Stamford Home Selling in Ten Easy Steps.
The key to avoiding the problems and stress that concern many home sellers
is to have a system for handling all of the details. When you have a step-by-step
system, when you are armed with the proper information, all of the complicated
pieces of the home selling puzzle will fall into place. An organized, planned
approach to selling your home will eliminate the guesswork, insure that you
avoid the costly pitfalls, and enjoy a successful, low stress transaction.
To put the odds of achieving your goals strongly in your favor, you need to
know and understand the six-step home selling process. It has been tested and
proven over many years and multiple of successful transactions.
Here are some common steps to selling your home:
- Understanding Market Conditions
- Prepare Your Home for Sale
- Find a Real Estate Professional
- Prepare The Paperwork
- Price Your Home
- Market Your Home
- Respond to an Offer And Negotiate the Contract
- Complete the Settlement
- Closing and Moving
Taking the time to learn and going one step at a time will pay off big in the
end when you achieve your goal - a fast, smooth sale at top dollar!
So Where Do You Start?
Step 1. Understanding Market Conditions
The first step is also the most important. The one critical error that causes
more sellers to foul up their sale and lose thousands of dollars is failing
to understand market conditions.
You need to know exactly what is going on in your real estate market. Not just
your neighborhood, either
your whole area.
Research available, under contract properties, and closed sales to determine
vital statistics of your area such as:
- Average list price
- Average sales price
- Percentage of listed homes that actually sell
- List to sales price ratio
- Average days on market
You need answers to some very important questions:
- What is happening in Stamford area?
- Are home sales fast, or a bit on the slow side?
- Are there factors such as economy trend, interest rates levels, new businesses
openings or closings that are affecting our local market?
- Is selling the right thing for us to do?
- Is now a good time to sell?
- What if it doesn't sell?
- How much will we put in our pocket at closing?
The value of anything, including houses, is determined by the supply and demand.
If there are lots of sellers and few buyers, prices tend to go down and houses
take longer to sell. This is referred to as a "Buyers market".
On the other hand, if there are many eager buyers, but few homes for sale,
prices will rise and houses will sell very quickly. This is a "Seller's
Your area may be at one extreme or the other, but most likely is somewhere
Next, take a look at your neighborhood. Compare your home to others based on
criteria such as style, size, number of bedrooms and baths, garage, basement,
pool, view, lot size, etc.
You should soon get a good feel for what price your home should bring given
the current market conditions.
Remember: Keep your emotions in check and just look at the facts!
But where do you get all of this information?
All of the information about closed sales is public record, so you could obtain
it from your local city or county records. Or you can get a variety of facts
about Stamford's market delivered to your e-mail box Free without obligation
when you sign for my information services.
Waiting for a good time to sell your home - spring or fall if you can wait,
may help it sell faster.
Step 2 . Prepare Your Home for Sale
Getting a home ready to sell usually takes time. Buyers are typically ready
to pay a premium for homes that are in good condition. And for homes in good
condition sell faster. Plan to clean, de-clutter and make repairs to your home
before you put it on the market. First impressions are very important. Do not
expose your home until you have completed all your fix-up-for sale projects.
I have prepared for you a list of the projects that will not cost you a fortune
and will make you a good return on your short-term investment. You can use an
equity in your home and get banks money to pay for making your home more salable.
Before you're ready to put that "For Sale" sign, there is work to
be done to prepare your home for sale.
You would think that this is obvious, but an amazing number of people put their
home on the market without cleaning it up first. Pay special attention to the
kitchen and bathrooms.
Your home should be clean, but that's just the beginning. Odors from smoking
and pets will scare buyers away fast. Now is also the time to fix all of those
little items that you've been meaning to get to.
If you plan on doing some improvements before the sale, the best place to start
is where the buyers make first impression about the property - at your curb.
It is not easy to change the buyer's first impression, so try to make the "curb
appeal" very positive. That means a neat front yard, driveway, and a clear,
Freshly painted is a Big Plus.
Inside, first consider painting and decorating the rooms in neutral colors,
the most appealing choice to the greatest number of potential buyers. The biggest
return on your investment would be improvements to the kitchen, followed closely
by improvements to the master bedroom.
No matter how keen you are to get your home on the market, don't start the
marketing process until your home is in showing condition.
