In almost every homeowner’s life, there comes the point when, for whatever reason, it’s time to sell your home.
But, although the selling process may seem a bit overwhelming – especially if it’s the first time – it can go a smoother than you might think, and less tiring than the buying process – if you follow the tips recommended by many real estate professionals.
First and foremost, you will need to determine the value of your home. This is not an easy process — real estate pros recommend using a variety of sources and methods to find out what your home is really worth. After that, you can combine the information you’ve gathered to arrive at the “right” price.
Many Realtors will offer prospective sellers a comparative market analysis (CMA) as an incentive to try to win your business. This analysis is very helpful in that it will let you see the prices of houses – with similar characteristics of your home — in the local area that have been sold recently. In addition, prices of similar homes currently on the market can be viewed.
The CMA can also allow you to determine if your local real estate market is a buyer’s market or seller’s market by pointing out “Days on the Market” (DOM) figures for each comparable house sold in the recent past. If many houses have been selling in a matter of a few days, for example, you can safely say your area is experiencing a seller’s market. If, however, many homes are languishing on the market for some months, it is a buyer’s market.
If it’s a seller’s market, it’s good to price your home a bit above what you would expect the house to be worth. On the flip side, for a buyer’s market, you would want to lower the price so that it appears to be a bargain for the buyer, and so that it won’t pine away on the market for too long.
Through a professional market analysis, the Realtor will perform the following services:
- Examine the appearance and condition of your home’s exterior and interior, and offer suggestions as to refurbishing or repairs, which might result in getting a better price.
- A comparison will be done comparing your home with others currently on the market or recently sold.
- A review of the assessed value of your home, its previous sale prices, local taxes, and utility costs will be prepared.
- An evaluation will be done of your home’s location, size, lot size, age, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, as well as the total number of rooms, in addition to any extraordinary features or amenities.
Based on this data and other local market conditions, the Realtor can give you a pretty decent idea of what your house is really worth.
Professional appraisers can also help sellers to discover the value of their homes. However a formal written market-value appraisal, which can set you back a few hundred bucks, is usually not needed unless there are extraneous circumstances surrounding your home or property which would make it difficulty to determine its value. For example, if there hasn’t been much sales activity in your neighborhood as of late, the appraisal could be well worth the money spent.
Another valuable source of information can be garnered from attending some open houses in your local area. There, you can meet other sellers and real estate professionals face to face to discuss current market conditions, and get a real sense of how the market is behaving. However, be aware, that the asking price of a for-sale home can be misleading – based on the homeowner’s biased opinion surrounding the value of the house – thus, it’s often not an accurate reflection of the home’s true market value.
Also, the internet can be a very useful tool in your quest to set the “right” price for your home. And, now that many counties have property appraiser websites set up online, one can access a lot of data concerning current and past real estate sales – often free.