Now is the time to invest in real estate, or to get your home positioned on the market for spring!!
Interest rates hit a 38 year low this week!!! Despite the fact banks have tightened lending regulations, good loans are still out there. Bail out package benefits, government grants, 100% financing and a balanced housing inventory all equate to great opportunities for sellers.
List your home through a real estate company that is a member of MLS. The National Association of Realtors has done studies that prove homes listed with a multiple listing service sell on an average of 16% more than for sale by owner properties! The exposure to more buyers leads to higher sales prices.
Make sure your Realtor uses virtual tours, multiple photos, well written ads, all of the marketing tools, clean yard signs, flyer boxes on the property, uploads all relevant documents to your home on the MLS, and also ask to see a list of your Realtor’s education, designations, and production that portrays their dedication to working with you as a consumer. Also ask them to show you some of their previous marketing materials. If they cannot show you how many times your home is being viewed online, do not list with them. A great web presence is critical!! 82% of buyers in 2008 found the home they purchased online before they contacted the first agent or owner.
When the realtor lists your home, they should be prepared with the deed, tax records, listing contract, MLS data sheet, home warranty information, septic forms (letter already pulled from TDEC), utility bill form, sellers disclosure, lead paint disclosure, vendor lists, neighborhood restrictions, plat maps, comparable sold properties, and a solid marketing plan, in writing, for your property.
Communicate with your agent. Be sure to educate your agent on your current situation and relate what you expect from your agent to provide him/her with the best opportunity to service your needs. Also, expect a reasonable listing period. If we could beat the market, we would be on Wall Street or in Vegas. If the average list to sale time is 120 days, provide the agent with a 180 day listing to give them a fair chance to sell your property. Want a shorter listing period? Make everyone’s odds better by reducing your price. (Yea, I know, I don’t like to say that and no one likes hearing it either.) Remember! The more you make the more your agent makes! Your agent is on your side. However If your agent doesn’t do what he/she says they will do, (hence the solid marketing plan in writing), then you have the right to “fire your agent” or at the very least, light a fire under them.
It is imperative that buyer’s agents be offered a good commission rate. If your listing agent wants to cut their commission, let them, but make sure the commission paid to the agents showing your property is a full commission based on customary local rates. This keeps you on the top of the list of properties to show for the buyer’s agents. If you cut the commission offered to a buyer’s agent; you may never see one. Top agents in this, or any market for that matter, do not typically cut commissions unless they are given multiple homes to sell by one seller, or are going to sell that seller their next home. What a good listing agent does takes years of relationships, system development, and education. None of those things are cheap or easy. To work with the best you have to be willing to pay them. Commissions are always negotiable and I am in no way trying to fix rates or establish a common rate. I am merely stating what I believe is beneficial to sellers.
Price you home competitively! Everyone sees what they consider to be the advantages to their home and sometimes feel those advantages should add value. It’s the shortcomings that are often not taken into consideration. A good agent will point those out to you. They won’t be afraid of “hurting your feelings”. This is a business transaction and everyone needs a realistic expectation. If an agent lists your home and it is obviously overpriced, they are hurting the sale of your home.
Do not wait until it’s too late to call a Realtor if you are financially in trouble!!!! We can help you negotiate with your bank by discussing new loan terms for your loan, look at short sales, and leverage additional tools to help you – providing we have ample time work on your behalf!!