The Complete Home Selling Guide
Check out our articles with helpful information and resources to help guide you through the process of selling your home.
Table of Contents
Preparing to Sell
You can do a lot to increase the appeal of your property and to create a lasting impact on potential buyers.
How to Prepare
The following are a couple of factors to keep in mind when listing your property for sale:
1. Curb Appeal
Keeping your landscape pristine, and adding creative touches to your yard, such as colorful annuals, will create an immediate impact on passers-by and potential buyers.
2. Property Repairs
Simple upgrades such as window repairs, polishing the doorknobs, and a fresh coat of paint in the most frequently used rooms will instantly brighten up the property.
3. Cleanliness and Staging
Keep your property uncluttered, sweet-smelling and well-lit from top-to-bottom. Pay attention to details: put away the kitty litter, place a vase of fresh flowers near the entryway, pop a batch of cinnamon rolls in the oven, have your carpets cleaned. Your agent will scan the property before it is listed for sale to see how you can improve the staging of your property.
4. Disclosures and Inspections
We are very familiar with the legal procedures involved in disclosures and are ready to help you develop a thorough disclosure statement beneficial to both you and the buyer, as well as suggest home improvement measures before placing your property on the market (such as termite and pest inspections).
Presenting your property to potential buyers is a job that we will take care of for you. Buyers feel more comfortable discussing the property with the agent, if you are not there. Moreover, your agent will know what information will be most useful in representing your interests when speaking with prospective buyers.
Selecting an Agent & Price
Why Should You Choose Our Professionals?
You may opt to sell your property independently. There are many excellent reasons, however, why you should choose us to assist you in this important undertaking. We will ensure that you maximize your opportunities in the current real estate market. With our extensive contact networks that we have developed through the many national and international organizations, of which we are members, as well as our current and past clients, we will employ the most effective marketing and advertising strategies for your property. We will also guide you through the complicated paperwork involved, from the initial agreement to the final documents.
What to Look For in an Agent
- Education. The most important factor in choosing a real estate professional is their education in the real estate industry. Our professionals have advanced training and education, allowing them to be among the top agents in the world and earning prestigious designations in the various fields of real estate.
- Experience and Expertise. You want a full-time agent who is familiar with your area and with the type of property you intend to sell. Does he or she employ a diverse range of marketing and advertising strategies? How tech-savvy is your agent? How many similar properties has he or she been able to sell in the past?
- Availability and Commitment. Your agent should be capable of prompt and decisive action during the course of selling your property. Does your agent make it a point to keep in touch with you constantly? Can your agent easily be contacted in case of emergencies or even for the simplest questions? Is your agent available on the weekends or in the evenings when most buyers are out looking?
- Rapport. Does your agent take the time to listen to your goals and clarify your needs? Can your agent understand your unique situation and be genuinely concerned about the outcome of the process? Your listing agent will be your guide and partner in this crucial decision, so it is important to find one with whom you can get along.
What Is Your Property Worth?
Without a professional agent, most independent property sellers tend to overestimate the value of their property. You can avoid this pitfall by consulting with an experienced real estate listing agent. At American Veteran Properties, we’re experienced and skilled in thoroughly evaluating homes to determine an accurate valuation.
Escrow Inspections and Appraisals
Most buyers will have the property inspected by a licensed property inspector within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. Some buyers will have several different inspectors inspect the property, if they wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure). If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution via third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. A buyer of a commercial property may also have a complete environmental audit performed and/or soil test, if required by the lending institution.
The Closing Agent
Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as the closing agent, whose job is to examine and insure clear title to real estate. After researching the complete recorded history of your property, they will certify that 1) your title is free and clear of encumbrances (eg. mortgages, leases, or restrictions, liens) by the date of closing; and 2) all new encumbrances are duly included in the title.
A contingency is a condition that must be met before a contract becomes legally binding. For instance, a buyer will usually include a contingency stating that their contract is binding only when there is a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified inspector.
Before completing his or her purchase of your property, the buyer goes over every aspect of the property, as provided for by purchase agreements and any applicable addendums. These include:
- Obtaining financing and insurance;
- Reviewing all pertinent documents, such as preliminary title reports and disclosure documents; and
- Inspecting the property. The buyer has the right to determine the condition of your property by subjecting it to a wide range of inspections, such as roof, termite/pest, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, arborist, mold, lead based paint, HVAC, etc.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
- Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the closing; or
- The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
How do you respond objectively and fairly to the buyer when a renegotiation is demanded, while acting in your best interests? This is when a professional listing agent can make a real difference in the outcome of the transaction. Having dealt with various property sales in the past, we guarantee our expertise and total commitment to every customer, no matter what their situation is.
Loan Approval & Appraisal
We suggest that you accept buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval, approval letter, or written loan commitment, which is a better guarantee of loan approval than a pre-qualification or no documentation from a lending institute. Expect an appraiser from the lender’s company to review your property and verify that the sales price is appropriate.
Accepting an Offer
The Price Is Not Always Right
“The higher the price, the better the offer.” Do not let yourself be fooled by this popular misconception. Price is not always the determining factor when accepting an offer for several important reasons: the initial offer is usually not final, and there are a number of terms and conditions that may influence the final outcome of a price. You can trust our professionals to help you thoroughly evaluate every proposal without compromising your marketing position.
Negotiating The Right Way
We take the ethical responsibility of fairly negotiating contractual terms very seriously. It is our job to find a win-win agreement that is beneficial to all parties involved. You may even have to deal with multiple offers before ratifying the one you judge to be the most suitable for you – and as your agents, we will guarantee a thorough and objective assessment of each offer to help you make the right choice.
The Initial Agreement & Deposit
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller. Laws vary from state to state, but in order to be a legally, binding agreement, the agreement may require consideration. This consideration (initial and additional deposit) is to be held in the closing agent’s escrow account pending the fulfillment of conditions or contingencies in the effective agreement.
- Keep written records of everything. For the sake of clarity, it will be extremely useful to transcribe all verbal agreements including counter-offers and addendums, and convert them to written agreements to be signed by both parties. We will assist you in drafting all the paperwork for your sale and make sure that you have copies of everything.
- Stick to the schedule. Now that you have chosen your offer, you and the buyer will be given a timeline to mark every stage in the process of closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations and also ensures that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. During the process we will keep you constantly updated so you will always be prepared for the next step.
Close of Escrow
If you have come this far, then this means that it is almost time for a congratulations, but not yet! Don’t forget to tie up these loose ends:
Final Walk-Through Inspection
More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place the day before, or the day of the closing. The buyer visits the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when the buyer last viewed the property, and that there are no extra items left behind.
Cancel Home Services & Utilities
We will provide a list of useful numbers for the termination of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.
We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. If something at the property breaks down or the buyers’ loan does not pull through on time, there is no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manner.
The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process.
The buyer(s) will sign this statement and then you will sign as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, then arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive.
If you are receiving funds from the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically to an account at your financial institution, or have a check issued to you at the closing. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for the new purchaser at the closing, so that the purchaser may receive these items at this time.
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