Eliminate it everywhere: closets, garage, attic, each room, yard, etc.
Inside and outside, start reducing the clutter. When it comes time to show your
home, less will mean more.
Arrange the furniture and discard unused items so each room appears as spacious
Check all closets to be sure clothes are neatly arranged. Keep as few items
stored in overhead shelves and on floors.
Keep kitchen countertops clean & free of clutter. Organize kitchen cabinets
So reduce the clutter now and it not only will make the preparation for showing
your home easier, it also will make packing for your move faster.
Step 3. Find a Real Estate Professional
While you can be tempted to sell your home yourself, it can be time-consuming
and often not worth the money saved on commissions.
For most people, their home is their biggest financial asset. But it is often
much more. It is HOME!
- It's where family gathers for holidays.
- It's backyard barbecues.
- It's where your child first rode down the driveway without training wheels.
- It's where you eat, where you sleep, it's where you LIVE!
- It's memories, good and bad.
Yes, most people get mighty emotional about their homes. The thought of selling
your home may bring on deep feelings of sadness, joy, fear, uncertainty, and
excitement - all at the same time!
This brings us to the first thing you're going to have to do in order to successfully
sell your home:
Realize that selling your home is a dollars and cents business transaction,
and you need to put your emotional attachments to your home aside.
This is sometimes easier said than done. Just try to keep in mind that potential
buyers are not looking to buy your home, they want a house that they can make
into their home!
You need to understand that the buyer is not interested in nor affected by
your own personal memories of your home. It's natural to feel like your home
is worth more than others just because it's yours, but DON'T FALL INTO THIS
It will affect your judgment and cause you to make poor decisions
that may end up costing you plenty!
Here Are the Six Reasons Why You Need a Real Estate Agent
- A real estate transaction is complicated. In most cases, buying or selling
a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents,
insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page government-mandated settlement statements.
A knowledgeable guide through this complexity can help you avoid delays or
- Realtors provide objectivity. Since a home often symbolizes family, rest,
and security, not just four walls and roof, home selling or buying is often
a very emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase
they'll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you
keep focused on both the business and emotional issues most important to you.
- Realtors have all information, tools, and methods to bring more potential
buyers to your house.
- Third party negotiation can get you much better price and terms.
- Realtors have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes
in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And
even if you've done it before, laws and regulations change. That's why having
an expert on your side is critical.
- Selling or buying a home is time consuming. Even in a strong market, homes
in our area stay on the market for an average of 45 days. And it usually takes
another 60 days or so for the transaction to close after an offer is accepted.
So choose a Realtor you feel comfortable with.
Once you've chosen a real estate professional to help sell your home, you'll
have to sign a contract stating that you'll work solely with this professional
for a six to nine months period. This means no other real estate professional
will be allowed to sell your home on your behalf during this time. Does this
agent provide you a risk reversal? Check my Sellers Gaurantee.
So put some thought into the professional you choose. The right agent will
help you sell your home in a timely manner and at a price that benefits you.
Step 4. Don't Forget The Paperwork
There are lots of forms and contracts used in the selling of real estate, and
you need to be very familiar with them. This includes purchase agreements, addendums,
cost breakdowns, title reports, disclosure forms, counter offers, and more.
We also have MANDATORY disclosure forms for property condition and lead-based
paint in Stamford. Failure to complete these disclosures can result in stiff
Among the things your need to prepare are:
- Property Taxes: Proof of property taxes paid.
- Utilities: Provide a record of the past 12 months' utility bills.
- Assessments or Easements: If there's a tax assessment or easement on the
property, documents stating such will have to be included in the purchase
You'll want to make it clear in your selling contract which items in the home
you want to take with you and which can stay behind as part of the home sale.
As your listing agent I can help show you which items you should put away or
replace before your house goes on the market.
Step 5. Price Your Home
There are a number of reasons why buyers pick the house they buy. They include:
price, location of the property, condition of the property, marketing the home,
terms of the sale, interest rates, economic conditions, time of year, Neighborhood,
schools, and proximity to work, shopping.
Of the above mentioned reasons, you as a seller have control over only PRICE,
terms and conditions of your home. So price it right from the start while it
is fresh to the market
Contrary to what many people think your agent does no control the price. We
also can not change location of the home, interest rates, economic conditions.
