TIPS ON SELLING A HOME
Why are you moving?
The decision to sell your home is HUGE! You’ll want to be sure all in your household, at least the decision making adults, are in agreement and understand what to expect throughout the process. You might start by asking yourself WHY you’re thinking of selling. Some common reasons people sell are…
- Job Relocation
- Current home is too big
- Current home is too small
- Having a tough time keeping up with mortgage payments and/or expenses
- What’s your reason for selling?
Confidence in, and commitment to, your decision to sell your home is the foundation upon which you’ll make countless decisions as you navigate the home selling, and perhaps, home purchase process. Now that you’ve established WHY you want to sell, you’ll want to be sure you partner with the right Real Estate Professional to guide you through the process. Not all Realtors are created equal!
OK, I know I need to list with a Real Estate Professional, but who?
When considering Class-Harlan Real Estate, it’s of the utmost important you understand the different types of representation and what our brokerage firm will offer you.
Unlike many Pennsylvania brokerages who routinely practice Dual Agency (the same licensee represents both Buyer & Seller in the same transaction), we at Class-Harlan Real Estate believe every Buyer and every Seller is entitled to the exclusive representation that can only be provided them by their own designated Buyer or Seller Agent. For this reason Class-Harlan Real Estate practices Dual Agency WITH Designated Agency. Under Designated Agency, the company may represent both Buyer and Seller in a single transaction; however, the Buyer and Seller will be represented by separate licensees within the company. Therefore, as a matter of practice we do not represent both Buyer and Seller in the same transaction. *An exception to this policy can/may occur from time to time with the written agreement of all parties. Ask your agent for further explanation.
Our TEAM approach at Class-Harlan Real Estate means all Class-Harlan licensees make a continued and good faith effort to find buyers for all Class-Harlan listings. All Class-Harlan agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their individual clients, Seller or Buyer, to negotiate the best terms and conditions on their behalf.
You’ll want to consider interviewing several Realtors before deciding who you will list your home with. Consider jotting down a list of important questions to ask of each agent. For example:
- What’s their level of experience?
- Are they a full or part-time agent?
- What is their marketing plan for your home?
- What can you realistically expect as a final sale price?
- How will they keep you informed throughout the process?
Upon first or second meeting, your Class-Harlan Realtor will review the professional CMA (Competitive Market Analysis) they’ve prepared specifically for your home, discussing their marketing plan for your home, answering your questions and taking note of any specific needs or requests you may have. We welcome and value your input. After all, nobody knows your home like you do! Ideally your relationship with your Realtor should be a partnership, thus be sure to ask your Realtor what contribution you can make to assure the timely, successful sale of your home.
Finally, determine if you have a level of comfort, both personally and professionally, in the agent you choose to represent you in the sale of your most valuable possession! Once you’ve decided who to list your home with, don’t look back! Take immediate steps to prepare your home, and all in your household, for the real estate marketing process. Your agent will guide you.
What is the listing price going to be?
Determining the right asking price is crucial and should be based on market statistics (active/pending/sold comparable home sales), the location of the property and the condition of the property. The timely sale of your home will be dependent on the extensive marketing activities that will take place as set up by your Marketing Agent (Listing Broker) as well as a reasonable list price based on the previously mentioned factors.
Your Class-Harlan Realtor will carefully analyze your property, comparing it to your home’s competition (the active listings), and the comparables (pending and sold listings) within your local marketplace. We will take into consideration your home’s location as well as the assets and drawbacks your home offers a potential buyer.
Optionally, you have a right to order an appraisal before the property goes on the market. This may give you the most accurate current market value for your home. By doing all of the research prior to listing your home, you’ll know exactly what the value of your home is in today’s market as determined by a certified real estate appraiser.
How can I best prepare my home to market for sale?
Your agent will walk through your home with you and give you room by room suggestions of things you can do to make your home appeal to a potential Buyer. We can also recommend a home stager who will help you stage your home to highlight the best features of each room of your home!
Other than the obvious (thorough cleaning, wash all windows, fresh coat of paint inside or outside if needed, freshen up flower beds/landscape/gardens, clean out closets) please also consider the following:
- Minimize clutter
- Put away any personal photos and/or collectibles in the home so the Buyer is not distracted
- Make sure all light fixtures are working, have the brightest possible light bulbs in them and turn on all lights for EVERY showing day or night
- Remember “less is more”
- Provide a list of “home features” or “home highlights” for Buyers. Your agent should help you with this by creating memorable, detailed marketing materials for prospective Buyers
- Make sure you have a nice mailbox, seasonal flowers, freshly painted front door…curb appeal and first impressions are crucial
Making sure your home shows the absolute BEST it can from day #1 of the marketing period, is a huge factor in maximizing your final sale price. We call it “Pride of Ownership” and Buyers will notice from the moment they pull into your driveway!
