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Home Selling Guide

Special Report: How to Successfully Sell Your Home in Today's Market...

Competition is stiff...bank foreclosures and short sale properties are everywhere...how can you compete and give your home the best chance of getting sold in this market?

Some answers might be obvious...others not so obvious. Your greatest chance of being a successful seller in today's market starts with one simple item...being armed with truthful and accurate facts...about our local market conditions, what works and what doesn't, etc. By doing so you will be able to make informed decisions that will give you the competitive edge that you'll need in today's market.

Before going into more detail, I want to make sure you know that I am a very experienced Realtor and the information noted here is based on my 20+ year career in real estate. Over the years I have seen some people make bad decisions due to emotion, inaccurate information or bad advice. In this market there is just too much at stake to let any of those items influence you. You need the honest advice and expert guidance of a full time professional agent like myself to walk you through the process of selling your home. (Learn more about Steve here)

If you are thinking about selling a home in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Livonia, Westland, Garden City, Redford, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Novi or Farmington / Farmington Hills Michigan, please contact Steve Hatfield.

Be a "realistic" seller...
In our local market, the current value of our homes is less that it was last year and years before that...this is the cold, hard truth. I have found that many homeowners are realistic about the value of their homes in today's market....a key ingredient to becoming a successful home seller, however some are not and that is a recipe for failure. Selling a home can be an emotional experience but it is critical that you remain as objective and realistic as possible.

8 Choose the best agent...they are NOT all the same
8 Know your competition
8 How to win over buyers
1 My house is "SPECIAL"
2 Last year the neighbor sold his / her house for...
3 The city assessor says my house is worth...
4 I owe $xx,xxx so I need to get $xxx,xxx
5 The other agent said I can get more $$
6 I can always come down on my price later
7 I will just wait out the market to get my price
8 And lastly...
My House is Special
Of course your house is special...it is only natural that after spending so much time there, creating memories there and caring for it with tender loving care (and several $$ too) that many people feel their home is special. However, if you want to sell your home, you must try to cut those emotional ties and be objective.

Think about it from a buyer's perspective...they have never been to your home before and don't have those same emotional ties to it as you do. Will they feel the same way about your home that you do...of course not. Buyers are looking at facts, features, amenities, updates, value...something that turns on their own emotional switch...for their own unique reasons.

Tip: When selling your home, be objective...try to think like a buyer would when they are looking at your home.

If you have any questions about selling your home, contact Steve Hatfield

Last year the neighbor sold his / her house for..
Unfortunately last year's sale prices were higher than what the values are now. As a result, the price that your neighbor sold their home for last year is more than they would get now...in today's market. All things being equal (amenities, features, etc.), this means that your home is also worth less this year than it was last year. We are still in a declining market with some areas / communities declining in value more than others.

But even being in a declining market, this does not mean it is a bad time to sell. On the contrary, depending on your situation, this might very well be a great time to sell.

The best way to evaluate your individual situation is to contact Steve Hatfield so that he help you to determine what is truly in your best interest.

The city assessor says my house is worth...
The local city assessor's offices seem to be using home sale data that goes back as much as 2 years. Going back that far absolutely does not give you an accurate representation of the value of your home in today's market since we all know that values have come down since then. Keep in mind that the assessor's office wants your home to be worth as much as they can possibly justify since the property tax amounts they will collect from you are based on their estimate of your home's value.

So, with that in mind, don't look to the your communities' estimation of value to determine what the actual market value of your home in today's market...they are not going to match up. In fact, most homes are being estimated by local assessors at a value that is more and in some cases, much more that actual market value.

If you are thinking about selling and want to know what the real value of your home is in today's market, Contact Steve Hatfield.

I owe $xx,xxx so I need to get $xxx,xxx
Sometimes homeowners are what we call "upside down" meaning that they owe more on their home that they can sell it for. This might be a simple case of paying what market value was just a short time ago and now the value is simply no longer there. Or in some cases, many homeowners refinanced and pulled out equity that is no longer there to pay bills, buy things etc. In some cases, the value may not have never been there due to some "loose" or otherwise known as inflated appraisals.

The bad news...but something you need to know is that unfortunately, how much you owe on your home does not affect its value or how much you will be able to sell it for. This is a good time to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. If you were buying a home and you knew that the seller owed $20,000 more than the house was worth, would you pay the seller $20,000 extra? Of course not...nobody would do this. Buyers simply won't pay more than market value for any home right now.

If you are thinking about selling your home and would like to get an opinion of its value, Contact Steve Hatfield.

The other agent said I can get more $$
Determining market value for a home is simply a matter of determining what a ready, willing an able buyer would be willing to pay for it in this market. With that said, it is logical to assume that one agent will not be able to get you more that another agent would because the real people that determine value are buyers...and what they are willing to pay.

If one agent promises to get you a high price, be leery. Some agents are actually trained to tell homeowners whatever they want to hear to get them to sign a listing contract and then it won't be long and they will be working on you to bring the price down.

