Once you have decided to explore selling your property the first step should be a meeting with your seller’s agent (called a listing agent) to undertake a needs analysis. This includes determining when and how a sale would take place. Do you need a rent back or do you need to make an offer contingent upon the sale of this property. All the details regarding the individualized situation of each seller should be explored including determining if ‘now’ is the best time to sell.
Part of a needs analysis for many sellers will include the potential market value of the property. Your listing agent will look at the property, the positives and the negatives. You will want an agent who will give you an honest appraisal of the property and some suggestions for things that make it more attractive to buyers in the market today. The listing agent will find recent sales of similar properties in like neighborhoods. This will give you a feel for the potential value of your house. But value is also a function of who is shopping at the time you put your home on the market. Remember the true value of real estate is the price a willing buyer and a willing seller can agree to after a reasonable market exposure. In summary you won’t truly know what the absolute value is until it is sold. Prior to that it is an estimate that your agent will help you get as close to as possible.
PREPARING THE PROPERTY
It is possible that as a result of your needs analysis there will be steps to take in order to make the home as appealing as possible. Many sellers opt to have a pest report done prior to listing their property and some will choose to have all ‘section one’ items repaired. This may depend on your agents’ evaluation of the current marketplace. You and your agent may reach the conclusion that the property would benefit from being professionally staged or perhaps a simple critical clean up of personal items would do the trick.
HOW TO MARKET
The most effective way to successfully market a property is to give it the widest possible exposure in places that buyers actually shop. Many agents offer to advertise properties in glossy magazine ads or newspapers. The reality is these agents are seeking to attract buyers, not necessarily for your property but so they can represent those buyers in the purchase of other properties. If they did represent them in the purchase of their own listing they are called dual agents, a strategy that while still legal in California it is definitely not in the best interests of the sellers or the buyers. When you choose Landmark, you choose a commitment to single agency. You get your agent and the entire office representing you in your transaction. To learn more about single agency, click here. Another practice by some agents is to try and sell ‘pocket listings’. These are listings that are not widely advertised as the agent attempts to sell to a buyer he/she represents. Again, dual agency is a practice that benefits the agent, but neither the buyer nor seller. You want your property listed where buyers shop. That is the MLS, the multiple listing service. All serious buyers are shopping here. You want an agent who will do a complete and through listing with attractive pictures and be readily available for viewing. Choose to use a Landmark agent to represent you and discuss which of the following strategies would be best for your individual situation.
• For Sale Sign, riders, directionals, if needed
• Box with color flyers
• Flyers in home
• MLS with pictures
• Home featured in mailer
• Postcard to local neighborhood
• Email blast to contacts
• Brokers open house
• Public open house
THE OFFER COMES IN
Receiving the offer, a seemingly simple process, entails quite a few steps. Your listing agent should review the following points of the offer with you:
• Ensure it is completely filled out to make it a legally enforceable contract
• Does it have a pre-approval versus a pre-qualification letter
• Does the loan appear do-able (one advantage of working with a listing agent who is also a mortgage broker is the ability to know what is attainable in today’s market)
• Has the buyer elected to agree to arbitration
• Did it come with an agency disclosure (required by law)
• Are the time frames reasonable
NEGOTIATING WITH THE BUYER
When it comes time to respond to the buyer, you will want an agent that has experience in contract negotiation. An agent who can clearly lay out the options for the buyer(s) and who can operate professionally while maintaining your best interests at the forefront of the process. Often times there are several periods of negotiation that occur in one transaction. It is very easy for clients to get caught up in the emotion of the negotiations. A good agent is able to view this as the business transaction that it is and take the emotion out of the process while protecting their clients wants and needs.
FOLLOWING UP ON CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS
One of the important features of any contract are the specific obligations outlined in the contract that call on each party to perform in certain ways by agreed upon dates. To remain in compliance with this legal document the seller has a certain number of days to get disclosures to the buyer, federal and state tax information, HOA documents etc. Likewise there are deadlines for the buyers to inspect the property, obtain financing and increase their deposit, among others. It is critical to have an agent representing you that understands the importance of meeting these deadlines and enforcing the buyers’ compliance. Use a Landmark listing agent to ensure professional, diligent and intelligent support.
After a review of final closing document it is time to hand over keys, review rent backs and resolve any last minute issues. Look to your Landmark agent to handle this for you and to provide any advice and help on the next leg of your journey.
We would like to be your agents for life. We hope you view us as a constant source of information and a place to turn when real estate questions come up. Don’t hesitate to call on your Landmark agent any time.