What is the First Step to Selling Your Home?

So you’re ready to sell your home? Selling your home is probably one of the most stressful experiences you will ever have. Between all of the moving parts of the preparation process and the point of selling, you may find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed. You’re likely asking yourself, where do I start? What’s the most important first move? How can I maximize my profit? The questions can be endless. The first and most important step you can take is to hire the right real estate professional. We will also touch on the other key steps to take in the process of selling your home.

Hire the Right Agent You Know, Like, and Trust

There are real estate agents everywhere, frankly, they are a dime a dozen. This can make it a little tricky to find the right one for you. You must put in some research and find the agent who will serve you in every way possible, negotiate as if you were their own family, and get your home sold speedily! Sure, you may have a friend or relative who is a real estate agent, and while you may feel like you're doing them a favor by hiring them, its always crucial to hire the most successful real estate agent you can find, because, after all, the end goal is to get your home sold fast and for maximum profit!

What if I Sell On My Own?

Who doesn’t love to save money? Especially when trying to sell their home? Going the route of For Sale by Owner (FSBO) doesn’t even save you a lot of money. It is still necessary to pay the buyer's agent a commission, even when you sell your house yourself. Only one side of the transaction would be free of commission. There is no denying the advantages of having a real estate agent on your team. A realtor will get your home the most exposure possible online through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), along with a market strategy that targets their network of buyers and agents. A great agent embodies the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure you maximize profit and sell quickly!

Pricing Your Home

It’s important to be objective and think realistically when it comes to pricing your home. Of course, we all feel emotionally connected and have made so many special memories in our homes, but we must look in as an outsider and really think clearly about how much we could sell our homes for. Most real estate agents will run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), in which they compare your property to nearby homes of similar size and features that are either on the market or have recently sold. Your realtor can then price your home based on facts, not feeling. 

Now, in a certain market climate, homes commonly sell above the asking price but keep in mind that your home must go under an appraisal once an offer is accepted. The buyer’s lender will have an appraiser assess the value of your home to make sure that the loan amount isn't too much or too little. The lender gets the security they need to move forward with a loan application, and the buyer is protected from sellers setting unrealistic prices.

Estimated Net Sheet

It is also important to have your realtor put together an estimated net sheet to let you know how much you might make from the sale of your home. It will provide you with all of the numbers you want to know, such as the closing costs and net proceeds. Some costs on the net sheet will include realtor commissions, notary fees, escrow and title fees, and so on. These costs are not paid upfront but through the proceeds of the sale of your home. Being aware of how much you may net from the sale of your home is beneficial in helping you budget your next move.

Prepare Your Home

Getting your home in tip-top shape to sell can be intimidating. The list of to-dos may feel endless, but before you go into improvements and upgrades, consider getting a pre-sale home inspection to pinpoint any problem areas and issues (structural or mechanical) that will need to be addressed in order to close a sale. While not necessary to do right away, having this inspection done in advance can give you the upper hand and make the process of selling faster if repairs are done in conjunction with your prep work.

Smart Upgrades & Staging

Don’t waste time and money putting in granite countertops or other luxurious features if local buyers aren't even seeking those types of upgrades. A good real estate agent knows what the people in your area expect of homes, and can guide you in the way of implementing upgrades accordingly. It is key to make sure that the upgrades you choose to make will give you a high return on investment. The best return on investment usually comes from updating the kitchens and bathrooms. Some upgrades could be as simple as a fresh coat of neutral paint throughout, replacing doorknobs, cabinet/drawer pulls, faucets, ceiling fans, and light fixtures/sconces. Also, don’t forget a tidy and cozy curb appeal. 

When first approached with the idea of staging their home, some sellers may think of it as an unnecessary effort. Our home looks great, right? Who wouldn’t want to live here? Well, buyers must be able to envision themselves in your home. Decluttering, removing personal photos, and maybe even rearranging, and adding some inexpensive but attractive decor throughout (that can be easily returnable) are all smart and intentional ways to stage your home and create an attractive and cozy environment for buyers to view and tour. 

A good and deep clean is essential as well, we want our homes sparkling when the buyers come. Once staged beautifully, your realtor will take high-quality photos that give your home the justice it deserves. Pictures showing off every room and angle with natural light pouring in can maximize your home's online presence and make a huge difference in a speedy or slow sale.

