Q. How can I find out what my home is worth?
A. Our agents have a thorough knowledge of the current real estate market and will prepare a comparative market analysis (or CMA) for your home to help you set a competitive price. Click here to contact Jason Opland and to find out how much your home is worth.
Q. How much higher do I set my asking price over fair market value?
A. Because a buyer will probably bid below asking price, you do want to allow for that. That said, there is no single answer to this question and it is one your Realtor will have to discuss with you personally after assessing your property and taking into account the current market climate. Generally speaking, the asking price should exceed the market value by no more than 5-10%. Some sellers (or agents) will want to list high, hoping they™ll get someone who likes their house enough to pay that (when agents do this it™s what we call “buying the listing“, they lead sellers to believe they can sell their home for more for their home than a willing buyer will actually pay simply to get the listing. The intention from the beginning is to later request price reductions and bring the home to a price at which it will actually sell). Unfortunately, this very rarely works because buyers in today™s market are educated consumers and know the values pretty well (not to mention banks will not lend more than what a property will appraise at). Also, many are working with buyer™s agents who are responsible to the buyer and not the seller, and will advise them accordingly. Overpricing risks having your house sit on the market a long time until it gets œstale and potential buyers start to wonder why no one wants it.
Q. What is a listing agreement? And what does it typically entail?
A. The listing agreement is typically between you and the real estate company you employ. Think of it as your legal instructions to the people who will market your home and represent you in the sale. Such an agreement must include beginning and ending dates for the term of the listing; the conditions to which you, the listing agent and the real estate company agree; and a price (usually a percentage of the eventual sale price) you™ll pay for services rendered in the sale of your home.
Q. As my agent you represent me and my best interests, right? What if the buyer has a different agent?
A. Yes, as your listing agent I am looking out for your best interest. Typically your buyer will also have an agent they are working with. Their agent is never working for you and thus it is recommended you do not share any information with them about your situation, including what you are actually willing to sell your home for or why you are selling. The buyer™s agent is acting on the buyer™s behalf and in their interest. Occasionally the same agent and brokerage who represents the seller also represents the buyers. This is called dual agency and it typically occurs when a buyer is located who hasn™t secured representation. When a brokerage and it™s agents become dual agents they must maintain a neutral position in the transaction and in essence become a facilitator to the sale.
Q. If I have a real estate agent do I still need a lawyer?
A. Your agent will walk you through the steps and forms, but it is recommended that you have a lawyer look over the Purchase and Sales Agreement before signing, since it is a binding document and covers all details of the sale. If you have an unusual or unique situation you may want a lawyer involved through the whole process.
Q. How important is the condition of my property to its sale?
A. It™s probably very important, depending on your priorities. Are you hoping to extract the maximum sale price for your home? If so, condition and appearance are crucial. If, however, you™ve let deferred maintenance catch up with you, your priorities may be different: you may wish to sell your home in œas is condition, allowing the buyer to repair/replace items as s/he sees fit. In this case, your ultimate sale price will be less than what the same buyer would be willing to pay for a home that™s in mint-condition.
A. Generally speaking, yes. If it causes you no undue hardship, it™s easier for a real estate agent to show your home without you being present. The agent is better able to demonstrate your home™s features and benefits, painting a realistic picture for the buyers to envision themselves living there. Your absence will also allow your prospective buyers to focus on the house and its attributes “ rather than on being polite to you.
Q. What is the MLS and how does it benefit me?
A. A Multiple Listing Service or MLS is a database that makes it easier to reach a large number of buyers and increase your property™s exposure. It™s a system in which participating brokers at the real estate board agree to share commission on the sale of houses listed by any one of them. For example, if your house is listed with one broker and another finds the buyer who purchases it, they split the commission. Your benefit is twofold “ (1) because more agents will be interested in selling your house and (2) because your home is exposed to more buyers since Realtors have access to the MLS.
Q. Is WebMLS a member of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
A. Yes. In every market we serve, WebMLS associates are members of the local MLS, as well as being members of the national, state and local Associations/Boards of Realtors ®.
Q. Do WebMLS agents cooperate with other real estate companies?
A. Our agents work according to specific laws, regulations and customs in their respective market areas. In all the markets that WebMLS serves, brokers and agents from different companies work cooperatively, showing and selling each other™s listed properties.
Q. Should I buy or sell first?
A. It depends. Do you need the equity you™ve built up in your present house in order to complete the purchase of your new home? If so, you will either need to sell first, get a bridge loan or ask for a house sale contingency. If not, it may simply be a matter of personal preference. In any event, we highly recommend partnering with a qualified real estate agent who can discuss this question in light of your particular set of circumstances. Keep in mind, too, that the WebMLS listing agent who™s selling your present home can easily become your buyer™s agent for your next home.
Q. How can I prepare my house for sale?
The selling process can start months before a property is actually put on the market. It™s a good idea to begin by looking at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. This will help you decide what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired or tossed out. Your WebMLS agent can help you make these decisions then, when you™re ready, list your home at a fair price. Your agent will also help you stage your home to maximize its appeal to buyers. It™s extremely important to view your home as a potential buyer would. Professional staging shows your home in its best light, therefore increasing its marketability.
Q. What must I disclose about the condition of my property?
A. The best policy is truth when it comes to disclosing the condition of your property; but you absolutely must communicate all known material defects of the property. Normally, these are noted on a Seller Disclosure Form (SDF). Your agent will work with you to complete this. If an item is not covered on the SDF, you must still make disclosures about known material defects. Even if a matter has been repaired, you should still disclose the previous defect and provide a report of the repairs completed. By disclosing all problems up front, you can avoid any surprises that may provoke a lawsuit. More on Property Disclosure.
Q. When is the best time to put my home on the market?
A. Believe it or not, peak selling seasons change from year-to-year and market to market. Often, though, weather has a lot to do with it. Early spring and early fall are prime listing seasons nearly every year because houses typically show better in those months than they do in the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Keep in mind there are more houses on the market during the prime seasons, so you will have more competition. Don™t base your decision to sell on the season; each selling situation is unique. Talk to your Realtor before deciding on the timing of the sale of your home.
Q. Why should I use you, Jason Opland, to sell my house?
A. I will take an active role in getting your house sold. Every aspect of listing your house, from pricing to marketing to negotiations will get my highest level of attention. In my field, reputation is everything – I want a happy client who would recommend me to their friends and the only way I know how to do that is to provide top service. Communication, effort, and attention to detail are what you™ll get when you list with me.