Sellers Guide

Sellers Guide


USING AN AGENT TO SELL YOUR HOME

sellertips_page02Your home may be your single biggest investment and one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make.Your home may be your single biggest investment and one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make.When selling, you want the best price and most favorable terms. There are a myriad of marketing options, legalities and details that go into a sale, from the time you set the price to closing.

When we market your property, you benefit by receiving our customed approach, tailored just for you. We assist you in all aspects of marketing, from preparing your house to sell to advertising.

PREPARING YOUR HOUSE FOR SALE

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When selling, you want the best price and most favorable terms.

There are a myriad of marketing options and details that go into a sale, from the time you set the price to closing.

When marketing your property, if it is properly prepared for showing an interested buyer, it will bring the best price, terms…and ultimately sell in the shortest time frame.

HELPFUL TIPS FOR PREPARING OR STAGING INCLUDE:
  • Remove clutter from the yard
  • Cut and edge grass
  • Trim hedges and weed gardens
  • Paint, fix or wash railings, steps, storm windows, screens and doors
  • Clean gutters
  • Wash windows
  • Straighten up garage
  • Paint, wash and fix garage doors and windows
  • Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs
  • Repair faulty light switch
  • Remove clutter
  • Oil door hinges, tighten door knobs
  • Carpet professionally cleaned or replaced if in poor condition
  • Give home a through cleaning

SHOWING YOUR HOME

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Once your home is ready to show, we will begin marketing it to potential buyers and other sales associates. If possible, leave the home when buyers are present so they feel comfortable asking their agent candid questions.

Other helpful tips include:

  • Remove pets. Take them with you or keep them penned in the yard or garage.
  • Open shades and curtains to let in light.
  • Turn on enough lights so the home is well-lit.
  • Remove clutter from tables and bookshelves. Neatness makes rooms seem larger.
  • Put away items in the yard such as garden tools, bicycles and toys.
  • Light a fire in the fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere.
  • Grind up part of a lemon in the disposal to add a fresh smell to the kitchen.
  • Keep radios and TVs off, or on low volume.
  • Keep money and other valuables, as well as prescription drugs, out of sight.

PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT

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Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, together we’ll complete a purchase and sale agreement. This is the contract in which you and the seller outline the details of the property transfer. The purchase and sale agreement usually consists of the following:

  • Earnest money receipt
  • Financing addendum
  • Inspection addendum
  • Conditions/disclosure addendum
  • Contingency addendum–when appropriate
  • Addendum outlining special conditions
  • Lead-based paint notification–when appropriate
  • In selected areas, the following forms will also be part of your agreement: “Agency disclosure” and “Property disclosure form completed by the property seller”

In many areas, the following forms will also be a required part of your agreement:

  • Agency disclosure
  • Property disclosure form completed by the property seller

THE CHEMISTRY OF ESCROW

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HOME INSPECTIONS

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When you’re ready to complete a purchase and sale agreement on a home, your offer will generally be contingent on a professional inspection of the entire property, including improvements. The home inspector looks beyond the cosmetics to make sure that the home’s general systems operate properly. The inspector will also look for large repairs that are needed and report on the condition of the home.

The standard home inspector’s report will review the conditions of the home’s heating and cooling system, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation, basement and visible structure. The inspector will also look for cracks in cement walls, water stains that indicate leakage and any indication of wood rot.

A home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape.

As your agent, I’m familiar with home inspection services and can provide you with a list of names from which to choose. Another good source for finding a home inspector is to ask a friend, or perhaps a business acquaintance, who has had a home inspection and can recommend a home inspector they were satisfied with.

Remember, no home is perfect. If problems are found, I will help you negotiate through the process.

MOVING TIPS (part 1 of 2)

SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS BEFORE:

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  • Use up things that may be difficult to move, such as frozen food.
  • Get estimates from professional movers or from truck rental companies if you are moving yourself.
  • Once you’ve selected a mover, discuss insurance, packing, loading and delivery, and the claims procedure.
  • Sort through your possessions. Decide what you want to keep, what you want to sell and what you wish to donate to charity.
  • Record serial numbers on electronic equipment, take photos (or video) of all your belongings and create an inventory list.
  • Change your utilities, including phone, power and water, from your old address to your new address.
  • Obtain a change of address packet from the post office and send to creditors, magazine subscription offices and catalog vendors.
  • Discuss tax-deductible moving expenses with your accountant and begin keeping accurate records.

