THE SELLING PROCESS
If you are a current home owner that is considering selling your property, I would highly advise you to hire a seasoned, competent Realtor who you will feel comfortable with, that is also knowledgable of the neighborhood, and most of all you trust. Once you hire your preferred agent, you will in essence be “married” to them during the time of preparation, being on the market, going through escrow and closing process which can potentially take several months from start to finish.
It takes experience, skill, insight, preparation work, staging and a good marketing plan to receive the maximum profit on your property. Below you will find a basic outline to follow and what to expect during the “Selling Process”
DECIDING TO SELL:
Choose a competent real estate professional that will look out for your best interest. You should feel comfortable communicating with your realtor and confident in their capabilities. It takes dedication, experience and drive to be successful.
If you are planning to sell a "owner occupied" property, and will be also finding a replacement property, you will need to strategize on how this can be executed to your advantage. You should discuss what choices you may have on this matter with your Realtor to plan and achieve your goals.
Setting a price on your property is extremely important to determine. Pricing your property wisely will greatly determine how long it will be on the market. Your agent will provide you comparable sales in your neighborhood. This report will be tailored to comparable properties to yours that will enable you to evaluate the history of sold properties and also study the current market conditions. You will then be able to make an informed decision on a list price.
Discuss a marketing strategy. When selling, it is important to bring your property to the buyer. This means having a successful marketing campaign. Maximum exposure of your property is vital. Your realtor should offer a wide selection of advertising tools which should include national and local internet exposure from several websites, newspaper advertising, print ads, visual signage, open houses to the brokers and public to name a few things. Each property is different. This marketing plan should be tailored to give your property its maximum potential exposure it deserves.
PREPARING AND STAGING YOUR PROPERTY TO SELL:
Curb appeal is very important. The front door greets the prospect. Make sure the lawn is manicured and the yard is free of any refuse.
Fix any minor repairs, ie: leaking faucets, broken fixtures. Your house should be in working order to avoid complications when in escrow. You may even want to hire a home inspector to find any hidden issues that can be addressed before you list your property. This sometimes avoids future negotiations with the buyer once under contract.
A fresh coat of paint will go a long way and it is an inexpensive way to spruce up your home inside and out.
Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Make sure that the counters are free of clutter. They need to sparkle! Closets should be organized and neat, windows, light fixtures, surfaces and floors should be clean.
Depersonalize your home! Remove any personal pictures and excess clutter. Staging the area with minimal furniture will allow guests to use their imagination and show that space is ample. I will offer my suggestions and also assist in staging. Adding live plants or flowers, maybe a centerpiece to your table, lit candles in strategic areas will enhance charm to your home. Make sure that the area has a pleasant scent.
Make a list of any upgrades or selling features that your Realtor can use on your fact sheets. It is also wise to order a permit package to make sure that any alterations made on the property in the past has been accounted for. This is a good tool to provide the appraiser once you are in escrow.
SHOWING YOUR PROPERTY:
Pets should be removed from open houses. Also remove any valuables from the public eye. Your home should be welcoming with open curtains/blinds for natural light. The lights, fans and air conditioning should be on.
All guests will be required to sign into my guest log, so I will have record of who has visited. Have your house ready and easy to show. Your cooperation is appreciated and will help close the sale quicker.
GUIDING YOU THROUGH THE SALE:
You received an offer! It is important to review this offer very carefully. Your agent will present and review all offers with you. Some things that will be negotiated may include, final sales price, deposits, who will pay what closing costs, special considerations of things to be included or excluded from the sale, when the closing date will be and when the transfer of ownership will occur.
Your agent will assist you in negotiations, and arrive at an acceptable price, terms and conditions. After the buyer and seller agree to the terms of the sale, the property goes into escrow which can take several weeks (45-60 days on average) to reach closing.
Escrow can be opened by the buyer or seller's agent. The escrow agent and their company act as a neutral third party for serving as custodian for funds and documents, providing a clearing house for payment of demands and performing clerical details for the closing.
When in escrow, there will be deadlines to meet such as: delivering your disclosure statement. You will need to be very detailed with this report. It is extremely important for you to disclose any present or past history with your property even if you have fixed, renovated, or replaced anything in the house or on your property. There will also be home and termite inspections, a survey performed as well as other possible inspections that will need to be completed before closing. Your Realtor should schedule and attend these inspections.
The signed purchase contract is designed to protect all parties involved. It will be your guide and timeline. This is a crucial time when you rely on your agent’s expertise throughout the escrow process. They should be in close contact with you, your escrow agent, the buyer's agent, and their lender to ensure a smooth escrow process.
Before closing, your agent should make sure that all necessary inspections, paperwork and deposits have been completed. A final walk through will be performed by the buyers and their realtor. Be prepared to turn over any pertinent certificates, warranties that the buyers will need. It’s also nice to share with the buyers on a piece of paper or via email that your agent can forward on to their agent, who you may have used for yardwork and other service companies for the property.
A “HUD” Statement is generated by escrow which both buyer and seller will review separately with their agents and escrow officer. The buyer and seller will pay "closing" or settlement costs, an accumulation of separate charges paid to different entities for the professional services associated with the buying and selling of the property.
Each party signs at escrow; buyers will make the final payments. Your property records a few days after. Congratulations, your property has officially been sold!!