| 10 EASY STEPS TO HOME OWNERSHIP
Selling a home is a big decision and time consuming. Here are
7 simple steps to guide you through the very important process
of selling your home.
7 Simple Steps to Selling your Home
1. Planning and Preparation
2. Finding a Realtor
3. Establishing the price
4. Marketing It
5. Selling It
STEP 1: PLANNING AND PREPARATION
With over five million homes sold every year it all comes down
to one thing - getting the most favorable deal with as little
headache as possible. With more and more disclosure statements
and transactions required, home selling is becoming a more complicated
business than in the past. At Miamirealtyfinder.com our agents
want the best for our clients. Today real estate market is very
competitive and that's why we staff only experienced agents that
are trained in financing, negotiations, the real estate markets
Are You Ready?
The seller should start getting prepared several months before
the house is available on the market. Put yourself in the shoes
of a prospective buyer and take a step back to determine what
needs to be done. For example painting, repairs, a good cleanup,
and landscaping. Complete your project to be as visually stimulating
as possible to your prospects. You want to show a home that looks
appealing and maximizes as much space as possible.
During this phase of your preparation work also ask yourself
why you want to sell. Are you looking for a different community?
Do you need more space? Be sure to discuss the needs that are
most important to you with your realtor.
When Should You Sell?
The summer seems to be the most favorable time because parents
want to enroll their children for school prior to its start (generally
August). So, for the most part, most homes are more available
during the summer months.
How Do You Improve the Value of Your Home?
For the most part, buyers want to purchase the least expensive
home in the most desirable neighborhood that they can afford.
As far as improvements are concerned you want a home that fits
in with the neighborhood without being “over improved”.
For example: if most of the homes in a neighborhood have three
bedrooms and two baths - a house with five bedrooms and multiple
bathrooms (selling at a much higher price) more than likely would
be more challenging to sell. So stick with home improvements
that help to “show” your home like wallpaper, landscaping,
and paint. Also, be sure that all appliances are in good working
condition to ensure you get a better price on the home.
Setting the Stage” For Selling Your Home
A good first impression could be the difference between receiving
serious offers or your house just “sitting” on the
market. You need to make the best “first impression” as
possible so here are some tips for savvy home sellers!
Curb Appeal -The outside of your house is obviously the first
impression a buyer will have so keep the grass green, trees trimmed
and lawn mowed. A nice manicured lawn is a must, keeping the
plants blooming but the gardening equipment out of sight! Keep
the porch and sidewalks well swept and any exterior lighting
on at night.
Odor Free Home - Most of your potential buyers will be very
sensitive to offensive odors so it's a nice touch to add flowers
or air fresheners to your home to keep the air smelling clean.
It's a good idea to shampoo carpets (and pets!), change kitty
litter, recycling bins, trash cans and ash trays. You could even
bake a pie for an added fragrant touch!
Clean the Clutter - Get rid of anything in your home you don't
use even if you have to store it in the garage. A buyer will
not buy a home that they can not see! Too much clutter, crowed
closets and countertops overflowing with “stuff” will
not allow a potential buyer to see what they are buying.
Make Necessary Repairs - Fix all of the minor repairs that
you've put off for quite some time because a prospect will notice.
Fix burned out light bulbs, windows painted shut, leaky faucets
and appliances not in working condition. These repairs seem petty
but to an outsider this means you haven't taken good care of
Introduce Accessories - Set the table with your fine china,
hang out your “good” towels and make the spare bed.
Hang up fresh curtains and put logs in the fireplace. Get creative
and leave a nice stimulating visual for your potential buyers
to leave with.
Get a Buyer's Eye-View - Take a step back and pretend you are
looking at your home for the first time. What do you see? Is
it well-maintained? Does it seem comfortable and inviting? Would
you buy this home? Your answer should definitely be yes!
STEP 2: FINDING A REALTOR
Miamirealtyfinder.com is a good source to use when looking for
a realtor. Try to find an experienced local real estate agent
to assist you with the sale of your home. Even though over two
million people in the United States are licensed to sell real
estate, only one million belong to the National Association of
Realtors (NARS). NARS is known for its strict code of ethics
and have access to classes, seminars and opportunities in certifications.
