Sellers Tips

Planning the Sale


Start with an overall view of what selling a house involves:

  • Choose the best full-time real estate sales professional (does Phil Reith ring a bell?)
  • Determine and set the right price (critical!!!)
  • Sign the Listing Agreement.
  • Make minor and/or major repairs.
  • Clean and de-clutter the house.
  • Be patient while the house is shown and marketed.
  • Negotiate offers.
  • Close the deal.
  • Start moving!


List with an Agent or Sell it Yourself?

Once you have made the initial decision to sell, you will immediately be faced with another tough question – is it best to hire a real estate sales associate or try to sell the house yourself?

To sell and market a house requires specialized skills, is time consuming, and costs money. Are you prepared to buy advertising space? Advertising is one way to let the buying public know your house is on the market. If not, can you afford the time it will take to sell your house with only a sign in the yard? Are you willing to stay close to home for days, weeks, and maybe months to show your house? Do you possess the necessary legal and financial knowledge to answer buyers’ questions, negotiate a contract, prepare state required documentation and close the sale?

If you answered “NO” to any of the above questions, perhaps hiring a real estate firm to help would be the most efficient way to sell your house. They can be indispensable to you in the following ways. A real estate professional (sales associate) will:

  • Access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which exposes your house to thousands of cooperating member/brokers.
  • Assist with pricing the house properly based on Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
  • Provide and implement a detailed marketing plan.
  • Screen potential buyers
  • Show your home whether you are there or not.
  • Provide suggestions for making your property more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Answer potential buyers’ questions.
  • Present all offers.
  • Assist with negotiating the sale.
  • Facilitate the closing process.

In almost all cases, hiring a real estate professional will free you from a considerable amount of time, work and frustration as well as the inherent liability of such a major financial transaction and will almost always result in a quicker sale and for a higher amount than if you tried to sell it yourself.

Choosing An Agent:

Before deciding on a specific office, there are a few things you can do to narrow the choice. Ask friends and neighbors who have recently sold homes for recommendations. Attend open houses and ask the sales associate questions about the house. This will give you a feel for the professionalism of the company and its sales associates.

Finally, interview a representative from more than one firm. The following points should be discussed:

  • Are you a licensed broker or sales associate?
  • Do you belong to MLS?
  • How long have you and your company been in business?
  • What are your qualifications, experience, and education?
  • How many homes have you and your office sold in the past six months?
  • Do you belong to any out-of-town referral organizations?
  • Names of references whose homes you have recently sold.
  • How did you arrive at your price evaluation of my home?
  • How much can I expect to walk away with?
  • Explain the terms of the listing agreement.
  • How would you market and advertise my house?
  • How often will you communicate with me?
  • What if you don’t perform?


Pricing Your Home


Pricing It Right (CRITICAL!!!):

Determining the “right” selling price for your home will take some work. If the set price is too low, you could lose thousands of dollars. If it is too high, the home may not sell within your time frame, costing you time, money, and anxiety. Setting a price high with the intention of lowering it at a later date is also counterproductive…I call this “chasing the market” as you will invariably lose out on capturing the first flurry of buyers who look at your home. The “right” price is a balance between the maximum amount the current housing market will allow, your “competition”, and your own time limits in selling. A reasonable time frame for selling a house may be between 60 and 90 days. If a house is on the market too long, potential buyers may avoid the house, wondering if something is wrong with it. This is what is known as a “stale listing”.


Preparing to Sell




Of course, any major repairs should be completed before showing the house, if a top selling price is expected. Limit your repairs to functional parts of the house, such as the roof, plumbing, and major appliances. Cosmetic changes like new carpeting and draperies may not match your future buyer’s tastes and could even discourage the sale, however in some cases they can certainly help with the sale. The key words to remember in preparing your house are clean, neat and uncluttered.

Talk with you real estate sales professional and make a list of things to do to make your home show it’s best.


Inside of House

A coat of paint will brighten interior walls. Choose neutral shades of white, off-white, beige, or light pastels that will coordinate with most decors. This inexpensive investment will increase the outstanding showing potential of your home.

Clear out the garage. A two-car or three-car garage should have plenty of space for at least two cars. Have a garage sale or donate your unused items to charity. Clear out the closets. With less clutter, your closets will appear bigger. And more importantly, remove all unnecessary furniture to make your rooms seem more spacious.

Open the curtains and pull up the blinds. Turn on as many lights as possible. Good, bright lighting is critical to a successful showing. Give your house an airy look. Fresh flowers bring color, fragrance, and a touch of spring that enhances a room.

Bathrooms should be clean and neat. Remove stains from fixtures, repair dripping faucets, and polish the mirrors. Add sanitizers to toilet bowls and keep lids down. Wash and fluff bathroom rugs, hang fresh towels. Potpourri or scented soaps add a nice fragrance to the air.

A clean kitchen tells the buyer that the house has been well cared for. Remove excess pots, pans, bowls, and clutter from the cupboards. Clean the oven inside and out. Run a lemon through the garbage disposal for a fresh smell. Make sure all appliances are working.

When a sales associate is showing the house, keep children and pets under control. Also, turn off televisions and loud music. The noise may distract tired clients, causing them to overlook many fine features. If possible, light background music is helpful.

Finally, let the sales associate show the house. He or she knows the business and will present your property to its best advantage. In many cases, potential buyers will not thoroughly inspect the house if the owner is present as they often feel uncomfortable. Should you find it necessary to be there, let the sales professional do the talking and answer questions only if asked.

Outside of House

When potential buyers drive up to your house, what they see on the outside will make a lasting first impression. Remember…you only get one chance at a first impression. Keep the grass mowed, edged, and the weeds pulled. Trim trees and bushes away from windows. Place children’s toys in the garage. Plant some flowers to add a touch of color. If your house needs painting, do it now. A good paint job will more than pay for itself in the selling price. Try to maintain the neighborhood look when choosing paint; you don’t want your house to be remembered as “the home painted in that unfortunate shade of neon blue”!

Make sure your doorbell works and your door lockset opens smoothly. Remove oil stains from the driveway. Replace a weather-beaten mailbox.  Repair torn screens. Clean siding and outdoor light fixtures. Repair loose brickwork and fill cracks in the walk and driveway. In other words, make your house a showpiece from the curb to the front door.




Offers and the Escrow Process

All offers for your property must be presented. Your sales associate will counsel and advise you, but the final decision will be yours. Review every offer, comparing the financial qualifications and readiness to buy of each buyer.

When you decide what terms are acceptable, let your sales associate negotiate with the buyer. The sales associate will cover all costs you are willing to pay and what you expect of the buyer. A suitable deposit will be collected from the buyer prior to any acceptance of the purchase offer and deposited with the escrow holder. A written agreement stating all conditions of the sale will by signed by both parties.

Now comes the time to sit back and be patient. The buyer and buyer’s sales associate are busy arranging mortgage financing and property inspections. The real estate company and the title company are beginning to accumulate data and prepare documents. Your sales associate is checking on the progress of the sale. You can concentrate on the important matter of packing and moving to your new home.

Final closing day will be scheduled when all the steps are completed. Both parties must sign the final closing documents. Once you present an executed deed to the buyer and receive the check in the amount agreed upon, your house is successfully sold and closed.

Congratulations! Selling a house is one of the largest transactions you may ever undertake. But with some careful planning, and by following the steps I have outlined, it can be a very satisfying experience. If you have any questions, contact Phil Reith at RE/MAX Realty Affiliates today and see how quickly your house can go from FOR SALE to SOLD.