Selling a Home in Seattle: How-To Guide

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Thinking About Selling Your Home?

Washington’s largest city attracts thousands of new residents each year. Seattle real estate, along with the city’s charm, artistic energy, health economy, colorful nature, and business opportunities are some of the main reasons why so many people flock here.

In addition, there are many types of Seattle homes for buyers to choose from. People like choices and Seattle has plenty of choices for homes.

Man giving the keys to a house

Emerald City Real Estate

Because of the constantly growing population, and the many residents who seek homeownership, home sellers in Seattle are in luck! There are many things to consider and steps to take that you might find the process of diving into Seattle real estate daunting and overwhelming.

·  Where do you start?

·  Who will be on your team?

·  How will you prepare your home for the market?

·  How much will you be listing your home for?

·  What tools will you use?

·  If you sell your house, how will you close?

These are questions that you will soon have the answers to with the help of Emerald City Real Estate.

Emerald City Real Estate is a team of your trusted local experts that intend to give you the guidance that you are seeking. This concise guide will follow the steps that Patrick Warneke, of Emerald City Real Estate, advises his clients to take.

So long as you follow these steps, the process of selling your home will be less daunting and easier to achieve! So sit back, relax (you’re not selling your house just yet), and read on about how you should approach selling your Seattle home.

Getting Started

Before you put your home up on a listing and make any other plans that regard selling your home, ask yourself: what is my end-game?. Warneke says, “the best approach is really figuring out the end-game and visualizing where you want to be”.

To do this, home sellers should determine their current situation. Perhaps you are relocating because your job got transferred. Maybe you’re looking to down-size from a home that is too big for your needs. Or you intend to flip your home to increase its value.

Now that you have a clear idea of your current situation, you’re going to want to set realistic goals. We suggest you follow the S.M.A.R.T format for goal setting. Here’s an example:

S = Specific (I am going to replace my wooden floors to increase my home value)

M = Measurable (For 6 weeks, I will dedicate my weekends to replacing the floors)

A = Achievable (I aim to finish the floors in two months and have the house listed by then)

R = Realistic (It is February right now, which means spring is around the corner. If I list the house in two months, the chances of my house getting sold will happen quicker considering that I am in a hot neighborhood)

T = Timely (If all things go well, my house will be sold in the next 2-4 months)

Whatever your end-game is, be sure to clearly define it. Warneke elaborates by stating, “if you have a really clear vision of where you want to be, the steps to get there get much easier”.

Picking Your Team

“Besides the real estate broker, there are several people that you might need to engage with and work with on a regular basis”, states Warneke.

Having a good team with members who work well together will make your home selling experience much easier. We recommend that your team consists of a mortgage broker, real estate broker, handyman/contractor, accountant for tax advice, and someone in charge of staging.

·  Mortgage broker – This person will act as a middleman between you and potential lenders. He/she will work with your real estate broker to keep the transactions from running smoothly until the closing day.

·  Real estate broker – This person should be from a well-known Realty agency. They will be your organizer, the one who has great attention to detail, gives you advice for ways you can sell your home quicker, and the one with the list of potential buyers.

·  Handyman/contractor – If you’re selling your home, it is likely that you’ll need some type of repairment both for the interior and exterior of your home. Having a handyman in your team will be necessary for this reason.

·  Accountant – There are a lot of tax considerations in selling your home. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to figure it all out. Find an accountant.

·  Staging– The goal of staging is to make your house more appealing to potential buyers. If you’ve got a good eye you can take care of this on your own, otherwise, you’ll need the help of someone who knows the best way to stage your house for the market!

You will want to research extensively for the right team in Seattle real estate. These are people that you should be able to trust, so be sure that they have testimonials to prove they’re credible.

Preparing Your Home for the Market

Zestimate: To determine the value of your home, use Zillow’s Zestimate– this gives you an estimate of your home value in the market, using a proprietary formula. There are also other great sites that you can use to get an estimate of your home value. Chase Home Value Estimator is one.

We suggest that you check out a few of these sites, get their estimate of your home value, and average out the total of the answers. You might have to update your home facts for a more accurate estimate.