I will never tell a homeowner a high price just to get the listing...to me it is simply not ethical. With over 20 years experience as a full-time, professional Realtor® and 100's and 100's of happy, satisfied clients...my reputation is at stake. So, you can always count on me to tell you the truth...it really is the only way for you to be able to make the best decisions during the time that I am representing your interests as a seller.

If you are thinking about selling your home Contact Steve Hatfield.

I can always come down on my price later
This worked well in an "appreciating" market but unfortunately, it could be a deadly and potentially very costly strategy in our current market which is "declining" meaning that prices are coming down.

Many sellers that adhere to the "I can bring the price down later" theory will also often subscribe to the theory of..."if a buyer is interested, he/she will make me an offer". This also does not work in our current, declining buyer's market where the competition is stiff, buyers have a million choices and many properties are already priced very competitively. Buyers won't make offers on overpriced properties right now...irregardless of whether your home is drop dead gorgeous with a ton of updates or not.

Important! Worst of all, using the "bring my price down later" strategy could actually end up cause you to lose thousands and thousands of dollars...much, much more than if you had priced your home right to begin with. For example...

You list your home on December 1 for a list price of $170,000 - even though your Realtor® recommended a list price of no more than $150,000 which is close to market value so you are listed $20,000 over market value.

On February 1, you finally agree to bring the price down $20,000 to what the agent originally recommended ($150,000). But now the market has also declined by 10% which means that the adjust market value list price would now be $135,000. So your reduction in list price is too late...you are still $15,000 above market value list price. In other words, your price reduction did nothing for you...your home is still over priced for the market.

2 Months later, on April 1 realize that your price may still be a little high so you reduce your price to $145,000. The market didn't go down quite as much this time...only 4% decline in values but guess what...you are still over priced because you now should be listed at $129,600. So, you are still $15,400 over priced!

This is a scenario I have seen over and over again. Sellers not willing to price their home right in the beginning and they end up losing 10's of thousands of dollars later because they simply don't reduce their price enough to catch up to the declining market. So, the moral of this story is...price your home right to begin with!

If you are thinking about selling your home Contact Steve Hatfield.

I will just wait out the market to get my price
How long do you want to wait? It is possible that it could take many, many years for values to return to what they were before. At best right now we are just hoping for a stabilization in the market. For example...

Let's say your home is currently worth $150,000 but remember, values are still declining so it is possible that you could easily lose another 30% of its value...and possibly more but we will just use 30% for this example. That would equate to a new value of $105,000.

In a good market home values in this area rose about 6-8% a year but that was unusual. Typical appreciation for our area has been between 1 and 2% per year. So, with that, let's count down the years until you simply make up what you will lose by waiting. *

Year #1 = no change in market - value still $105,000
Year #2 = 1/2% appreciation - new value $105,525
Year #3 = 1% appreciation - new value $106,580
Year #4 = 2% appreciation - new value $108,711
Year #5 = 2% appreciation - new value $110,886
Year #6 = 3% appreciation - new value $114,212
Year #7 = 4% appreciation - new value $118,780
Year #8 = 5% appreciation - new value $124,719
Year #9 = 6% appreciation - new value $132,202
Year #10 = 6% appreciation - new value $140,134
Year #11 = 5% appreciation - new value $147,141

So, if the appreciation for the next several years followed anywhere near the type of pattern above, it would take you over 11 years just to get back to today's value...and that isn't even to realize any profit over what you could get right now...that is just to bring you back to even with today's market.

How long can you wait? How long do you want to wait?

* Note: This is a fictitious scenario for example only. Nobody can predict what the future will hold for our values, their appreciation, decline, etc. and therefore the figures and appreciation/depreciation rates noted are not guaranteed in any way.

Choose the best agent...they are NOT all the same
All real estate agents are independent contractors. That means that while they associated with an office, they technically work for themselves. As a result, it is up to each agent individually to decide how they run their business, what services they provide, etc. Here are a few very important items you need to ask about and should never settle for any less:
  1. Minimum 10 years FULL-TIME selling real estate
  2. Minimum $2,000,000 in production each year (note: in the reverse, if an agent brags that they sell a very high volume of properties...you may become just a number to those agents and as a result, not get the service you deserve)
  3. Must have a CRS designation - CRS is an acronym that stands for "Certified Residential Specialist". CRS agents are much more likely to hold to a higher standard of practice and will be more knowledgeable than an agent that does not have a CRS designation.
  4. Never, ever hire a part-time agent. This business is way to complicated for any part-time agent to keep up on and as a result will not be able to advise you properly
  5. Never hire a friend or relative? Well, maybe but never hire a friend or relative that isn't full time or hasn't been in the business for long.
  6. Quality matters and quality varies greatly between agents. Never hire an agent without first reviewing the photos and descriptions they post online to make sure your home will be represented well.
  7. Ask how many online views their listings generally get every month. If they don't know...they either don't do enough online marketing, don't realize the value of it or really aren't in tune with where today's buyers are looking
  8. If an agent doesn't show multiple photos and a virtual tour on the MLS system and Realtor.com...don't hire them...you are not going to get your money's worth.
  9. Will the agent post multiple photos and virtual tour of your home on the MLS and Realtor.com within the first 24 hours of it hitting those web sites? This is very important so if they don't generally do this...don't hire them!
If you are thinking about selling your home Contact Steve Hatfield.

