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What Should You Expect When Your Home is Being Shown?

by Colleen Lawler

Here are 5 short insights into the inconveniences of having your home on the market:

1.  Sooner or later an agent will be on your doorstep, with buyers in tow, and you didn't know they were coming.  There are lots of reasons for this, and frankly lots of places that you may lay blame.  I positively and absolutely HATE it when that happens.  But it does.  If you can let them see the house, let them...they might be your buyer.  If it's so totally not a good time, remember you never ever HAVE to show your home, because it's your home.

2.  Sooner or later an agent will make an appointment and give you plenty of notice, thank you, but then fail to show for the appointment.  There are lots of reasons for this, and yes, lots of places to lay some blame.  But it will happen...a buyer cancels, the agent's key malfunctions, the buyer's kid starts barfing in the back seat.  I HATE it when this happens too.  Call your listing agent about this "no show" and they should be able to get the rest of the story, and hopefully reschedule the appointment.  

3.  Sooner or later, someone is going to use your bathroom.  It's kind of gross, especially if they don't flush.  And yes, I HATE it when that happens.  Grit your teeth, flush, and I apologize in advance for the inconvenience, on behalf of agents everywhere.

4.  Someone is going to leave a door unlocked, OR they are going to lock you out.  Get a spare key to the door between the garage and the house if you don't already have one and probably never lock that door.  Because someone, out of an abundance of caution, is going to lock it.  I keep a spare key for every listing I have, so that when an agent locks their keys in your house, or locks you out of the house, I can put on my super agent cape and fly to the rescue.  

5.  Some agents will never ever give you feedback about what their buyer thought of the house.  Even though you left your home at dinner time with kids and dogs and cats all piled into the car, and the house was as perfectly clean and well lit as it has ever been...I'm sorry for that behavior as well.  Not professional, not nice.  Luckily it won't happen often, but it's frustrating after all that effort, isn't it?!

 

Bottom line is that living in a house and selling a house are two totally different realities...in two totally different universes.  Keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass, and some day you can leave the house without all the beds made!

Listing and Selling Through the Holidays

by Colleen Lawler

Most of the people I know think that the holidays are a really bad time to try and sell their home.  At first glance, I can understand why they might think that, but I have a sold a house on each and every major (and minor) holiday that a calendar year has to offer!

Let's face it, we are busier than we used to be, and during holidays we all need more than 24 hours in a day!  But stop and think about people that are house hunting through the holidays.  Most of them are pretty motivated to find a home.  Some of them have more time off for house hunting around a holiday.  In general I tell sellers that while the quantity of showings may be lower, the quality skyrockets!  That means fewer interruptions, and motivated buyers for most sellers!

1.  Less Competition.  Many of the competing listings will pull off the market.  

2.  Serious Buyers.  If someone is out looking in houses in 20 degree weather, they really need a house!  

3.  Better Odds.  This time of year, you will usually see a much higher ratio of Listings Sold to New Listings.

4.  Even Better Odds.  You will also see a higher List Price to Sold Price Ratio, thanks to less competition.

5.  Seller Control.  You can always limit showings around personal family events.

6.  Looking Good.  Most homes are prettier when they are decorated for the holidays.  Since buying has a   emotional component, your home will be more appealing to buyers.

7.  Transferees!  Corporate transferees, who need to buy a home now, can't wait for the Spring market.  January is a big month for companies moving people, and you need to be on the market to capture that buyer!

 

Selling your home any time of year has its hassles, for sure.  But, I've moved in the dead of winter several times and lived to tell of it.  Not only that, but I am sure I sold faster and higher with fewer homes competing for my buyer!!  Often, the closing can be scheduled down the road, a little closer to warm weather...I once sold my house with a 4 month closing and had plenty of time to shop for my new home as all those new spring listings entered the market.  

 

Typical Closing Costs for Sellers in the St Louis Market

by Colleen Lawler

Dave Barry once described Closing Day as the place where everyone and their brother comes out of the woodwork with their hand out. Both buyers and sellers have charges at closing, and knowing about them way before closing makes your move a little less stressful!

Different areas have different customary charges for buyers and sellers.  In the St Louis area, sellers are typically responsible for:

Existing Loans

-Keep in mind that your mortgage interest is paid in arrears.  That means that if you sell your house on the 25th day of the month, your lender will collect 25 days of interest on the closing day.  Your bank may have a "fax fee" or a charge for providing a pay off, which I think is absurd, by the way!

Title Company Charges

-The title company performs the closing in Missouri, so their charges (right now $300.00 is the average) include title work and preparation of the HUD-1 closing statement.  St Louis County charges a release fee that is usually less than $100.

Municipal, Conservation District, and Fire District Inspection Fees

-These can run from about $10 to about $100.  That's the cost of the inspection...sellers most typically make any repairs required to bring the house to code.

Real Estate Commissions

-Commission is usually a percentage of the sale price.

LaClede Gas Inspection

-Laclede charges $150.00 to inspect all gas appliances and fuel runs.  If you have a gas grill that has seen better days, exclude it from inspection on your contract!!

Agreed upon Repairs

-This is a great big question mark!  There are a lot of dynamics...a buyer who may be a great handyman, or who may not know which end of a screwdriver is up.  An inspector who takes care to explain the difference between routine maintenance and disrepair.  A buyer's agent who sets realistic expectations or who sees the inpsection period as an opportunity to renegotiate the contract.  If you have concerns, have an inspection before you list your home.  Your listing agent should be able to help you anticipate and negotitate through inspections. 

When considering an offer, ask your agent for an estimate of seller closing costs based on the sale price you are negotiating and the closing date on the offer.  It's an estimate, because  you won't know about repairs until inspections are done, but hopefully it will give you enough information that you can sleep at night!

 

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Photo of Colleen Lawler & The IrvineTeam Real Estate
Colleen Lawler & The IrvineTeam
Coldwell Banker Gundaker
111 Chesterfield Towne Centre
Chesterfield MO 63005
Office: 636-391-2100
Toll Free: 800-791-3276
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