Sell Your Home with Less Stress

Selling your home takes a lot of hard work. After you’ve found a Sales Associate, completed repairs and staged your home, the rest should be easy, right? Most of the hard work will be the job of your Sales Associate, but you’re not done. Showing your home can take a lot of your time but it doesn’t have to cause stress if you have a plan.

How do I Arrange for the House to be Shown?

In addition to open houses, your Sales Associate will be bringing potential buyers to see your home individually. Let him or her know how much notice you will need prior to confirmed appointments and how you want to be notified. You will still need to be flexible since sometimes you will get last minute requests. Remember, even in the worst case scenario, a buyer coming to see your home is what you want. Don’t turn someone away because you’re afraid your home won’t be ready. If someone asks to see your home on short notice, they should understand that it won’t be perfect.

Most of the traffic will occur during the first 3-4 weeks, but don’t worry if you don’t sell your home within this time. Most houses have a longer average Days On Market (DOM). The national average was 66 days in June, 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors®. If you are concerned that you aren’t getting enough traffic after several weeks, speak with your Sales Associate about modifying your marketing strategy.

How do I Keep My House Staged?

One of the most stressful parts of selling your home is keeping it ready for showings on short notice, especially if you have children or pets. In order to sell your home, the buyer must be able to picture themselves in your space, but that’s hard to do if there are toys in the living room or paw prints on the tile. Hopefully, you removed most of the clutter beforehand, so there is less to clean. Still, keeping your home ready to show can be a challenge.

Find a place for everything

It will be easier to clean if everything has a home.

Leave no mess behind

Try not to leave anything for later, as you never know who may call between now and then.

Keep cleaning supplies on hand

It’s easier to wipe up a mess if the necessities are nearby.

Let your children help

Make a game out of returning toys to their proper home.

When in doubt, hide it

Only use this as a last resort, but items can be hidden in drawers, under the bed, in suitcases and in the trunk of your car.

Do I Need a Lock Box?

A lock box is a small electronic device that securely holds your front door key. Your Sales Associate will provide the box and attach it securely somewhere near your front door. Lock boxes have changed significantly over the years. They used to be small, combination boxes opened by a key to your home. Now, most lock boxes can only be opened by a real estate professional and, in some cases, an ID card is required. Many types of lock boxes will now record the time and name of an agent who is accessing your key.

Many types of lock boxes will now
record the time and name of an agent who is accessing your key.

How do I Cope With the Stress of Selling a Home?

In addition to keeping your house clean for short-notice showings, you must find a place to go during these times. This can also be difficult if you have kids or expensive if it happens often during mealtime. Planning ahead can save you both stress and money.

Run errands, visit friends, or relax in a park or your local library. If your showings fall around mealtime, instead of going to a restaurant, try packing a picnic or ask a relative or friend if you can use their kitchen.

It’s also ok to stay at home during a showing and, of course, you can say no if there’s an emergency. Sometimes things happen and we have to deal with them first.

Key Takeaways:

What is My Home Worth?

1) Most of the traffic will occur during the first 3-4 weeks of listing your home, but don’t worry if you don’t sell your home within this time. Most houses have a longer average Days On Market (DOM). The national average was 66 days in June, 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

2) If you get a last minute call to show your home, don’t turn someone away because you’re afraid you won’t be ready. If someone asks to see your home on short notice, they likely understand that it won’t be perfect.

3) Keeping a house ready for a last-minute showing can be stressful. If everything has a home, it will be easier to clean and leave no mess behind. You never know when someone will call.

4) If a showing falls around mealtime, try packing a picnic or asking a relative or friend if you can use their kitchen instead of going to a restaurant.

Content Provided by Weichert Seller’s Guide

Tips for Selling Your Home

Today, there is more to selling a home than listing it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and holding an open house. There are cost-effective tips for reaching more people to sell your home. You’ll be surprised how much your Weichert Sales Associate can do to help get the word out.

Do You have a Marketing Plan for Your Home?

According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home buyers search online during the home buying process. The internet has opened up the real estate market to a much wider audience. Setting up a specific website for your home and using social media are possible ways your Sales Associate may recommend for making sure the information about your home reaches the widest audience. Ask your Sales Associate about their internet strategy and work together to find the best way to reach potential buyers.

90% of home buyers search online during the home buying process.

Do You Want to Make a Video?

