There are a number of
steps to selling any house.. Experience has
taught me that every home sale is unique. Yet every sale shares a common
process. For specific answers
to your specific situation, I’ll be happy to assist you. After all, I
want you to get the best selling price in the shortest time.
Putting House on Market
A Little Homework
There's No Place Like Home
Demand Sets Price
Sample NET SHEET
What is a Point?
Property Profile Folder
Questions and Answers
Putting Your House On The Market
The first step toward putting your house up
for sale is to meet with a real estate agent at your home. What we call
the "listing appointment." But beforehand, it's important to understand
"who's who" and how brokers may cooperate to sell your house.
Listing Broker or Listing Agent
An individual real estate broker whom the
seller hires to represent the seller through a contract called a
"listing agreement". The listing agent is associated with the listing
broker. The listing broker is directly paid the listing commission and
then splits the commission with the listing agent. (Although the broker
and agent may be two different individuals, the term "broker" is used
throughout the Guide for simplicity.)
Selling Broker or Selling Agent
In a "cooperative" sale, the house is listed
by one broker and a buyer is provided by another broker. The selling
broker receives the selling side of the commission. If the listing
broker also produces the buyer, then the listing broker receives both
listing and selling sides of the commission. A selling broker may have a
signed buyer representation agreement with a buyer and, therefore,
represent the buyer and not the seller. If the buyer's agent is a Long &
Foster agent, Long & Foster becomes a disclosed dual agent with the
consent of both buyer and seller.
Before the listing appointment both the home
seller and the listing broker are busy While the home seller collects a
list of documents requested by the broker, the listing broker studies
recent neighborhood sales of homes comparable to yours, and also
comparable homes currently for sale.
There's No Place Like Home
At the listing appointment, the listing
broker will want to inspect the house and yard to become familiar with
its special features.
You have probably enjoyed living in your home
and have been pleased with its many unique features. Your listing broker
will want to tell prospective buyers about the special features of your
home and neighborhood. Be ready to be specific about schools, day-care,
nearby Metro, and other desirable community features, as well as home
features not readily apparent.
Remember, prospective buyers will be
"comparison shopping" and keenly aware of subtle differences in houses
for sale in the area. Be sure to tell your listing broker why yours is
special--from any home remodeling to afternoon winter sunshine.
Demands Sets Price
After conferring with the listing broker on
market conditions, comparable nearby sales and listings, and available
financing, the home seller will set the listing or "asking" price for
A common definition of market value is: "What
a ready, willing and able buyer will pay, at a price a seller will
accept." Metropolitan area buyers are sophisticated. They've already
been shopping, and when they see your home they'll be comparing features
There's a rule of thumb that says: "A house
priced more than 5% over market value discourages offers." Buyers who
can afford the price can get "more house" for their money elsewhere.
Buyers who cannot afford the price simply won't look. This is why we
say, "A house priced right is half sold."
A fair market value will be determined by
comparing the property with similar properties which have recently sold
and (in some cases) with similar properties currently on the market.
Experience in the industry has proven this "market analysis" approach is
more accurate than the "replacement cost" or "potential rental income"
Sample NET SHEET
Based on this sales price, the listing broker
will go through a worksheet that estimates the "net cash" from the sale.
Simply, this exercise subtracts anticipated charges paid by the seller
from the sales price. A copy of the "net sheet" is left with the home
seller. (An itemized list of typical selling costs is presented in the
"Settlement" chapter, which is the stage when these charges are paid.)
No sale can be completed without financing.
That is why it is generally to the home seller's advantage to appeal to
the greatest number of home buyers by accepting the greatest range of
financing plans. The listing broker will explain the basic differences
between VA (Veterans Administration), FHA (Federal Housing
Administration) and conventional financing, as well as explain "discount
is a Point?
A point is one percent of the amount of the
buyer's mortgage loan. For example, if a loan is $100,000, one point is
$1,000. Lenders charge points to increase the yield on their loans. On
all loans, home buyer and home seller may share the charges by mutual
Property Profile Folder
To enable the listing broker to prepare a
folder of information on the property, the home seller needs to provide
a number of documents and information specific to the location and
jurisdiction. (This Property Profile is often left in the home for the
convenience of prospective selling brokers.) Because the list is long,
you can understand why it's best to collect the papers before the
listing appointment. These materials may include:
A letter signed by the home seller and mailed
to the lender by the listing broker to notify the lender of the
intention to pay off the mortgage in order to minimize prepayment of
interest penalties to the seller (Home seller should provide the broker
with the lender's address, loan balance,
assumability, years remaining on present mortgage,
P.I.T.I. and the interest rate, if possible.)
Well and Septic Inspection
If property is on septic/well, current
inspections by local health authorities are required while home is
occupied. Listing broker will usually arrange after contract is
Order Lender Appraisal
Lenders usually require an appraisal to
assure that the property is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisal
may be ordered before (paid by seller), but is more often done after an
"offer to purchase" is accepted (paid by buyer).
Listing broker will ask home seller if any
tax assessments or easements exist on property that must be paid or
included in purchase contract and passed with the land when sold.
Property Taxes/Condominium Fees
Home seller provides record of property tax
or condominium fee payments which buyer will reimburse a pro-rata share
to home seller at settlement.
VA/FHA and most lenders of new mortgages
require a termite inspection certificate that shows house is free of
infestation. If home seller does not have a current certificate, then
listing or selling broker (depending on area) will arrange inspection at
home seller's expense. Sometimes a home inspection and radon testing
will be ordered. Home seller should also provide all information as to
the physical condition of the property, such as the presence of fire
Home seller should provide record of past 12
months utility bills, including gas, electric, sewer, water, and trash
where applicable. Most buyers will want to know history of utility
If possible, home seller should provide
listing broker with deed, house location survey, condominium bylaws or
home owners association documents, subdivision plat map, house floor
plan, previous title search abstracts, legal description of property
(subdivision, section and lot), home warranties on major systems, if
still in effect, and copy of home owners insurance policy for
endorsement in purchase contract.
In anticipation of a buyer's offer, the home
seller must be ready to supply listing broker with a specific list of
the personal property that is included in the real estate property for
sale. Examples of items to "convey" may include: draperies, drapery
rods, remaining heating oil, firewood, washer, dryer, refrigerator,
stove, microwave, disposal, swimming pool chemicals, awnings, storm
doors and windows, screens, Venetian blinds,
shutters, window air conditioner, etc. Home seller should tag or remove
items which do not convey.
When the home seller is ready to put the
house on the market, the listing agreement is filled out indicating a
specific period of time the agreement is in effect ("listing period"),
and signed by the seller You've now hired a listing broker and listing
Questions and Answers
What is a "Lockbox"?
A lockbox is a universal metal container for your house key that is hung
on the front door and can only be opened by a special key carried by
licensed sales agents. It provides access when the owner is away, thus
assuring full exposure to prospective buyers.
Do certain geographical areas have
unique home selling
Yes. Home selling requirements vary from county to county. Investigate
special taxes or other requirements applicable to the area in which you