TWO TO FOUR WEEKS BEFORE:

  • If you’re moving to a new community, contact the Chamber of Commerce and school district and request information about services.
  • Make reservations with airlines, hotels and car rental agencies, if needed.
  • If you are moving yourself, use your inventory list to determine how many boxes you will need.
  • Begin packing nonessential items.
  • Arrange for storage, if needed.
  • If you have items you don’t want to pack and move, hold a yard sale.
  • Get car license, registration and insurance in order.
  • Transfer your bank accounts to new branch locations. Cancel any direct deposit or automatic payments from your accounts if changing banks.
  • Make special arrangements to move pets, and consult your veterinarian about ways to make travel comfortable for them.
  • Have your car checked and serviced for the trip.
  • Collect items from safe-deposit box.

MOVING TIPS (part 2 of 2)

ONE WEEK BEFORE:

  • Talk to your pharmacist about transferring important medical prescriptions.
  • Arrange for a babysitter on moving day.
  • Return library books and DVDs.

TWO TO THREE DAYS PRIOR:

  • Defrost your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Have movers pack your belongings.
  • Label each box with the contents and the room where you want it to be delivered.
  • Arrange to have payment ready for moving company.
  • Set aside legal documents and valuables that you do not want packed.
  • Pack clothing and toiletries, along with extra clothes in case the moving company is delayed.
  • Give your travel itinerary to a close friend or relative so they can reach you as needed.

MOVING DAY:

sellertips_page09OLD HOME:
  • Pick up the truck as early as possible if you are moving yourself.
  • Make a list of every item and box loaded on the truck.
  • Let the mover know how to reach you.
  • Double-check closets, cupboards, attic, basement and garage for any left behind items.

NEW HOME:

  • Be on hand at the new home to answer questions and give instructions to the mover.
  • Check off boxes and items as they come off the truck.
  • Install new locks.
  • Confirm that the utilities have been turned on and are ready for use.
  • Unpack your “first day” box (see below for suggested contents).
  • Unpack children’s toys and find a safe place for them to play.
  • Examine your goods for damage

PACKING TIPS

ESSENTIAL PACKING MATERIALS:

  • furniture pads
  • handtruck or dolly
  • packing tape
  • bubble wrap
  • newspapers or packing paper
  • scissors
  • utility knife
  • labels
  • felt-tip markers
  • cornstarch packing “peanuts”
  • plenty of boxes
Pack a “first day” box with items you will need right away…

HANDY ITEMS INCLUDE:

  • scissors
  • utility knife
  • local phone book
  • coffee cups
  • teakettle
  • instant coffee or tea, soft drinks
  • pencil and paper
  • soap
  • bath towels
  • trash bags
  • shelf liner
  • paper plates
  • snacks
  • toilet paper
  • children’s toys and books

SETTLEMENT–WHO PAYS WHAT

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During the negotiation stage of the transaction, a mutually agreed-upon date for closing is determined. “Closing” is when you and the buyer sign all the paperwork and pay your share of the settlement fees, and the documents are recorded.

Settlement obligations vary widely due to specific contract language, local laws and customs.

Prior to closing, the closing agent (usually an escrow or title company or attorney) will complete a detailed settlement statement for both buyer and seller.

