Selling your house is a big undertaking. It's time-consuming and has lasting impacts. There's more involved to selling your home than posting a "for sale" sign. Be sure to weigh the value of your time against savings from not having to pay a real estate agent. Plan to aggressively market your home, or it may sit for a longer period. And, insufficient marketing exposure can result in a lower sales price. Evaluate the local real estate market to analyze values and hone negotiating skills.
Role of the Seller's Agent
Do you need a real estate agent? There's a downside to a "for sale by owner" transaction, such as legal loopholes, failed sales, lawsuits and buyers leery of dealing with non-Realtors. To find brokers, Realtor.com, the official site of the National Association of Realtors®, includes a link to "Find a Realtor".
There are various seller listing options. "Sale by owner" candidates should consider an open listing, which is a non-exclusive listing that allows you to sell own your property. Exclusive agency listings and exclusive right to sell listings apply to agent situations.
How do you establish a sales price? Start with comparable data from recent local home sales, real estate appraisals, market and economic information, and pricing and sales data. Make certain to include in your listing descriptive text, attractive professional-grade photos, video tours and descriptions of notable attributes.
What You Need to Disclose
It is imperative to have an adequate seller's disclosure. It informs purchasers of all that might interfere with a decision to purchase the house before the sale is completed. The seller prepares the written document, signed by the parties, which discloses pre-existing faults and information about the property. There are heavy consequences to failing to adequately detail defects. A frustrated buyer may try to cancel the sale or seek monetary damages.
The Utah Association of Realtors offers an official form for the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement.
Getting an Offer
Buyers make an initial offer to sellers, often for less than asking price. The offer may have varying terms, like closing date, contingency conditions or deadlines, inspection waivers or personal property sought. A counteroffer is seller's response to the offer, often accepting the offer subject to conditions. There is no limit to how many counteroffers can occur. The purchase agreement is the written offer.
After an offer is accepted, parties enter into a contract and complete its terms to advance to the closing.
What to Include in the Purchase Agreement
The purchase agreement is a legally binding contract detailing purchase price, settlement date, what is included in sale, agency disclosure, details of possession, due diligence, marketable title, final walk-through and warranty terms.
If a home inspection reveals defects in the property, there are negotiation alternatives to salvage the sale: allowance from seller to purchaser to repair defects, repair of the defect by the seller or a reduction in sales price.
The closing is the final stage of the process. It's a meeting of the parties with lawyers or agents to finish the sales transaction. Buyers sign promissory notes and mortgages and receive funds from lenders. They pay sellers the purchase price, and sellers turn over documents to transfer good title to buyers, like deeds.
The seller provides keys to purchaser at closing or slightly afterwards. Sellers do not have to attend closing (and seldom do).
Laws applicable to real estate are state-specific. Home sellers should consult a Utah real estate attorney to safeguard their interests.