116 Powerful Questions to Ask a Realtor® Before You Sign a Listing Contract to Sell Your Home
  1. How long have you been selling real estate?
  2. What is the percent of Sellers compared to Buyers that you serve?
  3. Do you have a licensed personal assistant or back-up support system?
  4. What systems do you have in place that will keep you in constant contact with me during the listing and the transaction?
  5. Are you fully automated with your own personal computer, fax machine, copier, pager, mobile phone, etc.?
  6. May I see all the paperwork that you are going to ask me to sign?
  7. How much time and money do you invest each month in professional training?
  8. Why are you personally motivated to sell my house?
  9. Why should I list with your company rather than any other company that is calling on me?
  10. How many homes does your company sell in a year?
  11. Will you personally be there when contracts are presented and handle all the negotiations?
  12. Do you have a web site?
  13. Will you directly market my property on the Internet?
  14. Do you follow-up on all showings on the house and report the comments back to me?
  15. What part of your business is from referrals/past clients?
  16. Do you market with direct mailings on my property?

It's likely that you don't interview people very often. And yet, in order to find the REALTOR® who is right for you, you may interview several. The quality of your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the person best qualified.

It's interesting that in the real estate business, someone with many successfully closed transactions usually COSTS THE SAME as someone who is inexperienced. Bringing that experience to bear on your transaction could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with the minimum amount of hassles.

The world is populated with REALTORS® who are wrong for you. For example, the housewife who sells an occasional house because she needs a little pocket change, or the insurance salesman who believes he can handle two careers, or perhaps your cousin, who really needs your business.

The sale of your home could well be the most important financial transaction you have ever been involved with. The person you select can make it a satisfying and profitable activity, or a terrible experience. It's your home, and your money. The choice of your REALTOR® is up to you. Make the selection carefully and be sure to contact a RE/MAX® Kelowna REALTOR® for a comprehensive marketing plan for your home.

2Home Inspections

Buying a home may well be the largest financial investment you will ever make. Naturally you will want to know as much as possible about the property before you finalize the purchase at closing.

It's important to hire a knowledgeable, independent home inspector for advise on the overall condition of the property. The purchase contract usually requires specific time periods for each inspection, and it's critical that these time frames be met. Usually the cost for any and all inspections and re-inspections are paid by the Buyer. Prices can range from $350 to $500 for whole-house inspections.

Many can be found in the yellow pages or ask your RE/MAX® REALTOR® who can provide a list of several of each to choose from.

3Facing Foreclosure

Foreclosure is a process in which a lender attempts to recover the amount owed on an outstanding property loan once there is a default of payments. This is usually done by selling or taking ownership (repossession) of the property. The foreclosure process begins once the lender files a public notice of default (NOD), or in some states a lis pendens (LIS).

Once an NOD is filed, the property officially enters a grace period known as pre-foreclosure (length determined depending on state). Pre-foreclosure offers the borrower an opportunity to do several things before the property is repossessed and/or sold, and ultimately reported on their credit history.

  1. The borrower can reinstate the loan by paying off the default amount plus fees.
  2. The borrower may negotiate a Loan Modification with the existing lender.
  3. The borrower can sell the property to a third party and pay off the outstanding loan(s).

Once the pre-foreclosure period has ended and the loan remains outstanding, the bank then repossess the property to secure the loan. Usually, the lender takes ownership of the property with the intent to re-sell.

Local foreclosure laws will differ from state to state. Some states follow non-judicial foreclosure procedures and others require the lender to sue the borrower before taking ownership of a property in default.

Facing Foreclosure

1. The First 30 Days

Your troubles actually begin as soon as you miss the first payment. Some lenders may not contact you until a second payment is missed, however the initial late payment and every succeeding delinquency will be reported on your credit. Each time you miss a payment, your credit score depresses and the lender tacks on late fees, which are in addition to your delinquent payment(s).

If you intend to repay missed payments, the sooner you contact your lender, the better. Most lenders will work with you as a measure of protecting their own investment, and are likely to reconsider the foreclosure process if you make efforts towards righting your delinquency.

Many lenders today offer several solutions (depending on the validated circumstances) for people who have fallen behind on their payments including:

  • Temporarily reducing and/or waiving payments
  • Adding the unpaid balance to the principal of your loan, which may increase your payments or extend the loan term to cover the deficit
  • Setting up short-term repayment plans

2. 90 Days

As soon as you become 90 days delinquent in your payments, the bank can file an NOD. Some lenders may take longer to file depending on their individual procedures and/or your current work out progress. The lender will also send you a letter stating that the foreclosure process will initiate if you do not make good on your delinquent payments.

