Listing Your Home
- Placing Your Home on the Market
- A Little Homework
- Your Home’s Special Features
- Property Profile Folder
- "What Conveys?"
- Comparative Market Analysis
The first step toward putting your home up for sale is to meet with your REALTOR® at your home. This meeting is referred to as the "listing appointment". Beforehand, it's also important to understand “who's who" and how brokers may co-operate to sell your home.
An individual real estate broker whom the seller hires to represent themselves through a contract called a "listing agreement". The listing Sales Representative is associated with the listing broker. The listing broker is directly paid the listing commission from the transaction and then issues the agreed commissions to Sales Representatives.
An individual who produces a buyer for the property and divides the commission with a listing broker. Such a transaction is considered a "co-operative" sale because the house is listed by one broker and a buyer is provided by a second broker. If the listing broker also produces the buyer, then the listing broker receives both listing and selling sides of the commission. This is called 'Transaction Brokerage' and your informed consent, as well as that of the Buyer, is required in order to proceed in this situation.
A Little Homework
Before the listing appointment, both the home seller and the listing Sales Representative have some homework to do. While the home seller collects a list of documents requested by the Sales Representative, the listing Sales Representative studies recent area sales of homes comparable to the seller's, and also comparable homes currently for sale.
Your Home’s Special Features
At the listing appointment, the listing Sales Representative will want to inspect the entire home and yard to become familiar with its special features and exact floor plan. You have probably enjoyed living in your home and have been pleased with its many unique features. Your listing Sales Representative will want to tell prospective buyers about the special features of your home and community. Be ready to be specific about schools, churches, daycare, nearby metro, and other desirable community features, as well as home features not readily apparent.
Remember, prospective buyers will be "comparison shopping" and keenly aware of subtle differences in homes for sale in the area. Be sure to tell your listing Sales Representative why yours is special, from any home remodeling to afternoon winter sunshine.
Property Profile Folder
To enable the listing Sales Representative to prepare a ‘Highlight Sheet’ on the property, the home seller needs to provide a number of documents and information specific to the location and jurisdiction. This ‘Highlight Sheet’ is often left in the home for the convenience of prospective selling Sales Representatives. Because the list is long, you can understand why it's best to collect the papers before the listing appointment. These materials may include:
Septic and Well Inspection
If property is on septic/well, current inspections by local health authorities are required while the home is occupied. The listing Sales Representative will usually arrange for inspection after the contract is approved.
Order Lender Appraisal
Lenders usually require an appraisal to assure that the property is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisal may be ordered before (paid by seller), but is more often done after an "offer to purchase” is accepted (paid by buyer). It may be a bit of a surprise when, once the Offer to Purchase is 'Firm' and the buyer has chosen a lender, to have that lender require an appraisal as part of the mortgage process. Keep that possibility in mind.
The listing Sales Representative will review the your Property's 'Title' and ask the home seller if any tax assessments or easements exist on the property that must be paid or included in the purchase contract and passed on with the land when sold.
Property Taxes/Condominium Fees
The home seller provides a record of property tax or condominium fee payments which the buyer will reimburse on a prorate share to home seller at settlement.
Many lenders of new mortgages may require an inspection certificate that shows the house is free of major defects.
The home seller should also provide a record of the past 12 months’ utility bills, including gas, electric, sewer, water, and trash where applicable. Most buyers will want to know the history of utility costs.
As soon as possible, the home seller should provide the listing Sales Representative with the Real Property Report (RPR), condominium bylaws or home owners association documents, warranties on major systems or Home Owners Warranty, if still in effect, whether any Security System Hardware is leased or paid for and whether the Security Contract needs to be assumed by the buyer, any defects in the propoerty that are not visible yet may be required to be disclosed in a purchase contract.
In anticipation of a buyer's offer, the home seller must be ready to supply the listing Sales Representative with a specific list of the personal property that is included in the real estate property for sale. Examples of items to "convey" may include: draperies, drapery rods, remaining heating oil, firewood, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave, disposal, swimming pool chemicals, awnings, storm doors and windows, screens, blinds, shutters, window air conditioner, etc. Home sellers should remove items which do not convey.
When the home seller is ready to put the home on the market, the listing agreement is filled out indicating a specific period of time the agreement is in effect ("listing period"), and signed by the seller. You've now hired a listing broker.
Comparative Market Analysis
Maximizing Market Value
Preparing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an important tool Sales Representatives use to help you earn the highest possible price for your home. A CMA involves looking at the public records of real estate business in your community to better understand market conditions.
There are four steps your Sales Representative will take in preparing your home’s CMA:
- Your REALTOR® will consider the amount paid for at recently sold homes in your community. These homes will be comparable in size to yours and together comprise a factual record of what buyers will pay.
- Your REALTOR® will then consider the asking prices of presently listed homes in your community. Because these homes are similar to yours, these homes will be the benchmarks against which your home will be priced.
- Your REALTOR® will then consider the asking prices of in your community that went unsold. Similar to your home, these homes illustrate the dangers of overpricing your property.
- Finally, your REALTOR® will use all the price information gathered to arrive at an ideal price range for your home.