Unlike other things that you may own, you can never take selling your home lightly. A house is a big commodity, one that is worth a lot of money. Before you even think about selling your home, you should put a lot of thought and consideration into it. Although you may want to sell your home – you should make sure that you do it the right way.
Find A Qualified Agent
The first thing you should do when you are thinking of selling your home is to hire a qualified real estate agent who knows the neighborhood. An agent who knows your neighborhood will known the ideal price for your home, and help you sell it at the ideal price. If your home is priced right for the neighborhood, chances are it will sell. If it is priced too high, you might not get any offers or anyone interested in buying the home.
One of the ways to make sure you’re dealing with a qualified agent is to make sure of several things:
1) You want someone who is a REALTOR®. That is, a member of the National Association of REALTOR®. Only member of NAR, and here in California, the California Association of REALTOR®, can refer to themselves as REALTOR®. The state of California can declare someone a “real estate agent”, but only members of those trade organizations are REALTOR®. Notice the “copyright” symbol whenever you see that name. That’s because the term is “owned” by NAR.
So… what’s the difference? Why is it important to deal with a REALTOR®? These professionals must abide by a sworn Code of Ethics outlined by NAR and CAR. This guarantees your a higher level of professionalism and ethics than an agent bound only by real estate law.
2) You should look into any higher designations your prospective REALTOR® may hold. Is this candidate a GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) or a CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)? Perhaps they are a CRB (Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager), a General Contractor, or an SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist)? Or perhaps you could find one holding one of the most prized designations in the industry, the coveted CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member).
All of these designations require hours of study and testing and insure the highest quality of knowledge and professionalism in those who hold them.
Develop A Strategy To Sell Your Home
Once you have a real estate agent, you and your agent will need to develop a strategy. You’ll need to decide on the price and how long you will leave it on the market before you think about a reduction. You’ll also need to discuss your Realtor’s commission as well. In this matter, we’ve always found that the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true. Sure, you can find all sorts of “discount”, “DIY”, real estate firms and systems, but in the end, paying the cost of a highly qualified, full-service Realtor usually saves you money overall. You’ll probably get a higher price to begin with, and you’ll have the assurance that you’ll be guided by someone with the knowledge to keep you from falling into the quagmires today’s real estate market can create. The commission will be part of the Listing Agreement you sign, so there should be no future misunderstandings. Any good Realtor will us a California Association of Realtors Listing Agreement form to create a binding contract to represent you in the sale, and all the terms of that agreement are right there. If you follow this type of careful process right from the start, you’ll find the entire process will go much smoother.
What Happens If I Don’t Make My Timeline?
In some cases, you may run out of time before you are able to sell your home. For instance, you may be selling because your company just transferred you to Chicago. You must move by a certain date. You have a new home in Chicago waiting for you, but your old home hasn’t sold yet. What can you do?
Frankly, in today’s Southern California real estate market, if you and your agent are sure you are in the right price range, then this situation should not come up as the market is very fast. However, it is a situation that can happen, so we’ll address it here. If this situation occurs, and you’re sure you’re priced correctly, then you may want to consider renting out your home. If you do, you can create a “cash neutral” situation as far as you rhome goes as the renters can pay the mortgage. However, when you rent out your home, you need to strike a deal with your renters that your home is available for showing. To make the house accessible to potential buyers, you may want to offer your renters a lower price as an incentive. This way, they will be more inclined to cooperate with showings.
Can’t I Be A FSBO?
To some folks, “For Sale By Owner” is an attractive idea… to both Sellers and Buyers. Both of them think, “That’s going to save a lot of money”! The Buyer thinks he’ll pay less for the home, while the Seller thinks he’ll net more from the sale. In reality, though, if you look at the numbers involving FSBO’s across the nation, these types of sales result in higher costs for Buyers and lower nets to Sellers than dealing with a qualified Realtor and paying the fees involved.
Why does this happen? Well, not knowing the market is the biggest problem with FSBO sales. A Seller needs to know what his home is worth… not what he thinks or hopes it’s worth. A qualified Realtor, with his head in the market daily, can tell him that. A Buyer needs to know what “due diligence” they should perform to make sure the home is worth the price. And, both Buyers and Sellers need to know what disclosures are required and what will be needed to complete an escrow. These are all legal “minefields” that qualified Realtors deal with on a daily basis, and that most home buyers or sellers know nothing about. Believe me, a botched escrow can cost tens of thousands to a buyer or a seller and a mangled transaction can become a legal nightmare that could potentially last years. Paying the fees involved with having a qualified professional handle all of that seems a good investment in the long run.
One more item in regard to FSBO transactions: the best reason to employ a qualified Realtor to handle your transaction is simple — that professional is, by law, required to hold an insurance policy protecting them AND YOU from damage resulting from any errors or omissions. Let me say that another way: if you sell your home as a FSBO, and something goes wrong, you can be personally liable. You are the one hanging out there, and legally vulnerable. A qualified Realtor, on the other hand, brings with them an insurance policy that protects you. It’s a requirement of the law, and the single best reason for you to avoid the FSBO fiasco.
Can You Help Me Sell?
We thought you’d never ask!
Seriously, if you’re thinking about selling your home anywhere in Southern California, you’ve come to the right place. Do you remember a few paragraphs back when we spoke of all those prestigious designations Realtors can earn if they complete the study and testing involved? Well, our esteemed boss around here, Brion Costa, holds every one of those designations, including the CCIM. Brion is the “Commercial Director” of Century 21 Adams & Barnes in Monrovia, and is more than qualified to handle any residential sale out there.
So, if selling your Southern California home is in your near future, give Brion a call. His number is at the top of this page, and you couldn’t be in better hands. That’s our final tip on how to sell your home, and we hope to be talking to you soon.
Tips For Selling Your Home