It is essential to understand today’s home buyers and how they perceive the market and search for homes.
Home buyers today begin their search using the Internet often weeks before they look at homes to buy, and expect a well written description and easy to view pictures. If sites require registration to view photos then buyers move on quickly. They have also watched television programs on HGTV and feel like they are well trained to become House Hunters.
Today’s buyers have typically reviewed their credit reports and applied for a mortgage before looking at homes. Many buyers are moving up and their offer may be contingent on the sale of their existing home. In this case, it is important to know if their home is “under contract” and if not then have your agent study their market.
- They have access to home data unlike any home buyer generation.
- They trust the data that they find on the Internet. For example, go to Zillow.com and get an “Zestimate” on your home. These numbers, based on public tax data, are often wrong since they don’t account for improvements.
- They expect plenty of crisp, clear photos on the Internet.
- They place value on quality of life factors such as commute times, public schools, public parks and trails, shopping and dining, community amenities like pools or tennis courts, and more.
- They expect homes to be clean when they are seeing them.
- They expect updated heating, AC, kitchen appliances, carpeting or flooring.
- They often work from home, and expect high-speed cable or Verizon FIOS connections.
- They will want to know how old the roof is and make sure insulation is adequate.
- There are many speculators hoping to pick up deals, so expect a “low-ball” offer or two.
Mortgage rates are currently around 5% in early 2010, so home buyers are getting a fantastic long-term value. It still takes 30-45 days to go from contract to closing. In Virginia, home buyers select the Settlement Agent to conduct the closing.
- Real Estate contracts include Appraisal Contingencies, even cash offers.
- Buyer’s typically want a home inspection and radon inspection, and these contingencies are typically 10 days.
- Termite Inspections are required, and sellers need to treat or repair if termites are discovered.
- A survey will be drawn up, and any fences or issues will be noted.
Virtually all home buyers will be working with a “Buyer’s Agent” who is helping them put together an offer and navigate through the transaction. It works in your favor to have a purchaser who is prepared, has a “Buyer’s Agent”, is pre-approved for financing, keeps contingency periods short, and gets to closing as planned.
Proper preparation of a property is essential to get maximum profit when selling, especially your home. Start by cleaning floors, windows and removing extra clutter from your house. You may need to paint, remove wall paper, update appliances, replace a kitchen counter or more. At this point you will be better prepared to be “staged for the market”.
I will cover other steps in selling a home in other Home Seller posts, or read more now about my marketing plan.