It’s not always an easy decision to sell your home, but being prepared with what you need to know ahead of time can make the process less daunting. Even for experienced home sellers, the process can be a rollercoaster of uncertainty but that should all be mitigated by the agent you choose to represent you.
Why is selling your home such a big deal? When you get down to it, there’s a lot that needs to be prepared for. You’re likely to have many questions about the process- and there are things you might forget to even ask about! That’s why it’s important to have an experienced real estate professional working beside you through the selling process- when you have a question, they’ll have an answer. Asking the right questions, and at the right time, is key to selling your home successfully and for the best price.
Here are some of the most important questions to ask:
- How much is our house likely to sell for on today’s market? - While there may not be an easy answer, there are many ways to estimate a home’s value in a current market. Real estate agents have years of experience following and analyzing market trends to help you better understand what your home may be worth. They also have access to the local Multi List Service that records the information of all homes sold in the area. This gives them the data they need to assess the value of your home in the current market.
- What should the listing price be? - Deciding on the right price can be the difference between attracting the right buyers… or alternatively, having your property sit on the market due the prices being too high and discouraging buyers from looking. While there are some generally helpful guidelines to help you find a good initial list price, market conditions and buyer interest can play a big role in selecting an effective number.
- When should we sell? - This isn’t just a question for your agent, it’s one you should ask yourself! However, your agent can be a very strong resource to help you determine the answer to that question. Some other questions to ask yourself -- Why are you thinking about selling? What are your ultimate real estate goals?
- What are the selling costs? - Real estate can be very complex and depending on what is required to sell your home, there may be additional costs you haven’t considered. Your agent can lay these costs out and share some insight of other costs associated with moving that you may not have considered.
- How long will it take to sell? – While there are no guarantees, market conditions in your area, and the market supply/demand for homes like yours can directly impact your timeline.
- What happens if our house takes longer than expected to sell? – Always expect the unexpected when it comes to real estate. From contingencies to buyers that back out at the last minute, even the best prepared timelines can be shifted by external forces… and you need a plan for if something goes awry.
- How do we prepare our house for the sale? What work will your home need before it’s ready to be listed on the market? Which projects need to be done? - All of these questions are important starting places for someone considering selling. Again, this is where the experience of your agent comes strongly into play. They will be able to guide you as to what needs to be done to get your home sale -ready. If your home isn’t ready to hit the market, you’ll probably want to start by making those fixes and improvements. Some projects are definitely worth tackling, while others may not be worth addressing.
- Will we need to hire a contractor? - Be honest with yourself: some projects are going to take more time or expertise than you have to complete them. While contractors may cost more than trying to do-it-yourself, it’s always better to do things correctly the first time. Just make sure you’re hiring a dependable, competent contractor first and foremost.
- What’s ‘home staging’? Will we need to hire a professional stager? Can we do some of that staging work ourselves? – Staging is a key part of helping your home look its best when presenting it to potential buyers. Your agent can help you determine what solutions will be best for your home. Staging is such an important part of the selling process that I offer this to my clients on every listing. Quite simply it is a step that should never be skipped.
- What happens when we get an offer? What if the offer price is lower than we can accept? How does the negotiation process work? – Getting an offer is exciting, but sometimes you need to be strategic and carefully consider and offer before accepting. Making the right decisions are crucial to getting top dollar for your property. Again, this is where who you choose to work with makes a huge difference. Your agent can help walk you through the pros and cons of the offer.
- What happens after an offer is accepted? What happens on closing day? – Accepting an offer is the end of the selling process, right? You might be surprised at how much more time and effort may go into the process before closing day. Be prepared to deal with home inspectors and any contingency agreements. Your agent can give you step by step guidance on what to expect from the time the offer is accepted up to closing. This should alleviate stressors so you can focus on your next home.
- How do we find a new home while selling our current one? – Your real estate agent will help you sell your home, and if need be, help you find your next home too! If you are relocating to a new home town, consider using your selling agent as a resource to find you an agent in the new locale. Today agents have access to worldwide networks of other agents and can very effective at finding a trusted, experienced agent in the new area that will do a great job helping you find a home and looking out for your best interests.
- Besides a good real estate agent, what other professionals do we need? How do we find them? – An experienced agent will have a network of other professionals they can recommend to you… yet another strong benefit of working with an experienced, trusted agent.
- What can we do to make the selling process easier and less stressful? – Don’t be afraid to ask questions: an open line of communication with your agent can make the entire process much easier for everyone involved!
So, when it comes time to sell, start by finding a trusted, experienced agent and start asking questions. Real estate may seem intimidating at first glance, but with the help of an experienced agent, selling your home can be an easy process that helps you move towards your real estate goals and a brighter next chapter of your life.