1. I am interested in selling my property. How do I figure out the asking price?
A professional, licensed real estate agent should be able to appraise your property for you. Once you know its range of value, you can decide, with the agent's guidance, what the best asking price would be.
2. I need to buy a new house, but I need to sell this one in order to get cash for the new one. What do I do first?
I often advise folks in this situation. Together, we will take a look at your resources in hand, at the value of your present home, at the time frame within which you must operate, and at the conditions of the market place. We can make a determination of how to make it all happen for you with a minimum of sleeplessness. I will be there with you every step of the way.
3. How do I find a realtor to represent me?
Interview several real estate agents. Find out what their experience has been. Do they know your area? How many sales do they make in a year? Will they share references with you? What would they do to sell your property? How does their company back them up and what resources can the company bring to bear on the marketing of your property? Are they professional and business-like in their manner? A successful smooth sale will depend on the expertise of your listing agent. Demand the best.
4. Is there any reason why I shouldn't sell my house myself and save paying a commission?
Selling property is a business transaction. if you have the experience and qualifications to do this kind of business, then go right ahead. Ask yourself what you would do if you had to have surgery, if you had to go to court, if you needed a tooth pulled. Would you do these things yourself? Probably you would get a professional to help you. That's what you should do when you must sell property. A professional realtor can advise you, can create a buffer between you and an emotional prospective buyer, can make sure you comply with the laws regarding real estate sales, and can make sure your buyer is financially qualified to buy your home. Listing with a licensed real estate agent is statistically likely to get you a higher price for your house in a shorter amount of time.
5. What should I do to get ready to sell my house?
A professional realtor will go through your property and point out those things that should be tended to in order to get the highest price in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes it pays to spend a little money to make a lot of money. Today's real estate market demands that you make your house look as good as you possibly can. You might consider hiring a professional home stager to prepare your property to show to the public.
6. Should I allow my realtor to put up a "For Sale" sign?
Please do. An enormous number of sales can be traced back to the buyer seeing a sign in front of a house. If a buyer calls our office because they have seen a sign, it means the buyer has already accepted the location of the property. Part of my job may already be done. I use many marketing techniques to sell my clients' properties (call me about them), but it is rare that I wouldn't recommend putting up a sign.
7. I have just received a "cash" offer for my house! Shouldn't I take it?
Maybe. Maybe not. A "cash" offer sounds great, but it doesn't necessarily mean there is no risk for the seller. It doesn't even mean the buyer will bring a wad of cash to the settlement table. How do you know the buyer has the cash? Maybe the buyer is going to get a loan anyway. You need to know where the money is before accepting such an offer. A realtor can help you with that.
8. How do I know my buyer can get his or her mortgage?
A professional realtor will help you determine both the credit-worthiness and the financial capability of your buyer. I never want my sellers to sign an offer and take their property off the market until we have all assurances that the buyer will get the necessary mortgage. So I insist we be provided with the buyer's financial information, and we then go through the detailed analysis that will tell us what we need to know.
9. When I get up from the settlement table, I don't want to have to worry about that property anymore. How can I be reassured of that?
Your realtor should be able to spot possible problems before they occur. Together, working as a team, you can make sure that all the details are taken care of before settlement. When I list a property for sale, I am careful to publish all the information a buyer will need to make an informed decision about buying, and I guide my seller to complete the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement (required in Pennsylvania) in as much detail as possible. Those two things alone set an honest, open tone for the entire sales transaction that will serve my seller--and the buyer--well throughout.
10. Do I need a lawyer?
This is for you to decide depending on your comfort level with handling business. About half of my clients use attorneys to walk through the legal ramifications of the transaction with them. About half do not. Many attorneys hire me as their realtor. And, since my husband is a real estate attorney, I must say they are a wonderful, helpful group of professionals. Remember, there are many different kinds of attorneys. The lawyer who handles patent law, litigation or corporate law is probably not the lawyer you should enlist to reveiw your real estate documents. Just as you would choose the appropriate medical specialist for your particular physical complaint, you should also choose the appropriate legal specialist for your real estate transaction.