That’s usually the first question that comes to mind when you’re thinking about putting your house on the market. Your largest number of showings generally occur within the first two to three weeks your house is on the market, so you want to make sure you price your house right from the start. Your realtor will help you decide on a competitive price by examining:
- Sales prices of comparable homes in your area
- Current inventory of homes for sale
- The local market of potential buyers
And, because most buyers start their home search online, Rilio specialists will help you make sure your asking price shows up in the most popular search filters. For example, let’s say you want to ask $155,000 for your home. If most buyers use the upper end search filter of $150,000, you’d be missing out on a lot of eyeballs that never get to see your home. That’s why it’s important to partner with a real estate professional that understands how to generate the most interest for home onsite and online.
To be really good at this you sort of have to think like a Kardashian – or if that’s too big of a leap, insert any pseudo-celebrity that seems to always be in the spotlight. The goal is exposure, and lots of it. Marketers say that people, on average, have to see something a minimum of seven times before they consider taking action. Whether there’s anything magical about the number seven or not, it makes sense. You want to make sure your audience sees your home in all the places they’re looking.
And, where are they looking? See for yourself:
- Online. No surprise there. But it may surprise you how many different online sites are now available to promote your home. From Zillow to Trulia, Redfin to Realtor.com, add to that all the local and independent realty sites, then top it with Google keyword search terms, and online marketing can be as overwhelming as cleaning out your garage after a long winter. But hey, the Kardashians have their publicists, you have Rilio. Your agent will develop an online strategy that makes sure your home shows up where your buyers’ are looking.
- MLS. Major League Soccer for some, Multiple Listing Service for us. Think of the MLS as a national database of all the realtor-represented homes. It’s comprised of over 700 regional data services that represent the single most comprehensive listing of homes for sale in the U.S. The MLS is the real estate equivalence of a Who’s Who list. You definitely want your house to be on it.
- Social Media. Believe it or not, people are searching for more than crazy cat videos on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites are becoming valuable spaces to share relevant real estate content. Many realtors have developed high quality online audiences keeping an eye out for their dream home.
- Signage. Who hasn’t seen a “for sale” sign in a front yard? See. They work. We see them. And in today’s cluttered marketing environment, a clean, well-designed sign at a home with a little curb appeal can be a breath of fresh air to a potential buyer. Especially because the next step after their online search, is often a neighborhood drive-by. Today’s real estate signs offer additional call-to-action, physical flyers and mobile access to photos and video tours. Good signage can turn a casual viewer into an interested buyer.
- Print materials. As much as we use digital content, there’s still something valuable about a tangible piece of printed material. Just wait until your child’s photo runs in the local paper. Chances are that piece of newsprint will end up on your refrigerator for months. Same thing for high-quality flyers, pamphlets and postcards. Direct mail to qualified households serve as a powerful reminder of the home they were considering online.
- An Agent Tour. This is similar to an open house, but it’s hosted by realtors for realtors. There’s a reason for the exclusive guest list. An agent tour gives other brokers in the area a chance to do a thorough walkthrough of your home. Your Rilio agent is on hand to answer questions and promote the key features of the property. These tours usually happen as soon as your house goes on the market and can be a great way to generate interest and get the word out about your home.
- An Open House. According to a recent NAR report, driving through neighborhoods is one of the top buyer activities, and if there’s an open house, they will stop in. The more visits a house gets, the faster it will sell. Add to that, the 45% of buyers who said they used open houses as a source of information in their home search, and it’s time to put out the welcome mat.
Before you even start thinking upgrades, it’s probably a good idea to have a trusted contractor or your realtor do a walk-through of your home. They will likely notice things that you might not realize need attention; things like adding insulation, refinishing your floors or pruning back overgrown shrubs.
If after these basics, you’ve still got the upgrade itch, the fine folks at HGTV say the following home improvements will get you the biggest bang for your buck:
- Minor Bathroom Remodel. Without giving vivid detail, even the cleanest bathroom can get pretty grimy after a while. There’s something about walking into a sparkling, bright bathroom that does wonders for potential buyers. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get your bathroom up to speed. Often all it takes is upgrading shower doors, replacing the tub, or even having it glazed. When such repairs are done well, they expect to bring 102% return at resale.
- Landscaping. Now we’re back talking about curb appeal again. Anything you invest in your yard, especially your front yard, you can expect to get back 100% of your cost when you sell your home. Easy upgrades include fresh sod, colorful plants or a decorative walkway. Even just adding a coat of sealant on flagstone gives a wet-look that adds to the overall appeal of your home’s landscaping.
- Minor Kitchen Remodel. Like the bathroom upgrade, we’re not suggesting you literally throw out the kitchen sink, but updating the larger focal points around the sink can make a big impact. Today’s laminate countertops mimic high-end stone and can be installed quickly. Older vinyl floors can be easily recovered with a more modern, durable look, while cabinets can be sanded and repainted in a contemporary color. Upgrades like these bring an average return of 99% at resale.
Let’s talk about how real estate commissions work. A commission is basically a percentage of the sales price that is divided between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. Commissions are normally paid for by the seller – and cover all the things that help the house sell fast . . . Things like signage, photography, and virtual tours. It also places the home in what’s called the MLS – or Multiple Listing Service. The MLS exposes your hundreds, maybe thousands, of other realtors who all have people looking for homes. All these realtor-provided services help your house sell faster – saving you thousands of dollars in bills and mortgage payments. Plus, by using a realtor, you’re likely to sell you home for much more than if you tried to sell it by yourself. When you look at it like that, paying a commission ends up actually making you money. At Rilio, we’re committed to making the home selling and buying process as fast, simple and easy as possible.
Did you know that real estate laws differ from state to state? If you’re considering buying a home in Texas, there’s a unique option available to you, called, well . . . an option. When you make an offer on a home you can pay an “option fee,” usually in the amount of one to two hundred dollars. This “option fee” gives you an Option Period – a window of time that lets you terminate the contract for any reason. An Option Period gives you time to get a complete home inspection, do plumbing tests, and anything else to make sure the home is not only insurable . . . but exactly what you want. During the Option Period, you can terminate the contract for any reason or proceed with the purchase of the home. An Option Fee is just one of the things that can help make your home buying process as stress-free as possible.
That depends on a lot of different things, like the cost of the house and the mortgage rate you get. But in general, you’ll need to have enough money to pay for your earnest money, down payment and closing costs.
Earnest money is the money you put down on a home when you make an offer. It’s a way to show to the seller that you’re serious or “earnest” about wanting to buy their house.
The down payment is a percentage of the home cost you pay directly to the seller. The amount of a down payment can be anywhere between 3% and 20%. So, if you’re buying a $100,000 home, your down payment could be anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000.
Finally, closing costs refer to the costs associated with processing all of the documents related to your home loan, appraisals, etc. Closing costs run around 3% – 5% of the cost of the home and can paid by either the seller or the buyer. They’re paid at the time of “closing,” when you sign all the paperwork that seals the deal.
This is where your Rilio agent will say, “‘We got this’ is not just a slogan.” Knowing how much to offer on a home is just one of the many reasons you want a trusted real estate pro in your corner. Your realtor will help you develop a competitive offer based on things like:
- Comparable home prices in the area
- The overall condition of the home
- How long the home’s been on the market
- How much mortgage is required
- How competitive is the current market
And, of course, how much you really want the home.