Tips

Which Season Is the Best Time of Year to Sell Your Home?

Some seasons are better than others for selling your home.

But a great real estate agent sells homes all year round. When demand for homes is high, you don’t have to worry so much about timing. Still, there are steps that you, as a homeowner, can take to help reduce the number of days your home is on the market. None of these require extensive home renovations, and you can implement them in the course of a single afternoon.

Spring

If you anticipate listing your home within the year, it’s smart to take some high-resolution, exterior photos of your house and land in the spring. This is the best season to capture your landscape in full bloom, from trees to flower beds. Your real estate can combine your springtime exterior photos with current interior photos that will make your listing pop whenever you are ready to list it.

Summer

Summer is a season that evokes feelings of lightness and airiness, and you want your home to reflect that vibe. Before showings, declutter your house so there are lots of empty surfaces in every room. Lighten rooms by removing heavy blinds and draperies and replacing them with sheers. Place at least one living green plant in each room to indicate a thriving environment.

Fall

In the fall, don’t clean up every single last leaf from your lawn. Colorful fall leaves evoke childhood memories of crunching and playing in piles of leaves. Decorate your front door and steps with one or two tasteful fall decor items, such as mums, a pumpkin, or dried multi-color corn on the cob. Inside your home, consider a well-placed pumpkin or apple pie in the kitchen.

Winter

In winter, people want to feel cozy. If you want to reduce the number of days on the market, add textiles to your home, such as a crocheted throw over the back of a sofa, a few extra pillows on the beds and an area rug in the living room.

At Best Agent Today, we know that home sellers care about the qualifications of their agent, whether they need to sell in the spring or in the middle of the winter. With a top agent, it won't matter what season it is! That's why we analyze the top agents and present you with the top 20 percent of agents in your ZIP code. A data-driven system is preferred among sellers because the ranking and searching is done for you.

Wondering How Much Your Home Will Sell For? Here's How the Price Is Determined

Home sellers generally don't set a price without enlisting the expertise of a professional real estate agent. But they can still benefit from a better understanding of the home pricing process.

Before you put your home on the market, learn how real estate agents calculate an asking price that will secure a satisfactory selling price for their clients.

Real Estate Comps

You can’t get full monetary value on the open market without determining an appropriate asking price for your home. This process generally begins with an assessment of real estate comps.

Short for “comparables,” comps are the recently sold properties in your area that are comparable to the one that you want to sell. Beyond location, a good comp analysis will take a broad spectrum of criteria into account, including the size, age, condition and architectural style of the property.

Examining the selling prices of relevant comps is one of the best ways to calculate the overall value of your home and list a reasonable asking price.

Market Value vs. Assessed Value

Home sellers should also be aware that there are two primary types of valuation in the real estate world: market and assessed. Typically based on comp analysis and on-site appraisals, the market value of your home is an estimation of how much a buyer would be willing to pay for your home under current market conditions. Assessed value, by contrast, is used to determine property taxation. Because professionals calculate assessed value as a percentage of market value, it generally comes in at a significantly lower figure.

Asking Price vs. Selling Price

Of course, even if you take great pains to set the perfect asking price for your home, there is no guarantee that you will get that exact price from a buyer. From stock market crashes to unexpected bidding wars, countless general economic and housing market forces can cause your home’s selling price to increase or decrease considerably. To get optimum value out of your home, you should complete detailed preparations before asking an agent to put it on the market.

Enlisting the Help of a Top Real Estate Agent

From setting asking prices to closing final sales, a good real estate agent will do everything possible to get the right amount of money for your home. To find only the top-performing agents in your area, contact Best Agent Today.

Does Your Home Have the Top Features That Buyers Want?

Buyers are more eager now than ever before to find their dream home.

When they find the features they’re looking for in a new home, they are less likely to continue looking elsewhere. Will potential buyers find what they are looking for in your home for sale? Here are some of the most popular features that buyers want in their new home.

Kitchen Pantry

The kitchen pantry is a high point for buyers who love to cook. It needn’t be an entire room dedicated to food storage. It can be a simple built-in closet with shelving and folding doors. If you can store canned foods in it, and it’s in or near the kitchen, you can attract buyers looking for that extra bit of storage.

Laundry Room

Homebuyers today are excited about having a clean, well-lit room in which to launder clothes. If your home has no laundry room, consider creating one in your basement. By adding a smooth countertop, some shelving and maybe a pole for hanging garments, you can create a laundry area that is clean, neat, organized and appealing to homebuyers of all ages.

Ceiling Fan

Homebuyers today don’t like the idea of wasting energy or paying high utility bills. Ceiling fans keep the air moving during hot and cold weather and minimize the need to turn the thermostat up or down. Installing a ceiling fan prior to listing your home for sale also brings a fresh look to a room. If you have an older ceiling fan, consider replacing it with a newer model that has built-in lights and adjustable fan speeds for extra benefits.

