The first step is to meet with one of our real estate professionals from Home Selling Assistance By the Bay, at your home. This is called the "listing appointment”. At the listing appointment we will bring a comparative market analysis for your area to help you decide the asking price for your home. We will discuss how you want us to handle all aspects of the sale. As your listing agents, Home Selling Assistance By The Bay will be working for you at all times.
Listing Broker or Listing Agent
An individual real estate broker, Home Selling Assistance By The Bay, whom the seller hires to represent the seller through a contract called a "listing agreement". The listing agent is associated with the listing broker, Home Selling Assistance By the Bay. 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, one broker lists a house and another broker provides a buyer. 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 and the listing agent are with the same broker it becomes a disclosed dual agent with the consent of both buyer and seller.
At the listing appointment, your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent 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. We 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 us why yours is special.
After conferring with your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent on market conditions, comparable nearby sales and listings, and available financing, you will set the listing or "asking" price for your house.
A common definition of market value: "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 and financing.
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 thatthis "market analysis" approach is more accurate than the "replacement cost" or "potential rental income" methods.
Based on this sales price, Your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent 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 you. (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 your advantage to appeal to the greatest number of home buyers by accepting the greatest range of financing plans. Your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent will explain the basic differences between VA (Veterans Administration), FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and conventional financing, as well as explain "discount points”.
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, homebuyer and home seller may share the charges by mutual agreement. Sellers may contribute up to 6% of sales price toward closing.
To enable us to prepare a folder of information on the property, you need 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 you 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 (You should provide the us with the lender's address, loan balance, assumability, years remaining on present mortgage, P.I.T.l. 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. We will usually arrange this after contract is ratified.
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).
We will ask you 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
You provide a record of property tax or condominium fee payments which buyer will reimburse a pro-rata share to you at settlement.
VA/FHA and most lenders of new mortgages require a termite inspection certificate that shows house is free of infestation. If you do not have a current certificate, we (depending on area) will arrange inspection at your expense. Sometimes a home inspection and radon testing will be ordered. You should also provide all information as to the physical condition of the property, such as the presence of fire retardant plywood.
You should provide a record of the past 12 months' utility bills, including gas, electric, sewer, water, and trash where applicable. Most home buyers will want to know the history of utility costs for a home they are considering.
In anticipation of a home buyer's offer, be ready to supply us with a specific list of the personal property that is included in the 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. You should tag or remove items that do not convey.
If possible, you should provide your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent, with the 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 a copy of home owners insurance policy for endorsement in the purchase contract.
When you are ready to put your 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 you and your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent. You've now hired a listing broker and listing agent.
What is a "Lockbox"?
A lockbox is a universal metal container for your house key that is hung on the front door, by your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent, 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 requirements?
Yes. Home selling requirements vary from county to county. Your Home Selling Assistance By The Bay agent can help you Investigate special taxes or other requirements applicable to the area in which you live.