The Complete Guide To Selling Your Home

The complete guide to selling your home in Madison, AL

By Richard Bonifacio

If you want to save time and increase your profits when selling your home, then this guide is for you.

We all have our reasons for moving. The effects of change will take a massive toll on your freedom and disrupt your daily routines. If you own a home, then you may have extra responsibilities to settle before embarking on your new journey.

This informative guide will prepare you for success in selling your home, whether you’re hiring a real estate agent or selling it yourself.

Table of Contents

Meet with a Real Estate Agent

How to Price Your Home to Sell

How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

How to Market and Advertise Your Home

How to Show Your Home

How to Handle Offers and Negotiations in Real Estate

What To Do After Accepting an Offer on My Home

What Happens at Closing 

Meet With a Real Estate Agent

Do you need a realtor to sell your home? No! However, using a real estate agent will generally net you more money selling your home. You’ll benefit by saving time, reducing stress, and avoiding the frustration of dealing with people. 

You’ll also have a professional to deal with the incoming hoard of realtors that want to show and list your home. If hired, these professionals have up-to-date knowledge and can advise you along the way. They have a fiduciary duty to keep their client’s interests (you) ahead of others. Suppose you prefer not to use a real estate agent. In that case, at minimum, I’d recommend at least hiring a real estate attorney to review any documents that you may receive to understand what’s presented.

How To Choose the Right Realtor? 

There are many professional (and not so professional) real estate agents in your area. Chances are, you may already know a few. So, how do you choose the right agent that will direct a significant financial transaction to make you the most money as quickly as possible? 

Consider the following:

Their Marketing Fee

What is their marketing fee, or what is their commission? The question of what it will cost is one of the most asked questions when selling your home. This amount will vary from company to company. Although cost is an essential factor, you should really try to determine what other value and services are included with their marketing fee to fit your needs. A great agent has many resources at their disposal and an extensive network of industry-related professionals.

Their Brokerage

There are many companies for your choosing. Fresh startups and local, national, and international brokerages are available. When you narrow down to a company you want to use, ask yourself, does it have what it takes to sell your home smoothly?

You will want to know if the agent is working alone or as a team because there is a difference. There are positive and negative aspects to both situations.  

It’s also imperative to ask if they are working in real estate full-time or part-time.

Their Marketing Plan

The most important question to ask a real estate agent (or yourself if you want to sell it FSBO) is their marketing plan. It would help if you asked them how they will advertise your property. Are they selling their face or your home? Is their marketing plan flexible? If not, do they have a backup plan?

Their Negotiating Skills

Can you or your real estate agent negotiate? Negotiating takes time and experience. It’s a skill that is developed to reach a reasonable compromise while holding firm on matters important to you. Unfortunately, t’s not always easy, and most transactions fail at this stage. In my experience, the best way to negotiate is to empathetically listen and find solutions to the problem with honesty and integrity.

Their Communication

Everyone has their preferences for how they like to communicate. Your agent should be concise on how they will communicate with you. A great agent will schedule and block time for you to give you updates, and feedback, review your options, and possibly review their marketing. They must also be able to communicate with other agents and the public and write well (very important for interpreting offers). 

Their Knowledge

If you hire an agent, they should be knowledgeable about your market. They may not have all data on the spot, but they should be able to interpret the data and see the trends. They should also have a strong understanding of real estate documents and license law. 

Their Technology

There are tried and true methods to selling a home: cold calling, print media, door knocking, and open houses. However, is your realtor utilizing new technology to maximize the advertising and exposure of your home? Technology can save you time and make you more money, so be sure you’re using it to your advantage.

Their Opinion of Value

“What’s my home worth?” This is the number one question asked of any real estate agent when selling a home. At a minimum, your agent will come prepared with a comparative market analysis and an opinion of price based on this data. The report should have data and statistics on the housing market in your area, which is crucial to determine the value of your home. If you are selling by yourself, you still have options to gather this information and make a rational decision on your asking price.

