At any given time there are always potential buyers in search of a home just like yours.  If you find yourself in a situation where you have to sell your home, you can sell your home at any time.  However, home sales are usually highest during the spring and summer months. Most people want to sell or buy their homes while the kids are off of school for the summer, that way it does not interfere with school work.  Even though there are more buyers during this time, there are also more sellers and more competition. 

The answer is, it depends.  It depends on your situation.  Are you using the equity in your current home to buy your new home?  If so, then you will have to close on the sale of your current home before you can close on the new one.  Or you also have the option of using a Bridge Loan (ask your Realtor or Mortgage Broker about a Bridge Loan) to close on your new home before closing on the sale of your current home. The other option is to include a contingency in the contract for the sale of your home that allows you time to find a home to buy and have a simultaneous closing.

If you are able to purchase a new home without depending on the equity of your current home, then it would be best to first find the home you want to buy, get it under contract, and do your inspections. If after inspections you are continuing with the purchase, then place your current home on the market.

No one has a crystal ball that can tell you exactly how long it will take to sell your home.  However, realistically, there is always a group of potential buyers at any given time looking for a home like yours.  If your home is priced correctly, and that does not mean underpriced or overpriced, and it’s properly marketed, it should not take any longer than 30 to 45 days to find a buyer. 

Keep this in mind, statistically, homes that are placed on the market and are overpriced take 4 or 5 times longer to sell and end up selling for less than those homes that are initially listed at market value

The one main advantage to selling a vacant home is that it’s easy to show.  The more availability there is for showing times, the more buyers will see the home. This translates to finding a buyer quicker. 

However, a vacant home does not mean an empty home.  You will want to keep it furnished.  It does not have to be fully furnished like when you are living in it, but it is best to keep the major pieces of furniture like the couch, love seats, coffee table, dining room set, bedroom sets (including the bed), etc.  An empty house will show very poorly and expose flaws like warn paint on the walls, color discolorations on the carpet from ware, holes in the walls, etc.  Everything will stand out in an empty house.  It’s always best to make it look lived in to give the potential buyers a sense of home.

Maintenance must still be kept up in a vacant house.  Electricity and water service should be kept on so potential buyers can see that everything works. You will want to keep the A/C on as well so the house does not develop a musty odor.  If you have a pool, then pool service should also be kept up, as well as the lawn service.

Some of the costs to a seller associated with closing on the sale of their home include:

  • Real Estate commission, if you are using a Realtor.
  • Advertising costs, marketing materials, internet marketing, and others if you are selling your home yourself.
  • Attorney fees if using an attorney.
  • Title Search (maybe)
  • Documentary Stamp Taxes on Deed
  • HOA/Condo Estoppel Fees
  • Title Curing Fees (if needed)
  • Prorated Costs (i.e. property tax)

Your Realtor should help you set the right listing price for your home.  The “Market Price” for your home is what someone is willing to pay for it at a given time.  When setting a listing price for your home, there are many things that need to be considered.  Things like size, location, amenities, age, upgrades, condition, etc.  Then these things need to be compared to recent sales near your home.  The best way to know what someone is willing to pay for your home is to check what someone paid for a home like yours within the past few months.  

Most Realtors will do a simple CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) which includes a small sampling of homes that may or may not compare to your home and situation.  For instance, comparing homes that were sold as a short sale or foreclosure when you are selling your home for a completely different reason will provide a much lower listing price.  Certain situations, such as divorce, death, job loss, bad condition, etc. will cause a home to sell for less than market value.

In order to get a more accurate and true market value for your home, you must delve deeper into the comparables to check for, not only like physical attributes, but also for the reasons they sold.  

Using adjusted area square feet is a very accurate way to provide a market value for a home when the comparables are very similar.  However, figuring out the adjusted square feet of a home is not so simple.  Often the adjusted square feet shown in listings are incorrect.  Most of the time, the square feet given in the listing are either for the total building or the living area square feet.  When using this method, your Realtor must take the time to research each comparable to obtain the true adjusted square feet as calculated by the County Property Appraiser’s Office and recalculate the price sold per square foot.  Unfortunately, most Realtors don’t take the time to calculate the true sold price per square foot and end up with incorrect market values for their listings.  Whether they are too high or too low, this is bad for the seller.  Too high and your home won’t sell, too low and you will leave money on the table.  

There is no validity to the idea that one must over-price their home in order to have room to negotiate.  Buyers today are very aware of home values.  The internet gives them a wealth of information and so will their Realtor.  The fastest way to sell a property is to list it at “Market Value”.  The idea that someone may come along and fall in love with the house and overpay for it is ill conceived.  Just like you would not overpay for a house, today’s buyers won’t either.   Buyers nowadays are savvy and know when a house is priced right.  A correctly priced property will sell very quickly.

As I stated previously, statistically, homes that are placed on the market and are overpriced take 4 or 5 times longer to sell and end up selling for less than those homes that are initially listed at “Market Value”. 

Improvements to a home should be done for your own enjoyment, not for resale.  Rarely is the cost for improvements recuperated in the sale price of a home.   Improvements like kitchen remodels and pools definitely should never be done for the purpose of adding value for resale.  The high cost for such improvement will not add equal value to the sale price of a home. 