Know your competition
The value of your home is NOT determined by what other homeowners are asking for their homes. The reason being that they might be overpriced and unrealistic about their price. However, if your home is priced higher than competing properties that are bigger or better than yours in any way, the hard cold fact is that you will watch those other homes sell and yours will most likely sit on the market for some time.

Buyers are looking for value and getting the most for their money so you must pay very close attention to your competition. If your price is not competitive meaning you are asking to much for your home in comparison to what other homes are on the market for the hand writing is on the wall...you will fail.

The best way to keep up with competing homes (ones that are currently on the market) and recently sold homes is to ask your agent to help you with this. Assuming you followed the advice here and did in fact hire the "best" agent, they (your agent) should be able to easily pull up the information you need so that you both can stay ahead of this constantly changing market.

If you are thinking about selling your home Contact Steve Hatfield...he is the best agent in this area to market and sell your home!

How to win over buyers
You might be surprised at some of the little things buyers notice when they look at homes. Things like sloppy paint jobs, dust in the corners, a cob web, smells you don't notice anymore...it is staggering! Buyers are extremely picky today and if you want to be a successful seller, you must be very objective and scrutinize every inch of your home just like a buyer will. They won't be looking at your home with any sentimental value so even though it may be very difficult, you absolutely must get past any sentimental attachment you have with your home.

So, besides pricing your home correctly, here are a few inside tips that will help you win over buyers:
  1. Clean, clean, clean...every inch of your home! The corners, the windows, the sills, the floors, the closets, the medicine cabinet...everything...and make it sparkle!
  2. If you have wallpaper that is to bold, brash or out of style...strip it off and paint with off white paint
  3. Tidy up your paint jobs. In other words, it you didn't get those edges just right and they aren't straight or you left paint drips on the woodwork...tidy them up and make it neat
  4. Dog, cat, pet odors: Not everyone is an animal lover and some people are allergic so deodorize all the time and keep the pet smells out. You may not even notice them anymore but to someone without pets...they will. Cleaning carpets helps too!
  5. Put deodorizers in closets...they can sometimes smell stale because they are closed up. Also, tidy up and clear out those closets!
  6. Last night's dinner won't smell very good to today's buyer...get the smells out but don't over do it with fragrances that are to strong because they too can be a turn off
  7. Non-smokers can smell smoke a mile away and it is often a huge turn OFF for them. If you smoke, don't smoke in the house when you are trying to sell it and wash walls and curtains to get the smells and residue out of your home.
  8. Put a clean table cloth on your table...no crumbs from the morning toast please!
  9. Make your entry way attractive by washing front door or repaint/replace if necessary. Change that old light fixture, mailbox and house number that have seen too many years in the elements.
  10. Clean up your landscaping, edge your lawn, plant flowers and keep them all watered and looking good. Buyers won't come inside if your home doesn't look good on the outside.
For more detailed information what to ask and how to prepare your home for sale click here.

If you are thinking about selling your home Contact Steve Hatfield.

And lastly...
If you are thinking about selling your home in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Livonia, Westland, Garden City, Redford, Canton, Northville, Plymouth or Farmington/Farmington Hills Michigan the agent you need to hire is...

Steve Hatfield
REALTOR® ABR, CRS, e-PRO Certified
CENTURY 21 Curran & Christie.
25636 Ford Road
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
Office: (313) 274-7200
Contact Steve Now
Michigan Real Estate Salesperson #6501221773.
Licensed Realtor® Since 1987

 Selling a Home?   Fill out Steve's online Seller Inquiry Form
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  Steve Hatfield
REALTOR® ABR, CRS, e-PRO Certified
CENTURY 21 Curran & Christie
25636 Ford Road
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
Office: (313) 274-7200
Contact Steve Now
Text Message: www.TextSteve.com
Print Steve's Business Card

Licensed Realtor® Since 1987 (#6501221773)
realtor Accredited Buyer Representative Certified Residential Specialist e-PRO

Steve Hatfield, Realtor® provides professional real estate / home buying services to buyers and sellers in Dearborn Michigan, Dearborn Heights Michigan, the Wayne County MI (Southeast Michigan) communities of Livonia, Canton, Redford, Westland, Garden City, Plymouth, Northville and the Oakland County cities of Farmington / Farmington Hills and Novi Michigan.

Equal Housing OpportunityIn accordance with the law, the properties, real estate services and homes for sale featured on this web site are offered without respect to race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, physical limitations / disabilities or familiar status.

REALTOR® is a registered collective membership trademark that identifies a real estate agent / professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict code of ethics.

Century 21 Real Estate Corporation © and sm trademark and servicemark of Century 21 Real Estate Corporation. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each office Independently Owned and Operated.

Copyright © 1996 - Steve Hatfield
Graphics and content may not be reproduced or copied in any way with out written permission from Steve Hatfield.