Selling a Home in WV – First Steps
A crucial first step for selling a home in WV is to get an idea of what your home may be worth – both as it is in its current condition and if it was in top condition. Knowing that difference can help home sellers determine the amount of repairs and improvements that can be considered.
How does a real estate agent work with you to sell a home in WV?
- Evaluates your home prior to listing the home for sale
- Markets the home
- Qualifies prospects inquiring about your home
- Negotiates the offers received on your home
- Communicates with the buyers’ financial institution
- Communicates with the buyers’ home inspector
- Communicates with the title company and escrow
- Because real estate transactions are complex, you can never assume others are getting the job done properly. As your representatives, we make sure all the steps to get us to closing take place when they should.
When we sell your home in WV, we are your resource until closing and even beyond! We hope to become your lifelong real estate experts! Because our business is built upon referrals from satisfied clients, our goal is to have so pleased with our service that you are proud to refer us to your family and friends who may need real estate services.
Here are some common steps to selling a home in WV:
Preparing your Home for Market
Truthfully, there are a few homes that are ready to stick a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Selling a home in WV quickly and for the maximum amount usually requires some work to be done. Can you remember back when you looked at your current home the first time? Do you remember how you noticed every small crack and slight defect in the houses you toured? Now that squeaky bedroom door or dripping kitchen faucet will be scrutinized by other potential home buyers.
We recommend you start doing these little fixes today – even if you are unsure of when you will be selling your home. These repairs will cost money and take time but fixing these things now will allow you to enjoy the fruit of your labor and reduce stress when it comes time to sell.
If you would like to get a jump on improvements before the sale, the best place to start is where the buyers start: at your curb. Home buyers will get an instant opinion of a home based soley on the home’s “curb appeal.” You should make yours as appealing as possible. This means a neatly owed and landscaped front yard, a house with clean trim and no peeling paint, a tidy driveway, and an enticing entryway and path to the front door.
Looking at the inside of the home, kitchens still offer the biggest returns on investment with master bedroom and master bath improvements following as a close second. However, it may not make sense to install a new kitchen if you will not see a comparable increase in your sales price. Consult with an experienced WV real estate agent before investing large dollar amounts into improvements. Less costly improvements may also help when selling a home in WV. Painting a home a neutral color and neutral decorating styles will appeal to more buyers than specific or highly stylized decorating.
Reduce and remove any clutter inside and outside the home. Less is more when showing homes because buyers need to be able to envision their belongings in the space. They won’t be able to do this if your closets are overflowing, rooms are stuffed with too much furniture, or they can’t get through the yard for all the toys. Hey, another perk of decluttering is it will help you get a jump on packing!
Gather Your Home’s Paperwork
When selling a home in WV, your real estate agent will need several documents from you to get your home on the real estate market. Examples of important papers are:
- Pay-off Estimate: Check with your lender about obtaining a payoff estimate for your current mortgage or mortgages. This can often be done today by logging onto your online account.
- Assessments or Easements: These are usually included with the deed (which you should give a copy to your real estate agent). These will need to be disclosed to potential buyers.
- Property Taxes: Good experienced WV real estate agents will be able to look this up online but you should have a copy of your most recent tax bill.
- Utilities: Know the monthly estimated amounts of your utility bills – this is often one of the first questions buyers will ask.
- Receipts and Warranties for Improvements: If you have had a new roof recently or a new HVAC installed, please have receipts which document this and copies of warranties to prevent to potential buyers.
You’ll need to make some decisions about which items you are taking with you before listing your home for sale. If your home has an heirloom lighting fixture, a sentimental plant in the garden, or a brand new washer and dryer set and you also want to take any of these with you, please review these items with your real estate agent.
Pricing your Home
There are a number of factors that will affect the success of your home sale.
- location of the home
- interest rates
- economic conditions
- time of year
- condition of the home
- marketing the home
- terms of the sale
- accessibility to the home
Some of these are not within you or your real estate agent’s control – location of the home, interest rates, economic conditions. The other factors are items you should discuss with your real estate professional to determine what would benefit the sale of this property most.
