Putting Your Home on the Market
The first step toward putting your home up for sale is to meet with your Real Estate Sales Representative at your home. What we call the "listing appointment".But beforehand, it's important to understand “who's who" and how brokers may co-operate to sell your home.
Listing Broker An individual Real Estate broker whom the seller hires to represent the seller through a contract called a "listing agreement". The listing Sales Representative is associated with the listing broker. The listing broker is directly paid the listing commission and then splits the commission with the listing Sales Representative.
Selling Broker This is the individual who produces a buyer for the property and divides the commission with a listing broker. Such a transaction is considered a "co-operative" sale because the house is listed by one broker and a buyer is provided by a second broker. If the listing broker also produces the buyer, then the listing broker receives both listing and selling sides of the commission.
A Little Homework
Before the listing appointment, both the home seller and the listing Sales Representative have some homework to do. While the home seller collects a list of documents requested by the Sales Representative, the listing Sales Representative studies recent area sales of homes comparable to the seller's, and also comparable homes currently for sale.
There's No Place Like Home
At the listing appointment, the listing Sales Representative will want to inspect the entire home and yard to become familiar with its special features and exact floor plan.
You have probably enjoyed living in your home and have been pleased with its many unique features. Your listing Sales Representative will want to tell prospective buyers about the special features of your home and community. Be ready to be specific about schools, churches, daycare, 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 homes for sale in the area. Be sure to tell your listing Sales Representative why yours is special from any home remodelling to afternoon winter sunshine.
Property Profile Folder
To enable the listing Sales Representative to prepare a highlight sheet on the property, the home seller needs to provide a number of documents and information specific to the location and jurisdiction. This Highlight Sheet is often left in the home for the convenience of prospective selling Sales Representatives. Because the list is long, you can understand why it's best to collect the papers before the listing appointment. These materials may include:
Pay-Off Notice A letter signed by the home seller 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. (Home seller should provide the broker with the lender's address, loan balance, assumability, years remaining on present mortgage, PITI. and the interest rate, if possible.)
Septic and Well Inspection If property is on septic/well, current inspections by local health authorities are required while the home is occupied. Listing Sales Representative will usually arrange for inspection after the 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).
Assessments/Easements Listing Sales Representative will ask home seller if any tax assessments or easements exist on the property that must be paid or included in purchase contract and passed on with the land when sold.
Property Taxes/Condominium Fees Home seller provides record of property tax or condominium fee payments which buyer will reimburse on a prorata share to home seller at settlement. Inspections. Many lenders of new mortgages may require an inspection certificate that shows house is free of major defects
Utilities Home seller should provide record of past 12 months utility bills, including gas, electric, sewer, water, and trash where applicable. Most buyers will want to know the history of utility costs.
Helpful Documents If possible, home seller should provide listing Sales Representative with deed, house location survey, condominium bylaws or home owners association documents, subdivision map, house floor plan, previous title search abstracts, legal description of property (subdivision, section and lot), warranties on major systems or Home Owners Warranty, if still in effect, and copy of home owners insurance policy for endorsement in purchase contract.
In anticipation of a buyer's offer, the home seller must be ready to supply listing Sales Representative with a specific list of the personal property that is included in the Real Estate 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, blinds, shutters, window air conditioner, etc. Home seller should tag or remove items which do not convey.
When the home seller is ready to put the home 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 the seller. You've now hired a listing broker.
Questions & Answers
What is a "Lockbox"?
A lockbox is a universal metal container for your house key that is hung on the front door and can only be opened by a special key or combination by licensed Sales Representatives. 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 area to area. Ask your listing Sales Representative to investigate special taxes or other requirements applicable to the area in which you live.