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The Dollars and Sense of a Home Sale

The dollars and sense of a home sale

No matter where you live, it’s the negotiation that can mean the difference between your house sitting and your house selling. Not only do you need your real estate agent to be a good negotiator, as the seller, you need to increase your own negotiating power. Our experts have created a list of the four top tips to get their sellers the best possible prices and terms for their home sales:

1. Is your home in a seller’s market or a buyer’s market?

Do you live in a pocket where buyers have an advantage because there is an abundance of homes from which to choose? Or, are you in an enclave, a micro-specific real estate market, where the seller has an advantage? In the D.C. area marketplace, for example, a Dupont Circle home (a hot market in the city of D.C.) may generate five offers in a day while a house in the D.C. suburb of Darnestown (45 minutes outside of the city) may not move for months.

2. The Price is Right – or is it?

 Homes that sell easily have two common characteristics: they are priced right and they are in great condition (see number 3 below). Right out of the gate, it is imperative that you price your home correctly. Base your asking price on the sell price of comparable properties in your area, not the asking prices of those homes.

3. Increase the value of your home and you will increase your negotiating power:

The second most important characteristic: the home is in great condition. Before you even list your home, ask yourself this question: Can you increase your home’s value by presenting it in its best condition? If you take time to present your home, you will show buyers that you are serious about selling, that you care about the home you are selling, and that you will take seriously the negotiation of the contract. Read our Blog on staging

4. Take the heat out of the hot-button home inspection and reclaim your negotiating power

 While presentation is key, a house won’t sell if the internal workings do not back up the home’s appearance. Don’t allow the home inspection to become the deal breaker. You must reduce the possible fall out from home inspection, an emotional “hot button” that all too often becomes the heated subject of negotiation.

Use this two-fold pro-active approach:

Hire your own house inspector: Prepare for the buyer’s home inspection by conducting your own home inspection before putting the house on the market. Make your home more energy efficient with a Home Energy Audit inspection.

Read our Blog on energy certification  Additionally, hire a licensed home inspector for a nominal charge (usually between $400-$800 depending upon the size of the house) to identify any structural or system issues. This way, energy efficiency- and structural-repairs can be made before the house is listed (or the asking price can be adjusted accordingly). Most buyers are going to perform their own home inspection. Consider this short mantra: Fix before they find. In other words, Fix the issue before the buyer finds the issue and the buyer will have little to ask for during the inspection negotiation. This will keep your bottom line intact. 

Hire a knowledgeable real estate agent:

Follow up your home inspection by hiring an agent who understands basic home construction as well as the difference between the contractual obligations of the seller and buyer-requested repairs or credits. Your bottom line as a seller will be directly impacted by the agent’s knowledge. Almost every contract today has a Home Inspection Contingency. For example, too many agents are lacking in basic systems knowledge and don’t, for example, understand the implications of a radon inspection.

Every transaction is unique. In the 2012/2013 real estate climate, it is imperative to focus on the bottom line, stick to a plan and keep emotion out of the negotiation.


About Brad Rozansky

Licensed for 35 years in Maryland, DC and Virginia. Recognized among the Top Real Estate Teams in the United States by The Wall Street Journal from 2008 to the present. Now working with our second generation of home buyers and sellers!


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