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The Best Way To Sell a Home in Mint Condition

Richard Montgomery on

Dear Monty: We will be selling our home soon. Our house was brand-new when we bought it. It is 25 years old and in like-new condition. In the past five years, we have updated the bathrooms and the roof, and last year, we updated all the flooring, installed new cupboards and appliances and painted the entire interior and exterior trim. The exterior is all brick. The neighborhood is very desirable, and homes are sold quickly. Based on the few similar homes sold on our block in the past year, it will sell for between $600K and $650K. We know sellers' and agents' typical approach to marketing homes. But do you have any specific strategies to improve our chances of a sale and our net proceeds?

Monty's Answer: The best strategy is to make your home easy to buy. Remove every concern a buyer may have before they decide. This strategy removes the anxiety and stress of selling or buying a home.

No. 1: Invest in a virtual tour. Then, potential buyers have seen the house before making an appointment. It saves you time getting ready for a showing only to learn your interior doesn't fit the prospect.

No. 2: Invest in a presale home inspection.

a. Discover and repair unknown defects now. Most buyers are very concerned about condition surprises.

b. Make sure the home inspector is trained and independent.

c. Show prospects your home is defect-free. Build the buyer's trust and make your home easier to buy.

No. 3: Furnish a detailed seller condition report (RECR) when they look at the house.

a. Your state law likely requires one.

b. Google "sample real estate seller condition report."

No. 4: Put your home on Zillow as a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO).

No. 5: Put your Zillow URL prominently on your yard sign.

No. 6: Create a detailed data sheet. Include a breakdown of your recent costs to justify your price.

No. 7: Have a blank offer-to-purchase form on the counter. Ask your attorney to create a simple, plain-language document.

No. 8: Require offers to include a recent mortgage lender pre-qualification letter.

 

YOUR OPTIONS

You have done all the hard work already. You maintained your home and kept it up to date for 25 years. The house you describe in your question sells itself. Most buyers seek a home in top condition. You have three options:

a. Use a full-service real estate agent. If your pricing is accurate and you assume 6% commission, your net equity will be reduced by $39,000.

b. Use a discount broker where you do much of the work, and your net will be reduced considerably. Let's assume your net equity will be reduced by $15,000 to $20,000.

c. Do it yourself, and your net will be reduced to your time and the cost of the virtual tour, inspection and miscellaneous costs.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

-- A home seller and buyer working together have a common goal: a successful transaction.

-- Two parties are communicating instead of four, resulting in fewer misunderstandings.

-- You have eliminated the real estate agent's major conflict of interest.

-- If you spent 10 to 12 hours handling these small tasks, you would earn between $1,500 and $3,900 per hour for your efforts.

-- I believe about 10% of U.S. homes sold last year were sold directly by the owner.

Richard Montgomery is a syndicated columnist, published author, retired real estate executive, serial entrepreneur, and the founder of DearMonty.com and PropBox, Inc. He provides consumers with options to real estate issues. Follow him on Twitter(X) @dearmonty or DearMonty.com.]

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