Why Work with a Real Estate Agent
Sure, you can try to sell your home by yourself. But why? With a dedicated, licensed Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties real estate agent at your side, selling a home is easier, faster, and a lot less stressful.
A licensed agent can bring you more qualified potential buyers, offer valuable advice, and coach you through the entire home-selling process – and save you from the often-frustrating complexities of deciding how to best market your home.
Like most relationships, the buyer-agent relationship thrives on communication, loyalty, and trust. By working exclusively with your agent, you'll improve both the process and the results. Above all, you'll want an agent who has the resources of a leading real estate company behind him or her – a company like Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Before you commit to working with one agent, be sure to ask plenty of questions. A good agent will understand your goals to help strategically plan the best sales process for your needs. Some typical questions to ask a potential agent:
“How will you market my home?”
Selling a home takes more than holding an open house, placing a few ads in local newspapers, or posting listings on online real estate sites. Your agent should not only be up to date on the latest social media and marketing practices, but also belong to a strong network of fellow professionals, local organizations, and civic groups. Memberships in Rotary, Toastmasters, and similar associations can lead to exposure for your home. Ask for a detailed marketing plan, and even case studies of how the agent marketed other homes.
“How do I know you will provide me with personalized attention?”
Even the busiest agents can provide great service because they know how to keep the process moving for their clients. They have put in place procedures and partnered with other professionals to keep you informed every step of the way.
“Will you handle all aspects of my transaction or delegate some tasks to an administrative assistant?”
If you choose to work with a busy agent, a knowledgeable assistant can be very helpful when you have questions or need immediate attention.
Make sure to share with your agent as much as possible about your expectations such as pricing, flexibility, and time frame.
Getting Your Home Ready for Sale
You’ve heard repeatedly that upgrading your home with new cabinetry, flooring, doors, counters, and other amenities will almost always assure a maximum asking price when it's time to sell. But sometimes, finances, time frames, and other circumstances prevent making these upgrades.
If you’re in that situation, consider taking some smaller steps to boost your home’s “curb appeal.” According to industry experts, doing so can mean selling it 10 to 15 times faster. Tackle the easier tasks if you’re up to it, and think about hiring professionals for larger jobs such as painting and landscaping.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Keep lawn edged, cut, and watered regularly
- Trim hedges and prune trees
- Place potted seasonal flowers near front entrance
- Sweep and wash sidewalks (if local water-use rules permit)
- Check foundation, steps, and walkways for cracks and crumbling
- Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
- Clean and straighten gutters
- Replace damaged or loose roof shingles
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to front door
- Install clearly readable, elegant house numbers
- Replace cracked floor and/or counter tiles
- Patch holes in walls
- Replace burned-out bulbs
- Fix doors that don’t close cleanly and quietly (same for drawers/cabinets)
- Fix or replace leaky faucets
- Replaced damaged windows, including those that are scratched
- Patch visible cracks in concrete or brickwork
- Replace carpeting or have it professionally cleaned
- Replace old or flaking wallpaper
- Switch outdated appliances and decor
- Clean walls thoroughly
- Wash windows inside and out
- Dust carefully, clean out cobwebs
- Re-caulk showers, tubs, and sinks
- Polish faucets and mirrors
- Clean out refrigerator
- Wax the floors
- Replace worn-out rugs
- Hang up fresh towels
- Air the home out
Also, note that professional staging will appeal to more potential buyers.
Maximize your Exposure
Selling real estate, especially your home, is definitely a major decision, however, I am positive that you wouldn't like to lose your chance at a great offer in this market. Reasonable purchase offers from buyers who are willing and have the ability to pay don’t just happen. Today the internet plays a critical role in the process of reaching buyers in demand.
In addition to marketing your property through traditional channels, I will harness the power of the internet while catering to all of your real estate needs. Through innovative marketing solutions, available to me, your property will be presented to more buyers. That means you can receive better offers faster.
Reach More Buyers
As more buyers conduct their property searches online, you can be confident your home will be showcased locally and globally. Our partnerships with strategically selected real estate search portals ensure that listings are published on hundreds of powerful websites, video channels, and mobile apps. We have a worldwide exposure of more than 250 syndicated partners!
