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  • Week Eight – What to Expect Once Under Contract

    Once you are under contract, all parties will begin working through the due diligence period and contingencies on the contract. 

    During this time, the buyer will most likely order an inspection on the home to ensure there are no major issues. These inspections can include but are not limited to: a general inspection, radon inspection, sewer scope, mold inspection, roof inspection, structural engineer, etc. A general inspection typically takes a few hours, so plan on being away during this time. 

    Many times, after the inspection, issues will arise that result in another round of negotiations. The buyer may request that you do some repair work or ask for a credit in lieu of repair work. Each inspection and buyer is different, but your agent will be there with sound advice, creative suggestions, and negotiation skills to help you through.

    The lender will also most likely order an appraise to ensure the value. The Lender does not want to be lending more money than the home is worth, so an appraisal is ordered to determine the market value of the home by an independent third-party. 

    During this time, the title company will perform a title search. A Title Company will search all records of the home to verify that the title is indeed transferrable and all liens and loans on the home are paid off during closing ensuring the buyer has no future issues. If you have a loan on your home, the title company will also ask for you to provide them with some information so they can order the payoff letter for your loan, which will be paid at closing.  

    Once all these have been completed and the buyer’s loan has been approved through underwriting, it will be time for you to head to the closing table! 

    Prior to closing, make sure that you have all your moving plans in place. When the buyer takes possession of the home, you should be completely moved out and the home left in a cleanly condition. Call your utilities companies and make sure they are aware of the move and transfer everything out of your name effective on the day of possession. 

    Once the loan is fully approved and the transaction fully funded, you have sold your home. The title company will record the real estate documents with the tax county for you, and the buyers will be able to move in as agreed upon in the contract. Congratulations!!! 

  • Week Seven – The Offer

    Of course, as a seller, you want to get the most money out of your home when you sell it as possible. But there is a lot more to offers that just the dollar amount. 

    It is important to review ALL aspects of an offer before signing it, regardless of whether you have just one on the table or ten. 

    So let’s talk about some other key components you should be reviewing in your offers.

    • ✔️ Reputable Lender. A offer well over asking may be amazing, but if the lender can get that loan to the closing table, then it is all for naught. Make sure the lender has a good reputation and can get the deal done within the specified time.
    • ✔️ Closing Date. Does this date fit your needs? Is it too lengthy? Not far enough out? 
    • ✔️ Reasonable Dates. Beyond just the closing date, you want to make sure the other dates are are reasonably short. Why, you may ask? If the buyer asks for an exceptional long inspection period and then decides at the final hour that the home inspection does not meet their expectations then you have wasted an awfully long amount of time off the market. You want to get it back on the market quickly if there is an issue.
    • ✔️ Contingencies. Does the buyer have to sell a home prior to purchasing yours? Any contingency like this puts an extra layer of risk in the deal. It happens quite often, but be aware.
    • ✔️ Concessions. Sometimes the buyer will ask for the seller to pay concessions at closing towards their closing costs. This will affect your bottom line.
  • Week Six – The Perfect Showing

    Once photos of your home is completed, marketing is prepared, and the sign is in the front yard, you are ready to put your home on the market! In addition to the MLS, you can ask your agent to make your listing available on syndication sites like Realtor.com and Zillow. 

    Showings will soon begin on your home. It is helpful to make yourself as flexible as possible for showings to accommodate potential buyers. Be sure to keep your home show ready as much as possible during this time period. It might even be wise to make plans to be away the first weekend if you anticipate it will be really busy. 

    You prepped your home for to get the best photos, and during showings you want to do your best to keep it that way. You want your buyers to feel at home and fall in love. So before you leave the house for a showing, take a few minutes to run through this checklist:

    Open All Windows & Turn On All the Lights. Walking into a dark, dimly lit home just doesn’t spark the same amount joy as walking into a light, bright one does.

    Put Away All Clutter. This includes the countertops, toys, and pet items. The cleaner the canvas the better buyers can imagine themselves there.

    Give It a Quick Clean. Wipe down the countertops and vacuum the floors the morning of, if possible.

    Check for Any Odors. Make sure the trash is taken out and the dirty laundry is put up. Avoid simply covering up the odor with air fresheners as some people can be sensitive to these.

    Set a Comfortable Temperature. A house that is too hot or too cold can create a bad showing experience for the buyer making them think negatively about your home.

    Create an Ambiance. Whether it is lighting the fireplace or turning on some music, make your home as welcoming as possible.

  • Week Five – A Photo-Worthy Home

    Photos will be the VERY FIRST impression that buyers will get of your home. Most everyone these days begins their home search online, browsing through photos. Between all the houses, they can start to blend together, so it stands to reason that you want the best photos possible that will stop them in their tracks.

    This starts with a great photographer, so it is key to make sure that your agent hires a professional to take the listing photos rather than using a mobile phone or personal camera.

    But your part is just as crucial, and that is preparing your home for photos. You don’t need to hire an interior design or get a stager involved (if you don’t want to), but you will want to be intentional about how you prep your home before photos.

    Use this checklist to help make your home HGTV photo-worthy!

    The Kitchen

    • Clear the countertops of all non-decorative items.
    • Remove all magnets, photos, and artwork from your refrigerator. 
    • Wipe down the sink, particularly stainless steel ones.

    The Bathrooms

    • Clear the countertops of all non-decorative items.
    • Remove all shampoos and soaps from the shower area.
    • Ensure all toilet seats are down and toilet paper is filled.

    The Living Areas

    • Remove any seasonal, religious, or political decor.
    • Remove all personal items and minimize family photos.
    • Ensure all toys are put away.

    The Yard

    • Make sure the grass is freshly cut and the landscaping is trimmed.
    • Put away flags, hoses, pool equipment, etc.
    • Ensure all pet waste is removed from the yard.

