Articles Tagged "selling your home"

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January
14

Whether it's your first time buying or selling a house or it's your fifth, you'll likely have lots of questions about the process. We understand that, which is why we're answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the home-buying and home-selling process. Read on to get the answers you seek!

Buying a Home

Should I work with an agent?

Yes! When searching for a home, it's important to know what you want. The right agent will help you determine must-haves and deal-breakers, as well as educate you on the communities you're interested in. Your agent will also help you navigate the complexities of the home-buying process. They're the expert, after all!

Should I go to the bank before starting my house search?

Getting pre-approved before starting your house search can be very helpful. By measuring factors like income, credit, and assets, a lender can determine what type of loan best suits your needs and how much home you can afford. Not only will you know your spending budget, it can also give you an upper hand as a buyer because it shows sellers you're serious about making a purchase.

How many houses should I tour?

As many as it takes until you find the perfect home for you. Everyone's needs, wants, and deal-breakers will be different, and you want to avoid settling for a house you'll dislike after a few months. Even if it takes time, it's worth the extra effort.

Do I need money for a big down payment?

Not necessarily. Today, more loan options and homebuying programs exist, giving buyers a larger variety of approaches to buying a house. While some people may still want to complete a large down payment, it is absolutely not vital to purchase a home. In fact, the average first-time buyer only puts 6% down, and many loans and programs available to first-time buyers require even less than that.

How long will closing last?

After negotiations have settled and your offer is accepted, the loan process and title work begin. Inspections and other walkthroughs will be completed as well. Most closings last 30 to 45 days.

 

Selling a Home

Should I sell on my own or with an agent?

You've probably heard from one person or another that going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route is optimal as it will save you money that you would otherwise spend on commission fees. However, the benefits of listing, marketing, and exposing your home to potential buyers an agent provides are often worth the commission fee.

What's more, you may end up spending less money by selling with an agent. A typical home sale process that requires lots of time and effort likely won't net you much savings at all if you go it alone.

When should I put my home on the market?

This is the first of many steps where an agent's expertise will help you make a decision. When there are fewer available homes to purchase to meet buyers' demands, you get a seller's market. Each home for sale becomes a hot commodity in this sort of market.

There's no truly bad time to sell, necessarily. Even in a buyer's market, your home will still draw attention so long as it's promoted properly.

Should I make any changes to my home before selling?

Definitely! Do a deep clean, make necessary repairs and replacements, organize cabinets and closets, declutter and depersonalize, and spruce up your home's curb appeal. Be careful about spending too much money on major repairs and renovations, however; you may not make back what you spent in the sale.

How should I price my home?

Determining your home's value can be tricky; setting an accurate sale price can be even tougher. Your agent will help you assess your home's value by analyzing other similar homes in the area that have sold. A home inspection will also help to paint the picture of your home's value.

Setting a sale price is a delicate art. Price it too high and you risk pushing buyers away. Price it too low and you might raise suspicions in buyers' minds. Again, your agent will help you find the sweet spot and price your home favorably.  

 

Still have questions about the home-buying or selling process? Contact one of our expert agents to have your questions answered.

December
22

If you're like 60% of people, you probably dread the idea of moving. And we get it! Packing, loading, unpacking – it can all be a bit of a drag. So you've probably considered simply reimagining the space you're in as an alternative to moving. But that has its own drawbacks, like trying to live around the messiness and noises of home improvement.

At the core of either of these decisions lies the true issue: you're not happy with at least some part of your home. Making the choice to renovate or move to a new home entirely isn't easy, but we're hoping the following guide can help you make an informed decision one way or the other.

Consider the Costs

Try to think beyond the profit, because believe it or not, selling your home can be costly. Everything from touch-ups and minor repairs to staging and various closing costs can rack up a high price. That's before you even consider paying for your new home!

Then again, depending on the scope of your renovations, you could be looking at a hefty price tag as well. Renovations also typically require immediate out-of-pocket costs, and as projects go on, you could see additional costs enter the picture.

Do You Like Your Location?

Do you love your neighborhood? Are your kids in a great school district? Are you an active fixture in your community? Sometimes the one thing you fall out of love with about where you live is…where you live.

If you've found you adore your community but your home isn't meeting your needs anymore, perhaps renovating is the route for you. Conversely, if you'd rather discover a new neighborhood, you might choose to start fresh with a move.

Think Long-Term

It's generally accepted that what you pay for in renovations, you probably won't get back when you sell. There are exceptions to this, of course, but for most folks it holds true.