How Do You Choose a Realtor?
* Search on Miamirealtyfinder.com
* Use local real estate magazines and newspapers
* Recommendations from past sellers
* Check the classifieds in your local newspaper
Here is a list of questions to ask when interviewing your realtor....
1. What type of representation do you provide (there are various
types of representation like representing the buyer or seller
or facilitating the transaction as a neutral party, etc.)?
2. What services do you offer?
3. How will you market my home?
4. What is your fee?
5. What happens if another realtor finds a purchaser?
6. How long do you want to list your home?
What to Expect When Working With a Realtor
Your realtor should keep you in the step by step process during
the selling process. Written offers are not acceptable because
they generally cannot be enforced. Your real estate agent, with
assistance from a qualified attorney, is trained to provide the
foundation for an actionable written offer.
The Seller Listing Agreement
A listing contract is a binding written contract that varies
state to state and you may want to consult with an attorney before
signing. Here are some basic terms to take into consideration:
MLS - A listing agreement allows your agent to list your home
in a Multiple Listing Service unless you have serious privacy
concerns. The listing helps your agent to market your home to
a wide range of potential buyers; the public does not have access
to this list.
Terms of Agreement - A longer term is beneficial to the agent
because this gives him/her ample time to find a buyer for your
home but if homes are selling quickly then you don't want to
commit yourself to this agent for more than a few months.
Lockbox - A lockbox is a small box attached to your front door
containing a key to the property. Any agent who has access to
this box can use a key or combination to show the property to
a prospective buyer.
Commission - Most areas have a percentage that agents expect
to receive although commission is negotiable. This percentage
is usually 6% but some will accept 5% and some will ask for 7%.
Keep in mind a higher percentage will give the agent an incentive
to market and sell your home quicker.
Why Use a Realtor When Selling?
The most important factors of selling your home is the best
price, speed, and little or no hassle. Coming to a conclusion
of a reasonable asking price is generally the first step in selling
your home. Your real estate agent should keep you up to date
in terms and conditions of competing properties, what's happening
in the marketplace and financing.
Exposing your property to other agents and to the public is
key to the salability of your home so marketing and advertising
is very important. Your media choice depends on the property
and specific market. However, The National Association of Realtors
reveals that 82% of real estate sales are gained through previous
clients, referrals, friends and family personal contacts, and
The negotiation process is basically the same for both buyers
and sellers. The agent can assist in writing a legally binding
agreement that can result in a win-win transaction.
*Monitoring, Renegotiating, and Closing
Many questions will arise between the initial sales agreement
and closing financing a glitch in the title or repairs. There
is a lot of paperwork involved so this can be an overwhelming
process for many sellers. Your realtor is a trained expert who
can help to resolve these issues in an objective manner.
STEP 3: ESTABLISHING THE PRICE
Market conditions and condition rates are a two of many factors
determining how much money you can get for your home. During
the time your property is being marketed is when you will want
to get the best possible price for your home. Let's break that
down. The art of selling a home is not only marketing, but part
science, and part negotiation. In real estate there is no black
and white every transaction is different so because of this you
must do as possible to prepare your home for sale and hire the
best possible agent.
What is Your Home Worth?
Somewhere between the price the sellers would like to get and
the value the buyers would like to offer is a point of agreement
resulting in a final sale. Here are several important points
when considering home value:
- Owner needs - If the home needs to be sold “quickly” this
implies to the buyer that the seller will sell for a lower price
and they may be right!
- Sale price is dependent on supply and demand - Living in a
community with a growing job base and limited housing supply
then sale prices will rise. Quite the contrary if the community
has a low job rate (or losing jobs) and people are leaving the
are then that's what is called a buyer's market.
- Local sale prices determine the price of your home. The cost
of one home in your area might have a completely different value
Who Can Help?
Experienced realtors at Miamirealtyfinder.com are active and
experienced in the local marketplace and can provide valuable
assistance in adjusting a proper sale price for your home, marketing/advertising,
negotiation, and closing.
How Much is Your House Really Worth?
