You have decided to retain the services of a licensed real estate agent and have signed an exclusive listing agreement on your house. Now what?
Now it's time to buckle up for a roller coaster ride of furious activity with nerve stretching slopes of waiting before cresting over into the corkscrew intricacies of the closing process.
Recent changes to laws and guidelines that govern real estate dictate that when a Seller agrees to include their house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an Agent must list that property on the platform within one business day of signing the Listing Agreement.
Since no one ever gets a second chance to make a first impression, the assumption here is that you have already made arrangements for photographs to be included with your home's listing on (or within 24 hours of) the date of having signed the Agreement contract.
Fresh marketplace listings receive the most attention. According to the Center for Realtor Development, properties that have numerous high-quality photos typically sell 32% faster than their counterparts. Additionally, a survey done by Trulia reveals 84% of home buyers and sellers won't even consider buying a property if its listing did not include a photograph.
The MLS listing is then auto-populated to well-known websites in the real estate industry such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Homesnap, and similar sites for potential buyers to find your property. Some agents call this "good enough" and wait for Buyers to come to them; great agents find additional Buyers by generating further interest in your property outside of this automation process.
A top-notch agent will have a marketing plan in place to maximize the exposure of your home. Most well-rounded campaigns will include the use of social media, in-person networking, and both online and offline media formats. Ask your Agent about how and where they will be advertising; support those efforts.
When your Agent makes use of sites like Facebook or Instagram, share those posts with your preferred platforms. Talk to the people in your sphere of influence about the websites or publications that will be displaying your home. Offer up thoughts and suggestions on alternative methods of advertising to augment their marketing campaigns.
More Potential Buyers = More Potential Offers = More Options
Now the showings begin. How much notice will you require? Will the home tour be available by appointment only and based on your schedule or decided by the Buyer's opportunities and desires to view the property? Will you need time to tidy up before a showing or, are you able to keep the house presentable? Is child care or pet care a concern? How will you absent yourself and your family from your home during a showing?
Even though you are in full control of the process, expect your anxiety levels to increase and chaos to reign in your day-to-day lifestyle until you have accepted a Buyer's offer. Remember to balance this disruption against the reality that most Buyers expect instant gratification when it comes to showings. Failure to be flexible will have them moving on the next, more accommodating, listing.
Once you have accepted an offer, the home selling process kicks into even higher gear. Your Buyer now has a small window of time (usually seven to fourteen business days) to perform their due diligence. Typically this includes getting a home inspection and property appraisal done followed by a counter-offer or rejection based upon the findings of these reports. Negotiations begin between the parties to address any issues or concerns revealed by the inspection and appraisal reports.
Generally speaking, these debates usually end with a solution that is of mutual benefit to both parties. However, it does occasionally happen that either yourself or the Buyer might be unwilling to compromise on one or more points. When this happens, the Buyer has two options. They can either choose to move forward with the deal as it is structured or rescind their offer and retrieve their earnest money. When the latter happens, your Agent will relist your property and renew their marketing efforts on your behalf until a new offer is secured.
What happens once everyone is in agreeance and the due diligence window has expired? The pace slows down to a crawl heading toward that finish line known as closing.
Depending on the closing date chosen your only responsibilities to the process at this point is to make yourself available for questions, clarifications, and the occasional signature on a document should the need for such arise. Well, that and to vacate your property for a new home so the Buyers can take possession at closing or any alternative date as specified by the contract.
Lawyers come out of the woodwork and collaborate with the title officers to furiously scour real estate records while underwriters scrutinize and analyze the property for insurance purposes. It will feel like there is no forward momentum happening as progress is now dependent upon the findings, or lack thereof, of third party providers and bureaucrats.
Just when you are getting to a point of extreme frustration the I's have been dotted, the T's have been crossed, and you receive a phone call confirming the date and time for closing. Then, it's just a matter of showing up to review and sign paperwork before walking away with a proceeds of sale check in your hands.
Related Article: Before You Sell - Tips For A Smoother Transition
DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion editorial for informational purposes only. I encourage everyone to embrace the practice of fact checking.