Sellers Most Frequently Asked Questions

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling your home for the first time or the tenth, there’s always something new to learn. Start browsing some of the most frequently asked questions we get from sellers here in the Bold City.

How much does it cost to sell a house?

When running the numbers and budgeting for the cost of selling your home, you’ll need to consider common costs including title insurance, real estate brokerage commission, legal fees, survey fees, any tax or HOA prorations and paying off the existing balance of your mortgage.

If you want an estimate of how much it would cost to sell your home, please contact me and I can help you run the numbers. You can also check out the seller closing cost page here on my website under the selling tab to see the common costs for sellers.

Do I need a real estate agent to sell my house?

No. As a homeowner, you are free to price, market, show and negotiate offers on your home without the help of a real estate agent (though you are going to need an attorney). There’s a reason even the founder of forsalebyowner.com uses a Realtor to sell his home though; local real estate agents provide expertise on the market, save you time from having to qualify leads and show the home, and sell homes for higher prices than trying to sell it yourself. We may be a little biased, but the numbers don’t lie; 90 percent of homeowners use a Realtor to sell their home.

How do I hire a real estate agent to sell my house?

Ask your friends, co-workers and family for recommendations based on who they’ve used to buy and sell in the past. We suggest getting multiple names and interviewing them in-person before deciding on the right one. How do you know which one to choose? Ask them questions about their skills in marketing and negotiating, experience in the market and see if you like their personality – you’re going to be working together for at least a month, so you might as well have a good experience.

Can I fire my real estate agent?

When you list your home with a real estate agent, you’ll be asked to sign a Listing Agreement. This legal document will outline the listing price, commission, details and length of the contract. In Jacksonville, Listing Agreements are typically for 90-180 days (3-6 months). If during the term of your agreement you find that your agent is not performing to your expectations, the first step is to have a conversation with him or her and share what you would like to change. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, contact your agent’s Broker of Record (technically your listing agreement is signed with the brokerage and not the agent) and he or she will remedy the situation.

When should I sell my house?

If only there was a simple answer to this. My answer is that there’s no bad time to sell a home when you live in Florida with great weather and people constantly moving for a variety of reasons. Historically in Jacksonville, there are a higher number of closings between May and September each year, but the average sale price is high during that time as well as October and December (you can see this for yourself in the last NEFAR report of 2014).

It also comes down to what’s happening around your neighborhood. Are there a lot of homes coming on the market around you that you’ll be competing with, or would you be one of only a few? Each neighborhood is different, and we’ll take a look at what’s happening in yours as part of our free real estate checkup.

Should I sell before buying my next house?

It depends. This mostly comes down to how quickly things are moving in your neighborhood; are homes taking just days to sell or is it taking a few months? Talk with your agent and lender to see which option makes more sense depending on your situation.

Why isn’t my home selling?

This can be a tough question. When it comes down to it, there are three main reasons a home might be left hanging on the market: 1. it isn’t priced right; 2. it hasn’t been marketed well to the right buyers and ; 3. it doesn’t present itself well to buyers during showings. It’s important to listen to any and all feedback from showings, open houses and other agents in the area, as well as keep an eye on what’s selling in the area and what’s not since you initially listed your home. Check with your agent to see what types of marketing they are doing for the home to bring in buyers, and if it’s a problem with the property “showing well” consider bringing in a professional stager to help stage the home in a way buyers will respond to.

Does the marketing really matter? Won’t my house sell if I just put it on the MLS?

Putting a product on the shelf in a major store isn’t a guarantee that it’s going to sell; it’s a mix of packaging, presentation and reaching buyers by sharing the benefits and features. With thousands of listings on the market at any given time, you don’t want your home to get lost in a sea of competitors. The right marketing mix takes advantage of online and offline tactics, with a focus on photography, video and presenting the benefits of living there that will get potential buyers and their agents in the door and signing offers.

Do open houses work?

As a seller, you want to make it easy for buyers and their agents to see your home. Open houses are a great way to generate buzz about your home and get more agents and buyers in the door. When you take a look at the numbers collected by the National Association of Realtors, you’ll see that open houses account for 4 percent of home sales. It’s a small chance that someone at the open house will end up buying the home, but a well-advertised open house will put it on the radar for other potential buyers and their agents.

 Any tips for selling a home with small children? (or several pets?)

Trying to keep your home clean and smell-free with kids and pets sounds impossible, but for the sake of selling your home, try your best. Make a small checklist of tasks and try to stick to it each day; no dirty dishes out, no piles of clothes, make the beds, open blinds to let in light, etc. Anything that is going to help your home look its best and sell faster so you won’t have to worry about silly lists like these.

Keep children’s toys confined to one room if possible, with baskets nearby for easy pick-up. Pet food/toys/beds can be moved to the laundry room while the home is on the market, and make sure you have a plan in place for how to handle showings with a pet (or pets)  while you are at work or at home.

Lockboxes freak me out; how do I know they’re secure?

It’s your right to choose whether or not you want to use a SUPRA electronic lockbox on your property, as is common here in the Northeast Florida area. Just remember this – in order to sell your home as quickly as possible so you can move on to the next, you’re going to want to make your home as accessible as possible to agents showing potential homes to buyers.

Whenever a Realtor wants to show the home to buyers, they will still have to call and set an appointment with me and have their request approved by you. Only licensed Realtors part of our local MLS have keys to access the electronic lockboxes, and we can see the identity of who is coming into the home, what time they entered and what time they leave. You also have the ability to limit access times on the lockbox, so you are never worried about an unannounced showing. You can also choose to have the lockbox on a side door or location other than your front door if preferred, though again, this is all about making the process as easy as possible for other agents to show the property.

Don’t see an answer to your question? Send a message over on the contact page.