The value of your home make an enormous difference when making
final financial decisions such as estimating your annual lproperty
tax bill, refinancing your mortgage and borrowing against your
equity. What you paid for your house originally versus the current
market is not pertinent the the current value. It is wise to
accrue information from various sources and compare rather than
using just one approach when determining the value of your home.
Start with a search online many web sites offer free home valuation
information. This way you can compare with nearby homes and market
activity data with a click of a finger. Second, call more than
one realtor. He or she will able to give you an estimate of the
value of your home given its size and condition versus the local
market condition. Another good idea is to attend neighborhood
open houses. This gives you an opportunity to talk with professionals
about local real estate. Hiring a professional appraiser may
cost a few hundred dollars but it may be worth it when making
a financial decision.
How to Price Your Home
Determining a sale price for your home is not as simple as it
seems. Here are some strategies to help you to conclude how much
your home is really worth:
Take market conditions into consideration. There are many factors
to consider when determining market conditions. Is it a cold
or hot economy? Are you selling your house during home-buying
season? Are rates attractive? These are questions to ask yourself
and do the research. Going to open houses is a good way to make
an assessment of how other homes compare to yours.
Don't let your personal views get in the way. Remember, a potential
buyer dos not care about your memorable moments or how much you
paid for the home originally. They are not interested how much
you invested in landscaping, painting, or the hardwood floors.
Calculate the price per foot even though this isn't the sole
determinant of the asking price of the home. It can, however,
be helpful when coming up with a starting point.
Sweeten the terms in the transaction. If you are willing to
close escrow quickly most buyers will jump in. Can you (the seller)
offer seller-financing? A lease-option can sometimes help first-time
buyers. The more flexible you can be in your terms the more successful
you will be when pricing your home to sell.
STEP 4: MARKETING IT
Every home is unique in the real estate market. Interest rates
are constantly changing and buyers are always looking for new
homes to buy. Because of these factors (and many others) it takes
skillful marketing strategies designed specifically for various
market conditions. Once your home is listed it will more than
likely be listed with MLS so other brokers with now have access
to your information. A realtor's work is usually quiet and unseen
but very important. He/she may be marketing your property through
web postings, open-house, and new listing announcements. Radio,
television and real estate guide are other good sources of marketing
used by real estate agents. Some even use brochure boxes or “for
sale” signs to advertise your property.
How to Hold an Open-House
Open houses are different in different communities, some areas
don't even use the open-house technique. In areas where they
are common, the broker advertises that the open-house will be
held for a certain time period (1-5 on Saturday) . The broker
generally hosts the function while the sellers leave the property
during this time. Children and pets should not be on the premises
during the open-house. Here, he/she provides information for
the guests and maintains a log of attendance. Once your open-house
is scheduled be sure to notify your neighbors. This warns them
in advance of extra traffic and also allows them to take a look
at your property themselves. Who knows, they may have a friend
the want to have take a look at your house! In preparation for
* Hang fresh towels in the bathroom
* Set the dining room table with your best dishes
* Be sure the air is fragrant
* Light lamps
* Pull back the drapes
* Light the fireplace if you have once
How to Show Your Home Online
The internet is a very modern source for advertising your home
and plays important roles in this process. Not only can you view
real state online but it contains information on local schools,
recent home sale prices, video tours and model forms. The internet
is also a good way to communicate through e-mails and instant
messaging. This way agents and consumers can share information
and questions with a quickness.
STEP 5: SELLING IT
Selling one's home is an important event considering the change
and transition. Also, a lot of money is involved in the process!
Going from the know to the unknown is a big step which can include,
new jobs, and new friends. On top of knowing all of this there
is still lots of documents to sign and issues to be negotiated!
The sale of your home is a very delicate process and needs to
be done right. Be sure to prepare you home properly and educate
yourself in the market to be able to weigh all of your options.
What is an Acceptable Offer?
Although it would be nice if there were a long line of buyers
at your front door trying to out bid each other on your home
- its not reality. There is a balance between the buyers and
the sellers. Here is a list of factors determining whether a
buyer's offer is acceptable:
* What if there are no other offers?
* What if there are multiple offers?