My shameless sales pitch

I provide the following luxurious services on all my listings:

·       A detailed checklist to help obtain the most value

·       Complementary professional photography

·       Video tours, virtual open houses, and/or Matterport services

·       Digital marketing and advertising on the MLS, websites like Zillow, social media, mass emails, and other pay-per-click advertisements

·       A tasteful “For Sale” sign (you won’t see my personal picture)

·       A proven open house system

·       Complementary 2-10 Home Warranty for listing coverage

·       An electronic lockbox and the ability to set your own schedule for showings through Showingtime

·       Clear and consistent communication

·       And so much more

Now that you’ve met with the professionals, you’ve likely decided on which agent you’d like to use. You should follow that agent’s marketing plan. Following their plan is essential for the best chance of selling your home.

If you can’t follow their plan, you may need to rethink if they are the right agent for you. Be sure to address any concerns that you may have before signing anything. 

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to prepare your home for sale.

How to Price Your Home to Sell

At this point, you’ve had a valuation, a price opinion, and reviewed the market data. Now, your role as the seller is to determine the price for which you’d like to sell your home. Take into consideration these major factors when determining your list price.

There are four primary factors that determine the marketability of your home:

1.      Location

2.      Price

3.      Condition

4.      The Market

-         Homes available

-         Homes contingent, pending and sold

-         Days on market

 

You can’t control your home's location or the market. However, you can control your asking price and condition.

No matter what price you list your home for, the public—or rather the market—will be the determining factor for the home’s actual value. 

It’s ultimately up to the buyer to deem what a property is worth. Convincing the buyer to determine what a home is worth is much more important than convincing a seller of a list price.

So, the seller should look at this transaction from a buyer’s point of view. 

A buyer generally likes to feel like they are getting their money's worth or receiving a good deal. They all have different needs and wants, but most do not want to spend more than they must.

If you think of retail sales, there are generally four categories. This holds to real estate as well when choosing a list price.

Clearance

Think of a clearance sale at a store. These homes are usually priced well below market value. They may or may not have condition issues or defects and are priced to reflect that.

Below Market Average

Think of a sale at a store. These homes are priced below perceived market value. They are usually in good condition. Buyers feel like they are getting a good deal. Depending on the market, starting low could be an excellent way to get a great offer.

Market Average

Think of a retail price at a store. These homes are at or slightly above the perceived market value. This is close to the expected median and average sales price of homes sold. Homes listed at market value are generally in good to outstanding condition.

Premium

Think of limited quantity or luxury products. These homes are priced significantly higher than the market value. Homes selling in this category could include completely remodeled, new construction, or luxury homes. Homes in price point are generally in fantastic condition.

Now that you’ve determined your price range, it’s time to prepare your home for sale.

 

 

How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

When selling your home, success lies in preparation and planning. Below is a quick guide to preparing your home for sale.

Consider Having a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

A pre-listing home inspection is when the Seller hires a home inspector to inspect your property before placing it on the market. A pre-listing report gives you great insight into your property’s condition and can help keep costs down by repairing or addressing those issues ahead of time. 

You do not have to have a pre-listing home inspection, but if your budget allows, it can be a helpful tool to leverage your position on the market. The information can help correctly price your home. Another benefit is that you can share it with buyers if you choose to. This report could help remove any anxiety, worries, or concerns they may have before purchasing your home. 

Be aware that new issues may arise any time after the home inspection and before closing. Remember that the buyer has the right to hire another home inspector, and they may find other issues or have a different opinion. But the benefits far outweigh the consequences.

Work On Maintenance Items and/or Consider Cosmetic Upgrades

If you have had a pre-listing home inspection, review your report, and consider fixing any issues that may affect its value. Fixing repairs before receiving offers will save you money because most agents recommend a licensed professional to perform the work. If repairs are not within your budget or timeline, you may want to consider lowering your asking price to address that. 