For example, marketing your property in more innovative ways, such as on an Internet site like this one or realtor.com, may broaden the pool of potential buyers. If you can, waiting for a good time to sell your home – spring or fall, the most popularly home buying times – also may help it sell faster. And pricing the home properly can make a huge difference in whether a house is snapped up within the first several weeks of listing or sits on the market for more than a year.
To price a home properly, your real estate professional will have to study the local market, research comparable properties and consider current market conditions. This is where the “comparative marketing analysis” will come in handy as a place to start.
- Your competition: Are there many properties just like yours for sale in your area right now?
- Listing prices: What are other properties like yours listing for?
- Selling prices: What are other properties like yours sold for recently?
Based on these findings, your real estate professional should have the experience to help price your property at the right price for a sale that benefits you.
Be reasonable about the price you set. You will always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price high expecting that someone will come along and be willing to pay it. If your home stays on the market too long because it is overpriced potential buyers may think that something is wrong with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price.
Marketing your Home
Products that sell well usually have a good marketing strategy. The same can be said for your home. Work with your real estate professional to decide where you want to advertise. Will the house be advertised only with a yard sign? One of the best advertisements that we do is to actually advertise to all the realtors in the area; they are the ones with clients that are ready to buy right now.
Decide what information should be included in the description of your home that will make it a must-see – and hopefully, a must-buy. Include one or more photos of the home to showcase the most appealing features of your property and help remind potential buyers of what they saw as they visit home after home.
You may even want to include a few lines about benefits of moving to this property, such as good schools, convenience to mass transit and other desirable community features.
Prepare Your Home for Showing
You’ll be thrilled that you did the hard work of Step 1 (Prepare Your Home for Sale) now that there’s little time left to get your house ready for visitors.
Now is the time to put on the finishing touches, just like that quick housecleaning you do before company comes over for dinner.
- Keep your lawn trimmed
- Rose bushes pruned
- Wweeds tamed
- Put away the garden hose and the tools
- Make sure the bulbs in your home’s exterior lighting fixtures are all in working order
- Be vigilant about removing flyers, handouts and newspapers left on your front doorstep or driveway
- Brighten the rooms by opening the drapes
- Turning on the lights
- Cleaning the windows
- Clear the clutter on the kitchen counter bathroom sink, coffee table and couches
- Make all the beds
- Clean all your bathroom and kitchen fixtures
- Do a quick vacuuming of the entire house
- Catch any cobwebs in the corners along the ceiling
- Finally, take out the garbage
- If you have pets, find a safe place to keep them during a house showing: in the garage, in the basement or at a friend’s house
Now leave the work to your real estate professional. Try to be away from home during a showing, but if you happen to be home when the potential buyers arrive, greet them at the door then politely excuse yourself. Make yourself scarce or go take a walk. It’s easier for a buyer to picture himself or herself living in the house when you’re not there. This is your home’s time to shine.
The Offer Process
Depending on market conditions, you may receive one or more offers for your property from interested buyers.
Each offer will include the sale price, proposed closing date, proposed move-in date, financing, and contingencies that may include an appraisal or sale of the buyers’ current home. Let your real estate professional help you sort through the variables to determine whether you should accept, counter-offer or reject the offer.
If there are multiple offers, each offer will be presented to you in the order registered. You don’t need to decide anything until after you’ve seen all the offers. If you do accept or counter more than one offer, you are required to establish an order of precedence noting which is the primary offer, followed by the backups in order. This will help you avoid selling the house to more than one buyer.
Once you have accepted an offer to buy your house, expect to make your house available to a housing inspector, a termite inspector and an appraiser.
After seeing the results of the inspections, the buyer may request additional work is completed before purchase, such as repairing a damaged roof or fixing a leaky faucet. You should consult with your real estate professional to determine whether to comply with the buyer’s request or risk losing this offer.
During this flurry of activity, try to keep your home in show condition. The deal has not closed and still may fall through, which may mean showing your home to more potential buyers.
In the meantime, the buyer is working with a lender to secure a loan for the purchase. When the buyer has written loan approval, a closing date can be set.
The Closing Process
There will be a final walk-through before all signatures are collected and the deal considered done. The buyer will go room by room to check that everything is in working condition and, if you had agreed to do so, any additional work requested after inspection is completed.
Now you can prepare for your own move, notify your utility companies of the date to transfer your account to a new address and start packing.
Congratulations, you’ve sold your home!