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Q: Should I sell my home by owner?
A: Absolutely, there is no reason not to sell your home by owner. Some Realtors would have you believe that less than 10% of homes sell by owner, when in fact a 1995 survey published by the National Board of Realtors found that approximately 30% of homes sell by owner.

Q: How many showings should I expect on my home before I receive an offer to purchase?
A: A good rule of thumb is one offer for every 10 showings (provided your house is priced to market).

Q: How can I assure my house is priced appropriately?
A: There are a couple of ways. You can purchase an appraisal of your home from a licensed appraiser. This method however does not take into consideration the current market conditions and can be fairly costly. The second method of establishing an accurate price for your home is to have a competitive market analysis (CMA) done. Any realtor will be happy to come and give you a listing presentation with the hope that if your home does not sell by owner you will choose their services to list your home. One caution with this method; choose a realtor who surveys the entire market not just a sampling of three to five hand picked homes. A true competitive market analysis will show all houses in your subdivision that match the criteria of your home (ranch, two story, split entry, etc.). Further more, it will also look at three areas: Price per square foot, total sales price in relationship to the market and average market time for your area. If your home is priced to market it will sell in average market time. If you need assistance with establishing your market price offers a Market Value Analysis with our
Basic Gold Package.

Q: How long should I try to sell my home before I seek a licensed agent?
A: This is a personal choice; it depends on how long you have to sell your home.

  • The key to selling your home in average market time is to have it priced right. Overpriced homes do not sell. There is really only one reason a home doesn't sell and that is price. Don't leave money on the table, but if your home is priced several thousand dollars over every other home in the area it will not sell. Do not interview agents and let he/she tell you your home is overpriced then list with the agent at the lower price. If you are going to drop the price anyway drop it and see if you have any luck on your own before going with a licensed agent.
  • The second factor in your decision is whether or not your home has had adequate exposure? Have you exhausted all your advertising opportunities? Don't be afraid to spend money getting the word out about your home. Anything you spend on advertising is far less than a real estate commission. Along with the free website, utilize the various types of print media available. The last thing you want to do is reduce your chances for success due to lack of exposure. You have to get the word out to as many people as possible. Buyers use all of these various resources to find which homes to look at.

Q: Should I pay a buyer's agent a commission?
A: If a buyer's agent brings a qualified buyer with a letter of approval from a financial institution you should strongly consider paying a buyers agent commission. This should never exceed 3%. This is approximately what the agent would make if they found the buyer a home on their local Board of Realtors MLS. You may even be able to negotiate as low as 2.4%. It is customary for the buyer's agent to fill out the purchase agreement. Just remember that this agent works for the buyer not you, no matter what the agent may say verbally. If you have any concerns about the uniform purchase agreement seek professional assistance.

Q: Should I pay for a home warranty?
A: This can be used as a negotiating tool. It can also be perceived as a good faith gesture to assure the buyer everything is in working order and that he/she will have no repair problems in the future, but wait until you are negotiating the contract.

Q: Should I have my home pre-inspected by a professional home inspector?
A: This is generally not recommended unless you want to know what items will be found in a home inspection with the intention of repair prior to putting your home on the market. If repairs are made make sure you keep copies of the receipts to assure prospective buyers the appropriate corrective actions has been taken. Typically the buyer should choose and pay for the home inspection. This allows the buyer to feel comfortable with this process and assures no conflict of interest.

Q: If I choose to select an agent to sell my home what process should I go through?
A: Some of the best known companies in the market do not give their agents the flexibility to go below 6% commission. By Nebraska Law real estate commissions are 100% negotiable. You want to choose an agent who will offer you an acceptable commission rate and still pay out to buyers agents as if they had listed your home for 6%. This amount is 2.4%. Your chances are reduced of other agents showing your home if you pay out at anything less. Finally, when negotiating with a listing agent you should be able to find commissions under 4.5% - 7% with the listing agents paying any buyers agents who sell your home 2.4%. A final note; all licensed agents who belong to the area board of realtors have access to the MLS and will list your property on the MLS. As long as the selected agent pays out at the desired 2.4% your home has a good chance of selling if priced right. Just because an agent works for a well known company does not mean they know what they are doing or will work any harder or have a better chance of selling your home. Companies do not sell real estate, agents do! Don't be afraid to use an agent just because they don't work for a large company. In fact, most agents who work for the smaller companies have higher commission splits with their brokers and are more willing and able to negotiate commission. Select an agent based on how well you think that agent will represent you and not based on the company he/she works for.