3. Another 90 Days

Again, foreclosure regulations vary from state to state. Once the NOD is filed, borrowers typically have another 90 days before the lender files a notice of sale (NOS) to repay the delinquent payments, late fees and any legal fees the lender has incurred. At this time, if you are able to repay the delinquency in full, some lenders will re-instate your loan while others may insist that you re-finance with another lender (which will be challenging due to negative results already on your credit report).

4. Your Final Options

If a loan modification or refinance isn't possible, your final options are as follows:

  • Sell the House

    A quick sale (before the NOS) could be your best option if you have enough value in your home to pay off your mortgage in full. You'll preserve what's left of your credit score and possibly walk away with some equity (cash), leaving you in a better position should you want to purchase another property in the future.

  • Offer the Deed

    If you cannot payoff your loan with the sale of your property, but are not severely delinquent on your payments, you can propose giving the lender the deed to your home in return for being released from your loan. Some lenders will agree to this in order to limit further legal costs, which are commonly associated with foreclosures, from being incurred. Lenders may require you to make a serious effort towards selling your home before they will consider taking a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

  • Negotiate a Short Sale

    A better option than foreclosure, short sale can be a solution for paying off your loan if you owe substantially more on your home than it's worth. You must negotiate with the lender to accept less than is owed on your outstanding loan. You effectively sell the property for what you can get, and the lender agrees not to go after you for the deficit.

    It is important to understand that a short sale can still damage your credit score, often appearing as a "settlement" which indicates that you paid less than you owed. You could also be presented with a tax bill for the unpaid debt, which is generally considered as debt forgiveness, or income to you. An experienced attorney may be able to avoid, or at the least minimize these consequences, so consider getting professional (legal and/or accounting) help.

    This is a stressful time for many families. A REALTOR® can certainly help you make the best of this situation. If short sale is an option you are considering, a seasoned REALTOR® should be part of your professional team. When interviewing potential agents, be sure to inquire about their experience with short sales and find out if they hold any designations for buying and selling distressed properties.

  • Proceed with Foreclosure
    Educate yourself with professionals. Foreclosure is usually the worst option and in some states, lenders can take you to court for any deficit between the outstanding loan and what the home sold for during foreclosure. Regardless of worst-case scenarios, you are not alone and the damage to your credit is not permanent. If your financial situation should improve, you may be able to get another loan, with a reasonable interest rate, in a few years.

    This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a REALTOR® professional for more information on making a written offer.

4Find Your Dream Home

A home isn't simply a structure with floors, walls and ceilings. Your home is a place of laughter, comfort and security. It's a place where children play and memories are made. Finding the right home is like finding a partner with which to share the most important moments of your life.

At RE/MAX our goal isn't simply to sell you a home. Our agents are committed to finding for you the home you've always dreamed of owning.

Throughout the Okanagan, with such a wide assortment of home styles and unique communities from which to choose, matching you with that dream home is what we do best.

It may be that perfect, urban condominium, rich with modern features, style and chic design, just minutes from restaurants, entertainment and shopping. Or maybe it's that quiet, craftsman style single family home in a peaceful neighbourhood, ideal for raising the kids and within walking distance of parks and schools.

Whatever your dream home may be, our RE/MAX specialists will take the time to work with you, listen to your needs and match you with the ideal home that perfectly suits your lifestyle and your future goals. We'll find the perfect place to help you realize your dreams, a place that's home base for years of making memories.

5Buying a Property in Foreclosure

Foreclosure is a process in which a lender attempts to recover the amount owed on an outstanding property loan once there is a default of payments. This is usually done by selling or taking ownership (repossession) of the property. The foreclosure process begins once the lender files a public notice of default (NOD), or in some states a lis pendens (LIS).

Once an NOD is filed, the property officially enters a grace period known as pre-foreclosure (length determined depending on state). Pre-foreclosure offers the borrower an opportunity to do several things before the property is repossessed and/or sold, and ultimately reported on their credit history.

  1. The borrower can reinstate the loan by paying off the default amount plus fees.
  2. The borrower may negotiate a Loan Modification with the existing lender.
  3. The borrower can sell the property to a third party and pay off the outstanding loan(s).

