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How to Sell for the Best Price

Because your home may well be your largest asset, selling it is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.  The key to protecting and capitalizing on this important investment is being properly prepared.  Here are some tips to help you better understand the homesellling process...and help sell your home for the best price.

Understand Why you are Selling your Home

Your motivation to sell is the determining factor for how you will approach the process. It affects everything, from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you're willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale. For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would determine one approach. If you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer thus determining a different approach.

Before Setting a Price - do your Homework

When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.

Before settling on your asking price, set your lowest and highest selling price. Then check your priorities to determine if you’ll price high to maximize your profit or closer to market value to sell quickly.

Remember, though...real estate is about desire. A property is worth what someone is willing to pay for it!

Setting your Home’s Sale Price

The four primary criteria in determining your home’s value are:

  • LOCATION
  • SQUARE FEET
  • CONDITION
  • AMENITIES

If You Live in a Subdivision - If your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans, built in the same period, simply look at recent sales in your neighborhood subdivision to give you a good idea of what your home is worth. 

If You Live in An Older Neighborhood - As neighborhoods change over time each home may be different in minor or substantial ways. Because of this you will probably find that there aren't many homes truly comparable to your own. In this case you may want to consider seeking a Realtor ® to help you with the pricing process.  

If You Decide to Sell On Your Own - A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home. A search of county tax records can provide you with home sale information in its public records, for most communities.

Do some “Home Shopping” Yourself

The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and other features. Particularly note not only the asking prices but what they are actually selling for. Remember, if you're serious about getting your home sold fast, don't price it higher than your neighbor's.

Deciding upon a Realtor®...or For Sale by Owner

According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed who sell their own homes say they wouldn't do it again themselves. Primary reasons included setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints. When deciding upon a Realtor®, consider two or three. Be as wary of quotes that are too low as those that are too high.  

All Realtors® are not the same! A professional Realtor® knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan, and will provide their background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of their experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a good job on your behalf.  

If you choose to sell on your own, you can still talk to a Realtor®. We are more than willing to help do-it-your-selfers with paperwork, contracts, etc. and should problems arise, you now have someone you can readily call upon.

Appearances

Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and "feel" of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell.

Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn't work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you'll never know what turns buyers off. Remember, you're not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.

The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be intruding into someone's life. Avoid clutter such as too many knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are great for tips. 

You may not realize that odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they'll start being aware of odors and seeing stains that may not even exist. Don't leave any clues.

Invite the Honest Opinions of Others

The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don't be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home's good points as well as bad. Fortunately, your Realtor® will be unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable.

Sellers Required to Disclose

Effective January 1, 2003 Minnesota state law requires that all sellers of existing single-family residential property disclose material facts pertaining to the physical condition of the property.  Prior to this bill, only real estate licensees were required to disclose material facts pertaining to a property at time of sale.

The legislation requires that, before signing an agreement to sell or transfer residential real property, the seller must make a written disclosure to the prospective buyer. It must include all material facts pertaining to adverse physical conditions of which the seller is aware that could adversely and significantly affect an ordinary purchaser’s use and enjoyment of the property or any intended use of the property of which the seller is aware. The disclosure must be made in good faith and based on the best of the seller’s knowledge at the time of the disclosure.

A seller who fails to make a disclosure and who knew of the condition is liable to the prospective buyer. A buyer who believes they have been injured by a seller not complying with this disclosure requirement may bring a civil action and recover damages, and receive other equitable relief.  An action must be commenced within two years after the date on which the buyer closed the purchase or transfer.

Negotiating an Offer

Keep your emotions in check during negotiations. Be detached, using a business-like manner. You’ll definitely have an advantage over those who get caught up emotionally in the situation.

Make sure your buyer has been pre-approved for financing, not just prequalified. Unlike pre-qualification, which is simply a quick estimate of buying potential, pre-approval is formal lender approval for a specific mortgage amount.

Frequently the initial offer is significantly below what both you and the buyer know they’ll pay for your property. Don't be upset, evaluate the whole offer objectively. Evaluate the terms, including offering price, earnest money deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, closing and possession dates, seller paid closing costs and any other requests. This can simply provide a starting point from which you can negotiate.

 

 

 

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©2016 SHARLENE HENSRUD, REALTOR licensed in Minnesota - 612.419.0560 - shensrud@homesmsp.com

RE/MAX Results - Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota - 800.875.6001

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A portion of every transaction donated to HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

HomesMSP.com provides real estate information for Baby Boomers, first-time homebuyers, relocation buyers, and move-up buyers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. We also offer resources and services for Baby Boomers moving to Minneapolis - St. Paul Twin Cities Minnesota and people age 55+ in third age transitions and retirement housing transitions, guiding home buyers and sellers through the process of selling and buying a house, townhouse, townhome, condo or coop at any stage in life. Sign up for a free weekly newsletter, get free Twin Cities relocation guides and free homebuyer handbooks. Whether you spell it ‘Realtor’, ‘Relator’, ‘Realator’, ‘Realitor’, ‘Realter’ ‘Realty’, ‘Reality’ or ‘Real Estate’, we’re here to answer your questions and help guide you through the process of buying or selling a home or relocating to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.