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Introduction to the Selling Process for First-timers
You have made the decision to sell. Now what?
Decide Whether to Sell by Owner or List with a REALTOR®
Did you know that only about 10% of owners successfully sell their homes on their own? Those that do sell their homes successfully usually accept lower prices and net less than if they had sold with licensed REALTORS® representing them. So why is working with a REALTOR® such a big advantage? Here are some basic facts you should know before you make the decision to sell by owner (FSBO).
Fact 1: It is really hard to sell your house yourself!
Selling your property on your own will be a huge hassle without help. The truth is that it is a full-time job with many unknowns. Who answers the phone calls? What forms do you need and where do you get them? Is the buyer qualified? Does the buyer have money in the bank? Can the buyer get a mortgage loan? Is your buyer's loan officer competent and flexible? Do you need an escrow company or a lawyer? Termite inspection? Home inspection? Warranties? Title inspection? When there is a dispute, who handles it?
Fact 2: Selling by owner is more expensive than you think!
It can cost more to sell your house as an FSBO than with a REALTOR®. This might be a surprise to many people, but selling a home is expensive! As an FSBO, you have to pay for advertising, contracting, and legal fees (which are typically several thousand dollars), and many other costs. Without experience, you can make mistakes that can cost you thousands of dollars.
Fact 3: For Sale by Owner (FSBO) properties attract lowball offers!
Did you know that a For Sale by Owner sign attracts predatory buyers and lowball offers? Have you ever stayed up late and seen an infomercial about how to get rich in real estate? The number one method is to find steals, often by taking advantage of people who don't know what they are doing.
Fact 4: 90% more buyers use REALTORS®.
Most buyers looking for a home like yours won't know that your house is on the market, if it is FSBO. Even if you list your home on the national portals like Zillow and Trulia, the fact is that 90% of buyers today use a REALTOR® and the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to search for homes for sale. The reason that REALTORS® use MLS search websites like www.513HomeExperts.com is because the listings are more accurate and up-to-date than national portals like Zillow and Trulia. (For more information on this, see National Portals.)
Fact 5: When you list with a REALTOR®, you are hiring a sales force of 3,900 other REALTORS®.
When you hire a REALTOR® to list your property on the local MLS, your home becomes inventory for every REALTOR® in the greater Cincinnati area. The result is that over 3,900 REALTORS® throughout the Greater Cincinnati area will be introducing and presenting your home to their qualified buyers.
Fact 6: Listing with a REALTOR® will increase your traffic!
Even if you spend thousands on advertising, you won't get a fraction of the traffic that a REALTOR® can deliver. This means that there is a good chance that you won't be able to sell your house yourself and that you will end up listing with a REALTOR® anyway.
Fact 7: REALTORS® only get paid when your house sells!
Many people don't know this fact, that a REALTOR® only gets paid when your transaction closes. When you sell by owner, you have to pay all of your selling expenses even if you can't sell your house. Our risking our fee in the case your house does not sell offers peace of mind to you.
Fact 8: REALTORS® can make all the difference in the world!
When you hire a REALTOR® from 513HomeExperts.com, you get the benefit of someone who sells homes full-time and is an expert in managing real estate transactions from beginning to end. Our REALTORS® will coach you, they will advise you, they will negotiate for you, they will prepare your paperwork, they will market your property, they will make phone calls for you, they will reverse prospect for you, they will solve problems that come up, and they will have your back in all aspects of the home-selling process.
Fact 9: Our REALTORS® are incentivized to help you WIN!
Our REALTORS® are qualified and incentivized to sell your house for the highest price! Because our REALTORS’® commissions are based on your selling price, our REALTORS® will work to get you the best price they can!
What Makes the REALTORS® at 513 Home Experts Different?
