Thursday, December 12, 2013

5 things I wish you knew (from your Realtor)

1. Want to sell quickly? Price it just under the market.

Sellers are optimistic on the value and price of their homes in today's market, but buyers are not. Your challenge as a seller is to price the house so that it is compelling.  For example- if homes are selling for around $350,000 in your neighborhood, price yours at $339,000.
If you think you are leaving money on the table, keep in mind that the longer a house is on the market, the less likely you are to get fair value.  If you're turning around and buying a home, and you already have cash in hand thanks to a fast sale, that puts you in a very powerful position.

2. The preapproval letter is just the beginning

The preapproval letter is just one of the first refreshment stations of the homebuying marathon, not the finish line. It is not the time to start running up the cards and opening new lines of credit to buy things for their home-to-be. Just before closing, a lender will re-examine a prospective buyer's financial situation -- complete with a recent copy of the credit history and other updated information.  If those numbers change for the worse you are looking at a higher interest rate or even a denial of the loan.

3. Selling a house usually takes longer than you think

Here's the breakdown:

• Getting your home in shape: two weeks

• Average time on the market (varies widely with location and price): 2 1/2 to three months

• Negotiating after an offer: one week

• Preparing to close (assuming a traditional transaction): 30 to 45 days  

4. Smell does matter

A buyer needs to walk in and have it look good, feel good and smell good. Here's a checklist for getting your home "show" ready:

• Home: Clean. (And smelling good.)

• Temperature: Heated (or cooled) for comfort.

• Lights: Left on to welcome guests.

• Snacks or soft drinks: A nice touch.

5. We don't make as much as you think

Chances are the agent you hire to sell your house -- or find a new one -- isn't getting as big a cut of the deal as you might think. Usually the two sides (seller's agent and buyer's agent) will split the total commission, but then those agents, in turn, each split their share with their broker. The idea that agents are getting all or even half the commission is a big misconception.

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