Selling a Home: What You Need to Know

Selling a Home: What You Need to Know

When a seller is interested in placing their home on the market, there are a myriad of items each seller should consider. Firstly, a seller should seek out the help of an established Real Estate Broker who has knowledge of the market where the home sits. For more information on how to find a reputable Real Estate Broker, see Building Chicago’s previous post: Sourcing a Reputable Real Estate Broker: What's Most Important.

It’s incredibly important for the property to be priced competitively the moment it comes to market. This is achieved by examining the price of similar homes that have sold over the past year. The Real Estate Broker a seller chooses should first perform a Comparative Market Analysis. Here, the Broker will examine homes similar in size, condition, amenities and area. They will also lean on their experience of the market to best price the home. From this, a seller will have a better idea of what price to command for the home.

A seller’s Broker should also perform a Market Absorption Analysis to examine how many homes have been absorbed in the area. This will help a seller understand how quickly homes are being sold in the area. This is typically reported in a count per year or month format.

From there, a seller’s Broker will share their specific marketing plan to help the seller understand what to expect as the home enters the real estate market. They will inform the seller of the frequency of open houses they’ll execute and what print and digital avenues they’ll use to market the home.

Just before a Broker lists a home, they’ll need to take photos that best feature the property. It’s important that these photos are not only professional, but also taken in such a way that they tell the complete story of the home. Remember, many of the buyers will first be introduced to the marketed home through photos, so ample quality photos will help the buyer initially screen the listed home and will help them understand if it’s a good fit for their real estate needs.

Next, if the photos and listing information for the property interests a potential buyer, they will request to visit the property. It’s important that the property be readily accessible, clean and clutter free so potential buyers can see the property in its best light.

Once a ready, willing and able buyer submits an offer on the property, it is the responsibility of the Real Estate Broker to help guide and negotiate with the seller’s best interests in mind. If unhappy with the first offer, the seller’s Broker can assist in providing a successful counter-offer. If another counter-offer comes from the buy side, they can again assist the seller in coming to an agreeable contract price.

Next, the Attorney review and Inspection period will begin. Here, the buyer will have their Attorney review the contract and also have their Inspector visit the property to ensure the property and its elements are in good working condition. If they are not, the buyer will likely request that those items be addressed by the seller. Then, the seller’s Attorney will review the Inspector’s documentation and request(s) from the buyer’s Attorney with the seller; from there, the seller will decide what they’ll concede or provide.

If the property is bought with a mortgage, the buyer’s lender will engage the services of an appraiser to get an estimate of the home’s value. The appraiser considers items such as: price of recently sold homes in the area, the home’s condition, zoning items and any real estate hazards. If the home is not worth as much or more than the buyer is attempting to borrow, or if the property doesn’t pass one or more of the physical characteristics required by the lender, the buyer will not obtain mortgage approval and the buyer will not be able to purchase the home. Conversely, if the property does pass lender approval, the process will continue and a closing date will be set with the Title Company of the seller’s choosing.

The Title Company will ensure that the title, a collective term for all the legal rights to own, use and dispose of real property, is legitimate. The title of the property will show all previous uses, ownership and transfers of said property. To transfer the property to the buyer, the Title Company will perform a title search to examine if there are any items that would endanger the buyer from their right of ownership.

If all goes well, title will transfer at closing and the seller will be free of ownership of their property and can move on to their next rental, purchase or other real estate acquisition.

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