Q: Should I accept offers with contingencies?
A: Many offers you will receive will have some type of contingency. A contingency is any item that could allow either party to choose not to execute the contract. The most common contingencies are: Contingent upon the sale of a home or contingent upon a home inspection. Both are acceptable contingencies, but you must plan for them and know how to write the contract. For the home sale contingency you must put in a "right of refusal clause" Generally this is for 24 to 48 hours (the shorter the time frame the better for the seller). What this means is that if you receive another offer on your home the first buyer has a specified period of time (24 or 48 hours) to remove the home sale contingency from the contract via addendum or the seller can accept the new offer. For the inspection contingency there is a preprinted inspection addendum in the packet of paperwork provided with your home listing kit. Fill it out completely, have both parties sign it. The buyer then has 5 days to have the home inspection performed. The buyers then have 2 additional days to present any issues requiring attention (Total 7 days). If you have any questions about the inspection contingency call HomeLand Title for assistance.

Q: How much earnest deposit is appropriate?
A: Typically in this market 1% for every $100,000 of value. For example on a $200,000 home $2,000 is an appropriate amount. From the sellers point of view the more earnest deposit the better it gives the buyer more incentive to keep the deal together rather than risk losing his/her deposit.

Q: Should I pay money towards buyers closing costs?
A: With some government programs such as FHA and VA you will pay some of the costs normally paid by the buyer. In all cases closing costs are negotiable and can be worked into the contract. It is not uncommon for a buyer to ask a seller (especially a first time buyer) to pay a portion or all of their closing costs and pre-paid items. First, when negotiating closing costs always specify a dollar amount not to exceed or "seller will pay up to x dollars". Second, when negotiating closing costs and prepaid items, the most important item for you as the seller is to know how much you need to net from the sale of your home. If this can be achieved and the home will appraise for the total value including closing costs and prepaid items, there is no reason you should not help the buyer in any way possible.

Q: When should possession be given to the new owners of my home?
A: In most cases, the buyer would like to be in the home as soon as possible. Possession is an issue negotiated into the contract. Remember, after closing it is no longer your home and each day you remain in the home following closing you will be responsible for paying the new owner rent for the appropriate time frame.

Q: Should I preorder title insurance?
A: This is a personal choice. It is always better to take early steps to ensure that there will be no unpleasant surprises when you have a deal on the table. One of these areas is title insurance. Companies can make claims against your title without your knowledge and items can be recorded improperly. The title and escrow process is the most important step in the home selling process. Most homeowners do not realize how critical this function is. By ordering your title work as soon as you put your house on the market, you can find out whether or not you have clear title to your property. If for some reason you do not have clear title you have time to take the necessary corrective action.

Q: What if my buyer backs out of the deal at the last minute?
A: This shouldn't happen very often, but it can. If it does happen however, you need to have a great sense of urgency towards getting the issue resolved as quickly as possible. If the buyer is truly going to risk lawsuit and loss of earnest deposit to breach the contract, you want the process to take as little time as possible so you can get your house back on the market. At this point it would be advised to contact a licensed real estate professional and get their advice on proceeding forward.

Q: Should I tell my neighbors before I put my house on the market?
A: Neighbors can be a very good source of referrals. It is recommended when putting your home on the market to let your neighbors know in person. Go door to door with flyers and the information on your home and give extra copies to anyone who agrees to pass them out for your. Don't be secretive about the price and the features of your home. If neighbors want to tour your home by all means walk them through as if it were any other showing pointing out all the special features and items you love about your home.

