You Hired a REALTOR, Now What?
If you’ve never sold a home before, or just not recently, you may not know how the process works. Here's an overview of what you have to look forward to once you’ve hired a Realtor.
First you should find the relevant documents your agent may need. Click link for list of documents.
Next, choose a title company so your agent can get them started on the title work. It's best to do that before you have a contract just in case anything comes up that needs to get resolved. Clink link for more info.
You’ll need to take care of any updates, repairs or decluttering at this point so your agent can schedule the photographer before your property can be listed on the MLS. Many sellers find renting a POD can be helpful to remove excess items.
Now your agent will start marketing your property and start to get showing requests. Discuss how you want to handle showings with your agent. Discuss the feedback from showings with your agent to understand how buyers are feeling about your property and see if there’s anything you can tweak to improve how it shows. If you don’t get many showings or offers, you may need to adjust the asking price. Clink link for pricing information.
When a buyer makes an offer, your agent will get it as a contract. They should present the offer to you and explain the details, so you know how to respond and what you are agreeing to. If you get multiple offers, your agent can advise you of your options.
Once you get under contract with a buyer (everyone has agreed to all terms and signed the contract and addenda and any changes), you can’t cancel that contract if you get a better offer. You can, however, accept backup offers and continue to show the property in case the contract you have does not close.
At this point most of the work is on the buyer. They will schedule home inspections and may ask for you to do repairs or give them a credit. All of this is negotiable. How long they have to do inspections depends on the contract. Whether you have to do repairs and if the buyer can cancel the deal also depends on the contract. Click link for more info on home inspections.
When repairs/credits have been agreed upon, the buyer or their lender will order an appraisal. If the property appraises for more than the contract price, nothing happens. If it appraises for less, you again will have to make decisions based on the deal and the buyers’ request. They may want you to reduce the contract price to the appraised value or your agent may be able to negotiate something in the middle.
Now you're in the home stretch. The only hurdle left is the buyers’ loan if they aren't paying cash. Normally by this point most buyers get approved for their loan. You may need to extend the closing date if issues come up and the lender needs more time.
Prior to closing you will need to have all your belongings out of the house and clean it. You will also need to schedule to have your utilities turned off the day after closing.
You can usually sign the closing documents with the title company a few days early if that’s easier for you. There is no need to be at the closing at the same time the buyer signs. Actually, that doesn’t happen very often any longer. The title company will need to know if you want a check for your proceeds or they will need wiring information for your bank. They will also need you to have an ID when you sign. Once the buyer signs everything, you have to wait for their lender to release the funds if they aren't paying cash. That usually only takes 15 minutes to an hour but can take longer on occasion. When the lender funds the transaction, the title company will release your proceeds and the deal is done.
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