Outdoor Living Space

Many homebuyers walk right through a potential home to see what the outdoor gathering space is like. If you have an existing patio, dress it up with some furniture, flowerpots and an umbrella. If you have a large porch or a deck, consider adding lights or a gas fireplace along with some of the items mentioned above. Having a dedicated outdoor space is appealing to homebuyers and shouldn’t be neglected as a selling point.

Having the features in your home that buyers are looking for is important to getting to the closing table. However, the first -- and most important -- step is hiring the best real estate agent in your area who understands the local market, is experienced and has the ability to get you the highest price in the shortest amount of time. Make your search for the top 20 percent of your local agents easy by using Best Agent Today.

Engage the Senses of Prospective Buyers to Sell Your Home

We've all heard it before: Put some cookies in the oven before the Realtor brings prospective buyers to view your home.

Why? Because you play on a buyer's sense of smell to make them feel relaxed and "at home." This creates a memory and pleasant association with your home that can influence them to make an offer.

1. Create Memory With Scent

Scent is a powerful motivator to help you sell your home quickly. In most people, scents are tied to enjoyable childhood memories.

To start, make sure the home smells clean. If it's been home to pets, smokers, heavy perfume wearers, etc, you may want to consider new carpet and window treatments. Deep clean surfaces to reduce any mildew smells.

Now, it's time to add scents that people have positive feelings about:

  • Fresh flowers in the dining room
  • Clean towels in the bathroom
  • Dryer-fresh bedding
  • Freshly cleaned carpet (if not replaced)

Other scents you'll find homebuyers love: vanilla, citrus, cilantro, cucumber, cinnamon, and lavender. Keep in mind that scents will co-mingle. So don't overdo it.

2. Influence Perceptions With Sight

First, declutter. It may seem cozy to you, but you'll find homebuyers struggling to see themselves in a space that's packed with your things. If you're still living here, consider getting a mobile storage unit that can be taken to your new home. This will also make it easier to spot areas that you may have missed while cleaning.

Strategically stage the home to make the space seem open and flowing. Depersonalize it while applying modern trends. And don't forget about curb appeal.

3. Use Sounds to Sell Your Home

Relaxing music will appeal to most buyers. If the weather and distance from the street allow, open the windows so they can hear the songbirds outside. However, consider how sound moves through the space. Can you hear the street traffic? Does the living room echo? Are bedrooms right off the living room? Staging with soft furniture and rugs, closing the front door and windows during showings, and getting storm windows are some of the ways you can improve the sound.

4. Touch & Textures You'll Find Homebuyers Love

People are drawn to soft textures like a pile of fresh towels in the bathroom and a velvety throw blanket in the bedroom or living room. People may also want to touch wood grain, silk, faux fur, feathers, and coarse granite. Create a touch experience during staging and subtly invite people to touch.

Want to work with an agent who is in the top 20 percent in your area? Find the Best Agent today.

Attracting Buyers is Easy — Here's How to Find the Right Buyers for Your Home

Finding buyers for your house may not be the hardest task in a sellers' market, but finding the right buyer requires some work. What is a suitable buyer? While this will vary from person to person, when selling your property, your objective should be to find the buyer who will give you the highest price in the quickest amount of time.

Find the Right Realtor

The first thing you need to do is to find the right Realtor. Look for an agent who knows their local market, has a history of success and has sufficient experience. The right Realtor will be able to pinpoint who the right buyer for your home would be. You can find the best Realtors at Best Agent Today.

Have Open Houses

Your Realtor will likely want to have open houses. These events allow brokers and members of the public to view your home without an appointment. They are very effective at casting a wide net, so be willing to let your Realtor coordinate them.

Cooperate With Your Agent

To attract the right buyer, listen to the advice of your Realtor and cooperate with their suggestions. This includes doing things like:

  • Making minor repairs around the home such as replacing worn hardware, touch-up painting, replacing light bulbs, etc.
  • Adding curb appeal by planting annuals at the mailbox and front steps, adding a door knocker, painting the mailbox, etc.
  • Cleaning or hiring a professional cleaner to make sure every crevice is spic and span.
  • Organizing cupboards and pantry by discarding unneeded items in kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Cleaning out closets, making sure they aren’t overstuffed or untidy.

The goal is to make your home seem as attractive, clean and spacious as possible, with plenty of storage space.

Be Flexible With Timelines

The right buyer may have needs that require a faster closing date. Be as flexible as you can to facilitate the sale to the right buyer.

Finding the right buyer means getting maximum exposure for your listing. The best way to do that? Using a top-rated agent from Best Agent Today.

