Unlike when buying a house where we suggest you first talk to a lender, when it comes to selling, talk to an agent first. The reasons for this are as follows:
a. we can suggest ways to improve the market value
b. if there are repairs/improvements that should be done we can help you find
reputable contractors to do the work.
c. We can help you stage the house to show off the best attributes of the house.
But most importantly we can tell you what the value of your house is on the open market.
When we first meet with you we will walk through the property with you and talk about what improvements you have done over the time you have owned the house. We will also talk to you about the reason for the sale, what liens are on the house, timing on the move and any other pertinent information including where you are moving to (in case you need an agent in a new town). On this first meeting we will also review the Consumer Notice which explains the types of agency, or representation, we provide.
After that we go back to the office and start our “homework” going over past sales and current competition to decide on the right price for your house. This is called the Comparative Market Analysis. Along with the pricing process we will put together a marketing strategy that will get your house sold in the shortest amount of time, with the least inconvenience to you and for the best price.
2. Listing the house
Once the pricing has been completed we can now list the property. There is a listing agreement that we will complete with you. In the agreement we will list the price, the length of time of the agreement, and the commission or fees to be paid when a buyer is found for your house. There are also disclosures in the agreement and signatures are required. We supply you with an estimate of what to expect in proceeds from the sale of the house. The house information (square footage, room sizes, amenities, etc) are all listed on a separate form which we complete and have you review. We take numerous interior and exterior pictures if appropriate and then the pictures and house info are entered into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so all members of the Centre County Association of REALTORS have access to the facts and can share them with their buyers. A lockbox will be placed on the property so agents with approved scheduled showing appointments can access to the house. The lockbox can only be accessed if the agent has a special electronic key and there is a computerized record in the box that we can check if you think there has been someone in the house that did not have an appointment.
We ask that you fill in two additional forms; a seller disclosure form which tells buyers specifics about the house (ie age of roof, type of plumbing, etc) and a utility sheet that tells the buyers the cost of your basic utilities (heat, electric, water, sewer). Finally, we place the yard sign in your front yard.
3. Showing the house
Now that the house is listed there is still work that needs to be done. As agents we will market the house for you and keep you informed of the progress on the marketing including feedback from showings, what the current market conditions are and what needs to be addressed to help sell the property.
As sellers you need to make the house “show ready”. We ask that agents give as much notice as possible for showing appointments but there will always be those last minute calls that come in. You can turn down the appointment but, if you are ready in advance, even those last minute calls can be handled. Before leaving the house make sure beds are made, the rooms are straightened up, no dirty dishes are in the sink and window coverings are open. That way while you are at work or out for the day, if an agent wants to show the house you won’t have to worry about losing a potential buyer, you can allow the showing.
As we get showing feedback from agents we will talk to you about how the showing went, what the buyers and buyer’s agents said, positive as well as negative. This helps us and you narrow in on where we need to improve the marketing or the house.
4. Receiving an Offer
Once we receive an offer on your house we will sit down with you and review it, going over the offered price, closing time, inspections that are requested and any special clauses that have been added. We will make sure the buyer is pre-approved and has reviewed and signed off on the Seller Disclosure form.
There are many clauses in an agreement that a buyer can opt to include. So on reviewing the agreement you must decide on what ia acceptable to you. These are all negotiable options and include the sales price, closing date, mortgage, inspections including home, pest and radon inspections. Remember, the initial offer is what the buyer prefers but you can negotiate any request.
5. Reviewing the Offer
The high points that will be reviewed are as follows:
a. the sales price
b. the closing date
c. the mortgage type, amount, mortgage commitment date and interest rate
d. the home inspection – there are 2 options that a buyer can choice in the home inspection clause. In either option a qualified home inspector will complete the inspection within the time frame specified in the agreement. Option 1 is where the buyer can have an inspection done and proceed with the purchase based on the results of the inspection or cancel the agreement. With Option 2 they can inspect the house and agree to complete the purchase if the cost to correct any needed repairs is less then the deductible the buyer has stated in the agreement. If the amount is over the specified amount then you would needed to agree to “make up the short fall” or not. If you chooce not to the buyer has the option to nullify the agreement. This is a simplified explanation and we would go into more detail while reviewing the agreement with you.
e. the pest inspection – A qualified inspector will be looking for evidence of wood boring insects. If there is evidence of these the property would need to be treated by you. If there is evidence of structural damage that may also need to be repaired.
f. the radon inspection – a radon test can be set at the property by the home inspector. The test must be run under closed house conditions meaning that all doors and windows must be kept closed for 12 hours before the test is run and for the 24 hours that the testing equipment is in the house. Depending on the results, a mitigation system may be suggested.
g. if you are in an area with on-site septic and water there may also be tests requested for those systems to be tested.
h. if the buyer has another house to sell there may be a clause pertaining to that. Or, if there are home owners association/condominium associations this clause will need to be addresses and the resale certificate ordered asap. There may be other clauses that need to be reviewed depending on the buyer’s situation. We will make sure you understand these clauses before you make your final decision accepting or rejecting the offer.
After reviewing the agreement, discussing the contingencies and clauses and coming to terms with what you are comfortable accepting we will go back to the buyer’s agent to let them know if you are accepting the offer as is or to present your counter. Counters may go back and forth several times and must be responded to within set time frames. The offer is not a legal binding contract until all parties have initialed and dated all changes and each has received a fully executed copy.
6. After Execution of the Agreement
After the agreement is fully executed the Buyer needs to make a formal mortgage application and the bank orders the appraisal. The various inspections are scheduled by the buyer’s agent who will also be present with the buyer during the inspections. The inspections average 1.5 to 2 hours.
After the inspections we will receive the inspection results from the buyer’s agent with any requests for repairs, credits or price adjustments. This will then be reviewed as discussed above. After all the hustle and bustle of the negotiating, inspections and appraisal it will seem that nothing happens for a while but that is when the lender is doing all their paperwork and research confirming the financial status of the buyer. Work history, credit history, pay levels and more are all checked so the lender can approve the loan.
7.Getting to Closing
The waiting is over, we have full mortgage commitment and now the buyer has chosen their attorney to do the final checks on the title and compile the closing costs for you and the buyer. We will have ordered the new deed from your attorney to transfer ownership from you to the buyer. We review the closing costs with you, make arrangements to have your signature on the deed notarized and let you know when the buyer is doing their final walk through. When you sign the deed you will also sign two other forms, the authorization form allowing us to sign the paperwork at closing for you and the tax information form required by the IRS to report the sales information. In the meantime, you will be packing and getting ready to move to your new home! You will need to be out of the house by settlement and so the final walkthrough by the buyer is usually done just before closing. As stated in the agreement, the house needs to be left broom clean, debris free and all components in working order
8. After Closing
After the closing the attorney will send off the proceeds for the mortgage payoff, taxes dues and any other costs that need to be finalized before the deed can be recorded at the courthouse. After the deed is recorded your proceeds check can be dispersed. When signing the paperwork included with the deed there is a section where you choose whether you want the proceeds check mailed to you, you will pick them up from the closing office or any other special instructions that need to be arranged. The closing attorney will follow those instructions.
Congratulations, you have now sold your house!!!!
IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use, it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. No reproduction, distribution, or transmission of the information at this site is permitted without the written permission from the Centre County Association of REALTORS