According to the National Association of Realtors® study, “The Digital House Hunt,” 70% of buyers who use the internet use videos to tour the inside of a home. A video can show details and flow in a way that photos cannot. Ask your Sales Associate for recommendations of professional photographers for virtual tours.

As with any marketing idea, speak with your Sales Associate first to make sure you are showing your home in the best light.

How can You Use Social Media Outlets?

Social media is another tool that can be used to reach more people in your local area. Discuss a strategy with your Realtor®. They probably have a plan in place and you may be able to supplement it. If not, ask them to post the images on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and any other sites that you feel might reach potential buyers. Depending on your potential buyer, this could be the best way to let the most people know that your home is for sale.

Do You have a Plan for Publicizing Open Houses?

In addition to the MLS listing, your website or social media pages, there is additional advertising online and in traditional media, like newspapers, for a special event like an open house. In addition to sharing the information with your friends, neighbors and online connections, speak with your Sales Associate to find what has worked best in the past and how you can help get the word out.

Who will Write the Copy for the Listing?

Most often, your Weichert Sales Associate will write the copy describing your house for your listing. Ask to preview the copy and discuss any ideas or features that you would like highlighted. Consulting with your Sales Associate will help you find the best way to showcase your house.

Key Takeaways:

What is My Home Worth?

1) According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home buyers search online during the home buying process. Setting up a specific website for your home or using social media as a hub can help you reach a wider audience.

2) A video can show the details and flow of a home in a way that photos cannot. Make sure your home is well lit and show both the inside and outside. Keep the video under 3 minutes.

3) Consult your Sales Associate about posting the images on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social media sites you feel might reach potential buyers.

Content Provided by Weichert Seller’s Guide

How can I Increase the Value of My House?

Speak to your Sales Associate: Weichert Sales Associates understand the local trends and can give you the best tips for getting the best return on your investment.

Get inspected: Presenting a home inspection to potential buyers makes your bargaining position stronger by bringing any issues with your home into the open.

Create space: The current trend is toward open floor plans and great rooms. De-clutter as much as possible and use light colored drapes or blinds to create the illusion of space.

Keep your landscaping tidy: The appearance of your home will be the first impression and having a neat appearance promises that the interior of the house is well-kept too.

Clean up: Neatness and tidiness give the home a more spacious, open feel. When things are clean, they look newer and more valuable.

Upgrade the bathroom: Some bathroom upgrades can be expensive, but smaller items like replacing faucets and cabinet hardware can give the room a new look.

Paint the walls: Neutral colors make it easier for potential buyers to picture themselves in your home. High traffic areas and bright colored rooms should be repainted.

Update the kitchen: Kitchens are often the center of the home and small changes, like changing the faucet or a single appliance, can yield big results.

Remove or replace any red flags: If you walk by something in your home and think, “We should probably fix that,” now is the time to do so.

Do I have any Contingencies and will They Affect the Selling Price or the Timeline?

Contingencies are terms in the contract that must be met before the transfer of ownership of the home can take place. They can make the sale conditional on inspections, insurance, financing, the sale of another home, and more. Both sellers and buyers can place contingencies in the purchase contract.

Seller’s contingencies that change closing or move-in dates are often enough to scare off buyers. Some people are patient and are willing to rent the property back to you. To facilitate the sale, both parties should try to require as few contingencies as possible.

To facilitate the sale, both parties should try to require as few contingencies as possible.

What is the Process of Working with a Weichert Sales Associate?

  • 1 | Meet with your Sales Associate
    He or she will come to your home to assess it and answer your questions about the current real estate market. Together, you’ll decide which improvements will increase the value of your house. Your Sales Associate will measure your home, take pictures and write the copy to publish when you are ready to list it.

  • 2 | Determine your selling price
    Setting the list price is very important when selling a house. A Weichert Sales Associate will perform a Price Trend Analysis*, a unique pricing tool which incorporates market trends to help you determine a fair price.

  • 3 | List your home
    Once you have made all of the improvements, your Sales Associate will prepare the profile sheet to list your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that all real estate agents will have access to the information about your home.

  • 4 | Showing your home
    Like your Sales Associate, agents from different companies will want to show your home to their clients. Your Sales Associate will coordinate these visits and host open houses.

  • 5 | Receive offers
    Your Weichert Sales Associate will be the facilitator of all offers from all potential buyers. He or she will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each offer, as well as any contingencies, and then deliver the signed offer to the buyer’s agent.

