SELLER SERVICES

When selling a property, every owner wants the same thing - the best possible deal, in the shortest time frame, with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.  This guide provides an overview of the various steps required to sell a home and tips to help your home-selling experience a successful and rewarding one.

1. Make the Decision to Sell

Lifestyle changes are often the main reason for the decision to sell a home. But you may not be able to match the best market conditions when you decide to sell your home.  Therefore, you need to have a detailed plan, including the reasons you are selling the home, and your plan to buy a new home before or after the sale of the home. Selling a home is a big decision, and taking some time and effort to plan ahead will make the process more successful and less stressful.

 

Generally, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round, with some seasonality affecting the volume of transactions.  Spring tends to be the most active time with many buyers coming out to open houses with better weather; consequently, there are also more sellers.  The market is the slowest during the winter due the holidays and cold weather, but there are also fewer homes on the market.

 

Home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year, therefore, sell your home when you truly want to move and don't tie your selling decision to any season of the year.  Also keep in mind, it takes one to three months or more from offer accepted to closing, depending on whether the buyer will purchase your home with cash or need a mortgage, if the home is a condo or a coop and how quickly the board will approve the buyer.

 

Before putting your property on the market, you should consider working with a real estate agent to assist you in the process.  While the proliferation of internet search engines allow many home owners to sell their properties on their own, flying solo may not save you money in the long term and you may end up spending a lot of your valuable time doing something that can be outsourced to a professional.  

For Sale by Owner may not Save You Money

Since buyers know that you are not with an agent, they would want to save some money and make offers accordingly.  If a buyer is represented by an agent, unless you are willing to pay a commission to the buyer agent, the agent will not bring their clients to you; therefore, reducing the pool of potential buyers that will see your property, resulting fewer and lower offers.  Even if you are willing to pay the buyer’s agent a commission, because you are not represented by a professional while the buyer is, you are disadvantaged in the process.

A Professional by Your Side

You have a professional to assist you through out the process when you use me as your real estate agent.  This means that I have the knowledge, expertise and resources to implement a plan that will effectively coordinate all activities to get a deal done including pricing, marketing, and negotiating the best terms for you.  I will pre-qualify the buyers by reviewing their financials and background, assist the buyers for board approval, and ensure that an accepted offer turns into a signed contract and leads to closed deal.

 

As a licensed real estate agent, I must complete a variety of courses and regularly update my professional education. I also have access to a wide array of optional courses, seminars and certifications.  If you are working with me under an agency agreement, typically, a conventional, full-service commission agreement in which I agree to represent you, I will be bound by common law to a fiduciary relationship. In other words, I am required by license law to act in the clients’ best interest, not my own.

Wider Marketing Reach

An effective real estate agent has a set of real estate intermediary management system and means of operation, which means boarder marketing reach. I have many media outlets to bring interested buyers to your home.  I will create a comprehensive marketing approach using print, digital, and social media as well as direct mail and public relations to reach the largest pool of potential buyers.  I will schedule open houses, private showings and calling prospective buyers as part of the marketing effort. In addition, I will register your property in the real estate broker's internal system, providing unparalleled exposure to the broker’s community and bring qualified and interested buyers to you property.  

Convenient and Efficient

Hiring a real estate agent to sell your home can save you significant time and hassle.  Showing property can be very time consuming.  Part of a real-estate agent's responsibility is to act as a liaison between buyers and sellers.  I will devote my time to solicit calls and follow up with interested parties, answer questions, making appointments, and show the property as much as possible.  I will save you hours of work from your busy schedule, and allow you to focus on your own work or other important things.

Remove Emotion from the Process 

Buying or selling a home is a major financial and emotional undertaking.  I can act as a buffer between you and the buyer and take the emotion out of the process.  When a negation gets tough, I can help by speaking for you and smoothing things over to keep the process from getting too personal.  I can be firm without turning off potential buyers who want to haggle about the price.   

 
3. Determine the Sales Price

Determining the best asking price for a home is one of the most challenging and also important aspects of selling it.

Price Right from the Beginning 

How you price your home will directly impact how many buyers, showings and offers you attract, as well as how easily it sells, as depicted in the Pricing Pyramid diagram on the right.   Pricing your apartment competitively will generate the most activity from buyers and brokers. Pricing your property too high may make it necessary to drop the price below market value to compete with new well-priced listings. We call this "chasing the market.'' Getting it right the first time could mean a lot more gain.

