|Salt Lake City Real Estate|
Real Estate Seller's Guide
Real Estate Buyer's Guide
REAL ESTATE SELLER'S GUIDE
Basic Steps for Selling Your Home:
1. Set your price right! Its definitely not good when you your home is on the market for a long period of time and that usually is the result of a bad pricing job.
So should I buy or use an appraisal? Appraisals may show what your home is valued at however, many times that price is too high for current market conditions. Also, some lenders will only allow appraisals from an approved lender list so you might not be able to sign it over to a future buyer. Many people who just use appraisal prices end up having their home sit on the market.
The best source for setting value is going to be through a Realtor and you can for free. A Realtor can give you what homes have been selling in the area comparable to yours and can show you what homes currently on the market as well.
2. Prepare Your Home. This is where many sellers make costly mistakes, If your home isn't going to "show well," the buyers wont buy your home unless it is a "killer deal." Be sure to make sure your home shows well!
3. Market Your Home. Now this can be a tough one. There is a chance that someone will drive by your home or even see it in a newspaper and therefore you may just maximize your profits and minimize your costs in selling your home. That's a small chance though, and here are some statistics on real estate transactions: 75% of buyers buy through a real estate agent. 14% buy through a builder. Approximately 5% buy from their relative. And approximately 4% buy from a "for sale by owner". You can see where the odds lie. So if your not in a hurry to sell, let's take a look at your marketing vehicles:
A. Internet - 75% of all homebuyers are looking on the internet for their home. This can be extremely expensive so find a website that has a web presence already.
B. Magazines - Go to your local Grocery store and see what magazines are in the rack. Compare prices and distribution and advertise in the one of your choice.
C. Newspaper - Deserent News and Salt Lake Tribune. Now this has proven to be not very effective at all. However there is a chance you will sell via this method.
D. Neighbors! Sometimes your neighbors will either buy your home or know a buyer who will (this is the main way for sale by owners sell their home). So you have a couple of options. First, you must have a sign in your yard, (just go to local Home Depot or other store and buy a sign) Second, you must create a flyer, three you might want to distribute flyers to all your neighbors. Again, the flyers to all your neighbors could be costly and time consuming.
E. Post your sign! Be sure to post sign after you've completed all the above steps.
F. Post a phone number in all your marketing where people can get a hold of you no matter what time of day it is...be sure to have voicemail just in case.
5. When people call what to do -
A. Answer any questions they have, get their name and phone number, and ask them if they are pre-qualified with a lender. Many buyers calling you may not be qualified with a lender....this just wastes your time. If they leave a voicemail be sure to call back ASAP or they might buy something else... this can happen quick!
B. If they are pre-qualified go ahead and show it.
C. If they aren't pre-qualified just ask them this "before I show you the property I have someone who I want to call you and pre-qualify you first. Is it okay if I have someone call you and ask you a few questions before I show you the property?"
D. Keep their names and numbers for feedback and to call them back later just in case you reduce the price.
E. Obtain Feedback. This may be sensitive talking directly to the potential buyer trying to find out why they didn't like your home. So you might want to call them and see if you can fax them a feedback sheet or even mail one out. The point is, you need feedback as to what would make your home sell!
F. Ask them if they would like to make an offer and if they do you will you have the paperwork to write it up.
6. Now They want to make an offer. First of all, have them do it in writing. Second of all, make sure it accompanies a pre-approval letter from a lender! Don't do an offer unless they have a pre approval letter from their lender.
7. Drawing up the offer. When drawing up an offer earnest money is usually deposited. Earnest money usually is deposited into a trust account. (You can deposit this with the title company you are going to use.) Earnest money can be any amount of money. Banks and Hud homes usually ask for $1000.00. However, depending on the price of the home this may range from $250 on up. Now this money will go towards the buyers down payment. However it may be given to the seller as damages in the event the buyer decides not to buy the home at the last minute.
Read through the offer carefully as you will set deadlines that each party needs to adhere to.
8. Contact the Title Company. Title companies conduct the closing of your homes sale. Now you can close where the buyers lender wants to close or you can both close at a place of your choosing. Just look up "title companies" in the yellow pages. When you call the Title company you will need to order a preliminary title report for the buyer. You will be paying for an insurance policy that covers your hide and the buyers hide in case any body in the future has a claim against your property unknown to you.
