- Compare the home to comparable ones on the market and identify its unique and most desirable features. Why would a buyer want this home more than other homes in the same price range?
- Take snapshots of the home's best features, and use them as a starting point for your marketing approach. Make sure they are posted on the MLS System.
- Ask you, the seller, what made you decide to purchase the home, and use that information to help focus on potential buyers.
It's an objective opinion of value, but it's not an exact science so appraisals may differ.
For buying and selling purposes, appraisals are usually based on market value: what the property could probably be sold for. Other types of value include insurance value, replacement value, and assessed value for property tax purposes.
Appraised value is not a constant number. Changes in market conditions can dramatically alter appraised value.
Appraised value doesn't consider special considerations, like the need to sell rapidly.
A real estate transaction is complicated. In most cases, buying or selling a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page government-mandated settlement statements. A knowledgeable guide through this complexity can help you avoid delays or costly mistakes.
Selling or buying a home is time consuming. Even in a strong market, homes in our area stay on the market for an average of 90-180 days. And it usually takes another 30-45 days or so for the transaction to close after an offer is accepted.
How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate, like many other professions, is mostly learned on the job.
What designations do you hold? Designations such as GRI and CRS, which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training, are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.
How many homes did you and your company sell last year?
How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?
Property Disclosure Form: This form requires you to reveal all known defects to your property. Check with your state government to see if there is a special form required in your state.
Purchasers Access to Premises Agreement: This agreement sets conditions for permitting the buyer to enter your home for activities such as measuring for draperies before you move.
Sales Contract: The agreement between you and the seller on terms and conditions of sale. Again, check with your state real estate department to see if there is a required form.
The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.
Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.
The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.
Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it's acceptable.
Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer's financial status before signing the contract. Ask:
- Price it right. Set a realistic price.
- Begin to get your house market ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it. Try to see it thru a buyers eye.
- Be flexible about showings. It's often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you'll find a seller.
- Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you'll find acceptable.
- Don't refuse to drop the price.
The answers to these questions will help you decide:
How much equity do you have in your home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don't build up much equity in the first few years of paying a mortgage, but if you've owned your home for a number of years, you may have significant unrealized gains.
Has your income increased enough to cover the extra mortgage costs and the costs of moving?