FAQ About Selling
Most frequent questions and answers

With home prices continuing to rise and homeowner equity reaching new highs, 2021 is a good time to sell for most people to sell their home. However, we’re in the midst of a housing shortage which can make finding your next home difficult. In order to find a qualified agent to help you sell for top dollar and secure your next home, ask them these 15 qualifying questions.

Most home sellers are buyers as well, so a conversation about your home sale needs to include a discussion about where you would like to live next. Buying and selling at the same time is a delicate balancing act, so be sure you find a qualified agent who can help you pull it off seamlessly. And if you’re looking to relocate out of Southern California, out of state, or even out of the country, First Team Relocation has connections with top professionals in every market across the globe, so we’ve got you covered.

According to the Realtor.com forecast, there is an ongoing shift in power: For now, sellers are calling the shots as the economy and homebuyer demand continue to fuel price hikes in many local markets. However, that dynamic may begin to shift as the inventory of homes for sale remains low, and mortgage rates finally begin to rise, making it more challenging for buyers to afford a home.

The first step to figuring out how much you can sell your house for is working with a local real estate expert to draw up a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA report is a full in-depth look at not just your home, but similar properties in terms of size, location, condition, and amenities that have sold within the past 3 to 6 months.

On average, most regions in the U.S. have a home appreciation rate of roughly 3.5 – 3.8 percent. This is dependant on local housing trends and the economy in general. Southern California real estate however tends to appreciate faster and in 2020 home price appreciation was off the charts. Among SoCal’s six counties, median prices rose 13 percent from 2019 to 2020 according to data released by data firm DQNews.

Timing the real estate market is not an exact science, but there are shifts and trends that can help buyers, sellers, and investors make advantageous moves. Ideally, you want to buy in markets that are heating up, and sell or cash out before prices drop. In order to time your local real estate market, you need to consider seasonal trends, as well as annual market trends to determine the most advantageous time to buy or sell. However, when you look at the top 5 reasons why people sell their homes, financial gain isn’t one of them. The right time to buy or sell is when YOU are ready for a change.

Even Zillow will admit that their Zestimates aren’t entirely accurate. According to their disclaimer, Zestimates are within 10 percent of the selling price of the home. In fact, they also say “We encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement the Zestimate with other research such as visiting the home, getting a professional appraisal of the home, or requesting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent.”

As informative as the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) is, it is only as accurate as your real estate professional’s personal knowledge and advice. Because every report is built manually, accuracy depends on the local market knowledge and skill of the person creating the CMA, as well as the number and type of data fields that are chosen. That’s why it’s best to work with a First Team agent who is familiar with your specific local real estate market.

A Zestimate is completely automated, comparing your home to others like it that have sold recently. A CMA is part automated, part manual. A First Team Real Estate agent inputs the details of your home, the software returns comparable homes currently on the market, pending, and sold, and then they review each and every comp to ensure its a fair comparison, removing any indirect matches. CMAs can still vary widely, depending on the knowledge and skill of the person creating the report, which is why it’s crucial to work with a qualified expert who is also an expert in your particular neighborhood. Check out our full post to learn how First Team can save you thousands more than Zillow when selling you home. 

Yes, it’s possible that a mortgage payment could be less than rent. Mortgage payments depend on the price of the home you purchase, how much money you put down, the interest rate you secure on your mortgage loan, and property taxes in your area. In order to calculate how much your mortgage payment would be if you stopped renting and bought a house, you need to consult a mortgage loan officer to get pre-qualified or pre-approved.

The perfect agent will not only earn their commission but get you more money on your home sale. It can be hard to weed out the untrained, uneducated real estate professionals from the truly exceptional ones, which is why we suggest asking these 15 qualifying questions to any agent before you choose one to help you sell your home.

Past sales are an important factor in helping determine the price of your home – but they’re not the only factor. When it comes time to price your home, you should have your First Team Real Estate agent run a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) which compares your house to others like that are currently on the market, pending, and recently sold. Then, your agent will use their personal experience and knowledge of where the market is headed next to land on the most accurate price for your home.

According to statistics from NAR an overwhelming majority of sellers (89%) used an agent to sell their home because properties sold by agents get an average of 23% more than FSBO sales. The temptation to strip costs while maintaining price by selling yourself is enticing, but that’s simply not what happens on the real estate market.

If you do use a family member or friend to sell your house, it’s important to make sure they’re fully qualified and up for the challenge. If not, you could potentially lose out on tens of thousands of dollars. We suggest using these 15 hardball questions to ensure your loved one is a truly exceptional real estate agent.

