Our original Seller Secrets was so popular, we’ve added Seller Secrets Part 2 to provide so more tips to help you experience a smooth transaction, maximize your position as a seller, offset the stress, and offer an honest, transparent peek into the real estate industry’s secrets of buying and selling.
What Goes, What Stays?
All kitchen appliances are traditionally sold with the property, unless specified otherwise in the purchase/sale agreement, which legally overrides whatever is advertised in the listing. If something is permanently installed or attached, it is traditionally considered to be included with the sale. This may include a TV mounting bracket (but not the TV), all window treatments and hardware (brackets, drapes, etc.), a satellite dish on the roof, gas logs (whether built-in or not), and an above-ground swimming pool. Even so, just know everything is negotiable, so don’t think you have to include all items that typical sales include. However, the final purchase/sale contract must specify which items convey with the property, including all appliances. Incidentally, most buyers want their new home to already include the kitchen appliances.
Many sellers mistakenly think that a home with several significant price drops makes the seller look desperate. If price drops are done rather quickly, it leaves the impression that the seller is just trying to find the right price, which is understandable. However, if the home has been on the market for months with no price adjustments, this is sometimes perceived as “something being wrong with the home” or a non-negotiable seller. Consider weighing the cost to keep your home on the market another month (mortgage/insurance/utilities payment/hassle factor, etc.) vs. dropping the price a bit.
Understand How the Housing Market Works
Let’s say for example, right now, that there are 10 potential buyers interested in a home like yours. When your home is first placed on the market, if it’s priced correctly, you will get a certain number of showings or home visits from these buyers. But in two weeks, those same buyers have eliminated your home from their list because it just wasn’t the right fit for them or the price wasn’t right. So, that means now you’re reliant upon the market to produce a fresh set of interested home buyers. But in two weeks, you won’t have 10 new potential buyers again. It takes time to replace those 10 potential buyers, so the first couple of weeks your home is on the market is especially important. This is when you will be marketed to the largest group of interested buyers. If you don’t get an offer from this group, you will likely be waiting on interested buyers to trickle into the market, which may take a few weeks. So, make sure your asking price is correct (or make a change quickly), and the home is in show-ready condition.
Get Your Home Show-Ready
Your home is listed and now you get your first showing. But what if you leave the cat litter box out, or your personal picture of you posing with a U.S. President on the wall, or your laundry on the floor? Maybe the kitchen is not clean, toys are left in the front yard, the lawn is not mowed. Maybe you have priced the home properly and it attracts lots of showings, but your belongings are scattered about or maybe you’re transitioning out. A cluttered home will typically not show well, even if other aspects of the home are great.
A buyer’s first impression is hard to change. If you want a quick sale at maximum price, your home should be in its best condition possible for the showings. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are super clean, as many buyers value these rooms more than other rooms in the home.
Should the Buyer Be Pre-qualified or Pre-approved?
Lenders will issue a prequalification letter based upon the information supplied by a borrower. A preapproval letter is typically written for a specific property after the lender has performed a certain level of due diligence. As a seller, you should request any offer include a preapproval letter because it indicates that the buyer is serious and likely to qualify for a loan. But most prequalification letters indicate what amount of loan the borrower is qualified for. This is very important to know when negotiating an offer. If the buyer is approved for more than the offer price, you know money may be less of an issue for the buyer. In a perfect world for the seller, the buyer would supply a prequalification AND preapproval letter with an offer. But this rarely happens. Just know that each type of letter has benefits. As a seller, one alternative is to have your listing agent note in the listing that a certain amount of earnest money is required with each offer; usually, the higher the earnest money amount, the more capable the buyer is of buying your home.