9. Follow through with Deadlines and with the buyer's lender.
Be sure to follow through with your deadlines and have the seller follow through with theirs. Also, keep in contact with the lender and buyer so that you know when closing will be. One reason why a lot of for sale by owner homes don't sell is because the buyer doesn't ever obtain an approval for a loan. This is why its important to have someone constantly in contact and following up with the lender so that you don't wait around for nothing to happen.
10. Close the deal! The Title company will take care of all this. You will just want to take a close look at the final sheet called "HUDS". This final closing statement shows where all the money in the sell of your home is allocated. Its nice to have someone who knows these documents look over them with you.
11. When to let them move in and you move out. The safest time to let them move in is when your transaction has funded and recorded. This isn't after you sign the documents. It could be a few days after that. This means that you have your money and you are paid off and the title company proceeded with recording the sale of your home at the county. It is possible that if you let them move in before funds transfer that they might get denied a loan - yes, denied a loan even after you all signed papers. Then you are stuck with buyers in your home and you still own it! So be very careful and clear as to when the buyers can move in. After the Title company records the sale at the county its official, it's the buyers home.
Once you made it through all of this - Congratulations, you've just sold your home!
Preparing Your Home:
These tips can help turn your "home for sale" into a home that's sold:
1. The Best Approach. The first thing a potential buyer sees is the front of your home. Make sure the lawn is freshly cut and the landscaping is neatly manicured. Touch up any chipped paint where necessary and remove any debris that has found its way onto your property.
2. Clear the Way. Everyone loves a grand entrance. Umbrellas, coats and shoes should all find a home in a nearby closet or utility room. Move any large pieces of furniture that may block or obscure incoming and outgoing traffic. Try mirrors or flowers for a light and airy look.
3. Be a Space Case. The bigger the better. Store any unnecessary furniture and items that may clog up rooms and halls in a storage unit. Allow plenty of floor and wall space to show. This will make your home look and feel larger to the potential buyer.
4. In the Clean and Clear. Nobody likes a dirty house. Vacuum, dust and scrub your house from top to bottom. Even do windows and light fixtures.
5. Show Your Nooks and Crannies. Allow porches, alcoves, garages, tool sheds and any other storage areas to show without shame. Hang yard tools and sporting equipment on walls or from the ceiling of your garage or tool shed. Remove items that are dust collectors and space mongers.
6. Clear the Closet. Not many homes have enough closet space, but yours should look like it does. Clear out closets so they look well-ordered and spacious. Keep as many belongings off the closet floor as possible, and make sure it's neatly vacuumed. This gives the feeling of plenty of closet space to the potential buyer.
7. Lighten Up. Keep curtains open to allow plenty of light to radiate in. Clean your skylights to allow maximum sunlight penetration. Remove any objects or furniture that may be blocking windows or sliding glass doors. Make certain all light fixtures have new, brightly burning bulbs. Remember, light equals space.
8. Two Moves Are Never Better Than One. If you are going to move into a rental before buying a home, store your belongings and live with the bare necessities. This will keep furniture and breakables free from potential damage that could be incurred during extra, unnecessary moving.
9. Safe Passage. Store extra belongings in a temperature-controlled, secure, well-lit environment. Knowing your keepsakes are in a safe place helps provide peace of mind during a stressful transition time.
The Importance of Market Pricing:
The real estate market is ever changing and now more than ever buyers are educating themselves to the process. No longer are the "used car salesman" mentalities able to make a living in real estate, or if they are they may find that their days are numbered. Consumers more than ever before are recognizing the importance of doing some homework before buying or selling any real estate. Because of this increase in buyer sophistication, it is becoming increasingly important for the seller to price their property correctly. Today's buyers are asking for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and the professional agents are providing these analysis before being asked. In days gone by the agent might just quote what other properties were selling for in the neighborhood in which the buyer showed interest. This is in no way indicative of fair market value. Market value is based upon what a buyer has actually paid for a property. A Comparative Market Analysis should reflect sales of like properties in the immediate area of the subject property within the last 6-8 months. Extraneous factors such as replace-ability of property, uniqueness of location, etc. may be factored in. However, the foundation of the Market Analysis are the comparatives (like-properties in same area and their recent selling price).