Should a loan remain outstanding once the pre-foreclosure period has ended, the bank then repossess the property to secure the loan. Usually, the lender takes ownership of the property with the intent to re-sell.

Good foreclosure deals are available, however buyers need to be cautious. Tax or mechanic’s liens placed on a property can drive up the purchase price. Once you have located a property you are interested in purchasing, it is important to have your REALTOR® check the property records for these kinds of contingencies.

It is also crucial for buyers to come educated about local state foreclosure laws, which differ from state to state.  Some states follow non-judicial foreclosure procedures and others require the lender to sue the borrower before taking ownership of a property in default.

Buying a Foreclosure

1. Get Financed

To be considered a serious buyer, sellers want to know that you are financially positioned to purchase the property. The best way to do this is to get pre-qualified before engaging in any negotiations. Work with a lender who has experience with the foreclosure process and who can guide you through the crucial steps of dealing with this kind of purchase (if you don’t have a trusted lender, your REALTOR® can recommend one). Your lender should provide you with a ‘loan pre-qualification letter’.  Obtaining financing information helps you understand what you can afford, and enables you to move quickly once you find a property that you want to purchase.

2. Contact Your REALTOR®

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or experienced investor, it is always wise to work with a REALTOR® when dealing with foreclosures. When interviewing potential agents, be sure to inquire about their experience with foreclosure properties and find out if they hold any designations for buying and selling distressed properties.

3. Contact the Seller

Depending on the progression of the foreclosure, the seller will either be: the property owner in default; the trustee; or the foreclosing lender.

  • Owner in Default The seller will be the owner in default during pre-foreclosure. Pre-foreclosure typically offers investors and homebuyers the best bargains, but it can also be a difficult stage to purchase a distressed home, as the lender often has the final say.

Buying a property during pre-foreclosure involves making an offer to buy directly to the owner in default. The owner may or may not know they are being foreclosed upon, and will undoubtedly be under a lot of stress, making negotiations difficult. If the purchase offer is less than the secured loan(s), then the lender(s) must also be included in the negotiations.  It is important to remember that pre-foreclosure can last several months, so patience is essential when considering this purchase tactic.

Aside from the challenges of pre-foreclosure, selling the property before foreclosure can offer the owner in default an opportunity to walk away with some of the equity in their property, and avoid damaging their credit history. The buyer may also benefit here, with more time to research the title and condition of the property, and often times realize good discounts below market value!

  • Trustee If the loan is not reinstated by the end of the pre-foreclosure period, the property is sold at a public auction. Commonly, buyers are required to pay cash at auction and time is limited (if any), to research the title and condition of the property beforehand. Public auction can offer great bargains however, and buyers are able to avoid dealing directly with the owner in default.

When bidding on a property at public auction, you should be aware that you are competing with seasoned investors. Remember that cash is typically required to buy, and if there are any money encumbrances (i.e. tax liens, mechanics liens or second or third mortgages) you will be responsible for paying them off in full as the new owner. You’ll want to evaluate a property’s value by checking for money encumbrances before auction whenever possible.

Auctions can be postponed and/or canceled, so it is always a good idea to contact the trustee/attorney to confirm dates and times once you locate a property, as well as the day before the property is scheduled for auction. The trustee/attorney will always have the most accurate information concerning auction dates.

  • Foreclosing Lender If the property is Bank Owned (REO – meaning “Real Estate Owned”), you will need to contact the lender directly through their REO or asset management department. You can then inquire about viewing and presenting offers on the property. With REO properties, the lender will usually clear the title, but the potential bargain is often less than pre-foreclosure and auction properties.

Some homebuyers receive government-guaranteed financing, which includes loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). When these properties go into foreclosure, they are repossessed by the federal government and sold by real estate brokers who work for the government. Buyers interested in purchasing government-owned foreclosures must have a government-registered broker write the purchase agreement.

4. Make an Offer

To gauge the potential bargain of any property, you need the property’s estimated market value, the amount of the outstanding loan, and the total of any other money encumbrances on the property. Add together the outstanding loans and encumbrances, plus any estimated repair costs, and subtract that total from the estimated market value of the property.

You will be able to decide what you are willing to offer on the property based on your results from the bargain formula above, and your available cash and loan pre-qualification letter. An offer should fall somewhere below the market value of the property, but above the total outstanding loans and encumbrances.

