Published by Kartik Subramaniam
Maybe you’re considering getting your real estate license because it’s time to sell your house. If you are grappling with the prospect of selling a property for the first time the process can seem downright overwhelming.
It doesn’t have to be.
With a bit of information and the right support, you can sell your home for a fair deal with minimal hassles. Here are some best practices to keep in mind.
When I get calls from folks that consider selling their house, one of the first questions most people ask is about real estate agents. While there is no law that says you have to use a real estate agent, there are some advantages and costs to consider.
One of the most basic advantages to using a real estate agent is that they have access to the MLS, a system that compiles all data about the property and gets it in front of other agents and their buyers. Being on the MLS is a huge win because it means more people are likely to see your home.
Another key benefit of working with an agent is that their service is all-inclusive. That means they will handle the marketing, negotiations, and contracts for you.
While there is no legal minimum or maximum commission in California, most real estate agents are going to charge between 4 and 7 percent of the home’s sale price to get your deal done. Typically, that amount is divided to cover both the buyer’s and the seller’s real estate agent fees. This is paid by the seller.
Do you really need an agent? The answer to this question really depends on what you want. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do you have the tools and funds to market your home on your own?
If you’re in a competitive market, you may benefit from an agent’s ability to negotiate terms and potentially increase what you get for your home.
You’ll need to meet with prospective buyers, show them your home, and deal with push back over the property.
Some buyers may not wish to work without their real estate agent. That means, if you want to sell to them, you’ll probably need to cover the costs of their agent.
Agents have access to the legal contracts and tools necessary for this transaction. You may need to hire an attorney to help you with the process if you don’t use an agent.
Since most people don’t want to do the above, real estate agents are engaged.
The next step is to price your home properly. This is another task that a knowledgable real estate agent can help with. Clearly, the value of your home is dependent on what buyers will pay for it. It is not dependent on what you’ve put into it or how much you think it is worth.
There are websites like Zillow which provide you with an estimate for your home. These websites use data from recent sales in your area to determine the value. Yet, they don’t come into your home to create an accurate assessment of the true worth they only use the broad data available. These site can be a good starting point for knowing what homes like yours are selling for but not the complete picture.
Your agent, if you choose to use one, will help you by creating a comparative market analysis. This provides insight into your home’s true attributes and features along with data on homes like yours that have sold recently.
The next step in the process is to get your home listed on the market to be sold. As noted, you can do this with your real estate agent but before you list, it’s important to ensure your home is sell-ready. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
You can sell your home at any time during the year. The spring and summer markets tend to have more buyers, which can mean faster sales and, in some cases, better pricing. However, in the winter, there’s less competition, which can help your home stand out in a desirable market.
Take the time to walk around your home and create a list of what needs to be updated, repaired, or cleaned. Work to remove as much clutter or extra furniture from your home as possible. This will help to make your home look larger, organized, and clean, making it attractive to buyers. Tackle any types of problems with the home that could lessen the value or throw red flags during a home inspection.
Also important is to capture beautiful, professional photos to showcase your home. That’s critical in today’s home buying process. Homebuyers shop online first. If you don’t have photos, they’ll wonder why. If the photos are not professional, that may create the wrong first impression. Professional videos provide clear information to prospective buyers. That means you’re not wasting your time on buyers who won’t fit your home’s specs.
Ultimately, you do not have to sell your home for anything less than you want, but most of the time, there will be negotiations in the process. When someone comes to your home and places an offer on it, that is an opportunity for you to either agree to the offer or to make changes to it. You can also reject the offer outright. It tends to be best to counter their offer with one that fits your needs. Key things to consider include:
The sale price
Who is paying what closing costs
Any stated repairs or conditions you’re willing or not willing to make
The timeline for closing on the home
Home inspection and repair requests
After you come to an agreement with a prospective buyer, a home inspection will likely be ordered by and paid for by the buyer. Nearly all contracts will be contingent (or dependent) on the home being inspected by a professional. This is a time for the buyer to walk around the home with the inspector to learn about any concerns. They will likely examine the major systems in your home, such as the roof, HVAC, and appliances. If there are concerns, the home buyer may ask you to make adjustments to the contract or to make the repairs necessary. You don’t have to do this, but that may mean your home goes back on the market if the buyer pulls out during their contingency period.
Once you and the buyer are ready to move forward, your real estate agent will work with you throughout the escrow process. There are multiple steps involved, including waiting for the buyer’s lender to obtain an appraisal and formally approve the loan and and to close on it. This can take some time, usually 30-60 days. Once the home is ready to close, you’ll need to work with the title and escrow companies to sign the deed and other requirements. This will involve transferring money to you from the buyer or the lender to complete the sale.
I could literally write a 50 page guide on selling real estate, but I wanted to keep this somewhat short.
If you are obtaining your real estate license in the hopes of selling your own property and saving the commission this is totally possible.
Let us know how we can help.
Are you ready to get your real estate license?