Frequently Asked Questions By Sellers
Do I need a REALTOR to sell my house?

There’s no legal requirement for you to have a real estate agent. If you want to price, market, show and negotiate the sale of your own without help, you can do so. However, well over 90% of all home sellers that use a REALTOR believe it saved them time and helped them obtain a higher selling price.
Our average selling price this year is 103% - meaning most of our properties sold for far more than sellers even had hoped for. Our listings are selling close to two weeks better than average in the current market.

How Do I Choose a REALTOR?

TYour first step should be a frank conversation with the real estate agent about your needs, your goals, and your home. Interview the top three REALTORS in your city, the people you recognize the most. This is a fantastic time to ask questions about the agent’s skills and experience. You really do want to have trust in this person and to be able to tap into their expertise.
Also vitally important is the track record of the REALTOR. In our area, there are over 3000 agents, but on, average, agents sold just over three homes. This indicates that many agents didn’t sell any homes, have very little experience, and no funds available to market your property.

What Should I Do If I Don’t Like My Real Estate Agent?

At the point of listing your home with a real estate agent, you’ll sign a contract that details the price, commission and length of the listing. These typically last between 90 and 120 days. Your first step when having trouble with your agent is to contact the agent directly and to inquire about the concern. If that does not help, turn to the Broker of Record.
This is named on the listing agreement. Legally, the contract is held by the broker, not the agent. This means you may be able to get help for the situation. Your contract may also offer an exit opportunity to let you out of the agreement sooner.

How Will You Market My Home?

When working with your St. Jean real estate agent, we’ll meet with you to show you our extensive marketing plan. A comprehensive marketing plan is something to talk about at length. It’s no longer possible to just stick a sign in the yard and wait for a buyer. We have the most extensive marketing plans available that include social media, blogs, billboards, radio, internet search marketing, web banner ads, signage and much more. We spend thousands of dollars on marketing each month. Most other agents have very little to no budget.

When Will I Break Even When Selling My Home?

Typically, it takes three years for buyers to break even on the home they’ve purchased. If you’ve made improvements or your neighborhood has a high demand, you may be able to sell sooner.

What Does It Cost to Sell a Home?

The cost to sell a home includes a variety of services such as compensation for staging and prepping services, legal fees, real estate commissions, and, in some cases, mortgage penalties. Costs vary. Speak to your agent to get a better idea of what applies in your situation.

What Is the Benefit of a Pre-Listing Inspection?

A pre-listing inspection allows you to learn of potential concerns with the home before you put it on the market. This can help you to price your home or tell you what to fix to ensure the value is the highest it can be.
It encourages buyers to skip the home inspection later. It also helps when we get multiple offers on a home. And, it gives buyers peace of mind when not including a condition of a home inspection in their offer since they already have a home inspection report.

What Is the Cost to Stage a Home?

Each home is different. The cost depends on the amount of labor necessary as well as how many and the type of furnishings necessary. In some cases, this can be as little as a few hundred dollars. In other cases, it can cost thousands. Work closely with your real estate agent to know the value and benefit of staging and the appropriate amount for your specific needs. In many cases, this is very valuable in the sale of the home.

Are Open Houses Beneficial?

Open houses are responsible for about 1 percent of all sales. The National Association of Realtors recently released a report indicating where people find the homes they buy. The results were that open houses ranked towards the very bottom of that list. They actually account for a very low percentage of buyers.
What’s more, open houses have become a prospecting tool instead – helping them to find prospective buyers to work with beyond your home. Real agents have marketing budgets and don’t do this. It is a way for some to find new clients, especially those with little marketing budgets. As a result, open houses shouldn’t be high on the list of marketing methods for most home sales.

What’s the Best Time to Sell a Home?

Home sales can occur at any time. The busy season – when most people are looking for homes – tends to be in the spring months. February and March are high-volume months for sales. However, you’ll also see sales pick up in September. The slowest time is around the holiday season in December and January. It’s also ideal to list your home when inventory in your area is low. We approach this process strategically to give your home the best first look.

Who Pays Land Transfer Taxes?

These are paid by the buyer of your home.

What Are the Legal Fees Associated with Selling a Home in Hamilton?

