Tag Archives: real estate agents

How Online Home Valuation Tools Work and Don’t Work

Whether buying or selling a home, online home valuation tools (also called Automated Valuation Models, or AVM’s) such as Zillow’s Zestimate can be useful. But they can also be problematic. Since most buyers and sellers are looking at these values, it is a good idea to understand them and how online home valuation tools work and don’t work.

RBHcomuterIt’s a computer, not a person. Online estimates follow an algorithm to give a projected estimate of value. This means that the algorithm is based on the accuracy of the data that is has to compute. The problem occurs when data is input by sellers that may falsely inflate values or where lack of data may not produce an accurate value.

What it (generally) measures. The value of your home will usually be a product of comparable homes. How does your home compare to similar homes that recently sold (within the last 6 months) and are actively listed within a 1-2 mile radius? In addition to proximity, other features compared are: square footage of the home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, year the home was built, and size of lot. Values tend to be most accurate when this data comes from homes that are fairly new tract homes. Homes that are custom or have been updated with custom features, however, will likely be off on their value here.

It can also be problematic when the algorithm doesn’t recognize a neighborhood boundary. For example, is the computer is using comparable homes from a nearby condo complex when your home is a single family residence? Or, do some of the comps used fall in differently rated school districts? Also, computers are not likely to take into consideration the terms of those sales, such as distressed or discounted sales.

RBHaley Mortgage CalculatorOther features that are probably not figured into the algorithm are: views, location relative to busy roads, outdoor features such as a kitchen and/or a pool, whether the lot is flat or on a steep slope, and quality of the neighborhood, and higher end upgrades and appliances.

Know your competition. The reason comparable homes are considered when deciding value is based on the idea that a typical buyer will not pay more for a similar home if all things are equal. This is why it is especially important to look at recently sold homes (last 6 months) to help determine what people have paid. One mistake many sellers and buyers make is basing value on homes that are currently listed. The problem with this logic is that often the list price is the “best case scenario” for the seller but not necessarily what a buyer is willing to pay.

The bottom line. Being able to differentiate the value the of your home based on specific features is an important part of putting these online home value tools into context. So, unless you want to hire an appraiser, use online home value estimates only as a supplementary tool. Work with a trusted real estate agent to get a more accurate home value (they have additional tools and knowledge to help obtain this value). And remember, what a seller paid for specific upgrades will not always equate to what a buyer will pay.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       http://rbhaley.com/     CalBRE#01843189

Five Steps to a Faster Home Sale

It is true that a seller’s market (like the one currently in southern California) favors the seller, but buyers are still an important part of the sale equation. There are critical steps sellers can take to reach the ideal buyers who are willing and able to pay top dollar, and to ensure a smooth and expedited escrow process. And it all starts BEFORE listing your property. Here are five steps to a faster home sale.

RBH_termiteOne: Work out the bugs     Having a pre-listing pest inspection done before listing your property can help eliminate surprises (like extensive termite damage) that can throw a wrench in the escrow process and keep the cost of repairs lower, giving the seller more control. Completing recommended repairs ahead of time can be a big selling point, and obtaining a termite clearance report by a licensed pest control company (required by many lenders to fund a loan) can help facilitate a faster escrow.

Two: Call in the inspector     Similar to a pest inspection, doing a home inspection before listing your home will give you an idea of any major (and minor) repairs that will be recommended and likely negotiated as a result. Sellers can give themselves an advantage by either making major repairs ahead of time or taking the cost of those repairs into consideration in the asking price. Keep in mind that buyers may (and should) still opt to have a home inspection done, but a home in great condition reassures the buyer as to the value, will help expedite contingency removals, and will keep more money in the seller’s pocket during escrow.

Three: Move Out     While there can be drawbacks to selling an unoccupied home, the benefits can outweighRBHmovingbox them. Vacating your home prior to listing protects your personal belongings, allows your home to be thoroughly cleaned and staged to be showcased at its best, and most importantly, it makes it much more accessible for potential buyers to see. It is also much more convenient for the seller.   Otherwise, you will have the constant headache of having to keep your home in “showing” condition at all times and be willing to drop what you are doing to vacate the property on a moment’s notice to accommodate potential buyers and stay competitive with other homes for sale in the area.

