Emotionally letting go of a property may be tough, but selling it can be tougher if you are not familiar with the market and the process. First-time home sellers are encouraged to hire an agent, even if it involves a hefty commission, because the stress and confusion of selling a house on your own may not be worth the 6%. If buyers also sense that you are not familiar with what you are doing, the buyer may pull back because who would want to do business with someone who has no credibility, right?
Other common reasons that could cause a deal to fall through include:
- Undisclosed property issues – even band-aid solutions to the house can be discovered by a diligent buyer, so you’ll need to disclose everything and be reasonable with your asking price
- Low appraisal – financers can approve an appraisal price that is lower than the purchase price, which puts the buyer in a bad financial situation
- Issues with the paperwork – buyers are not always patient if you have issues with the property title and other relevant documents, especially when they find another similarly attractive house with a clean title
- Buyers having cold feet – buying a house is a long-term commitment, and it involves a lot of emotional and mental preparation. It can be easy for a buyer to say that he/she is ready for this kind of commitment, but it isn’t always true.
If it’s your first time selling your house in Georgia, it would be best not to rush things. If you can even allocate time to study and read about the Georgia real estate market before you put your house on sale, the better. Here are a few other things to remember:
Deciding How to Sell Your House
“What would be the most appropriate way to sell my house?”. You might ask, how is this a question? Doesn’t selling a house simply involve advertising the sale, waiting for an interested buyer, and signing papers? Well, yes, those are the general steps of selling a house, but there’s more work to it than it lets on. With this, you’ll have to decide where you are going to sell your house and if you’ll be needing additional help to sell it.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
Selling a house without the help of a broker is not something new. This has always been the traditional way when the supply and demand of houses weren’t as extreme as they are today. Because of the internet, the market reach for FSBO properties also widened. If you are planning to sell your Georgia house on your own and don’t have a potential buyer yet, you can list your property on:
- Your listing will also appear on the GAMLS, Realtor.com, Redfin, and Zillow
- You can set your buyer’s agent commission to $0
- Flat fees between $249 – $999
- Cheapest plan ($249) lets you post your listing for three months
- If you avail of the $99.95 plan, your listing will also appear on Redfin
- If you avail of the $399.95, your listing will also appear on Zillow, Realtor.com, and the GAMLS
- The $399.95 plan has a 3% buyer’s agent commission by default
- Excellent for sellers who wish to post videos of the property
- One of the oldest, yet sturdy, online platforms servicing FSBO properties
- Your listing will only appear on their website and will be exclusive to For Sale By Owner users/buyers (good thing there are more than 200,000 of them, though!)
- Offers free basic listing
- $399 plan connects you with an agent from Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC
- Let’s you post 3D home tours and online house brochures
- You can customize your sale process
- Offers plans that provide yard signs, a transaction coordinator, an open house manager, visibility on Redfin, visibility on MLS, and more
- Offers free basic listing
- Paid plans range from $95 – $395
- Two of the most popular online listing sites
- Different websites but same owner
- Offers a Zestimate (a tool used to estimate the price of your home)
- Offers crime data statistics of your area (Trulia)
Real Estate Broker
If you are not yet confident in selling your house by yourself, hiring a real estate broker is another great option. A broker will help you:
- Increase your property’s visibility on the GAMLS and other listing websites
- price your home based on a credible comparative market analysis
- draft your contracts
- handle your open house
- screen potential buyers
- find a buyer faster because of their network
- advice you on how you can qualify for a home seller’s tax break
Moreover, if your buyer is transacting through an agent, the agent may use a lot of real estate jargon that you might not recognize. A trusted real estate will keep you from being placed at a losing end just because you do not understand the terms and situation 100%. But remember that even veteran real estate agents can make mistakes. So the secret really is to also do your own due diligence in studying the market and the processes.
Professional Home Buyers
Selling via FSBO or a real estate agent means that you are open to selling your house on the market. This is great in terms of profits because you get to sell at market price. However, selling on the market is not always practicable for people who need to sell their property fast. Likewise, if you need to sell your house for cash as soon as possible, listing the property on the market may be disheartening. This is because a lot of on-the-market buyers still need financing to be able to buy your house.
Hence, if you need to sell your home fast for cash, fix & flip investors and professional home buyers are your next best option. These people buy properties with the intent of selling them again in the future.
House flippers have been around since the 1980s. And in the last few years (since 2014, to be exact), another breed of professional home buyers started to emerge — the iBuyers (or Instant Buyers). These companies can create a purchase offer faster than you eating a bowl of your favorite snack. Some of the most trusted iBuyers are Opendoor, Offerpad, Zillow Offers, and RedfinNow.
These iBuyers claim to have robust, market data-backed estimates of your home. However, if you want to double-check and have more offer options, you can also contact local professional home buyers that may be more familiar with your county’s real estate market.
Figuring Out How Much Your Home Is Worth
There are two complementary ways to know how much you can sell your Georgia house for. One is based on a comprehensive appraisal report. And the second is based on your neighborhood comps.
An appraisal report will be generated by an official appraiser who is familiar with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. A standard appraisal considers the following factors:
- house’s square footage
- layout and structural condition
- number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- type of foundation
- presence of an attic, crawl space, or basement
- types of materials used for the walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and other relevant parts of the house
- newly renovated areas
- presence of damages by water, pests, and other factors
- lot size
- presence and condition of curbside, driveway, and garage
- characteristics of the neighborhood
- zoning classification
- type of housing (single detached, townhouse, condominium unit, etc.)
If you don’t want to spend and wait for an appraiser but already have a potential buyer, you can use online home price estimators to help you set a price.
Take note that the price declared on your appraisal report doesn’t have to be your selling price nor your buyer’s purchase price. This is also true for other homes for sale in your community. For example, you and your neighbor might have a similar appraised value of $145,000, but your neighbor was able to sell it for $253,000. This means that there are indeed buyers who are willing to pay at this price point.
Considering that your neighbor was able to sell his/her house for $107,000 more than the appraised value, then you know that you can play around with this value as well. That is what you call knowing your neighborhood comps. You can research recently sold homes in your area via county records, Zillow, or Realtor.com.
You also need to remember that the real estate market is constantly oscillating. The prevailing market price today may not be the prevailing market price eight months from now. If are not able to sell your house immediately, you may have to change your price to go along with market conditions.
Calculating How Much Sales Costs You Can Afford
“I’m selling the property because I need the money, so why should I spend?” — Well, you don’t really have to because there are ways to which you can sell your house without spending a single dime. You can either sell your house as-is to a real estate investor and have them cover your closing costs or sell your house under FSBO and have your buyer pay for the closings costs (though this might discourage the buyer).
But in case you won’t be able to score an ideal, cost-free sales agreement, there are three selling expenses that you’ll need to remember: repairs/renovations, concessions (highly optional), commission fee (if selling through an agent), and closing costs.
You don’t have to worry about commission costs because you can just pay your agent once the sale is made. You may want to prepare a cash budget for pre-sale repairs and closing expenses, though, if you are planning to sell on the market. Closing costs can range between 1% – 7% of the total sale price, and it can vary per state.
The bottom line is, selling a house can be very time-consuming, stressful, and even risky for the pocket. But once you get a taste of the trade, learning more and more about it may become an everyday kind of enjoyment. If you want to know more about selling a house in Georgia, send us an email or call us at 770-668-4888!