Selling your home can take some work and time. Here are some tips to help with the process.
1. The listing agreement
The listing agreement is a contract that provides an outlines forms and negotiations related to the sale of your property. The contract is between you and your agent’s brokerage company. It is important that the agreement clearly outlines out the rights and obligations of you and your agent and that it is an accurate representation of your property details.
The listing agreement will outline:
- The compensation for your real estate agent;
- The duration of the contract;
- The listing price of the property;
- Mortgage details of the property, including the mortgage balance, mortgage monthly payments and mortgage due date;
- An accurate description of the property;
- The amount of annual property taxes; and
- Any easements, rights of way, liens or charges against the property.
Ask your listing real estate agent about disclosure. Disclosure is the seller’s obligation to disclose any relevant facts about property for sale. Relevant facts include material details about the property such as anything that could materially affect the sale price or influence a buyer’s decision to buy it. Post-sale disputes and lawsuits often relate to defects and disclosure; however, many of these disputes can be avoided if accurate and appropriate disclosures are made. When selling a property, purposefully withholding information can have significant legal consequences.
2. Determining the listing price
You may have an idea of how much your house is worth but it’s important to have a professional value your home. You should be cautious about not pricing your property too high or too low. If it’s too high, it will be difficult or impossible to sell and if it is too low then you will sacrifice a portion of your investment
A real estate agent can review the prices at which similar properties in your area have sold, and thus they can help you determine an appropriate listing price. An agent can also provide market history including the number of properties sold in your neighbourhood recently.
3. Marketing your property
If your listing is on the MLS system, then all other agent members can find and view information about your property, and have the opportunity to sell your property. This increases the exposure of your property.
Your real estate agent may recommend hosting open houses. There are two types of open houses: 1) an agent’s open house where agents from the listing company will be invited to view your house; 2) a public open house, where anyone is invited to walk in and view your home. Open houses are an efficient way to show your home to many potential buyers at once. Your agent will act as the host and answer any questions.
4. Waiting for the right buyer
Sometimes a home takes time to sell, remember to be patient and persistent. There are three common reasons that a home may not sell quickly: location, condition, and asking price.
You cannot change the location of your property but you can improve the condition of your home and you can adjust your price. While your property is listed, you should be continuously comparing your asking price to similar properties in your neighbourhood. On a regular basis, review your marketing strategy with your agent. Your agent should provide you with updates on the following items while your property is listed.
- The number of showings.
- Feedback from showings.
- Updates on the marketplace.
- Your property compared to the competition.
5. Accepting an offer
When you receive an offer it will detail: the buyer’s price, any conditions that may apply, the desired date of possession and the date the offer expires.
The buyer will give a deposit with the offer as an act of good faith. You are able to make a counter offer if you are not happy with the offer from the buyer. The seller and buyer may go back and forth to negotiate the final terms and conditions of the sale.
Once the offer is agreed upon and signed off by all parties then it is a binding contract. Therefore, ensure that you understand and agree to all of the terms in the offer. In addition, you may want your lawyer to review the offer before you sign it. Your lawyer should also make sure that compensation is received for any prepaid expenses such as utility bills or property taxes. Once these expenses are paid, then you will receive the money from the sale.
6. Possible requests from the buyer
Before closing, the buyer may ask you to provide a number of things such as:
- A current survey that shows that the house sits on the property that you own;
- The title to the property;
- A certificate for a well or septic system, stating that the system meets standards; and
- Access to the property for a home inspection.