It’s known that the home buying process come with many frequently asked questions and the home selling process is no different.

Whether you have never sold a home or have sold half a dozen, there are many questions that come with the process. This certainly is due to the fact that selling a home isn’t a process that is practiced regularly by home owners and also that rules, regulations, and the industry change on a daily basis.

If you’re going to be selling your home, it’s suggested you are prepared and have a strong understanding of the process.  Many times the best way to understand the process and be well-prepared is by asking questions.

The importance of selecting a real estate agent certainly cannot be overlooked.  A top real estate agent should be able to reduce the amount of questions a home seller will have when selling a home because they will address many of these frequently asked questions before they become a question.

So what are the most frequently asked questions from home sellers?  Here are the top frequently asked questions that home sellers ask before listing a home for sale, questions relating to home value & pricing, questions relating to contracts, and questions relating to purchase offers.

Frequently Asked Questions Before Listing Their Home For Sale

When is the best time to sell my home?

This frequently asked question cannot be answered with a simple or general answer. Every real estate market is different, therefore, the best time to sell a home will be different from real estate community to real estate community.  Some agents believe that spring time is the best time to be selling a home but keep in mind that your home will then be in competition to many more homes in the market at the same time.

Since every home seller’s situation is different, you should discuss the timing of your home sale with your real estate agent.  In some cases selling your home during winter or autumn may actually be better than waiting until the spring real estate market.  This is due to a combination of many factors including lower competition and that serious buyer’s are always looking for a home.

How is the real estate market right now?

A frequently asked question from home sellers before listing their home for sale is related to the local real estate market.  There are many market indicators that a top producing real estate agent should be able to share with you to help explain the condition of the local real estate market.  One of the most important indicators on market conditions is average days on the market.  The average days on market can indicate to a seller how quickly homes are selling when listed for sale.

Other examples of market condition indicators that a top producing Realtor will provide a home seller before listing their home include average sale prices and average list price to sale price ratios.

What steps should I take to prepare my home for sale?

There are several things you need to know before listing your home for sale!  A frequently asked question from home sellers before listing is what steps should be taken before listing their home.  Not properly preparing a home for sale can put a home owner at a huge disadvantage.

The expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is absolutely true when it comes to selling a home.  When selling a home you must be sure that your home presents itself in the best possible light.  Making sure clutter is at a minimum, freshly painting rooms, installing new carpeting, or ensuring odors are non-existent are just a handful of things that should be done before listing your home for sale.

What should I disclose to potential buyers?

When selling a home, it’s important you disclose to potential buyers anything you are aware of in your home.  Nobody likes “getting the raw end of a deal” when it comes to buying a home, car, or anything for that matter.  If you’re aware of defects with a roof, appliance, or home in general, you’re always going to be better off being honest and upfront.  If you’re aware of defects, whenever possible, fixing them before going on the market is best.  This can avoid potential issues and/or lawsuits once your home is under contract, after inspections, and even years after you have sold your home.

Home value and Pricing

How much is my home worth?

Most home owners want to know how much their home is worth.  This frequently asked question is another one that cannot be answered with a generalized answer.  One of the best perks to owning a home is the ability to make it your own and improve it the way you like.  Finding out how much your home is worth is not something that should be done without asking a top real estate agent.

What is the difference between a list price and sale price?

This frequently asked question can be answered very easily.  The list price is the price a home is currently listed for sale at.  The sale price is the price a home is sold at.  A top real estate agent should be able to suggest a list price that ends up being very close to the final sale price.

How do you determine how much my home is worth?

The most common method to determining the value of a home is by completing a comparative market analysis.  A comparative market analysis is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6 months.  A comparative market analysis, also known as a “CMA,” isn’t a crystal ball that determines what a home will sell for but it should greatly narrow the sale price range.

A professionally completed “CMA” will take into account many features of not only a home, but also the local area and suburb.  Considerations that a professionally completed “CMA” should include:

  1. Block size
  2. Number of bedrooms
  3. Number of bathrooms
  4. Upgrades to kitchen
  5. Lot features
  6. Location; close to transport and schools
  7. Days on market

Can I determine how much my home is worth from an internet website?

