When I am evaluating a home for owners getting ready to put their's on the market, one of the things I ask myself is "what would it feel like to live here?" Not just In the living room, kitchen or bedroom, but in the community. How would it feel to drive home from a long day and come thru the door? What features does this house and community have to offer that others don't? Why would someone want to buy it? What price would bring serious buyers through the door? How can we make someone love it?
It's a huge decision to make a move. Whether it be a financial and long term living commitment for a buyer or a seller packing all of their belongings and memories away and moving on to another home, another place. What is important? A place for pets, children to play, a commute to work, the way the sunrises or sets in the yard, a kitchen for cooking, a back yard to entertain in, gardening, comfort. So many factors come in to play to make a house a home. It can be very emotional.
When we shop for a home we want as "brand new" as possible, the possibility of great neighbors, easy access to all the places we want to be whether that is work, visiting with family or friends, favorite shopping or dining. New not necessarily meaning the age of the home itself but the quality of updates and appearance of good condition. It's all about what is important to the specific individual. A "fixer upper" may sell quickly at the correct low price, but homes in move in condition sell much faster and for a better price in an improving market. With all of that gray area in decision making, it's important that the black and white part is clear.
HERE IS THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE IMPROVED MARKET AND SELLING YOUR HOME. The first step for home sellers is to find out what their financial situation is with costs to sell and payoff and also determine if there are affordable things they can so to make their home marketable and a great competitor. Home sellers also SHOULD visit with a loan officer to make sure that their credit is in order and that they will find affordable in a new mortgage payment.
Sometimes to get the right home, sellers are buying their next home first. It is easier for them to show their home while living somewhere else if it is an option. If sellers have good equity, many times it is possible for them to move on first and then sell their home. If they must sell their home to buy the next, it can get tricky and sometimes building is an easier and sometimes more affordable solution in a low inventory market. Take time to think through the closing, moving and possession timing. Without good guidance it can get quite stressful.
For a buyer without a home to sell, the most important first step is to get with a reliable lender and find out if a monthly payment for what they are seeking will fit comfortably in a budget. Most people do not check their credit report often. Sometimes old debt or payoffs are missed and a report can have inaccurate information that needs to be resolved. Buyers need to know what programs they qualify for, rates and what to expect as far as closing costs. In our area there are still $0 down and 3.5% down programs available. Contrary to what some media is reporting, 20% down is NOT A NECESSITY TO MAKE YOUR MOVE. Some lenders even have 3%, 5% and 10% down programs. DO ask the lender about their closing costs in terms of actual dollars.
Also home buyers need to know that there are indeed multiple offer situations happening on the best new listings. It is not a Realtor being pushy when they say to you "this listing will likely be gone in a few days". If you are working with your own buyers agent they should be advising you by how they see the neighborhood and statistical market trending. If you cannot trust them, or you feel that agent is not listening to your needs or working in your best interest, you should find one that you can trust. It may take a few attempts at offering and a few tours before you succeed in an accepted offer. A good agent should be patient with your big decision and respectful of your desires in negotiating, even if you lose a few. Don't take counter offers and negotiations personally. It is all part of the business. A good agent will never be pushy with you.
The more you know, whether a buyer or a seller, about the black and white processes, the easier the "gray areas" become. Many buyers are standing by prequalified ready to walk into the first "perfect" home that becomes available. Buyers be sure that you prequalification letter is up to date. No older than 60 days. What makes a home perfect other than location? Condition, price, seller motivation and determination on the part of the buyer. It takes good agents that know how and when to "carry the ball" to have transactions concluding with successful closings. This is why sales with unrepresented buyers or "FSBO" "by owner" or unrepresented sellers so many times do not make it to the finish line.
Although sellers want the maximum dollar they can get in the market, over pricing can create real delays in a sale. It's good to be proud of your home. However, homes that are on the market longer than 90-120 days without a reasonable offer in our current market are likely overpriced. TRULY MOTIVATED SELLERS should not only look at what their neighbors are listing homes for, but for what successfully sold homes are actually selling for. Even in an improving market, we are still seeing sellers who are either stubborn, misadvised, in denial and/or testing the market. With an average days on the market at 50 days, if you have no offer by the 6th week, you should be reviewing prices very carefully.
The content here is a composition from recent experiences with clients and details in transactions. If avoiding disappointment is important to you, take time to discuss the entire process with an experienced local real estate professional. Avoid surprises and make sure your timing is right. Whether you are selling or buying, a good agent on your side will give you the best chance to achieve your goals and dreams in home ownership.
Vicki (Owens) Workman is certified as an ABR, CRS, GRI, E-Pro and SFR, all recognized by the National Association of Realtors. Highly trained and with experience helping hundreds of clients in the last decade buy and sell homes in Marysville and surrounding northwest quadrant areas of central Ohio. Feel free to email Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text to 614-440-5174 with your real estate questions. Visit her site vickiworkmanteam.com or movetomarysville.com for more information about her team, career and work.