Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Market

To real estate sellers, a “hot” market might mean quick, easy money for their home. After all, a hot market means limited inventory and lots of buyers seeking the perfect place. In many cases, a hot market does mean quicker sales at or above the asking price. But there are some risks that a home seller in a seller’s market should be aware of before they can start counting the money.

Ensure that Your Home and Property are Ready to Show

A “fortunate” aspect of a hot market is that quirky or outdated properties sell faster than they otherwise would. Buyers become far less discerning about the home they want, and they are willing to overlook superficial flaws and might even consider accepting expensive fixes such as leaky windows or an old roof.

In a seller’s market, a homeowner has a better possibility of selling a property “as-is” rather than having to make significant updates. As a seller, whether or not you need to make any major updates is best determined through a discussion with your real estate agent to assess comparable properties in that area.

On the other hand, home staging is advisable even in a seller’s market. Staging is a great way to attract multiple offers on your home right after listing it. Buyers must move fast in a market like this, and emotions and first impressions often drive them. To make someone fall in love with your property, there is no better way than to make it more attractive through staging.

If you cannot afford to stage your house, the property should at least be thoroughly cleaned and de-cluttered to prepare it for showings.

Get Your Disclosure and Other Documentation Organized

As properties in a hot market tend to sell fast and have shorter contract deadlines, you should have all relevant documentation ready to be sent to potential buyers at short notice. Before listing your house, consider getting an inspection done to present an accurate picture to buyers right from the beginning.

Make sure your disclosure documents are ready before the property goes on the market. If, as a seller, you appear fully prepared to sell, a buyer will feel more encouraged to make a quick closing offer.

Based on this, you or your agent might want to speak to a title company before putting the house on the market. While many contracts allow a buyer to decide on the title company, having a reliable, reputable title company at hand for the buyer can help and enable the process to move more effectively toward closing. In some cases, a buyer might still want to choose another title company. However, more often, they will work with the seller’s chosen title company simply for convenience.

Don’t Overlook the Professionals to Market Your Property

In a booming market, many homeowners will consider using for sale by owner (FSBO) to sell their home. The assumption in a seller’s market is that buyers are ready to jump on the first property that comes up for sale without the need for any marketing. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to pay commission if the property will essentially sell itself, right?

It might be true that buyers are abundant in a hot market, but sellers should not write off the expertise of a professional. In the case of low inventory, buyers are more likely to work with an agent to identify homes for sale either before they come up for sale or immediately after listing. Agents often search for clients on the MLS or speak to other agents to determine new listings for their buyers. To gain the most exposure for your property and take advantage of the numerous buyers out looking, you still want to hire a real estate agent to market your property.

Work with a Dedicated Real Estate Lawyer

A real estate attorney will meticulously evaluate the extensive paperwork involved in your house sale to catch errors and protect your rights every step of the way. In the early stages of your sale, you can ask them to assess the listing agreement with your agent to make sure that the terms are favorable to you.

A real estate attorney can review offers as they come in, identify tax benefits and considerations, and raise potential red flags. After the offer stage is completed, a real estate attorney will draft contracts and assess the title, mortgage, and transfer paperwork. Moreover, they will write the deed and review the final breakdown of sale proceeds at closing.

Apart from the above, if an unexpected complication stalls your transaction, such as a judgment or lien on the title or a question on disclosure, your experienced real estate attorney will help you navigate these complexities and steer the deal to a successful conclusion. A real estate attorney adds an additional layer of scrutiny to ensure that the deal closes smoothly, and no legal issues are revealed after the sale.

To speak to a skilled real estate lawyer at Evans Law in Maryland, message us online or call today at (410) 626-6009.

Three Issues to Consider Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Finding the right buyer for your home is not an easy task. It requires a lot of time, planning, and effort on your part. The good news is that residential properties all over the country have increased in value since the Great Recession. So, the effort you put in can help you earn a decent profit.

Let us take a look at three of the key issues you need to consider before listing your home for sale:

1. Price

This is the first and possibly the most important factor you need to consider before listing your home for sale in Maryland. A lot of homeowners tend to have unrealistic opinions about their property’s value and end up pricing it too high. This is one of the reasons why some houses tend to stay on the market for a long time without an offer.

In order to avoid pricing your property out of the reach of potential buyers, you need to do a lot of research. Here is what you can do to make sure your property is competitively priced:

  • Make a note of the selling price of all the recently sold homes in your neighborhood. These homes should be comparable to yours in terms of their size, amenities, and features.
  • Find out how long it takes on average to sell a home in your neighborhood.
  • Find out the difference between the listing price and the sold price for homes that are similar to yours.

If you are not able to set the right price for your property based on the aforementioned details, it is a good idea to get it professionally appraised. Generally, it is a good to set your asking price 5% to 10% higher than the going rate for comparable homes in your neighborhood, so that you can have some room for negotiation with potential buyers.

2. Curb Appeal

Studies show that most buyers decide whether or not they are interested in buying a home within 10 seconds. This is why it is extremely important for you to put some effort into improving your home’s curb appeal.

Here is what you can do to make sure your home looks appealing to potential buyers:

  • Clean, clean, and clean. Your home should look, feel, and smell clean.
  • De-clutter and get rid of all the unwanted space fillers from your home so that it looks spacious to the buyer.
  • De-personalize your home by removing all your personal items, pictures, and collectibles. It will make it easier for the buyer to visualize living in your home with their family.
  • Fix loose or broken handles, repaint the doors, windows, and walls, clean your pool, and place some potted plants and other natural elements to your front yard.

You should be careful not to spend too much money on improving your home’s curb appeal. If you do, you might have to increase the asking price accordingly, as a result of which you might price yourself out of the radar of potential buyers. So, make sure to spend money only on things that are likely to yield a positive return on your investment (ROI).

3. Disclosure or Disclaimer

As a Maryland resident, this is something you need to decide before listing your home for sale. When selling your home, you are legally required to disclose the defects in your home to the buyer. The amount of information you are required to disclose depends on whether you choose the disclaimer option or the disclosure option.

If you opt for the disclaimer option, you can sell your home on an ‘as is’ basis, disclose the latent defects (defects that might not be spotted by the buyer during an inspection), and provide a disclaimer stating that you do not make any warranties regarding the condition of your home.

If you opt for the disclosure option, you need to fill out a detailed questionnaire, in which you have to answer a number of questions about all the possible defects in your home.

The disclaimer option can reduce your risk of liability (the buyer suing you for not disclosing certain defects in your home) significantly. On the other hand, it can prompt the buyer to negotiate for a lower price, since they have no idea how much they have to spend on repairs and renovations.

With the disclosure option, the risk of liability is slightly higher, since you have the responsibility to disclose all the material defects in your home to the buyer. It can, however, help you sell your home for a higher price, since the buyer is likely to feel more secure about the purchase.

Experienced Real Estate Lawyers in Maryland

If you are planning to sell a home in Maryland, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans III can help you. We can evaluate the offers made by potential buyers, advise you on what to disclose and what not to disclose to the buyer, review all contracts and documents to be signed, and guide you through the closing process.

You can contact our firm at (410) 626-6009 for a free consultation with our attorneys.