The Real Estate Encyclopedia
How Can I Protect Myself In A Real Estate Transaction?
Category - Home Selling Questions - General Home Selling FAQ's
There are many factors involved in selling a home, which the seller cannot control such as a changing market or an inspection report that uncovers major defects, which may require unanticipated expenses and must be revealed to potential buyers.  However, there are many steps the seller can take to maximize the chances of successfully completing the sale of the home.

 

First, and most important, it is critical to hire the right professionals to help you accomplish your goal. If you do not already have a real estate agent and closing agent that you have successfully worked with before, ask friends and associates for recommendations. Take the time to interview each referral, ensuring that the particular service provider satisfies your personal needs. Make sure to check references. If you do not feel comfortable with a candidate, continue the search until you find the professional with whom you have a good rapport.

 

When interviewing potential listing agents, ask about their or their brokerís past experience, approach to marketing and ways in which they typically communicate.  Although an agentís experience is very helpful, you might do well in considering a new agent working for an experienced and well-established broker.  The reason for this is that a new agent will be eager to please the client and will typically have all his/her time available to dedicate to the sale of your home, while counting on the extensive experience and brand recognition of an established brokerage.  In addition, the new agent will typically have gone through the license training recently and have all the latest information fresh in his/her mind.

 

On the other hand, a more experienced agent handling a large number of listings will offer lots of experience but may not be quite as available as the new agent, due to the volume of transactions he/she is handling at the same time.  This is why interviewing and spending time talking to prospective agents is so important.  The interviewing process will allow you to identify with whom you feel most comfortable.  Rapport with your agent is a key to a successful real estate transaction.

 

Communication is one of the most important issues in any transaction.  One complaint many sellers have is that they cannot reach their agents when they need them.  When interviewing the potential listing agent, review their ways and frequency of communicating with their clients.  There should be no excuse not to reach someone quickly.  Agents should be readily available via their cell phones or return their calls promptly.  Email and texting are other excellent ways of communicating as they provide immediate response channels.  Many agents utilize the blackberry system, which makes them even more available. However do not completely rely on email/texting. Sometimes an old fashioned phone call works best.

 

Sellers should be kept informed and receive regular updates and reports from their agent.  Ask your agent to send you a weekly update on visitors along with their feedback.  There is nothing as important for a home seller than the feedback visitors provide regarding the property.  It allows the seller to make small adjustments, which might be very helpful in getting the house sold.  It is very important for you to ask your agent to keep you informed of developments as they occur.  When dealing in a real estate transaction, communication between seller and real estate agent is critical for the diligent and timely resolution of all issues.

 

It is also critical that the seller take the time to carefully read and understand all the relevant documents and ask questions when clarification is needed.  This understanding must occur before any document is signed.  In addition, once a contract is presented, the seller should expect a timetable from the real estate agent indicating critical dates, which must be observed to avoid the contract to default.

When listing a home, the seller must pay close attention to the details the agent presents, especially regarding the asking price for the property.  The seller should expect a Comparable Market Analysis developed by the agent, which shows the most recent active, sold and expired comparable properties in the area.

 

You want to consider all homes, which have recently been on the market, because they provide the best way in which to arrive at the fair asking price for your home.  For example, you know who your competition is, the price of properties recently sold and the properties for which the listing expired because they were overpriced or had other issues.  Overpricing the home will immediately place you out of the market and valuable time will be wasted until you accept this fact.  The age of the internet has made it very easy for buyers to comparison shop, and most of them have done their homework when they go out to look for a home.  Never underestimate the knowledge of person(s) on the other side of the transaction Ė the first step in true negotiation.

 

When selling a home, it is the sellerís responsibility to present the home to its best advantage, including removing clutter, painting walls if necessary, maintaining the home (inside and out), repairing damage as needed, etc.  More agents today are becoming trained in home staging in order to effectively guide sellers through staging the home.

 

The seller should make sure he/she receives copies of every document signed and to file and save these documents; even after the transaction closes.  If there is a problem during or after the transaction, this documentation could prove invaluable in proving your case.  It is also recommended that the seller save all incoming and outgoing emails, faxes and letters regarding the transaction and make notes regarding critical items discussed.  This log should also record the critical dates driven by the Binding Agreement date; the date the agreement was signed by both parties and became effective.  Keep the log with other transaction documentation in case you need to substantiate who said what and when at a later date.

 

Once there is an offer on the table, the seller is entitled to expect periodic updates on the progress of the sale.  These updates can be verbal or written.  Typically, an agent representing the buyer will keep in touch with the selling agent, the mortgage broker and closing institution to ascertain that all documents are in the appropriate hands and to make sure the closing is on schedule.  The seller should feel free to contact the agent whenever a question arises.

 

Because of the extensive documentation involved and the requirements of the mortgage approval process for the buyer, there are few closings, which are completed without a hitch.  A seller should not be surprised if the closing has to be postponed even several times.  The seller must make sure that they approve all changes and that the changes are supported by written documentation.  To that end they need to assist the agent by responding quickly to any requests made in connection with the closing.

 

Your best line of defense is to be proactive. Take nothing for granted. Although you should trust your agent to do his/her work, it is your job to ask questions and be fully satisfied that you completely understand all parts of the process. Follow up and make sure you are available to respond quickly when necessary. Start by working with a good cast of professionals: real estate agent, title expert and attorney, if necessary. Ask friends and associates for recommendations and interview people before you commit to working with them. Do not work with out-of-area professionals and be skeptical of those who claim the have ALL the answeres.


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Category(s)
Home Selling Questions - Listing & Agreements FAQ's
Home Selling Questions - General Home Selling FAQ's
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