Plan ahead and consult your Realtor to avoid potentially expen$ive mistakes during your home sale.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to sell your home. Contacting an experienced Realtor was hopefully your first step, now it’s time to educate yourself about the process and potential pratfalls of a home sale. Collaborating with a licensed professional to represent the sale of your home means you have an expert guide along the way, but picking up a few tips from a guy who’s been there – can’t hurt.
1. Work with a Mortgage Pro to get qualified for a mortgage on your next home – before you sell.
If it’s been awhile since you purchased your current home, it is a good idea to scope out your credit standing and officially qualify for a home loan before you sell your current digs. If it turns out you don’t qualify for a new loan or the loan amount you desire, you may need to rent for a while or settle for something less than planned after the sale of your current home.
Be prepared – both financially and logistically – for the possibility that your home will sell quickly. In the Metro Denver housing market, houses are not languishing on the market. The process from Listing to Under Contract to Closing takes time regardless of how quickly an offer comes in, but know what you’ll do next if you receive a great offer requesting a quick close.
2. Know your Loan Payoff.
Don’t ballpark the remaining balance on your mortgage – call your lender and know exactly what you owe, whether your loan carries prepayment penalties, and any other details before you field offers. You’ll be able to provide pricing and marketing feedback for your Realtor more effectively when you know what you owe.
3. Listen to Reason – and your Realtor – when it comes to Pricing Your Home
Any Realtor worth his or her salt will provide a Current Market Analysis (CMA) during the process of Listing your home for sale. You’ll be able to see current homes in your price point and neighborhood with similar features like square footage, number of bedrooms, landscaping, location – and you’ll be able to compare both Active Listing, most important – Sold Listings to your own home.
Overpricing your home at the start will lead to a sluggish sale, price drops and turned off buyers. Price it right the first time with the help of your Realtor.
4. Plan Ahead for Closing Costs
You’ve accepted an offer, passed inspection, passed appraisal and it’s full speed ahead! You are already counting the proceeds from the sale of your home, right? Hold on a minute! You’ll get a Settlement Sheet detailing the costs involved in the sale of your property from the title company, but it is worthwhile understanding what those costs are up front so you know what to expect.
A typical Real Estate sale, on the Seller’s side, will include:
Real Estate commission (you will pay your Listing agent, as well as the Buyer’s agent) Title Fees – including the fee to the closing agent Excise/Gains tax for the sale Prorated expenses for year-to-date fees such as HOA fees, utilities, and property taxes Other fees as agreed in the sale – repair fees, concessions of any kind, buyer’s closing costs if agreed upon, etc.
Don’t panic about these numbers! Once you have an accepted offer and your transaction is under way, your Realtor will be able to provide a close estimate of your Seller closing costs.
5. Understand Earnest Money
The Earnest Money deposit your Buyer presents with a qualified offer will be held by the Title Company for the entirety of the transaction. At no time are these funds available for personal use by the Seller. Earnest funds are exactly that – funds to prove that the Buyer truly intends to purchase your home – that their purchase activity is “in earnest.”
The Contract to Buy & Sell will dictate what happens with the Earnest Money during the transaction, and what will happen to the funds if the transaction doesn’t close.
Stay tuned for Parts II and III of this series, and drop me a line anytime with your own questions about Buying, Selling or Investing in Real Estate.