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A Realtor is really your professional Risk Manager.
Ask almost any real estate agent what their value is to their client and most will say (for the seller) “getting the property sold quickly, and for greatest value”, and (for the buyer), “Finding you the house that meets all your expectations and negotiating the best price”. And, that’s true.
However, for buyers or sellers, the agent would be more correct to say he/she is acting as their risk manager. During the course of a purchase or sale, there are performance requirements which, if not expertly managed, could change the value of the transaction, end or invalidate the contract, or, alter the critical closing date of the transaction.
As licensed, professional Realtors, our objective is to always manage the transaction for the most favorable outcome, considering and anticipating all contingencies affecting the client’s outcome.
So, when considering engaging an agent to assist you in either buying or selling a house, determine whether he/she sees a successful transaction as one where your financial risk was managed to a beneficial outcome.
SELLING A HOME – WHY YOU NEED AN AGENT/CONSULTANT
For anyone doing a multi-step task, it goes more smoothly if the process is familiar, especially if the task has been done before. But, for home sellers who on average (per the National Association of Home Builders) only sell every thirteen years, the details of the last sale have been largely forgotten, or for first-time buyers, it is probably completely unknown.
For our seller-clients, we have learned that the selling process causes them far less tension if we have shared with them the steps of the process, and explained the dynamics that could be a part of each of those steps.
So, in an overview fashion, here are the action points of a transaction:
- Select an agent to be your consultant
- The sign goes up
- Appointments are made by agents to show the house to their clients
- After a number of days an agent submits an offer from a client
- If sufficient, the offer is accepted. If insufficient, the offer is either countered or rejected
- The prospective buyers can accept the counter, counter the counter, or let the offer fall
- Eventually, a sale price agreeable to both parties is reached, and the sale goes Pending
(From Pending-to-close, the average length of time is 46 days. A cash sale is quicker)
- Buyers order a home inspection. Their time-frame is usually 7 to 10 days
- Based on the inspection, buyers submit a list of deficiencies to be remedied . . .or, not
- Sellers can accept to comply, or respond regarding those that will be addressed
(If this contingency is not satisfied, it will cause the sale to fall)
- Upon satisfaction of the inspection contingency, buyer’s lender orders the appraisal
- In 7 to 10 days the lender receives the appraisal results (this is the last contingency)
If the value is less than the contract price -
- The buyer can increase the down payment, or the loan amount if qualified, or
- The seller can agree to lower the contract price, or
- Both parties can negotiate for a remedy, or
- Negotiations fail, the contingency is not met, and the sale falls
- Three days prior to settlement, buyers do a final walk-thru
- On the closing date, sellers sign settlement documents at title company and provide keys
- Keys are transferred to buyers upon notification that the deed has been recorded
There is a lot of elaboration we could do regarding each of these steps along the critical path. And, any seasoned agent is loaded with illuminating anecdotes for each. The value of an agent is in their experience. We can consult and advise on any complication that may arise with any of the steps. The seller is not in this alone. Whatever obstacles might arise, our objective is to manage for the best outcome for our clients.
Home buyers can be quick to judge, and your first impression may very well be your only impression - so curb appeal is a very important factor in getting your home sold. It's pretty standard policy for real estate agents to suggest homeowners keep up on the yard work, triming the trees, and making the home look as presentable as possible, there are still some smaller details that might not make the list. We've talked with some home staging experts to get their take on what makes for an appealing home and have put these tips together to help you get your home looking it's best for buyers.
Start at the Front door
Your front door is often the focal point of drive-by buyers. Replacing an old out of style door with a new one can be fairly cost effective; has been rated among the biggest bangs for your buck when it comes to quick fixes for home appeal. Sometimes your existing door just needs a fresh coat of paint, but don't go crazy - a wild color choice could sabotage the whole effect. Look into possibly just changing the fixtures also as updated hardware can really turn a door from blab to fab.
Yes You SHOULD Do Windows
Washing the windows of your home inside and out is a good start. Seeing your home every day can kind of make these small detail blend into the background but as the eyes are windows to the soul, so windows themselves are to the spirit of your home. New shutters or window planters might also be a nice option depending on your style of home.
Don't be quick to discount this part of your home as just the place between the curb and the door. With new home trends available outdoor living spaces are all the rage; it's important to make these spaces as inviting as the rest of your home because they can be real extra selling points.
Rock the Garage
Often this will be the biggest part of the front of your house, so make sure it looks it's best. Replace or repair a door that is damaged in any way, or give it a fresh coat of paint. This is another place that value outweighs cost when it comes to improving your home. Have any oil stains or other damage to the garage floor also repaired. If your walls are unfinished sheetrock go ahead and give them a paint as well.
Don't be afraid of the dark
Curb appeal isn't just for daytime. As a lot of home buyers work regular day jobs it's frequent that you will get interested parties doing a quick drive past in the evening time. Adding path lighting or exterior lights to showcase the front of your home can be fairly inexpensive and really make a big difference at night. Leave more interior lights on than you normally might, especially towards the front of the home as it will give a nice warm glow from the exterior.