    Other

    • Turn on all lights, including lamps, and open all curtains.
    • Put away all pet items including food and water bowls.
    • Ensure no vehicle are parked in front of the house.
  • Week Four – Pricing Your Home

    When it comes time to sell your home, the pricing and preparation are just as important, if not more important, than the marketing itself. When it comes to pricing your home, your agent should do a thorough analysis of the comparables in your neighborhood to determine market value. It is important to price your home correctly right off the bat to avoid it sitting on the market. Homes priced too high tend to sit and eventually sell for a lower purchase price. 

    When preparing your analysis, an agent will look at similar homes in your area that have recently sold, are currently listed, or were withdrawn from the market without selling to determine what your home may sell for in today’s market.

    Your agent will likely use properties that have similar:

    • Size
    • Bedroom Count
    • Bathroom Count
    • Location
    • Style
    • Etc

    They will consider what makes your home unique from other properties including features, upgrades, location, etc as well as qualities that may make it less desirable when compared to other homes.

    All this information is used to properly price your home when listed. Pricing is key when listing, and we want to insure it is done well off the bat. Pricing your home too high could lead to extended time on the market and ultimately lower offers since buyers will begin to question if something is wrong with it.

    This is a crucial step as a well-priced home will attract more buyers and sell quicker.

  • Week Three – Preparing Your Home

    You’ve decided that it is time to sell. To make sure you get the most for your home and have a successful sale, it is imperative that you prep your home for the market. Before you schedule those photos and make your plan for that first week of showings, there are some things that you should take care of.

    Tackle Maintenance. Unless they are looking for a property to invest into, most buyers are looking for homes without problems. In fact, avoiding plumbing, electrical, and other maintenance problems is the number one reason those that buy new construction do so, and buyers, in my experience, tend to overestimate the cost of such maintenance issues. It also causes them to look at the home with even more of a magnifying glass thinking, “If they overlooked taking care of this, what else did they miss?”

    Have you neglected to change out any filters? Have a leak you’ve been putting off? Have caulk that is in dire need of a refresh? Take a weekend before you list your house and tackle some of these issues.

    Clean Up Landscaping. The front of your home is the first impression that buyers will get of your property, and you want to make it great. Weeds, leaves, and overgrown grass won’t send the message, “You have to buy this house!” So prior to listing, make sure you mow the grass, pick up any leaves or dead foliage, and spray some weed killer. 

    Power Wash or Paint the Front Door. Before they enter your home, buyers are going to get a minute or so just standing at the door while their agent opens the lockbox. They will have time to look around and size up the property. Make sure you have power washed all those cobwebs off and maybe even give the front door a new coat of paint.

    Declutter. You are planning on moving soon, so why not get to packing. The one thing all model homes have in common is that they are free from clutter. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves in your home, and they can’t do that if your stuff is everywhere. So minimize your closets and keep out only the clothes you need. Clear off the countertops of anything that isn’t strictly for decoration. Pack it all nicely in boxes and set it in your garage.

  • Week Two – How Much Will I Make?

    Outside of wondering how much their home is worth, the first question I usually get from sellers is, “How much money will I walk away with?”

    It is important in the planning stages to prepare a net sheet to review the costs associated with the sale and how they affect your bottom line. This will not give you an exact dollar amount as changes in purchase price, closing date, and any concessions will alter that final number, but it will give you a pretty good idea of what you will be walking away with. 

    In putting together your net sheet, you will want to consider these typical closing costs:

    Owner’s Title Insurance Policy. Title insurance protects the buyer from any issues arising from defects on title after they purchase the home. While it can be negotiated, this is typically paid for by the seller. 

    Tax Proration. The seller is responsible for the taxes while they lived in the home. Since taxes are usually paid once a year, this portion will typically be prorated and credited to the buyer at closing. The buyer will then be responsible for paying the full bill.

    Closing and Recording Fees. The Title Company or other closing entity will usually charge a fee to facilitate the closing of the transaction, and the state will charge recording fees for the sale documents.

    Real Estate Agent Commissions. In most cases, the seller will pay a commission to the listing agent. The listing agent will pay the buyer’s agent and their broker from that commission.

    While this is not an all encompassing list of fees you may pay at closing, this should get you a good idea of your net on the sale of your home.

  • Week One – Is It Time to Sell?

    “There’s never been a better time to sell!”

    “You should wait to see if prices keep going up…”

    “It’s a seller’s market!”

    “You should wait till spring…”

    If you have ever mentioned to ANYONE that you are thinking of selling your home, you have undoubtedly been met with plenty of advice – both positive and negative. And while there are many external forces like the housing market, interest rates, or the economy that can influence your decision, the only one that can truly answer if this is the right time to sell is YOU.

    As you are making the decision to sell, there are a few questions you should answer for yourself. 

    1. How much is your home worth? This is always the first step when you being to consider selling your home. Knowing the current market value of your home will help you make an informed decision. So skip the Zestimate and call a knowledgeable real estate agent to perform a valuation on your home.
    1. What is your current housing market like? While you may hear all about the U.S. housing market in the news, things can be vastly different from local market to local market. Are you in a seller’s market where your home will move quickly? Do you need to plan on extra time or repair funds for a buyer’s market? Talk with your real estate agent to understand exactly what to expect in your market.
    1. Will you be subject to capital gains? With the increase in home prices and values in the last two years, you may be sitting on huge chunk of equity in your home which is great for you. However, you may be subject to capital gains tax on the proceeds from your home. Generally, if you have lived in your home as your primary residence for 2 out of the last 5 years, you will not be taxed on the first $250,000 if you are single or $500,000 if you are married. Talk with your tax professional to find out how this may impact you.