Selling Your Austin Texas Home
The decision to sell your home is a difficult one to make. You want the process to go as smoothly as possible, and that’s what we offer you at Affinity Properties. We’ll help you correctly assess what your home is worth – a fundamental step in assuring a quick and profitable sale. We won’t waste time showing your home to buyers that aren’t really ready to buy. We will be there with you along every step of the way, from listing to close, so you never need to feel confused or unsure during the selling process.
Staging your home
One way to assure that your home sells quickly and for as much as possible, is to prepare it. First things first, clear out the clutter. If your house is so full that potential buyers can’t see it, they won’t want it. Moving time is always a good time to reassess your possessions, deciding what to throw away, give to charity, or even sell in a yard sale. Once you’ve done that, clear your house out even more. Box up all your knickknacks, and even consider putting some of your furniture into storage. Don’t just fill all your closets and storage areas with your boxed up things, as these are places a buyer wants to see, too. If your new home is a blank slate, potential buyers can imagine themselves there, and are far more likely to make an offer after viewing your home.
Once the house is clear, make sure it’s clean. Cleaning carpets and drapes improves the smell, as well as the look of your home.
Bathrooms and kitchens are huge selling features, so get rid of any mildew, hang out fresh towels, consider installing an air-freshener, and generally be sure these rooms look their best.
Finally, make sure the first impressions are good ones. Does your yard need a clean up? It’s worth it to do it. Make sure doors work smoothly and door frames aren’t cracked. Small repairs are worthwhile when your home is going up for sale. Also, if it’s been a few years since your home’s exterior was painted and things are looking faded and scuffed, the investment of a fresh paint job is almost guaranteed to come back to you in the final sale price of your home. If it looks old, buyers will offer you much less than they will for a fresh and tidy home.
Showing your home
Although you know your home better than anyone, it isn’t necessarily a good thing to have you there when your home is being shown. A qualified Realtor isn’t personally attached to your home, and will have researched the needs of the buyer, so will know best how to sell your home. It’s best if you aren’t home when your house is shown, or, that you stay out of the way unless asked to be involved. The same goes for kids and pets. Keep the environment as clear and quiet as possible so the buyer can envision what the home would look like in their possession.
Along the way to a Sold Home
Affinity Properties can help you with the entire selling process. We are there with you to assess your home’s value. We will market your home in our thorough and proven process, attracting qualified buyers to your home. We will show your home. We’ll be there to give advice on negotiating offers your receive, and help you understand all the paperwork involved.
The Selling Process
Decision to Sell
When you decide to sell your home, you’re taking a major step, setting a chain of events into motion, which hopefully will culminate in a successful sale and move-out. So it’s critically important that you have a clear idea in mind of WHY you want to sell your home, along with your expectations, financial considerations, goals, and your post-sale plans. If you don’t define these things for yourself before you start, you may go into the sale with vague or unrealistic notions only to be disappointed by reality. Of course you love your home, but you need to put that love aside long enough to view it objectively as an investment property you with to market. Put away the family mementos, if necessary, to clear your head. You’re selling a house, not your memories.
Property Preview and Needs Analysis
At our initial meeting, I will tour your home and we’ll discuss your real estate goals and plans based on your current situation and its impact on the potential marketing and sale of the home. I will then make an appointment to come back to your house to discuss your home’s value. In the meantime, I’ll be researching and gathering information on comparable homes in the area, recently sold homes, neighborhood values, and market brands. I will also factor in your home’s condition, street appeal, and age.
Setting the Price and Marketing Plan
“How much should I ask?” The answer to this question will set the tone for the entire sales process. If you the set the value too high, you risk scaring away qualified buyers and realtors from even looking at the house. And the longer the house sits on the market, the more people will start to wonder what’s wrong with it, lowering the perceived value further. Even if someone is willing to buy the house for an inflated price, if the appraisal value falls short of that amount the lender will decline the loan, and your sale may fall through at the last minute. On the other hand, if you lowball your home’s value, you could miss out on thousands of dollars that are rightfully yours.
You MUST get a thorough market analysis to prevent these issues. A simple price-per-square-foot estimate is not enough–you need to consider such variables as comparable listings, your home’s epical features, neighborhood and local school information, current market conditions, mortgage and loan availability, supply versus demand in your area, price range, and recent sales. I will then prepare a detailed Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) suggesting a price range for your property, and at our second meeting we will agree on a listing price.