Four: Showcase it with staging     Whether your home is vacant or occupied there is a range of home staging options, but it is always recommended. Ideally, your home will be de-cluttered and de-personalized, and decorated in a tasteful and generally appealing way. If you do not have this talent, you can ask for guidance from your real estate agent and possibly consider hiring a professional. In a vacant home, staging is recommended in the living areas and master bedroom, and any other areas whose function is not well defined in the home to help buyers visualize how to use the space.

Five: Pre-listing marketing     This is where having a great real estate agent can make all the difference. When selecting a REALTOR ask about his or her pre-listing marketing strategies. These can include posting a “Coming Soon” sign in the yard and marketing to neighbors, advertising in local newspapers or websites, and posting “Coming Soon” on social media outlets and websites such as Zillow.com. Your real estate agent should also be promoting your property before coming to the market with other real estate agents who may have potential buyers through networking and broker caravans. Some REALTORS also do “Exclusive Preview” open houses or parties where previewing the home is by invitation only prior to a general Open House to further build excitement. All of these strategies help to build anticipation and demand and often translate into multiple offers.

And multiple offers puts sellers in the drivers seat so you can sell your home faster and with a smoother escrow.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       http://rbhaley.com/           CalBRE#01843189

Energy Efficient Home Improvements That Also Add Value

A home for sale that is energy efficient is almost always more appealing to buyers. Why? Because buyers know that they will save money monthly because of the efficiency of the home and will not have to make those upgrades themselves. But not all upgrades are valued the same, and not all buyers are willing to pay a higher price for upgrades they do not value. Here are some common energy efficient home improvements that also add value to your home (so everyone wins!).

Windows     If you have not already upgraded to energy efficient windows, start here. Not only can older windows be an eyesore, window replacements are one of the few upgrades that instantly give an updated look while also providing great function by helping to regulate the home’s temperature and reducing its exposure to extreme heat and cold.RBH window

Appliances     Many home buyers today expect kitchens to be updated with modern amenities like granite or quartz countertops and stainless steel. This also includes energy efficient appliances. Again, this upgrade is functional and goes a long way with making a positive visual impact.

Furnace and A/C     If your home’s furnace or air conditioner is nearing the end of its functional life, it may be worth replacing it before you have to. Home buyers become weary when they know that an expensive item has a higher potential for needing to be replaced in the near future. Even simply adding a programmable thermostat can go a long way.RBH air conditioning

Insulation     While insulation is not something potential buyers will necessarily be able to see, it is likely something they will be able to feel. A well insulated home will offer more in the way of comfort from extreme temperatures and noise. And, as far as energy efficient home improvements, insulation is relatively inexpensive to install.

If you want to prioritize your projects further but are not sure where your house ranks in terms of energy efficiency, you can start by requesting an energy audit from your local utility company. Another benefit that homeowners may overlook is the added bonus of homeowner tax credits available by the IRS as an incentive to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency.

While not all buyers are willing to pay more for energy efficient upgrades (even in a seller’s market), many times the homes that are in need of updating and upgrading are magnets for real estate investors who see it as an opportunity to invest their own money into these upgrades, which results in a lower offer price to the seller. Consult with your real estate agent for further guidance.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       http://rbhaley.com/           CalBRE#01843189

Tips for Buying in a Seller’s Market

If you are a home buyer in today’s real estate market, you may be experiencing some challenges. Low inventory and faster selling times (average of 21.8 days Days on Market) make this seller’s market tough to navigate for potential buyers. So what can buyers do to stay competitive? Here are 8 tips for buying in a seller’s market.RBHaley Mortgage Calculator

Get Pre-approved before you start looking     Getting pre-approved before you start looking will give you the price range you know you can comfortably afford, and looking below that will give you some room for negotiating up if needed. Also, getting pre-approved shows sellers your credit worthiness and sets the stage for a smoother and more successful purchase.

Know what you need vs. what you want     Knowing your must-have features (and being in agreement on those if you are buying with a significant other) helps you know where you are willing to compromise and where you are not. Knowing what is negotiable in your mind will speed up the decision making process while ensuring that your priorities stay in check.