Listing Your Home

Once your realtor has taken photos of your home, they will plug in those photos and all of the information about your home including a descriptive story that highlights all of the amenities and features of your home, and will share it with the MLS (Multiple Listing Service.) Buyer agents will be able to examine your house and all of its details through the MLS, which is a database of every home currently for sale in the area.

Accurate Seller’s Disclosure

It is a requirement to complete a seller’s disclosure document when selling your home. There are certain details about your property that need to be disclosed to potential buyers. This is to protect yourself from any negative impact the information might have on the property. Some examples of points you would be required to disclose are HOA information, the risk from natural disaster, water damage, mold or environmental contamination, repairs, death on the property, and many more.  Your real estate agent will provide the document and guide you through this process. Be mindful of every detail, and don’t hide anything, because you could bring on a lawsuit from a buyer! 

Showing Time

When it comes to showings, make sure you steer clear! When a current homeowner is present, potential buyers can feel uneasy and hesitant to express their opinions and spend their desired amount of time touring your home. Allow the buyer to envision themselves in the space, free from the feeling of needing to meet the owner and converse with them. You can also have your real estate agent present at the showing if you’d prefer.

Reviewing of Offers & Closing

After your home is officially listed and purchasers have seen it, offers should start pouring in. Buyers will likely offer at or above the asking price if your local market is competitive and favors sellers. You may even receive multiple offers. Meanwhile, it may be necessary to negotiate if sales in your area seem slow and there aren't as many offers. You can choose to accept an offer as-is, counter or reject the offer. When your counter an offer, you are negotiating terms and price. They are always in writing and require a short timeframe, 48 hours max, for a response.

Be wary of details in purchase agreements as well, such as what is included and not included in the offer, and how it could all affect you in the end. Among the details to watch out for are the purchase price, inspections, improvements, closing costs, and contingencies such as the sale of the buyer's home. Keep in mind that if a buyer uses bank financing, the property must be evaluated. There must be a way to cover any difference between the purchase price and the appraised value, or the contract will collapse.

The next step is to close on the house now that the remainder of the process has been completed. For home buyers, closing involves showing up at the closing date. Additionally, sellers are not obligated to attend the closing.

In Conclusion

Selling your home involves several steps and details that can easily overwhelm anyone, particularly if it is your first time. The key to a smoother and less daunting process is having a realtor working for you. A realtor can guide you through every single step, assuring you that every “i” has been dotted and every “t” has been crossed. You will be grateful in the end that you didn’t take on the task of selling your home alone. One of our real estate agents with 316 Realty Group would be more than happy to assist you in the process of selling your home, contact us today, and let’s get started on this journey together! 


Is it Better to go with a Local Realtor?

Purchasing or selling your home can be daunting and overwhelming to take on yourself. Working with a local real estate agent when purchasing or selling a home in a certain location might pay off big time. An agent who is native to your area is more likely to create a smoother and faster transaction. Here we will go into more detail about some of the advantages of choosing a local real estate agent. 

Knowledge of the Area

A seasoned, local agent will know the area inside and out. They will be aware of the most sought-after neighborhoods, schools, and amenities close by (if you’re buying.) They will also be in tune with the average market price and any current trends in the specific area (if you’re selling.)  

A local and experienced realtor should know the market like the back of their hand, being aware of homes not yet listed on the market and having the inside scoop from networking and relationships with other realtors, which can be extremely valuable. A local real estate agent will always have a wealth of knowledge beneficial for their clients.

Accessibility

If you choose to work with a local real estate agent when selling your home, being able to physically meet up with them will greatly work in your favor. If you are selling your home, your realtor has the opportunity to help you stage your home and host open houses for you. Having a realtor in your local area makes the process of buying and selling much more feasible than communicating all through phone and email. 

You also have the benefit of your realtor's presence during inspections, walk-throughs, and the closing process to assure no issues or confusion arise in the final stages. 

It is also very helpful to have the assistance of a local realtor during the legal process of selling or buying. Having guidance through the process and explaining terms, negotiations, inspections, closing costs, and any other paperwork is a must-have to ensure an efficient and smooth transaction.

