First Steps - Sellers

If you’re thinking about selling your home, you likely have a lot of questions.

Watch this video to find answers to sellers' most frequently asked questions, or keep reading below.

 

1. What’s my house worth?

Chances are you’ve looked at Zillow, maybe you’ve spoken with a friend or neighbor who sold their house, so you might have an idea of what you think your house will sell for.

Keep in mind that there are so many variables that determine the market value of a home:

  • location,
  • condition,
  • age,
  • improvements,
  • amenities,
  • market changes,
  • and more.  

Zillow acknowledges that their Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.5%, so the error rate could be even higher. That means if you go by the Zestimate, you may price your home way too low or way too high. Zillow encourages supplementing the Zestimate with other research such as visiting homes, getting a professional appraisal, or requesting a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent.

And there is a good reason for that. A local realtor will be familiar with the market and have essential information at their disposal. They can provide valuable insight to help you determine the true market value of your home.

2. How long will it take to sell my house?

That depends a lot on you. The same things that determine the market value of your home will determine how long it takes to sell your house. If the price and condition of your house are good, it will likely sell quickly.

A house priced too high, cluttered or outdated will likely sit on the market. If the house sits too long, buyers may begin to think your house hasn’t sold because there is a problem with it.

Again, this is where a qualified realtor is an invaluable asset in helping you get your home sold quickly and for top dollar. 

3. What improvements should I make?

Most buyers want a move-in or close to move-in ready home. I always recommend going outside, all the way to the street and walking through your property as if you were seeing it for the first time, through the eyes of a buyer.

If your home needs a few updates, there are some simple, cost-effective things you can do.

  • Paint - Paint is an easy way to make things look fresh and new.
  • Declutter - Another easy fix is to declutter. Box up items you don’t use on a daily basis (this includes what’s in closets); clutter makes a house feel small, so make your house feel as big as possible.
  • Landscaping - Brighten up your yard with colorful plants and mulch. Trim your bushes, pull weeds, trim your trees.
  • Deep clean - Do a really deep clean. Clean your windows, baseboards, air vents, fans. Replace mildewed caulk in showers and around tubs, clean the gutters.

If your home needs bigger improvements, your realtor can help you determine if the benefit in how quickly your house sells or how much return you get on your investment outweighs the cost of the improvement.

If you contact me, I have some really resources that can help you estimate remodeling costs.

We also offer a really great program that lets you remodel now and pay at closing.

4. Should I stage my house?

If your house is vacant or you have outdated or bulky furniture or a room that could be confusing to buyers like a formal dining room being used as a playroom, then staging might be a good option for you.

Simple Staging

This could be as simple as using or removing items you already have. Remove all personal photos and mementos so the buyers imagine this as their home, not yours.

Could you rearrange or remove furniture so the room flows better or highlights a feature of your home like the fireplace or beautiful windows?

Think about model homes. That’s what you want to achieve with your home. You want buyers to walk in and feel like they can imagine their family living there right away.

Your realtor can offer great suggestions for making the most of your space.

Professional Stager

In some instances, you may consider hiring a professional stager. You’ve probably watched HGTV; if so, you know how much better those homes look when they’re staged. A staged home generally sells for more money and faster than one that is not staged.

Virtual Staging

There are also services now that will virtually stage a room. Just make sure to disclose in the picture that it is virtually staged.

If you contact me, I’d be happy to put you in contact with some really great companies.

5. What kind of expenses will I have when I sell my house?

Expenses vary by state. In Texas, you can expect to pay a Title company fee and recording fees. If you have a mortgage, you’ll likely have some lender fees. And there are fees that can be negotiated between the buyer and seller to determine who will pay for them. These include Owner’s Title Policy, Survey, HOA fees, Home Warranty, Seller Contribution towards closing costs and repairs. And if you are using a realtor, you’ll have the broker fees.

Seller Net Sheet

Your realtor should prepare a Seller Net Sheet to give you an idea of what you can expect. This is very important. Unfortunately, I’ve had people tell me they ended up writing a check at closing instead of walking away with one because they were not informed on what their expenses would be.

6. What do I have to disclose?

This is VERY important. The seller has to disclose any known issues that could affect a buyer financially or health-wise. Texas has a form called Seller’s Disclosure Notice. It is a detailed list for the seller to alert buyers of any known issues with the house. It is so important to be honest when completing this form. Not accurately completing the form could result in a future lawsuit. It is better to err on the side of caution than to go to court later.

I have a really great service that provides guidance on completing this form.

7. How can I market my house?

Your realtor will work with you to create a marketing plan. One of the most important things is professional photographs. A good agent will include the cost of a professional photographer in their marketing plan. I also highly recommend a video tour of the home so buyers can get a feel for the layout of the house. This is something I include in my marketing. They should also send out emails and notices to other agents, and do online advertising, open houses, posts to social media and more.

You can help with marketing to your neighbors and sphere by posting on sites like Nextdoor, Facebook and Instagram.

8. What happens next?

Once your house is showroom ready and listed for sale and you start receiving offers, there are lots of things to be aware of.

  • Is the buyer qualified?
  • How reliable is their lender?
  • How do the terms affect my bottom line?
  • Is this a good offer?
  • What dates and deadlines do I need to be aware of?
  • What happens during the option period?
  • Can I cancel the contract?
  • What if the appraisal is low?
  • Who do I talk to in order to make sure everything is OK?

Remember, the contract is a legally binding document. Your realtor should be very experienced in coordinating all the people and moving parts of the transaction. With a qualified realtor on your side, you can feel comfortable knowing your questions will be answered and that you have someone on your side making sure your best interests are cared for.


I hope this video has helped get you one step closer to home.

I would love to be the realtor you choose to help you get your house SOLD.

Contact me for a free consultation.