SELLERS

SELLING PROCESS

I understand it can be exhausting for anyone to keep a home "ready to show" for an extended period of time. Even more so when you have little children or a demanding career. The good news is I have a proven system that will help reduce the time your property sits on the market and the period of time in which you have to keep your home staged to perfection.

1. Setting The "Right Price"

Selling your Medicine Hat home starts with setting the correct selling price. Through a careful examination of recent Medicine Hat real estate sales data and an intuitive understanding of market conditions I can help determine the right price for your property! At the end of the day, the right price will help ensure higher offers and a quicker sale! Setting the right price will save you both time and money.

2. You Make The Final Decision

My job is exposing your property to the Medicine Hat real estate market to gain the attention of the largest group of buyers possible for your home. From there, your job is to accept the best, most acceptable offer for you.

3. I Look After The Details

Of course, I will take care of the thousands of details involved with your Medicine Hat property sale so you can move forward with your life. I want you to feel confident in knowing everything will go smoothly from start to finish.

Benefits of Using a Realtor ® to Sell your Home

Selling your home is a complex process that can be stressful and time-consuming. An experienced Realtor® has the knowledge, skills, and connections to help you through the process every step of the way. Consider the following benefits of working with a Realtor:

Professional Experience:

With knowledge and training in marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and the workings of the current real estate market, a Realtor® will be able to guide you through the steps of the home-selling process and be able to explain exactly what to expect. S/he will make you aware of your rights and responsibilities, work with you to strategize the best moves according to your own goals, discuss financing options, and point you in the direction of other specialized professionals who will aid you in different stages of the process.

Best Price:

My job is exposing your property to the Medicine Hat real estate market to gain the attention of the largest group of buyers possible for your home. From there, your job is to accept the best, most acceptable offer for you.

"Showcasing" Experience:

Your Realtor® will know the importance of a property's first impression. S/he will have experienced first-hand, for example, the impact a property's "drive-up appeal" has on the rest of a potential Buyer's experience of your home. Your Realtor® will be able to offer you tips and information on how to get your home in the best selling shape possible, in order to sell your property quickly and for top dollar.

Access to Qualified Buyers:

Realtors® save time and effort by dealing only with qualified buyers. They have access to a pool of pre-screened and pre-qualified buyers who are serious about buying a home in your neighborhood. Realtors® work hard to develop this base of qualified buyers which will become an invaluable resource for you.

Negotiation Skills:

Realtors® serve many functions, but perhaps the most important is their role as primary negotiator on your behalf. Your Realtor® realizes your goal is to sell your home as quickly as possible, and for the most money possible, and will work closely with you during the negotiation process to facilitate this goal. Realtors bring to the process the knowledge and skills to draw up legally binding contracts, to assist in negotiating offers and counter-offers, and to offer counsel and perspective as you work toward your selling goals.

Common Questions

I understand it can be exhausting for anyone to keep a home "ready to show" for an extended period of time. Even more so when you have little children or a demanding career. The good news is I have a proven system that will help reduce the time your property sits on the market and the period of time in which you have to keep your home staged to perfection.

Question 1: Is there a best time to sell my house?

Property's sell year round. It is mostly a function of supply and demand, as well as other economic factors. The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes and the final selling price. Weather conditions are often a consideration in some states than in other parts of the country. Generally the real estate market picks up in the early spring.

During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates, many prospective home buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during mid-summer.

After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous, season which usually lasts into November. The market then slows again as buyers, sellers and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays.

The supply of homes on the market diminish because sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their homes off the market for the holidays. There are still buyers in the market place, but now those buyers have fewer homes to choose from. Those homes on the market at that time have considerably less competition. Generally speaking, you'll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells.

Question 2: Are there important factors to consider when selling a home?

The two most important factors are price and condition in selling a home. The first step is to price it properly. Then, go through the house to see if there are any cosmetic defects that can be repaired.

A third factor is exposure. It is also important that the home gets the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and listing on the local Multiple Listing Service® system, as well as the internet.

Choose the Realtor® that you believe will get the job done, not the one that quotes you the highest price - sometimes just to buy your listing.

Question 3: How much is my home worth?

There are two methods many people use to determine their homes value, an appraisal and comparative market analysis.

