ABC's of Selling Florida Real Estate



Questions To Ask Your Listing Realtor

  Before you ask a Realtor to place a “For Sale” sign in front of your home, there are a few things you should consider in order to maximize your home value and make the sale go smoothly. Discuss each of the following topics with your real estate listing agent. In fact, asking him or her to answer these questions may help you choose the "best" realtor to serve you.

When is the Best Time of Year to Put Your Home on the Market
  Conventional wisdom dictates that spring is the best time to sell a home. As the school year ends, families start looking for a new, usually larger home. However, not everyone can sell their home in the Spring, so here are some other factors to consider. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the slowest selling months, on a nationwide basis, are January and February because of the holidays. Yet, in Florida, these two months are when the "snowbirds" are here visiting and thinking about moving here permanently. And, because of the growing population in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona,people are moving into the state, looking for homes, virtually every month of the year. More important than the month of the year is local market conditions. Your real estate agent is your best source i=of local market condition information and how various factors may affect the sale of your home.

Which Attributes of the Home to Accentuate
  While you may know what exactly which features of your home you really like, your realtor knows what features entice buyers and which detract from a quick sale at a good price. Having a fresh set of eyes assess its best features is a smart idea. When your are preparing for the sale, ask your Realtor to walk through the home pointing out its pluses and minus in "this market", "at this time". Ask his or her advice on how to accentuate those features the realtor believes are its best selling points. As an example, if your home has beautiful views, it makes sense to keep the windows uncluttered so your prospective buyers see those attractive views. Conversely, if your property abuts something unattractive, move things around to attract their attention away from that view and to the more positive attribute of the home.

De-cluttering the home and preparing for Open Houses
First impressions count, so make sure the view from the curb and the front entrance way is pristine. Make your home inviting by doing those minor repairs that you know are needed before the first open house. Make the kitchen and bathrooms sparkle. Clear away appliances from the kitchen counter and make sure your closets are less than half-full, even if that means putting some things in boxes and storing them in the garage. items in a closet. If you have pets, take them with you when you leave during open house periods. Ask your realtor if, when he or she first entered the home, he could tell you have pets. "If yes," says a well-known Sarasota real estate agent, "ask for advice on how to minimize any such odors. If there are pet stains in the carpets, get them removed or replace the carpet. There are few 'turn-offs' as bad as stained carpets."

  Most homes have too much furniture in them to show well. Think about the last model home you visited. That's the amount of furniture that a home for sale should contain -- and not much more. Ask your realtor which items should be moved to the garage to make rooms look more spacious.

"Getting Lost" During Open Houses and Showings
  It’s a good idea for you to be away during an open house, and if possible, during all showings. Prospective home buyers will be uncomfortable if you're home when they come for a showing, and as a result, they might not be as anxious as you want them to be about viewing your home as "their own home." You need them to make an emotional attachment to your home and that won't happen with you there. If you cannot leave the home, stay out of the way and let your agent do all the talking.

Property Disclosures
  In most states, when selling your home, you are required to disclose problems that could affect the property’s value or desirability. In these states, it is illegal to fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your property, such as a basement that floods in heavy rains or a roof that leaks. Many states, including Florida, require sellers to fill out a written disclosure form on the condition of the property. Ask your real estate agent for the law of your state. Be honest with your realtor. "Having the buyer uncover a major problem during his pre-closing inspection that you clearly knew about or should have known about, is almost certain to kill the sale just when you thought you were done," says Connie Belmont, a Sarasota Florida real estate agent serving southern parts of sarasota County. Neither you nor your Realtor will be pleased with that outcome, and, you may be required to pay the Realtor his commission on the sale anyway if it is determined that you fraudulently withheld information that should have been disclosed.

Getting the Home Priced Right At the Start
  \You've heard the phrase, "Start high. You can always come down." A Tampa Florida real estate expert days, "Nothing could be further from the truth." Even if you did manage to get an offer at an "above market" price, your buyer will likely need to get a mortgage. The mortgage lender will require an appraisal. \If comparable sales for the last six months and current market conditions do not support your sales price, the house won’t appraise and your sale will fall apart. You can always attempt to renegotiate the price, but only if your buyer is willing to listen. And at that point, any sense of trust he had in you, and his own Realtor who suggested that he accept that high price, will be gone. When you do accept reality and drop your price, your house may have become ""stale on the market." Remember that the first people who come to see your home when its first put on the market will be Realtors on a listing agent's tour. If they think your home is over-priced, they won't show it. So, if you don't start at a realistic price, your home will take much much longer to sell.

Knowing Your "Bottom Line"
  Your Realtor can predict within a fairly narrow margin of error, what your final cash will be at any given price, once you give him some information on things like outstanding mortgage balances, etc. So, as your talking about your "listing price", ask your Realtor to give you a realistic estimate of the amount you'd receive after all expenses of the sale and the payoff of any outstanding mortgages (and liens, if any) are settled. This will allow you to better understand your financial situation. That gives you a solid starting point for your search for a new home.

Selling your home can be a very trying time, or it can be a much less stressful time depending on how well you understand the answers to these questions. So don't be bashful. Make some notes before your listing agent Realtor visits and ask these questions. You'll be glad you did.

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