STEP 1 – Define NEEDS
Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, reasons for selling include a growing business that needs more space or a job opportunity that necessitates a move to another city. Things you want to accomplish with the sale may consist of the time frame in which you’d like to sell or a particular profit margin. Work with us to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic timeframe for sale.
STEP 2 – PRICING STRATEGY
Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. You will need to take into account the state of the local market, the condition of your home and sales of comparable homes (CMA) in your neighborhood. It is often hard to maintain a non-biased view of your property, so you will want to gather the necessary information in the most objective way possible. If you want a truly unbiased opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This may cost between $300 and $500.
Be reasonable about the price you set. You will always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. If your home stays on the market too long because it is overpriced, potential buyers may think that something is wrong with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price. Refer to one of our St. Louis Real Estate Market Watch Reports and notice the columns that show % of asking price across DOM. It’s not uncommon to lose up to 3% of your asking price by staying on the market a long time.
STEP 3 – PREPARE YOUR HOME
It’s time to get your home in “showing and selling” condition. Most of us don’t keep our homes in the state they need to be in to be sold. Piles of boxes in the garage, a broken porch light, and even an overgrown garden seem normal after a while. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. How your home looks will impact how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer. First impressions are the most important. Work with us to help you take a fresh look at your home. Do the shrubs need pruning? Do you need to repaint? What’s normal for you may be unacceptable to the buyer. Make your interior appear more spacious by removing appliances from countertops, and clearing knickknacks off coffee tables and shelves.
Organize your closets and kitchen cabinets.
Make sure items stored in the attic or basement are tidy.
Open the curtains or blinds during the day to maximize the natural light.
Turn on the lights at night to create a welcoming environment for prospective buyers.
A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Consider painting walls white and removing clutter. This will help the buyer to visualize the house as theirs.
STEP 4 – MARKETING STRATEGY
Now that your home is ready, it’s time to put it up for sale and market it. Establishing a marketing strategy with us is a must. We will expose your home to the highest number of potential buyers possible. We will use a marketing plan that will bring not only the most buyers but also the most qualified buyers to your doorstep. There are many different ways to get the word out that your home is for sale. A yard sign, flyers, and direct marketing are just a few of the options available but don’t go far enough to market your home. If you are in a buyer’s market, you will have to be extra careful when choosing a plan. You don’t want your property to sit unnoticed. We should structure your marketing strategy so that the first 3-6 weeks that your house is on the market will be the busiest. The St. Louis Home For Sale Team has a unique marketing plan that takes into consideration the fact that 85% of today’s buyers begin their home search on the internet.
Our marketing plan is technology driven, from the creation of custom yard signs that drive interested buyers to a website specifically set up for your home (123 Main Street.com) and submission of your home to major real estate search engines Realtor.com Google, MSN, Yahoo, StL today (the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and Trulia, just to name a few. Your home is also featured on the Keller Williams International website, and all the St. Louis Keller Williams Market Center websites. Also, your listing is posted on our agent websites and included on the ever increasingly popular www.StLouisRealEstateVoice.com blog. Your home will consist of an interactive “virtual tour” that allows buyers to tour your home using the internet. As newer, consumer-driven methods emerge, you can rest assured that the St. Louis Home For Sale Team will be using the technology for their clients.
STEP 5 – RECEIVE AN OFFER
When a buyer decides they like your home, they will make you a written offer. Your real estate agent will advise you as to whether or not the prospective buyer is qualified to purchase your home. After all, who needs to review an offer from a buyer that is unable to buy it? After determining the buyer’s qualifications, we will discuss the written contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The agreement should protect the interests of all parties. After you accept the offer, it may be too late to make any changes. The deal, though not limited to this list, should include the following:
Legal description of the property
List of fees and who will pay them
Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
Remember that the legalities of this phase are very important. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to address them with us right away.
STEP 6 – NEGOTIATE TO SELL
Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. We are well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. We also know what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are most accessible to negotiate. We will review the written offer with you to make sure you thoroughly understand what the buyers are offering and what they are asking you for in return. Some negotiable items:
Appliances and fixtures
Occupancy time frame
Once both parties have agreed to the terms of the sale, we will prepare a contract. Remember…bargaining is not a winner-take-all deal. It is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.
STEP 7 – SERVICE PROVIDERS
Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. Depending on the specifics reached during the negotiations, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms outlined in the agreement will dictate your next step. Depending on the contract, you or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or close.
STEP 8 – PRE-CLOSE PREPARATION
A few days before the closing we will contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents are going to be ready to sign on the appropriate date. But don’t worry, we’ll create a password secured website just for you to monitor the progress of the transaction, step by step. It would be a shame to get this close to selling and have the deal fall through because of a missing form.
STEP 9 – CLOSING
“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. We will be present during the closing to help explain the process and forms to you and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the end, we can mediate any last minute issues that may arise. As the seller, you will need to be prepared to hand over any necessary documentation regarding the property and, depending on the arrangements made during negotiations; you may be required to have done something specific to close. Be sure to read all the documents and ask questions. It is essential you understand every document you are signing.
STEP 10 – POST CLOSE
Congratulations on the successful sale of your home! Now that you have closed prepare to vacate your home in the time frame agreed upon. You should make a list of all the items you will need to do to turn the property over to the new owners. For example, make sure to cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable, etc., or if the new owner is going to retain some of the services, change the name on the account. The home and all items specified by the contract should be prepared appropriately for the new owners.