Category Archives: sell your home

5 Terms to Know Before You Sell Your Home

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sell your homeThinking of putting your home up for sale? Before the sign goes up in the front yard, it pays yourself to educate yourself on some key real estate terms that could play a key part in your home sale. A little bit of knowledge, and a good real estate agent, can be the key to selling your home quickly and saving thousands of dollars in the process.

Comparable home sales

A fair sales price is one of the most important factors in determining how fast your home sells. A home priced too high is a home that is going to sit on the real estate market, resulting in price reductions that send all the wrong signals to potential buyers (“Is there something wrong with the property?” “Why has it sat on the market so long?”).

So how do you determine a fair sales price? The fair sales price of your home should not be set by the amount you purchased the home for or by what you owe on the home. Instead, your real estate agent can do a market evaluation from comparable home sales in your area. Your real estate agent uses the actual sale price of other homes that are similar to yours—not the price that the home was listed for. Comparable home sales should include properties that are comparable. For example, if you are selling a condo, find other condos for sale in your area. For more information on sales prices, read our blog post to guide you to the right sales price—the price that sells.

Condition Report

In 1992, Wisconsin became one of the first states requiring sellers to fill out a document disclosing defects that could affect the value or structure of a property. The Condition Report needs to be part of all transactions involving 1-4 properties and has more than 20 categories of disclosures, including important items such as unsafe well water, roof defects and problems within the electrical system. If the property does not have a defect in that category, and has never suffered damage as a result, the seller can indicate that the property is clear in that area.

What do sellers have to include in the report? Everything—and what was done to fix it. If a problem occurred on the property, even for an insignificant length of time, it needs to be included in the report. Include the issue, what was done to fix the problem, and that it never happened again. For instance, if the basement flooded with a foot of water for a just a few hours 10 years ago, the flooding needs to disclosed. Also write down that the problem was caused by a faulty sump pump that was replaced that same day. Same with that leak in the roof. Or the pipe that burst in the bathroom.

The report cannot be completed by a seller’s Real Estate Agent. Truly, the Condition Report is not protecting the Real Estate Agent, it’s protecting the sellers. That’s why sellers need to fill this important document out—and fill it out completely with full disclosure. A completed Condition Report is more than just a piece of paper. It’s a shield for sellers now—and after the sale is complete.

Curb Appeal

First impressions count, especially when selling a home. That’s why the curb appeal of your home matters, such as the neatness of your yard, the cleanliness of your home, even the condition of your roof and windows. This is your chance to make a favorable impression as soon as potential buyers pull up to the home, so make sure you pay attention to:

  • Driveway condition (no cracks or holes),
  • Clean (and no cracks) windows,
  • Well-kept yard & flower beds (if you have any),
  • Painted porch and porch railings in good repair (if applicable),
  • Powerwashed sidewalks and siding.

Buyers see a direct correlation between your lawn care and how well you take care of your home, so don’t skimp on the amount of work you put into the exterior of your home. If you would prefer hiring a professional to give your home the curb appeal (and maintain it), contact your real estate agent for a recommendation.

Offer

Once a potential buyer is serious about your home, they submit an offer (otherwise known as a purchase agreement). An offer contains a price and any contingencies, or conditions, of the sale. For example, a common contingency is a financing contingency which means the loan must go through for the sale to be final. Another common contingency is an inspection contingency where the home must pass a home inspection or both parties come to an agreement on how to handle an issue that arises during the home inspection. There are other contingencies that can be included in the offer; discuss the contingencies in an offer made on your home with your real estate agent so you understand the agreement. An offer is not a binding agreement until both parties have agreed upon the price and contingencies included in the purchase agreement.

Pre-listing home inspection

A pre-listing home inspection is an inspection of your property BEFORE you put your home up for sale. When you’re talking about a pre-listing home inspection, spending money upfront can save you thousands of dollars and time when selling your home, in more ways than one:

No surprises, or delays, during the home sale process. Replacing a broken window or repairing water-damaged drywall can be the difference between a quick sale and a dragged out process. Unfortunately, not all repairs are so obvious, and a pre-listing home inspection can locate potential red flags before your home hits the market—and before a buyers’ home inspector finds them as well.

Opportunity to make repairs at a price you choose. A pre-listing home inspection puts you in control of choosing who makes the repairs and the cost. If your home inspector finds an issue with your home during the pre-listing home inspection, you, as the home owner, can choose what professional and price you pay for repairs. If a potential buyer finds the issue, they can require that you use their home repair professional which may cost you more in the long run.

Better selling price. If a potential buyer finds an issue during the home inspection, they can renegotiate the final selling price to accommodate the cost of repairs. The renegotiation can cut into your bottom line and lower the amount of money you make from your home sale.

If you have any questions about selling your home, or preparing your home for sale, contact an experienced real estate agent that can guide you through the home sale process. They can guide you through the preparations, give you a fair sales price, assist you with the paperwork, answer any questions you might have, and steer you through the closing process once your home sale is a reality.