SELL YOUR CHARLESTON HOME
Putting a home up for sale in the real estate market can be a complex, high-stress, and time-consuming endeavor. The process involves knowing what improvements to make to get the best return, hiring and overseeing the vendors, staging the home to present the right image and style, correctly pricing the home to attract buyers, marketing the home, negotiating the offers, and going through escrow.
Mave & Market’s innovative, step-by-step guide to selling a home in Charleston was developed to provide our clients with a consistent and proven method to prepare their homes for sale, price their homes appropriately and get the word out to as many prospective buyers as possible. The proof is in the results.
To ease the seller’s burden, Mave & Market shifted much of the work relating to home preparation, marketing, negotiation, and escrow onto ourselves. We have a team of specialists (e.g., interior designer, listing coordinator, licensed contractor, handyman, graphic designer, and marketing manager) dedicated exclusively to assisting homeowners through the home-selling process.
For most of us, our home is our biggest investment. When it's time to sell, follow the step-by-step guide to selling a home in Charleston and get the value you deserve with the help of a professional real estate agent at Mave & Market.
1.REQUEST A COPY OF OUR COMPREHENSIVE CHARLESTON REAL ESTATE SELLERS GUIDE
In our complimentary copy of our comprehensive Home Sellers's Guide you will receive by email, the guide includes topics such as:
- The Home Selling Process
- Preparing Your Home For Sale
- Mave & Market Web Marketing Program
- Mave & Market Print Marketing Program
- Mave & Market Social Media Marketing Program
- Mave & Market Search Engine Marketing Program
- Mave & Market Open House Marketing Program
- What To Expect Day-By-Day From Mave & Market
2. SELECT THE RIGHT AGENT
If you’ve lived in Charleston long enough, chances are you know at least one person who’s a licensed real estate agent. As with any profession, there are great agents, mediocre agents, and incompetent agents. A great agent will help you navigate the housing market and specific Charleston Neighborhoods in an effort to prepare for all probabilities. A great agent will guide you through getting your house ready and other decisions related to improving the condition of your house. A great agent will know the current and historical market performance of homes similar to yours and will accurately identify how yours is different and account for pricing adjustments accordingly.
But even a great agent may not be the right agent for you. Of course, there are basic things you should expect from your agent, but there are also other considerations you should bear in mind:
- The Agent’s Experience and Track Record – Has the agent represented many sellers and successfully sold their homes? How long before these homes sell and for how much, relative to the current market?
- The Listing and Marketing Strategy – Does the agent have a detailed listing and marketing plan? How effective does it seem? Is it a general approach or a property-specific approach? Can this agent recommend a reputable contractor, handyman, stager, and even a cleaner? Will the agent oversee the improvement projects of your house?
- The Agent’s Connections – Does this agent have a good reputation among his or her peers? Can this agent reach out to the community and start marketing your home before it gets put on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
- Image and Professionalism – Do you want this agent to represent you in front of other agents and prospective buyers? Do you want your house to be perceived based on the impression this agent makes on people?
3. SIGN THE LISTING AGREEMENT
Once you’ve decided on the agent you want to work with, the next step is signing a listing agreement with them. The listing agreement commits you to an exclusive arrangement with the agent for a set period of time. The typical time period is three months, but in sluggish housing markets or in the luxury home market, six-month or one-year agreements are normal.
During your meeting to sign the listing agreement, or shortly thereafter, your agent will assist you in fulfilling your disclosure obligations (as mandated in South Carolina) by having you complete a series of forms and questionnaires. Your agent will also order reports on your behalf:
- Property Inspection Report – A licensed property inspector will go over your home’s structure and systems to check for functionality, operability and code compliance. A written report will be issued based on the inspector's findings, detailing basic information and recommendations for repair, replacement, or maintenance. Read our guide to Property Inspections to learn more about the various types of property inspections in Charleston what to expect.
- Pest Inspection Report – A licensed pest inspector will check your home for termite or other pest infestation that could affect your home, as well as dry rot, wet rot, and fungus damage. If any of these are found, recommendations and estimates are then provided in a written report.
These reports are part of the buyer’s due diligence process, and the inspections could be performed by the buyers at their own costs. However, it is highly recommended that you have the inspections done before marketing your house to best anticipate problems, determine list price, and minimize buyer issues that could cause them to back out of the purchase.
4. PRICING YOUR HOME
Are you asking yourself "How Much Is My Charleston Home Worth?" Use our state of the art Charleston Home Value tool.
Your Mave & Market agent will prepare a detailed analysis of recent sales, current competition and market factors to help determine the best possible list price for maximum return. A well priced home often generates competing offers and drives up the final sale value. Our market analysis takes into account the most actively searched prices and home values throughout your area, including expired listings and properties still on the market.