How you make an offer will depend on the status of the property and who is currently holding ownership. If the property is in pre-foreclosure, your offer will be presented directly to the owner in default and/or the foreclosing lender. If the property is selling at auction, your offer, or bid, will be made at the auction. If the property is bank owned, offers will be presented to the lender via their REALTOR® representative.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a REALTOR® professional for more information on making a written offer.
6What price home can I afford?

As a "rule of thumb" you can afford to buy a home equal in price to twice your gross annual income. More precisely, the price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors:

  1. Your income
  2. The amount of cash you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender.
  3. Your outstanding debts
  4. Your credit history
  5. The type of mortgage you select
  6. Current interest rates

Lenders will analyze your income in relation to your projected cost of the home and outstanding debts. This will determine the size loan you can borrow. Your housing expense-to-income ratio is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment on your loan, property taxes and heat (utilities). The sum of these costs is referred to as "PITH."

7How do I find out about the condition of the home I'm considering?

First and foremost it is strongly recommended that you hire a professional person to inspect the home. Many inspectors belong to the Canadian Associated Home Property Inspectors (CAHPI). They attend seminars and stay abreast of the latest developments.

Secondly British Columbia require sellers to complete a Property Disclosure Statement revealing everything known about their property. Home sellers are required to indicate any significant defects or malfunctions existing in the home's major systems. Review this form in detail prior to purchasing any home or condo.

8How low can I consider offering?

There are always some sellers who for some reason must sell quickly, however in general, a very low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately. In a strong buyer's market, the below-market offer will usually either be accepted or generate a counteroffer. If few offers are being made, an outright rejection of offers becomes unlikely. In a strong seller's market, offers are often higher than full price. While it is true that offers at or above full price are more likely to be accepted by the seller, there are other considerations involved:

1. Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, such an offer, even at full price, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition.

2. Is the offer made on the house "as is," or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs before closing or make a price concession instead?

3. Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, then an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency.

9How and what do I negotiate?

Different sellers price houses very differently. Some deliberately overprice, others ask for pretty close to what they hope to get and a few (maybe the cleverest) underprice their houses in the hope that potential buyers will compete and overbid. A seller's advertised price should be treated only as a rough estimate of what they would like to receive.

If possible try to learn about the seller's motivation. For example, a lower price with a quick closing may be more acceptable to someone who must move due to a job transfer. People going through a divorce or are eager to move into another home are frequently more receptive to lower offers.

Some buyers believe in making deliberate low-ball offers. While any offer can be presented to the seller, a low-ball offer often sours a prospective sale and discourages the seller from negotiating at all. And unless the house is extremely overpriced, the offer probably will be rejected anyway.

Before making an offer, also investigate how much comparable homes have sold for in the area so that you can determine whether the home is priced right.

10What about my down payment, should I put more or less down, if we can afford it?

Buyers using a small down payment also have a reserve for making unexpected improvements. It may be more prudent to make a larger down payment and thereby reduce the amount of debt that must be financed. Once a buyer puts twenty percent or more as a down payment on their desired home, they will waive the requirement for mortgage insurance.

Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price. Mortgage loan insurance protects lenders against mortgage default, and enables consumers to purchase homes with as little as 5% down payment - with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment.

To obtain mortgage loan insurance, lenders pay an insurance premium. Typically, your lender will pass this cost on to you. The premium payable is based on a percentage of the home's purchase price that is financed by a mortgage. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum or it can be added to your mortgage and included in your monthly payments.

Mortgage insurance should not be confused with mortgage life insurance which guarantees that your remaining mortgage at the time of your death will not be a burden to your estate.

11What is title insurance?

Title insurance is a form of insurance in favor of an owner, lessee, mortgage or other holder of an estate lien, or other interest in real property. It indemnifies against loss up to the face amount of the policy, suffered by reason of title being vested otherwise than as stated, or because of defects in the title, liens and encumbrances not set forth or otherwise specifically excluded in the policy, whether or not in the public land records, and other matters included within the policy form, such as lack of access to the property, loss due to unmarketability of title, etc. The title policy form sets forth the specific risks insured against. Additional coverage of related risks may also be added by endorsements to the policy or by the inclusion of additional affirmation insurance to modify or supersede the impact of certain exceptions, exclusions or printed policy "conditions." The policy also protects the insured for liability on various warranties of title.

In addition, the policy provides protection in an unlimited amount against costs and expenses incurred in defending the insured estate or interest.

Before it issues a title policy, the title insurance company performs, or has performed for it, an extensive search, examination and interpretation of the legal effect of all relevant public records to determine the existence of possible rights, claims, liens or encumbrance that affect the property.

