by Christy Crouch
Covering all the bases up front with your potential selling clients can save a lot of headaches down the road. I’d like to share with you what I provide my clients in the hopes it will help provide you and your clients with a solid understanding of what to expect moving forward.
Selling A Home in Today’s Market
If you are selling a home in today’s market it’s important to go into the process with eyes wide open knowing exactly what to expect. So many things are changing very rapidly and the market is simply nothing like it once was, and probably won’t be for years to come.
Having been in the industry for over 23 years and involved in every aspect including resale, new construction, development, relocation, foreclosure, HUD, short sales, marketing, and management, I have come across almost ever scenario that can possibly arise.
My intention here is to educate you as much up front as possible about what to expect when selling a home. As we work together toward getting your home sold we will be walking you through all of this and ensuring that your best interests are protected. Our ultimate goal is to get the home sold as quickly as possible, for as much money as possible, and to make the process as stress free for you as possible.
As you read through this please make note of any questions that may come up so we can address them together. It is somewhat lengthy but again my goal is to educate you as much up front as possible so there are no surprises or unexpected headaches as you go through the process. Please do take the time to read this in its entirety.
Going on the market
When first meeting / interviewing make sure you’ve set aside ample uninterrupted time to sit down and discuss the possibility of selling your home. This is when you’ll discover exactly how your home compares to the current market, what price it will take to actually get it sold and approximately what your expenses will be. Here you will also learn what if anything can be done to have your home show as well as possible. Have your listening ears open so you hear all the details of what’s explained. This is one of your largest investments and you want to understand exactly what to expect. Make this appointment a priority.
Make sure you let us know exactly what you owe on the home including any 2nd mortgages and / or equity lines. We need to know what you owe so we can crunch numbers letting you know exactly what you can expect to walk away with. If you are behind on payments while it may not be an easy thing to discuss, you need to make sure we are aware of this because we can possibly help keep your home from going to foreclosure.
Let us know what your motivation and / or reasons for selling are. Realizing this can feel like private information if we know what your goals are, we are better able to help you achieve them. If you are looking to buy we can help ensure you have access to all homes that are for sale based on what you’re looking for, and look out for your best interests on the purchase side. If you are divorcing, we are in tune to dealing with this already challenging time and we can help make it as easy for both of you as possible. If you’re relocating, we can help get you in touch with the right agent in your new area to ensure you get the same excellent care there. If you’re looking to rent, we can get you in touch with folks that can help you find the right rental property as well. Remember, our goal is to help make the entire experience for you as stress free as possible.
Before your home goes on the market make sure it’s in the very best possible condition it can be, especially on the outside. More now than ever before buyers are riding by to see the outside prior to scheduling a time to see it. Make sure yours shines above the competition so they will choose yours as one they want to see. We will give you tips and ideas of things we think will help it show the best. As your home is on the market as hard as it can be, you want to maintain it in this condition all the way to the final closing.
Let us know up front how you prefer to communicate. There are so many ways today, and we want to make it as easy for you as possible. Is it email, text, phone, or mail? Whichever works best for you we will honor? While we’re marketing your home, don’t hide out in frustration. If you have questions, concerns, and /or comments please be sure to let us know so we can ease your mind and take excellent care of you.
Understand that in today’s market there are much fewer actual showings than there have been in the past. Because buyers are able to get online and see everything about your home including interior photos, the address and directions, it’s almost a two-step elimination process before they ever walk through the front door. First they see your home online and then in most cases they ride by to see the outside and location prior to scheduling an appointment to see your home. Be patient, while it may seem you aren’t having any activity, you actually are. This also means when you finally do have a showing, it’s much more quality showings than it was in years past where we as agents carried around the big MLS book deciding which homes we showed to buyers based on what we thought they wanted.
Be patient with the time it will take to sell your home. We are in one the most challenging housing markets many of us have ever experienced. It’s taking much longer to sell a home than ever before and it does take a lot of patience as a seller.
When you get feedback from the showings that take place, be open to hearing it. The agents are only trying to help and give honest opinions and information that will help to get the home sold.
Understand that we as your agent may never show your home. Obviously our goal is to get it sold as quickly as possible and we want to ensure maximum exposure to buyers in the marketplace not just those we’re working with. Now if we have a buyer that is pre-approved financially and looking for a home like yours, we’re certainly going to show it. If we sell it ourselves we make twice the money so that would be great for us. Fortunately, due to the nature of the business in many cases there are two agents involved one representing the seller and one representing the buyer. With over 1,000 active Realtors across the Valley, other agents and companies will be showing your home way more often than we will. Our job is to actively and aggressively market your home to buyers direct as well as to other agents.