Appraisals vary in cost and are defendable in court. They average about $300 for a single family home and more on multi-family dwellings. Appraisers review numerous factors and base information on recent sales of similar properties, their location, square footage, construction quality, excess land, views, water frontage and amenities such as garages, number of baths, etc.

A comparative market analysis on the other hand is an informal estimate of market value performed by a Realtor® or broker. It is based on sales and listings that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values will be determined thus arriving at a probable market value. Many Realtors® offer a free analysis anticipating they will have a new client.

The analysis or opinion should be in writing and should involve professionally accepted appraisal techniques.

Question 4: What should I do to get my house ready?

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, "declutter" counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many "things" make it difficult for the buyer to see their possessions in your rooms or on your walls, however don't strip everything completely or it will appear stark and inhospitable. Then clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter, and possibly put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch.

The second important thing to consider is "curb appeal." People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.

A comparative market analysis on the other hand is an informal estimate of market value performed by a Realtor® or broker. It is based on sales and listings that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values will be determined thus arriving at a probable market value. Many Realtors® offer a free analysis anticipating they will have a new client.

The analysis or opinion should be in writing and should involve professionally accepted appraisal techniques.

Question 5: Should I make repairs?

Minor repairs before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include a contingency "inspection clause" in the purchase contract which allows then to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers can attempt to negotiate repairs or lowering the price with the seller. Any known problems that are not repaired must be revealed as a material defect. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.

Question 6: What are my obligations to disclose?

Items sellers often disclose include: homeowners association dues: whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of any neighborhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice, such as any restrictions on the use of property, including but not limited to zoning ordinances or association rules.

It is wise to review the seller's written disclosure prior to a home purchase and ask questions if it does not satisfy you entirely.

Question 7: Must I disclose the terms of other offers?

No, according to experts, sellers do not have to disclose the terms of other offers. You may disclose the existence of other offers, so that all parties are aware that they should be submitting their best offer.

Question 8: Are there standard contingencies in an offer?

Yes, the two basic contingencies in a purchase contract are financing and inspections.

Question 9: Should I be flexible in granting contingencies?

That often depends on if you are in a buyer's or a seller's market, the condition of your home, the price you hope to get, how motivated you are to sell, as well as the quality and quantity of the offers you are getting.

Any contingencies that are negotiated are written into your contract. Both the buyer and seller can place requirements on the table during the negotiation phase.

A frequently seen contingency is regarding the sale and closing of the buyers home before they can purchase yours. Whether this requirement is reasonable, or even achievable, depends on the individuals involved. Financial capabilities usually play a major role in negotiations. Few people can afford to own two homes simultaneously, except for some all-cash buyers.

Question 10: What do I do if my house isn't getting activity?

Even in a slow market, price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home.

If a home is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell it is probably because it is overpriced for the market. The first step is to lower the price. Then go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed that can be repaired.

The second step is to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and a listing on the Multiple Listing Service® system and internet.

A third option is to remove the home from the market and wait for overall housing conditions to improve and catch up to the price you're asking.

Finally, frustrated sellers who have no equity and are forced to sell because of a long term illness, divorce or financial considerations should discuss a short sale or a deed in lieu of a foreclosure with their mortgage lender and their Realtor®.

A short sale is when the seller finds a buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender.

Question 11: Is it possible to sell for less than my mortgage?

A "short sale" is for home sellers who are upside down on their mortgage. The home's value is less than the amount of the mortgage. A hardship must exist, then sometimes home owners can negotiate with lenders and split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid. A short sale is often complicated. If the loan has been sold into the secondary market, the lender will have to get permission from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to negotiate a short sale. Fannie Mae, the secondary market giant, has a policy of looking at each loan individually. If the loan was a low-down-payment mortgage with private mortgage insurance (or PMI), the lender needs to involve the mortgage insurance company that insured the low-down loan. Once all these issues are resolved or negotiated, the house may be sold.

Question 12: How will a foreclosure affect my credit?

Without a doubt a property foreclosure is one of the most damaging events in terms of the borrower's credit history.

Talking to the lender who holds the mortgage note on the property might provide specific answers as the possible courses of action available to the borrower, as well as to the effects those actions might have on that person's credit report.

In terms of the effect on credit history, a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale are not as adverse an event as is the forced foreclosure.

