If you want to sell your home in 2012, it’s time to get serious!
Lots of people forecasted a housing market recovery would take place this year….that was about 5 years ago and 2012 seemed oh so far off!
But now 2012 is here….and that “recovery” doesn’t seem as though it’s going to show up any time soon. Instead, we may see even more depreciation, and then, hopefully, a leveling off of prices and some stability…but no one knows for sure, and there are many factors involved.
So if you are thinking about selling your home, seriously consider they whys and hows of it, and if it is the right time for you to sell, do it right! Here’s how…
1) Understand your local market. Look online, tour open houses, and hire a competent Realtor to do all of the research for you! It’s incredibly important to understand the competitive landscape so you can position your home right, which leads us to…
2) Determine if you may be in the position of a short sale, or even foreclosure — get help! A short sale is when you cannot sell your home for more than the mortgage you have to pay off, thus you will be “shorting” the lender. Having to sell in a distressed situation is difficult, but there are Realtors out there who can help you make the best of the situation. Nothing’s worse than hiding your head in the sand and ignoring the situation, so take action!
3) Price your home right from the start. Your first few weeks on the market are important – you are only the “belle of the ball” once, and this is when all of the neighborhood agents will bring their clients through. If you don’t have your pricing right, you’ll miss that crucial window and risk becoming another stale listing. Don’t “just try” a higher price than your agent recommends; you will lose precious time on the market, and in the long run, you could very well end up getting more money if you price it right from the beginning. Remember that your home is a commodity, not a product. You can’t put in on a shelf and charge what you want. Right now, your home probably isn’t worth what you want it to be worth. With a 30% or so decrease in home values since the peak in 2006, everyone’s home is worth less. It’s not personal, it’s today’s reality. In this market, price is a seller’s most important weapon. According to the National Association of Realtors, of the homes that took four months or more to sell in the past year, almost half of their owners accepted less than 90 percent of the asking price. (And, many of you sellers will be buying also, so remember you can’t have your cake and eat it too – if you’re going to expect a discount when you purchase a home, remember that your buyer is thinking the same thing!)
4) Prepare your home for sale. My favorite word: declutter! Get rid of anything you don’t love, don’t wear/use, or don’t need. Just dump it or donate it. You want buyers see your house, and not be distracted your kids’ artwork or loose utensils in the kitchen. You’re going to purge when you move, so here’s a way to get a jump-start on it while making your home look better. The hardest thing for me was disposing of my kids’ stuff — here’s my trick: move it to “purgatory” for a week or so — if they don’t notice it’s gone, then get rid of it! Then get to fixing up your home: touch up any scuffed paint, replace lightbulbs (use the highest wattage possible), fix leaky faucets, have your carpets professionally cleaned, have the windows washed, re-stain the front door, plant some bright flowers (when it gets warm enough)…seemingly minute fixes can make a huge difference!
5) Understand the sale process. There are many steps, and many parties, involved in a home sale. I always see myself as the “hub of the wheel” — I’m in the center, and each spoke is a different person or entity involved in the process (buyers, buyers’ agent(s), title company, inspector, attorneys, mortgage lenders…etc). An agent’s job is to filter all of the information from each different party to their client and make it easily comprehensible. Also, ask your agent to prepare an estimate of closing costs so that your know what selling your home will cost you (http://hofmanonhomes.com/2010/08/19/what-will-selling-your-home-cost-you/).
6) Be flexible. It’s inconvenient to be a seller. You have to be ready to show your home at the whim of the buyer. That’s part of the process, so make peace with the fact that you may be asked to evacuate the premises (but only after leaving it looking neat and clean!) at short notice. If you get desperate, do what I did: throw all of the clutter and stuff you don’t have time to put away into a laundry basket and put it in the back of your car!
7) And, most importantly: if you do get an offer, don’t let ego or greed stand in your way. We all have an inflated sense of what our house should sell for, we all think our house is the “best.” And we should, we live there, it’s our home. But try to keep an objective view. Your agent should keep you updated regularly as to what’s going on in the market so you can make informed decisions when you negotiate an offer, and come away with the best results possible.
Want to read my Resolutions for Home Buyers 2012? Click here.
If you’d like to learn more about selling your home in 2012, contact me at 847.652.1902 or Stephanie.Hofman@cbexchange.com. Check out my website, Facebook page, or follow me on Twittter at @HofmanOnHomes.
This post is categorized under Real Estate 101, which shares insights, information and advice for current or future home sellers and buyers.