Find a rock star agent     Anyone can search for homes online, but a rock star real estate agent is well connected to other realtors and the market, and may even learn about homes that are not yet listed. She or he should give you a competitive edge by using her or his resources to not only find you right home, but help sell you to the listing agent and sellers as the ideal buyers. If you aren’t getting that kind of service, it might be time to look for a new agent (and we happen to know a few amazing agents!).

Be ready to act. Fast.     Being ready to act fast goes beyond being pre-approved. You will want to have a pre-approval letter written by your lender as well as proof of funds (such as a bank statement) to show you are willing and able to make a Good Faith deposit upon acceptance of your offer. It also helps to have letters of recommendation from employers, landlords, and anyone else who can vouch for your good character and dependability. Have these things ready to go so that an offer can be executed on a moment’s notice, as even mere hours can make the difference in a seller’s market.RBHaleySignContract

Make your best offer     Many sellers are receiving multiple offers right up front. If your offer isn’t competitive from the get go you may not get the chance to counter offer. Remember, it’s not always about price. You can enhance your offer by reducing or eliminating contingencies or showing flexibility to work with the seller’s time frame. Understand what the seller is looking for and write your offer accordingly.

Make it personal     Don’t be afraid to tell your story as a buyer to appeal to the seller. Most sellers (unless it is an investor) cherish their home and want to know that whomever will be buying it will love it as much as they have. Get creative and you will be light years ahead of your competition.

Be realistic     As a buyer in a seller’s market, you are probably not going to get a killer deal. Be realistic in your offer based on current values but resist the temptation to bid beyond what you can comfortably afford.   Stay focused on what gives that home real value and do your research on comparable properties so you know whether the purchase is a good investment and why.

Keep moving forward     If your offer was rejected or you were outbid, don’t despair! Do your best to move on. Believe it or not, there are many “right” homes out there; it’s just a matter of finding the right one at the right time. Stay optimistic and keep looking…often times buyers end up finding something better!

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       www.RBHaley.com         CalBRE#01843189

 

How to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar

Selling a home is both science and art. There are the numbers (economics)…and there are the people (buyers). Something magical happens when you get the best of both. Here are the tried and true recommendations for how to sell your home fast and for top dollar.

RBHaleyDollarSignFind the Pricing Sweet Spot     First, start by finding out what has recently sold and what is currently for sale in your neighborhood. Realtor.com can be a great tool for this. The value of your home is based, in part, on the theory that buyers will not pay more for a similar home in the same neighborhood. Ideally, your home will be priced slightly less that what is currently listed (to attract buyers), but slightly more than what has sold recently. A home that is priced too high is likely to sit on the market longer. Potential buyers automatically assume that something is wrong with the property, which may keep them away or only attract the bargain hunters (which may result in a lower selling price).

Downsize belongings     You have no doubt heard about the importance of decluttering your home, but the purpose behind it sends a powerful message. By creating space in your home, you are showing potential buyers that your home is comfortable, livable, and well cared for. What impression do you think it makes when things are jammed into closets and cabinets are overflowing? Think hotel; only the necessities.

Upgrade to move-in ready     Most buyers today have an expectation that the home they buy is going to be move-in ready; most are not looking for a large home improvement project. To appeal to these buyers you want to get familiar with the current trends and follow them. A great tip is to visit model homes, as they often do extensive research on their presentation to appeal to most potential buyers. Take note of popular materials, styles, and uses of space.

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Put your best foot forward     In most cases, potential buyers will view photos of your home before ever setting foot in it. Guess which photo they are likely to see first? It pays to enhance your curb appeal. In many cases this may mean simply laying fresh wood chips and planting some flowers. And, don’t forget about the backyard as well.   When it comes to photos of the inside of your home, lots of light and beautifully staging a home can make all the difference to online buyers.

