Frequently Asked Selling Questions


When is the best time to sell my home?

April, May, and June are traditionally the busiest selling months in the greater Lansing real estate market. For a number of reasons there are more shoppers and more available homes. However, homes are listed and sold throughout the year.


Can I sell my home during the winter months?

Keeping your home off the market during the winter is a mistake. Every home buyer’s situation is different. Buyers shop when the timing is right for them, and make their selection from what is available at the time. Because the selection is reduced during the winter months, you'll have less market place competition.


What is the Multiple Listing Service?


Is the assessed value an accurate indication of what my home is worth?

Assessed value is not the same as market value or appraised value. There are many homes that could be sold for significantly more than an assessed value and others that should be sold for significantly less. The assessed value of a home is used for the purpose of local taxes. It is an estimated value based on the sale of comparable homes during the previous calendar year. The assessed value calculation is base only on square footage. The condition and quality of the property is not factored into the assessment.

Unfortunately, there are many home buyer’s who believe that a home that is listed higher than the assessed value is overpriced. This is the furthest from the truth. Home buyer’s also question if something is wrong with a home if the list price is much less than the assessed value. The bottom line is the assessed value has no impact on how much your home is worth.


Can I determine how much my home is worth from an internet website?

NO! Anyone who has bought a home, sold a home, or just looked at homes, has heard of websites such as Zillow and Trulia. These third party real estate websites provide estimates of home values based on computer generated calculations and formulas. It is not possible that a third party website headquartered in California or Florida can provide an accurate home value for a home located in Lansing, MI. It’s critical that when selling a home, the value is determined by a Realtor familiar with our local market area, not an internet website!


How does a Realtor determine how much my home is worth?

The most common method to determining the value of a home is through a comparative market analysis. A comparative market analysis is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6-12 months. A comparative market analysis, also known as a “CMA,” isn’t a crystal ball that determines what a home will sell for, however, it should provide a fairly accurate sale price range.


Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?

Many seller’s believe they should price their home $5,000 higher than what market analysissuggests to leave room for negotiations and low-ball offers. A seller who prices their home high to leave room for negotiations can actually be reducing the number of potential showings because buyers generally avoid looking at homes they perceive are priced above market value.

There is no need to leave room for negotiations, as a properly priced home will sell quickly for close to the listing price. Keep in mind that after having looked at all the other homes to select from, the buyer has deciced to make on offer on your home. Should the offer be lower than you'd accept, simply counter with what you require. Remember, the buyer wants to buy your home!


What is a listing contract?


What are Seller Concessions?

Depending on what type of financing the potential purchaser is obtaining, the option to receive seller concessions may exist. There are many home buyer’s with impeccable credit scores and solid jobs but are short on the money required to purchase a home. Seller concessions allow a home owner to contribute a percentage or dollar amount towards a buyer’s closing costs. For example, a buyer who qualifies for an FHA mortgage can receive up to 6% of the purchase price towards their closing costs. This can be a significant amount of money and can be the difference of a buyer being able to afford a home or not or the seller being able to sell their home!


Why would I "gift" money to a buyer for his closing costs?

Don't be alarmed when asked to pay the buyer's closing costs. In truth, you are not really paying the buyer's closing costs. After all, why would you give a portion of your proceeds to a buyer?

You simply propose a counter offer which includes the amount you would accept if no concessions were included, then add the buyer's concession figure to that amount. As a result, the buyer is financing an amount sufficient to cover the purchase price and closing costs.


What is a contingency?

A Contingency is condition put in a contract that must be met for the contract to be binding. Common contingencies include financing, inspection, and others which protect buyers of real estate and their earnest money.


How does the home inspection work?

Home buyers almost alway make their offer subject to a home inspection. There are many different types of inspections and tests that a buyer has the right to perform. In most cases, inspections are at the expense of the buyer. They have a specified number of days to complete the inspections and either remove the inspection contingencies or request the seller address issues discovered through the inspections.


What are common bank required repairs?

When performing a bank appraisal, the appraiser is looking for potential safety hazards, sanitary issues or conditions that may soon result in deterioration of the property. Some common bank required repairs include missing handrails, broken windows, peeling paint, plumbing leaks, missing electrical covers, and roofs that are in very poor condition.