Six Truths About Pricing Your That Every Home Seller Needs To Know
Truth #1: Buyers buy after "shopping around". In their search
for the best buy they are comparing your property to the others currently on
Truth #2: Sellers control the Listing price and salability of their
homes but buyers control VALUE -- the Selling prices . A property is worth what
the market (buyers) will pay.
Truth #3: If a property sits on the market for more than a few weeks
it gets shop worn (stale... like an old donut). Price it right in the beginning
while it is fresh and buyer interest is at its peak.
Truth #4: Most properties must be sold three (3) times...
- First...to the real estate agents who have the buyers. If they don't see
it as a decent value, they may not show it and they will take their buyers
- Second... to the buyers. If they don't see it as an attractive offering,
they'll look elsewhere.
- Third... to the lender who will make the loan and the lender's appraiser.
If this group doesn't see the value... no loan.
Truth #5: What it means if...
- No showings: Agents don't see your offering as worthy of showing to their
buyers. Or, buyers themselves aren't interested enough to look.
- No Offers: Buyers don't see enough value to even negotiate or try to buy.
Truth #6: Overpriced properties actually help well-priced properties
Pricing the home properly can make a huge difference in whether a house is
purchased within the first several weeks of listing or sits on the market for
more than a year.
What happened when you overprice the property?
To price a home properly, you and your listing agent will have to study the
local market, research comparable properties and consider current market conditions.
The "comparative marketing analysis" (CMA) that I prepare for you
is based on:
- Your competition: Are there many properties just like yours for sale in
your area right now?
- Listing prices: What are other properties like yours listing for?
- Selling prices: What are other properties like yours selling for?
Based on the current market data, CMA, your goals, timetable I have the experience
to help price your property at the right price for a sale that benefits you.
Step 6. Market Your Home
Now that your home is ready, it's time to find some interested buyers to show
it to. The effort required to attract potential purchasers depends on the current
market conditions in your area.
Remember, you are competing with all of the other homes for sale, and the competition
is often fierce.
The key to avoiding the problems and stress that plague many home sellers is
to have a system for handling all of the details. When you have a step-by-step
system that you can sit down and implement, one step at a time, the entire task
of selling your home becomes much clearer and more manageable.
Your listing agent's major role in the transaction is to create, execute, and
control the marketing plan that benefits the sale of your property most. Creative
marketing plan for your property may brings a larger pool of potential buyers
and generates a lot of interest in your home. Please check out my marketing
plan as example of services you should expect.
You may even want to include a few lines about benefits of moving to this property,
such as good schools, convenience to mass transit and other desirable community
Step 7. ShowTime
Once you have attracted interested buyers, it's time to show your home. This
is where all your time and effort in preparing your home will really pay off!
OK, it's ShowTime!
To get the most out of every showing, there are certain procedures you should
follow, both prior to the buyers arrival and after they come in.
Shortly before the appointment, open all of the drapes and blinds and turn
on all the lights,
even in the daytime. Turn off the TV and put some
soft music on low volume. Set the thermostats so that it is not too hot or cold.
Clear the clutter on the kitchen counter, bathroom sink, coffee table and couches.
Make all the beds. Clean all your bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Do a quick
vacuuming of the entire house, being sure to catch any cobwebs in the corners
along the ceiling. Finally, take out the garbage.
Outside: Keep your lawn trimmed, the rose bushes pruned, the weeds under control.
Put away the garden hose and the tools. Make sure the bulbs in your home's exterior
lighting fixtures are all in working order.
If you still have pets in the house, get them out and freshen the air. Make
sure all of the beds are made and do a quick pick-up throughout.
Now leave the work to your real estate professional. Try to be away from home
during a showing, but if you happen to be home when the potential buyers arrive,
greet them at the door then politely excuse yourself. Be careful, knowing what
to say and what to do when potential buyers arrive to look at your home can
make a big difference. Always greet them courteously, and hand them a home information
brochure. If they are with a real estate agent, try to stay out of the way.
If you are selling your home yourself, casually guide them through your home,
starting with your homes most outstanding features. Stay with them, but give
them room to breathe, or you may make them uncomfortable.
Also, a few words of caution. People are not always who they seem, and you can
never be to careful. Stash all small valuables out of sight.
