The Best Frequently Asked Questions For Home Sellers

How Much Is My House Worth?

The true value of a home is based on what the current market is willing to pay.  There are many ways we can go about determining the value of your house.

One method we offer to our clients for free is to perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).  We’ll use our experience and knowledge, as well as data from recent sales in your neighborhood and similar homes to give you a ball park figure of what your home could sell for in today’s market.

Based on that information, we’ll come up with a strategy based on your needs.  One other method that some of our client’s choose to take is to hire an appraiser prior to listing the home. There are pros and cons to this we would be happy to discuss with you in person!

Should I Trust Online Home Value Tools Like Zestimate?

There’s a lot of real estate professionals that speak negatively about sites like Zillow. We happen to like some of the resources Zillow has, however when it comes to their Zestimate tool which is their home value tool on a property, things can be really off.

The first thing to understand is a Zestimate is simply a series of algorithms produced by Zillow to determine the price of your home based on your neighborhood, square footage, previous sales history, bedrooms, baths, etc.

There is one really big piece of information that an automated tool like Zestimate is lacking – It can’t take into consideration any improvements or deteriorating factors like a human can.

Spent $50,000 in upgrades in your kitchen? Zestimate doesn’t know that.

Roof has a hole in it or A/C is on it’s last leg? Zestimate doesn’t know that.

Zestimate is a fun idea in theory, but be wary of automated online home value tools.  Sometimes it’s nice to use them to have a starting point, but often times it’s important to hire a professional like our team to see and evaluate your property so you can set a more realistic expectation on the value of your house.

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are over-pricing or under-pricing your home due to a Zestimate because the effects could be devastating.

What's The Tampa Bay Area Real Estate Market Like Right Now?

The answer to this question is going to depend on a few things – What neighborhoods you’re considering, the type of property you’re looking for and the current buyer demand. Currently there’s a lot of people moving here and low interest rates are fueling this hot market. What’s interesting is that we are still below the national average when it comes to housing prices so it is possible that housing prices will continue to climb as the demand to live here grows.

Instead of taking our word for it, we would be happy to provide you with the raw data (stats) that show the direction our market is going in. Depending on where you are looking, we can show you average sales volume over the years so you can get an idea of the general appreciation or depreciation in specific areas.

Contact Us Today with your criteria and we’ll be happy to prepare you a report for free!

How Do You Plan On Marketing My Home?

This is one of our favorite questions to answer because we are very passionate about marketing.  You’ll find throughout our site, very detailed strategies into how we make our client’s homes stand out, but for the sake of this question, we’ll make this answer short.

Like other agents, your listing will be placed on the Multiple Listing Service, however we don’t just set it and forget it.

All of our clients home’s get a Free High Definition Video Tour and Professional Photography.

We have a wide network of interested parties in which we are able to pre-market our listings to before they go live on the market which helps build up anticipation.

We also run extensive advertising campaigns using social media platforms. Facebook for example allows us to get a ton of attention to our listings through our shared high definition videos.

We discuss if our clients are interested in open houses and we also reach out to local neighbors through door-knocking to see if they know of any interested parties that would like to move into the neighborhood.

Listed above is just a small sample of the actions we take on behalf of our clients as we are always adapting and staying proactive until our clients homes are sold.

What Are Contingencies?

Many of the sales contracts in the state of Florida have contingency clauses that are designed to protect both the buyers and sellers in the contract.

These contingencies lay out specific stipulations in order for the sale to be successfully completed between both parties.

Here are some common examples you may run in to as a seller.

On the Florida FAR/BAR AS-IS Residential Contract, which is used frequently by realtors in order to initiate a sell between a buyer and seller, there are many contingencies!

One such contingency that a seller will usually encounter is the financing contingency.  Although the buyer may have a pre-approval, there are usually words in the contract that say the contract is contingent upon the buyer successfully getting financing for the property and may give them a right to terminate if they used due-diligence and financing was not approved due to no fault of their own.

Keep in mind, anything laid out in this answer does not super-cede a real contract.  You should always refer to the contract for the official terms and it is advised to have a professional such as ourselves or another realtor by your side.

Other contingencies that may be included are: Inspection periods where buyers could walk away, appraisals where the contract continuity is dependent upon the property appraising or the parties agreeing to terms if it doesn’t appraise, and several others!

It’s always important to understand what you are signing especially when it’s legally binding. Remember… these contracts are setup to offer protections for you and the buyers… if you have any specific questions – Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

How Frequently Does Your Team Communicate With Your Sellers?

This industry lives and dies by communication.  It is how we market ourselves, our sellers properties, and how we handle transactions to get them to a successful closing.

