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Selling a Home A-Z Guide: Listing Your Home, the Selling Process

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Thinking of selling your home, if so, don’t put the cart in front of the horse. Do your homework, perform your due diligence, get some advice, and be sure to do the math. Then begin the listing process. If you do not understand the current market conditions, home values and the process of documentation then you could end up having problems in the future and worst of all, selling your home for less than you could have gotten.

Selling a house is also not all about market values, assessments and asking price, it is also about a buyer’s perceptions and how the property will be viewed. Curb appeal, feelings of ownership, expectations for raising a family and building memories are as important to buyers as building equity in an asset. We will discuss all of these things and provide tips and pointers that we hope will make selling your home easier, faster, and get you the price that you feel is appropriate.

What Is a Sensible Selling Price? Asking Too Much Could De-rail Your Plans.
Before you can list your home you need to know what a reasonable asking price would be for your property. You will need to do some research so that the price you set is going to attract the kind of buyer’s you are seeking, and at the end of the day get you the best price.

Do not confuse the asking price with the Fair Market Value (FMV). This is a common mistake by first time home sellers. Consult with a local professional realtor who can help you conduct a competitive market analysis of your property, and provide you with an reasonable estimate of the Fair Market Value. The FMV should be somewhere between what the local housing market dictates and the selling price of comparable homes within the same neighborhood. If these factors are not taken into consideration your FMV figure may be skewed and that is not how you want to start out.

At the time of this writing the markets have cooled considerably, many people have been foreclosed on over the last two or three years, therefore the market currently favors buyers. So it is imperative that you do not over-price your property and shut yourself out from the start.

Some of the factors that some folks consider when hiking up the price of their property may not always be valid ones, especially in the buyer’s eyes. Do not make these mistakes when establishing the selling price you will ask of buyers:

As you work with your agent and set your price, you'll want to recognize the factors that may prompt you to raise your asking price too much when it isn't warranted. Some of those factors may include:

  1. Not all home improvements warrant a higher asking price and some none at all. Like most physical assets homes depreciate and so do any improvements that you have made. If you made those improvements recently they will add more value, but if they are older they will only add a portion of the cost of them to the value of your home. Further, certain improvements that have a lot to do with your lifestyle or personal taste will seem to have little value to a prospective buyer. Non-traditional colors of paint, carpet or tiles are one. Another may be a swimming pool or other recreational investment. Some folks may see a pool as a detriment and unnecessary expense to maintain and a safety hazard if they have children.

  2. A classic mistake is greed borne out of need. If you over-price your home because you are desperate not only will the price be too high, but you may be rightfully perceived as being desperate, which does absolutely nothing in helping you sell your home.

  3. If you are moving up and looking to buy a more expensive house that should never influence what you ask for the one you currently own.

  4. If you made the mistake of paying too much for your home when purchased it is also not a good reason to ask more. In essence you will be asking the buyer to make the same mistake you did, and to off-set your previous mistake. This could lose you the sale.

  5. If you cannot prove the FMV of your home than it is wise to not over-price it. At some point a savvy buyer will learn what the market value of the home is and they will most likely walk away. In the least your ability to negotiate will be undermined.

  6. Do not make the classic mistake of thinking if you raise the price you have gained bargaining power that then affords you the ability to “safely” drop the price, and seem to be making concessions. In many cases a 1 to 3 percent hike in the value can actually reduce your ability to bargain.

  7. If you lack the proper motivation to move that is no reason to raise the price. Possibly your company has relocated you and you are not happy about it, that is no reason to boost the asking price above market value. Never become emotional during the sales process, it will only cloud your judgment and make things more difficult in the end. It will put the ball in the buyer’s court.

Currently the US home market is in a slump and the inventory of homes is in the buyers favor. Reducing prices has become the norm, the amount of offers made on each listed property has also dropped radically, and the time it takes to sell has also increased proportionately. Buyers are offering much less than listed prices and they are also negotiating better terms and conditions for the closing. Be prepared to do some necessary negotiating and to give up what in the past you did not have to.

If after your agent suggests a selling price you feel he is asking too little or possibly too much, get a second opinion. It’s your house, your sale and ultimately up to you. These aspects come into play in regard to setting some selling priorities too. Are you looking for a quick sale and willing to come down a bit or are you willing and able to wait and get what you are asking as long as what you are asking is FMV? When setting your priorities, and deciding how to price your home, ask others what they consider to be the pros and cons of your house. An objective opinion is always good to have.

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