Selling Your Home

You’ve decided to sell your home.

Of course your first concern is, “What is my home worth?”  Your local newspaper and real estate magazines are replete with ads from agents offering a “Free CMA!”  What they are offering is a Comparable Market Analysis. Usually these “analyses” are done with a computer program provided with a Multiple Listing Service membership.

Not unlike the Automated Valuation Models, or AVMs on many real estate websites (“Find your homes value”) these programs rely on the quality of information you or the agent provides about your property and on comparable sales.  Usually the analysis requires few keystrokes with which the program calculates the average price per square foot. These computer programs are unable to determine conditions of the property and neighborhood or identify the upgrades your home may have over the “comparables.”

In truth the only way to value a home is by a physical visit to the property.

If this were not the case, banks would only require a CMA or use an online AVM.  Instead they hire qualified appraisers who are educated in various methods to determine a property’s true market value.  Even when banks only require a Broker Price Opinion (for refinance) they do not rely on agents. Under Idaho Real Estate Law only a qualified Broker can do a BPO.

Some unscrupulous agents may inflate their valuation of your home in an attempt to gain your listing.

It can be difficult to dislike the agent who tells you your home is worth more than others think it is. When you get frustrated with the lack of offers or showings that agent will instruct you to lower the price until you reach the property’s true market value.  By overpricing your home you have lost valuable marketing time and may alienate folks who bypassed your listing due to its inflated price. True value is the price the market is willing to pay.

In today’s brisk real estate market you have likely considered selling your real estate yourself.  This is not a bad strategy when you are well prepared. Let me help you through the process;

  • Before allowing anyone to see your home get rid of clutter.  Since you plan to move, start packing up anything you don’t need on a daily basis and store the boxes out of sight.  Even in your garage is O.K. This demonstrates you are serious about selling and shows the amount of space that the home truly offers.
  • If you want a scientific valuation of your property, you may decide to hire a qualified appraiser.  You can find a list online. Just search for “Appraisers” and type in your zip code.
  • Consider hiring a home inspector.  Your inspector will find defects that you are likely unaware of.  This gives you an opportunity to correct these defects prior to putting your home on the market.  Most buyers will require an inspection prior to purchase so having an inspector’s report and receipts for repairs will go a long way toward providing a buyer with peace of mind.
  • Prepare a Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure.  Idaho Real Estate Law requires all sellers of real estate to disclose adverse material facts regarding the property they are selling.  An adverse material fact is anything about the property that may affect marketability. Additionally the seller must disclose if the property is within City limits or an area of impact or if it receives any city services.   I have provided a copy of the Statute here (Opens PDF File). This will detail the information required.
  • Develop a marketing strategy. Find out what methods are available to market your property and what the costs associated with them are.  Then set a budget amount you will invest to promote your real estate for sale.
  • Determine a schedule for when the property will be available to show.  Putting your home up for sale prior to a scheduled holiday or vacation will be disruptive at best, frustrating at least. Decide what days and what hours you will have your home “show ready” and determine how much advance notice you will need before agreeing to show your home.

To prepare to welcome strangers in to your home I offer a Seller’s Showing Checklist here (Opens PDF File).

Taking the precautions outlined may seem excessive to trusting souls but you well know that not everyone can be trusted just because they seem nice.

Whether selling yourself or working with a REALTOR® following these guidelines will help make selling your home a better, safer experience for you and your buyers.