Understanding The Home Selling Process
OK, so you have decided it is time to sell your home, there are a few basic steps you should know about the process.
First, you should interview real estate agents to find the one you are the most comfortable working with. One who will guide you through the process of selling your home. A good realtor should know their market well and have a range of marketing tools from traditional materials to internet based tools, i.e. yard sale signs, MLS (multiple listing service), internet websites, virtual tours, will give you the broadest exposure for the sale of your property. Considering all the factors involved, the obvious goal is to sell your home for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.
Your agent should be able to provide you with a comparative market analysis (often referred to as a CMA), from which you should determine the asking price. This report reflects how many homes similar to yours in the same neighborhood area have recently sold for, are currently being listed at, along with those which expired (did not sell). It is up to you as seller to decide the price you want to list at, not the agent. Bottom line is the market sets the price. Be wary of an agent who is pricing the property too high. Some agents will set a high price just to get the listing and then, when there is no activity on the property, start to request you drop the price. Another item to keep in mind when deciding upon your sales price is the amount of time you are willing to wait for a buyer. Obviously a well priced property gets sold quickly, so price it for today’s market!
When you have determined who will be your agent, you will be asked to sign a listing agreement, an agreement between you, the seller, and the real estate company. The contract includes items such as the length of the listing period, desired sale price, and the amount of commission for the broker, if you want the firm present for all showings, or if you will allow a lockbox. You, as seller, fill out this with the agent and be sure to ask any questions if you have concerns or questions. You will be asked to fill out a seller’s disclosure form.
Next you prepare your home for the sale, you want to make sure that it has good "curbside" appeal, typically buyers often look closely at the outside appearance before they even consider the inside. Make the outward appearance of your home as inviting as possible, but also ensure that the interior shows just as well as the exterior.
Interested buyers for your home will present offers to your agent, who is obligated by law to present all offers to you. The decision on what to do with the offer is entirely up to the seller, not the agent. A seller can accept, reject, or provide a counter-offer. Even if you feel the offer is too low, it is the start of the conversation and a good agent will work with you on the counter offer based upon the comparables.
Usually once both parties have agreed upon a price than the purchase and sale becomes valid and the timeline for property inspections and financing start. If there is an issue with inspections the Buyer has the capability to escape the contract without losing their earnest deposit. If the issues are something an agent needs to disclose it is a good idea for the Seller to make the necessary repairs. Your agent can discuss what are disclosure items. There also may be a financing clause in which the Buyer needs to apply for financing within a certain timeline and get the financing required. Again if the Buyer is not able to get the financing within the timeline specified, the purchase and sale becomes null and void and earnest deposits should be returned to Buyer.
The purchase and sale states the sale is subject to a clean and marketable title, which is the seller's responsibility. The final step before the closing is a walk-through of the home to make sure that everything is in order.