However, even the most comprehensive title examination, made by the most highly skilled attorney or lay expert, can not protect against all title defects and claims. These are commonly referred to as the "hidden risks." The most common examples of these hidden risks are fraud, forgery, alteration of documents, impersonation, secret marital status, incapacity of parties (whether they be individuals, corporations, trusts or any other type), and inadequate or lack of powers of REALTORS® or fiduciaries. Some other hidden risks include various laws and regulations that create or permit interests, claims and liens without requiring that they first be filed or recorded in some form so that the potential buyers and lenders can find them before parting with their money.

12What steps should I take when looking for a home loan?

It is strongly recommended that home buyers are prequalified or pre-approved for a loan as their first step in the process. By being prequalified, a buyer knows exactly how much house they can afford. They can make more informed decisions in the market place. This does not mean they will definitely get the loan because their credit reports, wages and bank statements still need to be verified before you can receive a commitment from the lender for the loan.

Almost all mortgage lenders prequalify people at no charge. Many of them will even do it on the internet. In order to be pre-approved, an application will be taken. For a fee, your credit report will be pulled, your employment and income will be verified, your chequeing and savings accounts will also be verified. In other words, all the necessary documentation will be completed in order for you to obtain a loan. The only things remaining will be for you to find a home, obtain an appraisal on it to prove its value to the bank and perform whatever inspections you may want on the property. This process considerably shortens the time frame to closing.

13Is it possible to negotiate interest rates?

Compare the mortgage charts published in most newspapers.

Occasionally some lenders are willing to negotiate on both the loan rate and the number of points. This isn't typical among many of the established lenders who set their rates. Nevertheless, it never hurts to shop around, know the market and try to get the best deal. Always look at the combination of interest rate and points and get the best deal possible. This is reflected in what is called the APR or Actual Percentage Rate.

The interest rate is much more open to negotiation on purchases that involve seller financing. Generally, these are based on market rates but some flexibility exists when negotiating such a deal.

14Is it better to buy a new home or a resale?

Sales price increases in either type of housing are strongly tied to location, growth in the local housing market and the state of the overall economy.

Some people feel that buying into a new-home community is a bit riskier than purchasing a house in an established neighbourhood. Future appreciation in value in either case depends upon many of the same factors. Others believe that a new home is less risky because things won't "wear out" and need replacement.

"Existing homes have been appreciating a little more than new homes but every once in awhile they're at the same level and sometimes the new home prices go up a little quicker" according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

One of the things to consider is "how long do you plan to stay in this home?" For instance if you are being relocated for a job transfer for a two year contract, perhaps an existing home is the way to go. It would be difficult to recapture the monies invested in a new home that are required to finish it, such as; drapery, landscaping & appliances. You may be better off purchasing an existing home which has all of these finishings done for you. Discuss this with your RE/MAX® Agent.

15Fixer-Uppers - Are they good or bad?

Planning is the key to a successful renovation. To help you plan your renovation project, your RE/MAX® REALTOR® has information and easy-to-understand tips that can help you assess your requirements and learn the key questions before you get started.

Distressed properties or fixer-uppers can be found everywhere. These properties are poorly maintained and have a lower market value than other houses in the neighbourhood. It is often recommended that buyers find the least desirable house in the best neighbourhood. You must consider if the expenses needed to bring the value of that property to its full potential market value are within your budget. Most buyers should avoid extremely run-down houses that need major structural repairs. Remember the movie "The Money Pit?" These properties should not be tackled without the professional guidance and assistance of trades persons who are in the repair business.

16Can you borrow the money to repair?

CMHC provides mortgage loan insurance for the purchase of a home and the cost of any immediate renovations, or for refinancing where funds are used to make improvements which increase the market value of the property.

Features:

  • Available for Purchase or Refinance Transactions
  • Used when the loan includes improvement costs that are less than or equal to
  • 10% of the property’s estimated as-improved value.
  • One easy transaction – once application is approved, Approved Lenders can
17Is there a good "return" for my efforts?

Remodeling a home improves its livability and enhances curb appeal, making it more saleable to potential buyers. Some of the popular improvement projects are updated kitchens and baths, enlarged master bedroom suits, home-office additions and increased amenities in older homes.

The resale market is often difficult because you are competing with new construction. You need to give your home every competitive advantage you can if you are selling an older home.

