1. What home improvements will help me sell my home?
First, start with the basics. Fix all minor mechanical issues (such as loose doorknobs, loose window cranks or locks, leaky plumbing, etc.) clean everything well, change out any burnt-out or dim light bulbs with bright bulbs like LED bulbs, keep the yard maintained, and put fresh mulch in the flower beds. Power wash decks and other surfaces if needed. For more information, read (and print) our free booklet - Preparing Your House For Sale. Every home is different, and having a good agent come out and walk-through your home and give you advice from a “fresh eye’s” perspective is important. Contact us for a free pre-listing consultation at 801-455-6222.
2. Should we sell before we buy another home?
Check with a lender first to learn if this is an option. Ask yourself if you are willing and able to carry two mortgages for a short time and deal with the stress that comes from physically and financially maintaining two homes. If so, there can be many advantages. An experienced agent should be able to guide you to a good decision.
3. Should I sell my home myself?
Many people think that they can save money if they sell “For sale by Owner” or with a company that markets itself as “saving you commissions”. The truth is…A good Sellers Specialist can make you more money than if you sold it yourself and do all the work for you. If you decide to sell your own home, get important advice and pointers from the free booklet – "The Guide to Selling Your Home “For Sale By Owner”. If you want copies of legal contracts for review, give us a call at 801-455-6222.
4. Why should I hire a real estate agent?
An experienced agent can lead you through the listing and selling process with ease. Aside from improving your quality of life during your family’s transition, a real estate agent should be able to help you net more money for your home. Real estate agents know the market, proper pricing and how to achieve a faster sale. Owners who sell their own home are asked by potential buyers to discount the commission rate that would be given to an agent. In that case, you have all the work, all the complications and none of the financial rewards. To help you make the decision, I suggest you read the informative articles listed here. These are all free and they will give you some great insight.
5. Is it easier to sell a home that is vacant?
Some agents will suggest staying in your home or even professionally staging it if it is vacant. I have found none of that to be necessary here in Utah. I believe a clean and vacant home has some advantages like ease of showings and a potential for a quick buyer closing, but as long as your home is un-cluttered and well kept, it should make little difference. If you have a great Sellers Specialist, your home is going to sell quickly and for top dollar, so if you have the desire to move-out before you list your home, it will save you some stress and headaches that can come with the showing and selling process.
6. Should we hold an open house?
If Open houses are done correctly, they are a great way to increase the likelihood of multiple offers, higher sales prices and more back-up offers. If done poorly, by an agent who does not believe in them or does not like to do them, they are usually a total waste of time.
I personally love Open Houses, and I make our Open Houses…Special Events. We average 125 to 150 people through our Open House Events, which bring in an average of 3 to 5 competing offers. Our Open Houses are planned well in advance and heavily advertised in multiple ways. They take a great deal of time to prepare and cost a great deal of money to produce, but they are well worth it. I personally pay for all of the cost myself, and I highly recommend them, because of our great success rate when we have them.
The only problem with our Open House Events is that, due to the time and costs involved, we can only have one per weekend; so there are very limited available dates for these. Anyone thinking of selling a home with us, should talk to us well in advance, so we can pick a good weekend and get you on this limited schedule, to plan your Open House Event.
7. How will I be informed of marketing progress to sell my home?
This topic is often frustrating for sellers. Few real estate agents are excellent at communicating and keeping their sellers informed. If you want to have information on the status of your home’s marketing and any progress notes, you will need to establish that schedule with your individual real estate professional. If you list your home with America’s Best Real Estate, you will never be in the dark. We will be contacting you weekly at a minimum, to update you on the progress of our marketing efforts, follow-ups with agents and buyers, and you will know what to expect each step of the way.
8. What issues should I disclose?
Well here’s the Law: “THE SELLER IS OBLIGATED UNDER THE LAW, REGARDLESS OF OCCUPANCY, TO DISCLOSE TO THE BUYERS, ALL DEFECTS IN THE PROPERTY AND FACTS KNOWN TO THE SELLER THAT MATERIALLY AND ADVERSELY AFFECT THE USE AND VALUE OF THE PROPERTY THAT CANNOT BE DISCOVERED BY A REASONABLE INSPECTION BY AN ORDINARY PRUDENT BUYER”. So what does that mean… it means a seller must disclose all pertinent facts about the home that are not easily seen. A good rule of thumb is: if you are compelled to ask “should I disclose this?” – the answer is probably YES.
The Seller’s Property Conditions Disclosures, is a written disclosure form that must be filled out honestly and completely, and it helps protect you after the close of escrow. While homes for sale in Utah are closed “AS-IS”, that does not mean you can lie or fail to disclose. As long as you fill-out your disclosures honestly, most buyers will go forward and close, and you will not have a problem. If you fail to disclose, then you can be open to a nasty lawsuit after close of escrow, when the buyer has moved-in, and believes you knew of problems and legally failed to disclose them.
9. Should I provide a home warranty?
If your home is more than ten years old, then it may be a wise investment to offer one upfront to buyers. Most buyers will ask for the seller to pay for a home warranty as part of their offer to purchase, but it always negotiable. I suggest at least offering one to all buyers as part of the listing, and including that fact in all advertising. It will provide a piece of mind for home buyers, especially when they are comparing your home to newer homes on the market.
10. Will I have to pay closing costs?
In Utah, the Seller has their Sellers closing costs and the Buyers have their own closing costs. The seller is not obligated to pay any buyers closing costs; however, it may be advantageous if you have a qualified buyer who does not have liquid assets for these costs, but they can be added into the purchase price. Closing costs are typically 2-2.5% of the buyer’s loan amount. Remember to focus on the net amount you receive, rather than the costs. All offers should be evaluated on many criteria, including what is the sellers net after closing.
You should not be upset just because a buyer asks you to pay 2.5% towards their closing costs. Here’s a real world example that shows why…Let’s say you have a home for sale and your asking price is $400,000. Let’s say you get two offers, one for 400,000 and the other for $413,000 with you paying 2.5% towards the buyers closing costs. (413,000 – 2.5%(10,325) = $402,675). Just looking at these to offers and these to options, it is obvious that the offer that asks for the seller to pay the buyers closing costs would be best.
We always want to look at what offer is going to net you the highest amount, but there are many other factors to consider. The highest offer is not always the best or safest offer…That’s why it is good to have an experienced agent offering you good advice at every step.
11. After the closing, may we stay and rent our old home from the new owner until we are able to move into our new home?
This can be negotiated into the contract. Nobody wants to have to move twice. This option can only be explored once we have offers. This may be one of the other determining factors as to why you choose one buyers offer over another. Remember…it’s not always about price, we also want to look at the terms of each offer. You will want to discuss your needs with your agent and he/she can determine if the buyer is both willing and able to postpone their own move into the house. This is just one of many key factors in deciding on which buyer to deal with.
12. When should I turn off the utilities?
Call the utility companies to have them perform a final reading on the day the buyer takes possession. The buyer will need call to have the service transferred to their name. Visit our Resources section for utility contact information for the Salt Lake area.
One last thing... if you have not read any of our free eBooks, be sure to at least read our booklet titled "The Utah Home Sellers Guide".