* Is the offer near or at asking price?
* Is there an alternative to the buyer's offer?
* How long do you have to wait for the offers?
* Has the buyer accepted asking price?
Your real estate agent will be helpful in determining what is
an acceptable offer according to your needs. The agent will take
into consideration the marketplace options and carefully review
the offers making a determination of what is acceptable.
What is a Counter-Offer?
For the most part, once you have made your home available for
sale you are making an offer to buyers. For a certain dollar
amount and with some terms you can acquire the home and the buyers
have several options. The buyers can be a.) not interested at
all b.)we'll buy it on the seller's terms c.) interested but
here is our counter-offer.
A counter-offer is merely a new offer, one that the buyer deems
more fit. And the seller has three options as did the buyer a.)
accept the offer b.) turn down the offer c.) make another counter-offer!
This is the part where negotiation comes in.
How to Negotiate
Some believe that in the outcome of a negotiation there is a
winner and there is a loser. But others believe in a “win-win” situation
where each party feels like they came out happy with what they
wanted but this action takes compromise. Each party should be
treated with respect and owners should never lose sight of their
baseline transaction requirements or their best interest. These
are rules to live by when negotiating with the other party and
The Bottom Line on Contract Negotiations
* What happens if either side breaches the contract?
* What are the estimated transaction costs and who will pay for what?
* Is there a mortgage financing contingency and how specific is it?
* What appliance, furniture or fixtures are being sold with the property?
* How much money is the buyer putting into escrow and how soon?
Negotiation Terms and Conditions
There is a lot involved in a real estate purchase agreement
and the terms and conditions need to be at a level that is up
to par or you won't want to accept the conditions. On a whole,
the contract is filled with a lot of legal terminology, its complicated
and packed full of information. It is important that you take
your time and read it word for word and thoroughly. Have your
lawyer or agent answer any and all of your questions regarding
this document. Remember to be flexible with your conditions but
keep in mind these five points that need attention:
1. If repairs are needed, who is responsible for paying for
them to be fixed after inspection?
2. Will a home warranty plan be purchased?
3. What are the cutoff dates for inspection approvals and reports?
4. When is escrow expected to close?
5. Is the seller making any warranties regarding the condition of the property?
(roof, central heating, etc.)
What if a buyer wants you, the seller, to finance part of the
purchase price by “carrying back” a loan? The answer
to this lies in your own financial situation. This is a good
idea for a seller who wants a streamline of money over a period
of time rather than one lump sum. If this is an option for you
- you should consider these factors first:
* Call your accountant or attorney
* Hire a servicer
* Think like a banker
* Set a shorter term
* Get a contingency in writing
* Consider the collateral
Picking the Best Offer
Currently we live in a strong real estate market so sellers
can expect to receive many offers for the home. This is a good
example of economic realities that appear when the supply of
homes is limited and the demand for homes is strong. The good
thing about this for sellers is that they can push up the price
of the home and create a bidding war. Being prepared for this
situation will enable you to make choice terms for the sale of
your house. You don't even necesarily have to pick the buyer
with the highest offer. That one might not have the terms you
want or be as qualified as others. Being greedy can backfire!
STEP 6: CLOSING
Some of the most complex part of the real estate transactions
begin after sale agreement has been signed and the selling process
is complete. The sale agreement contains a purchase price for
the property but also the terms and conditions. More and more
an inspection is required by a trained or independent observer.
A lot of times the contract even depends on the ability of a
buyer to obtain financing (which is why most sellers obtain a
pre approval letter from the lender). Also, the lenders have
requirements of their own before the loan is granted such as
title insurance to protect against title errors, termite inspections,
appraisals and surveys. Generally, the seller's agent will help
prepare him/her ahead for the closing.
When Should You Close?
Technically, with automation now available, it is possible to
close within a week. Just keep in mind that arranging financing,
financing, locating replacement housing, contacting movers, obtaining
appraisals, inspections and the actual moving itself is very
time consuming. Contrary, the problem with closing past too many
days is that loan rates are difficult to lock in and if mortgage
rates go up the buyer may no longer be able to afford the mortgage.
