How do I sell a home in Alabama?

Nov 24, 2020 General

There’s a million reasons someone decides to sell: you’ve outgrown your house, you’re children are grown, you have saved for your dream home, you’re relocating, you need something in the city, you want to live in the country. Whatever the reason you want to sell, your home is one of your largest investments so you want to be sure and plan this out to get the most out of this long-term investment. It’s a big undertaking and you may be asking yourself where do I get started? Here at South Oak Title we’d like to offer you some great information on how to successfully sell your home.
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Getting your home ready to go on the market

There are lots of great resources on how to prep your house for going on the market. A good Real Estate agent (see below) will be able to assist you too. Till then there are some basic steps in getting your home ready to sell.

  1. Step one is to de-personalize it. De-personalizing your home allows potential buyers to perceive your house as their potential home. Remove family elements such as photos, trophies, collectibles, knick-knacks.
  2. Step two is de-clutter. This is a major step in preparing your home for the market. Whether you realize it or not through the years you collect large quantities of ‘stuff’. Potential buyers will be opening cabinets, drawers, closets and looking for space. Removing clutter will have your house looking move in ready and allow potential buyers to see how much space they have. Wherever possible clean out and donate. Store anything not in immediate use, the cleaner and emptier storage areas such as closets are the bigger they look and that is often a huge deciding factor in a home. Other areas to consider clutter are storage areas, your yard, excess furniture.
  3. Step three, clean-up. Consider your walls and ceilings. If you have personalized with bold colors or if there are water spots or dirt you may want to consider cleaning and putting a fresh neutral color on the walls and ceilings. Carpets – it’s almost always advisable to do a good carpet cleaning before putting your house on the market, floors make a major impression. If you have outdated or worn out carpet consider putting down inexpensive neutral carpet. Odor Control will also be a factor if you smoke or have pets. Consider eliminating smoking in your home or cutting back while on the market. If you have pets keep them bathed and their space as clean as possible. Look into an ozone spray that will help remove the odors versus just masking them.

Curb Appeal

Before a potential buyer even looks at the interior the exterior will give them a first impression and often be a factor on if they will even look further. Walk through your neighborhood and compare your homes yard and exterior to others. If it looks better than most then you are already ahead of the game. Is your landscaping comparable to others in your neighborhood? If not consider purchasing and planting a few bushes and flowers. Flowers offer a vibrant welcome and a good first impression. Your lawn should be well maintained and any loose leaves or grass cuttings should be raked up. If you feel the outside of your house looks tired you may want to consider the big decision of painting. It’s often a very good investment and really makes a difference in the asking price from potential home buyers. Other critical items on your list should be making sure your roof is in good standing, your back yard is well maintained and clean and lastly take extra care with your entryway/front door. Clean windows, fresh welcome mat, polished fixtures and a nice clean door are easy ways to make a huge impression in your entryway.

Selecting a Realtor

It’s a daunting task to try and go it alone selling your home. Hiring the right agent can provide you access to knowledge, marketing and buyers that otherwise you would not have. It can help the process go smoother and more quickly. They will help you establish a fair asking price, promote your house to other agents providing maximum exposure, advertise your home, schedule appointments, weed out buyers who are not financially qualified, and they can help negotiate with potential buyers.

You should choose an agent who you feel comfortable with, that demonstrates honesty and seems to really understand your expectations. They should be prepared to be with you throughout the whole home-selling process. Consider interviewing 2-3 agents before making your decision. If you need help finding some great agents in your area, call us and we’ll be happy to give you some proven names.

Some good guidelines in choosing an agent:

  • They should be familiar with your community.
  • Seek experience and proven reputations, asking how many homes they have successfully sold last year, this year, this month.
  • A good listener and someone who provides you honest feedback on what you need to do to sell.
  • Ask if they are a member of the Board of Realtors and continuing their education.
  • Ask the agents you are interviewing for referrals.

If you are talking to a referral ask:

  • What they were like to deal with?
  • How hard did they work for you?
  • Do you feel they were honest?
  • How long did their house stay on the market?
  • Did they feel they got a good deal?
  • Were there complications?
  • Do you feel they looked out for your best interest?
  • Would you use them again?

After interviewing multiple agents consider the following before making a final decision. How fast did they return your call? Which seemed to have the highest skills and a desire to serve? Which seemed most knowledgeable about the community and which did you feel most comfortable with? Which presented me a marketing plan for selling my home?

In the end, rely on your instincts and choose the best personality fit for your family. Regularly communicate with the agent you choose and let them know often if your expectations are or are not being met. If you don’t tell them, they can’t fix it.

Showing your house to potential buyers

Your house should always be available to show, this may be occasionally inconvenient for you but crucial to getting it seen and sold. Your agent will probably suggest a lock box placed in a convenient location that will make it easier for other agents to show your home. Most will call and give you a couple hours notice before showing your property. When showing there are some important things to do to successfully promote your home.

Leave. If at all possible do not be home when someone looks at the house. Being in the home when a showing is occurring can make the potential buyers feel like intruders and almost always lends itself to an offer not being made. Remember you want them to feel this could be their home.

If you know someone is coming – night or day – turn on all your lighting. This brightens up your home even on sunny days and will make it more welcoming.

Some other basics is keep the house neat, clean and clutter free. Take out all trash and avoid strong fragrances throughout the house. If you have a pet it’s best to take them with you or make sure your agents notes the pet in the listing.

Some extras that can go a long way include fresh flowers, warm cookies, soft music. If you have the resources you may want to consult a local designer about staging your home.

Getting an offer and closing the deal

Once a buyer is interested they will present a written offer to your real estate agent. With your real estate agents assistance you can choose to accept the offer, decline it or start negotiations. A well-drawn contract should protect all parties. It should include: the offering price, down payment, legal description of the property, method of conveying the title, fees to be paid and who will pay them, amount of a deposit, conditions under which the seller and buyer can void the contract, the settlement date, financing arrangements, a list of appliances, furnishings and personal property that are being sold with the home.

Once you accept a contract you then look at closing on the deal.

What is involved in a real estate closing?

Generally all steps in a closing are handled by the title and closing agency laid out in your contract. Usually the seller is the one in Alabama who decides who will be the title and closing agency. It is our hope, you will have asked your Realtor to use South Oak Title & Closing for your title and closing agent.

At closing, buyer and seller along with (in most cases) the buyer’s lender and an attorney who is acting as the closing agent will be in attendance.

The closing agent’s job is to make sure that all necessary documents are signed and verified and that the money from the sale and/or refinance of the property is properly disbursed.

Once you’ve closed on your home you will be in the process of packing and moving out. When you have to vacate the home is one of the negotiables in your contract.

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