Selling your home is a large undertaking that can be time-intensive with major consequences. Consider these points.
There's more to home-selling than putting a "for sale" sign in your yard. The value of your time should be weighed against not having to pay an agent commission. Your house may sit long-term on the market, and you may have to sell at a lower price with insufficient marketing.
Role of Seller Agent
Do you need to hire a seller's agent? The shortcomings to a "for sale by owner" sale include: legal pitfalls, failed sales, lawsuits and purchasers leery of negotiating with non-Realtors.
How do you locate agents? Realtor.com, a creation of the National Association of Realtors, contains a "Find a Realtor" link.
If you do decide to sell on your own, there are several listing alternatives, like ForSaleByOwner.com, www.mlsmyhomebyowner.com and www.owners.com.
How is sales price set? Your agent will use comparable information gleaned from recent similar neighborhood home sales, real estate appraisals, local market and economic information, pricing and sales trend data.
Ensure your listing contains compelling descriptive phrases, eye-catching professional photos, video tours and emphasis of stand-out attributes.
An adequate seller's disclosure is imperative. This document tells the buyer anything that might interfere with her decision to buy the home before sale is finalized. The written document is prepared by seller, executed by seller and buyer, and discloses pre-existing faults and information about the house. There are significant impacts in failing to adequately disclose defects. A frustrated buyer may try to void the sale or seek money damages for repairs and/or losses.
The Missouri Association of Realtors offers a form for the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement, available with member's login and password. Local real estate agents include the form in web marketing.
Getting an Offer
The offer is tendered to seller by buyer, usually for less than asking price and/or varying terms, like closing date, contingency conditions, inspection waivers or personal property desired. Seller's response to buyer's offer is the counteroffer, generally accepting the offer with conditions. There is no limit to counteroffers. The offer is reduced in writing in the purchase agreement.
When an offer is accepted, parties go under contract and must complete terms of the contract to progress to closing.
What is the Purchase Agreement?
The purchase agreement is usually several pages. It is legally binding and contains purchase price, settlement dates, what is included in the sale, agency disclosure, details of possession, due diligence, marketable title, final walk-through, and warranty issues.
If a house inspection reveals defects, there are negotiating alternatives available to salvage the sale: allowance from seller to buyer to fix defects, seller can fix defects or sales price can be lowered.
The closing or settlement is the conclusion of the purchase process. It's a meeting when buyer and seller with their lawyers and/or agents complete the sale. Buyer executes the promissory note and mortgage and obtains funds from lender for seller. Buyer pays seller. Seller gives buyer documents to transfer good title to the property, including a deed.
Keys are given to buyer by seller at closing or after same. Seller does not have to attend closing (often doesn't).
Laws governing real estate are state-specific. Sellers in Missouri should consult an attorney who speciliazes in residential real estate to safeguard your interests.