Selling a home or condo can seem like a daunting task especially if expectations are not outlined from the beginning of the process. This article covers what we consider to be "best practices" when selling your home.
The decision to sell your home is not one that you should take lightly. Once you have come to the conclusion that selling your home is the right thing for you and your family the next step is to get your home market ready- read our other blog on this- and list your property. It is important to understand the process and what to expect from your real estate agent. Of course, every home and transaction is unique so we are just talking in general.
Communication is key! It is very important that communication be open and comfortable with all parties involved in the sale of your home. If you and your spouse or other co-owner do not agree on selling, this can make the process both frustrating and drawn out. It is a good idea before listing your home to make sure that everyone is on board with selling, including you! It can be surprisingly difficult to let go of a home you have lived in and made your own, especially when there are offers on the table and other people want it. Homes tend to seem more appealing when someone else wants them, even if there are many reasons for moving on. Not only is it important for you to be on the same page with your co -seller, but also with your real estate agent. Let your agent in on why you are selling and if there are any hesitations from the very start. It makes it much easier in the long run when everyone is working on the same team. Your agent is there to have your back, get you the most for your home and make this entire process as smooth as possible. Communication is not only important before you list your home, it is mandatory throughout the entire process.
Showings generally start happening a few days after your home is actively in the RMLS and online for buyers to view pictures and other details about the property. All showings are accompanied by a licensed Realtor- this can be your agent or an agent the buyers have hired - that can access your home through the lockbox your agent put on the property. Generally these are on the front or back door, gas lines or fences. We like to see at least 2 showings within the first week of being on the market, that gives us a good indication that we are priced right and within the market value of your home. After showings you can expect your agent to follow up with the showing agent for feedback and will pass that on to you once they have the information. Some buyer’s agents do not give feedback so this is not something to expect always, but is nice to have for future showings and such. You can expect that your agent will always be working on your behalf and will pass on information to you.
Open houses are an area that sellers and Realtors can miss-communicate and this can lead to disappointment for everyone. It is good to know ahead of time the open house schedule. Your agent should be up front with you about open houses, broker’s opens and marketing, but if not it is a good idea to ask what the plan is. We believe that listings close in to Downtown Portland are great candidates for brokers opens. Usually close in N, NE, SE, SW and NW Portland listings get a good amount of agents walking through the brokers open, this is important because they might have a buyer. The further out the listing is the less likely it is for a brokers open to be necessary, but if you really want a brokers open all you have to do is ask. Communicate your wants to your agent at the very start of this process and make agreements with them as to when the open houses will be. It is typical for listings to be held open on the Sunday after they are listed, some agents do not believe that open houses sell houses and some do. Again, this is a time when talking to your Realtor is the best way to go. If you want open houses every Sunday, ask and if you don’t want any open houses it is important to communicate that as well. Typically open houses are only done on active listings, so if you are pending sale or negotiating a contract it is not common for your agent to hold an open house. Some houses sell before any opens are done and some take a little longer.
In a perfect world after the first few weeks on the market you will have an offer to purchase your home. Your agent will be the one presenting this to you and this can happen in person or via the internet and telephone. We have a great internet program that allows you to sign documents online and helps everyone save on time and gas. You can expect that your agent will walk you through the offer with timelines and financials, but ultimately it is your decision on when and how much you sell your home. This is why it is important to be ready to sell before putting your home on the market because this is when contracts are signed and escrow is opened. It is important and respectful to be courteous to the buyers that are offering to purchase your home and respond in a timely fashion. All offers have an expiration date and time and it is polite to respond within those time frames. Communication with your agent at this time is critical. They are working on your behalf to get you the most money for your home and secure a qualified eligible buyer. Not letting anxious buyers know what your response is within a reasonable amount of time can be a deal breaker. We also believe it is best practices to limit your counter offers. Some folks believe that countering 10 times prior to coming to an agreement to sell is part of the real estate "game." Well, real estate is not a game and we are not here to ping pong back and forth for days. It is good to be fair and reasonable when responding to a buyer. Put your best offer forward with a counter and be willing to negotiate terms. It is all about compromise for both parties. The likelihood of a buyer offering cash, full price to close in 2 weeks is slim. Most buyers need help with closing costs and pre-paids and it is common to ask for these in offers - the seller can contribute up to 3% in closing costs for the buyers.
Once an agreement is reached with price and terms you are then pending sale! Congratulations! You are half way there. Continue to communicate with your Realtor throughout your transaction to ensure a happy, successful closing and if you want something ask!
Written by Amanda Folkestad and Brian Porter