Selling Your Home – Frequently Asked Questions

Most people go through the process of selling their home only a few times in a life time.  With constantly shifting markets, along with the ever changing rules and regulations, the industry fluctuates on a daily basis.  Here are the most frequently asked questions from our sellers.
When is the best time to sell my home?
The answer to this question is “It depends”. Every market and house type is different.  Typically, the spring months are the best time to be selling a home.  This is a result of the fact that the majority of buyers are families with school aged children, attempting to get settled into a new home during the summer months.  However, if your home will appeal more toward people without school aged children, such as young couples, singles, or empty-nesters, this time frame is less critical.  Also, most relocations happen the first of the year, therefore areas with a large corporate presence see a boost in sales in December and January.
The key is to identify the profile of your most likely buyer, and then discover their ideal timing.
How is the real estate market right now?
The best evaluation of the market is in the Absorption Rate.  This is a factor of the number of homes currently for sale, compared to the average number of homes bought per month. A “balanced market” is when the number of homes for sale is 1.5 times the average homes sold per month.  When that number is lower, meaning there are fewer homes on the market, then it is a great sellers market.  More homes for sale means it is a buyers market.
What steps should I take to prepare my home for sale?
The best phrase here is, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.  When selling your home it is critical to put your best foot forward. Buyers have a lot on their minds in terms of getting financing, moving, and connecting to new neighbors. The last thing they want to add to their plate is the time and costs of repairs to their new home. Therefore it is important to clear out all clutter, make all needed repairs, freshly paint rooms, install new carpeting, ensure odors are non-existent, and anything else you need to do to get your home in move-in condition.
What should I disclose to potential buyers?
Everything will be found out through the inspection process, and at that point things can turn ugly if the buyers feel you have misrepresented anything. The time to deal with any potential issues is upfront, at the beginning.
How much is my home worth?
This requires a personal inspection by a realtor familiar with your neighborhood.  Zillow and other websites provide estimates on home values, and many of these are good for getting general prices.  However their pricing is based on an algorithm that assumes you have made no improvements since the last recorded purchase, and all homes in the area are of similar features and values.  The more your home deviates from these assumptions, the less accurate these estimates will be.
Why is the assessed value different than what you say my home is worth?
Assessed value is not the same as market value or appraised value.  Assessed value is a calculation by the county for the purpose of real estate taxes.  Typically they raise the assessed values every three years, based on their estimate of average appreciation across the municipality.  Your home could easily deviate from the averages.
How do you determine how much my home is worth?
This is a great question, and the reason it is important to use a realtor familiar with your neighborhood.  The process begins with a “comparative market analysis”, which is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6-12 months. The next step is where the true expertise comes in, which is making adjustments for all the deviations.  What is the impact of an additional bathroom, bedroom, garage? What is the negative impact of a busy street, power lines, trains?  What is the price benefit of wood floors, finished basements, larger lots, wooded lots, granite counters?  The answers are different in every area, and you need a realtor very familiar with the attitudes of the buyers to price and market your home correctly.
How long does the listing agreement last?
Most listing contracts are from 90-120 days.  At the Alfriend Real Estate Group, I give a satisfaction guaranty, which permits a client to sever the agreement at any point, for any reason, without cost or obligation.
How do I respond to low ball offers?
In almost every case, I recommend responding to all offers. Many times I have received absurdly low offers, and responded with a counter offer at full price, and had the counter offer accepted.  Just because a person is testing the waters to see if they can get a low price, it does not make them a bad person.  This is just business, so do not get emotional. Also, engaging with even a low offer allows us to call other interested parties to let them know we have an offer.  It creates an opportunity to get a multiple bid situation which is going to drive up the price.
What are seller concessions?
Seller concessions are when the seller contributes a percentage or dollar amount towards the buyer’s closing costs and/or pre-paid items.  It is normally done for buyers tight on the cash they need for down payments and moving expenses.  It is most often done with FHA mortgages, where a buyer can receive up to 6% of the purchase price towards their closing costs.  It can make the difference on the buyers ability to afford the home.  As far as your perspective as a seller, it makes no difference.  All that matters is your net proceeds (the check you receive at the closing).  All your decisions should be based on your net proceeds, not the sales price or concessions.
What are some common bank required repairs?
If a home buyer is obtaining financing from a bank, the bank will complete an appraisal.  When performing an appraisal, the appraiser is looking for potential safety hazards or concerns.  The buyer will determine in their purchase offer a dollar amount in which a seller is responsible to cover for bank required repairs.  Some common bank required repairs include missing handrails, broken windows, peeling paint, missing electrical covers, and roofs that are in very poor condition.