The answer to this frequently asked question is NO!   Websites promising you a market value is commonly referred to as third party real estate websites. These third party real estate websites provide estimates of home values that is computer generated home values based on calculations and formulas.  Very often the base value that is used was the cost of the land and could be completely misleading. It is critical that when selling a home, the value is determined by a top real estate agent in your local area, not an internet website!

Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?

This frequently asked question often leads to common pricing mistakes that sellers make.  Many sellers believe they should price their home $5,000 to $15 000 higher than what a top real estate agent suggests to leave room for negotiations and low-ball offers.  A well priced home will sell quickly and will sell for close to the listing price.  There is no need to leave room for negotiations, as today’s home buyers are very well educated.  A seller who price their home high to leave room for negotiations can actually be costing themselves more money than if they price it to reflect the suggested market value.

Frequently Asked Questions Relating To Exclusive Right To Sell Contracts

How long does the listing agreement last?

Most of the frequently asked questions that relate to exclusive right to sell contracts are not able to be answered with a universal answer.  When it comes to the length of a listing agreement, every real estate agent will have a different preferred length.  One thing to keep in mind when asking about the length of a listing agreement is the average days on the market.  If the average days on the market in your local real estate market are 75, a 90 day listing agreement may not be enough.

How much commission do you charge?

Commission is negotiable, period.  Don’t let any real estate agent tell you otherwise.  This being said, the saying “you get what you pay for,” often is true when it comes to real estate.  If a real estate agent offers a lower commission, do you think they will negotiate aggressively on your behalf when it comes to the price?  Also, if you were working for a reduced hourly wage from your “normal,” would you work as hard as you normally would?  The answer is likely not.  Choosing a real estate agent based solely on the fact they offer the lowest commission amount is a top mistake made by sellers when choosing a real estate agent to sell their home.

What happens if I’m not happy and want to cancel the contract?

This frequently asked question is not one sellers like to ask when selling a home, however, it can come up frequently.  The hope when selling a home is a quick sale and top dollar.  This isn’t always the case though.  Every state and contract has different terms but generally speaking, if you decide to cancel the listing agreement, you could possibly be responsible for any expenses. Read the fine print.

Do I need to provide approval permits or anything for my deck, shed, fencing, or additions?

Every council is different, but in general, when making an improvement or change to a piece of property or land, a certificate of compliance (and/or building permit) is required.  When selling a home, potential buyer’s have the right to ask for certificates of compliance for any improvements, such as decks, patios, or sheds.  Some buyer’s may not ask for any permits and some may.

Frequently Asked Questions Relating To Purchase & Sale Contracts (Offer and Acceptance Documents)

How do I respond to low ball offers?

This frequently asked question is not one sellers like to ask when selling a home, however, it can come up frequently.  The hope when selling a home is a quick sale and top dollar.  This isn’t always the case though.  Every state and contract has different terms but generally speaking, if you decide to cancel the listing agreement, you could possibly be responsible for any expenses. Read the fine print.

What is a subject to sale?

Some buyer’s decide when buying a home they would like to find a suitable property before selling their existing home.  This is quite common and means that the potential buyer of a home must sell their existing home, before being able to purchase the “new” home.  These offers are of course not as strong as finance only or cash offers and it is very important to discuss with your real estate agent the likelihood of the subject property selling.  Keep in mind that these buyers are usually optimistic about the sale price of their property and this could lead to your sale price having to be adjusted down wards if the buyer receive a lower than expected offer on their property.

How does the inspection phase work?

Inspections are another common contingency that buyer’s make their purchase offers subject to.  There are many different types of inspections and tests that a buyer has the right to perform.  In most cases, inspections are at the expense of the buyer.  They have a specified number of days to complete the inspections and also a specified number of days to either remove the inspection contingencies or request the seller to address and issues

Other Miscellaneous Frequently Asked Questions From Home Sellers

What are the common settlement and selling costs for home sellers?