Largest Group of Home Buyers
According to the 2016 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, for the third consecutive year, the largest group of home buyers were millennials at a growing market share of 35 percent of all buyers (32 percent in 2014). Using the latest social media advertising strategies you can rest assured that your property will get the most exposure possible!
Our worldwide recognition and unmatched marketing efforts help you reach buyers everywhere. With international consumers purchasing $92.2 billion in U.S. real estate, it pays to have our connections when selling your home. We excel at engaging audiences through ongoing, carefully orchestrated strategies.
Your agent Sina has exclusive access to cutting edge tools including software for the creation of Mobile ads. Sina has the ability to quickly reach the greatest number of buyers seeking a home like yours by advertising your home on thousands of mobile apps. Did you know that mobile users spend 64% of the time on their phones using mobile apps; that the average smartphone user checks their phone up to 150 times a day; and that mobile devices are a vital part of many people’s lives? To reach home buyers now and in the future, advertising your home on these devices is essential!
Peace of Mind
Our Leading Legal Team
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is one of the only real estate brokerages with an in-house legal team. Their decades of industry experience in all facets of administrative and transactional Real Estate regulations and law will help your agent navigate legal issues if they occur. Our team also provides ongoing education to our agents to ensure that they are up-to-date and knowledgeable about the legal issues that can derail and delay even routine property transactions.
Locally Known, Nationally Recognized, Globally Respected
When you work with me you can be confident our in-house legal team will help to rapidly address legal issues to help ensure a satisfactory resolution. Gain peace of mind by working with some of the very best in the industry!
Pricing Your Home to Sell
Deciding how much to ask for your home isn’t as easy as checking its approximate value on some of the popular real estate websites. Every seller wants to attain the best possible price and terms. But it’s not just "location, location, location" that determines the maximum amount for any home on the market.
Experienced real estate agents know that pricing a home appropriately from the start is critical to getting it sold quickly, and at the best price. Research from the National Association of REALTORS® shows that overpricing your home and then dropping the price several times while it sits on the market usually leads to selling it at a much lower price than what you originally should have asked for it. The longer a home is on the market, the deeper the discount is likely to be off the original price.
A REAL ESTATE AGENT CAN HELP SET THE BEST PRICE
A good real estate agent will know a neighborhood’s market conditions, the average days its homes are on the market, comparable sales prices, and other vital factors, which is why hiring a licensed real estate agent is usually your best choice for helping to set your home’s listing price.
Don’t be tempted to select a sales professional who suggests the highest price for your property. Instead, consider the agent who provides the best comparative market analysis and an explanation of how your home should be priced. That agent is more likely to sell your home quicker and for a higher price than one who tells you only what you want to hear.
Here are a few things a comparative market analysis should include:
- The sales prices for similar nearby homes sold in the past few months
- Listing prices for competing homes currently on the market
- Asking prices for homes taken off the market because they didn’t sell and, if available, why not
- How many days homes were on the market at various price points
- The average difference between the list prices and sale prices on homes that have sold
An experienced real estate agent will factor in all of these issues in the context of your local market conditions, including whether home prices are rising or falling, and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.
When you choose the right professional to help you with your home sale and then listen to his or her advice, your transaction is more likely to come together quickly and smoothly from the very start.
Once your home is priced to sell, don't waste any time getting it ready for buyers.
The Art of Pricing
The majority of showings by sales associates on a new listing occur when the house is first placed on the market. Sales agents arrange for their active, qualified buyers to see a home when it is newly listed. Once this group has seen the property, showing activity decreases to only those buyers new to the market. It is extremely important to position your home at the best price during its first market exposure as overpricing will have negative effects on time and selling price!
"If you're afraid, don't do it; if you're doing it, don't be afraid."
Negotiating the Sale
As home sellers, we all want the first offer to be one we can't refuse. However, this is rarely the case. Most home sales require negotiating before an acceptable agreement is reached. This process can be difficult to navigate on your own, but with the help of your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties real estate agent, you'll be able to negotiate an offer with ease and confidence.
