This is the key step in the process since your agent, if the right selection is made, becomes in many cases your “consultant” on all facets of your sale: Home prep, staging, price & contract negotiation, appraisal counters (if needed), home repairs, furniture sale, moving logistics and even short term housing if your new home is not ready…! You should hire a seasoned Agent that knows your local market inside and out, and whose marketing reaches beyond the state you live in. Your Agent should provide a cadre of vendors, available for you, from HVAC to Roof repair, to facilitate the timely repair and fixup of any pre-sale or home inspection issues. A strong support team that provides communications back-up as well as control over the transaction and all documents is a must in today’s market.
Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move. Downsizing once the family has left has also become a common goal. Write down if you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame and define what the profit margin needs may be.
Work closely with your real estate agent to confirm that your financial goals can be realized and map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.
Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. You will need to factor in the condition of your home, what the comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for, and the state of the overall market in your area. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when assessing your home’s value, so your real estate agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step. Your agent will know what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the “average time” those homes have been on the market. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This typically costs a few hundred dollars.
Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent above their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. When this happens, the seller must drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings and regain some momentum. So, valuable time and possibly good buyers may have been lost.
Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tiptop shape. The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer.
Now that you’re ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including:
In addition to listing your home on the MLS, your agent will use a combination of these marketing tools to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. Your agent should structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.
When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real estate agent will first find out whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following:
At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away.
Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a “win-win” agreement. A seasoned Real Estate agent is well versed all the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. Your agent also knows what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale, and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some examples of negotiable items:
Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will prepare a contract.
Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and the buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale will continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing.
A few days before the closing, your Transaction Coordinator will contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Arrangements for your upcoming move will have already been made.
“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Your agent will be present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney may be required others use “closing companies” that perform these services.
Before the closing, your Transaction Coordinator will provide a “to do” list for turning the property over to the new owners (Arrangements for your upcoming move will have already been made). Here is a checklist to get you started.
These 9 items or steps are the framework for any closing. Most of the details are generally managed by the Listing agent or the Buyer’s agent. Your direct involvement as Seller depends on the number of home related issues that surface and the timely flow of requested information. A great agent will make sure you sleep well at night throughout the transaction!
Missy Adams and her team were very professional and wonderful to work with. They went above and beyond to meet our needs both as buyers and sellers.