Are you thinking of putting your home on the market? Perhaps you already tried to sell your home with no success. Whatever the circumstances, if you are considering selling your home, you likely have many questions. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “curb appeal,” but have no idea what it means or maybe you aren’t sure how to decorate your home to appeal to prospective buyers. You probably want to make sure you get top dollar for your investment, but aren’t sure what steps you should take to ensure a successful sale.
To help you understand the home selling process and get the answers you want, We’ve compiled a list of F.A.Q.s – your most frequently asked questions. The answers provided should give you a great foundation of knowledge, especially when coupled with the other informational pages about home selling found on my website.
However, if you have a question not answered in our F.A.Q.s section, please feel free to contact us directly. I will answer your question promptly and add it to the F.A.Q.s page.
We welcome the opportunity to speak to you about the home selling process. We will make sure you are as educated about the process as possible. Together we can sell your home!
What’s the best way to price a house for sale?The key thing is determining how much your property is actually
worth on the market — called “appraising” a house’s value. The most important factor that determines a house’s value is recent sale prices of similar properties in the neighbourhood.
So, what will happen at closing?
At closing, you will most likely sit at a table with me, the
broker for the buyer, probably the buyer, and a closing agent. The
closing agent will have a stack of papers for you and the buyer to sign. While he or she will give you a basic explanation of each paper, you may want to take the time to read each one and/or consult with me to make sure you know exactly what you are signing. After all, this is a large amount of money you are committing to pay for many years!
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
How do I prepare to sell my home?
First, get psychologically prepared. Detach yourself emotionally
from your home and start viewing it as a commodity you want to sell. This is difficult for most sellers whose identities are often reflected in their homes. However, it’s important to be completely candid with yourself about how your home should look when it goes on the market.
Property appearance and condition play a bigger role in the home
sale process today than a decade ago. Today’s home buyers are usually savvy, choosy and short of time. They’ll pay a premium for homes they can move right into.
The probable selling price for your home will depend on various
factors, including: how many buyers are looking for homes like yours, how many other homes like yours are currently on the market, and the condition of your home relative to your competition. You can’t control the supply and demand factors affecting the market, but you can control how your home looks when it hits the market.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an examination of the structure and
systems: heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical, roof, attic, insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, foundation, and basement. If the inspector finds problems, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell your house, but you can be certain a buyer’s inspector will find them too. Finding problems before you list your property can avoid accusations of misrepresentation, low offers, and even lawsuits. A home inspection can also help sellers comply with new, tougher disclosure laws.
You may or may not want to make the repairs and you can always
adjust the selling price or contract terms if the problems are major.
This information will also help you determine what type of financing
will or will not be available for your home. You can find home
inspectors in the Yellow Pages under “Home Inspection Service,” or I, Doug Blackstock, can recommend several in your area.
Should sellers repair defects before selling?
After years of living in a home, it’s easy to fall into a habit
of overlooking home maintenance chores. If there’s no urgency, many homeowners procrastinate. Often problems don’t get fixed until a major disaster occurs, like a roof leak in the middle of a hurricane.
Deferred home maintenance can become a problem when you decide to sell. Most buyers want to buy homes they can move right into without having to make a lot of repairs. Sellers need to decide before they put their home on the market whether to fix deferred repairs or leave the work for a future buyer to do.
Usually sellers who have the time, money and inclination will do better on the sale of their home if they fix problems before they list their home for sale. A home that is in move-in condition is one that appeals to a broad audience of prospective homebuyers. First-time homebuyers, and buyers with busy lifestyles, often won’t consider buying a home that needs a lot of work. They haven’t the time or experience to deal with the problems.
I hear about "curb appeal;" what is it, and how do I create it?
“Curb appeal” is the common real estate term for everything prospective buyers can see from the street that might make them want to turn in and take a look. Improving curb appeal is critical to generating traffic. While it does take time, it needn’t be expensive, provided you keep two key words in mind: neat and neutral.
Neatness sells. New paint, an immaculate lawn, picture-perfect shrubbery, a newly sealed driveway, potted plants at the front door – put them all together, and drive-by shoppers will probably want to see the rest of the house.
Hand in hand with neatness is neutrality. If you’re going to repaint, stick to light, neutral colors. Keep the yard free of gardening tools and kids’ toys. Remember, when a family looks at a house, they’re trying to paint a picture of what it would be like as their home. You want to give them as clean a canvas as possible.
What should I do to make the house show better?
First, make your house look as clean and spacious as possible. Remember that people may look behind your doors – closet and crawlspace doors as well as those to the bedrooms and bathrooms. So get rid of all the clutter; have that garage sale and haul away the leftovers.
After you’ve cleaned, try to correct any cosmetic flaws you’ve noticed. Paint rooms that need it, re-grout tile walls and floors, remove or replace any worn-out carpets. Replace dated faucets, light fixtures, and the handles and knobs on your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Finally, as with the outside of your house, try to make it easy for prospective buyers to imagine your house as their home. Clear as much from your walls, shelves, and countertops as you can. Give your prospective buyers plenty of room to dream.
Should I make any major home improvements?
Certain home improvements that are useful to almost everyone have been proven to add value and/or speed the sale of houses. These include adding central air conditioning to the heating system, building a deck or patio, basement finishing, some kitchen remodelling (updating colors on cabinets, countertops, appliances, panels, etc.), and new floor and/or wall coverings, especially in bathrooms. Improvements that return less than what they cost are generally items that appeal to personal tastes, like adding fireplaces, wet bars, and swimming pools, or converting the garage into an extra room.
The challenge that comes with any home improvement designed to help sell your house is recouping your investment. There’s always the risk of over-improving your house – that is, putting more money into it than neighbourhood prices will support.
What should I expect from an open house?Another critical part of the marketing process, the open house offers prospective buyers the chance to view houses in a low-pressure, “browsing” atmosphere. With that in mind, you shouldn’t expect it to generate a sale, at least not directly. What you should look for is traffic, and calls for private showings in the days following an open house. Open houses are always valuable, even if very few people show up. Such a situation can indicate that the price is too high; it may also lead you to look for ways to improve curb appeal.
Visit our Selling page for other resources