Earlier this week we explored the real estate transaction from the perspective of the Buyer. We'll now dissect the entire real estate transaction from the perspective of the seller. Understanding the perspective on the other side of the bargaining table no doubt helps make for a more informed consumer.
Listing and Showings
After you have listed your home for sale and your listing agent has all the marketing and advertising in full swing, you will start having "showings". Be sure that all buyers are accompanied by licensed real estate agents. If a buyer calls you directly or knocks on your door, refer them to your listing agent. Do not ever let anyone in your home without a licensed agent accompanying them. Your listing agent will place a lockbox on your front door so the showing agents can access your house key.
Offers and Negotiating
Once a buyer decides that your home may be the one for them, they will write and submit an offer to your listing agent. Your listing agent will present the offer to you and help you navigate the negotiation process. The first and most important item on your agenda is to make sure the buyer is preapproved and financially qualified to purchase your home. Be sure your agent did an analysis for you and that you are aware of the home values for similar homes in your area. Negotiate the price based on these home values.
After the contract is signed and delivered to all parties, it becomes a fully executed contract. The contract allows the buyer a certain number of days to have home inspections performed. You'll have to make your home available for these inspections as there may be more than one. If the buyer's inspectors find major defects or safety hazards in your home, they will most likely ask that you repair, replace or remediate the issues. Be prepared to negotiate their requests. Your agent will guide you through this. In some areas, buyers and sellers have real estate attorneys. If you have an attorney, he will represent you through this legal process.
The buyer's mortgage company will hire an appraiser to perform an appraisal on your home. You will have to allow the appraiser access to your house and it typically doesn't take too long. It is best not to be home during the appraisal although often times agents are to answer questions. You personally, are not supposed to talk to the appraiser, as it may be misconstrued as you trying to sway him. The goal is for your home to appraise for at least the sales price on the contract. You are not privy to see the appraisal. The only time you will typically hear anything about the appraisal is if your home doesn't appraise. Then you may have to re-negotiate the price of the home with the buyer.
Waiting for the Buyers Full Approval and Clear to Close
It can sometimes be stressful while you are waiting for the buyer's full approval and notice of clear to close. Remember that many times, no news is good news.
Buyer's Final Walkthrough
Once the buyer's lender has given a clear to close notice, the closing date and time will be scheduled. You will need to have all of your belongings out of your home before closing. The buyer and the selling agent will do a final walkthrough right before closing. This is usually done the day before or the day of closing. You will also have to have the home cleaned, so be sure there is time for you to clean it or for you to hire a cleaning company to clean it before the final walkthrough.
Ask your agent where to leave your keys, garage door openers and any manuals you have for the appliances. It is in your best interest to sign in person at closing however some people opt to sign in advance. Keep in mind the seller's paperwork isn't near as cumbersome as the buyer's paperwork.
Your listing agent will guide you through the process of selling your home. He or she should be able to help you navigate it from listing date to closing date.