BY KAREN LIBIN
If you’ve never sold a home or it has been a long, long time since you have done so, the process may seem overwhelming. What all needs to be done and when? Like any large task, the process can be broken down into manageable steps. Here are the basics:
- Hire an excellent Realtor
The first and perhaps most important step is to hire an experienced Realtor who can assist and guide you through the process. They will make sure your best interests are represented and that the transaction occurs smoothly. This will cost you a commission, but it is money well spent and will save you marketing costs and preparation effort.
- Determine the selling price
A good Realtor will be able to provide you with an opinion of your property’s market value based on the property’s details (location, square footage, number of rooms, finishes, condition, acreage, etc.) and similar recently sold or under contract properties.
- Get the property ready to show
Your Realtor will advise you on the steps needed to best present your home. More often than not this involves removing items, cleaning and doing minor touch-ups. In some cases, more extensive work or staging will net the best selling price.
- Coordinated marketing effort
After your home is ready to show, your Realtor will arrange to have professional photos completed which will be used in the MLS (Multiple Listings Service), the Realtor’s website (as well as others’), and in print ads. These efforts, as well as signage, brochures and direct mail should all work together in a coordinated campaign to reach as many potential buyers as possible.
Once your property is listed on the MLS, showings with potential buyers will be coordinated with your Realtor. You can specify and control the scheduling of showings.
- The offer and counter-offers
Once you get one or multiple offers, your Realtor will help you assess which is most attractive and likely to close. If needed, your Realtor will assist you through the counter-offer process.
- Purchase contract
Once both parties agree upon terms, the final purchase contract is completed with dates for key events. The buyer will give earnest money that your Realtor will deliver to the title company. Assuming your closing is in approximately six to eight weeks, you should line up your moving company and begin the long process of packing.
- Property inspection and resolution
The inspection is conducted to uncover potential problems with the home. Once an Inspection objection is received, your Realtor will assist you in reaching an acceptable resolution with the buyer. This may involve you arranging to have items repaired or compensating the buyer financially.
- Buyer’s final steps: The loan approval and survey
The contract will specify a deadline by which the lender must furnish the buyer with a loan approval or declination. (Unfortunately, this is where some deals fall through.) The buyer’s lender or title company may require a property survey, which is something the buyer may pay for. Your Realtor will coordinate it.
- The final walk-through
Before the closing, some buyers request a final walk-through to determine that all inspection items were addressed (as previously agreed upon) and that the property is in the condition expected.
11. The closing and title transfer
Four days before the closing (the property purchase), a settlement statement will be available. Again, your Realtor is responsible for its accuracy. At the closing the buyer will bring a certified bank check unless a prior wire transfer has been made. After signing what feels like an unbelievable amount of documents, you will be finished selling your property and onto your next real estate adventure!