Frequently Asked Questions for Sellers
What’s the First Step Selling My Property?
The very first step in selling your home is to identify your equity through the provision of a Market Analysis. I can provide you with this through research, and preparation of information that will allow you to compare your home or property to other similar homes on the market. I do this usually with a two step process. The first step includes making an appointment for me to preview your home and identify the amenities and upgrades that you have, as well as the neighborhood and location. The second step is to make another appointment so that I can review my research, recommended price range, and share with you my plan for marketing your home. By the way, there has been a lot of chit-chat regarding www.zillow.com as an aide to assisting home owners to establish prices. Several home sales that I’ve completed in 2006 have sold for 10-15% higher than zillow.com has indicated so while that site has some information you might be interested in, there is absolutely no substitute for a current market analysis.
What Do I Have To Do to Prepare My Home For the Market?
The process of preparing your home for the market is called “staging” . I am an Accredited Staging Professional and will walk through your home inside & out and advise you on a list of items to prepare your home. REMEMBER: BUYERS DON’T BUY WHAT BUYERS CAN’T SEE. It is my experience that over 95% of Buyers and real estate agents can not visualize how your house could be if you have too much clutter, animal smells, not the best of housekeeping, dark rooms, and so on. Yes, I know this is a lot of work however you will reap benefits down the road in either shorter market time or more money in your pocket. Be prepared to have this discussion with me. We are both members of the same team and working together to accomplish the same goal: SELLING YOUR HOME FOR THE MOST MONEY WITH A REASONABLE MARKET TIME.
What Kind of Marketing Techniques Do you Use To Market Property/Homes?
I use a variety of marketing techniques and will provide you with a well thought out marketing plan tailored to your home. Key items including in my marketing plan will include pricing your home right, staging your home for market, getting information on your home to prospective Buyers and Agents and providing you with quality web sites & fliers as well as advertising. The photos of your home, especially on the Windermere and NWMS web sites are critical. We live in a very technically savvy area and over 90% of the Buyers out there look on line as a way of previewing, choosing, and deleting homes from their actual home tours with their agents. My camera is a quality digital camera and I spend a minimum of 2.5 hours per listing editing and placing photos on-line so that your home will be shown at its best. I will make sure you can review your listing and your photos so that you can give me feedback. Our interests are the same and I want what’s best for you!
I want my Home Shown Only When I Can Be Here and I Don‘t Want a Keybox.
I cannot recommend this option unless there are very severe conditions that would require this. These conditions do exist but they are few and far between. Please discuss this with me. Selling your home is going to have some inconveniences that will occur before we accomplish your goal. I will do my best to minimize these. I recommend asking agents to call you in advance before showing your home, having a keybox on your home for ease of access, and in general, doing your very best to leave your home in showing condition before you leave your home during the day.
What Do I Need To Do To Present My Home At Its Best?
After your home is staged and on the market, most hard work is complete. However, there is still work to be done because most people do not live in their home regularly the way they must live in their home when it is on the market. Steps that I will strongly encourage you to follow are:
At the beginning of the day, and before you leave, make sure your dishes are done and counters clear and clean, dirty clothes picked up, beds made, toilet lids down, garbage out and so on.
When you leave, leave most lights on please! Buyers want to know that your house is light and bright and if their agent is fumbling for the lights, they will not have that important “first” impression! In addition, you will want your freshly staged and cleaned home to be shining like the trophy it is!
Leave the blinds/curtains open.
Okay, An Agent Just Called me To Let Me Know They’ll Be Showing the House….What Do I Do?
Take a deep breath, take a moment to quickly clean/de-clutter, lights, etc and leave. I know this may be an inconvenience but Buyers always want to figure out how they can fit their stuff in your house or discuss what they would change and they will not do so if you are there. If we have time frames to work around due to children or day sleeper schedules, I will outline those requirements in the listing and set time parameters on the keybox.
I Have A Pet, How Do We Show The House When I’ m Gone?
I have a beautiful boxer named Jughead and I will be challenged when we put our house on the market but there are options:
- Signs on the doors not to let the pets out
- Pets assigned to crates/yards/garages with appropriate signage
- Dogs to doggy day care for certain hours of the day which will be noted in the listing and keybox showing instructions
- Neighbor assistance when necessary
- Pets taken to work if that’s an option
Otherwise, let’s discuss and come up with an acceptable solutions.
My House Has Had Some Problems In The Past, Do The Buyers Have to Know?
You are required by law to disclose defects in your house. If there are problems that are in the past and you have repaired them, they do not need to be disclosed except for the roof. One of the questions on the legislatively prepared form include a question asking if your roof has leaked. You need to answer truthfully. Please be thorough on every question. I’ve probably seen most possibilities, from a remodel with no permits to a drainfield expansion with no permits. The most important thing is to be truthful. We can resolve almost every issue. As we review your property, and as I see things that I have questions about, I will discuss them with you.
What Can I Expect When I Return Home After My House Has Been Shown?
First of all, I do not expect dirty footprints, as I’ll leave a sign for people to remove their shoes. You should find your house the way you left it. The Agent who showed the house should leave their card. Doors should be locked. Please call me immediately if this is not the case. You can expect Buyers to open closet & cabinet doors/drawers to check out both the operation & space.
Will I find out What Those Buyers Who Look At My House Think About It?
Yes, and the quickest way for this to happen is either to call me with the Agent’s name & number or e-mail me. Since the information about who opened your keybox will be downloaded to me every time that agent updates their agent status, if I don’t get the information from you I will eventually get it and call that agent directly. From time to time I will not get a call back from agents and if this happens after my efforts at two phone calls I automatically assume they will not call me back and will let you know.
