Valerie Ostrom :: Ocala Florida Realtor® :: Real Estate Buyer Agent and Seller Agent

Shalom Park

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Seller Advice

Pricing: Pricing is a little art and a lot of science. Houses are priced by the square foot and that number is adjusted for condition, location and improvements. Many homes in Ocala are part of subdivisions. Homes in a subdivision are fairly easy to price because there are always recent sold comparables. If you are looking for top dollar expect your home to take longer to sell. There is also the risk when looking for top dollar that if the buyer is getting a loan that the home has to be appraised for the sale amount.

Seller Beware: A practice called “buying a listing” is when an agent tells you what you want to hear instead of the truth. They give a price to list your home at, knowing full well that it will never sell at that price. You are then put through a series of stressful price reductions and your home lingers on the market while others are sold. A good agent will tell you the truth even if it means not getting your business.

Condition: Condition is what gets a seller top dollar. Does your home show like a model home ? Or does it have too much furniture and old carpets. The only thing that over comes poor condition is a lower price.

Maintenance vs. Improvements: Replacing the roof or air conditioner makes your house more sell-able but doesn’t increase its value that much. Why you may ask? These are maintenance items. Trying to recover money you spent on repairs is a way sellers over price their homes. An improvement might be adding a pool, or renovating an out dated kitchen. Beware of over improvements. You never want the biggest most expensive home in your sub division.

Curb Appeal: By that I mean simple things like a nice lawn, trees, shrubs, flowers and a freshly painted exterior. First impressions mean everything. There are buyers who won’t even get out of the car to look at some properties.

Things You Control: You control the exterior and interior appearance of your house like paint, carpets and landscaping. You control general appearance, like keeping things neat and clean. You control access like keeping your house ready to show at all times and on a lock box for convenience. You control the asking price.

Things You Don’t Control: Location, school district, size, style, market trends, mortgage rates and the price that a buyer will actually pay for your house.

Home Warranties: Many sellers in Marion County offer home warranties as an incentive to buyers. Home warranties cost around $500.00 for a basic package. They provide peace of mind especially on older homes. 

Your Home’s Value: There are 3 ways that people use to find out how much their house is worth. First and easiest is to go to one of the many web sites that give home values. These numbers are based on public records like number of rooms, square feet and sold prices. The accuracy of some of these sites is a subject of great debate. The true business of these web sites is the collection and selling of personal information. The next would be a Comparative Market Analysis by a local Realtor. This is basically an opinion based on similar data to the web sites. However a Realtor will be familiar with your area of town, the local market and may have actually visited the homes that are being compared to yours. A CMA will always be the more accurate of the two. An appraisal is generally done by a licensed specialist, either to obtain bank financing or in some cases where comparable properties don’t exist, especially in the upper price ranges. It’s important to realize that no matter what the selling price, if the buyer needs financing, the home will have to be appraised for that selling price or the bank won’t grant a loan.

No One Has Looked at My House: How do you know? Houses are generally previewed online by buyer’s searching the MLS. Your home could have been looked at dozens of times without you knowing it. It could have been rejected because of price, size, location or a number of factors. The Ocala Marion County MLS allows up to 75 images.  The MLS is the number one marketing tool. It is the source of all listings you see online.

Marketing: Online marketing has almost entirely replaced newspapers and real estate type magazines. The National association of Realtors says that 80% of buyers start their search on the Internet. I think it’s probably even higher than 80%. Did you know that most real estate web sites can’t be found on a Google search? This is especially true of the look alike franchise sites. You need a custom web site like this one to get search engine ranking and to get your listing found online.

Disclosures: In Florida, a seller is obligated to disclose to a buyer all known facts that materially affect the value of the property being sold and that are not readily observable. So if your roof leaks you have to disclose it to the buyer and not just paint over the stain. This is a law that effects sellers and even for sale by owners.

Offers: Statistics tell us that your first offer is almost always your best offer. Time on the market seldom generates higher offers. Remember an offer is a starting point for further negotiations. 

Negotiations: One of the best reasons to have a realtor is negotiations. There are times when some people just get on your nerves. That is what’s so important about an arms length transaction, as it is called. Your realtor doesn’t take things personal, it’s just the business. There is nothing worse than a loosing a sale because the 2 parties don’t get along. This sort of thing often happens with For Sale by Owners.

Closing: A Realtor is like a shepherd herding his sheep or a conductor with his orchestra. Your Realtor must constantly keep up on whether inspections and financing are being done on time. A good agent will have a list of contractors in the event a repair or some other service may be required. Finally, your agent should always attend the closing.

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