Local Network

Local agents have the advantage of knowing all of the greatest contractors and important contacts that will help you with your home during or after the sales process. Whether it be local home inspectors, contractors, designers/stagers, lenders, title and escrow companies, and home warranty companies, our realtors with 316 Realty Group work with the local industry experts of the utmost quality. Local agents also know other agents in the area which can be very beneficial and to your advantage when you make an offer on their listing. 

Closing Thoughts

Buying or selling a home is most likely the most significant financial transaction you will ever make. The choice to work with a local real estate agent is one that you will never look back to regret. A local agent has valuable knowledge of the area, availability to meet you in person through the process, and has a network of professionals in their back pocket. Reach out to one of our agents with 316 Realty Group, we would love nothing more than to accompany you in the exciting journey of buying or selling a home!

 


What Are the Cheapest Ways To Increase Your Home’s Value?

We have all seen the home improvement and renovation shows of couples busting down walls, remodeling a kitchen, building on additional rooms, and gutting bathrooms to start from scratch. Everyone just loves the end result, and overwhelmingly you think to yourself, I could never do that! Well, when it comes to preparing your home for the market, and aiming for the best possible return on investment, thankfully you won’t need to perform a tv-worthy renovation on your home! Don’t stress over high-end upgrades, but think of desirability, functionality, and neutrality. Below we will go over a handful of budget-friendly ways to increase the value of your home that won’t break the bank!

A Good Deep Clean & Declutter

A clean and well-maintained home will never go unnoticed by buyers, and a plus for you is that it costs next to nothing to accomplish a deeply cleaned and decluttered home! Staying up to date on maintenance items will make things easier on you as a homeowner to ensure you have no expensive emergency repairs later, such as mold growth and stains. Keeping areas of your home sparkling and free of dust and build-up such as vents, cabinets, blinds, baseboards, grout, fan blades, and light fixtures may seem minuscule but can make a huge difference. 

Decluttering is a crucial aspect of adding value to your home as well. Buyers are turned off immediately by an overcrowded and extremely personal space. Keep decor and objects on the kitchen counter and other counter and furniture top spaces to a minimum, ditch the gallery wall, (buyers want to envision themselves in the home, now the homeowner!) consider temporarily slimming down your wardrobe to show off closet space, or all together go through your home and put aside any items you can part with and donate. Any space you can free up, organize and declutter more is going to be a big win! 

Fresh Coat of Neutral Paint

We have all done it. We have scrolled through photos of a home for sale, only to be met with images of a salmon pink bathroom, a mustard yellow bedroom, or a brick red kitchen. These off-putting paint colors can be exactly what turns a buyer away immediately. It makes it close to impossible to imagine yourself and your belongings in a home when you can’t take your eyes off a hideous paint color. 

Painting a home a fresh and neutral color throughout will always be the best way to make a home feel clean, streamlined, and new. 

Update Light Fixtures & Hardware

Looking for an easy upgrade that will be appreciated by buyers? Try updating light fixtures and hardware. If you have outdated or simple builder-grade light fixtures in your home, there are always inexpensive options to choose from that will definitely make your rooms pop and give them the refashioning they deserve. Are you not feeling confident and are tempted to hire an electrician to do the job for you? Helpful hint: watch some YouTube tutorials on changing out light fixtures, and you will be surprised how easy it can be to accomplish this task yourself! Who wouldn’t like to save that extra money?

Think about a simple kitchen cabinet, even if it's not the most attractive wood stain, once you put some new knobs or pulls on it, it can really give it a facelift and change the overall look. The same goes for door hardware, changing out an outdated gold or brass for an oil-rubbed bronze or a brushed nickel is sure to please a potential buyer. 

Revamp Your Kitchen

You walk into a home, one of the first areas your eyes are drawn to is the kitchen. You imagine yourself cooking meals and having a gathering with friends and family. You may not be too pleased if you see old and dirty appliances, outdated sink and light fixtures, and cabinet hardware. 

Consider investing in an updated kitchen faucet set, and cabinet hardware, and replacing any appliances for a consistent and streamlined look. If cabinets are looking dingy, don’t waste your money and go for a full replacement, but do some touch-up stain or even give them some paint to look brand new. A clean, updated, and attractive kitchen will greatly increase your home's value and make it a more desirable entertainment space for buyers to imagine themselves in.