How will my property be marketed?
We will share our complete marketing plan with you. Each one is custom for each property because EVERY property is different and requires a different approach. You can count on the basics:
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Print Advertising
- com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com and many, many Internet Sites
- Marketing through Social Media
- Events including, but not limited to Open Houses and Broker Opens
- Detailed promotional materials including, but not limited to: brochures, posters, post cards, flyers, presentation book, etc.
And much more!
Over 92% of real estate consumers go to the Internet first when searching for real estate. Your home will have a very strong presence on the Internet when marketed by the professionals at Class-Harlan Real Estate.
What happens when a Buyer submits an offer to purchase my home?
There are many important factors (terms) for you to consider when reviewing an offer to purchase your home:
- Offer price
- Date of Settlement/timing
- Down payment
- Financing arrangements, qualifications of Buyer
- Inspection contingencies
- Special Clauses
- Other contingencies
Once we receive an offer package from a qualified Buyer, your agent will review every aspect of the offer with you in detail. After reviewing the entire offer, you as Seller, have three options: Accept the offer, Counter the offer, or Reject the offer. We’ll guide you through this process which may involve negotiating, review of updated comparables and market statistics and perhaps discussions with outside vendors (lenders, inspectors, contractors, etc.)
Once we’ve accepted an offer, then what?
Most importantly, the clock begins ticking! Buyer and Seller have important time frames that must be met, per the Agreement of Sale (“time is of the essence clause”), and we’ll keep track of all of this for you. You’ll want to prepare a list of all of the things you must do before closing. Your agent can share a list of dates/deadlines with you. Buyer will be setting up inspections, applying for a mortgage, lining up appraisal, surveys, etc. This will involve you as you will have to make your home available and prepare it for inspections. It is best that you are not present for inspections.
If each procedure/contingency (i.e. inspection, appraisal, etc.) brings satisfactory results to the Buyer (as defined in the contract), then the sale may continue. If there are issues with the home revealed by the inspections, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. Depending on the contract, you or the Buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Your agent will guide you through this process.
OK, so Buyer’s contingencies have been met, now what?
Start packing and make plans for your move! We have some resources to assist you if necessary.
Maintain your property as you have all along. If there are repairs that need to be made as a result of the inspections and further negotiations, have them completed in a “workmanlike manner.” Pay those bills and keep all receipts! You’ll need to present them to the Buyer prior to or at closing.
Buyer may have a pre-settlement walk-thru a week to 10 days prior to closing and again 24-48 hours before closing to be sure the home is in the expected condition (as per the Agreement of sale). All items that are supposed to be there should be there. Any items that are not supposed to be there should be removed by the final walk-thru. The Pennsylvania Agreement of Sale states that the entire property should be “broom clean and free of debris.” Many Sellers have their home professionally cleaned which is a nice thing to do for your Buyer. The Buyer, in many situations, may be moving in the day of Settlement!
Remember to have the utilities taken out of your name and/or turned off effective the END of the day of Settlement. Buyer will have them turned on in their name effective the beginning of the day of Settlement.
There may be necessary documents for you to complete on or by certain dates. Stay on top of this. There are conveyancing activities to be done which we will take care of for you such as: Obtain mortgage and home equity loan pay-offs as well as payoffs for any other recorded liens, obtain HOA documents for transfer to buyer, obtain water/sewer and tax certifications, etc.
Settlement Day: What do I need?
As the Seller, you will need to be prepared to hand over any necessary documentation regarding the property including but not limited to: appliance warranties, paid receipts for work done, documents from the municipality, etc.
Bring two forms of I.D. (one photo i.d. is required), keys, checkbook (just in case), garage door “clickers,” any other pertinent documents (death certificates or Power of Attorney documents are sometimes needed). Your agent will discuss in more detail with you.
The Title Clerk conducts Settlement for both parties. There will be lots of paperwork for you to sign/initial and the Clerk will notarize everything. They will walk you through the process regarding your pay-offs, review the Closing Disclosure with you and make sure all appropriate documents are recorded at the Court House. They will give you your proceeds check! Wire of funds is available directly to your bank. Please let your agent know in advance if this is your preference. If you are not able to attend closing let your agent know at least two weeks in advance of closing. He/she can arrange for you to sign a “Sellers Package” prior to closing authorizing your agent to represent you at closing.
CONGRATULATIONS AND THANKS FOR CHOOSING CLASS-HARLAN REAL ESTATE!