Selling

Home Seller's Guide: Step 5 - Negotiating

One of the primary reasons you hire an Ocean City real estate agent is to negotiate on your behalf. Your agent should be focused on negotiating the best price possible for your home, along with the most favorable contract terms.  

When a Buyer makes an offer on your home you have the option to either accept, reject or counter their offer.  While price is the most important factor there are other factors to consider when evaluating a real estate offer:

  • Are the Buyers financing or paying cash?

  • If the Buyers are financing, what are their qualifications?

  • What contingencies are included … inspections, financing, appraisal?

  • What is the settlement timeframe and proposed closing date?

  • How much is the good faith deposit?

  • How are the Buyers proposing to handle closing costs?

  • Have the Buyers requested any closing cost assistance?

An experienced Ocean City real estate agent will walk you through the entire offer and explain all of the contingencies and details.  They should provide you with a Seller Net Sheet that summarizes all of the closing costs and provides you with an estimated net proceeds amount based on the offer. 

A couple of useful tips to keep in mind when you are negotiating:

  • ...

Home Sellers Guide: Step 4 - On-Market

All of the preparation is complete and the marketing materials have been created.  Now it is time for your home to go live on the market.  When your home goes live on the market remember that the easier it is for Buyers and real estate agents to see your property, the more property showings you will have.  

Your property should be accessible by an electronic key lockbox that only licensed Ocean City Realtors have access to.  These electronic lockboxes enable your real estate agent to monitor your listing and its activity at all times.

In the event the home is occupied you should be notified of property showings beforehand and given the authority to either authorize the showing or reschedule it for a more convenient time.  There are a variety of useful tools and apps that make the property showing process easy for all involved.

It is important to make the most of each property showing you have.  Most Buyers will be looking at several Ocean City properties the same day they look at yours and you want to make sure your home stands out.  Below are a few things that you or your real estate agent can do prior to the showing that will make a good impact:

  • Turn on all lights

  • Put away any clutter

  • Clean if necessary

  • Open all blinds

  • Turn off TVs and radios

  • Make beds

If possible you will want to leave the home during any showings.  When the Seller is present prospective Buyers tend to be uncomfortable and don’t look at the home as intently as they typically would.

What happens after...

Seller's Guide Step 3 - Marketing

There is currently a lot of competition in the Ocean City real estate market.  The days of placing a listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), popping a sign in the front yard and hoping for a Buyer are long gone.

Today's real estate market requires a broad spectrum of advertising in a coordinated manner to maximize the number of serious Buyers, showings and offers you receive.  At a minimum the agent you choose to work with should offer:

  • Professional Photography
  • Strong Internet Presence
  • Color Property Flyers
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Custom Property Signage
  • Lead Generating Websites
  • Showing Follow-Up Systems
  • Targeted Facebook Ads
  • Interactive 3-D Virtual Tours
  • Direct Mail Campaigns
  • Exclusive Property Websites
  • Advanced MLS Placement
  • Extensive Buyer Database
  • Email Campaigns
  • Listing and Transaction Coordinators
  • Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com Ads

Choosing a Realtor

The Ocean City Realtor you choose to assist you with the marketing of your home will have a considerable impact on the outcome of the sale.  Be sure to choose wisely.  Things to look for when choosing a Realtor include:

  • Experience
  • Sales Record
  • Sale to List Price Ratio
  • Marketing Plan
  • Professionalism
  • Support Staff
  • Days on Market
  • Client Reviews and Testimonials
  • Communication Skills
  • Availability

As you can see, there is a lot to consider as you prepare to sell your home.  It will cost you a considerable amount of money to do so and you owe it to yourself to hire an experienced, local agent that offers...

Seller's Guide Step 2 - Prepare

There is more competition than ever in the current Ocean City real estate market.  Before putting your property on the market you will want to make sure it is a home that people will want to buy.  

Take a good look around your home to determine where it needs improvement.  It is important to address glaring issues and known defects so your property shows its best. 