Price Competitively – The First 30 Days are Crucial

A property generates the most interest when it first hits the market.  The number of showings is greatest during this time if it is priced at a realistic market value.  Experience shows that you are far more likely to get top market value if you sell your home during the “golden window of opportunity”.  Properties typically generate the most interest and activity from potential buyers and their agents during the second to fourth or fifth weeks that they are on the market.     Beyond five weeks, your home will increasingly be viewed as a stale listing and perceived by potential buyers that “something is wrong with this property”. Consequently, there will be less market buzz, less showings, less offers and less likelihood that you will get your asking price.  This is why it is crucial to price your home correctly right from the beginning so that you get and accept a solid offer early on.

Buyers and Sellers Determine Value

It is critically important to price your property at competitive market value when we finalize the listing agreement.  The value of your property is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept. Buyers make their pricing decision based on comparing your property to other properties SOLD in your area. 

Do not Overprice

Because time is your enemy when putting your home on the market, starting too high and dropping the price later misses the excitement and fails to generate strong activity.  Many homes that are initially priced too high end up selling below market value, and here are the reasons: •    The right buyers may never know about your listing because they will confine their search to a lesser price range than where yours should be.

 

  • Buyers will not respond to the marketing of it if they know it is overpriced.

  • Fewer agents will show your home to their buyers if they know it is overpriced.

  • You will attract the wrong buyers.  Those looking in your price range would not be interested in your home because they are expecting more for the price.

  • An excessive price on your property makes other properties more attractive.

  • You will get fewer – if any – serious offers overall because buyers may consider doing so a waste of time.

  • Even if you do get a serious offer, the excessive price can lead to a mortgage rejection for the buyer once the lender has a professional appraisal done on your home.  This leads to critical lost time waiting for finance approvals that never go through.

  • Reducing the price after buyers have begun to perceive your home as a stale listing will not generate as much interest as if you’d priced it properly from the start.

 

As your agent, I will strategize with you to with Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to price your home realistically right from the beginning to coincide with its window of maximum market exposure.  By doing so, I will help you attract buyers who are qualified, motivated and willing to pay top market value for your property.

 
 
4. Prepare the Property

When presenting your home to prospective buyers, first impressions are crucial. Although they know your home is not brand-new, they are looking for a "like-new" space that shows care, quality, cleanliness and is devoid of clutter.   Preparing a home for sale requires seeing it from a buyer's perspective – this maybe a bit of a challenge when you have lived in your home for years. These helpful tips will be sure to enhance the appearance and value of your home and bring you the best results.

De-clutter, Clean and Reorganize

For most buyers, cluttered homes tend to appear smaller, less full of air and light, and somehow requiring of more maintenance. Conversely, clutter-free homes generally seem brighter, more open and spacious, perhaps cleaner and requiring less work. Additionally, clutter-free homes can make it easier for buyers to visualize their own interior design ideas, as well as the placement of all their belongings.  Here are a few reorganization tasks that can maximize the space and to improving how buyers perceive your home:

BONUS TIP:

First Impressions are crucial

 

Buyers begin judging your home the moment they see, therefore, it is important to show a home which is well- maintained, clean and clutter-free.

  • Clean and tidy the entrance

  • De-clutter the apartment - less is more - throw out or pack away any unnecessary items in the rooms and then thoroughly organize and clean everything that remains.

  • Consider taking one piece of furniture out of each room for a clean, spacious look.

  • Depersonalize the apartment - remove personal effects such as photos and refrigerator art to make it easier for potential buyers to visualize themselves in the space

  • Remove excessive wall hangings, furniture, and knickknacks

  • Remove children's and pet's toys

  • Keep the kitchen clean (no dishes in the sink), stainless steel polished, and excess small appliances stored away - show as much counter space as possible

  • Expand perception of closet space - thin out your closets.  Remove from closets, cabinets and shelves any clothes and other items you don’t need

  • Add closet organizers or shelving to make closets more functional and spacious looking

  • Keep fresh towels in the bathroom - don't leave out excess towels and linen

  • Ensure that beds are always made

  • Clean the windows thoroughly inside and out

  • Polish all wood surfaces as well as flooring, fixtures, and mirrors

  • Clean and re-grout bathtubs and bathroom floor/wall tiles

  • Eliminate odors. Remove litter boxes and empty garbage prior to showings. Use air fresheners or neutralizers

Make Necessary Repairs and Minor Upgrades

There are few things that put buyers off more than viewing a home that screams of being uncared for.  You may not need to do renovations or upgrades, but you will need to make all necessary repairs.  Below are a few proven, cost effective ideas that will help your home look its best and can boost your home’s saleability and improve sales price.

