Selling your House

Selling your house is an emotional experience. Our Home Sellers Guide enlists tips that will assist you with this process. Your home is more than an architectural structure. It is an extension of who you are, representing your personality, style, and values. That’s why selling it can be such an emotional experience. But it can also be exciting and rewarding.

We can help you transition from the emotional decision to the objective planning phase by arming you with key information about the home selling process. Here we’ll discuss the four major steps in selling a house; Planning the Sale, Understanding the Market, Getting Your Home Ready to Show and Closing the Deal.

Make note of your questions as you read. Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate real estate agents are familiar with every aspect of the real estate transaction and can answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Home Sellers Guide

Planning the Sale

Although selling is generally less complicated than buying a home, you’ll still need to do some homework and planning to ensure you get top dollar on the sale. Here is a summary of the process:

  • Select a sales associate right for you.
  • Sign the listing agreement.
  • With the help of your sales associate, review the latest real estate market trends and determine the right selling price.
  • Estimate the amount you’ll make from the sale.
  • Review financing options available to potential buyers.
  • Arrange for inspections.
  • Make any necessary repairs.
  • Get the house in showing condition.
  • Review the offers you sales associate presents to you.
  • Close the deal.

Selling with a Professional at your Side

Once you’ve decided to sell, your next step is to hire a real estate agent to help sell your home. Given the complex personal and financial decisions involved, enlisting the help of an experienced and objective real estate professional can save you time, frustration and potentially thousands of dollars.

Some consider selling their home on their own. If so, ask yourself the following questions: Are you prepared to buy advertising space? If not, can you afford the time it will take to sell your house with only a sign in the yard? Are you willing to stay close to home for days, weeks, maybe months to show your house? Do you know the up-to-date ways to market your home on the Internet? Do you possess the necessary knowledge to answer buyers’ questions, negotiate a contract or close a sale? Do you know the documents and disclosures you are required, by law, to provide potential buyers?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, perhaps enlisting a Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate agent to help would be the most efficient way to sell your house. A Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate agent may provide the following services:

  • Access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which exposes your house to all cooperating member brokers.
  • Assist with pricing the house properly based on Comparative Market Analysis.
  • Provide a detailed marketing plan.
  • Screen potential buyers for financial qualifications.
  • Expose your home to potential buyers on, the most visited franchisor real estate website.* Ask your agent for our complete online marketing plan!
  • LeadRouter™ for CENTURY 21®, a leads management tool that enables sales associates to respond to buyer online inquiries within minutes.
  • Provide suggestions for making your property more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Show your home, with your permission.
  • Answer buyers’ questions.
  • Present all offers.
  • Facilitate negotiations.
  • Manage the closing process.

Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling your home, making informed decisions is essential. That’s why it’s so important to work with a top-caliber real estate company with a strong track record and an experienced real estate agent who will listen to your needs and walk with you every step of the way.

As the world’s largest real estate sales organization with approximately 8,000 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices spanning 45 countries and territories worldwide, the CENTURY 21® System has the track record, marketing experience and top-notch real estate agents you’re looking for. We’ll not only guide through the process, but we’ll also work hard to get you through your closing smoothly. We look forward to working with you.

When it comes to selling your home, making informed decisions is essential. That’s why it’s so important to work with a top-caliber real estate company with a strong track record and an experienced real estate agent who will listen to your needs and walk with you every step of the way.

As the world’s largest real estate sales organization with approximately 8,000 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices spanning 45 countries and territories worldwide, the CENTURY 21 System has the track record, marketing experience and top-notch real estate agents you’re looking for. We’ll not only guide through the process, but we’ll also work hard to get you through your closing smoothly. We look forward to working with you.

The Listing Agreement

A listing agreement is a personal service contract between you and a licensed real estate broker describing the property to be sold and the terms under which it is to be sold. You are appointing a broker to market the property for a specified length of time and agree to pay them a commission to bring an acceptable offer from a buyer.

Pricing your Home to Sell

Properly pricing your home is perhaps the most crucial factor in making a sale. If you set your price too low, you could lose thousands of dollars. If it’s too high, you may discourage potentially qualified buyers and risk having your house sit on the market.

The “right” price involves striking a balance among the maximum amount the current housing market will allow, you “competition” and your time limits in selling. Although the greatest amount of buyer activity typically occurs during the first three to four weeks, a reasonable time frame for selling a house may be longer. If a house is on the market too long, potential buyers may avoid the house, wondering if something is wrong with it.

So how do you determine the right price? Start by reviewing the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) prepared for you by your sales associate, and discuss the items in the next section.

Understanding the Market

Although you set the asking price, buyers determine the value. They’ll compare your home and your asking price to similar homes. If you’re asking price doesn’t stack up, buyers will quickly reject your property and move on to the next listing. That’s why your first step in determining the right price for your home is to have your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate real estate professional prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report for your home. The report provides details on recent sales of homes similar to yours, as well as the asking price of homes currently on the market and properties in your area that did not sell.

Once you’ve done your homework on the market conditions, you’ll also want to consider the factors listed below that may add or detract from the value of your home. With these factors in mind, you and your REALTOR® should be able to determine a fair price for your home:

LOCATION: What are the tradeoffs and advantages of your property? Is the house located on a busy street or is it on a cul-de-sac? Look at both your neighborhood and location within the neighborhood.

FEATURES: Does your house have specific features that set it apart from others, such as a spectacular view, pool or an over-sized lot. Remember, features that you feel set your house apart from the others may not always be a plus to potential buyers.

CONDITION: Has your property been adequately maintained? Are there minor or major repairs that could make a difference in the immediate sale of your home? Remedying these items now will increase your value.

