Want to sell your own home in Sequim or Port Angeles? How do you market your home in this economy? What techniques are best for selling? How do you get the highest price? This is Part 2 of a 6 part series answering these questions.

As I wrote in Part 1, “I think of selling your house as a six part process: 1.) knowing the local real estate market, 2.) figuring out the FMV and determining a realistic sales price, 3.) developing an effective advertising plan, 4.) negotiating diplomatically but firmly to arrive at a price that pushes your buyer as far as they are willing to go, 5.) drafting the legal contracts as well as drafting unambiguous language that gets the property sold without legal problems, and 6.) avoiding the many traps for the unwary.”

Today’s Coverage: 2.) Figuring out the FMV and determining a realistic sales price.

The single most important step in the process of successfully selling your home is coming up with a true FMV (fair market value). Price your house wrong on the market, and it may get stale, and either take much longer to sell at a lower price, or not sell at all this year.

A Realtor can get a beautiful CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). If you’re not a member of the MLS, you won’t have access to all that data, so a FSBO (For-Sale-By-Owner) will have to resort to what are probably less accurate and more labor intensive methods to do a CMA.

I have a strong conviction about arriving at the listing price, whether a FSBO or listed with a Realtor. I believe it must be an accurate FMV. An experienced Realtor using the MLS can arrive at an accurate FMV, but it takes hard work to make the necessary adjustments up and down for the comparables to arrive at the best FMV for your home. Because it is so hard for a FSBO to do this accurately without a lot of training and a current data base, I recommend hiring a licensed appraiser and paying him for what is the equivalent of a bank appraisal. It is extremely effective to show a prospective Buyer how you arrived at the asking price. They can’t really argue with it. It is well documented, has color pictures of the comps, includes all the amenities and the values, and has an authoritative bottom line number.

This same appraisal is typically good for six months and probably can be used by your buyer with their own bank. While some appraisals take weeks to get done, your appraisal is already done and the Buyer can take it to the bank. What a great way to reduce unnecessary delays, especially with VA loans. The appraisal will cost $400, more or less, but just tell the Buyers that while you have done them a favor by getting it done in advance, you expect to be reimbursed at closing as it is normally their cost anyway. By the way, some special types of HUD loans or VA loans may require a bank appointed appraiser of their own choosing, but your appraisal still has all the benefit of accurate pricing to market and sell your home.

I recently listed a home that had previously been listed for six months with another broker with no activity whatsoever. I sold it in about 30 days after listing, and I would attribute this success to effective marketing AND the right listing price. The listing price was $25,000 below a current bank appraisal, and I made it clear in the marketing that price was already negotiated and firm.

Wrong pricing can be devestating. I noticed in my MLS that a 2.5 acre lot with a mountain view sold this past month for $139,000. What is interesting is that the original listing price was $239,000. Wow! What a discount! It would seem the original price was grotesquely over FMV by $100,000. Guessing what the FMV is on your property is just plain dumb. Don’t do it. Pricing is not science, but neither is it throwing dice. Admittedly there is a subjective aspect, but there is a great deal of solid mathematics involved, too. You have to know how to do the math.

It may be obvious, but another great thing you accomplish by getting the appraisal done in advance is to reduce the offer/counteroffer/counteroffer exchange. Explain that the appraisal eliminates the uncertainty for them about what the FMV of the house is, eliminates the need for the games that Buyers and Sellers often play without an appraisal, both trying to take advantage of the other. This is very effective!

Courtesy Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
Chuck Marunde, J.D. Owner/Broker/Realtor

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