Home offices are a relatively new remodeling trend. Adding one to a house often recoups 58 percent of the costs, according to a survey found in a report called "Cost vs. Value Report" in Remodeling Magazine.

Before making major renovations consult your RE/MAX®.

18Are Foreclosures or Court Ordered Sales a good or bad idea?

The incidence of foreclosures is cyclical, based on national and regional economic trends.

Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale can be risky and dangerous. The process has many disadvantages.

A RE/MAX® Sales Representative is well versed on how Foreclosure Sales work. They will be able to guide you through the process. In particular, most Foreclosure Sales are sold "As Is". This means that the lender who is selling the property has no knowledge of the condition of the property and will not be responsible for any defects.

It is important to secure a property inspection and seek legal advice as to ramifications of purchasing a Foreclosure property.

19When buying a home how much does my real estate REALTOR® need to know?

Be sure to find out who your real estate REALTOR® is representing before you tell them too much. The degree of trust you have in a REALTOR® may depend upon their legal obligation of representation. An agency working with a buyer has three possible choices of representation. The REALTOR® can represent the buyer exclusively, called buyer agency, or represent the seller exclusively, called seller agency, or represent both the buyer and seller in a dual agency situation. Your RE/MAX® REALTOR® will disclose all possible agency relationships before they enter into a residential real estate transaction. Here is a summary of the three basic types:

1. In a traditional relationship, REALTORS® and brokers have a fiduciary relationship to the seller. Be aware that the seller pays the commission of both brokers, not just the one who lists and shows the property, but also to the sub-broker, who brings the ready, willing and able buyer to the table.

2. Dual agency exists if two REALTORS® working for the same broker represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction. A potential conflict of interest is created if the listing REALTOR® has advance knowledge of another buyer's offer. Therefore, REALTORS® practice "Limited Dual Agency" where both the buyer and seller agree in writing to be represented by the same firm under certain conditions. Under this type of representation the Brokerage agrees to deal with the Buyer and Seller impartially. Further the Brokerage will not disclose to the buyer that the seller will accept less than the list price, or disclose to the seller that the buyer will pay more than the offer price, without express written permission.

3. A buyer can hire an RE/MAX® REALTOR® who will represent their interests exclusively. A buyer's REALTOR® can perform enhanced services for the buyer, such as preparing a market analysis on the home they are buying as well as independently verifying information provided by the Sellers REALTOR® All information provided to the buyer's REALTOR® shall remain confidential and will not be relayed to the Seller's REALTOR®.

1How Long Will it Take to Sell My House?

Ordinarily, it takes 60 to 90 days to sell a home.Some will sell in a few days and some may take several months.

Buyers make their buying decision based on the comparison of logical and emotional appeal.

We receive the bulk of our Serious Interest in the First 30 Days of the life of a new listing.

We do not want your home to become stale dated… buyers asking “why this home has not yet sold?”

2Is There a Best Time to Sell My House?

Property sells year round. It is mostly a function of supply and demand, as well as other economic factors. The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes and the final selling price. Weather conditions are often a consideration in some provinces than in other parts of the country. Generally the real estate market picks up in the early spring.

During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates, many prospective home buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during mid-summer.

After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous, season which usually lasts into November. The market then slows again as buyers, sellers and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays.

The supply of homes on the market diminish because sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their homes off the market for the holidays. There are still buyers in the market place, but now those buyers have fewer homes to choose from. Those homes on the market at that time have considerably less competition. Generally speaking, you'll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells.

3Are There Important Factors to Consider When Selling a Home?

The two most important factors in selling a home are price and condition . The first step is to price it properly. Then, go through the house to see if there are any cosmetic defects that can be repaired.

A third factor is exposure. It is also important that the home gets the exposure it deserves through REALTOR® Tours, advertising, good signage, exposure on the internet and listing on the local multiple listing service.

Choose the real estate REALTOR® that you believe will get the job done, not the one that quotes you the highest price - sometimes just to buy your listing.

4How Much Is My Home Worth?

There are two methods many people use to determine their homes value, an appraisal and comparative market analysis.

Appraisals vary in cost and are defendable in court. They average about $300 for a single family home and more on multi-family dwellings. Appraisers review numerous factors and base information on recent sales of similar properties, their location, square footage, construction quality, excess land, views, water frontage and amenities such as garages, number of baths, etc.