Hire the right agent     A great real estate agent is knowledgeable, professional, and reliable.   Not only should she or he be able to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible, but is also someone who brings you value by negotiating a sale that protects and promotes your best interests as the seller…and can help sell your home fast and for top dollar.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       www.RBHaley.com         CalBRE#01843189

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal

You know the saying…You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether prospective buyers are pulling up to your house with a real estate agent, or clicking through MLS photos online, you want your house stand out above the rest. That starts with the first thing buyers see: the front of your home. Here are 5 ways to freshen up your home’s curb appeal so you can make that great first impression.3924 Arroyo Sorrento Rd

  1. Freshen up your landscaping. Laying fresh wood chips and planting a few colorful flowers can go a long way. Make sure your bushes are trimmed, your lawn is cut, and your yard is free of weeds and debris.
  2. Freshen up your walkway and entryway. As a larger project, adding stone or stamped concrete to your walkway can instantly give your home’s curb appeal a major boost. For smaller projects, try lining your walkway with decorative lighting, such as individual solar lights. Add warmth to your entryway by including seating or potted plants.
  3. Freshen up your front door. Your front door gives your home character and tells visitors what to expect once they enter. Make a statement! This can mean simply painting your existing door a contrasting color to make it more inviting, or replacing your old door with something updated and stylish. And, make sure your “Welcome” mat is in welcoming condition. (Note: If your garage door faces the street, you might also consider freshening that up).
  4. Freshen up your fixtures. Outdated lighting fixtures can make a house look less appealing. Consider updating your home’s exterior lighting fixtures to compliment your house and enhance its safety. Coordinate your fixtures with your mailbox and house numbers and buyers will be sure to notice.
  5. Freshen up your paint. Probably the biggest impact you can have on curb appeal is by freshening up your house with a new coat of paint. Coordinate a complimentary trim color and some decorative features, such as shutters, accent colors, or stone, and you can totally transform your home’s curb appeal.

Not sure where to start? Try taking “before” photos of your home from the front and using those to plan out how you would like it to look and go from there. If you’re not up to tackling these projects yourself, you can always ask your real estate agent for referrals to contractors that can help you.   In the end, enhancing your home’s curb appeal will help your home to stand apart and make the memorable first impression you really want.

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Moving In

RBHmovingbox

Buying a home is a process. That process starts with working with a lender to get pre-qualified, then shopping around to find an agent and a home. The next stage in the home buying process includes making a purchase offer (and possibly counter-offer), getting acceptance and agreeing on terms, and successfully completing the purchase transaction in escrow. Once you purchased the house…the next step is to become the occupant! Make your move into your new home low stress by following a recommended timeline and using these helpful tips for “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Moving In.”

Moving begins before moving day. A smooth and successful move takes planning weeks in advance, especially if a relocation or sale of another home is involved. Here is a general week-by-week timeline you may find helpful (or use this checklist for moving):

Four weeks prior to moving:

  • Start sorting items and begin acquiring moving materials (boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap)
    • Tip: every item should be assigned one status of KEEP, DONATE, or DISCARD
  • Make a list of accounts, creditors, insurance, and businesses to contact, and notify of new address if possible
    • Tip: you can start making these updates as you pay the final month’s bill before you move
  • Notify the utilities company of where you are moving to/from so that service can be turned on/offRBHmovingbox
  • File a change of address form with the Post Office
  • Inquire about the registration process if kids are switching schools

Three weeks prior to moving:

  • Decide what items you will move yourself and schedule a moving company to help with the rest
    • Tip: check your homeowner’s policy on whether moving is covered by your insurer and take inventory of all your belongings
  • Continue sorting and packing
    • Tip: color code labels as you pack so that like items are packed together and can be easily unpacked
    • Tip: sketch out a floor plan of your new home so that you have a general idea of where things will go and what may not fit
  • Make a list of important names, phone numbers, and addresses to take with you (and keep it handy)
    • Tip: send out an email with your new contact information to friends and family ahead of time
  • Make any travel arrangements needed for your move (including any arrangements for pets)

Two weeks prior to moving:

  • Dispose of any flammable or hazardous household items (it is usually okay to leave labeled cans of the home’s current paint colors)
    • Tip: check with your community about hazardous household waste disposal locations and hours
  • Consider ordering a curbside dumpster for large amounts of trash
  • Discontinue regular services such as landscaping, newspaper delivery and/or subscriptions, pest control, etc.
  • Finalize plans for moving larger items (TV antenna, swing set, trampoline, etc)
  • Plan to use up frozen and stored food

One week prior to moving:RBHmailbox

  • Determine what items of value (jewelry, etc.) you will keep with you during the move and where
  • Drop off all donation items (or arrange for pick up)
  • Clean appliances
  • Make arrangements to connect/disconnect phone/internet service at your new home and sold home

The day prior to moving:

  • Pack a suitcase or box of necessities that you will need upon arrival
    • Tip: include kitchen and household items such as phone chargers and cords, paper towels, trash bags, hand soap, scissors, drinking water, snacks, and toilet paper

MOVING DAY:

  • Plan to be at your sold home as movers arrive to oversee the loading process
  • Check the condition of items that are being loaded
  • Verify your new address and phone number with the movers, and be prepared for payment
  • Take a final tour of the property, including the yard
  • Lock all doors and windows and turn off all switches
  • Meet your movers at your new home and oversee the process of unloading

Welcome home!