One of the most important steps in selling your Charleston home is pricing it correctly from the onset. It’s a well-known fact that overpriced homes take longer to sell and usually sell for a lower price. Since the majority of your showings will occur in the first 30 days the home is on the market, it is crucial that your initial list price matches buyer expectations. Our agents are trained to use advanced market analysis software to build a comprehensive report that will accurately determine the optimal list price for your home. Interested to see where we would price your home? Request a detailed market analysis of your home today.
Knowing where the housing market is heading is critical when pricing your home. Market conditions vary, based on everything from supply-demand issues, buyers’ attitudes, to the time of year. The Charleston housing market can vary based on the economic outlook of the area, as well as job growth, job security, interest rates, loan availability, comparable homes for sale and the general feeling from the public about the economy. In addition, the market is seasonal, especially in Charleston.
- During late winter to early spring (late January to late February) the housing market starts to warm up, as families recover from the holidays and start looking to make a move.-
- Spring to early summer (March to May) is generally the best time to sell your home as parents need to buy within particular school districts in anticipation for enrollment in the next school year.
- Summer (June to August) tends to see a slow down as people leave town for vacation trips.
- Late summer to early fall (September to October) usually has a bit of a spike in sales activity as people come back from vacation and want to get into a home by the year’s end.
- Once the winter holidays kick in, and the market settles in for the winter (November to January), the only buying most people consider are holiday gifts. While your competition is whittled down because other sellers do not want to deal with moving during the holidays, prices tend to be a little lower as buyers during this time are usually looking for a relative bargain.
This seasonal pattern should be taken in conjunction with current market indicators in determining your pricing strategy. Your property will generate the most interest when it first hits the market, and if it’s priced below or at market value, it will generate the most showings. Start too high and you may miss the excitement and have to drop the price later, causing it to sell below market value.
Read our guide on Pricing Your Home to Sell for more information.
5. PREPARE YOUR HOME
Homeowners sometimes forget that when you are selling your home, you are, in fact, actually selling a product. As with a car, a piece of clothing, or a meal at a restaurant, selling your house means highlighting the best parts of it and presenting it in the best possible way. Fully preparing your home for sale can make a considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can help eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements. It could be as simple as removing clutter, personalized decorations, and having the house professionally cleaned. Or it could be as drastic as repainting your entire house. If the house is vacant or has odd rooms or less than ideal lay-out, an interior decorator or stager should be hired to bring in the right furniture and accents.
Having completed hundreds of real estate transactions year after year, we have learned the secrets to making your home stand out from the crowd. Presenting your home to the market - and your future buyer - involves things like thoroughly cleaning, making minor repairs, and staging - as well as knowing how to make your home get noticed online. Your Mave & Market agent will review your property and offer professional advice. Read our guide on Preparing Your Home To Sell for more information.
6. INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTATION AND STAGING
Our full-time and professionally accredited interior designer will visit your home, make suggestions regarding potential improvements, suggest furniture placement, and add details that can enhance the home’s value. Our interior designer will also select the best stager for your home. For properties with a list price over $700,000, Mave & Market will pay for the staging (including design, delivery, set-up, one-month free furniture rental, and de-stage fees) that our interior designer recommends. We will not be reimbursed at closing – this is one of our free services that can save you thousands of dollars.
7. COMPLIMENTARY HOME IMPROVEMENT MAINTENANCE
Our salaried, licensed contractors and handymen will dedicate up to 8 hours of their time (combined) for your property at no cost to you. Their services include minor home improvements and pre-inspection of your property. Prior to having your home inspected, our licensed contractor will visit your home and take care of those nagging last minute items, such as replacing light bulbs, oiling squeaky hinges, checking or installing mandated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and strapping water heaters. Our contractors' 11-point checklist inspection will address issues before the property inspections, so simple items can be addressed before the inspector arrives.
8. PROFESSIONAL, HIGH-END PHOTOGRAPHY
All homes are photographed by a professional photographer that specializes in residential photography. The photographers we use are far more experienced, and therefore more expensive than other options on the market. Based on our experience, the quality of the photography has a profound impact on the quality of the professional brochures and newspaper ads that we run for each home. As with all marketing and our comprehensive marketing strategy, we bear the cost of the photography.
9. PROFESSIONAL QUALITY VIDEOS
With the popularity of social media and video distribution sites, over 90% of homebuyers include the internet in their search process. To get maximum exposure and engage potential buyers emotionally, we utilize a professional videographer, not just the more traditional virtual tours employed by other realtors, to create videos that are more realistic and more appealing than still photos.
10. MARKETING YOUR HOME
Quite simply, we spend more money marketing your property than any other brokerage in Charleston. Period. When you hire Mave & Market to sell your home, we will identify your ideal buyer and then develop and implement a tailored home marketing program designed to reach them.
The Mave & Market team reaches such an extensive buyer pool because we invest heavily in web, social networking, email, direct mail and print campaigns that feature our listings in all the places where buyers are looking. In marketing your home, we develop a listing that emphasizes its unique and sellable aspects. We then put your home in front of buyers, establishing it on the local MLS as well as broader ones, new listings sheets, and real estate publications. Our nation-wide network of professional real estate contacts and buyers will also have the opportunity to check out your listing.