We take our level of communication with our clients very seriously, and it’s important to us to keep you readily updated and be there to answer your questions.  (No one likes working with someone that never answers their phone or returns calls)

One of the first things we do when we consult with you is determine your preferred method of communication.  We’ve had clients who preferred phone calls, emails, and even clients who have worked with us 99% through text and even Facebook messenger!

No matter the application, we are ready to communicate in a form that works best for you.  We will keep you updated even when there’s not big updates.  Sometimes it could be every few days, and in slower parts of the transaction it may be a weekly update.

Depending on the stage, we will set expectations so you never feel like you are alone and you are always satisfied!

What's The Best Time To Put My Home On The Market?

In other markets across the United States there usually are better times to list a home mainly due to seasonal weather changes.  The interesting thing about Pinellas County and the rest of the Tampa Bay Area is the time of year you list your home doesn’t have as big of an impact.

Listed below is the amount of residential homes for sale by the month in Pinellas County in 2016.
Number Of Homes For Sale In Pinellas County
Because we keep a pretty consistent tropical weather environment here, and there are millions of people that visit our area all throughout the year, we advise our clients to sell their homes at a time that is most convenient for them.

Should I Sell Before I Buy Another Home?

This is going to depend on your particular situation.  The best place to start is with a lender.  You want to make sure if you plan on buying before your home sells or even closing before your home closes that your lender will allow you to carry two mortgages at once.

A lot of people will want to put in an offer on a home contingent upon the sale of their home.  The offer is stronger the closer the home their selling is to closing but it is not as a strong as an offer with no strings attached.

We will be happy to sit down with you and assess your situation to determine the most ideal solution based off your needs.

If you’d like to schedule a consultation over coffee, contact us!

What Steps Should I Take To Prepare My Home For Sale?

A properly prepared home could mean the difference in a home selling for thousands of dollars more or creating the atmosphere for a bidding war.  Rest assured not all your competition thinks they need to prepare.  Use that to your advantage!

Here are some recommended simple steps that won’t break the bank:

1. Keep Clutter To A Minimum – If there’s one step that’s more important than all others, it’s minimizing your clutter in your home.  If you live there, at times it can prove to be a challenge but it’s a necessary component to helping people envision a home as their own.  You want people to have this feeling so you are more likely to get higher and better offers.

2. Eliminate Odors And Make Your Home Smell Nice – We’re human beings and sometimes we grow accustomed to smells that we don’t even notice anymore.  Get an outside opinion, more specifically your realtors (The 727 Team).  We can be honest with you because we want to help you succeed.  If you have carpet, depending on the condition it may need to be professionally cleaned or even replaced.  Investing in some air fresheners will help as well and if you really want to go the extra mile, baking some cookies right before a showing can sometimes seal the deal.

3. Keep The Temperature Nice – We’ve gone in hundreds of homes, both occupied and vacant where our clients wanted to rush out the door because the thermostat was turned up. We live in Florida folks, and not using your A/C for most parts of the years should be a crime.  Especially when you’re trying to sell your home.  Not only does a hot, stifling house make people want to run out the door, but it also tends to bring out the worst in odors.

4. Get Some Paint – All homes get wear and tear and when people are viewing your home, chipped paint can be an eye sore.  Also consider the colors you have chosen in your house.  There’s a reason why many flippers and home renovators go with a more neutral palette.  A neutral palette like light grays, whites, and even some tan like colors are least likely to offend and turn off people from buying your home.  Marketing a home with pink bathrooms and vomit green rooms is a little more risque – Don’t do it!

5. Landscaping – Don’t just focus on the inside of your house… curb appeal is the reason why many people will even set foot in a home.  If you have a yard, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on sprucing it up.  Freshly mowed grass, some flowers, and even a little bit of well placed mulch can make a huge difference!

***Bonus Tip – Staging*** – We consider staging to be a bonus tip because it’s not always worth it.  Depending on the price range of your home, the neighborhood, and other conditions will factor in whether we recommend you stage your home.  The advantage of a well staged home is it could help your home sell faster, look better, sell for more, and help potential buyers envision how furniture would fit in certain spaces.

What Should I Disclose To Potential Buyers?

According to Florida Real Estate Law, there was a case in the Florida Supreme Court “Johnson vs Davis” where it was determined that the seller of a home must disclose facts materially affecting the value of the property which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer.

The disclosure can be made in writing or verbally – however… any clients we work with we require to fill out a sellers disclosure.

The sellers disclosure is a good resource for a seller because there are 3 options to many of the questions – Yes, No, and Don’t Know.