Some fixes will be simple cosmetic items that you can likely handle on your own.  Other items may be more significant and require the services of a professional.  Below is a list of the common fixes that provide the most benefit:

  • Spruce up the lawn
  • Get carpets cleaned
  • Replace light bulbs
  • Powerwash the exterior
  • Organize closets and drawers
  • Clear out clutter
  • Clean, clean, clean
  • Paint in neutral tones
  • Simplify decor
  • Minimize personal effects

Be smart with home improvements.  Don't over improve a property you are getting ready to sell and not be able to recoup the costs.  Below are some reputable local Ocean City contractors that can assist you with these projects:

  • Lawn Masters - 410-603-6235
  • JC Custom Painting - 302-604-3001
  • Lighthouse Services - 410-723-7098
  • Brasures Carpet - 302-436-5652
  • Chesapeake Hydro-Wash - 410-479-9744
  • Dave Wallace Electric - 443-497-0492
  • Seaside Plumbing - 410-641-1368
  • Easy Breezy Cleaning - 443-523-7060

This investment of time and money will help generate a faster sale at a higher price.  Your property will show its best, stand out from the competition and make a good impression on prospective Buyers.

I would be glad to walk through your home with you and make suggestions on fixes...

Seller's Guide Step 1 - Strategy

When it comes to selling your home in Ocean City or the surrounding areas you need to have a strategic plan in place to ensure you sell your home for the highest price possible, in the least amount of time with the fewest hassles. Creating a comprehensive strategy ahead of time is a necessary and worthwhile step.  It will help you prioritize your goals and in-turn develop a marketing strategy and plan that accomplishes them.

Know Your Goals
Common goals when selling real estate in Ocean City and the surrounding areas are generating the highest price possible, selling in a reasonable timeframe, having a smooth transaction, ensuring your interests are represented and having the home go under contract and sell.  Accomplishing these goals comes down to four primary factors:

  • Pricing Strategy
  • Home's condition
  • Marketing plan
  • Agent experience

The Ocean City real estate agent you choose to work with must have a system in place that addresses all of these factors.  The first step in this process is determining the property's value and listing price.

Determine the Listing Price

A well priced Ocean City home will generate competitive offers and sell within a reasonable amount of time.  Setting the listing price for your property is the most important step in the listing process.  If you set the price to high you will have limited activity and your home will sit on the market.  If you price the property too low you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

There are many factors that affect property values:

  • Local market conditions
  • Property size
  • Age and property condition
  • Recent comparable sales
  • Location and views
  • Interest rates
  • Number...

Why RIGHT NOW is the Best Time to Sell

There is not other way to say it ... the real estate markets in Ocean City and the surrounding areas are on fire!  Most properties are selling within a couple of days of being listed, for over asking price with multiple offers.  If you are considering selling your Ocean City real estate, now is the most opportune time in well over a decade.  Below are several reasons why.

Demand Is Strong

Buyer demand is currently very strong in the Ocean City, Ocean Pines, West Ocean City and Berlin real estate markets.  This is being fueled by low interest rates, pent-up demand and limited inventory.  Due to COVID-19 there has been a noticeable shift in focus to "home".  In the primary home market, Buyers are spending a considerable amount more time at home and in-turn willing to invest in more space, features and amenities.  In the secondary market, Buyers have acknowledged they won't be going to Disney or getting on airplanes or cruise ships for the foreseeable future.  Instead, they are buying second homes that are easy to get to and provide a controlled environment.

Inventory Is Low

Real estate inventory throughout the Ocean City area is at its lowest levels in well over a decade.  This is happening just as Buyer demand is at an all-time high.  As a result of these two factors, properly priced homes in good condition are selling within a couple of days, typically with multiple offers.  This demand for homes is intersecting with a trend among homeowners to hold on to their homes for longer than usual.  Sellers are currently in a position that may only come around once in a generation.  Getting in on the action and listing your home for sale now is a wise move before more and more homeowners catch-on and enter the market.

Prices Are increasing

The average sold price in Ocean City is up by 3% over 2019 and rising.  The limited inventory and strong Buyer demand referenced earlier...

Updates to Consider When Selling Ocean City Real Estate

If you have decided to sell your home or condo in Ocean City, you likely have many questions and potential concerns. What if the home doesn't sell fast? What if the inspector's report turns off potential buyers? Fortunately, there are several things you can do ahead of time to increase your beach home's value. Here is the list of home updates you should consider when selling your real estate in Ocean City:

Paint

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way and is relatively inexpensive.  Use neutral tones and limit it to one or two colors throughout the home.  New paint will give the home a fresh look and appeal to all potential buyers.

Add more Decking

Adding decking is one of the best home updates you can do. Decking makes a landscape more unique and adds privacy to a property. You can also add more patios, porches, remodel the pool area, and install a functional open-air fireplace. However, when adding decking consider the color and the quality of wood thoroughly. In order to get the desired look, new decking should match the style and decor of your house. Make sure that you choose a high-quality and durable type of wood to protect your deck from rain and water.