THE SELLER WILL RECEIVE:
  • Utility deposits held by gas, electric, cable, telephone and other companies
  • Prorated portion of pre-paid property taxes
  • Prorated mortgage interest from payments made during the current month
  • Fuel rebate for oil or propane remaining in storage tank
  • Net proceeds after seller’s share of expenses is paid
THE SELLER PAYS:
  • Brokerage commission (the sum or percentage of the sale price previously agreed upon by the seller and real estate agent)
  • One-half of escrow or legal fees paid to the attorney or escrow company for preparing the closing (In California, the party paying escrow fees varies from county to county)
  • Document preparation fees
  • Recording and notary fees
  • Title search and title insurance (paid by either the seller or the buyer)
  • Local transfer taxes, if any
  • State taxes, if any
  • Repairs or inspections seller has agreed to pay for

GLOSSARY

ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGE(ARM): interest rates on this type of
mortgage are periodically adjusted up or down depending on a specified financial
index

AMORTIZATION: a method of equalizing the monthly
mortgage payments over the life of the loan, even though the proportion of
principal to
interest changes over time. In the early part of the loan, the principal repayment
is very low,
while the interest payment is very high. At the end of the loan, the relationship
is
reversed

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE: the actual finance charge for a
loan, including points and fees, in addition to the stated interest
rate

APPRAISAL : an expert opinion of the value or
worth of a property

ASSESSED VALUE : the value placed on a property by a
municipality for purposes of levying taxes. It may differ widely from appraised or
market
value

BALLOON PAYMENT: a large principal payment due all
at once at the end of some loan terms

CAP : a limit on how much the interest
rate can change in an adjustable-rate mortgage

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE: a document, signed by a title
examiner, stating that a seller has an insurable title to the property

CLOSING: the deed to a property is legally
transferred from seller to buyer, and documents are recorded

CLOSING COSTS: see “Settlement” or refer to
“Settlement–who pays what” in this guide

COMMISSION: a fee (usually a percentage of the
total transaction) paid to an agent or broker for services performed

COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS (CMA): a survey of the attributes and
selling process of comparable homes on the market or recently sold; used to help
determine a
correct pricing strategy for a seller’s property

CONTINGENCY: a condition in a contract that must
be met for the contract to be binding

CONTRACT: a binding legal agreement between
two or more parties that outlines the conditions for the exchange of value (for
example: money
exchanged for title to property)

DEED: a legal document that formally
conveys ownership of a property from seller to buyer

DOWN PAYMENT: a percentage of the purchase price
that the buyer must pay in cash and may not borrow from the lender

EQUITY: the value of the property actually
owned by the homeowner: purchase price, plus appreciation, plus improvements, less
mortgages
and liens

ESCROW: a fund or account held by a
third-party custodian until conditions of a contract are met

FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE: interest rates on this type of
mortgage remain the same over the life of the loan. Compare to “adjustable-rate
mortgage”

FIXTURE: a recognizable entity (such as a kitchen cabinet, drape or light fixture) that is permanently attached to a property and belongs to the property when it is sold

HAZARD INSURANCE: compensates for property damage from specified hazards such as fire and wind

INTEREST: the cost of borrowing money, usually expressed as a percentage rate

LIEN: a security claim on a property until a debt is satisfied

LISTING CONTRACT: an agreement whereby an owner engages a real estate company for a specified period of time to sell a property, for which, upon the sale, the agent receives a commission

MARKET PRICE: the actual price at which a property sold

MARKET VALUE : the price that is established by present economic conditions, location and
general trends

MORTGAGE: security claim by a lender against a property until the debt is paid

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS): a system that provides to its members detailed information about properties for sale

ORIGINATION FEE: an application fee(s) for processing a proposed mortgage loan

PITI: principal, interest, taxes and insurance, forming the basis for monthly
mortgage payments

POINT: one percent of the loan principal. It’s charged in addition to interest and fees

PREPAYMENT PENALTY: a fee paid by a borrower who pays off the loan before it is due

PRINCIPAL : one of the parties to a contract; or the amount of money borrowed, for which interest is charged

PRORATE: divide or assess proportionately

PURCHASE SALE AGREEMENT: a contract between buyer and seller that outlines the details of the property
transfer; or refer to “Purchase and sale agreement” in this guide

SETTLEMENT: all financial transactions required to make the contract final.
See “Settlement–who pays what” in this guide.

TITLE: a document that indicates ownership of a specific property

TITLE SEARCH:>
detailed examination of the entire document history of a property title to make sure there are no legal encumbrances