Real Estate Sellers Information
For over 47 years Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors has helped satisfied real estate buyers and sellers in Vermont and New Hampshire through the intricacies of their real estate transactions. Although the needs and the process may be different depending on whether you are a buyer or a seller, the ultimate goal is the same. The professional realtors at Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country are ready to assist clients and customers through all steps of the process.
Whether you are buying or selling real estate , you will want to know who your agent is working for and whose interest they represent prior to sharing any confidential information. According to Vermont Law all real estate agents must inform you by written disclosure about agency representation and what your choices are. This is not a contract and you are not obligated in any way to a specific agent by signing it. Please review the document provided here.
Selling your home can be exciting time but can be hard emotionally as well. For many home owners a lot of love, hard work and pride have gone into making your home what it is to you. Determining the right time to sell and how to best promote your home is what the agents at Berkley & Veller Greenwoood Country Realtors do best.
Home selling has become a more complex business than it used to be. New seller disclosure statements, longer and more detailed form agreements, and a range of environmental concerns have all emerged in the past decade.
The result is that while almost 100,000 existing homes are sold each week, the process is not as easy for sellers as it was five or 10 years ago. Surviving in today's real estate world requires experience and training in such fields as real estate marketing, financing, negotiation and closing - the very expertise available from a Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country realtor.
Are you ready?
The home-selling process usually starts several months before a property is made available for sale. It's necessary to look at a home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out.
Ask yourself: If you were buying this home what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers - and as much demand - as possible.
While part of the "getting ready" phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, this is also a good time to ask why you really want to sell.
Selling a home is an important matter and there should be a good reason to sell - perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it's important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent who lists your home.
When should you sell?
The marketplace tends to be more active in the summer because parents want to enroll children in classes at the beginning of the school year (usually August). The summer is also typically when most homes are likely to be available. However if you are in a ski resort town, then the winter months might be the most active.
Generally speaking, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round. In a given community, for example, there may be fewer buyers in late December, but there are also likely to be fewer homes available for purchase. So, home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year.
How do you improve your home's value?
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved. Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale. Cosmetic improvements - paint, wallpaper and landscaping - help a home "show" better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs - to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition - are required to get a top price.
Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community. Your Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent, who sees numerous homes, can provide suggestions that are consistent with your marketplace.
Get a REALTOR®
Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors are members of The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) includes 1 million brokers and salespeople, individuals bound together with a strong Code of Ethics, extensive training opportunities and a wealth of community information.
All properties are unique. No two properties -- even two identical models on the same street -- are precisely and exactly alike. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. Also, no two transactions are alike.
Today real estate transactions involve a lot of details from forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with one of our well informed, professional and helpful agents.
Once you select a Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country REALTOR® you will establish a proper business relationship. By listing your property with a Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent, you are hiring the entire firm to represent you on the sale of your property.
Set the Price
Every reasonable owner wants the best possible price and terms for his or her home. Several factors, including market conditions and interest rates, will determine how much you can get for your home. The idea is to get the maximum price and the best terms during the window of time when your home is being marketed. Your Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent will do a market analysis of other homes that have sold in the marketplace to determine where your home should be priced.
What is your home worth?
All homes have a price, and sometimes more than one. There's the price owners would like to get, the value buyers would like to offer and a point of agreement which can result in a sale.
In considering home values, several factors are important:
- The value of your home relates to local sale prices. The same home, located elsewhere, would likely have a different value.
- Sale prices are a product of supply and demand. If you live in a community with an expanding job base, a growing population and a limited housing supply, it's likely that prices will rise. Alternatively, it's important to be realistic. If the local community is losing jobs and people are moving out, then you'll likely have a buyer's market.
- Owner needs can impact sale values. If owner Smith "must" sell quickly, he will have less leverage in the marketplace
- Sale prices are not based on what owners "need." When an owner says, "I must sell for $300,000 because I need $100,000 in cash to buy my next home," buyers will quickly ask if $300,000 is a reasonable price for the property. If similar homes in the same community are selling for $250,000, the seller will not be successful.