Q: What can I keep from my home and what typically stays after the sale?
A: Items are broken down into two categories; fixtures and personal property. Fixtures stay with the home after closing and typically include: Wall to wall carpeting, mounted bookcases, ceiling fans, garage door openers, dishwasher, range, oven, built-in microwave and anything else permanently attached to the real property. If, for example, you have an antique chandelier in your dining room that will not be sold with the home it is recommended you remove it and replace it with one that will stay once your home is sold. Do this prior to putting your home on the market will eliminate any confusion for prospective buyers. Personal property are those items typically not attached, but can be included or excluded when written into the purchase contract. Some buyers may want to negotiate other items such as your furniture, refrigerator etc. This becomes a personal choice and is completely up to you and the prospective buyer, but should be negotiated separately.

Q: How do I know if a buyer is qualified?
A: All reputable lenders will provide a letter of approval for the dollar amount the prospective buyer is approved for. Note there is a difference between qualification and approval. Don't be afraid to obtain permission and call the buyers lender to assure he/she is approved. All reputable lenders will also provide a Good Faith Estimate with estimated closing costs, discount points, etc. Remember you have a right to know and be assured that a prospective buyer has the means to purchase your home. has affiliate lenders who will be happy to provide a second opinion at not charge for any prospective buyer you are working with.

Q: What should I do if the buyer asks for repairs?
A: Most repairs are negotiable between seller and buyer, however, if the items affect health and safety or the structural integrity of the property it is recommended the items are repaired at the sellers expense to avoid any further delay with the home sales process. Keep in mind if the repairs are items requiring disclosure on the seller disclosure statement you now have an obligation to disclose these items to any future buyer prospects. Fixing them is in your best interest regardless of the outcome on the current contract you are negotiating. Remember to keep all receipts as documentation of the repairs.

Q: What is the final walk-through and when does it take place?
A: The final walk-through takes place 24 to 48 hours before closing. This is when the buyer walks through the home to assure the house is in acceptable condition and all repairs have been done. Make repair receipts available to the buyer and be available to answer any questions he/she may have. Your home should be clean and organized just as it was when you were trying to sell it. The last thing you want at this stage is for a buyer to get cold feet because your home is not clean or in disrepair.

Q: What if my home doesn't appraise for the amount I sold it for?
A: At this point you have a few choices: As with any service you can get a second opinion from a different appraiser. Keep in mind the buyer paid for the original appraisal and the second opinion will be at your expense. Further more, the buyers lender will have to accept your new appraisal. Next, you can re-negotiate the purchase price to be in line with the appraised value. This will require agreement by both parties and an addendum to the contract stating the new purchase price signed by both buyer and seller. Finally, if you feel you will go no lower on the purchase price you can request the buyer put more funds towards the down payment, however, the likelihood of this occurring is remote.

Q: Should I hold open houses and are there any risks associated with them?
A: Open houses are a very effective method of selling your home provided you are able to generate traffic. It is important to advertise and have adequate signage to make your home easy to find. Second, any time you let people in your house there is risk of theft, etc. Most home buyers however, are very respectful of your property. If you have items of value that you are concerned about make sure they are stored out of sight in a safe location.

Q: Do I need help filling out the purchase agreement?
A: The purchase agreement is a legally binding contract. If you are not comfortable preparing it or if you have questions seek professional assistance. offers a
legal assitance option to help you with the contracts

Q: Is there a difference in conventional, FHA or VA financing?
A: There are minor differences. All are very good methods of financing a home purchase. With FHA and VA the sellers does pay some of the buyers closing costs. With FHA the seller pays the entire escrow closing fee rather than half (generally $250). With VA the seller pays the entire escrow closing fee and the pest inspection (Generally: Escrow Closing $250, Pest inspection $75-$90). The other item of mention is the appraisal. The FHA and VA appraisal process is typically more detailed than the appraisals performed for conventional financing. It is important to know FHA and VA appraisals DO NOT take the place of a home inspection. Do not misrepresent this fact to prospective buyers.