Upgrade and improve the lighting

Lighting in a house is extremely important because it is responsible for the atmosphere. If you noticed there is dull recessed lighting in the living and dining rooms, make sure you upgrade it before posting your house for sale. Do not forget to replace aged light bulbs with new ones in other rooms. It might also be a good idea to add energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures. This will make your home more energy-efficient, which is desired by most home buyers today. Since home showing often occurs in the daytime, take into consideration natural lighting as well. Make sure...

6 Homebuyer Turnoffs to Avoid

We have all heard it before ... You only get one chance to make a first impression.  It holds true in a lot of circumstances, especially in the world of Ocean City real estate.  If you are considering selling your real estate in Ocean City or the surrounding areas you will want to ensure the issues below are not present in your home or condo.  They will lead to a poor first impression on a prospective buyers and cause your property to sit on the market.  If any of these buyer turn-offs are present you will want to get them addressed prior to putting your home or condo up for sale.

1. Damp or wet patches cause immediate concern for many home buyers.  They don't know if the cause of the problem has been fixed and wet patches always raise the concern of mold.  If you have damp or wet spots in your home or condo you will want to ensure the cause has been fixed and repair any cosmetic issues before putting your Ocean City property on the market.

2.  Odors from pets, smoke, dampness or any other noxious item are an immediate turnoff for buyers.  There are a variety of ways to deal with these issues before listing your home or condo for sale.  Rectifying these issues could be as easy as installing a few air fresheners or performing a deep cleaning on the property.  More intensive issues may require professional air purification services to fix the problem.

3.  Dull light or darkness can make a home appear smaller than it is and tends to give buyers a drab feeling about the property.  Prior to a property showing it is imperative to open up the blinds and turn all the lights on.

4.  Clutter is an immediate turnoff for a buyer.  Clutter will make a space seem smaller and gives the impression that the Seller doesn't care about selling the property.  It can also be a precursor to other maintenance issues. ...

Determining Price

There is a lot of money on the line for everyone involved as you consider selling real estate in Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas.  As a result of this you deserve a level of professionalism and experience that is unfortunately largely lacking in the Ocean City MD real estate market.  Selling real estate isn't rocket science, however there is a process that should be followed in order to ultimately get your property sold for the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time.  There are several factors that go into successfully selling real estate in Ocean City MD, Ocean Pines, West Ocean City, Bishopville or Berlin, however the three most important factors are:

  • The property's condition, location, upgrades, views, amenities, etc.
  • The marketing plan and experience of the real estate agent that is representing the listing.
  • The pricing strategy derived for the property.

Of these factors, price is the most important.  This does not mean that you have to be the lowest priced property, however you must ensure that your property is priced competitively relative to the recent comparable property sales and data.  You could have the greatest property in the world and it could be advertised during the superbowl, but if it is drastically overpriced it will not sell. 

The good old days of looking at what the last comparable property sold for, adding on a few percentage points to that price, popping a for sale sign on the property and waiting for the offers to roll in are long gone.  The current Ocean City MD real estate market requires a well researched pricing strategy in order to get your property sold for the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time.  Below I will outline the process that I go through in determining accurate and effective pricing strategies for my clients.

Recent Comparable Sales

The first step is to pull the listing data for similar properties...

Contract Phase - Sellers

Once we receive a satisfactory offer on your property we will then move into the contract phase, also known as the escrow phase.  During the escrow phase we will take care of all of the tasks required to get us to settlement which include property inspections, the mortgage process, title review, deed preparation, condo or home owner association reviews, utility transfers and more.  As experienced Realtors this is where we earn our money so to speak.  Any real estate agent can secure an offer on a property that is in good condition and priced well.  Only good and experienced Realtors can address and handle the situations that arise in today's real estate market that have the potential to cause a good deal to fall apart and keep it from going to settlement.

Property Inspections

After we get all of the paperwork sorted out and are officially under contract, the property inspections will be the first item to take care of.  For most real estate in Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas this will typically only entail a mechanical and structural inspection.  For some homes termite and mold inspections may come into play.  The Buyer will arrange and pay for the inspections and notify us of when they are going to be performed.  I will attend the inspection, personally see any problems that may arise and address them.  The Buyer will then review the inspection report and then may request that certain items be fixed as a condition of moving forward.  Once this is presented to us we will then review it and determine how we want to proceed.  We can agree to either fix the items, provide the Buyer with a credit at the time of settlement or decline to address some or all of the items.  In the event that we decline to fix anything to the Buyers satisfaction they then have the right to terminate the deal and the contract will be voided.  It is our goal to eliminate nit picky items and only deal with major items that may...