We will also devise a marketing plan. What incentives should you offer to potential buyers? Where should you advertise? How can you sell you home for the highest price, in the shortest time, and with the fewest hassles? I will help you answer all these questions.
Preparing the Home for Sale
The attractiveness of your home to potential buyers depends on two key factors under your control–listing price and property condition. Once I’ve helped you select the best listing price, I will set up an appointment with my decorating company to help you with the “staging” of your house. Staging is simply the process of making your home look its best, from organizing cluttered countertops to touching up paint or repairing obvious defects.
But staging only fixes the cosmetic aspects of a house. I recommend you get the home inspected before placing it on the market. An inspection will uncover any and all defects that will require repair before closing, while giving you plenty of time to get the work done. Identifying and making these repairs beforehand is far better than having a buyer find a problem that causes him to change his mind, lower his offer, or ask that a substantial repair allowance be deducted from the price. It also buys you credibility as an honest, responsible seller. You should also offer buyers a home warranty guaranteeing the major appliances in your home, including coverage during the period of time your house is on the market.
Marketing Your Home
Now the fun begins! The following are just some of the techniques I might suggest to market your home. Not every technique fits every situation, and sometimes I’ll propose unique ideas for a certain home. It’s up to you to tell me what you do or don’t want to try.
- Professional evaluation/staging
- Offer a pre-inspection
- Offer a home warranty
- Make an necessary repairs
- Put up a yard sign
- Put a “lockbox” on your house
- Take digital photos
- Put listing into MLS
- Prepare color flyers
- Send out “Just Listed” cards
- Prepare a virtual tour
- Post on “Home Facts” voice response system
- Arrange realtor tours
- Send flyers to realtors
- Place ad in Buyer’s Guide
- Consider holding an open house
- Send an email alert to realtors and potential buyers
- Showcase house on the Internet at sites including Realtor.com, austinhomesearch.com, and affinityproperties.com.
You must keep your house in perfect condition at all times–you never know when a buyer or agent may drop by. Keep the kitchen spotless, the bed made, and clutter out of sight. And keep pets and pet odors under control! You can also add little positive touches, such as fresh flowers, potpourri, or freshly baked cookies. Treat every day as an open house.
Getting the Offer and Negotiating
What do you do once you have an offer? First, you let me explain to you what the buyer is offering. If the buyer offers your full asking price with no further considerations, then you’re done, and you accept the offer. But many times a buyer will offer a lower price and/or make certain requests. Think carefully about what’s best for you before making a counter offer. Keep in mind that the buyer may never respond to your counter offer, but once all parties accept and sign a counter-offer, it becomes a legally binding contract.
By the same token, you do NOT want to get involved in oral offers or negotiations. If you verbally accept an offer, the buyer is still free of any legal obligation to actually buy the house, and he may try to keep bargaining with you to see how low you’ll go on the price.
Sometimes, no matter how carefully you’ve prepared your house and how fairly you’ve priced it, you might still get a low offer. Don’t take it personally. The buyer may have mortgage qualification limits, or he may simply be taking a shot in the dark. It’s just business, and you’re free to accept or reject the offer, or make a counter offer. We can meet and discuss what your best option is from here, and I’ll try to find out why the offer was so low. If other low offers come in, or if your house isn’t being shown or receiving any offers, we need to find out why, and what we should do to make your house more attractive to buyers.
Upon agreement, the buyer usually has a limited option period in which he can have a home inspection and termite/pest inspection. At this point, the buyer can still withdraw from the contract if problems are found, or he might ask that you complete certain repairs before closing or contribute a sum of money toward repairs at closing. Whatever the situation, I will help you try to re-negotiate an agreement to prevent the sale from falling through. After the option period ends, the buyer is legally obligated to buy the house unless they are denied financing. If financing is cancelled, the buyer loses any earnest money, but if the buyer never receives money from the lender, then the buyer is not held responsible. That’s why I always ask for a letter stating that the buyer is pre-qualified for a loan. I also ask the buyer’s agent to keep me informed of the buyer’s loan application status once the contract is signed.
We will set a closing date, generally 30 days (more or less) from the contract date. At this point you need to start preparing for your move while taking of any requested repairs.
Closing the Transaction
The exciting day is finally here! I will attend the closing with you to make sure everything goes smoothly, after verifying in advance that all of the paperwork is in order. I also request a copy of the statement sheet for you to review before closing. Feel free to ask any questions before or during closing. And since this is the point where you relinquish the house to its new owner… don’t forget to bring the keys!
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