We advise clients to answer the questions honestly on a sellers disclosure in order to minimize risks of a lawsuit or potential litigation.

Some of the big categories on the seller’s disclosure include:

  • Structure; Systems; and Appliances
  • Termites; Other Wood Destroying Organisms; Pests
  • Water Intrusion; Drainage; Flooding
  • Plumbing
  • Pools; Hot Tubs; Spas
  • Sinkholes
  • Deed/Homeowners’ Association Restrictions; Boundaries; Access Roads
  • Environmental
  • Governmental
  • And Other Matters (Additional Comments)

Should I Leave My Home For Open Houses And Showings?

It is highly recommended that sellers are not present when their home is being shown or an open house is being conducted.

Most potential buyers are not very comfortable when a seller is present and don’t feel like they can take adequate time to view a house and consider an offer.

This is one of the biggest reasons a high percentage of For Sale By Owners don’t succeed.  People need to feel comfortable and non-intrusive when viewing a home and that is very difficult to do when the owner of a home is present or nearby.

There are always security risks when letting people in your home.  We strive to educate our clients on pre-cautions they can take to help our team minimize risks and protect their property and belongings.

What Happens If I'm Not Satisfied And Want To Cancel The Contract?

If this is the case, you’re probably not really working with The 727 Team and more than likely you’re working with some type of imposters…

But on a serious note… we really want our clients to be happy!!!  Every time we create a listing agreement with our clients, we go over the cancellation clause listed in the contract.

We’ve been fortunate enough in our careers that no seller has ever cancelled on us, but if this was ever the case, we don’t believe in burning bridges and as long as there’s no foul play, we will do everything in our power to execute your wishes.

Who Has To Make Repairs If Any Issues Show Up On A Home Inspection Report?

This will completely depend on what is written in the contract and addenda.  The short answer is often times it’s going to be negotiable.

Most residential contracts in Florida today are written on the “AS-IS” Residential Contact For Purchase And Sale.  There’s a lot of confusion that comes with this contract simply due to the name.

“AS-IS” typically does not mean a buyer has to accept your property AS-IS without any room for negotiations on repairs.  However, just because issues come up on an inspection report doesn’t mean a buyer will ask for the repairs or a seller credit.

There are some repairs that may be needed in order to make the home insurable for financing.  The responsibility is going to be determined by the language in the contract.

Having a knowledgeable licensed realtor by your side is going to be important to protecting yourself from misunderstandings in regards to party responsibilities.  When we represent our sellers, we are there to answer questions and negotiate on their behalf.

What Does An Appraisal Mean?

An appraisal is a report created by a licensed appraiser that is an unbiased estimate on the fair market value of a home.  Most loans require appraisals and are ordered by the lender during the contract period.

As a seller you may find that although you may have a contract with an agreed upon price, there often times is a contingency worded in the contract or an addendum that makes the agreement contingent upon the property appraising at value.

We know that’s a mouthful, but a simpler way of putting this is if your home doesn’t appraise, you may find yourself back to negotiating with the buyers.

Often times, there’s one of 4 outcomes that take place:

  • The Seller Makes A Concession And Reduces The Price.
  • The Buyer Comes Up With The Difference Out Of Pocket.
  • The Buyer Finds A New Lender And/Or Orders A New Appraisal.
  • The Transaction Is Cancelled.

If you select The 727 Team as your realtors, we have your back!  There’s many hurdles that can happen in real estate, each scenario with it’s own unique challenges.  Our goal is to problem-solve and to create a desirable outcome where you walk away from the closing table knowing you were in good hands.

When Should I Turn Off Utilities?

Technically the moment the buyer closes on the property and the title is transferred into their name, the seller is no longer obligated to maintain utilities.

But in the real world, this all really depends on the communication between the buying and selling parties and their agents.

If the buyers elect to do the final walk-through of the property the day of closing, the utilities can’t be off unless otherwise agreed upon.

So a good rule is for the sellers to contact their utilities and inform them they are selling the property and will no longer be the owner after “X” time – “I’d advise telling them a time a few hours after the closing is over.”

Normally most buyers will have been advised by their agents to contact the utility companies and have it ready to transfer in their name for the day they take possession.

If you’re really concerned about the hour it transfers, you can even request the utilities to do a final reading at a certain time and see if they will honor it.

When you’re considering selling your home in Pinellas County or The Tampa Bay Area, the questions listed above should prove to be resourceful to you (click on them to drop down the answer).

If you have any other questions regarding the home selling process, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we will be happy to provide you with the answers you are looking for!

Are you looking to get an idea of what your home is worth? Click below and we will personally research your home’s potential selling price.

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