The Real McCoy: Selling a home isn’t as easy as it looks

By: Kari McCoy
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Did you know that many Realtors’ listings come from individuals who thought they had sold their homes? Sellers who try to sell their own home learn the hard way that selling a home is not easy, and keeping it sold and getting to the closing table is even more difficult. What are the pitfalls involved in selling your own home? First, face-to-face negotiations can be difficult, even when the buyer really wants the house. Then there is the paperwork. Standard contract forms rarely cover all of the legal requirements regarding disclosure laws. Such contracts may create loopholes that allow a buyer with cold feet to back out at the last minute. When you have finally come to an agreement, how can you be sure that your buyers will find competent professionals to handle their loan and complete the closing? What if structural problems are discovered or property boundary problems are revealed? It takes a lot more than a “for sale” sign in the front yard and ads in the classifieds to get a listing sold. When a professional Realtor sells a house, she sometimes has to “sell” it again and again before the contract is actually signed by the buyers and sellers. Many things have to occur before the closing. The house must be “sold” to the buyers’ relatives, the home inspector, the appraiser, and other experts. The buyers must secure a mortgage. Sometime during the process, the buyers may go through a serious case of “buyers’ remorse” and consider backing out of the transaction. Since the transaction could fall through at any step in the process, you will find the services of your professional Realtor invaluable. She continues to present the house in the best light possible and uses professional skills to solve any problems that may arise. No matter what phase the market is in, it is always important to price your home competitively. The first step is to call a professional Realtor and ask for a market analysis. She will look at recent sales of comparable homes in your area and give you information about other properties that are currently on the market. By comparing the size, location and condition of your home to the competition, she can help you determine what to ask for your home. Even in an active market, an inflated price may frighten prospective buyers away. A house that is over-priced can take additional weeks or months to sell, and the final price may even be lower than if the price had started out more realistic. The price is based on market conditions, comparable sales, and years of experience in the marketplace. Many changes can occur in a real estate transaction between the initial meeting of the minds and the completion of the sale. This is where having a professional Realtor to handle the sale makes a big difference. Kari McCoy has been a Realtor for 25 years and owns the Kari McCoy Group, Residential Real Estate, at Coldwell Banker. Call her at (916) 941-9540 or e-mail