When you decide to sell your house, you must make the emotional shift to accepting that it no longer “belongs” to you. Everything you do moving forward is toward the goal of selling.
Select an Agent
Interview several agents. Factors to consider are their marketing plans, track records, and personality (can I get along with this person?)
Timing and Price
You will decide with your agent the pricing and timing of going on the market, as well as the availability of the home for showings. Here, along with the negotiating process, is where you will benefit most from working with a professional Realtor®.
Few people have time to take on a “project” home. Simple maintenance such as repairing windows and latches, cleaning and decluttering and adding a fresh coat of neutral paint go a long way toward reducing the mental list of “things to do” in a potential buyer’s head. Same goes for the yard – curb appeal is for real. Plant some flowers!
Disclosures and Inspections
The State of Tennessee requires a thorough disclosure statement that is beneficial to both you and the buyer. Our team will provide documents, as well as suggest key home improvement measures (such as termite and pest inspections) and staging before placing your property on the market.
Once an offer is ratified, the home seller and buyer will agree upon the amount for the good faith deposit which is held in an escrow account. This reflects the buyer’s intention to purchase your property and ensures that no funds or property will change hands until all instructions in the transaction are followed.
- Keep written records of everything. Have all verbal agreements, such as counter-offers and addenda, transcribed into written agreements to be signed by both parties.
- Having accepted an offer, you and the buyer will be given a timetable for every stage in the process of closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations.
Your escrow began when you accepted a buyer’s purchase offer and earnest money deposit. What follows is the inspection and appraisal of your home and the loan origination process.
The Title Company
Both the buyer and seller can use their own closing (title) company. It is the title company's job to examine and insure title to real estate. After researching the complete recorded history of your property, they’ll certify that:
- your title is free and clear of encumbrances (eg. mortgages, leases, or restrictions) by the date of closing, and
- all new encumbrances are duly included in the title. They’ll draw up a preliminary report at the end of the process
A contingency is a condition that must be met before a contract becomes legally binding. For instance, a home buyer will usually include a contingency stating that their contract is binding only when there is a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified inspector.
Before completing his or her purchase, the home buyer goes over every aspect of the property as provided for by purchase agreements. These include:
- Obtaining financing and insurance
- Reviewing all pertinent documents, such as preliminary title reports and disclosure documents
- Inspecting the property. The buyer has the right to determine the condition of your property by subjecting it to a wide range of inspections, such as roof, termite/pest, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, etc.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
- Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or
- The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
Responding objectively and fairly to the buyer when a renegotiation is demanded is one time when a professional listing agent can make a real difference in the outcome of the transaction.
Loan Approval and Appraisal
Expect an appraiser from the lender’s company to review your property and verify that the sales price is appropriate. Many buyers will be pre-qualified or have a lender’s pre-approval letter, which is a better guarantee of loan approval than a pre-qualification.
Don’t pack your bags just yet
Sometimes unexpected things happen, such as a buyer’s job loss/relocation, or financing failing to go through.
Now that the transaction on your home is well on its way to a successful close, it’s time to start preparing for your next home.
As your trusted real estate partner, we are ready to help you articulate and prioritize your goals for this next step. We’ll get you off to a good start by finding the best interim arrangement for you while you’re in between homes, or if you’re ready, we’ll help you find your next dream home.
If you’ve come this far, it means only one thing—congratulations, you’ve successfully sold your home! Expect to tie up these loose ends:
Final Walkthrough Inspection
The final inspection takes place a few days before or the day of closing. It may seem more like a formality at this point, but the buyer needs to visit your property to verify that all is in working order. You’ll be signing the papers certifying that the property was sold in satisfactory condition.
Cancel Home Services and Utilities
While the new owners are responsible for starting utilities in their name, you must cancel services – they are not allowed to cancel for you. The transfer of services is usually set for the date of possession.
We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage – an appliance at the house breaks down, the buyers’ loan doesn’t come through on time—no need to worry. We’ve encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently.
Close of Escrow
The title company furnishes the principals with a closing statement which summarizes all the financial transactions enacted in the process. A few days before the set closing date, you’ll sign the final documents for the title company. They’ll record the transaction for you and the buyer at the County Recorder’s Office. You’ll then receive your proceeds, and the buyer will become the new owner.