“Real Estate Spring” is officially upon us. As the weather heats up, so does the real estate market. Connie Hash, an associate broker with MKB Realtors in Roanoke, says that right now there is extremely low inventory in the housing market, making it the perfect time to sell if you are considering a move.
“Get your real estate agent involved right from the beginning,” Hash says. “If you don’t have one, ask family and friends or a trusted advisor such as a CPA, banker or attorney for a referral.”
The selling process can seem a bit overwhelming, but your agent will help guide you through the process. Here, Hash provides a timeline of events to expect:
- Find out how much your home is worth: Your real estate agent will provide a Competitive Market Analysis, or CMA. A CMA is similar in nature to an appraisal, which is required by a lender and shows the history of sales in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. However, a CMA also includes what your competition is right now.
- Advertise/market your home: Discuss with your real estate agent your expectations about advertising your home, signage, open houses, showings, etc. at your initial meeting. Online advertising with professional photos is key. Your home should be sourced to at least 20 websites that have real estate searches within the first two weeks of listing. This could be done yourself or by your agent.
- Planning/exploring: In your planning stages, you want to explore with your real estate agent where you plan to move. If you will need financing for your new home, you will want to get your mortgage banker involved. If you do not know where to turn, your real estate agent will provide information to you. If you plan to relocate to another area, he or she can also provide you with real estate information in that area.
- On the market: Now that your home is on the market, you don’t delay finding yourself a new home; start the process with your real estate agent now so that you will be familiar with the current market and ready to take action when your home goes under contract. If you are in a position to purchase another home before selling your current home, this will take the pressure off of a fast-paced move out/move in same-day transaction.
- Receive offers/negotiate: Through your real estate agent, a buyer will make an offer to purchase your home with stated terms and dates. Once an offer is accepted, a contract will be signed by all parties, making the home “under contract.”
- Inspections: Inspections and special investigations will occur within seven to 14 days of contract ratification. Inspections can include, but are not limited to: home, roof, heating/cooling, fireplaces, and even a survey. A survey is a specific point-to-point reference on all four corners of your property.
- Homeowners Association packet: If applicable, this is ordered at contract ratification for a three-day buyer review.
- Repairs: Any agreed-upon repairs are issued as a credit to the buyer or repaired with receipts to the buyer.
- Arrange for moving: The seller should arrange for the moving company. If closing occurs during the peak May to July period, the seller should call as soon as possible.
- Appraisal by buyer: Roughly three to four weeks prior to closing, an appraisal is ordered by the buyer’s bank and the seller arranges for final cleaning. Buyer starts arrangements for cleaning and yard care to take place after closing. At this time, the buyer should also arrange for homeowners insurance.
- Closing time: The real estate agent will arrange the closing time for buyers and notify the closing office if any party will be out of the area. If applicable, a Power of Attorney will be arranged and paperwork will be sent to any out-of-area buyers or sellers. About two to three weeks before closing, the closing office will require the seller’s loan information and any other debt against the house in order to pay off the loans.
- Almost there: One week before closing, the seller transfers utilities, obtains fuel oil credit from service provider, etc. Now would also be the time to provide your new address to post office. Buyer applies for utilities and/or accepts transfer, arranges for a certified check for closing costs, and also arranges for mail at the post office. At this time, the seller arranges for funds to be brought to closing if the contract price is less than their debt on the home. Make final check on movers.
- Walk-through: Buyer has walk-through with their real estate agent one to three days prior to closing. Buyer secures certified check for closing costs made out to closing company.
- Moving/cleaning: Seller has moved and arranged for final cleaning one to three days prior to closing. Seller signs paperwork and approves the HUD or closing statement.
- Final steps: Buyer brings driver’s license and certified check to closing. Closing papers are signed. Meet the moving truck!
“It’s an exciting time!” Hash says. “If you follow these suggestions, the transition to your new home should be smooth and enjoyable.”
While there are many steps involved in selling a home, being prepared for what is to come is really half the battle. Now that you know what to expect and how much time you’ll need, get to work on prepping your home, showing it off, and get ready for a successful sale!
Getting your home ready to sell
Before listing your home, there are many simple, yet impactful, things you can do to make it “show ready.” Here are some recommendations to update your home for selling:
- WELCOME: First impressions matter. For curb appeal, consider fresh mulch, reseeding bare lawns, and removing dead plants. Add fresh plants near the entryway.
- DE-PERSONALIZE: Remove most family photos. Buyers are trying to envision their own family in the house.
- DE-CLUTTER: Clear counters and tables of trinkets and gadgets. Put away toys and pet accessories. Tidy bookshelves, closets and cabinets. Consider removing excess furniture. Hide trashcans.
- REPLACE: Update dark or intensely painted rooms with light, neutral colors. Update old or broken hardware.
- REPAIR: Any water damage should be explained and repaired. Fix any broken appliances.
- CLEAN: Have carpet and tile grout professionally cleaned if possible. Check up high in corners and on lights for cobwebs and dust. Clean out the fireplace.
- LIGHT: Open drapes and blinds, making sure windows are clean. If you have rooms without overhead light, be sure to have a lamp connected to a wall switch.