There are many hurdles along the way in every real estate transaction from contract to closing.Many times, Sellers are so relieved they have an offer on their home that they conveniently forget that accepting an offer is only one step in the myriad of obstacles along the closing process. It is your Realtor’s job to minimize the stress, negotiate the terms and bring everything to a successful ending.However, please keep in mind that there are many situations that are out of your Realtor’s control. Please understand and keep the following points in mind when selling your home.
ADVERTISING & SHOWINGS Your home will be advertised to hundreds of thousands of people nationwide through the cooperation of over 8000 local agents and more than 550 internet websites. There is a 95% chance that another agent will show and sell your home. Your Realtor will work with this agent to bring the sale to a complete and successful close. Please remember that the majority of showings on your home will be performed by other cooperating agents. Just because your Realtor is not personally showing your home does not mean that he/she is not working for you!
BUYER PREQUALIFICATION Although a pre-qualification letter is required from your Buyer before you will accept an offer, there is a chance that your Buyer may not properly manage his finances after that acceptance. All Buyer information is verified before closing, and if the status of his credit has changed, this may or may not affect the ability for the Buyer to obtain financing.
OFFERS & NEGOTIATIONS Once a potential buyer shows interest in your home, there will be several to many rounds of negotiations. This is all part of the process. Please do not get discouraged if you spend several hours on the phone with your Realtor discussing various offers and counteroffers. Once you accept an offer on your home, there are still many hurdles left. You are not home free until you sign the deed at the attorney’s office many weeks later. There will be inspections, appraisals, re-negotiations, repairs, qualification and underwriting issues and final closing stipulations.
INSPECTIONS After you and the Buyer finally agree on price and terms, your home will be inspected by a professional of the Buyer’s choice. No matter how well you keep your home, the inspector will find issues of concern. This is the beginning of the second round of negotiations, and it is more tough and time consuming than the first! The Buyer may ask you to repair some or all of the items on the home inspection report. Or, the Buyer may ask for further financial concessions relative to the extent of concern that the report shows. Even still more common is a combination of both repairs and financial concessions. You are not obligated to fix everything the Buyer requests. However, if you refuse any item, you will leave the Buyer free to terminate the contract and receive a refund of his earnest money if he so chooses. The Buyer is also free to request additional inspections relative to certain areas of concern uncovered by the initial home inspection. This may include appointments with plumbers, contractors, engineers, radon experts, mold specialists and waterproofing contractors. PLEASE PREPARE FOR THE ROLLERCOASTER RIDE WE KNOW AS THE HOME INSPECTION PROCESS.
REPAIRS & WALKTHROUGH Once you complete repairs on your home, the Buyer will ask for a final walkthrough. Be advised that if the repairs are not done in a workmanlike manor, or if they are simply not complete, you will not close, and you will most likely enter into yet another round of negotiations. Make sure that you hire competent handymen/contractors who specifically engage in the line of work you are having them complete. Check references, make sure they are licensed and bonded, and get three estimates. Always hold on to your receipts, and make sure you get a written ‘scope of work’ done by the contractor so you can give all the appropriate information to the Buyer at closing.
APPRAISAL No matter how much you feel your home is worth, and no matter for how much your Realtor has valuated your home, there is a chance the appraiser and underwriter may feel differently. If your home does not appraise at or equal to the purchase price, your Buyer is free to terminate the contract or ask for another price reduction.
CLOSING DATES & MISHAPS Although a date and time may be set to ‘close’ on your home, there are many things that may delay the closing process. Holidays, over-extended workload, lazy underwriters, miscommunications, uncooperative attorneys… and the list goes on. Your original closing date may be extended anywhere from one day to two weeks. Please keep this in mind when making final moving arrangements. If you need the funds from the sale of your ‘old’ home to purchase your ‘new home’, your closing process will be extra tricky. The domino effect applies here. Always, always, maintain a contingency plan in case one or the other homes does not close in time. Explain your situation with your Realtor and discuss the possible scenarios.
CLOSING COSTS You, as Seller, will have to pay some closing costs which may or may not include transfer taxes, property taxes, HOA dues, attorney fees, courier and copy fees, commissions and of course your current mortgage payoff. Also keep in mind that the current balance on your mortgage statement is NOT your payoff amount. Please contact your lender to obtain the payoff amount as of the estimated date of close. Your Realtor can help in estimating your expected return at close of escrow.
PRE-LISTING SERVICES It is highly recommended that you consider some or all of the following services BEFORE your home is actively on the market. Your Realtor should be able to provide guidance on who and when to call:
Pre-Home Inspection: Most relationships between Buyers and Sellers break down long
after the initial offer has been accepted.
This is due, many times, to the tensions that arise over a Buyer’s home
inspection. If you hire a licensed home inspector BEFORE you list, you will
most likely escape those nasty situations that end up killing an otherwise good
offer and contract.
Pre-Listing Appraisal: Your listing agent will give you a CMA (Comparative Market
Analysis) which will tell you the price at which your Realtor feels your home
will sell in the current market. But why
not go a step further to get a second, qualified opinion? In unique markets or with unique homes, a
pre-listing appraisal can be used as ammunition when negotiating with a Buyer.
Home Staging Consultation: You may think that watching HGTV is enough to learn how to
enhance your home to sell. It is a fact
that homes sell much quicker when they are professionally staged – We guarantee