SELLING REAL ESTATE IN SAVANNAH, GA
WHAT'S INVOLVED IN SELLING A HOME?
Selling a home isn't like selling any other asset for three reasons:
A house is not liquid - meaning it cannot be sold quickly or easily. When you sell shares of a stock, like Amazon, the trade executes almost instantly. The sale of a house takes at least ten days to close and requires the coordination of buyer, seller, and closing attorney, at a minimum.
Houses are unique and no two are exactly the same. A car is typically the most expensive purchase a person will make besides a home, but there are hundreds of thousands of cars just like any car you can purchase on a lot. This makes cars easy to value.
Selling a home involves many variables. When you sell a company's stock or a car, typically the only variable involved is the price. When you sell a home there are many variables, including price, required repairs, type of buyer financing, strength of the buyer, length of due diligence, time required to close... you get the idea. This is why many of us find all cash offers so enticing - less variables, right?
WHAT ABOUT ALL CASH OFFERS?
You've probably seen the signs - "WE BUY UGLY HOUSES!" Maybe you get the letters in the mail, or the post cards, or the unsolicited phone calls, text messages, and emails. The bottom line is this: most of these offers aren't much better than a scam.
Here's the things about these offers - almost all of them are coming from folks who have no intention of actually buying your house. They want to get you to sign the contract, then sell the contract to an actual real estate investor for a profit. And they're going to buy your home at under market value.
There are some situations when it is in your best interests to accept one of these cash offers that promise a quick close. An imminent foreclosure is one situation when it might be best for you to take one of these offers. But if you do, there are four things you must do to protect your best interests:
Require a sizable earnest money deposit. Earnest money is a deposit that a buyer makes to show "good faith." Good faith means that they actually intend to close the deal, and the deposit is what shows that good faith - money talks, after all.
Require this deposit to be held by a closing attorney, or a real estate broker if you have one.
Require this deposit to be at least $1,000 or 1% of the purchase price, whichever is larger.
Bring the purchase and sale contract to a real estate attorney to review before signing. There are many good attorneys in Savannah who will review the contract for you, and if you choose them to close the deal they will likely review the contract for free. We like to use a few different attorneys in town, including Brannen, Searcy and Smith, Rubnitz Thompson and Ziblut, and Weissman Law.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR HOME IS WORTH AND HOW TO MARKET IT TO RECEIVE TOP DOLLAR?
We discussed earlier how valuing a home is not easy because no two homes are the same. When real estate professionals consider the desirability of a home, there are three main factors they consider. They are:
LOCATION | CONDITION | PRICE
Location is the only factor that we have no control over - you cannot move your house. Some areas are more desirable, some less. When we consider the impact that location has on the value of a home, we will look to take an average of every home recently sold in a given area to give us a baseline starting point of what the typical home in that neighborhood should be worth.
Next we look at condition. Based on our research about the homes in a given neighborhood, we will come up with a range of values that any given home in that neighborhood could be worth. Where a home in that neighborhood lands within that range depends mostly on how large it is, how well it has been maintained, and how recently it has been updated. Think of it like a Kelly Blue Book valuation for a car. When you look at a KBB valuation online for a car, it'll give you a range. The average 2014 Toyota Tacoma 4-door sells for $19,000. One in great shape will sell for $22,000, and one in bad shape will sell for $14,000. A two door will sell for less, a four door for more. We can apply the same logic to homes within a given neighborhood.
Many sellers tell us "well, my neighbor's house sold for $250,000, why are you telling me that mine is only worth $220,000? It's because yours is smaller, or perhaps the neighbor just remodeled their kitchen and included all of the most modern and desirable finishes.
You can't change location, but you can change condition - though it's usually not cheap. The easiest ways to influence condition are a professional cleaning, fresh paint, and home staging. Things like bathroom and kitchen remodels typically get more expensive, but if you do them right you will almost always see a good return on investment. They key there is that you have to do them right!
What does it mean to do a remodel right? When you want to sell your home for top dollar, doing it right doesn't mean designing things the way you like them, it means designing things the way that a BUYER would like them. To know what a buyer wants, look at homes for sale in your neighborhood. What are the best listings doing? If most of the homes in your neighborhood have marble countertops - you probably want marble. If most of the homes have laminate, then putting marble in yours will likely not be a good return on investment. A real estate agent can help you with that.
Price is the last part of the equation, and it is the easiest thing for us to influence. To change price, all we have to do is hit a few keys on a keyboard! It is SO important to list your home for an appropriate price. List too low and you'll leave money on the table, even if you get offers over asking price (you probably will.) List too high and potential buyers looking at your home online will decide it's not even worth their time to get in the car and see your house - and that's the real danger in listing too high.
The key to selling homes in the age of Zillow is to grab a buyer's attention quickly, and then convince that buyer that they need to see your home in person. This is why appropriate pricing is critical. Buyer's are much more savvy than they were 30 years ago because buyers typically browse through HUNDREDS of houses online. They know the market, they know when your house is listed too high, and they don't want to waste their time even looking at your home if it is listed for too much.
The other half of the equation in getting a buyer's interest is then in presentation online. At a minimum we need to present a clean, uncluttered home. We always recommend that seller's remove many of their personal affects so that a buyer can imagine their own personal things in the home - remember, it's not your house anymore when you decide to sell it. We also recommend staging most vacant houses, and of course we take professional photographs free of charge - if your real estate agent starts taking pictures on a cell phone it's time for you to find a new agent fast!
EXAMPLES OF PAST DEALS
This year alone Trophy Point Realty Group agents have sold 63 homes on the open market for a total volume of 15.3 million. We have also conducted about a dozen off-market sales for sellers who wanted to be connected directly to one of our buyers instead of going on the open market, and have ourselves purchased or sold 7 homes this year. Please watch the the videos below for some more information on the kind of work that we do!
Right now we have more buyers than we have homes to sell them. While we have buyers interested in almost any kind of real estate that you can think of, we are especially interested in some of the following types of properties:
2-4 unit multi-family homes in or near downtown Savannah that are in good to great condition.
Lots that are 0.2 acres or larger north of Victory Drive and West of the Truman Parkway
Any property in almost any neighborhood or suburb of Savannah that needs extensive renovation - we'll buy as far out as Hinesville and Guyton!