Selling your home can be overwhelming and feel like a full-time job… which is why there are realtors! Good realtors make the process so much smoother and less intimidating. To keep your mind at ease and prepare you for what will happen throughout the sale of your home we are sharing 10 top tips to get you from listed to sold in no time!
Discover what to expect when selling your home
1. Select the right agent the 1st time
It is of the utmost importance that you pair with a full-time, knowledgeable agent who can best represent you through the process. This should be your number one priority. Studies show that homes listed with an agent sell for more than those listed without, and this is for good reason. Great agents dedicate their lives to keeping up with economic changes, are masters at negotiating and getting things done, and know all rules and regulations. This will pay off immensely in the long run if you trust their process. If you are unsure where to start, ask your friends who they trust and about their experience with them but don’t stop there. Interview at least two, preferably three brokers, and the differences should be immediately clear. If you still need help, Windermere has a full-time manager that will ask you pertinent questions about your needs, personality style, and specific goals to make the perfect real estate agent match. Windermere’s ultimate goal is not the sale of a home but to give you a real estate experience you want to share with others! When you are ready to pair with an agent connect with us and we will match you with the perfect broker.
2. Set your timeline
A timeline is valuable in that it will keep you organized throughout the entire selling process. Anticipate that your timeline might change depending on circumstances and your local housing market conditions. You may need to adjust a couple of times, but the purpose is to keep you on track toward your end goal. SOLD! Your timeline will help guide you there. Know what the average days on market are for your home and price range (click here to determine Whidbey Islands) then add an average of 30-45 on that to get an estimate of how long it will take to sell once you go live. Work with your agent to build your unique timeline.
3. Determine your home’s value
The SECRET to selling quickly is pricing your home right the first day it hits the market. Overpricing can create serious problems like not being seen by the right buyers, less traffic both in person and virtually, and worst of all becoming less attractive to buyers the longer it sits resulting in lower offers than if you priced it attractively, to begin with. Your agent will provide you with a (CMA) Comparative Market Analysis which compares your home to others in your local area that recently sold and/or are actively pending. This formulated analysis will assist you in properly determining the best price for your home. Discuss this with your agent. They will help walk you through the process even if you aren’t sure you’re ready to sell yet.
4. Identify issues & execute the plan
This is the time to tackle any unfinished projects and address needed repairs. Talk with your agent to see if a pre-sale home inspection would be advantageous for your unique situation. Begin by creating a list of repairs you can do versus those needing to be hired out. Your agent can help you determine which will be the best use of your time, offer the largest return on investment, and help you find vendors and hire out projects. If money is tight it may be in your best interest to apply to our Windermere Ready Program which gets you cash for fixing up your home to list. Ask your Windermere Agent about how to apply.
5. Put your best foot forward
First impressions go a long way! Start with curb appeal. Clean up your gardens, mow your lawns, clean out gutters, and add a pop of color to your flower beds. If you have any cracked or peeling paint, apply a fresh coat. Make sure to declutter the inside of your home. The best rule of thumb is to remove personal effects and present your home like a hotel in which the buyer could envision themselves living in the space. Talk to your agent about the possibility of having your home professionally staged.
6. Get your home seen
Your realtor will help maximize the exposure of your home. They can list with the MLS, will get your listing on all major sites like Zillow and Redfin, and will be listed on their Brokerage site in addition to their own. These are just a few of the many ways in which your listing can be seen. Be sure to discuss the option for virtual tours with your agent. When it’s time for in-person showings, we suggest that you not be present so that the potential buyers can freely walk the home with their agent, ask questions, and ultimately have the space to imagine it as their new home.
7. Reviewing offers & negotiating
If you price right, you might see more than one offer on your home because we are still in a strong Seller’s market. The offers may be at or above the asking price. When reviewing offers, you have three options: 1. Accept the offer, 2. Make a counteroffer, 3. Reject the offer. These should ALWAYS be made in writing, and you should always give the buyer a short time to respond. Whether you are selling or buying, you will likely find yourself in negotiations. It is important for you to discuss negotiation strategies with your agent ahead of time. At Windermere, we pride ourselves on negotiation tactics grounded in psychology and win-win strategies.
8. Budget for closing costs
Closing costs include things like title insurance, recording fees, government taxes, lender fees, broker commissions, and numerous other things. Be sure to discuss this with your agent ahead of time and throughout the transaction so you don’t feel blindsided at closing and are adequately prepared.
9. The inspection
It is common for offers to be contingent on a professional home inspection. Your agent can prepare you for what to expect from a home inspection. Typically a home inspector will look at things like the foundation, structure, roof, plumbing and electrical systems, floors, windows, doors, and signs for things like water or fire damage.
You finally made it, but before you can officially close there are a couple of things to do. Ask the buyer to release any contingencies, sign the title, and close escrow before releasing the keys. Your escrow agent will help you through this process. Talk with your agent about questions you have about legal documents and settlement costs.
If you are considering selling and would like to speak to an experienced Windermere Realtor for more specific information connect with us by clicking here.
