Recommended Procedures for Sellers
By Merri Ann Simonson
One of the first steps we recommend in selling real estate in the San Juan Islands is to select an agent to represent you. Ideally you should select ONE agent that you feel will provide you with the level of customer service that you require. Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands has an agent who would make an ideal choice.
Your Legal Rights in Dealing with a Real Estate Firm or Broker
It is important for you to understand the Law of Real Estate Agency. Several years back, Congress interviewed hundreds of buyers to determine if they thought their agent represented them. In most cases, the buyer believed that the agent did represent them; however, the law at the time required all agents to be sub agents of the seller, thereby technically representing the seller. It was for this reason that Congress revised the agency laws to the current ones, which allow for three types of agency representation:
- Buyer’s representation is when the agent is representing the buyer and intends to obtain property at the lowest possible sales price.
- Seller’s representation is when the agent has a listing with the seller and is attempting to obtain the highest possible sales price.
- Dual agency is when the agent shows a buyer one of their own listings and the buyer decides to purchase it. In the case of dual agency, the agent represents the seller as well as the buyer.
Download a copy of the Law of Agency Disclosure to become familiar with it.
Review the Marketing Plan
Coldwell Banker San Juan Island’s marketing program is extensive and provides full brokerage services. It offers several exclusive features including the Coldwell Banker International presence. As a member of the Coldwell Banker franchise we enjoy international brand recognition and agent tools including exclusive publications geared to market island properties. More than 3,300 offices nationwide means buyers know Coldwell Banker’s reputation.
Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands leads our local market. Please see our “20 Reasons to Choose Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands” for more details. Your agent will prepare a complete marketing plan customized for your property. This will be presented to you at the same time your Competitive Market Analysis is reviewed.
Review the Competitive Market Analysis
A competitive market analysis (“CMA”) is an opinion of value produced by a Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Real Estate Expert. When considering selling, one of our professionals will prepare a CMA upon request to assist you with the valuation of your property. The Coldwell Banker Real Estate Expert will evaluate the property by reviewing all recent property sales and determining the market value of a typical sized property factoring in square footage, number of bedrooms, amount of land, size of view, waterfront, etc. Our islands can make this process a challenge as most of our properties were improved as owner designed construction and so made very custom; finding similar properties can be difficult.
In addition to reviewing recent sales, adjustment factors may need to be applied such as current and forecasted market demand, the appreciation calculation, the cost approach based on present value of each component, the amount of comparable properties currently available and the subject property’s special features.
Completing the CMA allows the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Expert to develop an opinion of the value; this is part science and part art. That is why it is imperative to select an agent such as one from Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, as we offer the experience and track record to support our conclusions of value.
Consumers should be cautious when using on-line home value estimators as they do not function very well in San Juan County. These systems assume that the properties are all similar, but as mentioned above, properties in our islands are very unique.
Pricing of the Property
Fair market value is the highest price an informed buyer will pay for a property offered for sale. A primary reason that sellers hire full service REALTORS® is for their experience and expertise which can result in obtaining the highest price for their property.
The purpose of our Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) is to assist you in determining the listing price. After reviewing current inventory and similar properties that have closed, you need to set the selling price you are most comfortable with based on your needs.
Some sellers choose to set their price ahead of the market. Due to their level of motivation, they understand and accept an extended marketing period. Here we explain why this is not the best decision: qualified buyers will purchase the property that they perceive to be the most suitable and best priced from the selection available. It is for this reason that the list price should not be above market value.
Properties priced properly typically sell within 30-60 days and for a higher percentage of the list price when compared to those properties that are on the market longer. This can be attributed to the level of activity when a property is first listed. Typically, agents notify their buyers as soon as a new listing originates. It is known that when properties first enter the market, sellers are less likely to negotiate on price. If the property is priced too high, buyers perceive that the seller will not be willing to negotiate down to a more appropriate market price and the result is lack of interest.
If the seller reduces the price at a later date, it may not bring back the buyer’s interest. In fact, the buyer may be lured away from the higher priced property as its pricing convinces them to purchase a different property that they perceive as a better value.
Properties on the market too long may also become “shopworn”. The first few questions that most buyers ask when considering a property are: Price? Days on market? And why is the seller selling?
Today’s buyer has a high level of sophistication that includes educating themselves on our market prior to their actual purchasing experience. This allows them to make an informed purchasing decision. It is unlikely that buyers will pay more for the property than they would have paid for a similar property.
In the end, over priced properties tend to help sell the competition.
Learn more about Understanding the Valuation Process in our blog.
Preparing Your House for Showing
With buyers, first impressions count.
A small investment in time and money will give your house an edge over other listings in the area when the time comes to show it to a prospective buyer.
Below are some suggestions that will help you to get the top market value.
- Oil squeaky doors
- Tighten Doorknobs
- Replace burned out lights
- Clean and repair windows
- Touch up chipped paint
- Repair cracked plaster/drywall
- Repair leaking faucets and toilets
Spic and Span
- Shampoo carpets
- Clean washer, dryer, and tubs
- Clean furnace
- Clean fridge and stove
- Clean and freshen bathrooms
The First Impression
- Clean and tidy entrance
- Functional doorbell
- Polish door hardware
- Paint front door
- Put out new “Welcome” mat
- Cut lawns
- Trim shrubs and lawns
- Weed and edge gardens
- Pick up any litter
- Clear walk and driveway of leaves
- Repair gutters and eaves
- Touch up exterior paint
The Buying Atmosphere
- Be absent during showings
- Turn on all lights
- Light fireplace
- Open drapes in the day time
- Play quiet background music
- Keep pets outdoors
- Make all beds
The Spacious Look
- Clear stairs and halls
- Remove excess furniture
- Clear counters and stove
- Make closets neat and tidy
Net Proceeds Calculation
Review your net proceeds calculation based on the recommend price range given by your Coldwell Banker Real Estate Expert. This calculation will estimate your net funds after paying all costs of sale, but not paying off your indebtedness or real estate taxes if any. Remember, your personal net proceeds requirement does not dictate the market value for your property.
The decision of whom to list your property with should be based on local knowledge and experience. This includes marketing, negotiating, transaction management and closing & follow up, which should not be underestimated. This is really where Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands excels. We are able to obtain the highest sales price for our sellers because we have more experience in negotiating transactions than any other firm in our area and because we have maintained the largest market share of listings and closings for nearly 50 years. It is this experience during the transaction that can make the difference.
Real estate brokerage is a performance-based industry. Clearly, not all real estate companies are alike. Results will vary dramatically based on a variety of factors, including the experience and track records of the professional you select. Choosing representation based solely on discount, rebate or another cash back scheme may seem like a good idea at first glance, but that is not always the case when all is said and done at the closing table.
Whether you are selling a home in Washington State, relocating to another state or country, or are moving to the San Juan Islands we are here to assist you in any and all of your relocation needs. Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Inc. works with out-of-town buyers and locals alike.
Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Inc. is especially proud of its distinction for assuring professional service and integrity in real estate transactions. Our full-time sales associates and staff are committed to a Declaration of Excellence, agreeing to uphold the highest standards of competence in all areas of real estate activity.
In addition to our standard relocation and referral sources, you, as a home seller, can be assured that 84,000+ Coldwell Banker sales associates in 3,000+ offices world-wide are working to supply more potential buyers for your home.
Coldwell Banker is also part of Cendant Mobility, the largest relocation company in the world, handling numerous corporate and U.S. Military relocations throughout the world.