Most traditional real estate agents charge anywhere between 3 to 6 percent of the purchase price to sell your home. Commission is 100% negotiable, but how much they charge is will be dependant on their skill as a Realtor. Discount brokers often charge a flat fee whether or not your home sells, and one of the biggest risks you take with a discount agent is the fact that cheaper often equates to just plain cheap.

Listing your home at the top of your agent’s suggested price range for the market is just fine.  However, it would be a mistake to list your home above the current market value. Some sellers want to price above the market in order to build in room for negotiations, but it is a far better strategy to list at fair market value and not negotiate, than list high and expect buyers to bite. When you list too high, your target demographic of buyers might not even see your house because you’ve landed right outside of their search filters.

Real estate agent commisions are 100% negotiable and vary from professional to professional. Most transactions will vary between 3 to 6 percent of the purchase price, all depending on the skill of the Realtor and the kind of split they’re getting with their broker. Discount brokers typically charge a flat and these discount agents make less because they’re either under-qualified or they don’t plan to give your home sale the time it needs in order to reap big benefits.

Staged homes can sell for 3% more and 87% faster than un-staged homes, so staging your home is a no-brainer. However, you may not have to personally pay to have your home staged. Some real estate agents offer staging as a part of their package of services, and at First Team, we offer our First Impressions Concierge that will pay for things like staging, remodeling, and renovations upfront so that you don’t have a dime until you sell for top dollar and your home closes.

It’s common for a seller to ask a buyer for the right to find a replacement property. You can write it into the sales contract with a single line making the transaction contingent on you (the seller) finding a replacement home. However, keep in mind that contingencies are not conducive to every market. For example, in a seller’s market it may be easy to get a buyer to agree to your contingency of finding a new home, but it won’t be easy to get your own buyer offer accepted on a new house if it’s contingent on your current home’s sale.

People talk a lot about the “right” time to sell a home. However, there is not ONE right time to sell for everyone. It completely depends on the situation you’re in, where you live, and overall, whatever is the right time for YOU. Whether you’re looking to sell in 2 weeks or 2 years, it’s crucial to find an agent who you can trust to help you evaluate your personal life, finances, and local market in order to determine the best time for you personally.

When considering repairs and renovation projects before selling your home, it’s all about calculating your ROI or return on investment. You don’t want to take on any renovation projects that won’t get you 100% or more of a return. Usually small repairs and updates are all that’s needed to help your home sell for top-dollar. That’s why it’s best to always consult with a local real estate expert or use our First Impressions Concierge to decide how best to prepare your home for sale.

Listing your home below market value is a commonly used real estate tactic in order to capture lots of buyer attention and spark a bidding war. However, depending on the market, this can backfire if you only receive one offer for asking price or less. That’s less likely to happen in today’s seller’s market, but it’s always a possibility. The best strategy is to work with an experienced agent to set the most accurate price possible and list it at market value.

Selling your home a big decision, and one that should not be made lightly. Before you resort to a home sale, talk to your mortgage lender about your options and cut all discretionary spending. If you’re still unable to pay your bills, however, you might need to sell your home to make ends meet. In that case, selling for cash could a good option as it will allow you to close within days, instead of months, and provide you with the money you need fast.

The 4 most common reasons why sellers reduce the price of their home is because it’s been sitting on the market longer than average, you’re receiving all low ball offers, you’re getting foot traffic but no offers, or you don’t want to make the upgrades needed to attract more buyers. Sometimes reducing the price of your home on the market is inevitable, but always review your options with your agent before making any decisions.

Profits are vital to a home sale, so you have to spend your money wisely when choosing an agent. But is a discount real estate broker worth the price? One of the biggest risks you take with a discount agent is the fact that cheaper often equates to just plain cheap. And when it comes to selling your greatest asset, that’s not a risk you want to take.

A First Team Real Estate agent can calculate the demand for your home by reviewing data and statistics from our company’s proprietary Market Trends℠ platform. Market Trends℠ tracks everything on the market including pending, active, and sold homes to reveal demand in your neighborhood. Through our Buyer Delivery System, a First Team agent will also try to match your home with one of the thousands of buyers our network of over 2,000 agents are currently working with.

Currently, Southern California is experiencing a seller’s market. Determining a buyer’s market vs. seller’s market is based on supply and demand; when there’s more supply than demand, it’s a buyer’s market and when there’s more demand than supply, it’s a seller’s market. Right now we’re in the midst of a housing shortage which has created a booming seller’s market.

It’s a good time to sell your home when YOU are ready for a change. The top reasons homeowners decide to sell are all about life changes – not financial gain. It just so happens however, that right now is a great time to sell in Southern California for most homeowners because we are experiencing a hot seller’s market with extremely limited housing supply, and tons of homebuyer demand.