Home Sellers August 11, 2022

Home Sellers’ FAQs: CMA, Contingencies, Inspections, and More

If you’re considering selling your home in the near future, you most likely have questions about certain aspects of the process. Read on to find the answers you’re looking for in our home sellers’ FAQs.

Comparative Market Analysis

What is a Comparative Market Analysis?
A CMA is a detailed report that estimates your home’s value by comparing it to similar properties that have recently sold in your area. Generally, a Comparative Market Analysis is prepared by your real estate agent. For a complete report, the agent inspects your home and then researches similar properties in your area. They also examine regional market trends to determine your home’s value.

How do I get a Comparative Market Analysis?
Simply contact your real estate agent and make an appointment. And don’t worry, there’s no need to spend a lot of time cleaning in preparation. Just make sure your home is in good condition. This allows the agent to properly assess its worth. If you don’t have an agent, one of our agents can provide a free analysis.

Is a CMA worth doing?
If you want to know how much you can sell your home for, then yes! A Comparative Market Analysis determines this information. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and sets you up for success moving forward. You’ll be able to set a listing price based on what other homes in your area are selling for right now. Additionally, a CMA helps you figure out if potential upgrades and remodels are worth doing to make your home stand out to buyers.


Is an appraisal the same as a CMA?
No, an appraisal happens further into the process. Once a buyer is identified, their mortgage lender will require an appraisal. The appraisal ensures the bank isn’t lending the buyer more money than needed. Appraisals must be performed by licensed or certified appraisers who determine the value of your home using similar methods to a CMA. Typically, the cost of an appraisal is paid for by the home buyer.

Pre-Listing Inspection

Is a CMA different from a pre-listing inspection?
Yes, a Comparative Market Analysis is done early on to determine your home’s value. If done, a pre-listing inspection takes place before putting the home on the market to make sure it’s ready for potential buyers. During a pre-listing inspection, a professional home inspector examines your property and identifies potential repairs and any problems that may need to be addressed before selling.

Should I get a pre-listing inspection?
If you want a streamlined selling process, a pre-listing inspection can be helpful. By addressing needed repairs before listing, you will eliminate any surprises that could scare off potential buyers. Pre-listing inspections also increase efficiency and transparency with buyers. By presenting a pre-listing inspection up front, buyers understand a home’s condition and see that you have nothing to hide. This increases buyer trust and can expedite the process by eliminating the need for a buyer’s inspection.

What if I don’t have the funds to make recommended repairs/upgrades before selling my home?
The Windermere Ready Program may be able to help by providing a loan of up to $50,000 in needed repairs/upgrades. A Windermere agent helps strategically prepare your home for the market by identifying high-impact updates and helping you through the process. This program can help you sell your home for more and in less time.

Real Estate Contingencies

What are real estate contingencies?
Contingencies are certain requirements that must be met for an offer to become legally binding. If certain conditions aren’t met, the applicable contingency gives the buyer and/or seller the legal right to exit the contract. Sometimes buyers make an offer with contingencies attached.

Are real estate contingencies common?
Yes, contingencies are often part of the offer process to protect the buyer’s interests. Common contingencies include requiring certain actions to be taken such as a home inspection or an appraisal before finalizing the sale. Read more about common contingencies to better understand what to expect.

What is a home sale contingent offer?
This is when a buyer makes an offer on your home, but the final sale is contingent upon the buyer selling their home. If accepted by the seller, this type of offer gives the buyer “first dibs” on your house.

Should sellers accept home sale contingent offers?
That’s really up to you. If you are on a tight timeline and would like to sell your house quickly, you can include a “bump” clause. This will allow you to keep showing the property. If you receive a new offer, the first buyer has a specified time frame to decide whether to move forward with their contract.

If a Buyer Backs Out

What happens if a buyer backs out?
This depends on the terms of the contract. Typically, once your agent and the buyer’s agent have worked to agree on purchasing terms, the buyer will place earnest money in escrow. If a buyer backs out for a reason not stipulated in the real estate contract, those funds usually go to the seller. If a buyer backs out for a reason that is stipulated in the contract, then the funds typically remain with the buyer.

How can I protect myself in this scenario?
The best thing to do is work with your real estate agent to fully understand the terms of a buyer’s offer. With this knowledge, you will be better prepared if various scenarios transpire. Also, if certain conditions make you uncomfortable, it’s your right to decline an offer or make a counter offer. You can also have the option of accepting backup offers. This way, you’ll have another offer lined up if the first buyer backs out. Talk to your real estate agent about these various options. A great real estate agent will possess the expertise and guidance you need to make well-informed decisions.

Staging Your Home

Do I need to stage my home?
This is one of the most common home sellers’ FAQs. Even though it’s still a seller’s market in Kitsap County, staging your home will help you put your best foot forward. Overall, staging reduces how long your home is on the market, increases potential offers by 1 – 5%, and helps ensure an excellent first impression online and in person. Remember, buyers are searching for homes online. If you want them to take the next step and tour your home, then your property should look very appealing and move-in ready. Overall, staging is worth it, even if there are costs involved.

Additional Home Sellers’ FAQs

If you didn’t find the answers you’re looking for, our local real estate agents are happy to answer any questions you may have.