- Sale prices are NOT the whole deal. Which would you rather have: A sale price of $200,000, or a sale price of $205,000 but where you agree to make a "seller contribution" of $5,000 to offset the buyer's closing costs, pay a $2,000 allowance for roof repairs, fund two mortgage points, re-paint the entire house and leave the washer and dryer?
How much is too much?
Because all transactions are unique there is flexibility in the marketplace. The amount of flexibility depends on local conditions.
For example, suppose you're selling a townhouse. Suppose also that there have been five recent sales of the model you own and that sale values have ranged between $200,000 and $210,000. You now have an idea of how your home might be priced. In a strong market perhaps you can ask for $210,000 or a little more. If the market has slowed, $210,000 may be a reasonable asking price, but perhaps more than the final sale price.
Who can help?
Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agents are experienced REALTORS® that are active in the local marketplace and can provide assistance with pricing, marketing, negotiation and closing.
Homes are unique, the marketplace is always in flux, interest rates constantly change and new buyers search for homes each day. With such fluidity, it requires a skilled real estate agent to craft marketing plans specifically for individual homes and market conditions.
Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies. Once listed with Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors your home will quickly be entered into the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and placed on REALOTR.com®. A new-listing card, advertising in local and regional publications, web placement, possibly an open house, broker property tour and networking with both local and out-of-town brokers.
Much of a broker's work will be quiet and unseen -- yet important. The quiet telephone calls, the work with contacts, the follow-ups with open-house visitors, conversations with ad respondents, the web postings and other outreach efforts are all part of the process required to sell homes.
Experienced REALTORS® base their marketing efforts on previous transactions and ongoing research. For instance, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 80 percent of all buyers check the Internet.
How to market your home.
If you look at a typical transaction you can see that there are five general areas where your real estate agent can assist in the home-selling process.
- Preparation: Before being placed on the market, homes must be in "show" condition. REALTORS® can explain what repairs and upgrades are required for individual homes which are most likely to produce the best results.
- Pricing: Brokers do more than price homes for sale, they also construct sale terms designed to speed the selling process.
- Marketing: REALTORS® will execute strategies and programs to get the home sold. Typically this includes placement on the local MLS and Realtor.com as well as related marketing, advertising and networking.
- Negotiation: REALTORS® assist owners in the bargaining process, offering advice and counsel as offers are received and by working closely with legal counsel, tax specialists and inspectors as required.
- Closing: Once a contract for the purchase of a home has been accepted, a series of inspections and checks are typically required to satisfy buyers and lenders. REALTORS® can help owners complete the transaction process by assisting with the many requirements found in a typical sale agreement.
There is no question that selling a home is an important event. A home sale represents transition, movement and change. Big money is involved. Households move from the known and comfortable to the unknown and a period of adjustment. There may be job changes, new schools, distance from old friends and the possibility of new ones.
No less important, a home sale by itself can be complex. There will be people looking at your house, documents to sign and issues to be negotiated.
Because a home sale involves an array of both personal and business concerns, it's important to get it done right. You need to carefully prepare your home, understand the market and see what alternatives are realistically available. The old motto "be prepared" is a good guide in such circumstances.
What's an acceptable offer?
The goal of every seller is to have a line of buyers outside the front door, each clutching higher and higher offers. And while this has been known to happen, in most markets there is some balance between the number of buyers and sellers. A number of factors determine whether a buyer's offer is acceptable. They include:
- Is the offer at or near the asking price? Is the offer above the asking price?
- Has the buyer accepted the asking price or something close? Has the buyer then buried thousands of dollars in discounts and seller costs within tiny clauses and contract additions?
- What is the alternative to the buyer's offer? If a home has not attracted an offer in months, then sellers need to determine if a better deal is possible -- recognizing that each month costs are being incurred for mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.
