SML Seller FAQs

How do you determine the value of my home?

We use a combination of approaches. We start with a computer assisted market analysis, comparing your home to similar homes that have sold in the last 6 months. We then factor in factors that might fine tune those results…the slope/size of your lot, the overall condition of your home and how well it shows and location. If you have a perceived value of your home that’s dramatically different from ours, we will work with you to either find further evidence that justifies your price, or clarify why and how we came up with a different value.

How does my tax assessment factor in to the overall value of my home?

Buyers and sometimes other realtors, place a lot of stock in a tax assessments ability to predict the true value of a home. Some use it as the primary metric and try to negotiate a purchase price that is within a predetermined multiple of the tax assessment. We view the assessment as one of several metrics. Assessors rarely spend more than a few minutes/home in determining their assessment. There can be wide swings in assessments when the assessor may not be aware of certain improvements.

What's the difference between an assessment and an appraisal?

An assessment is done to determine the taxes you will pay on your home. Typically, it’s lower than an appraisal, which determines the true market value of your home. If for some reason, you have firm expectations of your homes market value, an appraisal will prove you right or wrong. Most buyers seeking a mortgage on your home want the appraisal to support their offer. All lenders are reluctant to lend money if the appraised value is less than the offer being made.

Is there a better time of year to sell my home?

Depends. Families with children want to time moves around the new school year. That makes a case for late Winter/early Spring being a good time to list your home. If you have a lakefront or lake area home, having it on the market in the Spring and Summer allows buyers the chance to see your home and be on the lake, taking in the full beauty of the area. Some people take their homes off the market, beginning in Mid-November, through February. The theory behind that strategy is that fewer people are looking at property around the holidays. What is also true though is that when the inventory of available homes shrinks, your home is going to stand out. It only takes one buyer to fall in love with your home.

I have friends who have had several offers on their home. How can I be on the winning side of a bidding war?

Competitive offers typically occur when one of three conditions are present: 1) There are a shortage of available home for sale and a surplus of interested buyers. 2)Your house is so competitively priced that smart buyers see that and converge upon the opportunity to seize a value. The final sale will sometimes escalate accordingly, depending on the number of bids. 3) On rare occasions, driven mostly by completely random factors, several groups of buyers might look at the same property over a few days and all of them decide to bid on it. We’ve seen homes sit on the market for months with little activity and then inexplicably receive multiple offers in a single weekend. It’s rare, but it happens.

I want to sell my house. I also want to sell my furniture, boat, lawn equipment and fishing gear. Can I include everything in with the sale of my house?

You can, but a lender will only lend money on the real estate. We recommend that you sell your possessions under a separate bill of sale. It keeps the transaction cleaner. Let’s say for example, you have all the above mentioned “stuff” and you’ve priced your home at $500,000…including all that stuff. You are leaving yourself open to the buyer challenging what percentage of your asking price is the stuff and arguing over whether your fishing gear and boat are worth what you might think is. Entire transactions bog down over these disputes and you run the risk of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. We recommend that you sell the real estate first and negotiate the stuff after the fact. The only exception to this suggestion is if you have a cash buyer, who doesn’t need to go through an appraisal or lender. They just want your house and everything in it!

Do I need a lawyer to review any sales contract?

If it makes you comfortable, by all means do so. As licensed realtors we have had years of experience negotiating contracts and we work with a standard sales contract, provided through the Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors. It’s already been vetted and reviewed by attorneys. So, do you need your own lawyer? Usually no, but again, if it makes you comfortable, consult all you want!

Should I accept a contract contingent upon the sale of someone else's home?

Again, that’s ultimately up to you and your own current financial and lifestyle situation. Any contingency represents a risk to you as a seller. We try to help you mitigate those risks as much as possible by putting some boundaries around contingencies. How long will the contingency last? What if you get another offer while the contingency is still in place? Is the buyers price offer enticing enough to make you want to accept a home sale contingency? Finally, are multiple contingencies involved? Sometimes a seller accepts a contingent contract and the buyers home is sold with a contingent contract on it. One misstep might cause all three deals to fall through. Your realtor can help you monitor those kinds of scenarios and protect your best interests. 

Of course, there are other contingencies to deal with. Home inspections, septic, well and termite inspections are typically included with offers as contingencies. They allow the buyer to withdraw their offer if the results of those inspections are too problematic for the buyer.