Part 1 covered the first half of “selling your greater Cincinnati home” and the next steps will be covered in this article.
At this point your house or condo has been “staged” (cleaned up and ready to go) and the detailed information has hit the Multiple Listing Service and there’s a “For Sale” sign in the front yard- what happens next?
Showings and Open House(s): At some point while you and your agent filled out contract paperwork you should discuss “showings”. Making it very easy for an agent to show your property is the goal. More showings equate to more potential buyers and hopefully a purchase contract. We all have unique situations-kids, pets, alarm systems and visiting relatives. However when your house is “for sale” minimizing impediments to showings is crucial. Usually agents attempt to map out and schedule several showings during a time period and sellers who want change times and/or dates and times often lose the showing appointment. Work out a functional schedule with your agent prior to hitting the market.
Same goes for Open Houses. Every local real estate market, homeowner and agent have unique opinions about value, time and need to have an open house. Some agents and homeowners love them-others not so much. Having 1 open house during the first week or so often adds “buzz” about the property. Personally I’ve never believed there is any value in holding a property open every week. Once again work out times that fit your neighborhood and your schedule with your agent.
Offer/Counter-Offer: Congratulations your Realtor just called a buyer has made an offer on your property. The first thing you want to know is “how much”? While price seems to be the driver for most negotiations there are some additional thing sellers need to consider.
The First Offer: It’s rare (but not unknown) the first offer a buyer makes meets all your expectations. Many sellers are insulted when the first offer is “lowball” or way below asking price. Don’t take it personally! As a seller, it’s in your best interest to counter any offer…you never know what the buyer is willing to pay. Some buyers and sellers come to agreement with one offer and counter offer- while others may take several passes before hitting the mark. Remember contracts have time frames and missing deadlines can be costly. Also step back and look at the entire contract and add up all the pluses and minuses before letting a buyer walk over a relatively small dollar amount. Your Realtor® will help guide through the process by offering options.
Inspections: Buyers, have a contractual agreement to obtain a home inspection within a specified number of days. Depending on location, age of the property and the buyer’s needs, the inspection may be one person or several different inspectors. Roofers, HVAC, septic, mold and structural engineer sometime show up (with appointments) after the initial inspection is completed. As long as these vendors inspect during the allotted time frame sellers need to give them access to the property. Buyer’s request range of repairs based on the inspection results and sometimes unrealistic expectations on the part of both buyers and sellers cause a contract to fall apart. It’s been my experience that first time home buyers request more “fixes” for a couple of reasons:
Inspection items need to be handled properly. Repairs to leaky roofs, leaky basements, busted furnaces and broken toilets should have been repaired prior to listing the property! handyperson things such as caulking, cleaning gutters, and lose door knobs are usually (but not always) negotiable. Sometimes the buyer is happy to settle for an appropriate price reduction or additional seller contributions toward closing costs. Each case is different and as a seller you need to figure out how to make it a win/win so the buyers don’t walk away and you don’t feel like you just paid to have a new house built.
Closing: Negotiations are complete and everybody is counting the days until closing. The next “hurdle” is the appraisal which is ordered by lender. I won’t get on my soapbox to discuss appraisal issues caused by current government requirements- but as a seller you need to know that if your property doesn’t appraise for sale price – you will have to make some price adjustments to complete the deal or you’ll be putting your property back on the market. Ask your agent about mortgages backed by FHA or VA- because the appraised value stays with the property for a period of time and you need to understand how the process works so you don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
In the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area, title companies usually handle the work associated with closings. Title searches, identifying liens, obtaining final payoff amounts, checking on property taxes and preparation of the closing documents in compliance with directives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Anytime during this process if the title company has a question about marital status, past loans on the property or whatever comes up- sellers need to respond quickly and with as much documentation as possible. Delaying answering any questions can cause a delay in the closing date.
Good news the actual closings are usually pretty relaxed events. Buyers and sellers need to have their driver’s license with them –or some official form of pictured id. If you need to bring money to the closing because the sale price was somewhat less than what you owe- the title company will give you instructions on where to wire funds and/or the requirements for type of check they require.
Congratulations you have successfully closed on the sale of your property! The process is complicated and in today’s real estate market seems have its own personality and problems. In short, no 2 deals ever close the same way- so if you have questions or frustrations-ask questions. It’s easier to get to the closing table if everybody (Buyer, Sellers, Lender and Agents) work together to reach the goal line.