There are many different steps in the selling process of a successful real estate transaction. You will want to know what is the right price, which means getting a Free Market Analysis done on your home. To get the price you want you will need to make your home look good. For instance just for starters, clean up the yard, plant some flowers, maybe a new coat of paint inside and out! And above all use a real estate professional! Sellers have to stay on top of the selling process.
The amount of compensation you pay a broker is negotiable, but the REALTOR® will generally follow the company’s policy regarding compensation. The amount of the fee will be spelled out in the listing agreement. Make sure you understand how the fee will be paid before signing.
Most REALTORS® will ask for an exclusive right-to-sell listing. This means that you will owe the broker a commission regardless of who finds a buyer during the listing period. In other words, if you decide to sell the house to your cousin, your broker still gets a commission. In an exclusive listing, the broker is usually motivated to work harder to sell your home.
It’s possible that a REALTOR® from another company will find a buyer for your home. In that case, your broker is the listing broker, and the second agent is the cooperating broker. Many times the listing broker will agree to pay the cooperating broker a fee from the amount you pay the listing broker. Your listing broker cooperates with other brokers who procure buyers interested in your property and offers to compensate the other brokers for procuring a buyer. Cooperating and compensating other brokers is discussed in the listing agreement you sign with the listing broker.
The listing agreement will specify how long you agree to list your house with a company. You want a period that’s long enough to motivate your REALTOR® to advertise your home and respond to buyers, yet short enough to allow you to change to a different company if you become unhappy with the REALTOR®‘s service.
Remember that the listing agreement is a contract. You should get a copy for your records. Your REALTOR® is bound to the terms just as you are. You can expect the REALTOR® to keep appropriate information confidential and effectively market your property.
Preparing your home
In preparing your home for viewing by prospective buyers, remember that people buy on emotions. Your home has to feel right, or buyers will look elsewhere. Ask your REALTOR® and some honest friends to look at your home objectively and suggest ways to make your home more inviting and sellable. Consider both the exterior and interior. Since you will be appealing to buyers’ feelings, you need to pay attention to detail. An extra $50 you spend on red geraniums or new bath towels might mean a significant increase in a buyer’s offer.
Clean your home thoroughly and make minor repairs such as tightening towel racks and gluing wallpaper edges. For larger repairs, consult your REALTOR® as to whether repairing the item will generate a good return on the sale. Repainting the woodwork may be worth it, but replacing the carpet may not. Hire a professional inspector to examine your house for structural and mechanical defects. Get an inspection early, and you can avoid surprises.
Honesty and candor
If your home has a major problem you don’t intend to correct, be candid about it. Don’t paint over the water marks on the ceiling to hide a leaky roof. Buyers will find out about the problems anyway, especially if they are smart shoppers and hire a professional to inspect your home. In an age when lawsuits are as common as family sit-down dinners, it pays to be open about everything.
You should consider including a one-year residential service contract with the sale of your home. This buyer perk is a common practice and helps ease concerns. Typically, after the first year, the buyer has the option of renewing the coverage at his or her expense. A residential service contract is simply an agreement with a company to repair certain items on the property if such items fail to function or are in need of repair (for example, air conditioning unit, heating equipment, plumbing system, etc.).
Attracting and screening buyers
As part of the overall marketing strategy, your REALTOR® may arrange a tour of your home for local REALTORS® and perhaps schedule an open house for the public. Your REALTOR® may also run ads in local newspapers, Web sites, and other publications tailored specifically for the type of home you are selling. As responses come in, your REALTOR® will screen out sightseers and half-hearted inquirers and make appointments with the serious prospects.
When the showings begin, keep your home clean and ready. Your REALTOR® will try to give you advance warning before showing your home but be prepared anyway. If people drop by and are not with a REALTOR®, it’s best not to show them your home. Ask for their names and phone numbers and refer them to your REALTOR®.
When a REALTOR® comes to show your home, it’s best if you are not there. Many buyers feel like intruders when the owner is present; they tend to hurry away. Letting the buyers walk through your property at their own pace will help put them at ease. They will feel free to look around and ask questions. If you must be there, let the REALTOR® handle the showing. Sit quietly and be courteous, but avoid engaging the buyer in conversation. The REALTOR® needs the buyer’s complete attention to show your home properly.
REALTORS® are required by law to make your property available to all persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. Your REALTOR® will not discuss any matter that may potentially discriminate against any person.
In reviewing the offer, you have three options: accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. A counteroffer is a rejection of a buyer’s offer with a simultaneous offer from you to the buyer. Carefully review the figures compiled earlier to determine your net proceeds–closing costs may be quite different from earlier calculations. Discuss the possibilities with your REALTOR®, your attorney, and a tax adviser.
Lead-based paint disclosure
If your property was built before 1978, federal law requires that before a buyer is obligated under a contract to buy the property, the seller shall: 1) provide the buyer with a lead hazard information pamphlet (as prescribed by EPA); 2) disclose the presence of any known lead-based paint or hazard; 3) provide the buyer with a lead hazard evaluation report or records available to the seller; and 4) permit the buyer to conduct a risk assessment or inspection for the presence of lead-based paint or hazards. A contract for the sale of property built before 1978 must contain a statutorily prescribed Lead Warning Statement to the buyer. Your REALTOR®will provide you with the forms necessary to comply with the law and will suggest procedures to follow in order to comply.