Does a hot real estate market guarantee easy money? In a nutshell, the answer is NO. Even though it is a sellers market, the sellers are facing almost as much stress as the buyers. Listed here are tips for removing a lot of the stress involved in selling your home.
Run a preliminary title search
In 2021 I have had several instances of the title not being clear. In one case, the ex-wife was still on the title. We have spent 3 months so far finding her and asking her to send us a notarized deed of release and still don’t have it. Another one we were lucky but needed to get notarized signatures from two ex wives and were able to accomplish this is less than a week.
A preliminary title search can be run by a local title company. There are 2 types of reports. A letter report costs approximately $175 and provides you with the vested owner and any liens on the property. An informational report will cost $200 and list the vested owners, liens and easement information. Believe me, this is worth the extra $25.
Get a home inspection or perform a DIY maintenance check.
Buyers will hire their private building inspectors once they are in a price agreed contract with you. They usually spend upwards of $1000 on these inspections. Common inspections in the St Louis Metro area are to do an overview check (structure, roof, windows, appliances), a sewer camera inspection, radon test, termite test and a gas safety inspection. These inspections may turn up the need for additional inspections.
Currently buyers are being quite “picky” about these inspections. The attitude is that they have paid a premium dollar for the home (sometimes quite a bit over asking) and they are looking for close to perfection. Their requests are negotiable but can cause a lot of anxiety to both parties. Hiring professional inspectors before you list can cost you in the $1000 range but you can also do a self-exam. This article Preparing to Sell is an in-depth maintenance check list that I strongly urge home owners to perform prior to listing a home. In addition, it is always a good idea to call a roofer to check and give a bid for repairs or re-roofing. A lot of times there is hail damage which is covered by insurance.
Complete the seller disclosure and include documentation
Buyers are keen on getting as much information as possible. If you don’t provide it, they will go to the “net” and who knows what they will get there. Better for you to give them the facts first. This list, How to Stand Out, can guide you in putting together the information that will be helpful to the new buyer and give you an edge in getting the best price.
Staging and curb appeal are important
The sellers who have their homes in tip-top showing condition are the ones who are getting multiple offers and many times selling for over list price. Be careful of high expectations. The average days on the market is not “1”. Some homes are sitting on the market for several months. Location and condition are still important factors.
During a sellers market it can be easier to sell “as is” homes and quirky homes. If you are thinking about selling “as is”, however, get an opinion of price from a realtor for the “as is” sale and the finished product. Then get bids for the repairs you would need to make and decide which way is best for you.
Be prepared to review offers and make a fast decision
Your house goes on the market. Many times the showings start within the hour it is listed. Also many times the appointments are every 15 minutes over the first 2 days. As a seller, you are exhausted by this time. The first important step for effectively negotiating the contract is to remember that today it’s your home – tomorrow it’s your asset (remove the emotion). The second step is to remember your reasons for selling and your ideal time frame. The third step is to treat every offer seriously.
Where are you moving?
You are the seller now but just remember how difficult it has been for many buyers to find their home and then actually win the bid. Are you prepared to move twice? How much time do you need to move? Sometimes the buyers will be negotiable because of the hot market but that can sacrifice your bottom line too.
This graph lists average days on the market for homes in the St Louis Association of Realtors over the last five years. It includes all areas that are part of the St Louis Association and all types of homes. (Click here for interactive graph)