Because of these factors and increased buyer sophistication, it is increasingly important for the seller to price his/her property correctly. Property values are NOT dictated by what the seller has invested in the home, nor by what they need to receive from the property. These factors are not applicable to setting a sales price. It is the Realtor's job to tactfully prepare the seller for this fact and help them realize the importance of pricing the property at market. When priced accurately, many properties sell immediately because the first month on the market is typically the time of most activity for new listings. If those listings are priced at market, properly marketed, and prepared for showing, the likelihood of a quick sale is greatly increased. Many times sellers eventually lower their price to market after the best buyers have already dismissed the property as being overpriced, and the seller ends up expending more money and time because the property was not correctly priced immediately. It is important for the seller to keep in mind that they are paying interest on his mortgage each month that he continues to carry a home that does not sell and a delayed sale may be causing him to incur expenses related to that delay. The seller may lose the opportunity to purchase a desired home if he/she must sell in order to buy. Sometimes just the time and effort involved in keeping a home "show ready" is enough to encourage a seller to price their home correctly.
REAL ESTATE BUYER'S GUIDE
What to Expect:
Expect to see a lot of homes. We want to make sure that you’ve seen a broad range of options so that when you do make a decision, you’ll know it was the right one—no second-guessing because you’ll know exactly what’s out there. We hope to surprise you—to show you neighborhoods you may not have thought of and homes that you might not have considered. We can recommend qualified mortgage lenders, home inspectors and other professionals. And, above all, we’ll make sure that everything goes without a hitch. You won’t be drowning in confusing paperwork; we’ll take care of and explain everything so all you have to do is show up for the closing. We can’t wait to work for you!
Of course, one of the benefits of buying a home is that it’s really yours—you can paint any color you like and plant perennials in the yard knowing that you’re going to enjoy them year after year. But some of the biggest benefits are financial. As a renter, the money you spend on housing each month goes into your landlord’s pocket. As an owner, you’re gradually building equity in a property—one that you may sell for a profit later on or keep as an investment. Plus, the tax laws in this country are specifically designed to benefit homeowners. The mortgage interest you pay can be up to 100% tax-deductible. If you choose to borrow against the equity in your home (for improvement projects or kids’ tuition, for example) that interest can also be tax-deductible. Plus, if you eventually sell your home, the profits you make from the appreciation of your home are untaxed. (Be sure to consult with your tax advisor for details.)
Getting Ready to Buy:
The best way to find the perfect house is to be prepared to find the perfect house. Do your homework and your realtor can help with the rest.
1. Get pre-approved by your mortgage lender so you can act fast if the need arises.
2. Set your price range. How much do you want to spend?
3. Sit down with a pad of paper and write down your thoughts about what you’re really looking for. Think about the neighborhoods you like, the amenities you require in a home and the ones you desire (remember to separate require and desire so you can keep options open).
4. Warm up your visualization skills. Many more opportunities will present themselves to you if you can train yourself to see potential.
The other thing you’ve got to be prepared to do is walk away. The perfect house is not necessarily the first one you really love. As your realtors, we’re dedicated to protecting your interests. That means we’ll tell you if we believe a home is overpriced or if necessary, help you evaluate the seriousness of structural problems or repairs that may be discovered during the inspection. You can trust in our expertise. Time to find your ideal house.
Make your list ... and check it twice!
Plan to make some notes for yourself on the houses you see. You may want to refer back to them later when you’re evaluating the pros and cons of different options. Your list might include:
Even if you’re provided with a sheet listing details of the home, be sure to make your own notes about your likes and dislikes
Buying the Neighborhood:
We all know the oldest adage in real estate: that the three most important considerations are location, location, and finally... location. It’s a funny thing about tired adages—they usually contain the truth. Houses can be spruced up, renovated, and completely replaced, but neighborhoods and communities tend to retain their essential character and market value over time. As a buyer, it’s important to take the neighborhood into account when you look at a home—the neighborhood will dictate your home’s future value but, of course, the more immediate fact is, this is where you’ll be living.
Some general considerations when evaluating a neighborhood:
We all have different comfort levels; know yours. You may be willing to trade a little safety for exceptional convenience—or the other way around. If you have kids, certain considerations, such as quality of schools, general safety and proximity of parks, become paramount.
If you’re serious about a house, take a slow drive or a long walk through the neighborhood. Do people keep their homes in good repair? Do they maintain their yards? Is there evidence of kids? Most of all, is it warm and inviting? Could it be home?