Being an absentee seller may not be an ideal situation, but it is a reality for an increasing number of homeowners every year. Job transfers, family needs, and many other situations can arise quickly and force a relocation to another area on too short of a timeline to make selling the current home possible before leaving the area.
Fortunately, absentee sellers do have choices and options that can help ensure that they will still experience a very positive home sale transaction.
Secure the Services of the Right Real Estate Professional
Professional level assistance from a highly qualified real estate agent is advised in any home selling transaction, but for absentee sellers its an absolute must for success. Sellers who cannot be present to handle day-to-day occurrences during the marketing and showing process need to know they have left the right person in charge during their absences.
While there is no absolute guide for choosing the right real estate agent, absentee sellers should insist on an agent who possesses:
a current, verifiable record of successful listings and sales in the immediate area of their home, including references from recent satisfied clients
a solid, time-tested marketing plan and budget capable of making sure that each listing will be accurately and attractively marketed, both locally and online
a strong dedication to the needs of their sellers which includes the work ethic and technology needed to maintain excellent communication with their clients, especially those who live out of the area
a history of honest, ethical real estate practices
The right agent will be adept at using technology to keep absentee sellers informed of progress, including the use of online tools to send, sign, and receive documents necessary for the listing, selling, and closing portions of the transaction.
Find a Way to Keep Local Eyes on the Home
In addition to the services of the right real estate professional, absentee sellers should also attempt to find a trusted person in their former neighborhood to help them manage their long distance sale. A neighbor, friend, or relative who is willing to drive by the home a few times a week or be on standby to help during an emergency situation can be a wonderful asset.
Good examples of how local eyes on the home can help include:
picking up a fallen tree branch or unsightly piece of debris that may have blown into the yard
performing a weekly walk through of the home to ensure that there are no plumbing leaks or other issues that need to be addressed
watching for and reporting any signs of vandalism that may occur
being able to open the home for emergency services, such as fire or police, if needed
Since the person you choose will need to have access to the home, it is important that sellers feel they are mature, responsible and trustworthy.
Take Steps to Make Sure the Home is Always Ready to Show
As an absentee seller, it can exhausting and very expensive to travel back and forth often enough to keep the home looking neat, attractive, and ready to show throughout the selling process. A better solution is to engage trustworthy service people to handle necessary upkeep such as:
weekly lawn care
periodic dusting, floor care, and cleaning of the vacant home
seasonal issues, like snow and leaf removal
In addition, absentee sellers should always make sure they leave all utilities on and keep heating and cooling thermostats set for seasonal comfort.
The listing agent will be able to assist with these and any other long distance selling questions, such as using timing devices for the home's lighting or how to handle the home's alarm system during showings. By utilizing the services of trusted professionals, having a local contact for emergencies, and maintaining good communication among all parties, even an absentee home sale can be a successful one.