Refresh Your Curb Appeal

Lastly, increase your home value by simply refreshing your curb appeal. After all, the outside of your home is the first thing a buyer will see! You want them to have an initial good feeling when they pull up to your home for the first time. Do you want to create a great first impression? There is no need to hire a professional landscaper to come and transform your outdoor space. Better yet, keep it simple. 

Some smart ways to refresh would be pruning up trees and shrubs you already have, filling in any gaps in the grass with some fresh sod, group some potted plants or flowers on the porch for a pop of color and a cozy effect. Painting your front door is a clever way to up your curb appeal as well. Consider an attractive blue or red to give your door a pop of color, and add a doorbell, updated doorknob, or door knocker to take it over the top! 

Little changes to the outside of your home and front door can pay off big time because they are the first glimpse buyers will have of your home.

For More Advice

These tips above are just a handful of ways you can increase the value of your home before you sell. You would be surprised at what you can accomplish yourself, and the sense of pride you will feel afterward. Most homeowners have no idea what do-it-yourselfers they are until all is said and done! Of course, there are always more ways to increase the value of your home that a realtor can share with you and make it more appealing to the buyers in your area. Reach out to one of our agents with 316 Realty Group when you are ready to sell, and they can guide you through the whole process and make smart and methodical decisions for preparing your home!


What are the Most Common Reasons a Home Fails to Sell?

After all of your precious time and efforts have been poured into preparing your home to be market-ready, the last thing you want is to watch the days (or weeks) pass without any interest from buyers. As time passes and you are left with no offers, you may start to wonder what you could have done differently to increase showings and better yet receive some offers.

Your Price is Too Steep

Most likely, the top reason your home hasn’t sold is that the price just isn’t right. This may be a tough pill to swallow, because sellers can tend to be a bit subjective in this area, being emotionally attached to their home. Let’s go over some ways you can begin to reevaluate your price and go forward competitively!

Request Feedback

Requesting feedback from people at open houses and showings is key in the process of possibly re-pricing your home. It will do you no good to have traffic passing through your home and never hear a word in return that could benefit you moving forward. Many people could be disappointed with everything they saw compared to the price, and that’s important information!

Scope Out the Market

If not already, it is imperative that you are aware of the value of similar properties in your area that have recently sold. Some homeowners try to sell their homes themselves, which welcomes many hurdles along the way and a lot of room for error with pricing. If you are working with one of our Realtors, they can perform a detailed comparative market analysis to determine what your home's current market value is. They will also make appropriate adjustments based on competitive differences. This is key in accurately and successfully pricing your home to sell in a timely fashion.

Upgrades & Staging

Buyers will always try to envision themselves in your home. After all, every home they look at could potentially be their next home. It is important to make the home appear as inviting and functional as possible. Lack of upgrades and outdated features can deter many buyers from pursuing your home any further. Staging the space can also work to your advantage because it makes the home appear functional and inviting to the buyer. 

Thoughtful Upgrading

If your home is lacking upgrades and attractive and desirable finishes compared to other similarly priced homes in your area, that could also be hurting you, and you know it's time to reevaluate your price! It may feel daunting in the beginning, but you would be surprised what some simple upgrades can do to the look and feel of your home, and the eyes it will attract. 

Some changes you could make to your home could be easy as replacing doorknobs, cabinet/drawer pulls, faucets, ceiling fans, and light fixtures/sconces. Also, you can never go wrong with a fresh coat of neutral paint on the walls. Our Realtors can guide you through which changes and updates will most benefit your home. These changes alone can make a huge impact and completely transform your home, and allow you to price your home accordingly.

Staging To Sell

Staging your home may seem unnecessary to some people, but it comes with a huge payoff when trying to sell your home. Some key ways to stage your home would be to declutter rooms (putting items in storage if necessary), deep cleaning, rethinking room layouts to make rooms appear larger and more functional, sprucing up curb appeal, and most importantly removing personal items and family pictures. Remember it is imperative that the buyers picture themselves in your home, not you!

Pictures & Description

When selling your home, you want to ensure that you have quality photography and a description of your home! Many buyers make their decision to get a showing based on how great the pictures look and if the description really tells a story where they can envision themselves in the home! Here are some tips for both pictures and descriptions of your home.

