What does it take to sell your own home in Sequim? How do you market your home in this economy? What techniques are best for selling? How do you get the highest price?

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: 1.) Knowing the local real estate market.

Buyers sometimes come from outside our area, and if they are from an area where real estate is priced substantially higher, they might over pay for a property. The reality is that buyers are getting very well educated these days, and they are learning to negotiate hard. The Internet has become a very powerful tool educating both buyers and sellers, evidenced by you reading this.

Buyers are able to view many homes on the Internet and compare features and prices. By the time a buyer looks at your home, they have looked at hundreds of homes on the Internet, and physically viewed a dozen or more homes in your market. The better you know the market, the better you will be prepared to negotiate the sale.

Knowing the market involves knowing several critical components to getting your house sold. It will be helpful to know:

1. the fair market values of comparable houses;
2. the differences between those comps and your house in great detail;
3. how and why you have adjusted the comp prices to arrive at your price;
4. the shortcomings or negatives of your home–objectively;
5. considering all of this, how your home looks on the market to prospective buyers;
6. how to stage your home;
7. the market timing or the “when” of selling your home.

WHEN you put your home on the market is a very important decision. First, the market might be in a correction mode, so it could be the worst time. Second, the season or time of the year can be disadvantageous. Third, annual events often create the best and the not-so-good times to put a house on the market, like school starting at the end of August. There are many things that effect timing decisions. You will want to be aware of these, because wrong timing can mean the house does not sell within a reasonable period of time, or it could mean you take a substantial cut on the price. Ouch!

You would also benefit from having a written comprehensive plan. Do you know what you are going to do, and do you know when you are going to do it between now and closing? Chaos is not in your best interest when it comes to selling your home with so much money at stake. Write a good and thorough plan, including the contact information of key professionals you will involve, such as the title company, the escrow officer, inspector, loan officer, and so on. It’s what you don’t know that can come back to bite you. It has been said that we learn best by making mistakes, but it would be a disaster if you had to loose a lot of your money just to learn something about selling real estate. It is the intention of this series to help you avoid that kind of nightmare and to successfully sell your own home. If after studying everything you can get your hands on, you decide your want a Realtor, that is still your option, but at least you would be making a fully informed decision.

Realize that the success of a FSBO is not so much in doing something extraordinarily good: the key is not making any major mistakes. Kind of sounds like a military career, doesn’t it? It means covering all the bases, and not falling into traps for the unwary. This is why a comprehensive plan is so important. It is your road map to success. Without the map, you may not end up at closing with the net proceeds you hoped to get. And then who wants to close a transaction, and later get sued because your paperwork opens you to legal liability.

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

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