So if you plan to be in your home for another 10 years, remodeling is a good idea. You'll get to enjoy the results of all your hard work and money spent. If you don't see yourself staying put for long, however, it likely won't be cost-effective to sink money into renovations.

Research the Market

For the past year and more, the market has been particularly ripe for sellers. And while that might influence your decision to sell and move into a new home, keep in mind that you'll still need to buy a new home. The market has been significantly more challenging for buyers.

The market is always fluid, however, so whenever you find yourself pondering renovations versus selling, do yourself a favor and check in on your local market.

 

What you choose will ultimately come down to your unique situation. If you're looking for an agent's expert opinion on the matter, check in with one of Watson's knowledgeable real estate pros!

September
30

For most of us, a life lived mostly inside the walls of our home became the norm for at least a year. Lots of things changed; grocery store trips became deliveries, intense hand-washing sessions occurred multiple times a day, and empty guest rooms became home offices.

It makes sense then that homebuyers' preferred features have shifted in response to the changes they've experienced. Point2 Homes examined 43 million words from more than 640,000 listings across the United States, then compared their findings to a study of the same nature in 2019.

Examining the most popular home descriptions words, phrases, and features reveals a lot about how buyers' tastes have changed.

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September
2

Litter Box Tips

September is officially Happy Cat Month, so take some extra time to appreciate your feline friend. Cats make wonderful pets, but there's one part of cat ownership that everyone dislikes - the litter box. Its appearance isn't attractive, and no one wants to have its odor or the sounds of a cat scratching away in the box invading your home's common areas.
  
With a few tools, some time, and a little bit of effort, you can hide your cat's litter box while still leaving it easily accessible for them. Check out these tips to help make your cat's litter box out of sight and out of mind.

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June
16

It's summer and you know what that means – it's listing season! Even though the market is primed for selling and many homes are selling for way over their asking price, it's still important to approach selling with a sound strategy. To that end, here are some key takeaways you should keep in mind to stay on top of your game in the lucrative 2021 market.

Understand Market Data

Though it can be exciting to sell when the market is scorching and you have the potential to make thousands over your asking price, remember that the market changes quickly, and there are a number of factors that go into pricing your home. According to Inman, if a home prices higher than comps in its area, it's likely that home has factors that can't be replicated – such as location, a pool, or a desirable lot. Your Watson agent knows to do their research thoroughly in order to best understand how to price your home.

Know Your Target Buyers

Low supply and buyer demand are skyrocketing the prices of homes, but that means that certain buyers are going to be priced out. Therefore, it's best to understand what your target audience is and what they're willing (and can afford) to pay. A great REALTOR® will understand where the leads are coming from, whether local or out-of-town, and what their financial backing looks like. Many buyers are offering all cash, but that may not always be your best bet since it can include contingencies, deductions, low-balling, and timelines that leave you frustrated.

Don't Alienate Your Buyer

You may think that since the market is in your favor, you get to call all the shots. But that attitude can backfire. Buyers still want a good deal and want to be treated with fairness. They also will be unwilling to move forward if the home doesn't meet their expectations. So, to avoid this pitfall, be sure to first get a thorough inspection and repair big items before listing your home. Things like roofs, leaks, or any basic items that are non-functioning need to be in great condition before listing, or you risk losing most buyers.

Proceed with Caution in Multiple-Offer Situations

Though receiving multiple offers on your home is a leveraging dream, it's not a particularly easy-to-navigate situation. Your instinct may tell you to go with the highest bid, but that's not always the right answer. An experienced REALTOR® will know to dig into the contract terms, financing, the offer letter itself, and other variables in order to make the best decision. It's best to operate with knowledge and realistic expectations and not let emotions sweep you away.

Now that you have the most vital information for selling your home in 2021, let's begin the listing process with the help of our expert Watson agents – contact us today!

May
20

While choosing to list your home in a seller's market is a highly desirable opportunity, there are still a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure your home stands out among the rest. Although your Watson agent will take care of most of these for you, you should also be well-versed on what to look for. Here are a few key things you'll want to implement in order to attract buyers and achieve your selling goals.

Hire a Great REALTOR®

A sound home-selling strategy includes multiple parts. Perhaps the most important part is hiring an outstanding REALTOR® who knows the market, the comps in your area, and what buyers are looking for. An experienced agent can sell your home faster and at a better price, so do your due diligence on agents in your area to maximize your profit and minimize sale time.