Can I Sell My Home By FSBO? Maybe, But Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Try

When you’re ready to sell your home, you’re probably sitting in front of the calculator, crunching numbers. You want to make money on the deal, but you know that there are fees involved with selling. Specifically, you’ve heard that real estate agents charge almost 6% in commission. (The national average is 5.37%.)

Since you want to put every possible dime in your own pocket, you start thinking about trying “for sale by owner" (FSBO). Stop right there, because you should really find a qualified agent to sell your home. Here’s why:

Why People Are Tempted to Sell by FSBO

Lots of people try to go it alone on the FSBO route. But they do so under a false understanding about what the process will really be like. Below, we debunk the myths about FSBO.

Myth: You can make more selling by FSBO because you don’t have to pay real estate agent commission fees.

FACT: Homeowners who listed with an agent got a 26% higher sale price for their homes than those who sold their homes on their own. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • Real estate agents are experienced negotiators.
  • Real estate professionals have vast networks, which they leverage to attract buyers.
  • Homebuyers know that FSBO property owners aren’t paying commission, so they factor that in when they make an offer.

Myth: It’s not that hard to sell a house. Just dress up, show off the house and make a deal.

FACT: Real estate agents spend money and time marketing property, having professional photos taken, hosting open houses, driving clients to show the house, qualifying buyers and more. They research neighborhood comps to ensure the house is priced right. Zillow and other general real estate sites might give estimates of what a home is worth, but that doesn't mean it will be accurate. Real estate agents show the house, answer questions, follow up with clients, and do a ton of other behind-the-scenes work that a homeowner wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Myth: An FSBO home seller can just hire an inexpensive lawyer to take care of the paperwork.

FACT: A lot can go wrong with a real estate deal. Real estate agents go through a lot of training to ensure that laws are complied with. They read real estate paperwork every day and know just where the potential pitfalls lie in any deal.

If you’re serious about selling, you need to be serious about hiring a professional to do the job. Only an experienced, top-rated real estate agent like those on Best Agent Today can provide an accurate value of your home so you can sell your home for the highest possible price. Contact us today.

Ready to Sell? Do These 8 Things Before Your Realtor Lists Your Home

You've decided to sell your home. Now what? There are so many concerns swirling through your mind about what you need to do first. Before you list your home, you'll need to ensure it looks its best to attract many buyers and, more importantly, get immediate offers.

Take a moment to look -- really look -- around your home. Pretend you are coming in as a buyer to determine what areas may need your attention. Also, you’ll need to build your own selling team, starting with an experienced local real estate agent who can advise you along the way.

Here are eight essential steps to prepare you and your home for a fast sale!

1. Pick a Realtor to List Your Home

Before you make major changes to your home, you will want to find a good Realtor to sell your house. Top agents have vast experience with listing homes and give you solid advice on preparing your home for sale. Using Best Agent Today provides you with the top 20 percent of agents in your area. So, pick a Realtor from Best Agent Today for an instant leg up on unprepared sellers in your market.

2. Clean Often-Touched Areas

Things that you may overlook in your cleaning routine are the ones you touch the most. Light switches, outlet covers, and door handles are probably some of the most-touched and least-cleaned areas. Doors and windows need to be clear of any fingerprints or smudges. Paying attention to these areas can give your home a sparkling effect. And clean windows will highlight the natural light that comes into your house.

3. Declutter and Depersonalize

You may have areas that are “catch-alls” in your home. Areas like desktops, a corner of the kitchen counter, and bookshelves may contain the daily mess of life or your favorite meaningful knick-knacks --but to outsiders, it looks messy. Even if you have to get storage bins to contain your clutter, make every area of your home neat and tidy. You want prospective buyers to be able to envision themselves living in that space.

4. Fix and Repair Essential Spaces

If you have cracked, peeling paint on your doors and window frames, missing handles on cabinets, and other inexpensive fixes, get them taken care of before you list your home. Your Realtor can help you identify areas that buyers pay special attention to.

5. Paint and Refresh

Fresh paint can make any room appear new and improved. Choosing the right paint can make small rooms appear light and airy. You can also highlight special details, such as trim and crown molding. However, you might want to discuss color choices with your Realtor to go for the broadest possible appeal.

6. Staging Is Critical

If you are on a tight budget, focus on rooms that buyers pay the most attention to: bathrooms, kitchen, master bedroom and living room. If your existing furniture is outdated or worn, consider renting furniture that will optimize these key rooms. Warm touches, such as flowers on the dining table or a bowl of fruit on the island, can help buyers feel right at home.

7. Create an Inviting Entryways

Buyers care about curb appeal. So, consider painting or replacing your front door to make your home attractive and welcoming. Depending on the season, you can add flower pots or decorative touches that capture buyers' attention and make them excited to find out what's inside.