Ask your realtor to look at the property if you have declined a pre-listing home inspection. Have your agent honestly share their opinion on the condition of the property. Inquire about their viewpoint and discuss any suggested improvements or maintenance issues that could affect value.

Cosmetic Refreshing and Upgrades

Fresh paint, new fixtures, and deep cleaning can create a like-new feeling. So does carpet, flooring, and trim. The options are endless. If you decide that investing time and money will bring you a greater return on your investment, it would be wise to have a conversation with your agent before starting any projects. However, the return on investment may not be worth it.

If you’re not working with a real estate agent, have a different set of eyes to evaluate your home. It could be your coworkers, friends, or neighbors. A fresh perspective can point out things that have become commonplace to you, such as stains, odors, and repairs.

Packing and Decluttering

The packing phase helps to declutter and depersonalize the home. This allows extra space. Extra space appeals to buyers as it will also make the room feel larger and cleaner.

If you have excessive personal belongings, contemplate holding a garage or yard sale, donating a few items, or placing your chattel in short-term storage.

Using the garage or shed is perfectly fine if that is not an option. However, store them with discretion as this can become cluttered very quickly. 

When packing, you may come across information you’ll want to save for later. Gather that information so you won't have to search for it later.

Gathering Information

Many buyers will want to know the ages of the roof, HVAC systems, water heater, and appliances. Have proof at hand by collecting any information on home improvements, maintenance, or contracted work. This will set you apart from the competition. 

Refer to the checklist below:

·       Create a 12-month average of your utility bills from your service providers

·       Make a list of home improvements, including special features and new appliances

·       Gather all receipts, invoices, and warranties of anything related to the home

·       Provide contact information of current and past service providers

·       If you’re in an HOA, find their contact information

·       If you have a mortgage, find your lender’s contact information

·       Gather your plat map and survey (if you have them)

 

Take all this information, organize it in a binder, and have it ready for display. With your consent, a savvy agent will make these documents available on the MLS as well.

Depersonalization

Depersonalization can help the buyers imagine themselves living there. Think of the last time you’ve stayed at a hotel or Airbnb. You know someone’s been there the night before, yet you feel comfortable but not intrusive of someone else’s space. To help with this, take down family photos, awards, trophies, or personal items.

There’s also a fine line between having character and being quirky, so it’s best to cautious with decor. You may love your collection of clowns; others may not. For those special items, it would be in your best interest to store them away to keep your collection safe.

Show Ready and Curb Appeal

Your home has now had a makeover. You’ve addressed cosmetic and condition issues within your budget and gained more space. It’s time to make the home more inviting through organizing, cleaning, planning, and staging.

How to Efficiently Clean Your Home

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, a deep cleaning does wonders to the feel of the home. Buyers will have a great initial impression of a clean home. If cleaning is not your thing, you could always hire a professional. However, you’ll still need to put in the work to rearrange and organize.

Start With the Whole House

Starting with the whole house, begin from the top and work your way down (ceiling to floor). Begin by dusting top to bottom, including any ceiling fans, molding, vents, tables, countertops, etc.

Follow Up with the Windows, Blinds, Drapes, Or Curtains

Next, work on the walls and baseboards. A microfiber towel, cleaning solution, and magic erasers should be enough.

Clean the Floor

Tackle the floor by lightly sweeping, vacuuming, and finally mopping. Try your best to remove any stubborn stains.

Focus on One Room at A Time

Organize a room first, then clean it. Start with the bedrooms and living spaces. Remove extra items on desks, tables, counters, drawers, bookshelves, and closets to create a spacious feeling. Organize whatever is left you deem essential. 

Go through your closets and organize what you need and what you’ll use. Pack the rest. Then, make the beds nicely. For any beds used, make sure you get in the habit of making them each morning. 

Clean the Bathrooms

Minimize the use of toiletries. You don't need 10 different perfumes or colognes, six shampoos, eight conditioners, different soaps, and body wash.

