The Selling Process

Sellers
– STEP 1 – DEFINE NEEDS

It is
important to set out in writing the reasons that are motivating
you to sell your current home. You might ask yourself, "Why
am I selling my home and what do I expect to accomplish?" If
you have a growing family and you need more space you may be under
less pressure to get your house ready to sell than if you were,
let's say, moving to a new city due to career opportunity.

Explore
your short and long term goals and decide how selling your house
fits into those goals. Your agent will identify all of the variables
within your individual goals and how best to achieve them in your
local real estate market. Your real estate agent will apply his
or her expert knowledge to your particular needs and set a realistic
time frame for the process to proceed. This will help you to establish
a time management path for selling your home.

Sellers
– STEP 2 – PRICING STRATEGY

Your
next objective is to consult with your real estate agent to determine
the best possible selling price of your home. You will need to take
into account the state of the local market, the condition of your
home, and sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. He or
she will create a comparative market analysis by taking into consideration
the type of market you are in and recent sales of comparable properties.
Your agent will then guide you to the best fair market price that
will help sell your home within your desired time frame. Usually,
real estate agents have a clearer and more objective sense of market
value than anyone else- including appraisers!

Often,
it can be hard for you, as a seller, to also maintain objectivity,
so remember to be reasonable about the price you set. You will always
be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your
price high expecting that someone will come along and be willing
to pay it. If your home stays on the market too long because it
is overpriced, potential buyers may think that something is wrong
with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could
have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price.

Sellers
– STEP 3 – PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY

It's
time to get your home in "showing and selling" condition.
Most of us don't keep our homes in the condition it would need to
be in to sell. Over the years those boxes in the corner of the garage
just seem to multiply on their own. Things have broken that we just
never get around to fixing and some things have just worn out. We
just accept the fact that they will always be this way. It is this
frame of mind that you have to break out of in order to get your
house ready to show. How your home looks will have an immense impact
on how quickly it sells and whether or not you get full market value
for it.

First
impressions are very important and you only get to make one. Your
real estate agent, who is interacting in the marketplace every day,
can assist you in approaching your home from the buyer's standpoint.
What needs to be changed to make a good first impression? This may
mean that all you do is prune the trees and shrubs. On the other
hand, it may mean that you completely repaint the house, inside
and out. Do a "curb to door" check. Give the potential
buyers a clear path to enter the home. The fewer obstacles between
the buyer and the true appeal of your home the better. Keep in mind
that over time we become accustomed to our surroundings. What's
normal for you may be detrimental to the buyer.

Make
your home look as spacious as possible. Organize your closets and
kitchen cabinets, and if you have things stored in the attic or
basement, make sure they are presentable. If you are showing during
the day, pull back your curtains and drapes to show how bright and
cheery your home is. If you are showing at night, turn on all of
the lights to create a warm and welcoming environment for the prospective
buyers. A home that is marked with your personality and style may
be harder to sell. You might even consider such things as removing
obvious clues to your political affiliation and tucking away any
biased literature that may be visible. This will reduce distractions
and help the buyers to visualize the home as their own.

Sellers
– STEP 4 – MARKETING STRATEGY

Now that
your home is ready, it's time to put it up for sale and market it.
Establishing a marketing strategy with your real estate agent is
a must. Your agent will expose your home to the most potential buyers
possible using a marketing plan that will have the highest possibility
of bringing not only the most buyers, but also the most qualified
buyers, to your doorstep.

There
are many different ways to get the word out there that your home
is for sale. A yard sign, flyers, and direct marketing are just
a few of the many options available. If you are in a buyer's market
you will have to be extra careful when choosing a plan. You don't
want your home to sit with no one showing interest. You and your
agent should structure your marketing strategy so that the first
3-6 weeks that your house is on the market will be the busiest.

Sellers
– STEP 5 – RECEIVE AN OFFER

When
a buyer decides to buy your home, an offer will be presented. Your
real estate agent will advise you as to whether or not the prospective
buyer is qualified to purchase your home. After all, there is no
reason to review an offer if the person(s) making it will not be
able to actually buy your home.

You and
your real estate agent will then review the written document, taking
care to note what is required of both parties to execute the transaction.
The contract should protect the best interests of all parties involved
and should be comprehensive in nature.