The legal fees will range. They are set by the lawyer. An example of an average situation: A home sold for under $500,000 may have legal fees of $1,800.

Should I Buy a Home or Sell My Home First?

Many factors play a role in this decision. The current market condition can matter – your home may sell in a few days or weeks in some areas. In this case, you may want to have a home already in place. On the other hand, for some, it may take longer to sell, giving you more time to buy.
That means you’ll want to hold off purchasing another property until you know your home is sold. Even in a hot real estate market, many homes still don’t sell immediately. It’s best to sell first before you make a commitment elsewhere.

Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Many factors could be behind this:

  • The home isn’t priced properly.
  • It is lacking in effective marketing.
  • It isn’t showing well for some reason.

Your agent can help you to get a better idea of what the neighborhood expectations are, as well as what type of marketing change can get your home more attention.

Why Am I Not Getting Showings?

Many factors can contribute to this. In most cases, it comes down to the price point your home is listed at. If the home is priced high, it may seem out of the price range of an otherwise interested buyer. It may be due to poor curb appeal, lack of marketing, a bad location, or many other factors. Your real estate agent can help you to pinpoint the underlying cause.

What Do I Have to Disclose About the Home?

As a homeowner, you need to be up front with the buyer about anything that you are aware of that could be considered a defect. If you know of defects in major appliances, the roof, or other areas, report this. In some cases, it may be worth fixing these defects before listing your home to increase the sale potential of it. If you knowingly mislead the buyer, and the property goes under contract, you could be sued later on.

What Other Professionals Do I Need When Selling a Home?

It’s a good idea to ask your real estate agent to offer recommendations for other professionals you may need during the home sale process. This may include:

  • Mortgage professionals
  • Attorneys
  • Contractors
  • Movers

Because they know the industry and the people in it, you can count on your agent to help you find the best fit for your needs.

How Often Will You Communicate with Me?

Of course, you can expect your agent to contact you whenever there is a showing request or an offer on your home. However, you’ll also want to establish several methods of communication with your agent throughout the process. You may wish to be contacted via email, over the phone, face to face, or even by text messages whenever any conditions change in regards to your home. At St. Jean, we have a communication guarantee. We promise to call you weekly with feedback on property showings and marketing plan updates to keep you abreast of all activity on your property.

How Do I Prep My Home for a Showing?

Aside from staging the home, there are several things you can do to make sure your home provides the best possible first impression. Declutter it. Ensure it is clean and without any odors. Open the blinds and curtains to allow for light to come in. Make it inviting as much as possible.

Should I Be Home During Showings?

The answer here is no, and that’s because we want the buyer really to feel comfortable and relaxed when looking at your home. You don’t want the buyer to be unable to ask questions or voice concerns while viewing your home. Often, this leads to a buyer that simply won’t ask questions, and they want to leave quickly. It’s best if you leave before the showing arrives and allow the other agent to do his or her job.
Home Value and Pricing

What Is the Value of My House?

The best answer is this: Your home is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Pricing your home needs to be based on facts rather than on the way you feel about your home’s worth.
When you work with a real estate agent, a part of his or her job is to help you estimate the value of the home through consideration of its size and features, it’s location, current market conditions, and other homes in the area that have sold. Many homes never sell because they are overpriced.

Why Is the Assessed Value of My Home Different?

Assessed value differs from market value. The assessed value is used in determining taxes on the property – rather than what a home buyer will pay for it. The assessed value is multiplied by the local tax rate, and then this figure becomes your yearly taxes. It’s important to know that the assessed value of your home has nothing to do with the value of your home in the eyes of a buyer. Some buyers will be confused by this. There is no direct link here.

What Is a List Price? What Is the Sale Price?

The list price is the amount you “list” or price your home at when you place it for sale. The sale price is what you end up selling it for when you find a buyer.

How Is the Value of a Home Determined?

Various methods are used to calculate the home’s value for listing. The most common place to start is with a competitive market analysis. It is a type of evaluation that compares your home to homes that have sold in the area over the last six to twelve months. It’s not perfect, but it can give you a good idea of what homes in the area are selling for and what buyers are willing to pay for them. This analysis will take into consideration many of the features of your home including:

  • How larger it is (by square footage)
  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Upgrades to the kitchen or other larger areas of the home
  • Window age
  • Roof age and condition
  • Location
  • Style of residence (and demand for it)
  • Flooring type
Is It Possible to Get an Accurate Price for a Home Online?

