4 questions to ask yourself once you’ve decided to sell
Before anything else, it’s a good idea to clarify your motivations and draw up a basic timeframe for the selling process. Ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. Why do you want to sell?
Are you looking for a larger property, or do you plan on moving to another neighborhood, school district, city or state? You might think your reasons are obvious, but it’s smart to consider the implications to your lifestyle, opportunities and finances. Being clear about your intentions for selling will help us determine the most appropriate option for your goals.
2. What is my timeframe for selling?
If you need to sell quickly, we can speed up the process by giving you a complete market analysis and action plan to reach all of your goals. If there’s no pressing need to sell immediately, you can sit down with one of our expert real estate agents to thoroughly review the current market conditions and find the most favorable time to sell.
3. What is the market like?
When you work with us, you‘ll have our knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills helping you determine the best market prices and terms. We’ll keep you informed on what’s happening in the marketplace, including details on competing properties. With us, you’ll know exactly how to price and when to sell your property.
4. How do I optimize my finances?
Deciding to sell your property demands a serious consideration of your current financial situation and future possibilities. With the help of our qualified agents, you can effectively assess these changes, estimate potential proceeds from selling your property, and plan effective tax savings and estate planning strategies. We will ensure that you not only take control of your finances, but maximize them to their fullest potential.
Selecting the right agent and setting your price
Why choose us?
Sure, you could try to sell your property on your own. But if you want to maximize your opportunities in the current real estate market, your best choice is using the professionals at Domain Realty. With our extensive network of contacts that we’ve developed through professional organizations and past clients, we will employ the most effective marketing strategies for your property. We will also guide you through the complicated paperwork, from the initial agreement to final documents.
4 things you should look for in an agent
Keep these 4 things in mind when looking for a listing agent:
1. Education. The most important factor in choosing a real estate professional is their education in the real estate industry. Our professionals are among the top agents in the world with prestigious designations in the various fields of real estate.
2. Experience and expertise. You want a full-time agent who is familiar with your area and the type of property you intend to sell. Does the agent employ a diverse range of marketing strategies? How tech-savvy is your agent? How many similar properties has the agent sold in the past?
3. Availability and commitment. Your agent should be capable of prompt, decisive action while selling your property. Does your agent keep in touch with you regularly? Can you contact them easily in case of emergencies or even for simple questions? Is your agent available on weekends or evenings when most buyers are out looking?
4. Rapport. Does your agent take the time to listen to your goals and clarify your needs? Do they understand your unique situation and show genuine concern about the outcome? Your listing agent will be your guide and partner, so it is important to find one with whom you feel comfortable.
What is your property worth?
Without a professional agent, most independent property sellers tend to overestimate the value of their property. You can avoid this pitfall by consulting with an experienced real estate listing agent.
Prepare to sell
You can do a lot to increase the appeal of your property and create a lasting impact on potential buyers. Keep these 5 things in mind when listing your property for sale:
1. Curb appeal.
Keeping your landscape pristine and adding creative touches to your yard, like colorful annuals, will create an immediate impact on passers-by and potential buyers.
2. Property repairs.
Simple upgrades like window repairs, polished door knobs, and a fresh coat of paint will instantly brighten up your property.
3. Cleanliness and staging.
Keep your home uncluttered, sweet smelling and well lit from top to bottom. Pay attention to details — put away the kitty litter, place a vase of fresh flowers near the entryway, pop a batch of cinnamon rolls in the oven, have your carpets cleaned. Your agent will scan the property before listing and give you easy tips to improve the staging of your property.
4. Disclosures and inspections.
We are very familiar with the legal procedures involved in disclosures and are ready to help you develop a thorough disclosure statement beneficial to both you and the buyer, as well as suggest home improvement measures before placing your property on the market (such as termite and pest inspections).
Your agent will present your property to potential buyers. Buyers feel more comfortable viewing and discussing the property with the agent if you are not there. Moreover, your agent will know what information will be most useful in representing your interests when speaking with prospective buyers.
Accepting an Offer
The price is not always right.
