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Timothy Woods

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Contract to Closing Know How

Selling your home can be exciting and stressful all at the same time.  Knowing what to expect along the way will help prepare yourself for success and ease many of your concerns.  While every transaction is different; here are a few steps to guide you along the way.



Choose A Realtor - Hiring the right professional to assist you will make all the difference.  Interview several agents and be prepared to spend at least an hour with each of them.  Give them a tour of your home and tell them about any updates you have made.  Have a list of questions handy so you can learn more about them.  Listen to any presentations they might have to become familiar with their marketing plan.  Never hire a Realtor solely because they suggest a high list price.  Instead, choose the Realtor who has the best marketing plan in order to sell your home for the best price and in the least amount of time.


Pricing it Right ­­- Price your home so that it is competitive with similar houses listed for sale in your area.  During the first days of the listing period is when the greatest activity occurs.  You want the best price possible, but not a market reject.  Overpricing may discourage prospective buyers from looking at your home.  Each situation is unique and requires a specific pricing strategy.  Also, you will want to review your pricing strategy with your Realtor every four to six weeks to make adjustments as needed.  If your house isn’t being shown then your home is more than likely priced too high.


Make Repairs - Now is the perfect time to fix that leaky faucet.  Addressing any issues before a buyer notices them could end up saving you money.  If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, a leaky faucet may only cost you a few dollars to repair.  However, when prospective buyers see even simple repairs needed, they often associate the cost of repairs at hundreds of dollars more.  Buyers may then reduce their offer or request you pay a licensed plumber to make the repair for them.  Be proactive and get those repairs out-of-the-way as soon as possible. 


Staging your home - Presenting a compelling message to prospective buyers will greatly improve your chances for success.  In most cases, this can be achieved with a little hard work and a modest amount of investment.  You’re planning to move, right?  So get started by packing up all your personal items not needed for day-to-day living.  Consider storing those items with a friend, family member or renting a storage facility.  Getting those items out-of-the-way will open up your home and make it look and feel larger.  Arrange furniture so that each room has a specific function and remove any furniture that doesn’t work well in the room.  Replace out dated light fixtures, add new window treatments and apply a fresh coat of paint to brighten up any room.  Clean floors, carpets, bathrooms and kitchens thoroughly. Spruce up your curb appeal by planting colorful flowers, adding fresh mulch and weeding those flower beds.  Trim up shrubs and trees to give your home a sharp new look.  It is important to make a good first impression. Spend the extra time to get your home ready to sell.   


Marketing Your Home - You’ve worked hard getting your home prepared to sell.  Now it’s time to get your message out in front of buyers by using the professional services of your Realtor.  A few of the services you should expect are:


Receiving an Offer - You received your first offer on your home, but is it a fair offer for you?  There are several terms and conditions you will need to consider when deciding whether or not to accept an offer, including:


Counteroffer - A real estate contract must be carefully choreographed so that all parties involved mutually agree to all terms and conditions.  This requires negotiating using a “Win-Win” technique, effectively leaving each party with a feeling that they have “won” in some way.  Accomplishing this can take several counter offers back and forth between seller and buyer and it is an essential part of creating a smooth transaction. 


Accepted Contract - You may smell a hint of victory in the air after you have successfully negotiated an accepted contract.  However, this is only about Twenty-Five percent of the journey.  The remaining Seventy-Five percent is getting to the closing table. 


Buyer’s Inspections - immediately following acceptance of the sales contract the inspection period for the buyer starts. The length of the inspection period is negotiated as part of the contract and can vary.  During this time period the buyer, at his or her own expense, may inspect the property for any material defects.  If a licensed inspector is used, with-in the same time period, the buyer may either accept the property in its as is condition, request repairs to be made by the seller or make the contract null and void.


Repairs - Hopefully you were able to repair any known issues prior to listing your home.  No need to worry if a few needed repairs slipped past you.  Once you receive a repair request from the buyer you will still have a couple of options.  You may complete the repairs as requested, give a credit to the buyer so they can repair them, negotiate to pay for a portion of the repairs or refuse to make any repairs at all.  The important thing to remember is that the cost of fixing the repairs is negotiable.  However, the buyer will have to agree to your response and decide if they wish to move forward with purchasing your home.


Appraisal Contingency - Next, the appraisal is ordered.  For the buyer to receive acceptable financing terms the house must appraise for the purchase price.  For a FHA or VA loan the appraiser will complete an additional inspection to verify the home meets FHA’s or VA’s guidelines.  If the appraiser requests any repairs to be made so the house meets FHA or VA guidelines, buyer and seller would negotiate who is responsible for the cost of the repairs.         


Financing Approval - once the appraisal contingency is removed the buyers loan application will move to underwriting for final approval.  Your Realtor will stay in close contact with the loan officer to insure everything is running smoothly and on schedule.   


Title Search - A title search will be preformed on your property to verify that the seller has a saleable interest in the property, determine what type of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land and whether any liens exist on the property.  Any liens found will need to be paid off at closing. 


Closing - On the day of closing you will need to bring a photo ID with you and you may want to show up a few minutes early to discuss any final issues with your Realtor.  If you would like to a read the documents you will be signing please ask for copies a day before, so you will have adequate time to review them prior to closing.  Your Realtor and closing attorney will be present to answer any questions you might have. 


Time of possession - When the buyer actually takes possession the property will vary depending on what was negotiated in the sales contract.  Possession may occur simultaneous with closing or be arranged prior to or after closing.


Selling your home may seem overwhelming at first glance.  However, with the right team of professionals in place you can and will be successful.

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