Seller FAQ

Seller FAQ

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 market to market.  Naturally, the spring months busiest. In some cases, selling a home during the fall and winter months may be better than waiting until the spring.  Due to a combination of many factors including lower competition and more serious buyers. Statistically, Richmond does not have a bad season so it ultimately depends on your goals and the current market trends.

Do I need to prep or stage my home before listing it for sale?

There are several things you need to know before listing your home for sale!  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 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.

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.  The best way to find out what your home is worth is to allow our team to do a Comprehensive Market Analysis. This analysis is reviewed during the listing appointment with our team. Most of the online valuations are not accurate or reliable because the computer cannot take all variations into account, like level of updates.

Why is the assessed value different than what you say my home is worth?

Assessed value is not the same as market value or appraised value.  There are many homes that could be sold for significantly more than an assessed value and others that maybe sold for significantly less.  The assessed value of a home is used for taxes in your local municipality. The assessed value has no impact on how much your home is worth to a potential buyer in the marketplace.

How do you determine how much my home is worth?

There are a handful of methods that our team will use to determine the value of a home.  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 3-6 months.  A comparative market analysis, also known as a “CMA,” is not a crystal ball that determines what a home will sell for, however, it should greatly narrow the sale price range. A professionally completed “CMA” will consider many features of not only a home, but also the local area and neighborhood.  

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

The answer to this frequently asked question is NO!  Anyone who has bought a home, sold a home, or just looked at homes, has heard of websites such as Zillow and Trulia.  These are also commonly referred to as third party real estate websites.  Third party real estate websites are not local to every real estate market. These third party real estate websites provide estimates of home values for practically any home in the United States.  How is it possible that a third-party website that is headquartered in California or Florida can provide an accurate home value for a home located in Richmond, Virginia?  It’s not!  These third-party websites, such as Zillow and Trulia, use computer generated home values based on calculations and formulas. These websites providing inaccurate estimates (or “Zestimates”) can create a false sense of hope and lead to frustration.  A home seller who is told their home is worth $20,000 less than the online estimate is going to be understandably upset.  It’s critical that when selling a home, the value is determined by a top Realtor in your local area, not an internet website!

How do I respond to low ball offers?

1. When selling a home, it’s best to think of any decision as a business decision rather than an emotional one.    
2. We consider any offer to be a good offer, in the sense that it is a start to a conversation.
3. A counter offer, even if it’s close to the list price, is better than letting a potential buyer walk!

What are seller concessions?

Depending on what type of financing the potential purchaser is obtaining, the option to receive seller concessions may or may not exist.  There are many homebuyers in the marketplace with impeccable credit scores and solid jobs but are short on the money required to purchase a home.  Seller concessions allow a home owner to contribute a percentage or dollar amount towards a buyer’s closing costs and/or pre-paid items.  

What are some common bank required repairs?

If a home buyer is obtaining financing from bank, the bank will complete an appraisal.  When performing an appraisal, the appraiser is looking for potential safety hazards or concerns.  Depending on the type of loan, some common bank required repairs may include missing handrails, broken windows, peeling paint, missing electrical covers, and roofs that are in very poor condition.

What happens if the appraised value comes in too low?

In addition to ensuring there are no safety hazards at a home, the bank appraiser is also making sure that the home value is at least what a buyer and seller agree too.  This isn’t always possible though.  If an appraiser determines the value of the subject property is lower than the agreed purchase amount, there are a couple different scenarios:

Seller Makes Concession
This is the most common result when an appraisal comes in too low.  The seller is asked to sell the home for what the appraiser determines as the acceptable value, or the buyer may ask to be released from the contract (if the offer is contingent upon the appraisal).

Buyer Comes Up with the Difference
The buyer must bridge the difference between the purchase price and the appraised value.  This scenario is uncommon as many buyers find it hard to pay more for a home than their bank appraisal indicates it is worth.

The Transaction is Cancelled
Unfortunately for both the seller and buyer, this is a could be a result from a property under- appraising.  If the buyer does not want to bridge the difference and the seller does not want to make the concession and adjust the sale price, the transaction is cancelled.

Challenge Appraisal
Challenging an appraisal is not an easy task.  It is something that must be done with much care and consideration, otherwise the chances of an appraised value being changed, is slim. Often, we will start with this step first if the lender says it is possible. If no success, then we move on to the three options outlined above.

What is a first right of refusal sale contingency?

Some buyers decide when buying a home, they would like to find a suitable property before selling their existing home.   A first right sale contingency means that the potential buyer of a home must sell their existing home, before being able to purchase the “new” home.

How does the inspection phase work?

Inspections are another common contingency, included in the Purchase Agreement contracts.  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 findings from the inspections. The seller will have the opportunity to review those requests and determine how to respond. If the seller refuses to repair or credit defects (as defined in the contract) then the buyer may request to be released from the contract.

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.  We can provide a list of high quality mortgage professionals, attorneys, contractors, movers, or other services needed throughout the home selling process.

Should I be present during showings at my home?

Easy question to answer – no!  There are many reasons why sellers should not be present during showings.  The primary reason why you should not be present at showings of your home is potential buyers can feel uncomfortable to talk open and freely with their Realtor about your home.  They do not want to say something that could offend you, the seller.  The best idea is to leave shortly before the scheduled showing and come back once you are certain the buyer and their Realtor have left your home.