How Will I know That an Offer Has Come In?
It is the selling agent’s responsibility to let me know that they have an offer on your house. When that happens, either they will fax or hand deliver to me their offer, and I will schedule an appointment with you to present their offer. Regardless of whether the offer is presented to you by me or the selling agent I will be there with you. This is actually a NWMLS requirement. The selling agent cannot contact you directly regarding their offer so that you can have my representation in your best interests.
What Happens When There Are Multiple Offers on My House?
We will sit down together and discuss the differences in the offers. If I have the offers in advance, I will come prepared with a spread sheet outlining key points to the offers so you can make the best decision. Key factors, aside from price, will include pre-approval status, strength of Buyers, closing date, and time frames.
Your price can actually end up higher than listed, depending on the type of market we‘re having in your area and your price range. For example, if there is very little inventory, you will most likely be in a Seller’s market and command the listing price or higher. However, if there is quite a bit of inventory in your home’s price range, we could be at the other end of the spectrum in a Buyer’s market or somewhere in between.
Can I Always Get My Price?
Not always. See above.
We Have a Signed Agreement, and Then What Happens?
Once we have mutual acceptance, there are a variety of steps in the process that are almost always taken including:
Almost all Buyers conduct an inspection on their new house. We want them to pick an option that will have short time frames(5 – 7 days after mutual acceptance) and that will provide you an opportunity to correct any issues identified during the inspection. In a raw land or investment purchase, this step is called a “feasibility study”. The Buyers will have a designated time period to let us know what they would like you to repair and you then will have 3 days to respond. There is often some negotiation involved in these situations although, if the request to repair the inspection issues is not agreed upon, the Buyers do not have to buy your house.
This item is often included to allow the Buyers to review the local community to ascertain whether or not the crime rate, location of registered sex offenders, etc, is acceptable to them. This usually includes up to a 3 day time frame. I often recommend we shorten this clause as it can be an “out” clause.
The Purchase & Sale Agreement will have a time frame for the Buyers to complete their loan application.
If this property has a well and/or septic system, at a minimum you should be prepared to provide the Buyers with a bacterial or coli form water test from the well and proof that the septic tank has been pumped & the system inspected. Additional information that might be asked for include a well flow test or separate well inspection, organic compound test, & so on.
On occasion, if your Buyer’s credit scores are fabulous and/or they have a substantial down payment on your house, the lender will waive getting an appraisal. Usually, however, an appraisal is required. An appraiser’s job is solely to establish market value and not address condition. From time to time, a house might present itself in an appraiser’s eye as maybe needing an outside specialist in a particular field to assess a particular situation. An example of this would be if a roof looks like its on it’s last legs, an appraiser might order a roof inspector to certify the roof for 5 years. If the appraiser asks for specific work orders in order to close the house, I can help you locate resources to assist you.
There is currently in existence a national data base for insurance companies called the “CLUE” system which keeps track of home claims when those claims are determined to be caused by a construction type problem. For example, if your house has had a severe water issue and had a claim for repair, this data base will have that claim in the system. This may mean that the insurance rate for the house is higher than average. The Purchase & Sale Agreement has specific time frames for the Buyer to apply for insurance and then specific time frames for the Buyer’s ability to back out of a transaction based on specific insurance pricing in excess of ½% of 1% of the sales price. Pay attention to this, because if these deadlines pass, the Buyer cannot rescind on your Purchase due to insurance costs.
Final Walk Through:
Many Buyers will include in the contract their ability to walk through your house within 5 days prior to closing to verify that the house is the same condition as when first viewed.
Is The Closing Date Considered To Be The Day I Sign My Closing Papers?
No. There might be a rare occasion when you can sign your documents on the day of closing but most lenders send their escrow instructions to the Escrow Company 2 – 3 days prior to the closing date. Escrow then prepares your note, deed of trust, and other documents, has both Buyer & Seller sign documents, then sends them back to the lender’s funding & review department. The time period for funding & review is usually 24 -48 hours, or 1 – 2 business days. They then contact escrow, release your sale to be recorded (title transfer at the County Assessor’s Office), and then wire transfer funds to the Escrow Company. We will be notified when the funds have arrived and the deed has been transferred. Usually, we’ll get the call between 3 and 5 p.m. Escrow will then either wire your net proceeds to your next purchase or issue you a check at closing, however you’ve instructed them.
When Do The Buyers Get Keys?
The Purchase & Sale Agreement states that the Seller must deliver the keys on the day of closing. A typical way for these keys to be delivered is for them to be left at my office for the Buyers.
When Do I Call the Utility Companies to Transfer Utilities from My Name?
I would recommend that you contact the your Utility Companies 1 week prior to closing, and schedule those transfers to 9 pm on the day of possession.
How Clean Must I Leave My House for the New Owners?
Please treat the new owners the way you would want to be treated. My recommendation would be for you to leave your home very clean, leave all appliance or system manuals, garage door openers, keys, and remove all personal possessions and debris. Make sure you leave the lawn kept up, as well.
When Must I be Moved Out?
At 9 p.m. on the Possession Date specified on the Purchase & Sale Agreement.
During this process, I am very involved in communicating with all parties. You will know what’s going on and what you can expect to happen next. I will provide you with a calendar of events and copies of our contract documents for your reference.
Throughout this exciting process, please feel free to contact me with any questions. I’ve tried to outline what I would anticipate would be the most common questions, however am sure I haven’t covered everything!