- Does the owner have enough time to wait for other offers?
- What if no other offers are received?
- What if several offers are received? Do you choose the high offer from the purchaser with questionable finances who may not be able to close, or a somewhat lesser offer from a buyer with preapproved financing?
In each case, owners with assistance from their Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent will need to carefully review offers, consider marketplace options and then determine whether an offer is acceptable.
What is a counter-offer?
When a home is made available for sale the owner is essentially making an offer to buyers: For a given number of dollars and other terms you can acquire this home. Buyers, in turn, can respond with several options:
- Not interested.
- Yes, we'll buy on the owner's terms.
- We're interested and here's our counter-offer.
A counter-offer is nothing more than a new offer. And just as the buyer had three options in response to the owner's original price and terms, the seller can now choose one of three reactions: accept the offer, decline the offer or make a fresh counter-offer.
Offers and counter-offers reflect the back-and-forth activity of the marketplace. It's an efficient and practical process -- but also one that may contain tricky clauses and hidden costs. The agent who lists your home can explain the local bargaining process in detail and assist in the actual negotiations.
How do you negotiate?
It's sometimes argued that negotiation must produce one "winner" and one "loser." Others suggest that a "win/win" situation is possible where each side gets something of value.
Real estate bargaining typically involves compromises by both sides. It's not war; it's not winner-take-all; and it's not the time to take personally any comments made by purchasers.
Instead, negotiating should be seen as a natural business process; buyers should be treated with respect; and owners should never lose sight of either their best interests or their baseline transaction requirements. These are the standards unique to each owner, which must be met before the home can be sold.
A sale agreement sets not only a purchase price for the home, but also a series of terms and conditions. For instance:
- Contracts routinely depend on the ability of a buyer to obtain financing, which is why most sellers prefer buyers with preapproval letters from lenders.
- A growing percentage of transactions involve a home inspection, or a physical review of the home by a trained and independent observer.
- Lenders will establish numerous conditions before granting a loan. They will want a title exam, title insurance to protect against title errors, termite inspections, surveys and an appraisal to assure that the home has sufficient value to secure the loan.
Your Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent typically arranges required inspections and helps the owner prepare for closing.
When should you close?
It takes time to arrange financing, conduct inspections, obtain appraisals, locate replacement housing, contact movers, pack and actually move.
While instant closings are not practical, neither are closings too far in the future. The problem with closings much past 60 days is that loan rates are difficult to lock in. If mortgage rates go up, it's possible that the buyer will no longer be able to afford the home and thus the deal may fall through.
The result of these considerations is that most homes close 45 to 60 days after a sale agreement has been signed.
Closing -- or "settlement" or "escrow" as it is known in some areas -- is essentially a meeting where the closing agent (the party who conducts settlement) takes in money from the buyers, pays out money to the owner and makes sure that the purchaser's title is properly recorded in local records along with any mortgage liens.
The closing agent reviews the sale agreement to determine what payments and credits the owner should receive and what amounts are due from the buyer. The closing agent also assures that certain transaction costs are paid (taxes and title searches).
Closing is also the time when "adjustments" will be made. For instance, suppose you've pre-paid taxes four months in advance. In this case, the closing agent will compensate you for the prepayment at closing by having the buyer pay you additional money.
It could also work in reverse. If you are behind on property taxes, the closing agent will reduce the money due to you at settlement by the amount of the unpaid taxes.
Even the smallest home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items will likely require a professional mover.
It's ideally best to get rid of excess furniture and other goods by having a sale before you move. This will reduce the volume of goods to be moved and thus lower moving costs. Unwanted furniture which cannot be sold can often be donated to charitable groups, many of which will come to your home to pick up donations. You should provide the U.S. Postal Service with a forwarding address, and utility companies should be advised when to end service. Check with utility companies to see if there is deposit money which should be returned.