  • 6 | Go under contract
    Your Sales Associate will help you through all of the small steps that need to be completed for a successful sale. You’ll need to review the inspection. You’ll have to gather the correct disclosure paperwork, as required by law so the closing won’t be delayed.

  • 7 | Get to closing
    Your Weichert Sales Associate will be present at closing to walk you through the process and explain the steps as necessary.

* A Price Trend Analysis is not an appraisal and should not be considered to be the equivalent of an appraisal.

What is the Average Time for Selling a House in the Current Market? Is There Anything that can be Done to Change that Time?

The average selling time depends on market conditions. Your Weichert Sales Associate will be able to tell you the average Days On Market (DOM) for homes in your area. The pricing and the condition of your home will make a big difference in how quickly it sells. If you are selling a house that is similar to most of the homes in your neighborhood, priced fairly and presented neatly with an inspection to show that there are no hidden issues, it should sell within the average number of days on market in the area.

Does Days on Market (DOM) Affect the Price?

Although the number of days that a home has been on the market is just a number, it can affect how the buyer negotiates. If the home has been up for sale for a long time, they might feel that they can make a lower offer because the owner will be more eager to sell. Most MLS services list the cumulative Days on Market (CDOM), so it’s no longer possible to hide the number of days by de-listing and re-listing a home. Newly listed homes receive the most traffic in the first 30 days. It’s best to put your best foot forward by not listing your home for sale until you are ready. It also underscores the need to price your house fairly at the start if you want to sell it quickly and for the most money.

What are the Costs Associated with Selling a Home?

Realtor® commission
The commission is shared between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.

Your mortgage
The balance of your loan will be due at closing.

Prorated property taxes
You are responsible for the property taxes until you turn over the deed.

Title insurance premium
It varies by location. Either the buyer or the seller must purchase the title insurance.

Home inspection
It’s a good idea to have a home inspection before you list the house to show that there are no hidden problems.

Federal and local taxes and fees
These vary by state and municipality. Your Weichert Sales Associate can let you know the specifics.

Moving
Whether you do this yourself or hire packers and movers, there are costs associated with relocation.

Homeowner’s association fees
You’ll have to pay any monies owed to your HOA. Some homeowner’s associations charge a transfer fee.

Any buyer’s incentives
If you’ve agreed to pay any of the closing costs for the buyer or purchase a home warranty, this will decrease your profits.

What Does it Mean to Sell a Home “As-Is?”

Selling a house “as-is” means that the seller is not going to make any changes to improve the home. It also gives potential buyers the signal that there might be significant underlying problems and therefore should come at a discount. Most buyers will include a home inspection contingency, so having the inspection done in advance can work in your favor. “As-is” homes are not required to meet codes or to have an inspection unless the buyer has an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan, but the seller must still disclose all of the known problems.

Seller must still disclose all of the known problems.

Key Takeaways:

What is My Home Worth?
1 ) When selling a house, your Sales Associate can help you assess which improvements will increase the value the most.

2 ) If you are selling a house that is similar to most of the homes in your neighborhood, priced fairly and presented neatly with an inspection to show that there are no hidden issues, it should sell within the average Days On Market (DOM) in your area.

3 ) There are several costs associated with selling a home, including the balance on your mortgage, prorated property taxes, federal and local taxes and fees, commission, homeowners association fees and any buyers’ incentives promised during the negotiation.

4 ) Selling a house “as is” can save the seller money by not needing to make any repairs, but also sends a signal to the buyer that there might be serious underlying problems.

Content Provided by Weichert Seller’s Guide

What is My Home Worth?

Assessing the value of your home, your needs and your timeline can change a multitude of factors. How quickly you need the proceeds of the sale and the market conditions can help decide your path as you prepare to leave your current house. It’s a balance of current and future needs and the route you choose can always be changed until you enter into a contract.

Is It Better for Me to Rent My Home or to Sell?

Deciding whether it’s better to rent or sell will often depend on the conditions in the market, your needs, your timeline, sale prices and rental prices. Historically, owning rental property is a great investment, but it’s not without pitfalls. Determining whether you can cover your mortgage with rent and if the property will appreciate is a challenge that takes research and analysis.

Start by evaluating the current market conditions. Ask yourself the following questions: What is my home worth in this market? How much are homes selling for in my neighborhood? What is the average rent? Is the value of the house likely to rise or fall in the next several years? If it’s likely to fall, it might be best to sell the property now.

