Halloween is almost here. Pumpkins, broomsticks, spiders, ghosts, ghouls and goblins are everywhere.
These days, selling your home could be scary, so here are some real estate “boos” and “how to” avoid them:
• Listing price boo. Your home is on the market for two weeks and you have no showings. Your real estate agent says your price is too high; it should be lowered from $450,000 to $350,000.
How to: Savvy agents should be able to accurately determine a property’s market value and price range. Before listing your home, interview two or three agents, and compare their price determinations.
• A few days before closing boo. Just before you are ready to close the home you sold, your agent calls and says the closing will be delayed because there was a problem with the buyer’s loan package and final approval.
How to: Before negotiating the sale, obtain a “loan pre-approval letter.” In the contract, include a “loan commitment contingency” (e.g., requiring that the buyer obtain a full underwriting approval subject to appraisal).
• Seller’s net proceeds boo. At closing, the seller expected to receive $341,000, but the cash to seller on the settlement statement was $293,000.
How to: Estimate your net proceeds when negotiating your sales price (determine mortgage balance, loans and liens if any). Ask your agent what closing costs to expect. Some agents will provide a net proceeds sheet. Ask your attorney to see a pre-settlement statement.
• Property possession and move-in boo. You move into your new home. There are no appliances in the kitchen, the washer and dryer are gone, and the walls and doors are banged up. Yet, everything was OK when you did your walk-through one week before closing.
How to: Do the walk-through (e.g., the final buyer’s inspection) on the day of the closing. If there is any damage, missing items, or other problems, get them corrected before releasing funds, or withhold funds from the seller’s proceeds.
• Here’s one very scary seller boo. In many places on and off the island, the real estate market has cooled down. With more inventory and less demand, prices are not as high, sellers are not seeing multiple offers, and buyers are less motivated than they were many months ago.
How to: Now it is much more important to price your home right. And if you are not getting a lot of showings or an offer within a few weeks, reduce the price. In fact, as the market changes, many buyers will be looking for price reductions.
Larry Stoller is a broker and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@RealEstateFive.com, RealEstateFive.com