Once
you accept the contract, it may be too late to make any changes.
The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the
following:
· A legal description of the property
· The offering price
· The down payment
· Financing arrangements
· A list of fees and who will pay them
· Amount of the deposit
· Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
· The method of conveying the title and who will handle the
closing
· A list of appliances and furnishings which will stay with
the home
· The settlement date
· Any relevant contingencies

Remember
that the legalities of this phase are very important. If you have
any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your
real estate agent right away.

Sellers
– STEP 6 – NEGOTIATING TO SELL

Most
offers to purchase your home will require some level of negotiation
to come to a win-win agreement. Your real estate agent is well versed
on the legalities of the real estate contract used in your area
and will handle the responsibility of protecting your best interest
throughout these negotiations. In addition, your agent has a thorough
understanding of the contract itself, including what each contract
clause means to you and your buyer, what you will net from the sale
of your home, and what areas in the contract lend themselves easiest
to negotiation. Your agent will review the written offer with you
to make sure that you thoroughly understand what the buyers are
offering and what they are asking in return.

Some
of the items that you may have to negotiate are:
· The price
· Financing
· Closing costs
· Repairs that need to be done
· Appliances and fixtures
· Landscaping
· Painting
· Occupancy time frame

To really
gain some insight into why potential buyers are pursuing the purchase
of your home and how they might proceed in the negotiations, it
is also important to know as much about the buyer as possible, especially
their motivation for buying. Once both parties have reached a point
where the deal is acceptable, your agent will be certain that you
have a legally executable contract.

Sellers
– STEP 7 – SELLING VENDORS

Once
you have accepted an offer to sell your home, your real estate agent
will inform you of all the procedures involved in order to proceed
successfully to closing, as well as the parties responsible for
completing those procedures and estimates of completion. For instance,
the property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected
or repaired. Depending on the specifics reached during the negotiations,
you may pay for all, some, or none of these items.

Your
agent will then coordinate with all the parties and keep you informed
as to the results of the various procedures. If each procedure returns
acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may
continue. If there are problems with the property the terms set
forth in the contract will dictate your next step. Depending on
the contract, you or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new
round of negotiations, or close. Your agent will advise you throughout
this process and will help you coordinate any actions you must take
to keep the sale moving forward.

There
are some sales that go smoothly and some that require a lot of work
to get to the closing table. Until you get into it, you won't know
which one you have on your hands. Either way, your agent will be
there with you every step of the way.

Sellers
– STEP 8 – PRE-CLOSE PREPARATION

A few
days before the closing, your real estate agent will contact the
entity closing the transaction. He or she will make sure that all
of the necessary forms and documents have been prepared and are
going to be available for you to sign on the appropriate date. Your
agent will also contact each party to the transaction to be certain
that they have taken all actions necessary for closing, so the entire
closing can proceed on the date and time planned.

Your
agent will also prepare you in advance for the process of the closing,
advising you of any documents you must bring to the closing, how
much time to block off for the closing, and any other information
that is pertinent to the closing meeting itself.

Sellers
– STEP 9 – CLOSING ON A HOME

"Closing"
refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally
transferred to the buyer. Your real estate agent will be present
during the closing to help explain the process and forms to you
and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during
the closing, he or she can mediate any last minute issues that may
arise.

As the
seller, you will need to be prepared to give over any necessary
documentation regarding the property and, depending on the arrangements
made during negotiations, you may be required to have done something
specific in order to close.

Be sure
to read all the documents and ask any questions you may have. It
is important that you understand every document you are signing.

Sellers
– STEP 10 – POST-CLOSE ACTIVITY

Congratulations
on the successful sale of your home!

Hopefully,
everything went smoothly and you will be vacating your house in
the time frame that you had anticipated. Your real estate agent
will help you create a checklist of all the things you will need
to do to turn the property over to the new owners. You will need
to make sure that all of the local services (i.e. electricity, gas,
lawn care, cable, etc.) have been cancelled or, if the new owner
is going to retain some of the services, the name for the account
should be changed. The property and anything assigned to the buyer
according to the contract should be prepared appropriately for the
new owners. This will make the transition as smooth and effortless
as possible.