Our job as your realtor® is to support you in selling your home with the best possible terms, and to aid you through the entire process.
We will explain the process of selling a home, and familiarize you with the various activities, documents and procedures that you will experience throughout the transaction.
Getting Your Home Ready For Sale
As the market slows, more homes will linger on the market and buyers will have more choices. It has never been more imperative that sellers take extra care to make their house as appealing as possible to buyers.
How much should you spend?
In preparing your home for the market, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck possible. Buyers might be impressed by a much-needed new roof, but they won’t even notice it if the front yard is hopelessly overgrown and a shutter is hanging askew, and they aren’t going to pay a higher price simply because your house has a new roof. “Polishes” and “touch ups” are what you want, not extensive and costly renovations. As an experienced real estate agent, I understand buyer expectations in our local area, and I can advise you specifically on which improvements need to be made and which improvements will get you the highest return on your investment. I can also recommend the best professionals to help you get those improvements done.
Maximizing your house’s exterior and curb appeal
As the old adage goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Nowhere is this more true than with home sales. Strong curb appeal can go a long way toward making up for other shortcomings. And don’t forget the backyard, too. A well-manicured front yard and a neglected back yard will make buyers wonder where else you are cutting corners.
To enhance your house’s exterior and curb appeal, check the following and repair as necessary:
Have to lawn edged, cut short and watered, and make arrangements to have this done again on a weekly basis while the house is on the market
The same goes for trimming the hedges, weeding the lawn, weeding the flowerbeds and pruning the trees – in front of the house AND behind
Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling
Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
Clean and align gutters
Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles
Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking
Make arrangements to have somebody clearing walks of snow and ice as needed
Re-seal an asphalt driveway
Close your garage door and keep it closed
Remove boats, RV’s and unused cars from the property
Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and new hardware, if necessary.
Maximizing your house’s interior
Now that you have made a favorable impression on potential buyers with your beautiful curb appeal, don’t disappoint with the interior. A few simple “touches” and “polishes” will again translate into favorable impressions and higher offers. To enhance your house’s interior, check the following and make changes as indicated:
Thoroughly clean every room in every nook and cranny, and remove all clutter, including excess children’s toys
Make arrangements to have a professional cleaning service come in every 1-2 weeks while the house is on the market
Items you rarely use, but intend to keep, should be packed up and moved offsite
Mend cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement
Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles
Consider painting dingy, soiled or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as beige or off-white. Paint the ceiling and trim white for a sharp and clean contrast. Neutral colors make rooms appear larger and help prospective buyers picture their own belongings in your house. The same strategy should be applied to floor coverings that you replace
Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork
Inspect and repair your plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems
Repair dripping faucets and showerheads
Buy and display showy, new towels in the bathroom(s) and kitchen
If your kitchen needs major updating, give it a lift with new cabinet hardware, new curtains and/or a coat of neutral paint.
Open House Checklist
Holding your house “open” is an excellent opportunity for potential buyers and/or their friends and family to view or re-view your house.
Because word of mouth can be an excellent resource for getting a house sold, it is important that we work together to put your house’s “best foot forward.” The following checklist will help us do just that.
Review everything you did to get your house’s exterior ready for sale and update as necessary
Remove all cars from the driveway
Make sure windows are clean and sparkling
Stow all garbage cans and visible pet supplies.
Review everything you did to get your house’s interior ready for sale and update as necessary
Make arrangements to board pets away for the day
Tidy closets and kitchen cupboards
Discard as many outdated items in the refrigerator as possible
Secure all prescription medicines
Clear all surfaces of everything but a few, simple decorative items
Have professional cleaners in the morning of the open house
Open all window shades and, weather-permitting, open windows
Replace all burnt-out and low wattage light bulbs with high-wattage bulbs.
Escrow is the process where a neutral, third party is hired to gather all the information needed by the parties to close the transaction, including receiving funds and documents, completing and filing required forms and obtaining release documents for any loans or liens that are paid off as part of the transaction.
Typical documentation collected by the escrow agent/holder includes:
Fire and other insurance policies
Title insurance policies
Documentation related to seller-financing
Requests for services to be paid out of escrow funds.
Upon completion of all escrow instructions, the closing can take place. All outstanding payments and fees are collected and paid, and title to the property is transferred and the title insurance issues, as dictated by the escrow instructions.
An Escrow Agent/Holder does the following:
Prepares escrow instructions
Requests a title search
Complies with lender instructions specified in the escrow agreement
Receives funds from the buyer
Prorates insurance, tax, interest and other payments according to instructions
Records deeds and other documents as instructed
Requests the title insurance policy
Closes escrow when all instructions of the seller and buyer have been met
Disburses funds and finalizes instructions.
An Escrow Agent/Holder does NOT do the following:
Give advice to either party – the escrow agent is a neutral, third party
Offer opinions about tax implications.
Understanding Closing Costs
There are certain standard costs associated with closing the sale of a house. These fees are split between the buyer and seller, as spelled out in the purchase contract. The cost split on these fees is, to an extent, negotiable. As I negotiate the purchase contract on your behalf, I will strive to achieve not only the selling price that you want, but to also limit the number and amount of closing costs for which you are responsible.
Good Faith Estimate
Buyers will receive a “Good Faith Estimate” of closing costs at the time the loan application is submitted to the lender. The estimate is based on the loan officer’s past experience and may not include all the closing costs. I am happy to review the Good Faith Estimate and provide comment based on my experience.
Standard Closing Costs
Loan origination fee
Points (if applicable)
Prorated property taxes
Flood or earthquake insurance
Private mortgage insurance (“PMI”)