How do you determine value?
A competent REALTOR will examine the market for homes similar to yours that have sold over the past six-to-twelve months in your immediate area to determine which are most similar to yours. They should also look at the houses that didn't sell to get a feeling for what went wrong. Armed with that knowledge, skilled agents should be able to give you a Fair Market Value for which your home should sell. But don't be fooled by a Price Wizard who is trying to "buy your listing."
Should I price my home high to negotiate?
The time your house sits on the market costs you money - in additional mortgage payments, additional taxes and expenses, and not being able to get on with the next phase of your life. But most importantly, there is a perceived "stigma" in the mind of prospective Buyers if a house takes too long to sell. They wonder what's wrong with it if no one else wants to buy it. Some areas of the country add negotiating room, but Colorado Springs historically sells for 98.7% of asking price, even during slower markets.
When is the best time to sell?
All too often people tell me they are going to wait until Spring or Summer to put their house on the market. The truth of the matter is, Buyers are always moving and need a place to live. If you wait until the seasonal 'listing rush,' you are in competition with all the other people who are waiting for warmer weather like you are. It's always a good time to sell. My response to "When is the best time to sell?" Whenever you're ready.
Do I have to fix everything I know is wrong with my home?
There are no perfect houses. Even newly built homes have unexpected problems. My advice to Sellers is to plan on fixing those items they know to be health or safety concerns. Cosmetic matters may or may not be negotiated during the course of a contract if you so choose. But even though you don't have to fix everything, you are required by law to disclose what you know to be materially wrong. Buyers are much more forgiving of future mishaps if they know going in that there were previous difficulties, rather than finding out six months later that the leaking pipe has been fixed five times before and you hadn't mentioned it.
Can I keep the earnest money?
In the state of Colorado, a competent agent for the Buyer will make sure the dates and deadlines are being met, and it is rare that a Seller would be able to keep a Buyer's earnest money, even if the sale doesn't make it to the closing table. In any contract, there are legal and legitimate ways to terminate prior to closing. If everyone's doing their job efficiently, you will not be able to keep the earnest money. Hopefully it's a moot point as you sit at the closing table to transfer ownership to the Buyer.
Should I take the first offer?
No matter how good or competent or experienced your agent is, the reality is that Buyers end up determining the market value of a home. What a ready and able Buyer is willing to pay is often the deciding factor. When a home comes on the market, the people who are looking for a home like yours are usually the first ones to see it. They know what's out there and have a good sense of what yours is worth. If they've been looking and make an immediate offer, they are often the most motivated and excited prospects. Take them seriously. Negotiate if you need to. A quick sale at the right price is in your best interest.
Originally published by Mimi Foster as Be Confident You're Doing All You Can to Sell Your Home