Make Your Marketing Matter 

According to Forbes, social media is the biggest factor in the new real estate market. Not only that, but a Pew Research Center survey also found that of 30-to-49-year-olds, 82% use at least one social media platform, with Facebook and Instagram being the most popular.

Take advantage of social media by giving your agent permission to post stunning photos of the home with relevant hashtags like #yourcityrealestate on Instagram and Facebook. Then, share those posts to maximize your reach! Don't forget to combine that with traditional methods like yard signs, and you'll have more eyeballs from a variety of sources on your home, which equals more offers for you.

Go Live at the Right Time 

Psst! Here is an insider secret: Friday is considered to be the best day of the week for home selling. Many people start their vacations that day or take off work early and are ready to get into personal affairs like browsing homes for sale. Since this day is likely to have more online traffic, consider posting the listing for sale on a Friday to generate more initial activity and engagement with your home. Conversely, Mondays are the worst day for activity, so keep that in mind!

Photos and Videos are King 

What is the first thing you would look at when browsing homes to buy? If you said photos, you've done this before. Sharp, clean, professional photography is paramount to the buyer experience of wanting more of what your home has to offer. Good photos will entice a buyer to come visit your home in person.  For homes in the $200K to $1M range, high-quality photography can increase the price by $3K-$11K. Even better, high-quality photos and especially virtual tours can lead to a 32% faster sale!

Begin with Curb Appeal

Hands down the most important part of making your home attractive is making it beautiful, clean, and as turn-key as possible. Start with the outside and take care of your landscaping, painting, and repairs. It's the first thing people see in photos and in person – and first impressions count! Plant bright flowers, lay down fresh mulch, eliminate weeds, and give the outside a power wash or new coat of paint to give your home an affordable facelift that yields excellent returns.

Create a Clean Slate

It should come as no surprise that if you plan on getting your home sold, the bare minimum is getting it clean, de-cluttered, and repaired. But you may also want to consider a professional cleaning or upgrades for key areas, like the kitchen and bathrooms – which buyers zero in on most. Ensure there are no smells whatsoever, remove any sign of pets, and de-personalize by removing photos or items like sports team flags or religious keepsakes which can turn buyers off. Don't forget home staging can help buyers visualize the way furniture compliments the home.

Ready to take the first step to getting your home sold? Let our Watson agents help – contact us today!

May
6

The real estate market has been on fire lately, and that figures to continue well into the summer. New homes are flying off the market, often within days of listing and for more than the asking price. Sellers are unquestionably in the driver's seat right now, but that doesn't mean you can get away with speeding. Here are a few reasons why pricing still matters in a seller's market.  

High Prices Can Alienate Buyers

As inflating sales prices continue, it's easy to start seeing dollar signs. If the market says you can get more than your home's value, why not list at that amount?

For one, it alienates potential buyers. Buyers are already at a disadvantage in the current market, and by putting up your home for an exorbitant price above market value, you could be pushing away valuable contenders who don't have as much spending power.

Create a Bidding War

A fair price leaves room for a bidding war – another reason why pricing still matters in a seller's market. Multiple buyers will be in competition for your home – a precious commodity in a low-inventory landscape.

Competition means a steady flow of offers all trying to one-up each other. That is, unless you force the bidding to start at an artificial high point with an expensive asking price. While more offers can make choosing the right one more complicated (the right agent will make it easier, though!), it's often in your best interest to create a bidding war.

Get Off the Market

With such low inventory, it's possible your home will sell fast even if it is overpriced. However, it still remains a risky move. You'll want to lean on your agent's knowledge and market expertise to ensure your home's priced fairly based on several factors, including location, condition, and more.

A boosted price could keep away gun-shy buyers and leave your home dwelling on the market for an extended period. Especially in a market where homes for sale get purchased extremely quickly, you don't want to be the one home that isn't moving.

Want to know more about why pricing still matters in a seller's market? Contact one of our real estate agents!

April
1

Watson List Your Home

Listing your home for sale can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. One of the best ways to sell your home quickly and increase your sale price is through proper home staging. Home staging is both an art and a science and often takes a good bit of experience to pull it off just right. Our real estate agents are experts at home staging and are always willing to offer tips to help you through the process.

Click Here to Read More...

February
10

the value of a real estate agent

When buying or selling a house, what's your top priority? Probably to make the most money if you're selling or get the best deal if you're buying. As a result of being money-conscious, you might think you're better off pocketing what you would pay in commission fees for a real estate agent. If you go that route, however, you're likely doing yourself a disservice. The value of a real estate agent comes from the often-overwhelming amount of work they take off your plate when buying or selling your home.