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Making a Purchase Offer

So, you found the perfect home…now what? Assuming you have already take steps to get pre-qualified (if not pre-approved) for a home loan at this point (if applicable), and you already found a real estate agent you trust and want to work with, the next action step is to submit an offer to purchase the home. If you’re not sure what that looks like, keep reading on “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Making a Purchase Offer.”

Contact the Listing Agent. The first thing your buyer’s agent will want to do is confirm with the listing agent that the sellers are still accepting offers. Even if a home sale is Pending, the listing agent may accept back up offers in the event that the current accepted offer falls out of escrow. A good agent will also be able to glean some additional information and get a general feel for what the sellers might be looking for. Keep in mind that the sellers may also have criteria for selling, such as a time frame for closing escrow or moving.RBHaleyDollarSign

Consider an Offer Price. Start by taking a look at your own price range (the amount for which you have been pre-qualified) and what you feel comfortable paying. It can be easy to get excited and emotional about a home you want, but try to keep a long-term perspective throughout the process. Your agent should share with you comparable nearby homes that are for sale or have recently sold to help guide you to a purchase amount that seems appropriate. Be sure you are comparing like features (for instance, if one home has a remodeled kitchen and one doesn’t, then that should be taken into consideration).  Also, leave yourself some room for negotiation and closing costs (not to mention moving expenses).

Other Negotiable Terms. There are other terms and expenses included in the sales transaction that can be factored into the purchase offer. These can include paying/not paying for reports and/or suggested repairs, removing or including contingencies for the sale, and accommodating the seller’s timing needs for escrow or moving, among others. Generally speaking, the easier the buyer makes the purchase on the seller, the more likely their offer will be accepted. This can also mean that the buyer may be shouldering more risk, so it is important to walk through all of these things with your agent.RBHaleySignContract

Submitting and Offer and Counteroffer. Once you settle on a purchase offer price and ideal terms of sale, your real estate agent will help you complete the purchase offer contract (or Residential Purchase Agreement). This will be sent to the listing agent to present to the sellers. Often times (and especially in a “seller’s market”), the sellers will counteroffer with a higher price and/or additional terms. Your real estate agent will help guide you through this negotiation process (which might include several counteroffers) while promoting and protecting your best interests.

If all goes well, your offer will be accepted and the process of escrow will begin. For more information on the next stage of the home buying transaction, stay tuned for “What to Expect When Buying a Home: In Escrow.”

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Finding an Agent and a Home

Thanks to technology, searching for a home and finding a real estate agent to represent you through the home buying process is easier than ever. According to Realtor.com, 42% of buyers start their home search by looking online first. Interestingly enough, however, 53% of buyers rate their agent as being most important for finding the right home. So, while the internet can be a helpful tool when buying a home, working closely with a real estate agent you trust can make it a much easier and more positive experience. Here is What to Expect When Buying a Home: Finding an Agent and a Home.

RBHcomuterFinding an Agent. Although many people start their home search online (and before they have taken any other steps), your chances of a successful buying transaction increase if you start first by getting pre-qualified. Knowing your price point will help keep your home search focused on what you know you can afford. Once you have that information and a general idea of what you want and need, then you will want to start searching for a real estate agent to help you find it.

Referrals are a great way to start this process. Who do you know that has recently bought or sold a home, and would they recommend their agent? Chances are, you know someone who knows someone, so ask around. Before contacting an agent, be sure to do an online search for reviews of the agent (just remember that reviews can sometimes be paid advertisements). Also check the agent’s license status with California Bureau of Real Estate (it is recommended to use the license number from their card or website rather than their name). Interview multiple agents and choose the one you trust and want to work with the most.