There are over 3,900 REALTORS® in the Greater Cincinnati area. Most REALTORS® will provide basic services, including listing your property in the MLS, putting a sign in your yard, preparing a flyer, taking quality pictures, doing virtual tours and open houses, etc. Even if this is all a REALTOR® does for you, your chances of selling are much better than if you attempt to sell by owner. But at 513HomeExperts.com, we go further to sell your home and to complete your transaction.
We have a comprehensive web strategy to market your home!
Our web strategy starts with our website. Compare the 513HomeExperts.com website with any other local agent or broker website and you will see the difference. When you list with us, your property is featured on the front page of our website—which is the prime spot for getting exposure and driving traffic to your listing. We also add your property listing to over 350 other search engines, national portals including Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and other websites such as Craigslist.
We dedicate more effort to market to other agents!
When we list a property, we want every agent to know about it, since agents are more likely to take a buyer to a property that they know about. We communicate our property listings to other agents and in some markets schedule special tours for agent teams to learn more about our listings.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER: We reverse prospect!
Most REALTORS® will list your property in the MLS and then sit back and wait for other REALTORS® to bring buyers in through MLS property searches. Since there are often a lot of other properties on the market that may be similar to yours, your property may not make it to the top of the list—leaving the buyer to find and purchase something else before noticing yours. Our team uses a method called reverse prospecting to find a buyer for your house. Because we have paid for a direct link to the Cincinnati MLS, we have real-time, back-end access to all agent searches. We can identify REALTORS® who have buyers actively looking for properties similar to yours based on the searches they are doing in the MLS. Our REALTORS® are able to reach out and proactively pitch your house to buyers’ agents early in those buyers’ property searches. Wouldn't you rather have a team that proactively pitches your house to more buyers? We call it the hard work of selling real estate. The bottom line is that our REALTORS® are trained and equipped to more effectively earn their commissions!
We care about you and we train to deliver quality service!
Our mission is to work with buyers and sellers to complete transactions in a manner in which all parties WIN! We accomplish this by developing a system that works, and then we train on the procedures and use the checklists to ensure that the system is implemented on your behalf. We even have procedures for how we treat customers because we care about you and we want you to be satisfied. Our code of ethics is below.
You have selected a REALTOR®. Now what?
We will assess your property and develop your strategy together.
Once you have selected a REALTOR®, the first thing that REALTOR® will do is an initial property assessment. The agent will prepare for the assessment by reviewing county records, pulling expired property listings from the MLS, reviewing Cincinnati Area Geographic Information System (CAGIS) descriptions, etc. Then your REALTOR® will gather room measurements and other information to describe your home, and will also review the general state of the property and any improvements that need to be made to get the property ready to sell. Then you will work together to develop a selling plan, which will include the staging and improvements you agree to make in order to attract more buyers and a better price.
You will get your home ready to sell.
To decide what you need to do in order to sell your house, put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer who will be visiting your home for the first time. A buyer’s first impression is based on his or her view of the house from the street. Take a good look at your house from across the road and see how it compares with nearby houses. Stage your house to inspire buyers to not only see themselves living in your house but also really desire to live there. You will want to follow your REALTORS’® specific advice, but here are some great ideas and basic rules of thumb.
Understand buyer emotion.
Most of the primary reasons that people buy a house are emotionally-based. In other words, the price a buyer will pay for your home is directly linked to their emotional attachment to it. The most common reasons people use for buying a house are as follows:
- Have a Place to Raise a Family
- Be a Part of a Neighborhood and Community
- Following Parents Advice
- Settle Down/Put Down Some Roots
Price your home to win.
Often, but not always, the asking price a seller initially desires is not realistic. Your 513HomeExperts.com REALTOR® will prepare a comprehensive Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) to guide your decision on your listing price. To more effectively predict what an offer might look like, the CMA will include an analysis of similar homes for sale in your area in the MLS, an analysis of what comparable homes in your area have sold for in the last 6 months, and an evaluation of the differences between the prices that were initially asked for and the prices actually received by the other sellers.
