Selling a Home
Choose Your Realtor®
When you are having thoughts of selling your home, start with contacting a Realtor for a consultation before you want to put the home on the market for sale. The Realtor can assess your situation to help set your expectations on everything from your home’s value, the sales process and more. Think of this person as the Head Coach of your team. They can also be a great resource in finding other vendors including Real Estate Attorneys, Inspectors, Contractors and more. You may want to consider interviewing a Realtor that has sold in your neighborhood or city, or someone who has worked with a friend of yours. This Realtor should be one that is familiar with home sales in your neighborhood, trends of the city, local developments, local businesses and more. Choose someone who is able to answer your questions on the processes and procedures of selling and someone you like and trust. Ask your Realtor what they will do to market your home to buyers. Don’t feel guilty to interview more than one. Once chosen, meet with them for coffee, lunch, or at their office in order to create your pricing and marketing strategy and overall plan.
What to Consider Before Listing Your Home
1) Make sure all repairs and renovations are completed and that the home is freshly cleaned before the marketing photos are taken.
2) Make sure all light bulbs are in working condition and not burned out.
3) Keep your home as clean as possible at all times. You want to make your home available to be shown as easily as possible and looking its best.
3) Secure your valuables. It’s best to keep your small personal belongings out of view during showings.
4) Organize your closets. Buyers will open doors and drawers. The more organized and clean they look, the more buyers will feel that the home was well taken care of. The more well taken care of, the higher the homes value can be in their eyes.
5) Remove your personal photos from view when possible. You want buyers to experience the home as if its “staged” and that no one lives there. When a buyer sees a personal photo of the seller, they tend to not be as comfortable previewing the space. It becomes more difficult for them to picture themselves living there.
Your Realtor will present the buyers offer to you. If the offer is financing, make sure that the buyer has been approved by a lender. If the buyer is paying cash, make sure you are able to see proof of funds. Ask your Realtor for your approximate net proceeds (net sheet) so that you will know how much money to expect the day of closing. I have found that if the home is presented the best possible way in its marketing and its condition from the start, you will most likely get an offer in the first 3 weeks. The first people to see your home are generally the most motivated and ready to purchase. If your home is priced and positioned properly, your buyer will most likely be one of the first people who viewed it.
Your first offers are usually your strongest offers. The people that see your home in the first few weeks are usually the ones that are the most motivated and ready to buy. They generally know what they are interested in as they have been looking for a while and know your competition but haven’t found the right one for them yet. When you list your home and consult with your Realtor, you generally agree to a list price and an eventual sales price (value). The longer your home is on the market, the less likely you will sell at your asking price.
Frequently Asked Questions
I CHOSE THE PERSON I WANT TO SELL MY HOME, WHAT SHOULD I WANT OR EXPECT FROM MY REALTOR?
Your Realtor is your consultant. They should be able to look at your situation and your home with 3rd party eyes using their knowledge and experience in the industry to help position your home to sell for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. One of the many things that my team does is tour your home with you and give you suggestions on things to do to make your home show better and maybe sell for a higher price. This can include recommending anything from reposition or removing furniture to completing renovations or repairs. That can include anything from repositioning furniture, getting rid of furniture, renovations, painting and more. The more issues you can address before you list your home, the fewer objections you will get from buyers when they tour it. You may want to consider having a pre-listing home inspection. This inspection would give you a full picture of issues that you may want to address now so that a buyer’s inspection report comes back with fewer issues. An HVAC coil cleaning, for instance, can be a minor maintenance cost for you thereby stopping a buyer from saying the whole system needs to be replaced.
WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS THAT I SHOULD GET READY TO ANSWER FOR MY REALTOR?
Why are you selling?
Why did you choose this home when you originally purchased it?
What do you like most about your home?
What do you like least about your home?
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
What do you like about your street, your neighbors, your neighborhood?
What renovations have you completed on your home since you owned it?
Have you had any issues with your home or had any major repairs completed?
Most likely the reasons you purchased the home in the first place will be why someone else will like your home. Having your Realtor know some of the issues with your home can help them overcome any buyer’s objections before they even come up. An example of this would be if your HVAC is at the end of its normal life expectancy, your Realtor can advise any buyers of this before even asked so that it gets taken off the table in any negotiation (“The home is listed at only 699,000 since we took into consideration that the buyer is going to have to budget a new HVAC sometime after closing”). Your buyer will find out the age of the AC anyway upon inspection so this statement can take it off the negotiation table after inspection.
WHAT TYPE OF MARKETING WILL BE DONE TO SELL MY HOME?
Your Realtor will schedule photography at your home. Quality photography is integral in selling your home for the highest price. In our digital age, most people first see the home that they eventually purchase online. Poor quality photos with poor lighting may cause fewer people to want to see your home in person. If the photos are not appealing to them, buyers may think that the home wont be appealing either.
Your Realtor will write a marketing description to describe what it is like living in the home (i.e. “oceanfront living at its finest”). They may also include some of the facts about your home as well (i.e. “three bedroom, two bathrooms with over 2400 s/f of voluminous living space”).
SHOULD I DO ANYTHING TO GET READY FOR THE BUYERS INSPECTION?
As long as all known repairs were completed prior to listing, there really shouldn’t be anything more that you have to do to prepare for the inspection. When you leave the house before the inspection, just make sure that the home looks as best as possible. The buyers will most likely be at the inspection the entire time, so they will use this time to look more in depth at the home and its condition. If you have a list of permits, repairs, updates completed since you owned the home, leave them for review by the inspector.
FYI Most properties in Florida are sold “AS/IS” so that means that the seller is not required to repair anything should there be any issues found in the inspection and the buyer is not required to move forward if the inspection does not bring results to their satisfaction. These AS/IS contracts leave it open for a possible further negotiation between you and the buyer if any issues are found at the inspection.
THE INSPECTION IS COMPLETE, WHAT ELSE WILL BE HAPPENING TILL CLOSING DAY?
After the inspection, the title company will be ordering a land survey. This land survey is completed by a 3rd party provider that measures the exterior of property and property lines to confirm that there aren’t any encroachments on the property.
The title company will be asking you for information as they process title clearance such as the name of your lender. The title company has the responsibility of researching the title/deed of the property to make sure that the property is sold free and clear of any liens. They will usually draw up all sale documents for both the buyer and seller. The title company will also submit to you your estimated settlement statement a few days before closing which details out how much money you will be receiving at closing. This final amount is the purchase price minus your closing costs, taxes and liens.
It's Closing Day! What Happens?
On or before the day of closing, the buyer will tour your home for their final time before officially becoming its new owner. This is their time to walk through the home to double check that everything is in the condition that they expected. You will generally be out of the home completely before the walk through is completed. Make sure that you don’t remove anything that is attached to the home which was not disclosed before (i.e. ceiling fans, lighting fixtures). Appliances usually convey unless agreed to otherwise. Check with your Realtor to confirm what can be taken and what has to stay.
It’s good practice (and good karma) to leave any appliance or equipment manuals in the home for the new owner. You should leave the home in broom swept condition with no major holes in the walls or undisclosed damage. The last thing that you want is on the day of closing, the buyer completes their walk through and finds the home very dirty or finds furniture inside that was not supposed to convey, or finds unknown damage. Your closing could be delayed if this happens. Also do not shut off power or electric till the day of closing. Some sellers also leave a note with instructions on parts of the home that may be confusing to a new buyer (smart home systems, sprinklers).