 

  • Remove and repair all signs of water damage, mildew and other deterioration

  • Brighten interiors with a new coat of paint in light, neutral colors

  • Increase lighting with use of "daylight" or ''full spectrum" bulbs, supplement darker rooms with additional lamps and/or accent lighting

  • Fix and touch-up walls, ceilings, windows, etc.

  • Fix or replace cracked molding, leaking toilets, bathroom hardware, toilet seats, loose caulking or grout, loose door knobs, squeaky door hinges, etc.

  • Make sure major appliances are in good working order

  • Replace old switch and outlet plates and register vents with more elegant ones

  • Replace light bulbs or add lights in hallways and rooms to provide good lighting

  • Replace or add new window shades or treatments, new shower curtain, rod, and hooks

Finally, potential buyers generally do not feel comfortable exploring a home with the owners present. You should always plan to leave your home during open houses and all private showings.

 
5. Market your Property

Strategically preparing and pricing your home are keys to attracting serious and qualified buyers.  However, in order to maximize the impact of these preparation and pricing strategies, your home needs to be effectively exposed to the marketplace.

 

As your agent, I put you, the client, at the center of the process and I will implement a customized, targeted marketing plan designed to capture the maximum exposure for your property. I'll take the time to understand the unique selling points of your property and neighborhood.  Then we'll conduct a full market analysis to ensure that we create the most effective marketing program and pricing strategy.  Next, I'll leverage my network, technology and marketing platform to actively target the types of buyers most likely to want to buy your property. This includes a variety  of both online and offline marketing.  Done effectively, this leads to your ultimate goal: getting the best price for your property in the shortest time possible. At the same time delivering the highest level of customer service and the most fulfilling sales experience in our power.  My marketing effects include:

BONUS TIP:

45% of buyers visit open houses during the search process.

 

Holding your home open is a valuable tool to get your home exposed to the most buyers possible. However, some buyers are unable to visit open houses.  Therefore, it is important to keep your home available for private showings.

Pre-Launch and Positioning

  • Analyze the target market and prepare a comprehensive comparative market analysis

  • Price your home strategically, consistent with current market and price trends so that you're poised to capitalize immediately upon listing

  • Advise on reorganizing and cleaning to provide the best possible environment for viewing.  Focusing on the most important features of your home

  • Arrange for professional photography, floor plans and unique video content to be created as deem appropriate

  • Craft descriptive and illustrative copy for the property description

  • Leverage our Marketing Department and have high quality marketing materials created, such as factsheets, listing books, electronic and direct-mailing pieces, etc.

  • Obtain copies of the Offering Plan, Amendments, Building Financials, Resale Package, and other pertinent building documents

  • Make sure that the building is pre-approved with key lenders/banks

Launch and Ongoing Efforts

  • Enter the listing into our website and proprietary listing system for immediate syndication and exposure to various online media and advertising outlets, including StreetEasy, Zillow, New York Times, and etc.

  • Promote your listing to the entire Real Estate Board of New York brokerage community, inviting over 200 firms and I0,000 brokers to participate in the sale of your home

  • Announce the listing by email to our broad database of brokers and customers

  • Promote your listing on social media platforms and leverage expanded social networks

  • Personally contact buyers and customers who have expressed prior interest in this type of home and neighborhood

  • Schedule, advertise, and host regular open houses

  • Schedule, host, and attend all private showings of your property

  • Follow up with and gather relevant feed back from all private showings and open houses

Feedback and Evaluation

  • Compile regular activity reports of showings, web traffic, and broker and buyer feed back and review with you as frequently as you prefer, but at no less than a minimum of once weekly

  • Continuously monitor market trends and the activity of comparable listings to ensure that your property remains competitively placed in the market

  • Revisit and adjust pricing and marketing strategy as appropriate

MY goal is to provide the furthest reaching and most powerful marketing.  I will expose your property to the widest range of potential purchasers through proven marketing model.  My goal is the same as yours: to sell your home in the shortest period of time, for the highest possible price and best terms that the market will command, and with the least inconvenience to you.