Some of the least expensive things you can do to help sell your home fast include:

  • Paint inside and out
  • New hardware to kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • Deep thorough cleaning of the entire house
  • Landscaping
  • Fix minor items such as leaky faucets and jammed doors
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs
  • Remove clutter everywhere (closets, kitchen, garage, etc.)
  • Remove half of everything in your closets
  • Rent a storage unit to store all extras
  • Remove personal pictures

The simple answer is yes, it will help sell your home faster.  But, as stated above, it is not a good idea to spend the money on a kitchen or bathroom remodel for the sole purpose of reselling your home.  The cost will be higher than the value added to the home.

  • Make the beds every day
  • Place the A/C on 72 degrees during showings
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom counter tops clear
  • Open all window blinds and drapes
  • Put pets in cages or remove from home
  • No dirty dishes in sink
  • No laundry in washer or dryer

Any known facts that materially affect the value of your home and that are not readily observable or found by a home inspection must be disclosed.  Your Realtor should have you fill out a Property Disclosure Statement to provide to a potential buyer.   An example of some disclosure items would be:

  • Mold
  • Chinese Drywall
  • Wood Boring Insects (i.e. termites)
  • Sinking Foundation
  • Leaks
  • Sewer or Septic problems
  • Age of Roof
  • Property Encroachment Issues
  • Contaminated Soil
  • Lead Based Paint

If you use a Realtor, he/she will discuss the possible options to provide access to potential buyers.  The more people that see your home, the faster it will sell.  The very best way to accomplish this is with the use of a lockbox.  If you are comfortable with this, the lockbox will hold a key to your home and will provide access to other Realtors to show your home even when you or your Realtor are not available to be there. 

CRE Unlimited agents all use Supra Lockboxes.  Unlike the standard lockboxes that use a combination that can easily be shared, a Supra Lockbox uses a special electronic key that is only sold to Realtors through their local real estate association.  Supra Lockboxes can only be open by other Realtors. We are notified the moment someone opens the Supra Lockbox with their Name, Phone, Email and Company.  CRE Unlimited agents go one step further and use what’s called a CBS (Call Before Showing) code on the Supra Lockbox.  This is a special code we have to provide the other Realtor so they can access the key.  This requires the buyer’s agent to call us and schedule the showing so they can’t just show up.  The use of the Supra Lockbox also prevents the possibility of buyer’s agents from sharing the lockbox combination with their buyers.

If a lockbox makes you uncomfortable, then a schedule can be setup to show the home while you are at work and the buyers will be accompanied by your listing agent.

In today’s day and age the Internet is by far the most efficient way to market any product, including a home.   CRE Unlimited takes advantage of this and uses the Internet extensively to market your home.  We not only use the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), but we also list your home in hundreds of websites worldwide.  Prior to the Internet a potential buyer would have their “first viewing” of your home during their first visit.  Now-a-days what they see on the Internet is their “first viewing” and it better make a good impression or they will not come for a second look.  How do we make sure they want a second look?  With professional photographs and real 3D Virtual Tours.  Eye catching photography will separate your home from the thousands of other homes on the market.  Our 3D Virtual Tours feel so real potential buyers will think they are actually standing in your home. We also use social media to reach the largest audience of potential buyers as possible.  The key to our marketing is to expose your home to the largest number of potential buyers to get your home sold fast and for the highest price. Click here to review the marketing plan we use to market and sell homes.

Yes and no.  Most of the time an open house will not get your home sold.  In fact, most agents use an open house in an attempt to acquire more buyer clients.  However, we at CRE Unlimited use an open house in a very different way.  The very best way to use an open house is to use it as a first showing.  If the house is listed at Market Value and we know there will be a lot of interest, we will list your home and have an open house a week to 10 days later.  The home will not be shown to anyone until the open house.  This will allow time for the marketing to begin and interested parties to see it online. This will cause interest to build up on the property and a flood of potential buyers to show up at the open house.  This is the best use of an open house and may cause a multiple offer situation.

It’s always better if the home seller is not home while a potential buyer is previewing the house.  Buyers tend to feel uneasy.  They won’t express themselves as they would if the seller is not around.  Sometimes a buyer will point out something that the seller might find aggravating or offensive.  This may cause friction between the buyer and seller and ruin a possible beneficial transaction.  Most of the time, when a buyer vocalizes many negative points about a home it’s because they are interested and are trying to drive down the price.

Repairs usually tend to be a point of negotiation unless it is dealt with within the contract.  You may decide to make some or all of the repairs, or you may reduce the price of your home to cover the costs of the repairs and let the buyer make the repairs after closing. 

It’s a very good idea to go ahead and have your home inspected prior to placing it on the market. If you list your home with CRE Unlimited we will reimburse you for the cost of the pre-listing inspection at the closing of the sale.  You may call us for more details on this offer. Whether or not you make the repairs to the items found in the inspection the report will give you an advantage when negotiating with a potential buyer.  Providing the inspection report to a potential buyer will eliminate a possible “deal breaker”.

Unless a post closing vacancy is negotiated, most contracts will require the home to be vacated prior to closing. 

The contract should include a section that states the condition the house should be left in.  Usually the property needs to be left clean and free of debris and garbage.  This does not mean shampooed carpets and mopped floors. But, swept and vacuumed should suffice.