The first thing you should do in listing your home is choose a Realtor that you trust and feel comfortable working with. Once that's done it's time to take the steps to get your house ready to list:
1. Get your house ready - the better the impression, the more buyers will walk through the interior, which helps you sell the property quicker and for a higher price.
2. Set a price - By running comparable sales in your area, your agent will be able to help you determine a fair asking price. Realtors should research all the listings, pending, and sold homes that have closed in your neighborhood within the previous 6 months.
Neighboring homes that are similar in characteristics to yours, which have been sold in the past 6 months, will most likely be used in calculating the appraised value.
When lending money to borrowers, banks/lending institutions require an appraiser to evaluate your neighborhood and house and to calculate a "fair" market value. If their appraisal does not support the value you have agreed to in the purchase contract, the banks/lending institutions will make their loan based on the appraised value, and this will effect the buyers willingness to pay the originally agreed upon purchase price.
3. Get listed in MLS - as a registered California Real Estate Broker and Realtor, Westonhill Properties will list your house in the local Multiple Listing Service. This is a comprehensive computerized data base and search engine that provides updated information about thousands of listings to all area agents and their qualified buyers.
4. Appointment vs. Lockbox - When you list your home, you need to decide how you wish to have your house shown. There are two options:
1. Appointments - if you want your real estate agent or yourself to be at your home during every visit, the buyer's real estate agent will need to call and set up an appointment every showing.
2. Lockbox - the second option is to place a secure lockbox (which has the keys to your house) out side of your house. Only licensed real estate agents who subscribe to this service are able to access your house.
5. Open House - this is an excellent way to have many people see your house in just a few hours. Sundays from 1 to 4 pm is the preferred open house day. This is an excellent opportunity to show your home to active buyers.
6. Place a "For Sale" Sign in your yard - this is optional. It is your choice whether or not to have a sign placed in your yard. Many homes have been sold due to people driving by and seeing a sign. Nevertheless, if security is a heightened concern of yours and you do not wish to publicly display the sale of your house, we will not place a sign on your yard.
7. Important Issues to think about in advance - let's assume that someone has decided your property is just right - and presents you with an offer.
a. What if the offer is less than your asking price? Do you have to accept the offer or reply immediately?
We are bound by law to communicate all written offers to you for review.
The bottom line is that it is your house and you need to feel comfortable with the offering price and terms. All we suggest is for you to consider the current real estate market: Are houses in your neighborhood selling quickly, slowly, or not at all? How long has your house been listed? Will one offer lead quickly to others? The one thing that we can predict in real estate is that nothing is predictable. The final call is yours.
b. What down payment ("earnest money") would you like to receive. The normal rates are between 1% to 3% of the purchase price.
c. Closing date - when do you want/need to close and move out? Escrows can range anywhere from 20 to 90 days. Know your time frame.
d. What is included in the sale of the property? Will you be leaving your washer/dryer, microwave, refrigerator, curtains? All of this is negotiable and some buyers will ask for your personal property. Consider now what personal items, if any, you are willing to include in the sale of the property.
8. Contingencies - Most buyers insist that provisions for cancellation without penalties are included to protect them if they're unable to obtain a mortgage loan, the property appraises below the agreed upon purchase price, or the home inspection uncovers major problems.
They may also ask you to make your sale contingent on the sale of their current home. We'll discuss this issue if it arises.