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8 Things to Consider if You Want to SELL NOW!

These past few years home sellers in Southwest Wisconsin - and all over the country - have been capitalizing on the low inventory and rising prices to cash in on the equity of their home. The surge of home buyers has led to many creative solutions for home sellers who feel like they are risking it all, including renting back from the home buyers after closing, moving in with family, or finding rentals until they can locate the home of their dreams.

As it turns out, home sellers are still selling their homes for the same reasons as they always did: job transfers, life changes like divorce, marriage, death and change in income, as well as the phasing out of home ownership due to age or disability. So, you see, the reasons for selling your home haven't changed, but there is the added motivation of increased equity to cash out of and the chance to take a pause and decide what to do with that money.

"Home sales in 2021 are expected to rise by around 10%. Home prices will also climb, but I expect more moderate increases than we’ve seen, a break for first-time buyers. Mortgage rates will continue to be favorable, staying at or near historic lows of 3% on average. The labor market will strengthen, especially as vaccines become widely available and life moves toward normal." ~ Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®

Here are the top 8 things to consider if you are thinking of selling in today's market:

  1. How to Choose a Realtor - In the National Association of Realtor's "2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers," their research showed that "client referrals and repeat business were the predominant ways sellers found their real estate agent. Most sellers - 89 percent - said they would definitely (74 percent) or probably (15 percent) recommend their agent for future services." At First Weber Southwest, it's easy to get recommendations on any of our agents: simply search their name on our site, click on an agent, and you can easily access reviews and testimonials. If you don't already have an agent, we can recommend one!

  2. To FSBO or Not To FSBO - For Sale By Owner homes, commonly referred to as "FSBO," accounted for approximately 8% of home sales in 2020, according to the NAR's "2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers." Further, 89 percent of the FSBO's reported in this research were sold by real estate agents. FSBO home sellers reported that the toughest part of the process was knowing how to prep the home for the market and understanding the paperwork and home selling process. As for price, while many FSBO sellers are satisfied with their sale price, "FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $217,900 in 2020 (up from $200,000 in 2019), and still far lower than the median selling price of all homes at $242,300. Agent-assisted homes sold for a median of $295,000," per NAR's 2020 annual profile report.

  3. Not All Real Estate Websites are Equal - Well-known sites like Zillow and have permission to upload data (via an IDX feed) from Multiple Listing Services. While most agents are connected to an MLS, and most sites rely on the same IDX feeds that send information from the MLS to an agent's or firm's site (similar to the process of sharing information on Zillow and there are differences and nuances from site to site. Some agents feature only their own listings, while others provide additional resources, such as the capability of broader searching for any home on the MLS or within their firm. On you'll find several ways to search for properties, including map searches, searching for new listings, open houses and delayed listings, as well as many other topics pertinent to home buyers and home sellers. After all, one of the main reasons home sellers list with an agent is to take advantage of their network of home buyers, and what better way to do that than to hire a First Weber agent.

  4. Common Contingencies of an Offer - Not all offers are the same, but many offers include some or all of the following: earnest money, home inspection, radon testing, financing, appraisal, and - if a rural property - well and septic inspections and water testing. Your agent can guide you through the contingencies and whether there are others you may want to consider, such as a home sale contingency.

  5. The Home Inspection - The Wisconsin WB-11 Residential Offer to Purchase states that the home inspection will be conducted by a Wisconsin-registered or Wisconsin-licensed home inspector and there is usually a number of days for the contingency to be fulfilled as well as a choice of giving the seller the right to cure defects, or not.

  6. Home Warranties - At First Weber we partner with Universal Home Protection to offer home warranty options to sellers and buyers. These are optional when listing or buying with First Weber, and there are other companies with different plans that you might encounter during a home sale or purchase.

  7. Title Insurance - Long ago, an abstract was a legal record of the ownership, liens, sales and other records affecting a property. Abstracts are more of a historical document, with each new activity being added to the abstract. Today, Wisconsin's WB-11 Residential Offer to Purchase includes a provision for the seller to provided an updated title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. The title company conducts a search of public records prior to closing, to see what liens or other items of record exist for the property (this is known as "title commitment") and after closing, the title company typically will issue the new owner a "title insurance policy." These are important documents and you should keep a copy in a safe place so you can refer to it if there is a question about your title or when you plan to sell the property.

  8. Typical Closing Costs - In the Southwest Wisconsin market, there are some fees that a seller traditionally pays, but the seller's closing costs are based on the signed and accepted Offer to Purchase and acknowledged addendums. The "usual" costs to the seller include things like their mortgage pay-off(s), fees to satisfy their mortgage, transfer the title, preparation of legal documents for the sale, title insurance policy, past-year's and this year's pro-rated real estate taxes, pro-rated fuel costs (if LP or oil), final water/sewer/municipal bills, special assessments and commission. Your agent can guide you through the costs based on your circumstances.

Most homeowners sell their homes every 8-13 years and chances are high that the real estate market will be different by then, so we recommend a consultation with one of our well-trained agents to help you understand how to maximize your profits with as little inconvenience as possible! If you're thinking of selling, Call Us FIRST!

Nancy K Smith is the Office Manager and a Selling Broker with First Weber Inc - Southwest, with agents and offices in Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Platteville, Spring Green, Richland Center & Prairie du Chien. Nancy has been a Wisconsin Realtor member continuously since 1997 and has earned several awards and designations for her sales and service to the real estate industry and to First Weber.

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