In part one, we looked at how to prepare your house to be listed. Now it’s time to look at what to expect once it’s on the market.
Attract Qualified Buyers
Every Realtor will have a unique marketing plan but the foundation and bare bones foundation should include
- Being visible on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Print Advertising
- Internet Advertising
- Virtual Tour / Professional Photos
- Open House
- Direct Mailing
Arguably the most annoying part of the process is the showing phase. If you did your homework in the steps we listed last month and staged, de-cluttered and de-personalized the property this phase will be short. The easiest way for buyers and their Realtors to schedule and enter your property is to allow your Realtor to put a lockbox on your door. This is a secure way for any licensed Realtor to show your property, after formally scheduling an appointment of course. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your showings:
- Turn on all the lights before you leave the house.
- Leave the house. No buyer will be comfortable with your presence.
- Ask for buyer feedback. Make necessary adjustments after getting feedback.
When you receive an offer, it’s recommended to follow the cardinal rule: always counter offer. Even when you get a low-ball, offer it’s smart to counter. Whether that counter is $10,000 or $1 off of the original asking price you should always counter. If you’ve priced your property right, prepare yourself for multiple offers. Your Realtor will facilitate proper handling of this type of situation and help you make the best decision you can. The last step is to accept an offer.
A contract contingency is a term in the purchase agreement that requires one or more steps to be completed prior to a full commitment from the buyers to purchase your property. Contingencies come in many forms but the most common are: financing, inspection, and sale contingencies. Ask your Realtor to explain in painstaking detail what they are and how they can and will affect you.
The Home Stretch
All documents applicable to you as a seller will need to be fully executed (signed) for the bank to do their job. The buyers will have the same duties in executing all contracts, as well as their mortgage documents. Many more hurdles are being cleared behind the scenes during this time, but mainly title is being cleared and the mortgage and deed are being recorded.
Once you and the buyers have signed all closing documents and you’ve been paid, it’s officially a sold property.
This is one of the most complex transactions you’ll encounter in your lifetime, so take time to hire a reputable and professional Realtor, lender, and closing company. Once you’ve done that, they’ll take you through the above steps and create a positive experience.