Next, analyze your current situation. How much do you owe on your home? Do you have enough for your down payment without selling it? Will the rent checks cover the mortgage? Do you have the temperament or desire to be a landlord? Can you afford to cover the mortgage if your renter cannot? Tax rules for landlords can be favorable, so what will the tax implications/gains be?

If you need to move on quickly or don’t have the patience to deal with potential issues, selling might be the best option. If you think that the house might appreciate and you can move on without needing the income from the sale to purchase your next home, renting might be the answer for you.

Should I Buy First or Sell First?

Current market dynamics and personality can influence whether you choose to buy or sell first. In a buyer’s market, sellers are less likely to have issues with contingencies and may be willing to take more risks to sign a contract. A seller’s market favors buyers who have already sold their homes and can make a cash offer. As for personality, some people like to know that they can sell before they look to buy another home and others like to know where they are going to live before they sell their current home. There are benefits to each. Speaking to a Weichert Sales Associate can help you better understand the current local market conditions and gauge a timeline for each option.

Before making the decision, the first question to ask is, “What is my home worth? The amount of equity that you have in your current home could have a large impact on the home that you are able to afford. Also, you’ll want to evaluate the mortgage for which you’ll qualify and your ability to carry those new monthly payments in addition to your current mortgage. It might also help to start to look for your new home. If you see a few options available that you can afford, it might be a safer option to put your home on the market.

Buying first offers the security of knowing where you are going before you sell your current home, but also comes with some risks. If you have very specific needs which could lead to a prolonged home search, like location, size, age or extended garage space for example, you might want to considerer finding your new home first. One risk is that it can be harder to get a mortgage for a second home. This can be overcome by using a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to cover the down payment, but this only works with significant equity in your current home, assuming you have the ability to carry new monthly payments in addition to your current mortgage. Another possibility is that you might feel pressured to take a lower offer on your first home to avoid being burdened with long-term debt that you cannot afford.

Selling first offers the most control. If the buyer is agreeable, it might be possible to rent back your home for up to 60 days. It’s always possible to move into another short-term rental, although that adds the stress of moving twice and storing your belongings. If you do choose to sell first, you will not need a sale contingency which means you will have more power when negotiating your purchase price.

What is My Home Worth?

Many factors influence the value of your home. When it’s time to set a price, your Weichert Sales Associate will perform a Price Trend Analysis* that includes local market trends and comparable recent sales so you can determine your home’s true market value by putting your decision in context. If you want to estimate a value before speaking with a Sales Associate, here are the factors to consider:

External Characteristics – Condition of the structure, lot size and exterior amenities, home style, the age of the roof.

Internal Characteristics – The number and size of the rooms, quality of construction, the age of the appliances, the age of the heating and cooling systems, energy-efficiency.

Market Conditions – The number of buyers vs. the number of homes on the market.

Location – The school district, neighborhood, proximity to public transportation or highways.

To gain a more accurate picture, find homes that have recently sold that have comparable lot size, home style, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, age and location. Details of these transactions can be found at the local tax assessor’s office, online and through your Sales Associate. Their final sale price will help you estimate your home’s value.

* A Price Trend Analysis is not an appraisal and should not be considered to be the equivalent of an appraisal.

Should I Try to Sell the Home Myself or Should I Work with a Realtor®?

In the industry, it’s called For Sale By Owner or FSBO (sometimes pronounced fizz-boh). There is no law that requires the use of a Realtor®, but many homeowners don’t realize all of the details that go into completing the sale of a home.

If you decide to go this route, start by learning the laws in your state that govern real estate transactions. There are state-mandated disclosures and rules about who can conduct the actual transaction and what to do if there is a delay in transfer of ownership. If you miss a detail, it could delay the closing and affect your future purchase and final sale price.

After you understand the laws, the next step is to understand the market conditions so that you can present your home in the best light possible and price your house accordingly. You’ll also need to prepare for showings, assemble disclosure documents, create and distribute marketing materials, put up signs, plan open houses and arrange for visits to your home around buyers’ schedules.

Once you receive offers, you’ll evaluate them and choose whether to accept or reject them or continue to negotiate. You will need a way to validate their pre-approval or verify their proof of funds. It will also be up to you to decide whether to continue to look for a backup offer. You’ll coordinate through your closing agent and be available for all inspections and appraisals. You’ll handle all last-minute negotiations over problems found during inspection and attend closing, possibly with an attorney.

