House Selling Process
Update: Since writing this post and others on house selling, I have compiled them into a page Selling Your Heights House. Please check this out for a cohesive series on house selling.
Since I’m a Realtor, I think of the house selling process as straight forward. Each house has it’s own quirks, peculiarities that need special effort, but overall, it’s a matter of having systems and a marketing plan, and sticking to it.
However, to a person who’s never done it, the whole house selling process can be confusing. Where to even start? Here are my suggestions:
Talk to a few Realtors on the phone. Give them a few basics about your home and ask for a price estimate. Ask about market conditions, recent sales, etc. Find a couple that are sharp, know the local market, and have a presence in the area. They must match your personality too. After all, you may be talking to him/her more than your own partner. Where to find the realtor? This is the tough part. Ask neighbors; look for signs in your area; go to open houses; look on the web. If the agent is not easily found on the web, your house won’t be marketed be marketed well on the web either.
Interview a couple of Realtors you like. Ask about pricing, market conditions, expected time to sell, what to fix-up, what to change, clean up and clear out. Ask to see his marketing plan and how he would market your house. Ask about the strong and weak points of the house. Ask about the listing process, commissions,
Based upon talks and meeting, pick an agent to represent you; this is someone you connect with and knows their stuff. Bring him back out again to go over paperwork, and to ask all the questions you forget the first time. See previous post on Choosing a Realtor.
The listing agreement. This is really a simple document, that looks intimidating because it is written to cover all conceivable circumstances. In Texas, it is an 8 page document (it differs if it is a condo, vacant lot, etc.) that covers the following basics: legal description,list price,broker’s fees, listing period, access to property, broker and seller responsibilities & a bunch of legal & EEO stuff. Copy of TAR-1101 – Residential Listing Agreement.
Disclosures. The Seller’s disclosure is 5 pages long. It basically asks for you to check off what items are included with the house, and if there are known problems. Disclose everything! It is required by law, can prevent future problems. I tell people to put in even minor things like cracks in sidewalk, leaning fence, etc. it shows people you aren’t hiding anything. Also, if you tell them up front about the fence, they are less likely to come back after the inspection and ask for allowance for it…they already knew about it. A key point though is to use the disclosure to highlight things you’ve done. A recent 30 year roof? Highlight it! New appliances? Put that in comments too. Copy of TAR-1406 – Seller’s Disclosure Notice – 9-01-11.
You will also cover showing instructions (when to show/how to contact); how you like to keep in touch (Email? Weekly calls? Don’t bother me, just sell it!)
Go over the marketing plan again and the timetable of events. i.e photos, flyer, MLS entry, slideshow & YouTube video, broker open house, public open houses, other web resources. Also go over what the agent suggests you do for prep, staging, clean-up, de-clutter. Wives, this is the perfect time to get rid of your husband’s junk. Tell him the Realtor suggested it
Well, that covers the basics of the house selling process for an “average” single family home. Condos, multifamily, vacant land…all have slightly different requirements. It sounds complicated, but it’s a sequential process that is logical (if the agent is sharp) and fairly painless for the seller.
Note: My next post tells you what to do when after you get An Offer on Your House.
Rich Martin is a Heights Realtor that sells new and resale homes in the Heights and other close-in neighborhoods. Call if you need advice on the house selling process.