Last week we covered the top real estate FAQs (frequently asked questions) that buyers have asked the Lake Life Realty Team. Just like buying a home may seem scary…selling one and having no idea what to expect can wear on your nerves, too! Here is the Lake Life Realty Teams top real estate FAQs from potential sellers.

When is the best time to sell?

“Buyers search for property online 365 days a year, so anytime is a good time to list your property for sale. Many sellers believe selling a home is seasonal and take their properties off the market during the winter. This reduces inventory for buyers to view.Your home will actually be viewed more during this time,” Danny Weaver explained.

What should I do to prepare?

Brian Cox replied, “For an older home or an investment property, my advice to clients is to have a home inspection done before the property is listed. That way you can price the property accordingly or make the necessary improvements to maximize the value of the home.” He continued, “For a newer home, I recommend focusing on three things – curb appeal (yard and entryway), declutter as much as possible and change any bright or overstimulating paint colors to a more neutral tone. This will help buyers feel invited in and allow them to imagine the home as their own.”

Why is the value of my property online different from what you are suggesting?

“This is something I run into frequently, and the answer can be complicated. The short answer is the formula used online can only take into account things like square footage and recent sales prices of other properties,” Andy Sheriff said. “An online service can’t physically go into your home and place value on things like open floor plans, updated kitchens, those awesome built in shelves in the living room, or the fact that you have a pink toilet in the guest bathroom. Keep in mind that this “formula flaw” can work both ways. If you own the small home in a high dollar neighborhood (which is a smart investment move), the value of your home online can be higher than what it will actually sell for due to high dollar comps in your neighborhood.”

What will my closing costs be, and how will that impact my profits?

Christy Medeiros explained, “I’ll put together a Seller Net Sheet for you with some estimated costs.” The Seller Net Sheet breaks down the money that will be paid at the closing (mortgage payoff, lawyer fees, commission, etc.) so the seller can have a better understanding of the monies collected at the end of the selling process. She added, “This will give you a fairly good idea of what your bottom line will be.”

How does the commission work…and who pays?

“The seller’s commission is a preset amount, usually a percentage, that is negotiated prior to listing the property. This commission is usually split by the seller’s agent and the cooperating buyer’s agent or sub-agent. The buyer is not responsible for the payment of any commission in most cases,” John Agostino said. “Lake Life Realty has one of the lowest commission percentages in the upstate.”

How should I respond to low ball offers?

Jessica Coley replied, “I explain to the sellers that a low-ball offer is all part of the negotiation strategy to get the best price. Most of the time, the buyers don’t actually expect sellers to accept their first offer. I also ask the sellers – wouldn’t do the same thing when they become buyers?!”

What is a contingency contract?

“A contingency contract is when the buyer has a couple of issues to get through in order to purchase the property. Usually it would be financing issues and/ or needing to sell their home,” Noreen Pfund explained. “A contingency contract can make it hard for a seller to get additional showings on the property.”

What should I agree to fix in the repair request?

Angie Dickmeyer said, “At the very beginning, during the listing appointment, I always ask if they have a home warranty.If they do not, I strongly advise them to get one. When the repairs are requested, we can look and see what the home warranty will cover.Then we can discuss what they can do on their own or what are they are comfortable doing.I also advise them to do as much as they can do.”

What will I need to bring to the closing…and do I have to be present?

“While you do not ‘need’ to be present, I always suggest going in case there is any last minute questions or answers needed from the attorneys,” explained Jocelyn Plum. “Also, I like to see buyers and sellers talk about the house – special things that the seller liked, or if there are any random questions the buyer may have for the seller – the closing is the perfect time to ask! Usually the only thing needed from the seller day of closing is any extra keys, combinations, garage door openers, etc. and the attorneys need to make a copy of their driver’s license.”

Hopefully, after reading this, you have a better understanding of the selling process.Please feel free to contact us if you still have questions and one of the Lake Life Realty Team will be happy to help!

Jennifer Cox – Lake Life Realty