WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF SELLING A HOME in Washington State?
Just like all the other states, rules and regulations abound. There are set legal processes for selling property here in Washington State. My 1st rule is, "Call me immediately!" My second would be to check out the two links in the next paragraph. These 2 documents should give you the whole 'skinny' about the process.
How much needs to be done to my house before putting it on the market?
This depends a lot on the condition of your property, and/or the type of property, and even on the type of real estate professional you are using.
Generally you will want to show your home in its best possible light. This means clean and tidy! Staging and awesome photos can bring them flocking. Failing to be bothered and leaving it 'As-Is' might just leave you with the sound of crickets. On a serious note, start at the roadside or the end of the driveway with a notepad. What is broken or dirty? Are the gutters green and need a clean? Is the front door needing a coat of paint, or is a whole new door in order? What does the house smell like?
You will get a better price and a quicker sale if your home is clean, tidy and well maintained. If funds don't allow maintenance, at least be clean and tidy. Remove all the personal stuff like photos and souvenirs from your travels and try to make the place seem brighter and more airy. A good Realtor will be able to advise and help you with ideas and suggestions.
Is staging really important?
Staging a home for sale can in some cases literally 'make or break' a potential sale. By staging, we mean arranging furniture and presenting rooms in a manner that should appeal to the prospective buyers. A lick of paint in popular neutral colors, maybe some new flooring and 'voila', you have possibly transformed the use and appearance of a space that was looking tired and sometimes, downright unloved. You might even be tempted to stay in your house if the difference is that great, so be aware...
How much is my home worth?
Literally, your home is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Real estate professionals such and REALTORS® and Real estate brokers/agents etc., will use a method commonly known as CMA, or comparative market analysis. What this does in its simplest form, is use information that is publicly available to search for similar properties in price, size and location to see what others paid. Your property is then priced accordingly and is usually the best educated guess as to what someone will want to pay. It is pretty accurate in most cases when performed competently. Real estate professionals usually have access to advanced software linked to their local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). So, the price they come up with is considered at best their opinion but is literally a very educated guess. Only an actual property appraiser can give you an actual value, but they go much more in depth. Sometimes Real estate pros will suggest an appraiser if your property falls outside of local norms and/or is more unusual. For example, a 4 Bed/3 Bath home in a 500+ sub division is the easiest property to compare to similar homes. However, a custom built home in a remote location with stunning views and a strange layout might not compare with anything at all.
How long will it take to sell my home?
Generally speaking, it depends on the location, desirability and always the price. In my market area of Gig Harbor WA, a competitively priced home in a desirable location can sell in hours, if not days. If you see homes that have been on the market for a while but look nice enough, they're probably priced too high for the current market conditions.
So on average, if you price your home correctly you should expect your home to sell quickly, and you to reach the closing table within three months. Again, in certain markets this can happen much faster. Your real estate professional will be able to advise you accordingly. However, no matter how 'hot' a market is, people do not buy overpriced homes. There are plenty of examples of these in any MLS area. Kind of like trying to sell a $50 note for $60. It's just not going to happen!
CAN I SELL MY HOME MYSELF?
Of course you can. This is known as FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and commonly pronounced 'Fizbo'. Effectively the owner does all of the marketing, finding buyers, making sure those buyers are financially available, organizing all of the showings, paying for the advice of pros for cleaning and staging for all of those showings, receiving the purchase contracts and paying for attorneys to double check them for contingencies and/or mistakes, making sure the title company is on board and, and, and.... the list goes on for quite a bit. Sure you can sell your own home but unless you are particularly well informed, have that kind of time and are really handy with a professional camera, you are actually better off, 9 times out of 10 by using the services of a professional.
Should I be home when buyers view my house?
There is no rule that says you can't be there. However, it is generally best if you are not. Your real estate professional should be totally up to speed with all of the quirks and lot dimensions of your property. The agent showing your home will contact your agent if there are any questions. This makes it much less awkward for the prospective buyers to peruse your home without fear of offending you. How many times have you simply walked into a friends home and told them how much that wallpaper offends you? Usually most of us wouldn't say that out loud, but when looking at a home with a view to actually, maybe deciding to live in it, things change. Let the showing agent inform them of the wonders of DIY stores or even better, contractors.
What is the real estate agent's commission?
This varies and is always negotiable. There are no norms for an area but mostly the amounts will seem similar as all real estate pros have certain costs and usually almost always, the commission is shared with the other agent involved in the transaction. So the amount you pay as a seller might seem high at first glance, but the actual amount your real estate professional will receive is a whole lot less than you'd think. Just remember that it is often the case of, 'You get what you pay for!'
Still Have Questions?
I'm happy to help. Give me a call at (253) 549-6818, email me, or fill out the brief form below.