However, even often a foreclosure or bankruptcy, there are lenders who are providing loans after 7-10 years have lapsed. The borrower will have many obstacles to overcome and will need to provide a good paper trail to the lender proving they are once again credit worthy.

Question 13: How long will a bankruptcy or foreclosure stay on my credit report?

Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. However, there are lenders who will consider an applicant who went through a bankruptcy as recently as two years ago, as long as good credit has been re-established. Much will depend on when the bankruptcy was discharged and what kind of credit a borrower has re-established since then. The longer ago the discharge occurred, the better off a loan applicant will be. Another factor considered will be the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy. If a borrower went through a bankruptcy because his or her company had financial difficulties due to downsizing or merger resulting in job loss, that means one thing to a lender. If, however, a borrower went through bankruptcy because of overextended personal credit lines from living beyond their means, that means quite a different thing.

Question 14: Is it possible to refinance after bankruptcy?

Although a good idea, it is usually difficult to refinance after a bankruptcy. If you have been struggling but keeping current on your payments the lender may be accommodating. You first need to contact them and explain your situation. They may suggest or perhaps you can suggest a way to work out alternative payments until you recover.

Am I Priced To Sell?

Attracting buyers is the name of the game. As a seller, you have two goals:

  1. To get the most money possible
  2. To sell as quickly as you can.

Be realistic. Price is the number one factor that most home buyers use in determining which homes to view. Although the price is set by you, the seller, the value of the home is determined by the buyer. Don't allow your enthusiasm to warp your judgment and lead to overpricing - a mistake you can't afford to make.

Here are some factors to consider - recommended by experienced residential specialists - to help you sell your home.

What Affects Your Asking Price?

  • Urgency. How quickly must you sell?
  • Competition. Are there just a few or many homes available in your price category and area?
  • Available Financing. Does your home come with an assumable loan that is below today's rate? What are the current home loan interest rates? What financing alternatives are available for your home and area?
  • Competitive Market Analysis. Do you know what similar homes in the area sold for within the last six months?
  • Expenses. What are your selling costs?

What Doesn't Affect Your Asking Price?

  • Original Cost. Your price is determined by today's market.
  • Investment in Improvements. Potential buyers will evaluate you home (i.e. wallpaper and carpet) and may include the costs to remove or replace in their offer.
  • The Cost to Build Your Home Today. A replacement value is determined for insurance purposes only.
  • Personal Attachment. Prudent buyers purchase based on their emotions, not yours.
  • Neighbor's Claims. Don't listen to what your neighbors tell you is the fair market value for you home. Other homes in your neighborhood may not be as similar as you think. Also the terms accepted by both the buyer and seller greatly affect the sale price.

What Happens to an Overpriced House?

  • You'll Help Sell the Competition. The "correctly priced" homes look even better if your is overpriced. Most buyers are competitive shoppers.
  • Your Home Will Stay on the Market a Long Time. Did you know that 80% of your potential buyers will see your house in the first four to six weeks? If you don't sell them then, it takes approximately three months to replace them with an equal number of newcomers.
  • You'll Lose Market Interest and Qualified Buyers. Serious buyers use the value, quality and price of similar properties as deciding factors.
  • A Negative Impression is Created. People will wonder why your house is still on the market - they'll believe something is wrong with your home.
  • You (The Seller) Would Lose Money. You may have to make extra mortgage payments as well as incur taxes, insurance and unplanned maintenance costs.
  • You (The Seller) May Have to Accept Less Money. Studies show that the longer a house is on the market, the greater the discount off the list price. Often a seller will accept less than fair market value in order to sell because of an approaching deadline.
  • There is the Potential for Appraisal Problems. The appraiser from your buyer's lending institution must agree that the home is worth the asking price. If the appraiser believes the price is inflated, the loan may not be approved.

Showtime: Tips for Showing your Home

After putting in a huge amount of time and effort to get your home looking good and ready to sell, your hard work is finally going to pay off: your home is on the market-you're ready to begin showing. Your house should always be at-the-ready for a tour, as agents may bring clients by with very little notice. If they catch you unprepared and you aren't able to show the house on the spot, you could be losing out on a sale. Concentrate on the following areas to ensure your home is ready to show:

People

Homebuyers may feel like intruders if you are present while they view your house, and this will affect their overall impression. Consider taking the opportunity to visit the local coffee shop, go shopping, or take the kids to the park. If you can't leave while the house is being shown, try to be as unassuming as possible. Do not move from room to room. Don't offer information, but make yourself available to answer any questions the agent or buyers might have.