Once you have the price of your home value, you can choose to sell it at that price, or increase the value by doing some home improvement. Do your own due diligence to research what home buyers typically look for and try to manifest those attributes.

Underpricing: Keep in mind that you might have to underprice your Seattle home to the market for attention, and hope for higher bids.

Overpricing: If you wish to go against your agent’s pricing because you believe your home value should be higher, you can. However, if your home doesn’t get attention on the first week it’s listed, it might be hard to receive attention later, should you decide to lower the price.

After you’ve finished with home improvements (if you choose to do so), you will need to stage your home.

Staging:

·  Get your home and yard cleaned/tidied

·  Replace flooring that is worn

·  Repaint walls to neutral colors

·  Take GREAT photos

Listing Your Home

Now that you have your home staged and a collection of photos to prove it, you are ready to list your home. First, you want to call your real estate agent to avoid any selling mistakes.

After your agent has approved of your home being in the market, you can proceed. The best way to list your home is online, as this is where most homebuyers go first.

These are some of the best sites to list your home on:

·  Realtor.com

·  Redfin.com

·  Homefinder.com

·  Trulia.com

·  Homes.com

·  Realestate.com

·  Forsalebyowner.com

·  Zillow.com

So you’ve got your home listed, now what? You’re going to need to make your home stand out from all the other listings. Seattle homes look very similar in certain neighborhoods, so have a yard sign and get creative with marketing.

You can send direct mail postcards to major areas that will attract buyers to your neighborhood. You can also advertise in local weekly newspapers, post a video of a tour of your home on Youtube, host an open house, or even give away free prizes to any homebuyer that tours your home.

Closing

You finally have an offer! Don’t get too excited just yet. You most likely won’t be happy with the offer.

To tell the buyer that you’re unsatisfied but are willing to negotiate the price is through a counteroffer. A counteroffer will allow you to accept their offering, reject it, or reject but counter with an offer of your own price.

You will need to know the minimum price that you are willing to accept.

Once you’ve accepted a buyer’s offer, this will be a mutual acceptance.

How will you know if it’s a strong offer?

·  The offer price meets or exceeds your list price

·  The buyer shows that they are serious about buying your home by depositing money to escrow – this is also known as an earnest payment

·  The closing date should match when you want to move out. An ideal date would be 2-4 weeks from the date of the offer

·  There are no contingencies to home inspection, title reports, or the sale of the buyer’s homes.

·  The buyer is willing to compete with other offers by escalating their price (escalation clause)

What’s next?

There are a few more weeks before you hand over the keys to the buyer and collect your money. What you will do in the mean-time is work with an escrow company along with your real estate agent.

Escrow will be involved in finalizing the transaction between you and the buyer, and handle closing out your utility and tax account.

Be prepared for concessions and repairs

Home inspection contingencies: Most real estate sales contracts include home inspection contingencies – a clause that states both the buyer’s and seller’s options if problems with the property are discovered during the home inspection.

As a seller, you can choose to repair the problems found by the buyer, or you can pass this option. The buyer, on the other hand, can choose to take the home anyways or cancel the transaction.

It could be in your best interest to negotiate and make the repairs if the buyer has reasonable requests. Otherwise, you will have to give the buyer a lump sum to cover repair costs.

Before closing

·  Move-out and clean your home

·  Give your home a final walk-through – close all valves and turn off all switches

·  Call your utility providers to transfer your accounts to your new home

·  Sign the closing documents from escrow

·  If you are moving locally, transfer your home insurance. If you’re moving further away, be sure to cancel the insurance

·  Be sure you’ve repaired everything as per the buyer’s request

·  Change your address

Day of closing

Typically, King County will not confirm the buyer as the owner of the home until mid to late afternoon. You will need to leave your keys in the house for your agent to make arrangements with the buyer’s agent to obtain the key.

Final Word

As a first-time home seller in Seattle, the task itself can be daunting! If you are new to Seattle real estate, there is a bit of a learning curve.

However, once you’ve defined your end-game and found a solid and trusted team of people to help you with the process, everything eventually falls into place.

With the help of your real estate broker, you’ll always have guidance before, during, and post-closing. We hope that by reading this, you have peace of mind and see that selling a home in Seattle isn’t too difficult.

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