Find a Home. With your agent on board, now you will want to actively start the home search. Communication with your agent and feedback are critical. Many buyers like to participate in the home search online, and your agent should encourage that. Since non-MLS sites may contain inaccurate information, it is best to allow your real estate agent to set up a custom MLS search based on your criteria. He or she can have homes that match your criteria automatically emailed to you, or may even be able to provide you with a custom URL that will give you direct access to the MLS for searching purposes. You can usually search the MLS from your agent’s website as well.

RBHhomecouryardWhen searching, try to keep in mind your “needs” and “wants” in a home and keep a big picture perspective. Some considerations to think about are: Is it situated near a busy street (are there noise or safety concerns)? Is there plenty of parking? What do the surrounding homes in the neighborhood look like? Try driving through at various times of the day and talk to other neighbors. What schools are nearby? Is there shopping, transportation, and restaurants/entertainment nearby? Are there other amenities, such as parks, nearby? If you see any vacant land, check on whether there are plans to develop it. When touring the inside of a home in person, try to look past the current homeowner’s possessions and envision how you might live in that space. There is a lot to consider and making a checklist can help. Your agent should also be able to help answer many of these questions for you.

In 2015, the average buyer typically searched for ten weeks and looked at a median of ten homes before they bought one (Realtor.com). Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t finding what you want (and don’t be too quick to compromise on your “needs”). Try not to become too emotionally invested in any one house and keep an open mind for a second and third choice when offers become competitive. Your agent is working to serve your best interests, so collaborating and communicating makes for a more positive home searching experience.

Once you find your ideal home, the next step is to make an offer. We will be covering that stage of the home buying process in our next article “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Making a Purchase Offer.” Until then, happy hunting!

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CalBRE#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Selling a Home: Negotiating an Offer

Selling a home is a process, and knowing what to expect at each stage will help that process go more smoothly. By now you have likely found the best real estate agent to represent you, taken steps to get your house ready to be listed to sell, and may have staged your home. So far, so good. Now that your house is looking its best and your agent has likely listed it on the MLS, you can expect to have multiple appointments from real estate agents to show your home to prospective buyers (and possibly one or more Open Houses). Ideally, this will result in receiving an offer from a prospective buyer (or buyers). This brings us to the next stage: Negotiating an Offer.

RBHaleyChessAs you and your real estate agent consider how to negotiate an offer, it is a good idea to revisit some of the questions we posed in an earlier article: Why do you want (or need) to sell your house? What is your time frame for selling? What price range do you need (and want)? Are you prepared to move?

The answers to these questions will help you define what you need and what you want (and where you have room to compromise). Here are some additional negotiating points to consider:

  • Take the emotion out of the negotiation: Realtor.com suggests trying to view your home as a business prospect. Putting aside the emotional attachment it represents to you will help you to negotiate more clearly and effectively.
  • Be informed: When negotiating, have recent comparable sales on hand to support your asking price. Also, be aware of the current lending and market conditions- Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? Are interest rates going up or down? Is housing inventory in your neighborhood low or high?
  • Expect to negotiate: Be prepared to counteroffer. Buyers anticipate that sellers will counteroffer, so again, knowing where you are willing to compromise (and not compromise) will help you focus your negotiating strategy.  RBHaleySignContract
  • What’s negotiable?: In addition to the sales price, many terms of the sale are negotiable. For instance, deciding on who (the buyer or seller) pays certain closing costs may be negotiable. Timing the close of escrow may be another negotiable item. Including/excluding expensive, non-permanent fixtures can be part of the negotiation as well. The strategies are many; consult with your real estate agent to decide what’s best for you and your situation. (And, yes, the real estate broker’s commission fees are also negotiable.)
  • Get it in writing: Any promised or proposed changes to an offer create a counteroffer (which requires a new or amended contract). Be sure to always put everything in writing.

Of course, sellers are not obligated to negotiate offers; offers may be rejected outright or accepted on the terms offered. Whatever the decision, your real estate agent can help guide you through it.  For legal advice, however, it is always advisable to consult an attorney.

Once the final sales terms are agreed upon and the contract is signed, the transaction enters escrow. We will talk more about the “What to Expect When Selling Your Home: In Escrow” in our next article.

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416