FAQ for Sellers
Your best first step is to clarify your needs and goals. Will you relocate across town or across the country? Upsize or downsize? Is there a life change ahead – marriage, a new job or a new family member?
Your reasons for moving will shape the plans and timeline for selling your home.
Moving is stressful under any circumstances but especially so if you have to. Mapping out a plan for selling quickly at a good price can help you to feel more confident and at ease.
If you can choose when to move, so much the better. Starting several months out is ideal – giving you time to prepare your house for the market, line up financing if you will buy again, and begin the search for your next home.
Once you’ve established the why and the when, consult a realtor for expert advice.
It’s important to see your home with fresh eyes – the way a buyer would. Visiting open houses in your area helps you gauge the competition and get ideas on how best to present your own.
The appeal of any house is enhanced by the 4 D’s. These steps help buyers to imagine living in the space.
- Deep cleaning
If your home hasn’t been improved for several years and you have time and money, cosmetic updates will help you sell faster and for a higher price. New paint and refinished or re-carpeted floors usually give the best return. A little landscaping can do a lot for curb appeal. And refreshing kitchens and baths is also a good investment.
Taking care of any minor repairs is important for first impressions. And major repairs, though costly, can mean the difference between selling or not. The main systems in your home – electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling/ventilation – should be in good working order as well as major appliances. There should be no threats to the structural integrity of your home, such as a failing roof or moisture in your crawlspace or basement. If you choose not to make major repairs, you can set a list price that takes their cost into account and let buyers know. Disclosure of known defects protects you from lawsuits; is the right thing to do; and heads off surprises, stalemates and breakdowns at the negotiating table.
The single most important step in marketing your home is pricing it fairly. It may be tempting to start with a high price to test the market, especially if a realtor who wants your business encourages you to. Don’t do it.
Research shows that overpriced homes stay on the market longer and sell for less than homes priced at or near market value. Buyers will either not view the home or not make an offer. The more price reductions and time on the market, the weaker the seller’s position at the bargaining table.
The list price should be based on a comparative market analysis. A good CMA will compare your home to similar properties in the area, including those recently sold, those currently up for sale, and those taken off the market because they didn’t sell. It should also factor in local market conditions. Are home prices rising or falling? Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market?
The CMA is an opinion and best approached as a range. But if you’re satisfied that the explanation of your home’s value is based on hard facts and sound thinking, it’s in your interest to act on it.
The first days and weeks that a home hits the market are a one-time opportunity. If the property doesn’t capture interest right away, that window is lost. So it’s vital for your home to be in the best possible condition, priced right and marketed effectively from the get-go.
A good realtor will develop and execute a strong marketing plan. It should capitalize on the most desirable features of your home and neighborhood. The plan should set a list date and work both backward and forward from that point. Every step in the process needs to be completed at the right time.
- Taking professional photos and, for some properties, creating a virtual tour
- Installing a yard sign and a passcode-protected lockbox
- Preparing the listing for Portland Metro’s Regional Multiple Listing Service
- Creating professional color flyers
- Syndicating the listing on the brokerage and agent’s site as well as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and a host of others
- Researching the market to identify potential buyers and target them for direct mail
- Placing newspaper ads
- Sending out “Just Listed” postcards to neighbors in the surrounding area
- Sending out “Just Listed” e’cards to all Portland area brokers
- Hosting open houses for brokers and the public
- Providing weekly progress reports on marketing efforts, including feedback on open houses and showings
- Conducting periodic reviews and adjusting the plan as needed