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Monday, May 14, 2012

How to Evaluate an Offer On Your Home

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For most homeowners selling their home the thought of negotiating an incoming offer is a matter of settling in on a price that both sides can agree upon.  But did you know that there is another key aspect of negotiations aside from price that could have even greater impact on the sale?  The terms of your contract hold equal weight and importance as price in the sale of your home and are critical to a successful sale.

Here are five essential things to consider when navigating through the negotiation process after an offer comes in on your home.


After the housing market crashed in 2007 lenders, buyers and sellers have proceeded very cautiously. Lenders are staunchly following stringent requirements, buyers and sellers are savvier than ever before and what seemed like formalities in the process before are now becoming necessities.  Preapprovals are one of the things that did not always need to be done in advance of buyers finding a home. But as you receive your offer on your property, be sure that your buyer has a preapproval from a reputable lender.  The letter should indicate what the buyer can afford and how much the lender is willing to loan them, assuming they meet all requirements at the time of application.

Down Payment

One of the requirements lenders have today is to have an appraisal done on the home to equate its value with the selling price.  Unless the buyer has a significant down payment available, a less than ideal appraisal can stand to affect the sale altogether, even causing the deal to break down.  Check to see how much your buyer is able to put down on the house and add up the down payment with the loan amount to see if they equal your asking price.

Existing Home

Does the buyer have an existing home they need to sell?  This can be a problem for you as a seller if they want to include a contingency in the contract that absolves them from the commitment of buying your home if their home does not sell.  This can wreak havoc on the sale of your property, as it would require you to leave the terms of your sale up to the success of another sale.  It would be best to avoid offers that include existing home contingencies.

Closing Date

When does the buyer want to close on the home?  If the requested closing date extends beyond 90 to 120 days then it might be time to reconsider the offer.  Lenders have timing guidelines that dictate a 45-day policy, within which buyers must apply for a loan before closing.  Anything longer than that would get in the way of the lenders’ policy leaving the seller hanging in limbo during those off weeks.  When a buyer cannot meet the contractual obligation to get a commitment within 45 days, it might be a good idea to forego the offer altogether rather than to risk the sale.

Cash Transaction

Some buyers offer cash rather than opt for financing and though it is an attractive offer at first, you need to make sure that the buyer has the cash.  Asking your Realtor to verify the availability of those funds will become a necessary additional step before you can move on in the offer.  In some cases, buyers opt for alternative financing and when the time comes to verify the funds they are unable to do so.  The risk is too great so unless you can be sure the cash is there, it is a better idea to move on to the next offer.
Navigating through offers is a tricky process – especially in today’s market. It is no longer just a matter of coming to agreement on a sale price, rather both parties must agree to all aspects of the terms.  For customized guidance on your real estate endeavors, contact us today!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Five Mistakes Sellers Make That Cost Them the Sale of Their House

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Who does not want to get top dollar for their home?  The truth is that with the countless homes that have been on the market during the past several months – in many areas, just getting an offer is great news.  But regardless of your location, it is important to avoid making mistakes that could cost you the sale of your home.  Here are five things that sellers do wrong (and what you can do right) that end up in an unsold house.


You want as much money as you can but that ends up backfiring when homeowners overprice. The price should be set at middle or low end of the range for your home to be able to sell. It’s important to review area comparable sales to gauge what other homes in the same neighborhood have recently sold for. Overpricing helps other homes in the neighborhood sell and it also slows down your offers.

Staging and Photographs

Staging has become more popular – arranging furniture and removing personal items from the house.  It allows buyers to look at the home with a blank slate and be able to envision their own lifestyle in the home.  Another benefit of this is that the home’s features will be in plain view for buyers rather than being buried beneath mountains of the seller’s stuff. High quality photographs are another part of effectively selling a home.  Almost all buyers begin their property search on the Internet and photos are pivotal to the process.

Access to Property

Restricted access to the property will hinder successful sales because buyers will not be able to get in and see the home on their own schedule. If you have a busy schedule that may seem difficult to work around, meet and discuss alternatives with your Realtor such as installing a lock box on the front door or setting up specific blocks of time each week that allow for some level of predictability without sacrificing accessibility to your home.

Attendance of Seller at Showing

One of the cardinal rules of real estate transactions during showings is that the seller must not be present while the buyer is reviewing the property. If you happen to be present when a buyer shows up, leave quickly and do not interact with the buyer or their agent. If that is not possible for some reason, make yourself as scarce as possible by either going to an area of the home that they have already looked at or go outside for a little while.

Rejecting First Offer

The first offer you get on your property is usually the best offer you will get on your property. It is important to look at that first offer as your best one and keep in mind that the longer the home remains on the market, the lower the offers are going to get. Offers come in between 15 to 20 percent lower than the asking price but the home usually sells within about 5 to 10 percent of the asking price.
If you would like us to review your home and provide suggestions on how you can improve your chances for a successful sale, contact us today!