Step 8. Respond to an Offer And Negotiate the Contract
If you followed all preparation steps and set up asking price close to "Market
Price" you should receive one or more offers for your property from interested
buyers. Each offer will include the sale price, proposed closing date, proposed
move-in date, financing, and contingencies that may include an appraisal or
sale of the buyers' current home. Together we'll consider all the terms and
conditions to determine whether it is in your best interest to accept, counter-offer
or reject the offer.
If there are multiple offers, you don't need to decide anything until after
you've seen all the offers. If you do accept or counter more than one offer,
you are required to establish an order of precedence noting which is the primary
offer, followed by the backups in order.
Being familiar with the market conditions and knowing your personal motivation
to sell will guide you in the negotiations.
You really don't need to worry about a bunch of fancy tricks. Realistically,
if you keep your goals and purpose in mind, they will guide you to making the
right decisions during your negotiations with a buyer.
You will have three basic options when you are presented with an offer:
- Accept the offer.
- Reject the offer.
- Make a counter offer.
The price is always the focal point of the offer, but there are lots of other
areas that you need to address and pay close attention to also. When reviewing
an offer, make sure that every aspect of the transaction is spelled out specifically.
Details that are not clear or are left out can lead to big problems down the
Some of the items that you want to be sure to spell out in detail when considering
an offer include:
- Down Payment
- Earnest Money Deposit
- Is The Buyer Pre-Approved
- Interest Rate
- Closing/Possession Dates
- Loan Costs - Who Pays
- Closing Costs - Who Pays What
- Appraisal - Who Pays
- Home Protection Plan
- Inspections - What Type And Who Pays
- Items Included (Washer/Dryer, Refrigerator, Etc)
- Title/Escrow Company/Attorney
- Contingencies - What And How Long
The highest priced offer is not always the best offer. Before jumping to a
conclusion based on price, be sure to review all the terms of the contract.
The offer from well-qualified buyers who didn't have a home to sell real estate
agents refer to as a "clean offer." A clean offer is one that is relatively
free of complicated terms and conditions.
Contingencies may seem like a minor issue, but they can be a major stumbling
block. A contingency means that something else must happen in order for the
deal to go through.
A purchase may be contingent on the buyer getting approved for financing,
selling the home that they already own, getting a favorable inspection report,
or any number of other things.
For example, the purchase may be contingent upon the buyer getting approved
for their financing, on getting a favorable inspection report, or many other
things. We'll make sure that the contingency clearly explained, as well as what
specifically will happen if the contingency is or isn't met.
Seven Terms to Watch for in a Purchase Contract
- The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable
- Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable
- The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest money deposit possible;
since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a
good indication of a sincere buyer.
- Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects
to remain with the property and be sure it's acceptable.
- Repairs. Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you're
willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.
- Contingencies. See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract
is final-inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the
contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won't
drag on and keep your sale from becoming final.
- The contract expiration date. See how long you have to make a decision on
Step9. Complete the Settlement
Once you have accepted an offer to buy your house, expect to make your house
available to a housing inspector, a termite inspector and an appraiser. After
seeing the results of the inspections, the buyer may request additional work
is completed before purchase, such as repairing a damaged roof or fixing a leaky
faucet. You should consult with your listing agent to determine whether to comply
with the buyer's request or risk losing this offer.
In the meantime, the buyer is working with a lender to secure a loan for the
purchase. When the buyer has written loan approval, a closing date can be set.
There will be a final walk-through before all signatures are collected and
the deal considered done. The buyer will go room by room to check that everything
is in working condition and, if you had agreed to do so, any additional work
requested after inspection is completed.
Now you can prepare for your own move notify your utility companies of the
date to transfer your account to a new address and start packing.
Step 10. Close and Move
Closing I is a meeting at buyer lawyer's office in which you sign all the documents,
and receive a check! This is when the ownership is actually transferred from
your name to the buyer's.
Congratulations, you've sold your home!
Click here to check out the Moving
What You'll Net at Closing
To find out how much money you'll net from your house, add up your closing costs
and subtract them from the sale price of the house.
Closing Costs for Sellers
Mortgage payoff and outstanding interest
Prorations for real estate taxes
Prorations for utility bills, condo dues, and other items paid in arrears.
Closing fees charged by closing specialist.
Title policy fees
Transfer tax or other government registration fees