Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's A Seller To Do?

While considering the prospect of marketing your home, you know doubt have had several conversations. Some of these conversations with lay people and others with real estate professionals. During some of these conversations if not all, you may have heard the proverbial term “It’s a Buyer’s Market”.

The question that begs to be answered is “What’s a Seller To Do? While there are no guarantees, there are certain things that can be done to maximize the salability of your home.

Assuming that you don’t have a real estate professional that you have been working with, the first thing you want to do is to identify an agent that is familiar with you community. This can be accomplished by speaking with members of your community who have had a recent experience with a real estate professional. Additionally, most local newspapers feature articles written by real estate professionals, on subjects relative to the areas that they serve.

It is important to remember that this is a team project, the agent is just as dependent on you as you are the agent, in order to realize a successful transaction. That having been said, let’s move on!

After retaining an agent, the next thing you want to do is to get three references from you agent for a home inspection. Now you may be saying, “My home is in mint condition, I am meticulous when it comes to maintenance”. No doubt you have taken great pains to ensure that your pride and joy, is at its best. However, a trained professional is looking for more than what is on the surface. When was the last time you went up to the attic to check the sheathing and insulation or the basement to examine the interior of the furnace, these and other areas of the home and the mechanical devices will be examined by the professional. By giving your home a complete physical, you are able to be proactive rather than reactive. You see the buyer is more than likely going to have an inspection of the property. Wouldn’t it be better to know in advance of marketing the home whether there is a repair required, as oppose to the buyer’s inspector informing you of the need. Remember, first impressions are everything and our goal is to maximize the salability of your home.

Once you’ve received a report from your inspector and attended to any items in need of attention, it will be time to create your “Seller’s Disclosure Statement”. This is a standard boilerplate document in most instances, where you are asked to respond to questions about the condition of the property. Question such as: What is the age of the roof? How old is the roof? And so on. The purpose of the document is to give the prospective buyer an idea about the condition of the property, based upon your knowledge of the property. This document is to be made available to those who have made an offer on your property.

In the event that you are going to be selling a property that does not have a builders warranty, you can be proactive an offer a “Home Warranty”. This policy usually insures the mechanically devices, such as the furnace, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical for twelve months. The importance of such a marketing tool helps those with limited funds to make the decision to by a resale property as oppose to new construction or your resale over another that lacks the warranty. The warranty will allay any fears or concerns about the probability of mechanical failures, immediately after closing.

Now that we truly know that the house is in perfect functioning order, we must attend to the emotional side of the experience for the prospective buyer. You see the initial attraction to the property is based upon pure emotion. Have you ever visited a model home in a new development and admired the landscaping, as well as the interior furnishings? During the visit did you imagine yourself living in the house? And if you were in the market, wouldn’t you have made an offer? Well, you want to create that same wow factor for the buyers visiting your home. You want them to arrive curbside, anxious to enter, because the curb appeal foretells of the beauty behind the doors. In order to accomplish these two goals, you will need to get references from your agent for landscapers to give the exterior grounds a once over or a little sprucing up. For the interior, ask the agent for three recommendations for Stagers. Stagers will come to the home and either use what you have or a combination of new and existing items to help prepare the rooms to get that wow factor I referred to earlier, that showroom appeal!

Now your agent can conduct a market analysis of your home and help you in pricing the property for sale. It is always a good idea to have a lawn sign and a lockbox. Remember, you are looking to maximize your home’s salability. Making sure that people are aware that it is for sale and accessible to be shown are both moves in the right direction. A broker open house conducted by your agent will introduce the property to the real estate professionals; likewise, the public open house will introduce the property to the buying public. Another good tip is to allow these events to take place in your absence. Your agent will be seeking feedback from the professionals and your presence could inhibit people from speaking freely. Likewise when buyers are in the home, they don’t want to feel as though they are imposing, it precludes them from really exploring the house as a possible home. A trip to the mall or a stroll down the street, will allow for the perfect showing.

Now that the agent has assisted you in preparing the home, they are now ready to market the property. Your agent’s objective is to get as many people to view the property as possible; this is why you have hired an agent. To do this, the agent has a multitude of websites in conjunction with trade publications that can be used to market your home. Additionally, your agent can produce a mailing, notifying their sphere of influence about the availability of the property. This can be done along with a mailing to the neighbors, in the event that they know of someone looking to buy in your community. These efforts are supported by visual online tours and brochure boxes.

You have now taken the steps to properly prepare yourself to benefit from this “Buyers Market”, let the showings begin!

For assistance with your buying and selling needs, contact William Collins at 908-531-4979 cellphone or 908-490-2036 direct office line.