Seller 101

Listing Your Property For Sale

Once you have decided to sell your property, it is very important to select the right agent.   As your ENGEL & VOELKERS® professional, I can help you achieve your goals in the selling process.  Staging your home before we list it for sale has proven to bring in the top price in the fastest time.

About listing agreements

  • Exclusive Right-to-Sell Listing
    An exclusive right-to-sell listing is the most commonly utilized listing agreement. It spells out the specifics of the contract between the seller and the broker/realtor. This includes the selling price, length of time the Realtor will have to sell the house, and the financial agreements between the parties.
  • Once your listing agreement has been signed, your property will be listed on the MLS, Multiple listing Service.  This service allows any licensed Realtor to gather information about your property in an effort to present it to a potential buyer.

Create a Marketing Plan

Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies.  Much of an agent’s work will be quiet and unseen – yet important. The quiet telephone calls, the work with contacts, arranging for and marketing open houses, the follow-ups with open-house visitors, conversations with ad respondents, web postings and other outreach efforts are all part of the process required to sell homes.

As your agent, I will create a marketing plan for your home that will help distinguish it in your local marketplace and attract buyers to your property. This will include posting your listing on the Internet, holding an open house and more. As your ENGEL & VOELKERS® Sales Professional, I use the ENGEL & VOELKERS® Customized Marketing System to create a personalized selling program for clients. Its purpose is to sell a home at the best price possible in the shortest amount of time. This includes marketing on major web sites and in luxury real estate/lifestyle magazines with both national and international client bases.

One way to make a home more attractive is to purchase a Home Protection Plan. This insurance protects you, the seller, from paying repair or replacement costs of major items during the listing period. It also protects the buyer during their first year of homeownership. ENGEL & VOELKERS® has teamed with American Home Shield to offer a variety of plans at very affordable prices.  Be sure to ask me about the details.

Showing your home

Although the buyer is a guest in your home, you want the buyer to imagine owning the home. You don’t want to make the buyer feel like an intruder.

In addition to the home staging I will provide for your home, there are a few other things you can do to impress potential buyers once they’re in the door.

  • Check the Temperature
    You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on hot or cold days!
  • Play Up the Visual
    Open all the window coverings to let in light. Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spot lights on the floor behind furniture.

Negotiating the Sale

When a buyer is ready to make you an offer their agent will present an offer formally with a “contract for purchase and sale”.
Most home buyers and home sellers want to arrive at a win-win agreement, but that’s not to say either side would regret getting a bigger “win” than the other. Successful negotiating is more than a matter of luck or natural talent. It also encompasses the learned ability to use certain skills and techniques to bring about those coveted win-win results.

  1. Respect the other side’s priorities
    Knowing what’s most important to the person on the other side of the negotiating table by gathering information from the seller’s agent, I can help you avoid pushing too hard on hot or sensitive issues. For example, if you can’t lower the sales price, you might be willing to pay more of the transaction costs or make more repairs to the home. While a buyer with an urgent move-in date might be willing to pay a higher portion of the transaction costs or forgo some major repairs.
  2. Be prepared to compromise
    “Win-win” doesn’t mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some. Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, I’ll focus on your top priorities.

After the Contract

Your home is in “escrow” once both the buyer and seller have agreed upon all terms and conditions of the sale, and signed the contract.

Home inspection

Your home is in escrow, and the buyer has scheduled a home inspection. A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of the home and property. The process usually takes two to three hours, during which time the house is examined from the ground up. The inspection includes observation and, when appropriate, operation of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems, as well as structural components: roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors, and windows.

Qualified inspection companies will provide a sample report to substantiate that they abide by industry standards. One of the key standards is that ethical inspectors neither perform repairs nor refer clients to repair companies (thus avoiding a conflict of interest). Obviously, inspectors who make repairs on homes they inspect are more likely to “find” defects.

The buyer is likely to ask that any major defects be repaired at your expense. Remember that everything is negotiable, and this is where I will work on your behalf to get the best possible result for you!

Timeline and Paperwork

The closing meeting is where ownership of the home is officially transferred from the seller to you. Most of the people involved with the purchase of your home will attend your loan closing. The closing is a formal meeting typically attended by the buyer and the seller, both real estate sales professionals, a representative of the lender, and the closing agent.

First, the closing agent reviews the settlement sheet with you and the seller and answers any questions. Both you and the seller sign the settlement sheet.

Then, the closing agent asks you to sign the other loan documents. Evidence of required insurance and inspections is also presented (if it wasn’t previously given to the lender).

After that, if everyone agrees that the papers are in order, the buyer submits payment to cover the closing. If the lender will be paying your annual property taxes and homeowner’s insurance for you, a new escrow account (or reserve) is established at this point.

Finally (here’s the best part) you receive the keys to your new home!

After the meeting, the closing agent officially records the mortgage and deed at your local government clerk’s office or registry of deeds. This legal transfer of the property may take a few days after closing. The closing agent usually will not disburse the funds to everyone who is owed money from the sale (including the seller, real estate professionals, and the lender) until the transaction has been recorded. It is at the point of deed recordation that you become the official owner of the home.

Moving in

Six to Eight weeks prior:

  • Purchase or rent moving supplies: tape, markers, scissors, pocketknife, newspaper, blankets, moving pads, plastic storage bins, rope and a hand truck. Free boxes can usually be obtained at a local supermarket, but consider purchasing wardrobe boxes for moving clothes.
  • Have a garage sale to clear out unwanted items and plan accordingly. Consider donating unwanted items.
  • Keep a detailed record of all moving expenses. Your costs may be tax deductible depending on the reasons for your move.

Two weeks prior:

  • Hire a reputable mover or rent a moving truck. Be sure to get referrals or references, check with the Better Business Bureau, get estimates, purchase moving insurance.
  • Two weeks before moving day, contact your telephone, electric, gas, cable/satellite, refuse and water companies to set a specific date when service will be discontinued. Contact utilities companies in your new town about service start dates, including Internet & long distance telephone services.
  • Notify healthcare professionals (doctors, dentists, veterinarians) of your move and ask for referrals and record transfers.
  • Register children for school and ask for school records to be transferred.
  • Notify lawn service, cleaning and security companies when service should be terminated.
  • Advise the post office, publications and correspondents of change of address and date of move.
  • Check your homeowner’s insurance and make arrangements for new coverage.

Moving Day

  • Have tools handy for breaking down beds and appliances.
  • Move valuables (jewelry, legal documents, family photos & collections) yourself – don’t send them with the moving company. Make sure you have a complete Home Inventory of all your possessions.
  • Give every room a final once over. Don’t forget to check the basement, yards, attic, garage and closets.
  • Have the final payment for the movers and money for a tip
  • Don’t forget to check with our ENGEL & VOELKERS® office.  We can provide useful local advice, and/or referrals.