Another popular frequently asked question from home sellers is how much it will cost to sell a house. There are expenses that the buyer will have that the seller will not and vice versa.  Typical settlement expenses for home sellers include real estate commissions, negotiated property marketing fees and transfer or conveyance fees when the property settles.  Your real estate agent will be able to assist you in obtaining a quotation to have your property settled

Should I include appliances or leave them as negotiable?

In many cases, the appliances in one home will not fit or look right in another.  The decision whether to include appliances or make them negotiable is ultimately up to the seller.  Ovens and stove tops are included in the sale and dishwashers are negotiable but most sellers leave them in the home.  Fitted and installed cupboards for example in the study would be deemed to stay but it is best to have it all properly itemised in your Offer

How do you plan on marketing my home?

A comprehensive marketing plan is something that you should expect from your eal estate agent when selling a home.  The days of placing a sign in front of a property and waiting for someone to sell it is long past.  With the evolution and the impact the internet has had on the real estate industry, it’s critical that not only is your home marketed through “traditional” avenues, such as newspapers and mailings, but it must also get maximum exposure online.

A top real estate agent should have a quality website, quality real estate blog, and a strong social media presence.

Why are there no enquiries on my home?

This frequently asked question can be a fairly complex answer.  In most cases however, the reason your home does not receive any buyer enquiries is due to the price.  Buyers who feel a home is priced too high will choose to look at other homes before yours and will then likely find their dream home before they even short listed yours.  Other possible reasons your home is in the market longer than it should be –  could include a poor street appeal, poor location, or no (or very little) marketing.

Can you recommend service providers who may be needed throughout the transaction?

No matter what industry, top professionals enjoy working with top professionals. This is no different in real estate.  A top real estate agent should be able to provide high quality mortgage professionals, conveyancers/attorneys, contractors, relocation specialist/movers or other services needed throughout the home selling process.

How frequently and by which methods do you communicate with your home sellers?

Like many of the answers to these frequently asked questions, the frequency and methods of communication will vary from agent to agent.  At a bare minimum, you should expect to hear from your real estate agent at least once a week when selling your home.  The methods in which a real estate agent communicates with their sellers should be tailored to each individual seller.  If a home owner prefers communication via e-mail, the real estate agent should communicate via e-mail.  The same can be said about text messaging, phone conversations, or face-to-face interaction.

What should I do to prepare my home for showings?

Preparing a home for selling could be a job in itself.  A home that is well prepared for photos and viewings will likely sell faster than it’s competition.  Making sure a home is clean, de-cluttered, bright and that no foul odours are present are just a few things that sellers should give attention to when preparing their home to sell.

Should I be present during showings at my home?

An easy question to answer – definitely NO!  There are many reasons why sellers should not be present during viewings.  The primary reason why you should not be present at a viewing or home open is that potential buyers will feel uncomfortable to talk open and freely with the real estate agent about your home.  They would not want to say something that could offend you, the seller.  The best idea is to leave shortly before the scheduled viewing and come back once you are certain the buyer and the real estate agent have left your home.

Will you be holding open homes?

Believe it or not, open homes are a fairly controversial topic in the real estate industry.  Some real estate agents will convince a seller that they will get their home sold because they open it every weekend.  Unfortunately, these same real estate agents are not being honest with the seller.  The truth is, Open homes are not necessary to sell a home.

The primary reason a real estate agent will convince a seller that open homes are necessary is because they are hoping to pick up additional buyers and of course future sellers.  The percentage of homes that sell due to an open house is less than 5%.  Ask the real estate agent what their thoughts on open homes are and make sure you are comfortable with their response.  It’s important that you are both on the same page when it comes to viewings, inspections and home opens.

Final Thoughts

The above frequently asked questions from home sellers are all great questions. There are no “dumb questions” when it comes to selling a home. The reality is that selling a home is not something that is frequently done and it is a very big step to take. Questions are a great way to be prepared and well educated on the process.

Let me know if you have any questions that need answers!

Contact Sal Viljoen on 0424 187 243 today.