1. CHOOSE AN AGENT
Your listing agent will be with you through the process of selling your home, helping you make decisions that will impact you and your family both emotionally and financially. It is important that you and your Agent have a good rapport. Below are a few very important factors to consider when selecting your listing agent.
Choose an agent who:
- you feel comfortable with, someone you can trust
- shows commitment to his/her clients and is experienced in real estate sales
- has a support team, not a one man shop
- is available to you, promptly responding when action is required
- keeps in touch regularly and is easily contactable
- has a wide array of marketing tools – is the agent willing to try a variety of strategies to sell your home
- is comfortable with technology – your home must definitely have an online presence in today’s tech-driven world
- listens to your needs and helps you reach your real estate goal
- understands your unique situation
2. DETERMINE YOUR PROPERTY VALUE
Your listing agent is experienced and knowledgeable in this area. Homeowners who do not use a listing agent tend to overestimate their property’s value, and their properties tend to linger on the market unsold. Hiring an experienced listing agent can help you avoid this pitfall.
3. PREPARING TO SELL
There are a lot of small things you can change at your property to help increase the value and create a lasting impression on potential buyers. Here are a few areas to consider.
Small upgrades such as a fresh coat of paint, polishing the doorknobs and window repairs can instantly brighten up your home. Focus on the main areas of the home first.
B. Curb appeal
The exterior is the first part of your home potential buyers will see. It’s important to keep up your landscaping, choosing bright, welcoming flowers in your yard to create an immediate impact.
C. Cleanliness & Staging
Keep your home uncluttered, smelling great and well-lit. Pay attention to those little details, put out fresh towels, add a vase of fresh flowers on the counter and bake something savory before potential buyers tour your home. Trust your agent to check your home before any potential buyers tour to improve your home’s staging further.
Your listing agent will take care of presenting your home to potential buyers for you, they will feel more comfortable talking to the agent and asking him/her any questions about your property if you are not there. Your agent will know what information is pertinent and what features to showcase to the prospective buyers.
5. ACCEPTING AN OFFER
It’s common to think the higher the price, the better the offer. Don’t be fooled by this common misconception. Price shouldn’t always be the determining factor for accepting an offer. Be aware that an initial offer is never final, many terms and conditions can be factored into the final outcome for prospective buyers’ pricing. Your listing agent can assist you in making an objective evaluation of all the offers you receive.
Your listing agent will assist you in the negotiation process, and help ensure that both you and the potential buyer will be happy with the terms in the offer you accept. It can often be a case of rejecting multiple offers until one comes along that you deem is the most suitable for your needs.
Initial Agreement & Deposit
Once an offer is ratified, the seller and buyer will agree on the amount for the good faith deposit and open an Escrow account. This will reflect the buyer’s intention to purchase your property and also acts to ensure that no funds or property will change hands until all instructions in the transaction have been completed..
Document everything – document verbal agreements. Everything ranging from counter-offers to addendums must be written agreements to be signed by both parties. Your listing agent will help you to draft addendums to your contract, keeping all your bases covered
– Keep a schedule – After you accept an offer, you and the buyer will be given a timetable to track each stage in the process of closing the transaction. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smooth transaction. During this process, your agent will always keep you updated so you’ll be ready for the next step
6. THE ESCROW PROCESS
A. The Title Company
The buyer selects a title company. it is their job to examine and insure title to real estate. After researching the complete recorded history of your property, they will certify:
- your title is free and clear of encumbrances (i.e., mortgages, leases, and/or restrictions) by the date of closing;
- all new encumbrances are duly included in the title. They will draw up a preliminary report at the end of the process, which your agent will review with you in detail.
A contingency is a condition that must be met before Title transfers. For instance, a home buyer will usually include a contingency stating that their contract is binding only when there is a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified inspector.
Prior to completing the purchase of your property, the home buyer will review every aspect of the property. These will include:
- obtaining financing and insurance
- document review such as preliminary title reports and disclosure documents
- property inspections – the buyer has the right to determine the condition of your property through a range of inspections (i.e., roof, termite/pest, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, or mold)
Depending on the outcome(s) of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
- Either each milestone is successfully accomplished and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you a step closer to the close, or;
- The buyer will review the property and the paperwork and request a renegotiation of the terms of the contract (this usually involves the price)
Responding objectively to the buyer when a renegotiation is demanded, while acting in your own best interest can be tricky. This is when your agent can make a real difference in the outcome of the transaction.
C. Loan Approval and Appraisal
You should accept buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval letter, which is a better guarantee of loan approval than a pre-qualification. Expect an appraiser from the lender’s company to review your property and verify that the sales price is appropriate.
D. Prepare for the unexpected
Be aware that last minute and unexpected circumstances may occur before the agreement is finalized. For example; there could be last minute Title issues, or Lender problems. Your agent will assist you in getting through these unexpected delays.