Buying a Home

House-shopping is at once very exciting and exhausting. A real estate agent can help alleviate many of the exhausting factors. They'll comb through new listings – across a wide network you wouldn't otherwise have access to – in search of homes that match your wants and needs, weeding out the pretenders and bringing you the contenders.

The value of a real estate agent becomes even more apparent when it comes time to make an offer. They'll help you prepare a formal offer as well as guide you through any negotiation that may come after to ensure you get a good deal. After the offer, a real estate agent will guide you through inspections and oversee any repairs deemed necessary.

Selling a Home

What do you need an agent to sell your home for – you know it best, right?

Well, when selling, objectivity is your best friend. A real estate agent will value your home with an honest eye, one that accounts for market value and other factors to ensure your asking price isn't too high. They'll also help you stage your home so that it makes the best impression to potential buyers.

Your agent will be invaluable when it comes to marketing your home to those buyers. They can get your home exposure on multiple websites and listing services, as well as use tools like social media to get even more eyes on the property.

Again, you'll truly recognize the value of a real estate agent when you start receiving offers. Your agent will review offers and keep you informed through every step of negotiation, ensuring you don't get caught with a stale deal.

Picking the Right Agent

Ultimately, the real value of a real estate agent comes in finding the right one. Working with an agent you gel with and who understands your wants and needs is critical. But once you secure the right agent, you'll truly understand why it's worth it.   

November
6

With the current market favoring sellers, you're in a great position if you're looking to get your home sold. But the excitement of selling in a sellers' market often overshadows the fact that you're not just a seller; you're a buyer, too. And if your home sells before you've secured a new one - which is likely to happen in the current market - you could find yourself in a compromising situation. You always have options, though, and we're here to remind you what they are. Here's what you can do if your home sells faster than expected.

Captain Obvious Says "Buy Your Next Home Before You Sell"

The Captain may have a point, but that doesn't mean it's always feasible. Sure, you should try to secure your next home before selling your current one, but any number of factors can limit your ability to do so; especially in a sellers' market, when listings are often snatched up within days of hitting the market. If you don't have a home lined up before finalizing the sale of your house, at least try to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You'll remove some of the waiting period that comes with financial pre-approvals and at least be one step ahead in your home search.

Negotiate a Post-Possession Agreement

With some savvy negotiating and good bit of trust, you can negotiate a post-possession agreement to essentially rent your existing home a little longer after closing on the sale. If that sounds extremely convenient, well, it is. But it's also very risky for the buyer, so expect negotiations to be tough. This is where a skilled and experienced agent will come in very handy for you.

Check Offseason Vacation Homes

Depending on when you close, you could find a great deal on a vacation rental during the offseason. Demand is naturally lower in the offseason. You'll likely find one that's furnished, and most offer stays of up to a month or more.

Bunk with Friends or Family

Maybe your best friend has an extra bedroom? If not, you can take solace in knowing that your dear old mother will always welcome a visit. In all seriousness, friends and family can possibly put you up for a few weeks if you need it.

Find Someone in the Opposite Position

This means someone who's bought a new house and moved before their old home has sold. They may be willing to let you rent the home out for a brief period – it'll help them avoid paying extra on two mortgages at once. Of course, it also means you're subject to the owner's desire to sell; should they decide it's time to finally find buyers, it'll be time for you to move out. This is unless they've decided to convert the home into a full-time rental, which you'll want to determine before making your own decisions.

Extended-Stay Hotel Suites

Many hotels offer suites designed specifically for longer stays. These are sort of a middle-ground between a rental home and an apartment. You'll have a degree of privacy and access to the amenities you need, but you'll have even less ownership over the suite than you would in an apartment. But if it's only for a temporary stay, you likely won't be bothered by that.

Invest in a Storage Container for Your Stuff

If you're moving into a furnished rental or staying with a friend for a few weeks, you need somewhere to put your stuff in the meanwhile. Consider looking into a portable storage container. Many companies will drop off the unit, let you pack it up, then bring the container to your new house when you're ready. If you just need to store things for a night or two, check with your moving company; they may let you keep their moving truck overnight for an additional fee.

June
17

We've previously talked about questions you should ask when buying a house on this blog. This week we're looking at the other side of that equation: what to ask when selling your house. From making sure you have the right agent to determining your home's value, you've got lots to consider when putting your home on the market. Let's dig into those questions and more.

