Minimize Anxiety While Selling Your Home

Stressed.  Anxious.  Have you seen neighbors, co-workers or family members appear disheveled, worried or on the edge of a nervous breakdown while selling their home?  Selling your home can and should be an opportunity for you to relish in the excitement of negotiating a good deal and entering a new chapter of your life, whether the real estate you are selling is your personal home, a vacation property, or rental investment.  Well, as dedicated real estate agents (or Agents+), we want you to experience the joys of selling your home with minimal stress, whether this is your first or fiftieth time, and here are 7 tips to help.

  • Let your agent know exactly what you owe on the home including any 2nd mortgages, equity lines, tax liens, etc.  This is vital for a realistic picture of what you will walk away with from your sale.  If you are behind on payments, while it may not be an easy thing to discuss, you need to make sure you are upfront with your agent about this because she may be able to help you find resources that can possibly help keep your home from being foreclosed.

  • Inform your agent as to what your motivation or reasons for selling are.  If we know what your goals are, we are better able to help you achieve them.  If you are looking to buy, your agent can help ensure you have access to all homes that are for sale based on what you are looking for, and look out for your best interests on the purchase side.  If you are divorcing, you agent can help you deal with this already challenging time by providing you real estate resources to help.  If you are relocating, your agent can probably help you get in touch with the right agent in your new area to ensure you get the same excellent care there.  If you desire to rent, your agent may be able to help you find the right rental property as well.  Remember, our goal as real estate agents is to help make the entire experience for you as efficient, productive and stress-free as possible but that requires transparency on your part.

  • Let your agent know up front how you prefer to communicate.  There are so many ways today to stay in touch and I am sure your agent wants to make it as easy as possible for you.  Using email, text or whatever works best for you, your agent will typically honor that because your home selling experience can quickly sour if you miss an important notice or update.  

  • Be prepared for the possibility of a low ball offer and a game of back and forth while negotiating. It is no secret that buyers want the best deal.  This does not mean you have to accept a buyer's first offer so try not to be offended.  Try to appreciate the fact that you received an offer and allow your agent to help you determine what would be an ideal figure to counter back.  Whenever possible, we suggest making a counter offer because most buyers are just feeling out the situation and you may be pleasantly surprised by your agent's negotiation skills to work a deal that nets you the most possible profit.

  • Most buyers will pay for inspectors to assess the condition of the home including plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical, the roof, the structure, etc.  This is not to make the home appear brand-new but to ensure everything is in safe, operating, structurally-sound condition, particularly if the buyer will be personally occupying your home.  Once the inspections are performed, the inspector should submit a formal, written report and the buyer will determine what, if any, repairs he would like for you to make.  Be mentally prepared for this.  This is another period of negotiation and your agent will help make this a win for you.  

  • Buyers that are financing should submit purchase offers with a pre-approval letter but that does not guarantee their loan has been formally approved, which is much more in-depth.  The lender has to gather the buyer's financials and have a formal appraisal of your home before the loan can be reviewed for final approval.  The home in most cases will have to appraise for the sales price.  If it does not there are typically three options: terminate the contract and find a new buyer, reduce the sales price to the appraised value, or the buyer pays the difference if lawfully allowed for the particular financing option. This will be another time of negotiation.  The appraiser may also require repairs to be made that the inspector did not recommend.  If the appraiser requires repairs, they must be done or the buyer's loan will not be approved to close. 

  • Once all the inspections and appraisal are done, the home is still your property until the closing; therefore, continue to maintain it's condition.  Although the buyer has already done inspections, he will most likely do a final walk-through prior to closing (typically the same day or day before).  This is to ensure that any repairs were done and that the home is still in the same condition as when the sales contract was written or any subsequent repairs were made.  To this point, you should maintain all insurance in your name until the closing has been fully funded and finalized.  This is to protect you if (even 1 hour before the closing) there is a fire, a tree falls and the like that can significantly damage the home.

Below is a printable infographic that sums up the key points for you to note as you prepare to sell your home.  Or, if you are a real estate agent, feel free to share this infographic with your clients.

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