Most Common Questions Asked By Sellers in Lake Forest
We chose the most popular questions we have received from our home sellers in Lake Forest over the years.
It's amazing how many important decisions homeowners have to make throughout the marketing, listing, negotiating and closing process. Even our seasoned real estate investors get stumped on occasion with a unique scenario.
Our real estate team has been helping local Lake Forest buyers and sellers for many years, so please call us directly at (949) 813-9950 if you have a question or challenge that we can help you with.
That is a decision you and possibly with the advice of your attorney, CPA, financial planner or estate planner need to decide on your own. We can discuss the market conditions or politics that may be favorable in selling right now, but a real estate agent (unless a licensed attorney, CPA or financial planner), cannot legally tell you what will be best for your financial future.
However, we can provide you with a ton of information about local real estate market trends, neighborhood comps, the general buyer/seller atmosphere and other real estate related topics that can help you make a confident and informed decision.
The last thing we want to do is indirectly persuade you to make a decision based on what “we” think is best for you.
There are a few more specific questions listed below that relate to this topic that you should be asking.
Remember that first impressions leave a lasting emotional impact. Clean up your entryway, repaint or replace the front door, open up your floor plan by eliminating unnecessary furniture or decorations and clear the counter tops in the kitchen, as well as closets and cabinets.
There are a number of low-cost and DIY home improvement projects that will also help improve the perceived value of your property. From a coat of fresh paint to a minor kitchen renovation to replace dated appliances or counters, a few basic upgrades may help you make a lasting impression with a buyer.
Obviously, it also depends on whether or not we're in a seller's or buyer's market.
Simple economics is the rule of thumb here. Everyone wants to “buy low and sell high,” but the truth of the matter is there is no way that can happen for everyone, every time.
Seller’s Market = More buyers than sellers (or available properties)
Buyers Market = More sellers (or available properties) than buyers
When there is limited inventory that multiple buyers are competing for, then sellers generally have the advantage of accepting the most favorable offer they receive. An experienced real estate agent representing a buyer knows how to present attractive offers that may be considered by a seller.
It is possible to sell if your mortgage balance is higher than what a current appraisal would reflect. This process is called a short sale, and it would require approval from your mortgage lien holders.
A short sale is a negotiated settlement in which a short pay occurs, and a lender agrees to accept less than the amount owed to payoff a home loan as an alternative to foreclosure.
The lender often agrees to a short sale because they know if they take the property back through foreclosure they will often incur an even greater loss.
This depends on what rental rates are in your neighborhood compared to your overall budget, and whether or not you need to sell in order to qualify for a new mortgage.
We’ll obviously need to do a little more research before we can come up with an answer that makes sense based on true facts and figures.
Your decision of hiring a property management company vs playing landlord is something to consider with this question as well.
A listing appointment is part discovery and interview where both a seller and real estate agent sit down to look at numbers, marketing strategy, neighborhood comps and a number of other important topics to determine:
If there is a decision to move forward, then the seller and agent sign a series of papers that define the nature of the agent/seller relationship and responsibilities.
The short answer is for as much as you want.
The real estate agent’s job is to help guide you in this decision based on what the market will dictate, taking into consideration your other needs such as speed, viewing visibility or whether or not we have to negotiate a short sale with the bank.
Be cautious though of agents who “allow” you to set a price higher than what may be reasonable in the current market.
For example, if two agents recommend a listing price of $400,000, but a third thinks that $550,000 is achievable, then it may be apparent that someone didn’t do their homework. Or even worse, they are trying to lock you into a contract.
The amount of inventory has changed as a result of the number of short sales, foreclosures and availability of mortgage programs to buyers.
Between 2002 and 2007 there were mortgage programs that fit just about every borrower’s credit, income and down payment scenario. Lending restrictions are tighter in this market, which has made it challenging to sell specific types of properties at certain price ranges.
Agents who don’t understand this new mortgage lending environment can negatively impact a seller who accepts offers from borrowers who may not qualify, or denying offers from borrowers based on a loan program the agent doesn’t understand.
For example, an FHA 203k or other related Renovation Lending mortgage program will allow a buyer to purchase a property and finance in a certain amount of upgrades. Because these government insured/endorsed mortgage programs are not widely known by most real estate agents, some sellers spend thousands of their own dollars preparing a home for show when they could have instead marketed to a different type of buyer who would have preferred to add their own paint, carpet and kitchen upgrades themselves.
Dealing with banks, negotiating through attorneys and working with a seller under stressful life circumstances has made the business of short sales overwhelming for the industry as a whole.
Besides the real estate inventory and buying trends, the process of actually marketing properties has drastically changed.
Buyers can now preview all available homes online without having to contact a real estate agent first. This new technology requires listing agents to step up their game and provide better photos, video, property descriptions and well search engine optimized web pages that can be spread throughout the social media channels.
If an agent’s value proposition is simply to place your home on the MLS, throw a sign in the yard, buy an ad in the newspaper (are those still around?) and commit to a few open houses, then you may want to consider interviewing a few other agents.
You should ensure that you make it clear to the buyer what the price of the house includes and what you will leave behind.
Unless agreed to in the purchase contract, the seller leaves all items that are fixed to the property, which includes lights, built-in appliances, dishwashers and other upgrades.