Taking Quality Pictures

You’ve probably seen pictures before that a seller or an agent took of a home. The rooms appear dark, dingy, and cluttered, and you can’t imagine yourself living in that house! The pictures may have completely deterred you from even going for a showing. It is imperative that you declutter, open the blinds, turn on lights, and use great angles when taking pictures of your home. Pictures alone can attract buyers and it can make or break the traffic you get. Our Realtors are experienced with taking pictures that showcase your home in the best way possible.

Tell a Story

Sure, you could state the obvious, informing the buyers that this is a 3 bed, 2 bath home with a pool. This kind of story would fall flat and most likely just be skipped over. But the story/description is where you can woo the buyers with details and amenities that set your home apart from its contenders. Really spending some time on a detailed and descriptive story can reel in the reader and assist them in envisioning themselves in your home. Again, one of our Realtors can get the job done when it comes to giving your home the story it deserves!

Final Thoughts

It can be frustrating, to say the least, waiting around for the day your home sells. Being realistic and understanding why it isn’t selling is an important first step. Usually addressing and tweaking the price is the most common fix to get your home sold. Following a price adjustment, investing in upgrades, and making sure you have attractive pictures, and a detailed story are other key factors. Our Realtors at 316 Realty Group are experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to tackle the task of getting your home sold. Call us today and let’s get started!


Can I sell my house in Texas without a Realtor?

If you are not a professional, selling a house in Texas without a realtor is a difficult task. Although it can be done and may be tempting, it can be a daunting process and the risks greatly outweigh the benefits.

There are endless reasons using a Realtor is highly beneficial to you and the sale of your home, but the top 3 reasons we will touch on now:

The Skill of Price Negotiation

If you choose to go FSBO (for sale by owner), that could mean less money in your pocket. A seasoned selling agent knows all of the tactics and signs of a nervous and undesirable buyer. They are skilled and experienced in these situations to keep their sellers from making poor decisions and being irrational, or driven by emotions.

If you go solo you may not be familiar with the conditions of the market. Realtors are aware of what terms are the most beneficial negotiating for and when to let the other party have the win. 

Anyone can agree that their main goal is to maximize profit when selling their home, and an experienced selling agent can ensure just that. 

An Eye for Flaws

Realtors know what sells. They can walk through your home and make you aware of any and every flaw or change you need to make to attract buyers and attain the best offers. They are the second set of eyes because you have been living in your home and you may not notice or view certain aspects as flaws.

From dingy baseboards to outdated sink fixtures, our realtors can guide you through making changes and repairs that will add value to your home and appeal greatly to buyers. Taking care of these little maintenance issues creates a much better experience for buyers, and it can increase internet traffic. Small issues throughout a home can turn off buyers! Don’t settle and compromise the sale of your home.

Knowledge of the Legalities

When it comes to a home sale, there is a great deal of legal paperwork involved, which means a great deal of room for error. A vital component is a seller’s disclosure. A seller must disclose any and every issue they have knowledge of that could hurt the property’s value, such as termite damage, mold, or a leaking roof, as well as details such as homeowners association fees and restrictions.

A Realtor knows the disclosure laws, and if you fail to disclose any hazards or defects, a buyer could potentially come back to you after moving in and finding the problem, and sue you. To say the least, anyone could agree it is imperative that the legal components of selling your home are approached and completed correctly, to avoid any negative consequences.

The Takeaway

Don’t do it alone! 

Having the expertise and knowledge of a Realtor is key in selling your home. After all, selling your home will probably end up being one of the biggest transactions of your life!

Agents have an arsenal full of negotiation skills and tactics to make the sale as profitable as possible. An agent has an eye for flaws and areas of improvement, to overall attract more buyers and increase the value of your home, and lastly, an agent knows best how to approach and complete every aspect of the legal process with flying colors, which could be extremely intimidating to tackle by yourself.

Yes, you could sell on your own, it is possible. But these are just 3 of the many reasons using an agent with 316 Realty Group can give you the upper hand and leave the selling process of your home in the most profitable position possible. Reach out to us today and allow us to exceed your expectations and get your home sold!