When it comes to cleaning the space, follow this order:

·       Start with the windows and mirrors.

·       Follow up with the tub and or shower.

·       Clean or replace the shower curtain.

·       Clean the sink, then the toilet.

·       Finish up with the floors.

The Kitchen

Organize, rearrange, and remove any unwanted items in your cabinets, drawers, pantry, fridge, and freezer (including magnets and notes). Consume or donate your excess perishables to help keep them open and spacious.

Pay extra attention to your countertops. Clean and make them as spacious as possible. Remove any appliances that you don't frequently use (mixer, blender, air fryer, etc.) and put them in storage for extra cabinet space. Clean and store anything that you don’t use daily and put them into the cabinets and off the counters.

Don’t forget the sink. Make sure you give it a good scrub; it doesn’t hurt to deodorize either.

Common Areas

Move onto the common areas and apply the same principles to tables, countertops, closets, desks, chairs, sofas, etc.

Adding a few air fresheners or fresh flowers around the house can really freshen up and make a home feel clean as well. However, do not overdo this. Too much of a good thing isn’t such a good thing.

Floors

The last step for cleaning your home is to sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors… again. All the previous cleaning may have accidentally moved dust and grime onto your floors. This would be the best time to steam clean carpets, and wax or polish your flooring.

You are now finished with the inside. But wait. There’s more!

Curb Appeal

First impressions count. So, let’s address the exterior of the home. When viewing a home, the appearance of your home truly matters. It’s difficult to change a buyer's initial reaction. Thankfully it doesn't take much to convince a buyer that you’ve taken great care of your home. We can achieve that by being predictable.

Upkeep is essential. Have your landscaping in order, replace or remove any dead plants, trim the trees and bushes, get rid of weeds, mow the lawn, and remove any trash and debris. 

Make it a point to clean out your gutters too.

Store your garden hose, or keep it neatly bundled. Double-check that your exterior lighting is properly working.

If you have a shed or extra detached buildings, you may want to clean and organize those too.

Water features, such as pools, hot tubs, and ponds, should be cleaned and in working order.

Consider power-washing the driveway, patio, deck, fencing, exterior brick, and siding. 

If you have any open space in your backyard, consider making it more inviting by rearranging your outdoor furniture or features, including a grill, chairs, tables, or fire pit.

Address Any Pests

Bugs are a turnoff. If you’ve noticed an increase in insects, pests, and rodents, it would be a good idea to address and remediate the issue. If you’ve seen them, so will the buyers.

Lightly staging the entranceway with welcoming items like a new door mat, bench, plants, or a sign will easily add value to your home.

How To Stage a Home

Staging a home is a quick and efficient way to create value. It’s simple to do, but difficult to execute.

You can start by removing excess furniture or rearranging what you have. This alone can make a room seem larger and can give it a better flow. If a sofa has tears or stains on it, place a few pillows or a throw over it to cover it up.

Highlight special features, such as a fireplace or sunroom. Swap out curtains and drapes to a lighter neutral color. You may need to add or remove area rugs. Consider purchasing luxurious bed sets and towels; you can use these in your new home later. Sparsely place décor like books, live plants, or fresh flowers around your home to add a bit of character.

Lighting 

I recommend changing the lightbulbs to the brightest bulb you’re comfortable with and ensuring that they’re matching and of similar brightness.

Allow as much natural light in as possible. Open the blinds, drapes, and curtains.

Show Ready

Now that your home is clean, you need to maintain its cleanliness. We can easily get into our comfort zone, but we must be ready to show the house at any given time. After our deep clean, in most cases, you’ll just have to do are minor touch-ups.

Purchase a laundry basket and a few plastic bins or reusable totes. These will be your time-saving tools. Should a sudden showing occur, you can throw all your valuables, beauty, medical, and personal items into the bin and take them with you or store it away. This will keep counters looking spacious and clean.

Other things to note:

·       Any dirty clothes can be hidden in the washer.