So with all things considered, most homes close 30 to 45 days
after the sale agreement has been signed.
What Happens at Closing?
Closing is also known as escrow or settlement depending on the
area. This is meeting where the agent takes money from the buyers,
pays money to the owner, ensures that the purchaser's title and
property liens are properly recorded. Any final “adjustments” can
be made at this meeting. The agent is then responsible for reviewing
the sale agreement determining what payments and credits the
owner should receive from the buyer and transaction costs are
paid such as taxes and title searches.
Your Home Inspection
The buyer had set an appointment for the inspector to arrive
to inspect he condition of your home and how well you've maintained
it over the years. Don't be afraid of what he/she may uncover,
with disclosure laws and customary real estate practices, here
are some steps to take to help the inspection run smoothly.
Don't block living areas in your room. If the inspector cannot
enter a room for inspection it will be noted in the report and
the buyer may question it.
Be courteous. The inspector is a paid professional giving a
fair assessment of the property - he's not there to find everything
wrong with the property. Tip: Don't be late for the appointment
with the inspector and keep in mind it may be a two hour process.
Leave the premises. Don't feel like to need to be home for the
inspection because you don't. Your real estate agent should be
familiar with your home and can act as your representative. Most
agents prefer that the seller not be present.
Don't follow the inspector around making comments. Inspectors
do not want to be followed around while you try to explain every
detail and aspect of the home. The time for this is once you've
reviewed a copy of the report.
Make agreed upon repairs. Some buyers ask the inspector to “okay” any
repairs that you agree to fix. The sooner you accomplish this
the better. If you wait till the last minute the buyer will still
have those items reinspected and this could delay escrow and
STEP 7: MOVING
From the smallest of homes to the largest, every home contains
a lot of furniture, kitchen items, clothes, and a lot of personal
items. If you are moving a short distance you may want to do
the move yourself but it may be worthwhile to hire a professional
moving company if you are going a further distance. Your real
estate agent at Miamirealtyfinders.com can recommend favorable
moving companies to assist you in this process. Try to weed through
all of your furniture and throw away any unwanted items. This
will minimize the weight of your goods thus minimizing the price
for your shipping! You could sell any excess goods or donate
them to a local group or organization. Some will even come to
your home to take it away for you. Remember to fill out the forms
at the U.S. Postal Services for a forwarding address and your
utility companies need to be aware so they can end your service.
Ask them about any deposits that should be returned to you.
How Do You Plan To Move?
Once you have sold your home you should start planning your
move. Some of these activities can actually assist you with the
moving process! Like cleaning out basements, attics, closets,
and weeding. If you do this now there will be less to do when
the home is finally under contract. Your planning will be determined
by a number of things. For example, if you are moving a long
distance you will probably be using an interstate mover and will
need a large van. If you are moving internationally you will
have to contact the embassy in Washington D.C. for information.
Keep in mind certain items may not be allowed in other countries.
Inquire about customs duties and taxes and protocols. If you
are moving locally (and moving yourself) don't forget tape, peanuts,
blankets and extra padding . Mark all of your boxes to make the
Who Should You Use?
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding who
to use for your move. Of course money is one of those factors.
You'll want to spend as little as possible but do not let this
be the determining factor of who you chose, this could be a mistake.
Be sure the moving company owns the proper equipment, the movers
are trained and experienced to do a good job. Always confirm
their credentials. Are they licensed and bonded (each state is
different)? Do their workman have workman's comp insurance? Get
a moving estimate in writing. Some organizations offer discounts.
Get a Checklist
Checklists are organized and make a job easier. Moving is an
enormous job so here are some items to consider:
* Keep your laptop and modem easily accessible during the move.
This allows you to still be able to connect to personal and business
* Keep address books nearby in case you need help.
* Make sure that historic or breakable/valuable items are handled and packed
* If your children are also traveling be sure to include toys, games, pillows
and extra blankets.
* Count the number of boxes when they arrive. Check them off of the list that
you made earlier, you can even check them off according to contents or the
names on the box.
* Medicines should be readily available during the move.
* If you are moving any type of distance be sure to have enough cash/credit
to cover food, lodging, transportation and travel expenses.