1. REVIEW THE OFFER
The core components to consider in an offer are 1) the sales price 2) your expected contribution toward closing costs and 3) the date or terms of closing. Every transaction is different, so if it applies to us, we'll decide at that time how to negotiate. We'll typically have one to three days (usually two) to respond. We can either accept the offer, counter it with adjusted terms, or outright reject it.
In addition to the items noted above, sometimes contracts will come with stipulations. They may ask for you to provide the buyer with a home warranty in case anything breaks within the first year. They may want to keep all of the appliances. They may want you to tear down an old shed in the backyard, or repair some loose floorboards on the back deck. Everything is negotiable during this process, and we'll discuss these situations as they arise.
2. AGREE ON TERMS
When all parties agree on the terms, the contract is now binding. We could continue to receive back-up offers in case the original offer falls through for any reason but so you can get back to living in your house undisturbed, we cease showings on the house and slow down our marketing. Your home will still be listed online, we will continue to have a sign in the front yard, and it will still appear in various digital and print marketing campaigns.
3. DUE DILIGENCE AND INSPECTION
In our contract, there will likely be a period of "due diligence" which is typically a 10 day period during which the buyer chooses and schedules a home inspector to come to the property, conduct a thorough investigation and report back on the findings. Is the home inspector going to find issues? Almost always, the answer is YES. Even brand-new homes sometimes have things that have been forgotten or overlooked, or have been broken in the time that they were built.
You shouldn't be present for the home inspection - this is a time for the buyer and their inspector to conduct a thorough investigation so if you work from home, this is a good day to post up in a coffee shop for a few hours. Take all animals to daycare or boarding if possible. The other agent, their client and the inspector will be able to gain access to your home through the lockbox. Within a few days of the inspection report's completion, we may get an amendment asking for additional repairs. If this happens, we will talk about which repairs you are willing or unwilling to take on yourself or finance for the buyer.
If the buyer is getting a mortgage loan, their lender is going to have to appraise the property to make sure it's worth what they want to lend! They'll look at comparable properties in the immediate area and make a decision based off of those other homes. As with the inspection, there's no need for you to be present for the appraisal. The appraiser and I will be able to gain access to the home through the lockbox on your door.
As we near the end of the transaction, we'll be in communication with your mortgage lender - if applicable - and the closing attorneys to ensure all of the payoff information is sorted out and that the mortgage lien is removed from your title and transferred to he new owner. Prior to closing, you will be able to review a line-item summary of all fees and debits and will see how much money is being transferred due to the sale of your home.
We haven't talked about moving, because everyone's situation is different. Perhaps you've decided to sell and rent an apartment instead. Maybe you're moving out of state, maybe you're moving in with family or a partner. Whatever your upcoming housing situation is, when you vacate your current home, you want to start getting all your utilities modified so you'll have the power, water, cable, phone and gas turned off and out of your name within the first few days after closing.
Depending on when the buyers take possession, you'll want to completely moved out and leave the home in at least "broom-swept" condition - i.e., no boxes or trash left anywhere, no new damage, no cat litter or dog hair swept into a corner. The buyer should have done a walkthrough the day before closing or at minimum - right before closing - to inspect the property.
7. CLOSING & POSSESSION
The day has come! It's time to sell your house! Depending on how complex the transaction is, closing usually takes between thirty minutes and two hours - but on average, expect to spend at least an hour at the closing attorney's office.
The attorney will present you and the buyer with paperwork and explain in general what each means, and then ask you and the buyer to sign each applicable document. It's all incredibly routine, but if you have any questions, ask! Then they'll leave the room to make copies for everyone, come back and present you with your paperwork and a check, if applicable, and that's technically it. You've sold a home!
Again, every transaction is different, but typically you will want to transfer all keys - including garage, shed, crawlspace, attic etc. to the buyer at the closing table.