Seller Preparation from Start to Finish

Getting Your Home Ready for Sale…The Process Pricing your Scottsdale/Phoenix Area Home

Pricing is everything in today’s market. We are experiencing a very tight market in many areas, meaning inventory is low and it is a sellers’ market.  Homes are moving if they are priced right, overpriced homes typically stay on the market a long time and end up selling below value.  Also, homes sitting on the market are perceived as having problems. Houses priced attractively are now receiving multiple offers and selling for over the asking price.

My approach is very data-centric, I know how to look at the data, the numbers and the market in a way that will get you to the price that is right for your home.   Only worthwhile comps which should be considered.  Another property on the market and sitting unsold is not a comp.  If your home is a two story, a one-story is not a comp. A more than twenty percent difference in square footage is not a comp.  I pride myself on knowing our market and being spot on in pricing the homes I list to sell.

Don’t be swayed by how much you love your home and think it is the best on the block.  Today’s buyer and his or her agent knows what has sold in your area and the condition of the properties sold.  That is what they are going to base their offer on.  Unless the offer is unreasonably low be prepared to counter and negotiate a price both you and the buyer will be happy with.

Prepare your home for sale

Remodeling your home to encourage a higher price is not advisable. Your taste may not be a buyer’s and all you will hopefully recoup is the money you put into the remodeling. Simply presenting an uncluttered, clean home, maybe a freshly-painted exterior, and nice landscaping to provide a good first impression is all that is needed in an older house.  Here is a great article that addresses this very thing, I like to share it with my clients who are trying to determine what to do prior to putting a home up for sale. http://www.chicagonow.com/getting-real/2011/01/should-you-remodel-your-home-before-selling-it/

Ok, so now what?  Be ready for those open houses. Open houses are a powerful tool to sell your home, they are an integral part of the process. You should not be home during open houses. It is also advisable to accommodate buyers as much as possible for private showings with your agent.  Make sure you leave the home the way you would want a buyer to see it.  The more neutral the better.  A buyer needs to be able to envision the home as theirs, not yours.

If you do everything right, the offers will come in. Make sure you are available during the course of a listing to review offers. They are usually time-sensitive. Your agent will request paperwork to ensure that the buyer is financially able to purchase the house and go over the purchase contract with you.  Main contingencies to consider will be:

  • Amount of the down payment.   The more a buyer is putting down the stronger that buyer is going to be
  • Contingency removal dates – loan and appraisal are usually 10 days, although in this market this may be extended
  • Length of escrow period – the standard has long been 30 days, but longer periods are possible
  • Length of the inspection period. The standard is 10 days, but this should be shortened to a maximum 10 days. It is easy for a buyer to get all inspections done within that time period. If they need an extension for a reasonable cause this can be granted
  • Does the Buyer have to sell a property to purchase yours?  Are you willing to entertain this contingency?  This can hold up your sale with no guarantee that they Buyer will ever perform.
  • Check for any other unusual requests that may delay the sale.

Make sure you understand what you will net from the sale after closing costs, including the agent’s commission.  Some of the above requirements are time-sensitive and part of the Seller’s obligation to the buyer if agreed upon in the contract.

Prepare for the escrow period: The seller also has to abide by various contingency periods. Make yourself available to sign the mass of paperwork that will be sent your way. Most of it is standard, but if you need an explanation, don’t be afraid to ask your agent.

During the course of the buyer’s inspection period, a Request for Repairs may be submitted.  This is something that will be negotiated.  If a Seller refuses the repair request and the buyer does not wish to pay for repairs then the contract can be canceled.

Once all the contingencies are addressed and, where needed, removed, the property is in solid escrow and the Buyer has basically “purchased” the home.

Close the deal. The Seller needs to be out of the home by the time stated on the day of close of escrow, usually 5:00 p.m.  Everything should be in place to hand the property over to the new owners.  Here is a checklist to get you started:

Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services. If the new owner is using the same services he/she will change the name on the account on the same day in order not to lose those services. Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances.

This should help you move towards a smooth and trouble-free transaction.