sure that your agent is providing you with feedback from your showings. It may tell you if your asking price is too high or if there are other repairs or updates that may need to be addressed.
6: RECEIVE AN OFFER
If your home is priced properly, staged and marketed well, you should receive an offer in a timely manner. If not, you may want to reconsider the steps listed above. Your realtor will advise you as to whether or not the prospective buyer is qualified to purchase your home and discuss the offer in detail.
Your agent will negotiate terms. Let them give you suggestions and let them be creative! Counter-offers are very common, so don’t be surprised when your initial counter offer isn’t agreed to immediately. Be prepared to be a little flexible on price, closing date, appliances or repairs.
After you accept the offer, it may be too late to make any changes. The contract, though not limited to this list, should/may include the following:
- Legal description of the property
- Offer price
- Earnest Money
- Financing arrangements
- List of fees and who will pay them
- Deposit amount
- Due Diligence/Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
- Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
- Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
- Closing date
- Other Special Stipulations
Remember that the legalities of this phase are very important. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away.
7: NEGOTIATE TO SELL
Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a mutual agreement. You real estate agent is well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. Your agent also knows what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Your agent will review the written offer with you to make sure you thoroughly understand what the buyers are offering and what they are asking you for in return.
Some negotiable items:
- Closing costs
- Appliances and fixtures
- Closing date
Remember…negotiating is not a winner-take-all deal. It is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.
8: DUE DILIGENCE
Once you accept an offer the buyer will conduct formal inspections and surveyed if necessary. If you didn’t do a pre listing inspection there may be repairs that are required that you were not aware of or expecting. During the inspection negotiations you will decide whether you will pay for all, some or none of these items. If this procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If you cannot agree on the items that the buyer has asked to be addressed, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. Depending on the contract, you or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or close. This is sometimes the most difficult part of the sales process for some sellers. Try to be patient and let your Realtor help you make the decisions during this process.
9: PRE-CLOSE PREPARATION
You will be contacted by the closing attorney’s office prior to the closing and they will ask that you give them information regarding loan payoff and other personal information. Make sure you do this in a timely manner as it could affect the closing date if you haven’t given them the needed information. A day or two before the closing the buyer will do a formal walk through of the home. Make sure you have completed all agreed upon repairs and the home is ready for the next homeowner. Begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so. Your Realtor should be able to recommend moving companies if necessary.
Now it’s time to transfer ownership to the buyer. Your Realtor will be present during the closing to help explain the process and forms to you and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last minute issues that may arise.
As the seller, you will need to be prepared to hand over the keys, garage door openers and any other documentation regarding the property that would be helpful to the buyer.
Be sure to understand the documents and ask questions. It is important you understand every document you are signing.
11: POST CLOSE
Congratulations on the successful sale of your home!
Now that you have closed, you may have already moved out or you must prepare to vacate your home in the time frame agreed upon. You should make a list of all the items you will need to do to turn the property over to the new owners. For example, make sure to cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable, etc., or if the new owner is going to retain some of the services, change the name on the account. The home and all items specified by the contract should be prepared appropriately for the new owners.
Selling your home is an exciting time, but a huge life event that requires diligence, focus, and big choices that can have lasting consequences, for better or worse! By following along with these steps and bringing in a licensed realtor who is experienced in selling lake and luxury homes, you can find the perfect buyer and get the right price for yours. If you’ve even considered selling your home soon, contact me today so we can make sure the process starts the right way and at the right time!