Information for Virginia Home Sellers

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Selling your home is a major task. There's more involved to selling your house than putting a "for sale by owner" sign in the yardit's time-intensive and has long-term consequences. Balance the value of your time versus your savings from not having to pay Realtor commission. In addition, you have to prepare to aggressively market your home, or it may sit for a long time. Insufficient promotion also can result in a lower sales price. Test the local real estate market to assess home values and brush up on negotiating skills.

Role of Seller's Agent

Is it time to hire a Realtor? Pitfalls to trying to sell a home by yourself include legal headaches, failed sales, litigation and purchasers wary of dealing with non-Realtors. To locate an agent,, the official site of the National Association of Realtors®, has information for finding a state-licensed realtor.

Your Listing

There are multiple seller listing alternatives. "Sale by owner" candidates should consider an open listing, which is a non-exclusive listing that permits you to sell your own residence. Exclusive agency and exclusive right to sell listings are used for transactions involving real estate agents.

How do you set sales price? Begin with comparables from recent local home sales, real estate appraisals, market and economic data, and pricing and sales information. To make the most of your listing, it should have descriptive text, attractive professional-quality photography, video tours and descriptions of your home's noteworthy attributes.

The Importance of Seller's Disclosure

It is critical to have a sufficient seller's disclosure. It tells buyers of all that might interfere with a decision to purchase a house before sale is finalized. The seller prepares the written document, executed by parties, which details pre-existing faults and information about the house. There are weighty penalties for failing to adequately disclose defects. A purchaser who discovers faults that weren't disclosed may try to void the sale or seek money damages.

The Commonwealth of Virginia offers a Residential Property Disclaimer Statement pursuant to the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act.

Getting to the Offer

Purchasers extend an initial offer to sellers, usually for less than asking price. The offer may have differing terms, like closing date, contingency conditions or deadlines, inspection waivers or personal property sought. A counteroffer is seller's response to an offer, frequently accepting the offer but subject to conditions. The number of counteroffers that can occur is unlimited. The purchase agreement is the written details of an offer.

Once an offer is accepted, parties enter into a contract that sees them through the final stages of the purchase.

Creating the Purchase Agreement

The purchase agreement is a binding legal contract that defines the purchase price, settlement date, what is included in sale, agency disclosure, details of possession, due diligence, marketable title, final walk-through and warranty conditions.

Post-Contract Negotiations

If a home inspection shows defects in the realty, there are negotiation options to save the sale. The purchaser can repair defects, the seller can repair defects or the sales price can be lowered.

What Happens at the Closing?

The closing is the last stage of the sales process. It's a meeting of parties to complete the sales transaction. Purchasers sign promissory notes and mortgages and obtain funds from lenders. Then, they pay sellers the purchase price, and sellers release documents to transfer good title to buyers, like deeds.

The seller provides keys to buyer at closing or afterwards. Sellers are not required to attend closing (and often don't).


Laws applicable to real estate are state-oriented. Virginia sellers should consult a real estate attorney to protect their interests and ensure that they meet all state-specific legal requirements.

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