8. Hire Professional Cleaners

A professional cleaner, especially one that focuses on getting homes ready for sale, will likely see dirt and clutter that you have ignored for years. So, hiring a professional to clear away scuff marks from baseboards and dust from windowsills can make a big difference in making your home ready for sale. These cleaners should clean the grout, shower head, tables and chairs, blinds, inside cupboards and cabinets, and other areas you might miss in your weekly cleaning routine.

Contact Best Agent today to find a top Realtor to sell your house and for information on how to transform your house into a buyer’s dream home.

Home inspections: What Are They and How Do You Prepare as a Seller?

After you accept an offer on your home from a potential buyer, expect them to schedule an inspection as part of the buying process. Are you ready? As a seller, inspections require a bit of preparation and knowledge.

What Does a Home Inspection Involve?

First, let’s look at the elements of a home inspection and discuss how you can ace it! The home inspection examines elements of the house, including the following:

  • Electrical system
  • Roof
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and cooling
  • Foundation, doors, and windows

Typically, the buyer pays for an inspection, if they want one. However, in a competitive market, sellers may offer to pick up the tab. Either way, investing in a pre-inspection can help you fix major and minor defects that could impact the sale of the home or the results of future inspections.

As the person selling, there are key steps you can take to make sure your home passes the inspection. Before the house inspection, walk all around and through your house as if you are the one buying it. Look at the house and its components with a critical eye.

Gutters and Roof

Make sure gutters are cleaned out and properly attached. Check and repair any leaks. Look over the roof and repair any area that has a loose or missing shingle.

Windows and Doors

Clean all of the windows to make them easier to inspect. Look for any breaks or cracks that need repair as well as any areas that hold panes of glass in the window. Check the windows and doors to ensure they work properly and have secure hinges.

Plumbing

Ensure all toilets work. Look under sinks and around showers and tubs. Make sure there are no major problems or small leaks.

Insulation

Visit your attic to make sure the insulation is in good condition. Add insulation to any areas that are exposed or in need of replacement.

Heating and Cooling

Check that the heating and cooling systems work well. Change filters and look for any leaks you need to address immediately.

Exhaust Fans

Test exhaust fans in all bathrooms and kitchen, and change the filters, if applicable.

Provide Access to the Inspector

While you are under no obligation to fix anything, if the buyer is unhappy, you can lose the sale. Therefore, make sure the inspector has access to all areas of the house including the attic, basement, fuse panel and plumbing.

Pick a Realtor With Expertise in Home Inspections

When you plan to sell a house, always choose an experienced Realtor because they are familiar with the entire process of selling a house, including the inspection. They know what you need to do and will offer additional tips to get your home ready for the inspection.

Contact Best Agent Today to find a knowledgeable, dependable agent to guide you through the home inspection process. We have already done research on the area’s top Realtors, so you don’t have to.

Try These Strategies to Find a Qualified Listing Agent to Sell Your Home

The challenge with trying to find an agent to sell your home isn't about getting someone to take the job — it's about finding the right fit. Selling your home is a significant event for most homeowners. You must first find a qualified agent, then make sure your personalities "click."

First, you will want to find someone who knows your area and has expertise in your type of home. But how do you find the best real estate agent in your area? You can start with a list of those you know or regularly see advertised. Even after spending hours gathering an initial list from various sources, your process has just begun.

Cull your list

The next step is to cull your list down to just three or four prospective real estate agents. These will be the ones you meet with and interview to make your final choice. How do you narrow your list? Go back to your research and determine who best fits your criteria:

  • Experience in your area with your type of home (condo, multi-family unit, single home).
  • Strong marketing skills. How did you find them? How do they promote other properties for sale? That's a good indicator of what to expect.
  • Team or individual? Some agents work as a team; others handle it alone. How much personal attention you'd like may influence your decision.

Interview to find the best fit

Assuming that you're confident that any of these three or four agents are qualified to sell your home, the objective for the final interviews is to determine the best fit. Remember, you'll be going on an emotional journey with this agent, so you must be comfortable with your choice. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan for your interviews:

  • Make note of whether the agent arrives on time or late.
  • Ask all the agents the same questions.
  • Remember, you want to see if they're a fit for you, so stay focused.
  • Ask questions about how they perceive your house, how they would handle situations you might be concerned about, and what trends they see in your neighborhood.
  • Take notes during each interview.
  • Refrain from interjecting; let the agents fully answer your questions.

Once the last interview is done, review your notes for comparison, and choose the one you feel best about.

Accelerate your selection process

Does all of that seem overwhelming? Time consuming? It doesn't have to be.

Best Agent Today uses a proprietary data processing method that analyzes and objectively ranks each agent's performance by ZIP code. As a home seller, you're presented with only three to four of the top 20% of agents in your market to choose from.

We accelerate your process by eliminating all the preliminary legwork. You can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that whatever choice you make, you will be in the hands of a proven expert in your market. Instead, focus on finding the right fit to make your home-selling process as smooth as possible.