Know what your minimum sale price is before you set the asking price. Our Closing Cost Calculator will calculate the minimum asking price you need to pay off all of your obligations (including closing costs), and to meet your minimum objectives. For example, if you need money for a down payment on your next home, or if you have expectations for cash out, then we can build that into your plan. Using the CMA and the Closing Cost Calculator, you will be able to make an informed pricing decision to give you the best chance of selling your property quickly and achieving your objectives.
What happens if the CMA is below the minimum price you need to clear your obligations? You may be in a short sale situation. If so, you will want to work with the short sale specialists at 513HomeExperts.com to develop a plan for your situation.
Be realistic in your expectations.
When your house goes on the market, you could begin receiving offers immediately, especially if you have priced your home for a fast sale. The higher your price relative to the CMA value, the greater the likelihood that it will take longer to sell your home. Be prepared for a lowball offer and do not get emotional or take it personally when it happens. Instead, have a plan for dealing with it and rely on your REALTOR® who will advise you through the obstacles as you navigate the ups and downs of negotiating the contract.
We will market your home.
Your 513HomeExperts.com REALTOR® will take care of 90% of the marketing of your house. The work being done on your behalf is extensive, but at this stage of the process you will mostly sit back and let your REALTOR® work for you to schedule showings and open houses—and bring in buyers.
You still have a few responsibilities.
The most important thing you can do is to keep your home in show condition all of the time. Be prepared for showing requests at the most inconvenient times. When our scheduling service contacts you, you always have the option to turn away a showing request. However, many buyers have limited schedules. When you turn down a showing appointment, you may be losing that buyer forever.
We will also be providing you with any feedback received from showings and open houses. Acting on this feedback will help you reach your goals.
Depending on the market, our REALTOR® team may be scheduling open houses on weekends. Open houses allow us to introduce your house to other agents, buyers, and neighbors who can be our best marketing resources. We have to inspire buyers with the condition of the house and price the home right, but what really motivates buyers is a vision of a safe and comfortable home to raise a family in. Hot baked bread or hot freshly-baked cookies greeting guests as they enter the kitchen can help create that vision.
We help you evaluate your offers.
The initial offer from a buyer is the starting point in a negotiation that will hopefully end in an agreement on terms between the buyer and seller—and result in a contract. The first thing most sellers consider in evaluating an offer is the price. However, there are many other factors in an offer that could cause a seller to accept a lower-priced offer. For example, a lower-priced offer from a cash buyer with no contingencies and a large earnest money deposit may be more compelling than—and a safer alternative to—a full-priced offer with lots of contingencies, little earnest money, and financing with no pre-approval. Every offer needs to be evaluated to make an informed decision. Our REALTORS® will consult with you and advise you, but the final decision must be made by you.
Order inspections and re-negotiate terms.
If inspections are included in the contract, allow the buyer to schedule and complete them as quickly as possible. If material defects in the condition of the property are found, the buyer can re-negotiate the terms of the contract—asking you to fix the defects. If you refuse to fix the defects, the buyer may choose to walk away from the contract. However, buyers are not reimbursed for the costs of inspections, so they are incentivized not to walk away over minor issues.
Your REALTOR® will work on your behalf with the buyers’ agent and the contractors doing any repairs to make sure that your transaction goes smoothly.
Expect some final details in the last hours before closing.
Just prior to closing, the buyer will have a final walk-through inspection of the property to ensure that the condition is according to contract. You and your REALTOR® will also review closing costs and documents so any discrepancies can be resolved.
Close your deal.
Once all of the paperwork is completed by your lender, all of the details of the transaction have been arranged, and the paperwork has been prepared, a closing meeting will be scheduled to close the deal. You, a closing agent representing the bank and title company, and any other parties who need to be involved will be present to review and sign documents. Closing usually takes about an hour if there are no issues.
Congratulations! Open a bottle of champagne and celebrate! You have just accomplished something significant and life changing—a major milestone that you will never forget!