Selling a home yourself is a lot of time and effort. Weichert Sales Associates start on the clock when you first call them to list your home and work with you through the closing. They’ll use their considerable resources, including in-depth understanding of the industry, the process and your local market as well as established networks of service companies to help you through this stressful process. What’s more, the risk is all their own. If they don’t sell your home, they don’t get paid.

Key Takeaways:

What is My Home Worth?
1) Historically, owning rental property is a great investment but it’s not without pitfalls. When deciding whether to rent or sell your home, determine whether you can cover your mortgage with rent, if the property will appreciate and if you want the challenge of managing renters.

2) In a buyer’s market, sellers are less likely to have issues with contingencies and may be willing to take more risks to sign a contract. A seller’s market favors buyers who have already sold their homes and can make a cash offer.

3) The square footage, number and size of the rooms, condition of the structure, lot size and condition, current housing market conditions and location factor most heavily into a home’s value.

4) Selling your home yourself can save money, but also requires a lot of time and effort. Without the help of an experienced Sales Associate, you can make mistakes that will either delay or stop the sale of your home or decrease your proceeds from the sale.

Content Provided by Weichert Seller’s Guide

Checklist when selling your home.

Everything you can do to present your home at its absolute best.

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, it’s important to take a close look at it from the viewpoint of a prospective buyer. Objectively evaluating each area and then making your home “show ready” can have a major pay-off in terms of the offers it will attract and how soon those offers come in.

Prepare For Each and Every Showing

  • Make your home as appealing as possible.
  • Remove dogs or cats to the yard or confine them in one area.
  • Open draperies and curtains and turn on all lights.
  • Play quiet, and low-keyed soft music.
  • Arrange fresh flowers whenever possible; if it is winter, display a color photo of your yard in full bloom.
  • Turn off all television sets.
  • If winter, light a fire in the fireplace.
  • Try to stay in one area of the house when it’s being shown or try not to be home.
  • Let the Weichert Sales Associate who’s showing your home answer any questions or objections.

First impressions count.

The Small Details: With the key steps in mind, take a specific inventory of your home.

Outside

  • Trim, weed and tidy up lawn and garden
  • Clean up pet areas; resod or seed
  • Repair screens, windows and doors
  • Add fresh mulch under shrubs
  • Add potted or hanging flowers to deck or porch

In The Kitchen

  • Clear away extra small appliances
  • Remove stains and items from sink
  • Straighten memo areas and remove papers
  • Clean and deodorize vent or exhaust hood In The Bathroom
  • Clean counters of extra toiletries. Store them out of sight
  • Remove stains and mold from sink, tub or shower
  • Patch, caulk and grout as needed
  • Put out attractive “for-show-only” towels

In The Living and Family Rooms

  • Rearrange furniture for a more spacious feel
  • Remove any extra pieces and store
  • Spot clean carpets or rugs
  • Have neutral paint or wallpaper
  • Accent with fresh flowers
  • Open the shades and drapes to let in light

In The Bedroom

  • Straighten up closets. Box and store clothing, shoes, etc., as necessary
  • Arrange toys to look appealing
  • Add curtains or valances to rooms without them
  • Remove attention-getting posters

In The Basement or Garage

  • Thoroughly clean and deodorize areas where pets sleep or spend time
  • Straighten tools and laundry area
  • Sweep floors; clean up grease spots
  • Get rid of any items you won’t be taking with you

Showcasing your home to buyers.

  1. Keep it uncluttered.
    It will be neater and look larger. You want to convey a spacious feeling.
  2. Keep it clean.
    This creates the impression that your home has been well cared for. Fresh paint makes rooms look clean and new.
  3. Keep it repaired.
    Fix it before the buyer inquires about it. The need for repairs can make or break a sale.
  4. Keep it neutral.
    Get rid of distracting colors and personal accessories. Neutral colors and simple decor help someone visualize
    their own belongings in a room.
  5. Keep it inviting.
    Make your home memorable! Fresh flowers and fresh clean smells make your house more attractive.
  6. Keep it light and bright.
    Open curtains and drapes to let the sunshine in. Turn on the lights so your rooms come to life.
  7. Showtime!
    Make a final check of every room. Put away any toys, clothes, food or other “left out” items.