No, even though many websites exist that promise to give you this information it simply is not true. Third-party real estate websites take very little of the local real estate market into consideration when pricing homes. They provide, rather, a price that could be applied to any home like your own across the country. This doesn’t give you any idea of the local real estate market.
The only way to get a true value is to work with a local real estate agent. In many cases, these websites give you a false sense of hope. Inaccurate estimates like this can be frustrating but it’s important to focus on reality and what market conditions truly represent locally instead.

What Is the Point of Creating a Bidding War When Pricing the Home?

In some areas, the demand for homes for sale is high. However, many of today’s buyers are making buying decisions based on emotion, how the home makes them feel. Pricing your home lower to create a bidding war can ultimately drive the home’s value up much higher. The time of year, the type of home you own, and the market itself play a role in the benefit of doing this.

Should I Price My Home High for Negotiations?

Some individuals feel pricing a home higher than its worth – based on what the real estate agent has calculated – can leave room for negotiations. First off, you need to attract buyers with that home price.
Buyers know when a price is too high and won’t even look at the home as a result. Also, some of our home buyers are seeing home sales prices driven by the creation of demand. By starting with a lower listing price, a bidding war occurs, driving sales upward. It’s best to create an accurate price point.

What Happens If I Receive Very Low Offers?

First, remember that you do not have to accept any offer presented to you. Second, look at this process as a business transaction. Lowball offers can happen. However, if you treat them in the right way, they can still lead to a home’s sale. The key is to work with an expert real estate agent who knows the art of negotiations. While it is your right not to respond to such offers, if you do, with a counter that’s much higher, it can lead to a sale eventually. It’s best not to let an interested buyer just walk away.

You Have an Offer, But the Appraised Value Is Much Lower, Now What?

The goal of the appraiser is first to ensure the home’s condition is fully understood and no safety risks are present in the home. Next, the appraiser also wants to make sure the home’s value is at least as much as the buyer wants to pay for it. In some cases, this may not happen. When the appraiser says the home’s value is lower than what you and the buyer agree on, a change must happen. There are several ways this can be resolved:

  • You make concessions: As the seller, you can step in and reduce the sale price of the home to match that of the appraisal. This is the most common situation.
  • Your buyer foots the bill. The buyer may be able to pay the difference from what the bank will lend for the purchase of the home and the sale price. This isn’t that common. Most buyers do not want to pay more for a home than what the bank feels the property is really worth.
  • The appraisal is challenged. This is rarely successful, though it is an option. If done well and if there is clear reason to believe a mistake occurred, it may be possible for the change to happen. However, this isn’t often beneficial or successful.
  • The transaction is canceled. This is also an option in this situation. When there is no way for these conditions to come together, the transaction can be canceled. The buyer and the seller must agree on the changes possible (raising the funds as a buyer to bridge the difference or lowering the sale price). Otherwise, a cancellation is likely.
What is a Conditional Sale of a Home?

The conditional sale is not uncommon to see in the contract of a home. Some home buyers want to find a home they want to purchase and indicate their desire to do so, but they also need to sell their existing home as well. A sale contingency allows them to do that. It simply means that the buyer needs to sell his or her home first before being able to move forward with the purchase of the new home.

What Happens During a Home Inspection?

Inspections are common and necessary parts of the buying and selling process. There are various types of inspections and tests conducted after a contract is put in place. The buyer will pay for the inspections (in most cases). Buyers are given a set amount of time to complete these. The contract also gives them a specific number of days to remove any inspection conditions. In some cases, the buyer may request that the seller address the conditions found during an inspection. They may ask for a reduction in the home price to compensate for the negative feature or they may ask you to make the repair.

Are Appliances a Part of the Deal?

In some situations, you can sell the home with appliances in place. You may wish to do this if you don’t need them or want them at your new home. It’s up to you to determine if they will stay as the seller. In most cases, appliances don’t add much value to the list price, but they can be ideal bargaining chips during the negotiation phase.

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