CHOOSING THE BEST OFFER
Once an offer is received, you are not required to reply immediately. If you're not certain the price and terms meet your needs, it's OK to take extra time to think about the offer, but make sure you consult with your agent about how much time you have to respond to the offer.
To help determine which offers you should consider, look at the current real estate market: Are homes in your neighborhood selling quickly, slowly, or not at all? Don't assume that one offer will lead quickly to others. One predictable factor in the real estate market is that it's totally unpredictable.
Make a list of your priorities and outline which is most important to you. For example, if you have a minimum price, be clear on what it is. Sit down with your agent when you're ready to review your offer or offers. Bring your list of priorities with you and remember that there's more to an offer than price. For example, has the buyer asked for anything to be thrown in, such as appliances or furniture?
When reviewing offers, look at the buyer's funding. Does the buyer have all funds in place and ready to be transferred to you? Pre-approval is not a guarantee; review the pre-approval letter and compare it to the offer letter. Also, ensure that the time frame works for you. Your closing date should meet the needs of both parties.
MOVING FORWARD WITH AN OFFER
Once an offer is received, you can either accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. A counteroffer is the response you give to an offer asking for modifications; it also is when negotiating begins.
The offer should include:
- The total price
- The amount of the down payment
- The date the closing will take place
Check to see if the buyer has included items of personal property, such as a washer and dryer, in the offer. Make sure if you don't want those items to be included that you exclude them in a counteroffer.
Most buyers will submit offers on a California form residential purchase agreement. This agreement includes, among other things, contingencies which will permit the buyer to cancel without penalty if the inspection of the property uncovers major problems or if they fail to obtain financing.
There may be several counteroffers, so be prepared to continue negotiating.
Congratulations! At this point, you've officially accepted an offer on your home. Although you're in the final stretch, there are a few more things to mark off your to-do list before your home is officially sold.
The first thing to do once an offer is accepted is open escrow. Escrow is an arrangement with a neutral third party who holds the legal documentation and funds on behalf of both the buyer and the seller. The escrow agent and real estate agent work closely together to ensure all sales conditions are in compliance. This is a period of time where the buyer is given the opportunity to complete their due diligence.
Next, the purchaser will hire a licensed home inspector to review the physical condition of the home. Based on the inspection, the buyer may ask you to make repairs on the property which you can agree or disagree to complete. Once all inspections and investigations are completed, the seller can request that the buyer remove the inspection contingencies.
If the buyer is obtaining financing, the final contingencies that may remain are loan and appraisal. Once the appraisal is complete and the buyer receives the loan, the parties should be prepared to close escrow.
Several days before escrow is to close, the buyer will conduct a final verification of property to ensure the property is in the same condition as it was when the offer was accepted. This is not an inspection, but merely a review of the property.
Finally, the escrow process is funded, closed, and the keys to the property are turned over to the buyer.
Whether you're buying or selling, you're bound to be moving. Many people dread moving, but don't let it get the best of you. Instead, follow these simple steps to have a seamless, stress-free move.
Preparing is the best thing you can do to set yourself up for moving success. Prior to your move, set up your postal mail forwarding, start utility service at your new location, and stop service at your current location. Head to the store and gather all your moving supplies. This should include boxes, markers, tape, labels, sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and any other packing equipment you might need. Well in advance of relocating, consider how you will conduct the move. Will you be doing it all yourself or hiring a moving company? Don't forget to reserve a truck if needed.
When you're ready to start packing, be sure to pack smart. Start by filling up an overnight bag that includes all the essentials you'll want as soon as you arrive at your new place. This might include your laptop and toiletries. Place all items you'll need first in a box or container you can easily identify from the rest. A clear or colored plastic bin works well. Next, move on to packing up the rest of your goods.
As you're packing, don't forget to label. Knowing what is in each box can save you lots of time in your new space. You can label using tape and a marker, or a label maker. On each label, include a description of the contents, which room of the house it's all for, whether the box contains anything breakable, and an estimate of the weight (light, medium, heavy).
While actually moving into your new space, put each clearly labeled box in its corresponding room. Once you've unloaded, start by cleaning. Dust, vacuum, sweep and wipe down surfaces before you begin unpacking. As you unload, start with the most critical rooms first and take time to organize your belongings.