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Maria Romero Vagnini

Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty
Phone: +1 617.640.1400
Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty

Guide to Selling Your Home

Deciding whether to sell your home, often your largest investment, can be daunting. However, a good real estate agent will listen to your needs, guide you and advise you through the home selling process, and ensure that your home sells for the most money, in the shortest time, with the least amount of anxiety or stress. Allow Maria to guide you through the process.


STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME

1. Engage a Realtor

a. Get a referral If possible use a preferred Realtor. This is also the case when departing an area, as Realtors have contacts throughout the country.

b. Compare and Contrast If you are planning to interview multiple Realtors, it is highly recommended that you consider choosing the one who listens you and also takes into account your various requirements. Don’t be seduced by the high-end, smooth operator. You will very likely be passed off to their assistant and will have little to no contact with them moving forward.


2. Pricing Your Home

a. Take into account:

i. Home condition and desirability

ii. Your competition

iii. How busy the market is

iv. Your timeframe.

b. Do not take into account:

i. What you paid for the home

ii. What your neighbor received in another timeframe

iii. What your friends/colleagues tell you what the worth is.

iv. What you need to receive to meet your financial requirements.


3. Preparing Your Home For Sale

a. Don’t take criticism personally

Criticism of your home is not a personal attack. People vary in taste and preference and this is natural and to be expected.

b. Clean out your closets

Use this time to be ruthless with your closets. Less is better as it makes your home appear more spacious. If necessary, rent a small storage space to accomplish this de-cluttering exercise.


4. Install a For Sale Sign in Your Yard and Lockbox on Your Door

a. Placement is key

Be sure to place your sign in a location which is visible from multiple directions.

b. Easy access

A lockbox enables Realtors have convenient access. Try to avoid accompanied showings unless your home is truly unusual and has lots of hidden features.


5. Begin Showings

a. Flexibility is of utmost importance

Be flexible and willing to accommodate short notice showings should they arise.

b. Home-owner free zone

Don’t be there for appointments as buyers feel more relaxed and receptive without you hovering to “help”.

c. Stay tidy and clean

Whenever you leave the house, assume someone will show it in your absence. No dirty dishes or laundry left out.

d. Evaluate Feedback

Get feedback after each showing so you can react quickly to trends in comments.

e. Provide context to the home

If you are showing in an off-season consider placing photos of the landscaping to provide a more understandable perspective of what the home truly feels like in-season.


6. Negotiating the Offer

a. Be open to negotiation

The best offer may not actually be the highest offer monetarily. Secure financing and a short closing term can often outweigh a small monetary gain.

b. Don’t be put off by a low offer

Some buyers feel obligated to try and get a “deal” but will still end up where you need them to be in pricing. This is just the start of the dialogue.

c. Get the deposit

The buyer will provide a deposit (approx. $1,000.00) with their offer. This is called “good faith monies.” These monies are held in an escrow account by your Realtor’s office. It will go towards the final purchase price if the negotiations are successful.


7. Engaging an Attorney

a. Get expert help

This is often the largest transaction of a person’s life. Keep in mind that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” You are paying a professional to insure against those rare but costly complications.


8. Conducting a Home Inspection

a. Disagreement?

If you don’t agree with a major finding when presented to you by the buyer’s Realtor, (with the relevant Home Inspection report pages) then get an independent opinion.

b. Be accommodating

If the requests are not unrealistic, try to be accommodating. There may be several small items mentioned (such as leaky faucet, noisy bathroom fan) that could be easily rectified by you. It doesn’t mean you are being taken advantage of, just seeing the big picture.


9. Signing the Purchase and Sale

a. Inspection Findings Declared

This will include any findings from the inspection that are to be dealt with prior to the closing.

b. Deposit Fulfillment

The buyer will put down the remainder of their deposit. It is generally 5% of the purchase price minus the initial “good faith“ offering (typically $1,000.00) that came with the offer. Again, it will be put in the escrow account.


10. Organizing Your Move

a. Get a referral

Again, ask for a referral. Make sure all quotes are detailed so that you can compare companies based on the services they offer.


11. Informing Utility Companies

a. Inform utility companies

You generally have to inform your utility companies of your leaving before the buyers can engage them to take over your service.

b. Inform buyer

Let the buyers know who you use (as long as you are satisfied with their service) in case they want to carry on the relationship.

c. Fill your tank

If you use oil then get a delivery to fill in the tank prior to leaving so that the buyers can pay you at the closing. Take along the bill that the company left so that the amount is clear.


12. Leaving the House “Broom Clean”

a. Please be sweet and make it neat

This is not a high level to achieve, so to surpass it is a kind thing to do. No one wants to have to clean a home before they feel it is acceptable to unpack.

b. “Pay it forward”

Leave all instruction books and manuals you may have for appliances, etc. They will be no good to you and invaluable to the new homeowner.

c. Inform the buyer

Local take-out menus, etc. are a good thing to leave stuck on the fridge.

d. Don’t forget any personal items

Don’t forget to check the attic and any crawl spaces for remaining personal items.


13. The Closing

a. Take your sets of keys (including mailbox keys) with you when you go to sign your paperwork

b. It’s time to move on …Congratulations!!!


Timeline for Selling Your Home

Day 1 – Buyer submits offer with $1,000 personal check.

Day 2 – Seller accepts offer; Buyer hires a home inspector

Day 7 – 10 – Home inspection completed

Day 10 - Hire an attorney to look at the Purchase and Sale Agreement

Day 10 – 14 – Sign Purchase and Sale Agreement; Buyer submits additional 5% deposit

Day 28 – 25 – Lender issues mortgage commitment to buyer

1 Week Before Closing – Buyer obtains home insurance binder for closing

Day of Closing – Final Walk-through

Day 40 – 60 – Pass papers at closing (1-2 hours)

Note: This timeline represents approximately 60 days. The time periods shown here are typical but may differ in your situation.