“The higher the price, the better the offer.” Do not let yourself be fooled by this popular misconception. Price is not always the determining factor when accepting an offer for several important reasons: the initial offer is usually not final, and there are a number of terms and conditions that may influence the final outcome of a price. You can trust our professionals to help you thoroughly evaluate every proposal without compromising your marketing position.
Negotiating the right way
We take the responsibility of negotiating contractual terms very seriously. It is our job to find a win-win agreement that is beneficial to all parties involved. You may have to review multiple offers before ratifying the most suitable one for you – and as your agents, we guarantee a thorough and objective assessment of each offer to help you make the right choice.
The initial agreement and deposit
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller. Laws vary from state to state, but in order to be considered a legally binding agreement, it may require “consideration” — an initial and additional deposit held in the closing agent’s escrow account pending the fulfillment of conditions or contingencies listed in the effective agreement.
Keep these important tips in mind to help streamline the process:
- Keep written records of everything
For the sake of clarity, it will be extremely useful to transcribe all verbal agreements including counter-offers and addendums, and convert them to written agreements to be signed by both parties. We will assist you in drafting all the paperwork for your sale and make sure that you have copies of everything.
- Stick to the schedule
Now that you have chosen your offer, you and the buyer will be given a timeline to mark every stage in the process of closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations and avoids breach of the agreement. During the process we will keep you constantly updated so you will always be prepared for the next step.
Escrow Inspection and Appraisals
Inspection and appraisals
Most buyers will hire the services of a licensed property inspector prior to purchase. Some may wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors specializing in specific areas (e.g., roof, HVAC, structure). If the agreement is conditional upon financing, the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution via third party so the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. A buyer of a commercial property may also request a complete environmental audit and/or soil test if required by their lending institution.
The closing agent
Either a title company or an attorney will act as the closing agent, whose job is to examine and insure clear title to real estate. After researching the complete recorded history of your property, they will certify that 1) your title is free and clear of encumbrances (e.g., mortgages, leases, restrictions, liens) by the date of closing; and 2) all new encumbrances are duly included in the title.
A contingency is a condition that must be met before a contract becomes legally binding. For instance, a buyer will usually include a contingency stating that their contract is binding only when there is a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified inspector.
Before completing the purchase of your property, the buyer goes over every aspect of the property, as provided for by purchase agreements and any applicable addendums. These include:
- Obtaining financing and insurance;
- Reviewing all pertinent documents, such as preliminary title reports and disclosure documents; and
- Inspecting the property. The buyer has the right to determine the condition of your property by subjecting it to a wide range of inspections, such as roof, termite/pest, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, arborist, mold, lead based paint, HVAC, etc.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the closing; or
2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
How do you respond fairly to the buyer when a renegotiation is demanded, while still acting in your best interests? This is when a professional listing agent can make a real difference in the outcome of the transaction. Having dealt with various property sales in the past, we guarantee our expertise and total commitment to every customer, no matter what their situation may be.
Loan approval and appraisal
We suggest that you accept buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval, approval letter or written loan commitment, which is a better guarantee of loan approval than a pre-qualification or no documentation from a lending institution. Expect an appraiser from the lender’s company to review your property and verify that the sales price is appropriate.
Close of Escrow
If you’ve made it this far, it’s almost time for congratulations — but not quite yet! You still need to tie up these loose ends:
Final walk-through inspection
More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place the day before or the day of the closing. The buyer visits the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when the buyer last viewed the property, and that there are no extra items left behind.
Cancel home services and utilities
Remember to shut off your electricity, gas, water, cable, internet, etc. We’ll provide a list of useful numbers after closing.
Be prepared for anything
We’re ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up at this last stage. If something at the property breaks down or the buyers’ loan does not pull through on time, don’t panic. We’ve encountered these problems before and know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manner.
The closing agent will furnish all parties with a settlement statement, which summarizes the financial transactions taking place. The buyer(s) will sign this statement, then you will sign it, and finally the closing agent endorses it to certify the accuracy. If you can’t attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the advance notice. If you’re receiving funds from the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically to an account at your financial institution or have a check issued to you at closing. The seller should turn over all property keys and any other important information to the purchaser at closing.