Few things in life are as potentially stressful as selling your home. You have to consider legal ramifications, pricing, showings and more. The process is confusing. What to do first? Before you sell your home in Connecticut, do your research on the home market and consider hiring an agent.
Role of a Seller's Real Estate Agent:
The expertise of a real estate agent can help guide you through the home sale process. It's possible to put your house up for sale by owner, or FSBO, but the pitfalls are many. Lack of pricing and advertising strategies and a lack of familiarity with the process can put you at a disadvantage. Ask friends for recommendations for an agent, or take note of agents with "For Sale" signs in your area. They're probably successful and familiar with your neighborhood. Check with the Connecticut Association of REALTORS® or the National Association of Realtors®.
Your Home Listing
There are three different types of listings in Connecticut:
- Exclusive right to sell, open right to sell, or an exclusive agency right to sell. A right to sell is where the agent finds the buyer for you.
- An open right to sell involves an open listing where you or anyone else can look for a buyer.
- An exclusive agency right to sell means you can sell the home, but you agree to work with one agency for selling. Don't be fooled by agents who tell you your home is worth far more than it its. Look at comparable sales in your neighborhood so you have a firm idea of a reasonable listing price. Include photos, price, amenities, specific details, and a positive, motivating description in your home listing.
You must inform buyers about the condition of your property. Failure to provide this information can result in you having to credit the buyer $300 cash back at closing. You can view Connecticut's property disclosure form at the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection website.
Getting an Offer
After you receive an offer, it's up to you to accept it, reject it, or counter it. Your agent will convey your wishes to the buyer. If you're lucky enough to receive multiple offers, it's up to you to decide which to accept or counter. Get advice from your Realtor on the merits of each. After you've agreed on price, a contract will be drawn up. There are forms for residential purchase agreements, but your attorney can amend the form if necessary.
A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract in Connecticut. It's commonly used, but not necessary.
If a home inspection uncovers defects, you may have to negotiate with the buyer, through your respective agents, regarding issues such as repair. You may have to provide cash back at closing so the buyer can repair the defects himself after the sale.
Closing the Sale
At closing, all necessary paperwork is exchanged, along with payment. Closings can be informal, with just the buyer and seller present, or formal. A formal closing involves agents and attorneys, and the seller and buyer are not typically present. Keys, door openers, alarm codes and anything else necessary to ownership are exchanged at closing.
This article is a brief introduction to the topic of selling a home. Sellers should consult with a real estate attorney for legal advice.