AGE: Potential buyers will want to know the age of the plumbing, a/c unit, roof, appliances, etc. If anything has been replaced, this could add to the value of your property and your sale price.

CURRENT MARKET: Is today’s market a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. A “buyer’s market” means there are several similar properties for a buyer to choose from. Usually, interest rates are attractive, and prices are steady or declining. A “seller’s market” is the opposite. While interest rates may be low or high, housing prices are on the rise, and there are few houses to be sold.

TIME FRAME: How long do you have to sell? What was the average time on the market for a comparable home that sold? Can you wait while a buyer arranges to finance? Does your purchase of another property depend on this deal closing quickly?

Estimating your Bottom Line

Before you sell, it’s important to estimate the various expenses, for which you’ll be responsible, that will affect your bottom line. Besides consider any mortgage pay-off amount, any early pay-off penalty and the expense of home repairs you’ll need to make before listing your home on the market. You’ll be responsible for various closing costs including real estate commissions, repairs, transfer taxes, and pro-rated property taxes. Closing costs vary from area to area. Your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate real estate professional can provide an estimate of your settlement costs, although it is advised you should ultimately consult a legal or financial professional.

There may be tax implications related to the sale of your home. Tax information is subject to change. You should consult a tax professional specializing in real estate matters in advance.

Review Buyer Financing Options

When the time comes to negotiate a sale, it is best to be aware of current financing available to buyers. With the help of your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional, review the mortgage climate. Are loans in abundance or hard to obtain? Does your property qualify for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA) loans? Is your current loan assumable? Does the buyer expect you to pay any of the discount points connected with the cost of this loan? Determine your time frame in waiting for financing to be secured by the buyer, including alternatives.

Pre-Listing Inspection

To protect yourself from any potential liability, you may want to obtain a professional pre-listing inspection report to accurately disclose any health and safety concerns or adverse conditions regarding your property. In many states, pest inspection and termite reports, in particular, are required before a house can be sold. To find a good inspector, ask friends and business associates for referrals or get recommendations from your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional.

Getting Your Home Ready to Show

To get top dollar and sell quickly, you must prepare your home and property so that it’s in top-notch, move-in condition. Take a look at your house as if you were seeing it for the first time. You may not notice crowded closets and untidy flower beds, but potential buyers will.

Curb Appeal

First impressions are hard to break, and the way your home looks from the street (“curb appeal”) can make or break the sale. Does it look a little dingy or dull? Give it a face-lift with a good old-fashion paint job or power wash. Keep the grass mowed and the weeds pulled. Trim trees and bushes. Plant flowers to add a touch of color. Replace a weather-beaten mailbox, and add visual interest by positioning rocks and potted plants around it.

Remove grease or oil spots in your driveway. Make sure your doorbell works. Repair loose roof shingles and fill cracks in the walk and driveway. And once the potential buyer is out of the car, continue the allure with a friendly front door. Restore its luster with a few coats of varnish or spiff it up with a rich, new accent color. In other words, make your entire property a showpiece.

Home-Staging for Success

They’re ready to open the door. Is your home in order? Start by getting rid of the clutter (don’t forget the garage), leaving a blank canvas for buyers to fill in with their ideas.

Clear out closets and cupboards. Remove knickknacks from tables, countertops, and bookshelves. Remove all unnecessary furniture to make the rooms seem more spacious. Brighten rooms with a fresh coat of paint. Choose neutral shades of white, off-white, beige or light pastels that will coordinate with most decors. Give your home an open, airy feel by opening the curtains and pulling up the blinds. Turn on as many lights as possible.

Kitchens should be spotless. Pack up all excess kitchen appliances. Clean the oven inside and out. Run a lemon through the garbage disposal for a fresh smell. Make sure all appliances are working. Remove all magnets from the refrigerator door.

Bathrooms are just as important. Remove stains from bathroom fixtures, repair dripping faucets and polish mirrors. Add sanitizers to toilet bowls and keep lids down. Wash and fluff bathroom rugs, hang fresh towels. Potpourri and scented soaps add a nice fragrance to the air.

And as a final touch, appeal to the buyer’s sense by playing soft background music while people tour your home, and bake cookies, bread or apple pie just before they arrive.

Ask your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional for additional tips on getting your home ready to sell. Let your agent show your home for you. Potential buyers usually feel more comfortable when owners are not present. Your agent knows the real estate business and will present your property to its best advantage.

Closing the Deal

When someone prepares an offer, they advise your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional who then makes an appointment to present it to you (all offers must be presented to you).

Your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional will counsel and advise you, but the final decision will be yours. Review every offer, comparing the financial qualifications and readiness of each buyer. You may accept an offer as is, reject it or make changes and sign it back to the purchaser to see if they are willing to accept your changes. In turn, the buyer then may accept your changes, reject the changes or come back with a counteroffer. This process continues until the deal is agreed upon or negotiations are terminated.

Rest assured that your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional will be armed with information to help you negotiate the best deal. And for your protection, a deposit can be collected from the buyer before any acceptance of the purchase offer. A written agreement stating all conditions of the sale will be signed by both parties.

Once your contract is fully executed (buyers and sellers have both signed) it is time to sit back and be patient. The buyer will be busy arranging mortgage financing. The real estate brokerage and title company are beginning to accumulate data and prepare documents. Your Century 21 Schmidt Real Estate professional will track the progress of the sale. This is a good time for you to take a breather; start thinking about your next big step – moving into your new home.

The final closing day will be scheduled when all the steps are completed. Closing is when you and the buyer sign all the paperwork, pay your share of the settlement fees and the documents are recorded. Once you present an executed deed to the buyer and receive the check in the amount agreed upon, your house is successfully sold.

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