Virginia Horse Farms

Specializing in fine equestrian properties and estate homes in the Northern Virginia area, with referrals nationwide.

Why should I pay an agent to sell my house?

Many people think that by selling their home themselves, they will be saving money. Statistics show, however, that using a realtor increases the net price of a property by about 10%. This is more than the average real estate comission in most places. Using an agent can increase your profit.

An agent can also help you decipher the lengthy and often complicated real estate contract. Many buyer's agents will word a request so that is seems perfectly reasonable, but leave a clause that could cost you thousands in the end. There are many deadlines, as well as state and federal addendums and notices that must be included in a contract. An agent will have ready access to those forms and will know how to fill them out. An agent licensed in your particular state will also have knowledge of any specific state requirements needed to complete the sale of your home.

Once you have signed a listing agreement with the agent of your choice, he or she will make arrangements to provide access to other agents so that your house can be shown to as many people as possible. Each of these potential buyers will be accompanied by an agent who will provide a certain amount of security for your house and possessions. No one will be able to get inside your house without an agent who has lockbox access. The lockbox will provide your agent with information about who has been in your house so that he or she can follow up with the other agent and answer any questions they may have.

All advertising will be the responsibility of your agent, so make sure you choose one who has access to multiple websites and publications. Your agent will provide a sign with the logo of a reliable real estate company, giving confidence to potential buyers that the sale of your home will be handled in a professional and competent manner. Your agent will either take photographs of your house or arrange for someone else to take them if they use a photography service. Be sure that your agent intends to include your home in the multiple listing service and to add as many photos as possible. Buyers want to be able to look at multiple pictures before they spend their time to come walk through your house.

Showings and open houses will be coordinated by your agent. You will never have to leave work to come home and show your house, nor will you lose a sale because someone who was only in the area for a day couldn't gain access. Your agent will work with you all the way through settlement, helping you decide where to draw the line on a buyer's requests, meet deadlines in a timely manner, and keeping the entire process on track. All you have to do is keep the house in good condition and wait for a contract.

How much do I have to do to my house before I put it on the market?

This is another area where your agent can help you. In some cases it may be to your advantage to lower the price and not put money directly into repairs or upgrades. An offer of cash to replace an old appliance could actually be an incentive to a buyer who might decide to use the cash toward settlement and put the new appliance on their credit card instead. Other times, showing that you have taken good care of your home by making improvements can provide a more favorable impression. Painting and refinishing floors or replacing carpet are usually good ideas, and the easiest way to improve the appearance of your home. This is a tried and true way to improve the profit you receive for your home and is usually one of the most affordable. New appliances and countertops in the kitchen and baths will also increase the interest in nearly any home. Cutting the grass or adding some new plantings will give greater "curb appeal." Talk to your agent before making any improvements to find out what works best in your neighborhood.


What not to do

If you are preparing to apply for a mortgage, please consult with a mortgage professional before making any changes to your financial situation. Paying off all your credit cards or making a payment on an old debt could actually lower your credit score!

How long will it take?

Preliminary loan approval usually takes only a few days. Your home search can take longer, but will be easier if you provide your agent with a list of "must have" and "would like" features. Once your contract is accepted, allow 30-60 days for the paperwork to be completed. If you are dealing with a short sale, the time frame could be considerably longer. Don't forget to make application for homeowner's insurance within 7 days of contract acceptance!

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