Seller Representation

This article below outlines the various agency representations that can occur in any given real estate transaction, viewed from the Sellers perspective.  Before we get into the details of these various scenarios lets first look at the basic rights and responsibilities you should be afforded regardless of your role in a real estate transaction as prescribed by the Maryland Real Estate Commission:

  • Real estate agents are obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction honestly and fairly.  They must exercise reasonable care and diligence and maintain the confidentiality of clients.  They must not discriminate in the offering of properties, they must promptly present each written offer or counteroffer to the property and they must answer questions truthfully.
  • Real estate agents must disclose all material facts that they know or should know relating to a property.  An agent's duty to maintain confidentiality does not apply to the disclosure of material facts about a property.
  • All agreements with real estate brokers and agents should be in writing and should explain the duties and obligations of both the broker and the agent.  The agreement should explain how the broker and agent will be paid and any fee sharing agreements with other brokers and agents.
  • You have the responsibility to protect your own interests.  You should carefully read all agreements to make sure they accurately reflect your understanding.  A real estate agent is qualified to advise you on real estate matters only.  If you need legal or tax advice it is your responsibility to consult a licensed attorney or accountant.

Seller's Agent

When you hire a real estate agent to list and sell your home they work for and exclusively represent you as a Seller's Agent, also commonly referred to as a Listing Agent.  Under this scenario they can only provide agency representation to you as the Seller and under no...

Closing Costs - Sellers

Seller's closing costs will vary from deal to deal depending on the sales price, overall terms of the contract and the real estate agent you choose.  There are some common similarities that you will find outlined below. If you have any other questions about selling real estate in Ocean City MD or want to discuss this in greater detail feel free to contact me directly anytime at 443-614-9179.

Property Transfer and Recordation Charges

The state and local municipalities charge transfer taxes and recordation charges on all of the property sales that occur in the state of Maryland. In the Ocean City real estate market area these charges total 1.66% of the subject property's sale price. As an example, on a $500,000 property sale there would be a total of $8,300 in transfer and recordation charges due at settlement. Per the standard Maryland contract of sale the transfer and recordation charges are shared equally between the Buyer and the Seller. Based off of the previous example each party would be responsible for $4,150 of transfer and recordation charges at the time of closing. As with just about everything else in a real estate transaction the handling of how these charges will be paid is negotiable depending on the overall terms and structure of the deal.

Commissions

Commission rates typically range from 5% to 6% depending on the Ocean City real estate agent you choose and the Seller is usually responsible for this fee. The total commission is then split (usually equally) between the Listing Agent whom represents the Seller and the Selling Agent whom represents the Buyer. The commissions are collected from the proceeds of the sale and paid at the time of closing. Assuming a 5% commission rate, 2.5% would go to the Listing Agent and 2.5% would go to the Selling Agent. There are some real estate agents that keep a larger portion of the total commission on the listing side. This is something that you want to watch out for as this practice can potentially deter...

Selling Real Estate - The MLS

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the primary database that is used by Ocean City real estate agents to research property information when assisting their clients.  Information on all properties that are listed for sale by real estate agents in the Ocean City area can be found in the Multiple Listing Service.  When a real estate agent is working with a Buyer client they will use the MLS to find properties that match their client's specifications and schedule appointments to view them.  Once a property is listed in the MLS a cooperation agreement is created that offers compensation to the Buyer's agent per the terms of the property's listing agreement.

The MLS is also the primary data feed for listing information on a majority of public real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and others.  An agent will input the listing information (details, descriptions, photos, virtual tours, etc.) into the Multiple Listing Service and it will then get "syndicated" to all of these other websites automatically.  Any changes or updates to the listing in the MLS will automatically get pushed to the respective listing elsewhere.  Some sites do a better job of showcasing and updating your listing than others and you and/or your Ocean City Realtor have control over where it is displayed.

Any agent you hire in the Ocean City area is going to list your property in the Multiple Listing Service, however how agents go about this process varies greatly.  This is a crucial step in the overall marketing process of your property that gets taken for granted by a majority of Ocean City real estate agents.  Most agents haphazardly input the listing into the MLS with bits and pieces of information at a time.  First they will add the listing details with no description or photos.  Then they may add a half-hearted description coupled with some photos taken on their iPhone.  This is a huge missed opportunity and makes a poor first impression...