Real estate decisions are often made as a direct result of life transitions. This holds true for many homeowners wanting to sell their home. Whether it’s a result of an expanding family needing more space, wanting to buy or build that dream home, a job relocation, the empty nester looking to downsize, a retirement home or simply just an investment decision; it requires proper consideration and thoughtful plan of execution. As your trusted real estate advisor, I promise to provide sound insights and genuine advice while demonstrating a spirit of collaboration and willingness to work together. My hope is that you will take comfort in selling your home with us.
Why do you want to sell?
Times are changing and you believe you are ready to sell your home. The real estate market is complex and the decision to sell deserves a thorough evaluation. It’s imperative that not only we, but you, fully understand your motivation for selling. Selling your home has a variety of implications when it comes to your family, finances and lifestyle. In order best serve you and to meet your real estate goals, understanding the WHY will allow us to determine the ultimate plan of success.
When is the best time to sell?
This is often the question that arises the most with potential sellers. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer. Determining when to sell is dependent upon each unique sellers’ situation. Historically, December and January (the winter months and holidays) have been avoided due to consumer tension levels and budgets running low. Recently, however, buyer activity has increased to new heights across major competitive markets like Central Ohio in January and February the last few years.
Conventional wisdom dictates that spring is the best time to sell real estate. The spring season often see’s higher levels of buyer activity, the holidays are beyond us, the new school year is still a few months out and the weather is more favorable. Seller beware though, inventory levels rise in the spring which brings increased competition. Buyers have more options to choose from including new build homes that are preparing to enter the market.
At the end of day, the best time to sell is when you, the seller have the most comfort and confidence.
How is the market?
The real estate market is very complex much like the stock market. It can be steady or volatile, bearish or bullish and often depends upon external factors such as supply and demand, interest rates, employment rates and other economic indicators. The factors driving the market may also be a result of hyper local economies rather than national. I take seriously the responsibility of staying up to date with the current market conditions as well as the economic forecast. When working with us, you have access to our knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills. No matter the current market, my promise to you is that we take a collaborative approach in order to list at the right time for you and extract every dollar possible from the market for the sale of your home.
A MARKET READY HOME
A market ready home is all about First Impressions whether that is through online marketing or walking through the front door. There are several things that you can do to prepare your home to create a lasting impression. It is important to understand that today’s buyers are looking for convenience. Many will pay a premium for a move in ready home that doesn’t disrupt their current lifestyle.
We do understand that there are certain selling situations that may not allow for some of the following items or preparation to be completed. We will work together in these situations to develop a strategy to make sure your selling experience reaches its maximum potential.
Consulting the advice and expertise of a home staging consultant has proven to increase the marketability of your home and led to higher prices for many of our clients. We believe so strongly in this consultation that we offer each of our clients a home staging consult as part of our service to them. Here are some reasons we believe in staging a home:
A 3rd party unbiased opinion generally reflects how potential buyers will view your home.
A professional staging consultant specializes in and understands buyer mentality. They are best suited and equipped to provide sound insights and advise that will enable a lasting impression.
Homes that are professionally staged generally sell quicker and for more money than homes that are not.
Again, we understand that not all homes and situations are alike. The use of a professional stager doesn’t guarantee the sale of your home. If a staging consultant is not used, here are a few items that will assist you in preparing your home for the market.
Curb Appeal – Nothing say’s welcome home like a freshly manicured lawn and beautiful landscaping. Freshening up your landscaping is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to create a great first impression.
Simple Repairs – It is recommended that you address simple home repairs such as adding a fresh coat of paint as needed, replacing light bulbs to brighten up the living space, address any leaking faucets and cleaning any flooring in high traffic areas.
Staging – Staging the home yourself can also be of value. This involves de-cluttering kitchens, bathrooms, office space and any play areas. Staging is about creating space in order to stimulate the imagination of potential buyers allowing them a feeling of home.
Cleanliness – We cannot stress enough the importance of a clean home. Perception is reality and buyers are quick to make judgments. A clean home portrays a home that has been cared for. An unclean home the opposite. You do not want to give buyers an unnecessary objection over something so simple.
There are certain legal obligations that a seller must fulfill in order to sell and transfer property. As your real estate agent, we will inform you of those obligations and provide you with the necessary documentation in order to keep you compliant.
The time has come to sell your home!
Now that your home is being fully marketed and showings have occurred, you receive an offer. There are many terms, conditions and contingencies that make up an offer to purchase real estate and knowing and understanding each are important in negotiating the best deal possible.
Contract negotiations are often the most challenging part of the real estate sale process. As multiple parties attempt to reach an agreement there are roadblocks that may occur. It is important to seek out a real estate professional to assist with negotiations. There are a variety of emotions that occur when selling a home and those emotions tend to cloud judgement and alter one’s ability to process what is being offered and at times deal breakdown.
As your real estate consultant, it is my ethical responsibility to fairly negotiate contracts and this is taken very seriously. We use our negotiating expertise to find win-win solutions that are beneficial to all parties. As your representative, we have fiduciary responsibilities to you as the seller. This too is taken very seriously. At no time during a negotiation will we disclose or make decisions on your behalf without consulting with you.
There are many common misconceptions regarding the purchase price when it comes to an offer. The highest price is not always right, and cash is not always king! It is our job as realtors to help you determine what the best offer is. While the purchase price is important, there are other factors that apply when determining the best offer. You can take comfort in knowing that we evaluate all terms and conditions within purchase offers and explain how they affect your bottom line as well as your marketing position.