Lighting

When you know an agent is bringing someone by, make sure all of the drapes and window shades are open to let in as much daylight as possible, or if the showing is taking place at night-to create a look of comfort and warmth when viewed from the outside. Open all the doors between rooms to create an open, inviting feel. Turn on all lamps and overhead lights, even during the day. Keeping lights on during the day softens the harsh shadows sunlight can create in a room, and illuminates dim corners. During nighttime showings, make sure all outdoor lights are on, as well as pool lights.

Cleanliness

Scan the floor for debris-newspapers and magazines tend to accumulate without our noticing. Make sure all the counters are clutter-free. Empty the kitchen garbage before every showing, particularly if the garbage can doesn't have a lid. Keep everything freshly dusted and vacuumed. Beds should be made and bathrooms cleaned (toilet lid down). Every room should sparkle.

Scents and Sounds

Avoid using scented sprays before showing your home. Some people simply won't enjoy the smell, and others may be allergic. If you want to make a room smell pleasant, consider a potpourri pot or a naturally-sourced aroma.

If you or your family is home while the agent is giving a tour, try to stay as quiet as possible. Turn off the television and the blaring radio. Put on some soothing background music at a low volume.

Pets

If you have pets, make sure your listing agent includes this in your listing on the Multiple Listing Service. This way, no one will be surprised by a furry welcome if the agent shows the house while you're not there. If you know someone is coming to tour the house, ideally you should take the pets with you, or arrange to have a friend or family member take them. If this isn't possible, keep dogs in the backyard, preferably in a penned area. Try to keep indoor cats in one room while people are touring the house, and put a sign on the door.

Tips for the Moving Process

It's official: you've signed the papers, dotted all the i's and crossed the t's-you have sold your home, bought a new home and now you are moving! You've almost reached the end of your journey. However, now, faced with the daunting task of moving, it may seem as though the journey has just begun. Moving can be a time-consuming and stressful experience if you let yourself be overwhelmed by the job. Remember, though, having a successful move means taking care of the details, one by one. If you break the process down into steps and arrange your time accordingly, you can make it manageable. Use the following checklist to ensure you're covering all the bases, and you will be well on your way to a successful move!

Household

  • Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
  • Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
  • Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
  • Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
  • Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
  • Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.

Packing

Plan your packing. Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers. Most moving companies have specialized containers you can buy. Also, speak with others who have recently moved-they may be looking to get rid of boxes. You'll need the following: small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).

Begin to collect other packing materials. Decide which items you'll need from the following checklist:

  • White paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Paper towels
  • Newspapers
  • Non-printed paper
  • Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers
  • Scissors
  • Labels and stickers (available from your moving company)
  • Felt marker to label boxes
  • Notebook and pen for listing contents

To make things easier on yourself...

  • Set goals and deadlines for yourself. Aim, for example, to pack one room per week.
  • Attach a list of contents to each box. Separate and label boxes to be placed in storage.
  • Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings.
  • Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer. Let the food you already have dictate your menus.
  • Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.
  • Make special arrangements for the moving of plants or pets.
  • Collect all personal items from local services (dry cleaning, storage, photos).
  • Service all appliances you are taking with you. Note that all gas appliances must be emptied, as it is illegal for movers to carry flammable substances.
  • Take inventory of all the boxes, and contents of the boxes, you have packed.
  • Have your car serviced and tuned up.

Community

  • Return library books.
  • Clean out your locker at any club you are leaving.
  • Determine how to transfer your children to a new school.
  • Return items you've borrowed to friends, and collect any you've lent.
  • Mail or e-mail change of address notices to family members, friends, and office contacts.

Records

  • If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
  • Change the address on your driver's license.
  • Change the billing address for credit cards.
  • Change the address for banking statements.
  • Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.

Insurance and Legal Matters

  • Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
  • Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to review your policy.
  • Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
  • Review your moving company's insurance policy. If it doesn't cover as much as you'd like it to, obtain your own.
  • If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the landlord.
  • Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or Realtor ®.