Getting an offer
Be prepared for the possibility of a low ball offer. Being a buyer’s market, buyers are looking for where they can get the best deal. You’re in competition with thousands of homes many distressed sales, all of which impact what a buyer is willing to offer. This doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Try not to be offended and to put yourselves in the buyer’s shoes. Try to appreciate the fact that you got an offer and allow us to help you determine what would be an ideal figure to counter back to them with. Whenever possible we suggest making a counter offer because most buyers are just feeling out the situation. Now if their initial offer is just way out of the ballpark we generally recommend that they come back with something a bit more reasonable if they really want the home and this will help weed through the serious buyers and the bottom feeders looking for a steal.
Be prepared for the back and forth negotiation game and try to be patient, it’s just part of selling a house right now. Be prepared for many buyers to ask for closing costs assistance. Understand that whether you lower the price or pay the buyer’s closing costs, in the end the number for you is almost the same.
Decide ahead of time what your absolute bottom line is, so when you get an offer you are prepared for where you can, and are willing to go.
Understand that the first offer is generally the best offer. We recommend that you do whatever possible to get the first offer worked out. We’ve seen it happen time and again where sellers turn down the first offer for many reasons and then months down the road are kicking themselves wishing they had taken that first offer. The longer a home is on the market, the harder it is to sell.
Once the offer is accepted, the closing process
The first step that will take place after the contract has been signed by all parties if applicable is the home and radon inspection. The buyer generally pays for this and the inspector will come through and inspect everything including plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical, the roof, the structure, etc. This is not to make the home a brand new home for the buyer but to ensure everything is in safe, operating, structurally sound condition. Once the inspection is performed the inspector will write up the formal report get it to the buyer’s agent, and then the agent and the buyer will determine what if any repairs they will ask you to make. There will be a removal of contingency listing the items in need of repairs.
This is another negotiating process between you and the buyer. Once the repairs are agreed upon they must be done by a licensed contractor prior to closing with receipts provided prior to the final walk through. As small as the repair may seem unless the buyer agrees in writing they must be done by a licensed contractor. The inspection and repair process can be very frustrating as a seller as you feel you’ve already given in many cases, you live in the home and feel you know what shape it’s in and then here comes laundry list of things you have to fix at your expense. Try to be with this process because it’s just how it is no matter who the buyer is. Keep in mind if it falls through as a result of the home or radon inspection you are now legally obligated to either fix or disclose any issues to any future prospective buyers. Whenever possible, it’s best to work this situation out.
Next will be the buyer’s loan process. I can tell you from experience; it’s not approved until it’s formally reviewed by the underwriter. Even though buyers come with a pre-approval letter, this does not guarantee their loan has been formally approved that’s why it’s called a PRE approval or PRE qualification letter. The lender has to gather the entire buyer’s financials and have a formal appraisal of your home before the loan can be submitted for approval. The home in most cases will have to appraise for the sales price. If it doesn’t there are three options, the contract is declared null and void, you come down to the appraised value, or the buyer pays the difference. This will be another negotiating process at the time. The appraiser may also require repairs to be made that even the inspector didn’t recommend. If the appraiser requires repairs they must be done or the loan will not close. They will actually have to personally come back to the property to reinspect and make sure it was done to their satisfaction. Appraisers and lenders are stricter now days than they’ve ever been before and it’s a much more complicated process. Be prepared for these possibilities.
There are some customary seller required inspections, a termite, well and septic if applicable. These inspections are generally paid for by the seller and must be done within 30 days of the closing. If there are any issues that come up or treatment that is required this must be done prior to closing.
Once all the inspections and appraisal is done it’s still your property until the final closing. This means you have to continue to maintain it in its present condition. Although the buyer has already done inspections they will do a final walk through prior to closing. This is to ensure that any repairs were done and that the home is still in the same condition as when they bought it. If anything is different it will be your responsibility as the seller to repair it prior to closing. The home must be delivered to the buyer in good, safe, operating, structurally sound condition. It also must be in broom clean condition. I always say to leave the home in the condition in which you would want to find it if you were the buyer.
You must maintain all utilities and insurance on and in your name until the final closing.
This obviously doesn’t cover every scenario that can arise but gives a good idea of what to expect when selling in today’s market.
I hope this is helpful for your business.
For home inspection services in the Seattle area, look to Property Inspector, LLC. Call Or Text (425) 985-3289 for immediate service. Click here to take advantage of our online scheduling for your convenience.
Call Or Text (425) 985-3289 to get the most comprehensive home inspection in the Seattle area. Property Inspector, LLC has been perfecting the art of Home Inspection since 2001. The industry has continued to evolve with new standards and more advanced technology to confirm the condition of the home. But one thing has remained consistent: our dedication to providing the best Home Inspection solutions.