Assuming you are selling your property with a full-service listing, these are the steps you can expect to go through until your property is sold.
Competitive Market Analysis
The CMA is the comparative market analysis. Your realtor will do one for your house to show you what they think it should be listed at. They’ll look at other properties that are listed and have sold and compare them to your house. Hopefully, the realtor’s opinion of value won’t differ too markedly from yours. The most common difference is that the realtor thinks the house is worth less than the seller; homeowners are often emotional about their houses and have an inflated opinion of their worth. Good realtors are objective and want you to achieve your goal of selling at the best realistic price.
Next will come the listing agreement. This is a contract that authorizes your realtor to list, advertise and find a buyer for your house. The length of time for the listing varies. At that time, you’ll also decide if you want a lock box, yard sign and Internet and conventional advertising. I recommend all of them.
Finally, there is the commission. I charge 6% for a full-service listing, which you, the seller, pay out of closing. When the house sells, the commission is split with the selling firm, the selling broker, the listing broker and the listing firm. While the commission may sound like a lot, most brokers I know work hard for their money.
The listing agreement is a binding contract. If a realtor procures a party who is ready, willing and able to buy your home, but you decide not to sell, you could be liable for a commission. Because Eugene/Springfield is a small area, this isn’t common, but it is possible.
Showings are the most unpleasant aspect of selling your house. To be successful, you want to make access easy to your house. Be prepared for short, or no, advanced warnings before showings. This means your house will need to be perpetually picked-up and clean, at least until you accept an offer. The more showings you have, the greater the likelihood of a sale.
Your broker will present offers from buyers, and will have advice on how to respond. You’ll pay most attention to the price that is offered, but don’t forget to look at the contingencies as well. Don’t get offended if someone low-balls you; it’s not about you or your house–it’s about what the buyer (or his/her agent) thinks they can get away with. You have three choices on any offer you receive: reject, accept, or counter.
Your first offer may be the best one, and I don’t like to let the deal die on my end. If you get a low-ball offer, you can always counter (once the sting wears off). Your realtor will know how to respond to offers and will help you.
If you accept the buyer’s offer as presented to you, you have a deal. If you counter-offer, even with only small changes, the buyer isn’t bound to their original offer. It’s only when you accept the offer as-is, that the buyer is bound, and must perform.
After you have an accepted offer, the buyer will probably want one or more house inspections. Although the buyer will pay for any desired inspections, you’ll still need to accommodate them in your schedule. If problems are found, be prepared for more negotiations; the buyer may want you to pay to fix any problems that they find. Again, this is something your realtor will help you with.
Closing usually occurs at the escrow office. This is where you actually get the money for selling your home, although it may arrive after closing. You’ll need to sign a deed prepared by the escrow office, and it will need to be notarized.
Most likely, you’ll deliver a full-warranty deed, as is the case in the majority of home sales. There are, however, several types of deeds available in Oregon. The most definitive source of information on this is the escrow company or your real estate attorney.
Provides the buyer the most protection, and is generally required of the seller.
Special Warranty Deed:
Less protection for the buyer. The seller guarantees the quality of the title only during the period the property was owned by the seller.
Bargain and Sale Deed:
Even less protection for the buyer. This deed transfers whatever interest you have, or may acquire in the future, but doesn’t warrant that your title is good.
Provides the least protection for the buyer. This form of deed transfers only the title you may have at the time of transfer.