 
6. Negotiation to Closing

When there are interested buyer or buyers making offers on your property, the negotiation process begins. There may be only one buyer, or several buyers at the same time.  Some buyers can pay in full, some buyers need mortgage, every transaction may have a different scenario.  A buyer with the highest offer may not be the best choice if the buyer is not financially qualified.  A cash buyer who makes a lower offer may be a better option.  As your real estate sales agent, I will first understand the buyer's purchasing power, show all the offers, guide you through the negotiation process and work hard to get the best price from the most qualified buyer.

BONUS TIP:

Consider all offers

 

Lower cash offer may be better than high offer with mortgage contingency

Execution of the Contract

When you and the buyer meet the acceptable price and terms, your lawyer will prepare the contract with the agreed terms and submit it to the buyer's lawyer for review.  The lawyers will work on the contract to ensure that both parties meet all legal requirements.  Buyer’s lawyer will conduct a due diligence to assess the possible risks, including reviewing the building financials, offering plans, etc.  Once a consensus has been reached, both parties will sign the contract.  At this time, the buyer is required to submit a 10% deposit to your lawyer to be deposit in an escrow account.  Deposit will be released to you at closing together with the remaining balance. 

From Contract to Closing

Once both you and the buyer sign the contract, there are few more steps that the buyers will need to go through before closing.  

 

Getting Mortgage Commitment Letter

 

If the buyer needs a loan, the buyer will need to officially apply for the mortgage with the bank.  The lender will evaluate both the buyer’s qualification as well as approve the building and appraise the apartment before providing the commitment letter.

Getting Board Approval

Majority of the properties in NYC are apartments, and buyer must submit a board package for the Board of Directors’ approval on the apartment purchase.  Condo usually has fewer requirements and the procedures are relatively simple. Coop apartments are more stringent, usually, buyer needs to show employment verification, bank statements to show assets, tax returns, letters of recommendation and other documents.  A Coop Board will also ask to interview all prospective occupants who will be residing in the unit.  A Coop board can reject the buyer if the buyer’s qualifications are not satisfactory to the board.  In this case, you will need to re-listing your property.  Therefore, it is very important to fully understand the buyer's background and purchasing power.

Closing

At the time of closing, all parties (buyers, sellers, lawyers, brokers) will gather together to sign a large number of documents, buyer will pay the remaining amount either in cash or through mortgage, and the seller will deliver the keys. 

How do I Help You

The period between receiving offer to closing is often the most critical period, many unexpected events may occur that cause the deal to fall through.  Some most common obstacle on selling a home can be buyer backing out of the deal before signing contract, buyer not able to obtain mortgage or being rejected by the board.  When the property needs to be back on the market, valuable time will be lost, and may adversely affect the value of the property.

 

As an experience agent who has dealt with many unexpected situations, I can help you in this process to ensure that the deal is closed successfully and smoothly.  Below is a summary of my service during this critical period:

 

  • Receive offers from brokers and direct buyers and ensure that their offers are substantiated with adequate financial and pre-approval documentation

  • Present all offers and work with you to complete the best possible deal for the sale of your home

  • I will use my negotiating skills to obtain the best price and terms that the property will command

  • Upon acceptance of an offer to purchase I will facilitate the submission of the transaction details and offer terms to your attorney and all relevant building documents to the Buyer's attorney for their due diligence review

  • Ensure that all parties involved in the transaction (seller, buyer, attorneys, lenders, appraisers, managing agent, etc.) are communicating and moving the sale forward as expeditiously as possible

  • Assist, thoroughly prepare, and submit the Board's Purchase/Resale Package, as well as prepare the buyer(s) for the personal interview before the coop Board

  • Liaise with the managing agent and their transfer department regarding the status and approval of the board package Conduct final walkthrough with the buyers and address any issues that should arise

FIRPTA (Foreign Person only) - 15% of the purchase price for tax withholding.  However, seller may apply for reduced or elimination of the withholding.  Please consult your accountant or lawyer on this matter.

Disclaimer: Costs can change and vary for some transactions. All information is subject to errors, omissions and changes in facts or circumstances.  Check with bank/mortgage broker for additional fees.  Always consult your attorney before signing a contract.

 

71 W 23rd St, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10010

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© 2016 by Wen Hsu, a member of City Connections Realty Inc. 

City Connections Realty, Inc. supports Equal Housing Opportunity. The federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to advertise "any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make such preference, limitation or discrimination." We will not knowingly accept or permit any advertisement for real estate that is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised are available on an equal opportunity basis.