So What Does The Process For Listing Your House Look Like?
Well, the first thing to do is reach out to me for a Free Estimate on how much your house is worth. Tell me about your property and situation. You’re not committing to list your house by reaching out – it’s just a way for me to get in contact with you to give you a free estimate on your house’s value. Once you submit your contact information and property address, I’ll reach out and schedule a time to come to the property and take a look at it.
I’ll then run some analysis on comparable properties in similar condition to determine a price that it will likely sell for in its current condition. An important thing to remember is that while the seller and real estate agent can stage and market the property in the best possible light, they don’t dictate the price of the house. The market dictates the price of the house, and we position the house on the market, either on the high or low-end of the spectrum depending on how quickly you want to sell it. Think about anytime you’ve ever sold an item on Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, or Craigslist. Before listing the item you first see how much similar items are selling for on those marketplaces and then you price your item accordingly depending on if you want to sell it fast or have time to wait. A house is no different. See my other video on how we determine the price for something.
Once you’ve gotten a chance to look over the numbers, we’ll to go over details of how you want your house to be listed and some of the items that we can do to perhaps position it better so you can get the most money for your house.
For example, some of those items might be-
- What are easy things like new carpet or paint that you can do to help it sell quicker or for more money?
- Is it going to be vacant prior to being listed?
- What stuff would I do if it was my own house?
- Do we want to do a pre-inspection to avoid surprises during the sales process?
- How much of a rush are we in to sell it?
Everyone’s situation is different. Some people just want sell their house fast, and other’s have the time and money to fix it up, wait, and sell it for more.
Deciding to List
After we figure out a game plan and a price for listing , I’m going to send you a handful of documents. Keep in mind that nothing up until this point is a commitment on your part; however, when you sign the Listing Agreement which is one of the documents I’m going to send you THEN you’re agreeing to list your house.
The documents are the following:
- Consumer Guide to Agency: it is state law that all real estate agents have to give this to their prospective clients and have them sign it. Like it’s name suggests, it goes over what agency is and how it works. Since I’m a real estate agent, it goes over what is my role to you. Read it over and then sign it. You’re not committing anything by signing it, you’re just acknowledging that I gave it to you.
- Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement: this is the listing agreement, and where we put in the go live date for listing, the price, the fees, etc. and by signing it, you guys are agreeing to list your house at this point. This is the agreement on your part to use me as a real estate agent with Key Realty to list your house on the Columbus market.
- Lead-based Paint Disclosure: this form is required by the government in the sale or lease of all housing constructed prior to 1978 regardless of whether or the property is sold to your neighbor next door or on the market via a real estate agent. If the house was built before 1978 then there’s a good chance it contains lead based paint, and this is a notice to prospective buyers about that. If you’ve ever bought or sold a house before, you’ve had to fill out or sign one of these. There are a few exceptions where you don’t have to fill one of these out.
- Ohio Residential Property Disclosure: this form is required to be in every residential real estate transaction as well with a few exceptions. It basically goes over any repairs or problems that you know about and asks you to list them. Read over both this and the Lead-based Paint Disclosure, fill them out honestly, and sign them.
There’s a couple more documents that may or may not be required on your part depending on the house or if you want to offer a home warranty to the buyers, but those are the main ones. I can send you copies of all these documents with the free estimate for you to look over if you want, but they are very standard though and you can find them by Googling them.
House Is On The Market
Alright, so we’ve got the listing agreement signed, and we’re ready to put the house on the market. At this point we’re going to get professional pictures taken of the house, and I’ve got some backend data entry stuff I need to do to get the listing active, so other real estate agents can show their buyers your house.
Depending on your situation and whether or not the house is vacant, or if you or a renter is living in the house, we can set it up so other agents have to get permission before showing the house. We use an application called ShowingTime that notifies us via text message or phone call when another agent is requesting to see the house. If it’s vacant it’s easier for the system to automatically approve any showing request – I typically do this for my own houses that I’m trying to sell. Obviously though, if something is occupied, you’re not going to want to do this because you’re going to want to control when showings happen. Nothing worse than complete strangers intruding when you’re in your pajamas or the house is a mess.
In regards to timing, it would be better to list on a Thursday, so it’s a new listing going into the weekend and buyers are going to have some time to see the listing pop up on Zillow and Realtor.com. It also gives them a little bit of time to arrange their schedules with their realtor, so they can see it that weekend.
It’s been on the market for a little bit and you’ve gotten some offers. You’ve decided to accept one. What now?
Typically, from when you accept an offer to when you close, it’s about 30-45 days. This allows time for inspections and for the lender to make sure that they are able to finance the deal. If the buyers are paying cash and waiving inspections, the transaction times can be much shorter because there are fewer parties involved.
Once both the buyers and the sellers sign the Purchase Contract, Lead-based Paint Disclosure, Ohio Residential Property Disclosure, and any other relevant documents, the Purchase Contract is sent to the title company who coordinates with all parties involved. The title company’s job is to carry out the transaction and terms as they are spelled out in the Purchase Contract and make sure that everything is able to be transferred. On the seller’s side existing mortgages, unpaid taxes, existing liens, and utility bills need to be paid upon closing and before the title is transferred to the new owner. On the buyer’s side, their lender needs to make sure that there isn’t anything that would keep them from getting their money back in the loan to the buyer, so they want to make sure the title is clean upon closing, it’s habitable or passes inspections, appraises for the right amount, the buyer is creditworthy, etc. The title company coordinates with all these parties, so on the day of closing everyone gets what they are entitled to: you, the seller, get your money, the buyer gets the house, the lenders make loans, and the existing loans get paid off.
While the title company is coordinating with all parties in preparation for closing, the property is being inspected by the buyers. During this time there are two main ways that the buyer can back out of the contract before closing: inspections and financing. What do those mean?
- Inspections: if something comes up during the inspection process that the buyers don’t like, they can request that you fix the issues. You aren’t required to fix anything, but it allows the buyers to terminate the contract penalty free if you guys don’t come to an agreement. At that point the buyers go their merry way and the house goes back on the market. Not fun.
- Financing: pretty much all contracts have a provision in them that allows the buyers to back out if they aren’t able to get financing which means the lenders won’t loan them the money to buy the house. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why lenders won’t loan the money to purchase the house – some of which are outside of anyone’s control. Some common examples are the appraisal comes back too low or something came up during the underwriting process that affects the buyer’s applicability. It’s pretty common to run into issues with financing and a lot of time they can be resolved without the contract being terminated, but it might cost you the seller some time or money.
These are probably the two most common ways that the contract can fall apart when listing. Keep in mind that I’m not an attorney and if you do have questions regarding the contract that you should consult with one.
Alright, so you’ve gathered information on listing, decided to list, put your house on the market, accepted a contract, gone through the negotiations regarding various contingencies, and now you’re in the home stretch: waiting for closing. This last part is where we are just waiting on the buyer’s lender to give us the okay to close. Once the lender gives approval that they are able to finance the buyer and the property, the title company will reach out to the buyer and seller and confirm what days work for everyone to sign the closing documents finalize the sale. The closing docs outlay the final costs and proceeds due each party. In regards to signing the closing documents, most title companies have multiple options when it comes how you want to sign. You can either go to their office in person or have a notary sent to your house in the situation of out-of-state buyers or sellers. Once everyone signs, the seller should receive the proceeds into their account within a day or two, and the buyer is going to be entitled to possession of the house as outlined in the Purchase Contract. Other small details like transferring utilities and removing the last of your personal items remain, but for the most part you’re done. You listed your house and sold it with a real estate agent!