Do I have the right agent for my goals?

Think of the search for a real estate agent to list your home as a job interview, and you're the hiring manager. Ask about their history in the industry, how many homes they typically sell in a year, areas in which they specialize, what they'll do to market your home, and more. What can they bring to the table, and does it align with your goals for selling?  

Is now a good time to sell?

Depending on your circumstances, the right time to sell can be hard to define. One big factor to consider is if you're in a buyer's or seller's market. A buyer's market happens when there's more homes on the market but less demand, empowering buyers. Conversely, fewer homes on the market and more demand creates a seller's market. A seller's market means you have the power to negotiate better deals. Your agent will help you determine what the current market landscape looks like.

How much will it cost to sell my home?

You'll (most likely) walk away from your home sale with money, but it'll cost you to get there. Commission fees and closing costs will come out of your bottom-line profit, but some out-of-pocket costs can sneak up on you. These can include staging, landscaping, and more. If you're buying a home at the same time, you'll want to include those fees in your budgeting efforts as well.

How much is my home worth?

Determining your home's value can be as simple as determining its condition and demand. Your agent can help you assess demand with a customized report covering how much similar homes in your area have sold for. This is called a comparative market analysis. Additionally, you can get an approximate estimate of your home's value with our home value estimator tool.

Should I hire a home inspector?

A home inspection occurs as a standard part of the process once your home is under contract. You can, however, have an independent inspection completed prior to listing your home on the market. It's another fee to account for, but it gives you a chance to remedy any potential ills in your home before presenting it to a buyer.

What do I need to disclose to potential buyers?

One of the scary parts of selling is having to be honest about your home's flaws. Even if you get an inspection before selling, there may be flaws that just aren't cost-effective for you to fix. But you may still have to mention them in the seller's disclosure. That being said, what you have to disclose can vary based on state laws and other factors. Your agent will help you determine what must be included in the seller's disclosure.

January
1

Maybe your family grew a bit last year and you need more space. Maybe you're ready to move somewhere closer to work. Whatever your reason for moving on from your current house, how you prep your home to sell makes a big difference in attracting interested buyers. Your home's overall condition includes everything from its curb appeal to the foundation it's built on. That's a broad spectrum, and it can easily overwhelm. But with this post, we'll walk you through some of the most critical steps and teach you how to prep your home to sell.

Deep, Deep Clean

We're not talking about wiping down the counters and vacuuming the carpet – save those for your weekend cleaning routine. When selling is your goal, you've got to scrub, dust, and polish every nook and cranny of your home. Clean behind any pictures hanging on the wall. Wash the inside and outside of all your windows. Scrub the built-up grime from the sides and backs of your major appliances. Dust the ceiling fans. If it's not spotless, clean it until it is! Prospective buyers will be impressed by your home's cleanliness, and they'll be encouraged that you've taken good care of it.

Make Necessary Repairs & Replacements

Drafty door? Cracked windows? Sagging roof? Clogged pipes? Any of these could severely damage your ability to sell your home and should be repaired or replaced. It's also important to determine which repairs are the most cost-effective – these should be your priority.

Organize Cabinets & Closets

During a home tour, prospective buyers are inevitably going to open a cabinet or closet and look around. They may just be checking on the amount of space, but you can bet they'll be unimpressed if it's in disarray. There's no greater time to finally tackle a closet or cabinet rearrangement than when prepping your home to sell. Organization, like cleanliness, shows you've treated your home with care.

Declutter & Depersonalize

Decluttering is a common part of prepping your home to sell, and it's easy to see why. Not only does it create space and open up your home, but it makes it much easier for prospective buyers to see themselves living there without all your junk in the way. Speaking of buyers seeing themselves in your home, now would be a good time to depersonalize. Photos of your kids, family heirlooms, or even just a favorite piece of furniture – all of these should be removed. Don't make prospective buyers feel like they're visiting another family; allow them to envision their own life in your home.

Consider Curb Appeal

Your home's exterior can be forgotten amid deep cleaning and decluttering everything inside. But it shouldn't be, because it's the first thing any potential buyer will see. Don't let them develop a negative opinion of your home before they even make it through the front door. Update doorknobs and locks, paint the front door, and be sure to clean outdoor furniture. Add a few colored pots or plant some flowers for a touch of vibrancy. You want your home's exterior to give potential buyers the same feeling it's given you for years: Welcome home. First time putting your home up for sale? Check out our helpful home-selling guide and make sure you get the most out of your investment.

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