In addition, we'll use the Internet and our innovative website to make your listing highly visible. With more than 90% of buyers checking the web first when looking for a home, proper use of the internet is a part of your marketing strategy that you can't afford to miss. Mave & Market 's online marketing skills and innovative internet marketing techniques are unmatched in the Charleston area and guarantee your home is noticed by the largest number of potential buyers.
Time tested sales techniques still play an important part in our effort to market your home. Once the house is adequately prepared to accentuate its most attractive features, your agent puts together professionally photographed, produced and printed marketing materials. Your house is then included in the MLS and should receive additional exposure from online and print ads. We employ professional photos, branded yard signs, gorgeous flyers and old fashioned word of mouth to maximize your home's total marketing exposure.
Compare our marketing strategy to other brokerages and you will find your Charleston home is best sold by Mave & Market.
11. SHOWING YOUR HOME
Every visitor to your home is your potential buyer (or someone who can influence your buyer), so making it easy for people to see your home and making it look great for every single showing really does matter. We've actually seen a seller lose a buyer because of the cleanliness of the home during a showing! We know it's hard, but if you want to sell your home, make it easy to see and make it look as much like a model home as possible...every day. Read our guides on Preparing Your Home To Sell and Showing Your Home to learn more.
12. BROKER TOUR
Mave & Market is able to attract a very large number of brokers and sales agents due to our reputation of having the best Broker Tour, which always include great catered breakfasts and lunches, as well as a specialty cocktail or cappuccino bar. Brokers and real estate agents know not to miss our properties when out on tour.
13. OPEN HOUSES
In the first weekend, Mave & Market has extended-hour open houses, catered food, specialty cocktails and a cappuccino bar at our open houses. We found that the large attendance we get at the open house creates a level of excitement and often contributed to the high number of offers that come in. Subconsciously, busy open houses make potential buyers feel like the home is more desirable. This contributes directly to our strong sale statistics.
14. AGENT COMMUNICATION
While your Charleston home is on the market, we will provide at weekly status reports that show your top prospects, summary of feedback from your showings, a review of completed and planned marketing activities and any recommended adjustments to course. In order to keep tabs on your competition, we setup a neighborhood alert system that will notify you and your agent as similar homes in your neighborhood come on the market, go under contract or sell.
15. NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT
If an interested buyer is serious enough, he or she puts together a purchase offer with his or her agent. The buyer’s agent then presents the offer to the listing (your) agent. Rarely does an offer get accepted as presented. There are usually terms that need to be revised, and this is addressed through the counteroffer process. When you start to get offers, we will represent you during the emotionally charged negotiating process and ensure that you get the best price, and favorable closing terms that are clearly spelled out.
Successfully negotiating a real estate contract is more than a matter of luck or natural talent. When you receive an offer, having an agent with a proven track record of bringing buyers and sellers together can make a huge impact on your final sales price. Our agents are skilled negotiators who can help you get to the highest price a potential buyer is willing to pay, as well as the best terms, shortest contingencies, fewest repairs and lowest closing costs. Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial, winner-take-all perspective, our agents focus on your top priorities and strive to keep emotions from over running the process.
The difference between a rookie agent and a skilled expert could mean thousands of dollars either lost or gained during contract negotiations. For best results, hire the experts in Charleston real estate.
16. GOING THROUGH ESCROW
Upon ratification of the purchase contract, the road to closing the transaction begins. Escrow generally refers to money held by a neutral third-party on behalf of the transacting parties. Parties choose escrow to give them the assurance that no funds or property will change hands until all of the instructions in the transaction have been followed. The escrow holder has the obligation to safeguard the funds and/or documents that are in its possession, and to disburse funds and/or convey title only when all provisions of the escrow have been complied with.
During this process, the important timelines related to contingencies in the contract are as followed:
- Buyer’s deposit is given to the escrow company
- Additional inspections, if any, are performed
- An appraisal is performed if there is a loan involved
- If there is a loan, the buyer goes through the lender’s approval and underwriting process
- If your property is a condo or townhouse, the homeowner’s association provides a package of HOA documents and transfer paperwork.
Once contingencies are removed, the escrow company contacts your mortgage holder and any other lien holder to request a pay-off amount. The escrow company then prepares the settlement statement detailing your pay-off and other closing-related expenses for your review. You will then meet with the escrow officer to sign the deed transfer and other documents, while the buyer meets separately to sign their loan and closing documents.
17. CLOSING THE SALE
After the buyer signs off on the loan documents, the escrow company sends them back to the lender for final review and funding. Once escrow receives all the funds from both buyer and lender, the sale is recorded with the county and your ownership has been conveyed to the buyer. That day, all keys and garage door remote controls need to be turned over, and the house should be cleaned out and ready for the buyer.
If you'd like to discuss your next home sale today, please contact us anytime. For more information on selling a home in Charleston, request a complimentary copy of our Home Sellers Guideor Preparing Your Home To Sell.