Seal the Deal
Finding the right buyer for your home includes making an informed decision. One of the items your real estate agent should provide for you is an estimated settlement sheet. This will allow you a preliminary view of what you should expect at closing. It is essentially an estimate of fee’s for selling your property including but not limited to commissions, deed preparation, mortgage payoff’s, taxes, transfer fee’s, and other title and closing fees.
When you are ready to make an informed decision, you may now sign off on the buyers purchase offer. At this point, you are officially under a binding contract to sell your home.
APPRAISAL, INSPECTIONS & CLOSING
After a purchase agreement has been executed by the potential buyer and the property’s seller there are a few items that need to be considered.
Time is of the essence. The real estate contract is filled with certain requirements that must be met in a timely manner. It is important for all parties involved to meet these requirements in order to ensure a smooth negotiation process and a successful closing. Failure to meet contract deadlines will result in a breach of the agreement and could potentially void the sale of the property. As your real estate agent, I will provide you with updates and reminders in order to keep this from happening.
It is also recommended that you keep and maintain written records of any and all correspondence throughout the home selling process. This will ensure that nothing is missed, and all obligations are met. A real estate transaction involves many forms of communication both verbal and written. As your agent, we will assist you in negotiating any further request and help draft any documents pertaining to the purchase agreement including but not limited to addendums, counter offers, remedies and any other additional terms and conditions that may apply.
Appraisal and Inspection
Now that you have reached an acceptable purchase offer, most buyers will have the property inspected by a licensed home inspector. Home inspections are the buyer’s responsibility but you as the seller will must comply with allowing them access to the home according the terms of the agreement. Inspections must be completed within the allotted time frame agreed upon within the real estate purchase contract. Buyers are not limited to a certain number of inspectors and may also seek recommendations or opinions from licensed trade professionals (HVAC, Roofing, Structural, etc.).
Inspection results and how to proceed:
If the buyer is 100% satisfied with the results of the inspections, they may release their inspection contingencies and proceed towards closing.
If the buyer is not satisfied with the results of the inspections, they may choose to renegotiate the contract. There are two common items that are negotiated at this point.
A remedy request asking the seller to repair items of concern, or
The renegotiation of the purchase price in lieu of any repairs
Leveraging the experience and knowledge of your real estate agent is important in either case.
If your purchase agreement is contingent upon financing, a successful appraisal of the property will be needed. An appraiser is a licensed 3rd party specialist who will evaluate the property to ensure that the buyer’s lender is making a good investment. As your real estate agent, I will always be prepared to share our analysis with the property appraiser. This information may include comparable sales and any upgrades that have been completed in order to increase the value of the home. We want to make certain that the value is seen to prevent a short appraisal.
In the event the appraisal is short, meaning the purchase price is higher than the homes appraised value, the buyer can renegotiate the terms of the agreement. This is a situation where you will want to rely on your real estate agent to provide the best possible plan of action in order to keep the agreement intact.
Release of Contingencies
The most common contingencies found within a real estate purchase offer are the following:
Home Sale Contingencies
Contingencies are considered conditions that must be met for the buyer to move forward and proceed to closing. All contingencies must be released and/or satisfied prior to closing. If a renegotiating period is open due to meeting a specific contingency, it is advisable to consult with your realtor as to how to respond in a manner that not only is fair and objective but protects your interest as the seller. It is my guarantee that we will do exactly that. It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly, and we will do everything in our power to deliver a positive outcome.
CLOSING & POSSESSION
It is almost time for a celebratory photo with the closing proceeds! But first, let’s not forget to do our due diligence and cross our T’s and dot our I’s.
Prior to closing day, the buyer will schedule a final walkthrough of the property. The walkthrough usually occurs anytime within 48 hours of the closing. Its purpose is to verify that the property is in the same condition as it was at the time of contract. This includes making sure everything is in good working order, all items that were included in the purchase are there, all remedy request have been completed and the home is in acceptable move in condition. It is important for you, the seller to make sure these items have been met as they can potentially derail closing. This is essentially the final contingency.
Cancel Utility Service
Prior to the closing date, you will want to make sure that you contact all your utility providers and set a final reading and cancel date. It is the buyer’s responsibility to make sure they transfer the utilities into their name for the date and time of possession. As a common courtesy, we shall provide the utility provider information to the buyer to help assist in the transfer.
The closing agent will oversee the execution of the purchase agreement. Each party involved in the transaction will be furnished with a settlement statement to review and sign. The settlement statement is a breakdown of the financial terms of the agreement. The seller(s) will sign the deed to the property at this time essentially transferring it to the buyer(s). If there is a mortgage loan involved, the buyer(s) at this time will sign and execute the lender packet which will include the mortgage. The mortgage will then be recorded with the deed. If funds are required for closing, you may either bring a certified check (if the amount is under $10,000) or have the funds wired to the title agency. If there is a seller shortage amount due will have been disclosed by the closing agent prior to closing and will also be noted on the preliminary settlement statement. Once the settlement has been consummated, the exchange of keys and possession shall take place unless possession terms were negotiated to take place later.
A Successful Sale
Congratulations on the successful sale of your home. Although this is the official end of the selling process our friendship carries on. Occasionally there are things that come up, questions arise, and we will always be a phone call, text message or email away. We will continue to be your trusted real estate advisor because we not only want help you buy, sell or build but we want to help you live!