Seller Know How

Whether you are a selling your first home or sell real estate often, choosing the right company for real estate closing and title services is critical to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. Title Resources offers the insight and expert guidance to help you maximize and protect your investment.

You have spent time and energy making a home, however during the selling process, the first step in getting your home ready to sell is to de-personalize it and stage it to appeal to potential buyers. This allows them to see themselves in the space and gives them a blank canvas to plan how they see their home.

This includes removing family items such as photos, collectibles, knick-knacks, etc. that tell your story. You can store these personal affects neatly in a closet within our home or in air-conditioned storage off-site.

Other projects to tackle include removing the clutter and assessing your curb appeal. When you de-clutter, take some time to open every door and cupboard⁠—just like a potential buyer⁠—and asses how what needs to be gotten rid of. Getting rid of some items you have accumulated over the years is a win-win, allowing buyers to see the space and make it look larger and it’s less for you to move once the sale is final.

De-clutter can also include a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling, carpet cleaning, window washing and odor control. Bottom line, make your home inviting but keep the less is more motto in the back of your mind at all time.

To assess curb appeal, take a walk across the street and look at your property. Look at the homes nearby and see how they compare to yours. This includes landscaping, exterior paint, trim, front door and entryway decor and the back yard. Also, make sure the lock(s) work easily and the key(s) fit property.

Every seller wants top dollar for their home. It’s natural to think this way. However, setting the right price on your home involves a combination of objective evaluation of your property with a realistic assessment of market conditions.

Comparables don’t lie. It’s a true snapshot of the market. This includes homes that are close in age, size, condition and location. Study these numbers and set a realistic price. Under pricing can deprive you of money that is rightfully yours but be cautious of overpricing your property.

Finally, get an appraisal. Appraisal opinions are subject to honest dispute. Hire an experienced, licensed professional to obtain an objective evaluation so you can determine a fair price.

Now that your home is staged and has curb appeal, make sure your home is always available to be shown, even if it is an inconvenience to you. Typically, if you are working with a real estate agent, they will suggest a lock box and most agents will call and try to give you a couple hours’ notice before a showing, but things come up and you should be prepared.

It’s best practice to leave your home during a showing. Potential buyers may feel like intruders if you are still in the home when they arrive. Visit a local coffee shop or take the kids to the park.

Other ways to stage your showings including lighting, pet control and organization. Turn on all indoor and outdoor lights, even during the day. At night, a lit house gives a warm, inviting impression when viewed from the street. During the daytime, turning on the lights prevents harsh shadows from sunlight and it brightens up any dim areas. Your house will look more receptive to buyers.

If you have pets, make sure a notice with your listing in the multiple listing service. If you know a potential buyer is coming, taking your pets with you during the showing. If that isn’t possible, keep the four-legged friends in a penned area in the back yard. Try to keep indoor cats in a specific room and put a tasteful sign on the door. Most of the time, an indoor cat will hide when buyers come to view your property.

Do a walk through and clean up the clutter. Put toys, mail, etc. away so the home looks clean. Finally, empty the trash. Having an empty trash with no odors allows your house to smell clean and keeps germs from building up.

The offer is in! Maybe you have multiple offers. Whatever the situation, when negotiating a contract keep in mind some key elements for a smooth transaction.

Don’t use price alone to negotiate. Be realistic and objective if an offer is low. It’s just a starting place. And remember, a first offer may reveal what’s most important⁠—price or terms⁠—to this particular buyer, giving you the key to begin bargaining.

Most buyers will ask for a home inspection. It’s important to include all mandatory and voluntary disclosure statements concerning the property’s condition such as known defects. Be careful what you put in writing and guarantee. You cannot be sure the roof won’t leak or  the heating system won’t go out. Once the property is sold, you are no longer responsible for it.

Be responsive and meat the deadline the offer states but you don’t have to respond right away. Other offers may come in during that time period and you’ll want to buy time to review them and perhaps use one offer to increase another.

If you have another home under contract, ask for a settlement date that will enable you to take your sales profits to the next closing. Be realistic⁠—the buyer of your home probably will need at least 30 to 50 days to arrange financing and close.

The day has arrived, and you are ready to sign! Being that you are seller, your job is easier than the buyer. But to avoid any hickups at closing it’s important to be aware of some details.

Be aware if the buyer is having trouble getting their financing in line with the terms specified in the contract. If they are turned down, it could jeopardize the whole deal and your house could be put back on the market. A day or so before closing, make sure all the necessary papers and documents have been gathered and are in the hands of the right parties.

Make sure all parties who are present at closing are informed of any changes in the date, time or place. Make sure someone is communicating this a week before closing and then again a day before so there is no confusion.

Everyone named on the deed under which you hold title must sign the new deed by which you grant title.

Know when and how you will be paid.

If you are buying another property, consider having both closings at the same office scheduled back-to-back. That way, the timing of the disbursement is not a problem.