What happens if the appraised value comes in too low?
In addition to ensuring there are no safety hazards at a home, the bank appraiser is also making sure that the home value is at least what a buyer and seller agree too.   If an appraiser determines the value of the subject property is lower than the agreed purchase amount, there are a couple different scenarios.
1. Seller Makes Concession. This is the most common result when an appraisal comes in too low.  The seller must agree to sell the home for what the appraiser determines as the acceptable value.
2. Buyer Comes Up With Difference. The buyer must bridge the difference between the purchase price and the appraised value.  This scenario is fairly uncommon as many buyer’s find it hard to pay more for a home than their bank appraisal indicates it’s worth.
3. The Transaction is Cancelled. Unfortunately for both the seller and buyer, this is a common result from a property under appraising.  If the buyer does not want to bridge the difference and the seller does not want to make the concession and adjust the sale price, the transaction is cancelled.
4. Challenge Appraisal. This is not an easy task.  It is something that must be done with much care and consideration, otherwise the chances of an appraised value being changed, is slim.
What is a sale-of-home contingency?
Some buyer’s decide when buying a home they would like to find a suitable property before selling their existing home.  Therefore they write an offer on your home subject to the successful sale of their home.  In almost every case I advise against accepting these offers (although there are always exceptions).  The problem is that you have no control over the sale of the buyers home.  You cannot force them to make improvements, drop the price, or stage the home.
The exception would be if the offer is very good, you are not in a hurry to sell, and their home is a style and in a location that would expect a far faster sale than yours.
How does the inspection phase work?
Inspections are a common contingency that buyer’s make their purchase offers subject to.  There are many different types of inspections and tests that a buyer has the right to perform.  In most cases, inspections are at the expense of the buyer.  They have a specified number of days to complete the inspections and also a specified number of days to either remove the inspection contingencies or request the seller address findings from the inspections.
What are the common closing expenses for home sellers?
We will provide you with a net proceeds sheet that items out the closing costs.  Also, we have on our website a form that allows you to create your own net sheet. In general terms, the total costs will be the realtor commission, plus an additional 1%-1 ½% to cover all title closing fees.
Should I include appliances or leave them as negotiable?
Every market is different, and everything is negotiable.  That being said, in the central Ohio market, the buyers expectation will be that all kitchen appliances remain with the home.  Washers and dryers usually do not.
How do you plan on marketing my home?
All of our marketing plans are custom designed for the home, and you will be provided a comprehensive marketing plan at the time of the listing.
Can you recommend service providers who maybe needed throughout the transaction?
Yes.  In fact, on our website we list resources for everything you will need related to your home.  It is our own personal version of “Angie’s List” for our clients.
How frequently and by which methods do you communicate with your home sellers?
At a minimum, we are communicating twice a week.  We review all traffic, and comments from the traffic, every Sunday at days end.  This is a written report, emailed to you.  On Wednesdays, I meet with my marking staff to review every listing, the status of interested parties, and any changes in the market conditions.  I then contact you after that meeting with our recommended changes in the marketing of the home.  Beyond those two meetings, we are communicating with you whenever there is relevant information to discuss.
What should I do to prepare my home for showings?
The key is clean, de-cluttered, bright, and with no foul odors.  Open curtains and turn on all lights.  If there is a pet, hide all evidence.
Should I be present during showings at my home?
Never.  The primary reason is that you want the potential buyer to freely express their thoughts on your home to their Realtor.  If you are there, they will not.
Will you be holding open houses?
There are three primary situations where open houses can be successful. First, the home must be easy to find, only one or two easy turns from a major road.  Secondly, it needs to have features that you really need to see in person to appreciate, such as a unique floor plan.  Third, they are usually only effective when they first go on the market.  Homes that fall outside these guidelines are usually ineffective open houses.

About The Alfriend Group

Kyle Alfriend has been selling and marketing homes for over 20 years, successfully selling and buying homes in a variety of market conditions. He has sold over 1,200 homes, totaling over $250 million in homes sales. In Dublin, he has sold more homes that anyone ever. He has represented the areas largest builders, built his own homes, and owns and manages several investment properties. He has been awarded the "Top 10 M.A.M.E. Award (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) by the building and Realtor associations every year since 1993. He believes that everyone deserves the very best in knowledge, experience, and integrity when buying or selling their home. The Alfriend Group was started 5 years ago as a real estate team of professionals, specializing in buying/selling homes, property management, and real estate investments. For more information, call us today at (614) 395-1776.

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