Some have used the hashtag #CubicleFlorist in their descriptions of me. Yes, I will admit my earlier days in the Real Estate industry things got out of hand quickly – my cubicle basically had its own ozone! What I could not convince my wife to let me keep in the home, I very quietly and unceremoniously forced upon my office-mates. From traditional lilies and orchids, to carnivorous varieties (bogs!) and everything in between. At one point I assumed the role of “Office Plant Manager” and was bestowed upon a 9-year-old Ficus tree, nursed back to life a Peruvian Nerve Plant, started a bonsai collection, and had a pothos almost eat my computer. Yes, things escalated quickly.
While I am unsure where my passion for plants came from (the only ones who don’t kill everything they touch in my family are my brother Seth and my Grandmother!) I am certain about one thing: Plants Maketh The Home. Aside from the variety of health benefits associated with live plants in the home, they bring a sort of comfortableness – a touch of softness that transforms the rigidity of a house into a home, a living space. Scroll through any Pinterest or Instagram feed on house plants and you’ll get the idea – sterile spaces subtly (and elegantly!) pop with color, freshness, and a calming sense of peace. Grounded. Home. Even the pots or crates that hold these plants take on a meaning of their own and can be used to accent room colors, codify décor, or solidify a sense of continuity throughout a space. Scroll through our real estate photos and you will see decorative plants in almost every listing photo!
Many articles have been written over the years on the benefits of plants in the home. What they have all left out? You. All things in our lives are merely extensions of ourselves – plants play an integral part in defining and showcasing our personality. Think about it: the candles you buy, the soaps or fragrances you use, the solvents you clean with…all these smells and advertisements have lemons, lavender, pine, vanilla, cinnamon…
Fresh Basil plants in the kitchen? Check.
Pine bonsais for therapy in the home office? Check.
Plumeria in the sunroom? Check.
Venus Fly Traps in the kids room? Check.
As we celebrate World Environment Day, it’s important to underline here that all this begins with You – expressively showcasing You by the warmth and life you bring into your home as a reflection of the environment around you. We as a Human Race are joined together, all of us in this life, and apart from all the rest of the chaos – the noise – there is one place on this great Earth that shelters us, comforts us, provides us sanctuary: Your Home.
Call to action today? Fill your home with Joy – fill it with houseplants! (*Not checking with your significant other first may be hazardous to your health.)
You Might Also Like:
- Pick a school and do your 90 hours of course work. At Windermere, we recommend Rockwell Institute because it is consistent and has proven success at getting people prepared to pass the exam. Current cost $489 (January 2021).
- HOT TIP: There is an add on to get sample exams and extra cramming practice. GET IT!
- Do the following steps as you get closer to completing the 90 hours to break up the studying with actions that will prepare you for taking the exam and getting licensed…
- Fingerprints! The closest location to Whidbey Island is in Mt. Vernon. You can schedule your appointment on this IdentoGO site. At the time of this blog post (January 2021), it cost $42.80 for the fingerprints and background check. Go to this DOL site for more info.
- Set up a SAW account (Secure Access Washington) if you haven’t already for your driver’s license. For more info: https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/accountaccess.html
- Register as a student with AMP through psi here https://ampportal.goamp.com/School/SchoolUser/WAREPStudentRegistration.aspx
- Register for the exam. Cost $138.25 https://online.goamp.com/CandidateHome/examination.aspx?p_category=REAL%20ESTATE&p_client_code=WAREP&p_exam_id=21311
- Once you’ve passed the exams apply for your license! https://secureaccess.wa.gov/myAccess/saw/select.do
* Contact the WA DOL Real Estate licensing department if you need extra help. We recommend emailing them instead of calling for a faster response. https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/realestate/contact.html
Follow these suggestions to get yourself mentally and physically ready to launch your real estate career:
- Pick a brokerage. Interview the top brokerages in your area. Since the real estate exam process doesn’t really give you what you need to serve people or build your own business you want to join a brokerage with a robust training program and ongoing support. Schedule a no-pressure introduction meeting with our brokerage today! Email us at WhidbeyCommunications@Windermere.com to do so.
- Change your phone number to a local area code if it is not already. Nowadays all cell phones have caller ID and everyone is screening calls from out of state numbers. Do not confuse people, all real estate is local and your phone number should be too.
- If you are beginning your real estate career in November or December then now is a great time to start collecting mailing addresses for Christmas cards.
- Read some books. We give one of our favorites out a lot!
- Snoop on the local real estate brokers. What do you see that you like, what don’t you like? Take note! Social media is one good place to find a broker then check out top brokers’ web pages. If you don’t know any go to the website of the brokerage you’re thinking about, head to the agent’s page, and start clicking links. Ours is right here!
- Interview brokers you admire. Take a broker that catches your attention online for a cup of coffee (they really do like it!). Ask them all the questions but more importantly LISTEN. Some suggested questions are…
- What do you like most about being a real estate broker? Least?
- What do you like most about your brokerage? Least?
- What advice would you give someone like me who is just getting into the business?
- Download our guide to 5 things you can do to give yourself a head start here.