A comparative market analysis on the other hand is an informal estimate of market value performed by your RE/MAX® REALTOR® or broker. It is based on sales and listings that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values will be determined thus arriving at a probable market value. Many REALTORs® offer a free analysis anticipating they will have a new client.

The analysis or opinion should be in writing and should involve professionally accepted appraisal techniques.

5What Should I Do to Get My House Ready?

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, "declutter" counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many "things" make it difficult for the buyer to see their possessions in your rooms or on your walls, however don't strip everything completely or it will appear stark and inhospitable. Then clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter, and possibly put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch. Talk to your RE/MAX® REALTOR® about what you can do to make your home "show ready"!

The second important thing to consider is "curb appeal." People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.

6Should I Make Repairs?

Minor repairs before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include a contingency "inspection clause" in the purchase contract which allows then to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers can attempt to negotiate repairs or lowering the price with the seller. Any known problems that are not repaired must be revealed as a material defect. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.

7What Are My Obligations to Disclose?

Items sellers often disclose include: defects, homeowners association dues: whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of any neighborhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice, such as any restrictions on the use of property, including but not limited to zoning ordinances or association rules.

8Must I Disclose the Terms of Other Offers?

No, according to experts, sellers do not have to disclose the terms of other offers. You may disclose the existence of other offers, so that all parties are aware that they should be submitting their best offer.

9Are There Standard Conditions in an Offer?

Yes, there a few basic Terms and Conditions that are often written into a purchase contract. Financing, review of Property Disclosure Statement, review of Title, Home Inspections and Insurance are a few.

10Should I Accepts the Terms and Conditions?

That often depends on if you are in a buyer's or a seller's market, the condition of your home, the price you hope to get, how motivated you are to sell, as well as the quality and quantity of the offers you are getting.

Any contingencies that are negotiated are written into your contract. Both the buyer and seller can place requirements on the table during the negotiation phase.

A frequently seen contingency is regarding the sale and closing of the buyers home before they can purchase yours. Whether this requirement is reasonable, or even achievable, depends on the individuals involved. Financial capabilities usually play a major role in negotiations. Few people can afford to own two homes simultaneously, except for some all-cash buyers. Your RE/MAX® REALTOR®'s experience will prove invaluable as they deal with contingencies as a regular course of business and can advise you as to the suitability or ramifications of contingency clauses.

11What Do I Do If My House Isn't Getting Activity?

Even in a slow market, price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home.

If a home is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell it is probably because it is overpriced for the market. The first step is to lower the price. Then go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed that can be repaired.

The second step is to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through REALTOR® Tours, internet exposure, advertising, good signage and a listing on the multiple listing service.

A third option is to remove the home from the market and wait for overall housing conditions to improve and catch up to the price your asking.

Finally, frustrated sellers who have no equity and are forced to sell because of a long term illness, divorce or financial considerations should discuss a short sale or a deed in lieu of a foreclosure with their mortgage lender and their RE/MAX® REALTOR®.

12How Will a Foreclosure Effect My Credit?

Without a doubt a property foreclosure is one of the most damaging events in terms of the borrower's credit history.

Talking to the lender who holds the mortgage note on the property might provide specific answers as the possible courses of action available to the borrower, as well as to the effects those actions might have on that person's credit report.

In terms of the effect on credit history, a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale are not as adverse an event as is the forced foreclosure.

However, even after a foreclosure or bankruptcy, there are lenders who are providing loans after 7-10 years have lapsed. The borrower will have many obstacles to overcome and will need to provide a good paper trail to the lender proving they are once again credit worthy.

13How Long Will a Bankruptcy or Foreclosure Stay on My Credit Report?

Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. However, there are lenders who will consider an applicant who went through a bankruptcy as recently as two years ago, as long as good credit has been reestablished. Much will depend on when the bankruptcy was discharged and what kind of credit a borrower has reestablished since then. The longer ago the discharge occurred, the better off a loan applicant will be. Another factor considered will be the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy. If a borrower went through a bankruptcy because his or her company had financial difficulties due to downsizing or merger resulting in job loss, that means one thing to a lender. If, however, a borrower went through bankruptcy because of overextended personal credit lines from living beyond their means, that means quite a different thing.

14Is It Possible to Refinance after Bankruptcy?

Although a good idea, it is usually difficult to refinance after a bankruptcy. If you have been struggling but keeping current on your payments the lender may be accommodating. You first need to contact them and explain your situation. They may suggest or perhaps you can suggest a way to work out alternative payments until you recover.

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