With over 1,000 Buyers and Sellers reading our blog every month, we get a lot of questions. Here are answers to our most popular questions about selling a home or condo in Wisconsin.
Do I need a Realtor to sell my condo or home?
No. You can price, market, show and negotiate offers on your own home without the help of a real estate agent. Keep in mind though, that over 90% of home sellers do use a REALTOR and find that the expertise, saved time, and provided a higher exposure that offset the cost of commission. Of course we’re biased!
Do I need a FOR SALE sign in my yard?
Some Sellers prefer not to have a ‘For Sale’ sign on their lawn. We realize it can be emotional for everyone within the home to see every day. Is it needed? No, and maybe you install after a Holiday season, but there are benefits to having one right away. Remember that exposure to Buyers is critical to getting top dollar for your home. Your neighbors already love your neighborhood and have guests over – why not let everyone know your home is for sale so they can tell their friends and family?
I purchased my home last year. Will I lose money?
That depends. What sorts of improvements or renovations have you done? How have prices changed in your neighbourhood in the last year? Is there demand for your type of property? Historically, it has taken home buyers 3 years to break even, after the various costs involved in buying and selling. You can read more about selling a property you recently bought in this blog.
Should we have the home or condo pre-inspected?
Generally, we believe in getting pre-listing home inspections for local homes. Condos can be quite different though. Don't misunderstand, as learning potential issues with your house before it goes up for sale will give you time to remedy them, or alternatively, price them into your asking price. Buyers are still advised to have their own inspection, but this can show an effort by you the seller that every effort is being made to put your property forward, best. A post discussing it more at our blog post here.
What does it cost to sell?
When budgeting for the cost of selling your home, you’ll need to take into consider:
- the costs of possible staging & prepping (if needed)
- real estate commission
- title insurance and document prep
- possible legal fees
- State transfer fee
- and potentially, not usual, a mortgage penalty
Do I need to do an open house, and do they even work?
Statistically, open houses account for 4% to maybe 6% of home sales and how a buyer first sees your home in person. As a Seller, you want to make it easy for Buyers to see your home, and open houses are one of the least intimidating ways for Buyers to do that. Of course, you’ll have a few nosy neighbors come by your house, but a good real estate agent will be able to concentrate their sales efforts on the real potential Buyers. Remember, having such neighbors promote your home can be helpful too.
In almost every circumstance, we’ll recommend a well-advertised public open house within the first weeks of the sale. It helps get the word out, brings energy into the marketing which possibly gets a buyer from a private viewing off the fence, and more. We realize there can be security reasons to NOT have an open house, and we can discuss these things privately as well.
Don't I only need an MLS listing to get sold?
If simply placing a product on the shelf is all it took, then companies in all industries would save their marketing dollars. We believe that a comprehensive marketing campaign is essential to reaching more Buyers and that reaching more Buyers is essential to getting the highest price. Effective marketing reaches Buyers both online and offline. 90% of all Buyers search for their home online, so it’s critical that they are finding your home, and that once they do, the quality of marketing makes it stands out from the crowd. We have a proven online marketing plan that gets the word out.
What time of year should I sell?
The busiest 3-month SOLD span in NE Wisconsin is usually May/April/June, meaning the offers came in on new listings 45-60 days earlier (March/April/May). Other parts of Wisconsin, further south like Madison and Milwaukee, have a more balanced sales curve due to both climate, industry, and educational housing cycles. We chart annual and monthly sales data that we can supply you with, but here is some initial data to see posted here.
Should our home be sold before we buy a new one?
The answer to this depends on your personal goals and what’s happening in the real estate market. If you’re buying an in-demand property and selling a less desirable one, you’ll likely want to sell before buying. Having a non-contingent sale is many times required by corporate relocation companies, and some sellers will not consider such offers. Part of the reason is Sellers realize with disclosure requirements many buyers pass on homes that already have an interested party. We looked at all the factors in depth in this blog post: Should I buy or sell first?
Why isn't my home selling?
That can be a tough question. Generally, a home doesn’t sell for one of 3 reasons:
1) it isn’t priced right
2) it hasn’t been well marketed, or
3) it doesn’t ‘show’ well to potential Buyers (and might need a good cleaning or staging).
Talk to your agent and ask to see:
1) what’s been happening in the market in your neighborhood since you’ve been listed
2) the marketing that’s been completed and
3) measure the feedback from agents/Buyers who’ve seen your home. Are they saying it's great, but nobody is writing an offer?
How aggressively should we price the home?
That can depend on the kind of house you have, the time of year, what’s happening in the real estate market in general and your goals. We explored this strategy in detail in this blog.
We have an active household, and keeping it ready for showings is hard.. what do we do?
Selling a home with young children or pets does present some unique challenges. It’s always important to be flexible with Buyers, allowing them to see your home when it’s convenient for them, so that might mean some short-term lifestyle changes to help achieve your new home goals. We’ve written a blog specifically for parent Sellers here.