Seller's Information and Tips

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I'm considering selling my home "By Owner" - do you have any suggestions?

Selling your home soon? Will you be able to find a buyer? More importantly, will buyers be able to find you? If you plan to sell your home alone, without the professional assistance of a REALTOR, staying at home should also be included in your plans. At first, when you begin running advertisements and place a "For Sale" sign in your yard, you may receive many phone calls from prospective purchasers. They may also come to your front door to ask questions - unannounced. That is good, however it places responsibility squarely on your shoulders to be there at all reasonable hours to graciously show the home at their convenience. You may say to yourself, "I'm home most of the time, and if I do happen to be gone, my telephone answering machine will take their call". Yes, some will leave a message or call back - the ones with plenty of time on their hands. You will probably encounter two types of buyers, the not-so-serious "time-wasters" and the sincere buyers, motivated to make a purchase. In the first case, if you are not home when they call or come-by, don't worry. They will call back. They like to look at homes and are in no hurry to buy. They like to call people selling "by owner" because they will not have to deal with a REALTOR who may ask them qualifying questions before showing the home. The second group of buyers, those motivated and prepared to make a purchase right away, will rarely call a second time or return if you are not home. They intend to buy - plain and simple. If you have your home "For Sale" and are not home, they will probably go to homes which can be seen with little notice, usually those listed with a local REALTOR. To purchase a home, buyers must first see the home. To be sure your home is exposed to the widest variety of potential buyers, at their convenience, seek the representation of a REALTOR. You benefit from the convenience, and your best interests are protected.

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What is a fair price for my home?

When selling or buying real estate, what price is a "fair" price? One land auctioneer used to begin his auction sales with the words "We're here to get as much as we can - you're here to buy it as cheap as you can what am I bid?" It was a down to earth way of saying that buyers and sellers have different viewpoints about price, but must finally agree if a sale is to take place. Mortgage lenders, appraisers and real estate brokers use the term "fair market value" to identify what they believe to be a "fair" price. Fair market value is defined as ``that price which a buyer is willing to pay and at which a seller is willing to sell, both parties being knowledgeable about the property and neither party being under any time pressure to sell". A Competitive' Market Analysis is one method for determining fair market value. It is a report which provides information about similar properties which are 1) "For Sale" at the present time, 2) already "Sold", and 3) "Expired". Homes which are currently "For Sale" indicate what the competition is asking. Although buyers have not yet agreed to those prices, they are one barometer of the maximum potential price. Homes which have already "Sold" provide historical information about prices sellers have been willing to accept and buyers have been willing to pay. The more recent the sale, the more reliable the information. Appraisers only use sales which have actually closed. Those listings which have expired without selling are an indicator of what buyers are not willing to pay. If a home was listed for sale and did not sell, the price was likely higher than buyers were willing to pay for comparable homes. Sellers may set their asking price, however buyers actually place the final value on them, as evidenced by their willingness to pay a particular price. For detailed information about fair market value in your area, call a REALTOR. As an active member of the local real estate community, a REALTOR is able to provide accurate, up-to-date information on the local housing market.

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Is there anything I can do to help sell my home?

True or false? Once you have chosen a REALTOR to represent you in the sale of your home and have signed a listing, you should get out of the way and let the REALTOR find a buyer. False. Selling a home quickly and at the best possible price requires involvement by the owners as well as the REALTOR in the selling process. The sellers' responsibilities fall into two areas: l) providing a home that is fairly priced with attractive terms, and 2) providing a home in marketable condition. The REALTOR is responsible for preparing and implementing a marketing plan which will attract suitable buyers to the home resulting in an acceptable transaction for the sellers. Pricing is important because most buyers comparison shop before making their purchase decision. As a result, they eliminate homes which are priced above "fair market value". The REALTOR can provide details of recent sales in the local market, as well as pricing of similar homes currently for sale. This data can be used by the sellers to arrive at a price which reflects the value offered by their home. Providing an attractive home in marketable condition is critical to a successful sale too. No matter how effective the marketing plan, buyers expect to purchase a home in excellent condition. By performing an objective walk-through inspection of the home, the REALTOR can provide the sellers with a list of possible improvements. It is then up to the sellers to see that the home presents a positive first impression. With the sellers participation, the REALTOR will create an imaginative marketing plan. This plan will target groups of buyers most likely to purchase the home. Advertising and promotion will be placed to attract their attention. The home is thus positioned to appeal to the widest possible segment of purchasers. The next time you sell your home, plan to work in partnership with your REALTOR. The results can be an emotionally and financially satisfying home selling experience.

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