Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Home Selling Process

A guide to the home selling process.

By +Sarah Marrinan

1) Choose a Listing Agent
  • A listing agent will represent you and have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests.
  • Interview agents and review their experience and marketing plan.
  • Negotiate and sign your listing agreement, including term.

2) Get Home Ready for Sale
  • Prepare your home for sale by cleaning, decluttering and improving curb appeal.
  • Hire a professional stager to stage your home, or ask your real estate agent for help in staging.
  • Make repairs before selling. Get a home inspection if you are not sure what the most important repairs will be.
  • Hire a handyman for repairs you can't make on your own.
  • Protect your privacy while your home is on the market.  Keep all your personal documents locked away. Remove personal photos. Lock up your valuables.
  • If you're selling a home where pets live, make alternate plans for your pets.

3) Figure Out How Much Your Home is Worth
  • A seller's biggest mistake is to overprice.
  • Price your home in line with sold homes identified in a comparative market analysis report.
  • Consider your market competition. 
  • Consider whether your market is hot, cold or neutral, and price according to the market temperature.

4) Obtain Seller-Required Inspections
  • If your contract calls for a Truth-in-Housing inspection, your agent will help arrange it. 

5) Seller Disclosures
  • All homes in the US are subject to lead-based paint and Radon disclosures.
  • If you are aware of material facts, disclose them. Hiding material defects could result in a lawsuit down the road.
  • If you are in an association you will be required to provide copies of the association documents to the buyer.

6) Market Your Home
  • You or your agent should identify the selling points and choose advertising words to sell.
  • Approve your agent's marketing campaign and advertise your house for sale yourself amongst family and friends.
  • Follow the top 10 home marketing tips for selling your home.
  • Hire a virtual tour company to take quality photographs and put a 360-degree virtual tour online.
  • Tweak marketing to increase traffic and showings while the home is on the market.
  • Your agent should saturate the internet with photographs and description of your home.

7) Receive Purchase Offers and Negotiate
  • Make certain that buyers use the right form for writing a purchase offer.
  • Even if you receive a lowball offer, negotiate by issuing a counter offer. Don't ignore offers.
  • Ask for first right of refusal if the buyer's offer is contingent on selling a home.
  • Consider making a counter offer contingent on buying a home, if market conditions warrant.
  • Don't be afraid to make a full-price counter offer based on your agents suggestion, if you are priced competitively.
  • If you are priced right, you may receive multiple offers depending on the level of competition and local market activity.

8) Show Your Home
  • Most agents use a lockbox.
  • Your home may show better if you are selling in spring-fall than selling in winter.
  • Selling during the holidays will likely result in a lower sales price, regardless of what agents tell you.
  • Follow the top 10 home showing tips. You've got only one chance -- and sometimes only 3 seconds -- to make a good first impression.
  • Prepare for an open house and use the approach sparingly.
  • Ask for buyer feedback so you can adjust your price, condition or marketing campaigns accordingly.

9) Cooperate with Home Inspection
  • Get ready for the home inspector.
  • Ask your agent to provide you with a home inspection checklist so you will know which items an inspector will want to see.
  • Expect that the inspector will want access for an attic inspection and will look for a wet basement; prepare those areas for inspection.

10) Negotiate Request for Repair
  • Ordinarily, sellers do not need to accept a buyer's request for repair; however, buyers can generally then cancel.
  • You are entitled to a copy of the home inspection report, if the buyers request repairs.
  • If you do not choose to make repairs, a buyer might instead accept a closing cost credit.

11) Open Escrow / Order Title
  • Your agent or transaction coordinator will open escrow and order a title policy.
  • Write down the contact information for the closing agent.
  • Select a date to close based on when the buyer's loan will fund.
  • Ask for a receipt for the buyer's earnest money deposit.

12) Appraiser Appointment

  • Clean the house the day before the appraiser arrives.
  • If you receive a low appraisal, ask your agent about alternatives.
  • You are not entitled to receive a copy of the appraisal because you did not pay for it.
  • If the buyer decides to cancel the contract based on an appraisal, ask your agent or lawyer about your rights.
  • This is separate from the home inspection but looks at many of the same items to determine a condition level

13) Ask Buyer to Release Contingencies
  • If you do not demand a release, buyers are not obligated to provide it.

14) Move Out
  • Once all contingencies have been removed and all parties have receive a final closing notice move out.
  • Unless otherwise agreed, the house should be completely empty before final walk-through

15) Final Walk-thru
  • The buyer is entitled to a final walk-through just before closing to make sure the home is in the same condition and when they agreed to purchase it and all negotiated repairs/updates have been done.

16) Closing
  • Bring a valid picture ID.
  • Bring keys and garage door openers.
  • Be on time.

17) Post Closing
  • File for homestead if the property will be your primary residence
  • Your property deed, reconveyance and deed of trust will record in the public records.
  • Title will notify you when it records.
  • Depending on buyer's possession rights specified in the contract, you may be required to move on the day it closes.

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