·       You should not have dirty dishes; place them in the dishwasher before leaving.

·       Wipe down any mirrors and counters.

·       Lightly vacuum, dust, and mop.

·       If you have time, take out the trash; if not, make sure you’ve got your lid on it.

·       Open the blinds, drapes, or curtains and turn on all the lights.

Pets

If you have pets, you’ll need to do some extra planning. If they have anxiety or are nervous around strangers, or you anticipate a lot of viewings and showings, it’s best to take them with you or schedule daycare or boarding for your furry friends. 

 

If temporary placement is not an option, at least have them stay in a comfortable, enclosed space during showings. 

This, however, may be unappealing to some crowds due to possible allergies, fear, or preferences. So, it’s best to remove pets, if possible.

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing includes identifying customer needs and determining the best way to meet those needs. Advertising is a way to promote a product or service to the public. 

When selling your home, you need a marketing plan. If you’ve met with a Realtor, this starts (and sometimes ends) with a comparative market analysis, often referred to as a CMA. This report is the opinion of data interpreted by the real estate agent, based on the current homes for sale, pending sales, and closed sales. It may include information such as days on the market, sales price, price per square feet, and more. The agent will then compare your home to the market. Next, let’s review how to market your home.

How to Market and Advertise Your Home

To best market your home, we need to make your home as appealing as possible to reach as many people as possible.

Thankfully, our preparation brought your home up to the best possible condition (according to your abilities, time, and budget). Now, it’s time to advertise your home.

Photography

Let’s be honest: we judge a book by its cover. It’s the same with advertisements. Photography is generally the first interaction the public will have with your home. 

There are various levels of skill and advantages to using higher-end equipment. Your home is worth tens, hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of dollars.  Your home does not deserve cell phone pictures.

Always hire a professional photographer. This is their craft; they’ve done these hundreds and thousands of times. They have the skill, knowledge, and technology to deliver you the best possible results.

Video

Video is just as important as photos. Small snippets of a video highlighting the home, or the neighborhood add value. This could range from virtual tours to ariel footage. Again, there are different levels of cost that are factored into the quality of the results, ranging from cell phones, video recorders, gimbals, and drones.

Matterport

A blend of photography and video would lead to a service called Matterport. Matterport allows anyone in the world to tour your house at any time of day virtually. A special camera is used to record every detail of the house. After the recording is pieced together and edited, a link is created for anyone to view your home virtually.

Measurements

Almost anyone can take measurements, but few do so accurately. A real estate agent can do this; however, I recommend using a certified Appraiser to measure the home. The best benefit of having an appraiser measure your home is that it significantly reduces your liability.

This is important to selling your home because it gives you the approximate amount for square feet and room dimensions. This data is also essential to determine market value. As a bonus, you’ll also receive a sketch of the floor plan, which works wonders for online shoppers.

Survey

If you have had a survey done, that's great. As a seller, you do not normally have to order a survey, but it can be helpful for properties with large lots or land and acreage. A survey gives a buyer peace of mind by letting them know the boundaries of the property. This is useful to buyers that may want to add a detached structure or privacy fence.

The Advertising Copy

The last step to showcase is to write a compelling description. You don’t have to write a literary masterpiece. If you’re unsure what to write, be descriptive as possible, as if roaming through the home. Word count permitting, highlight features of the home, improvements made, amenities nearby, etc. 

Advertising

All pre-marketing of the home is completed, and now it’s time to advertise. There are many ways to advertise your home. The options are vast and vary. Below are some common effective ways to advertise.

Multiple Listing Service

The most trusted and reliable way to advertise is through the Multiple Listing Service. Realtors are a part of an association. That association as a collective has a database of homes for sale called the multiple listing service (MLS). Once a listing is active on the MLS, with the clients’ approval, the home will automatically syndicate to other websites such as Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc. 

The Web

There are other ways to create your web presence, such as emails and forums like Craigslist. If budget permits, you can create a website specifically for your home or pay a company to advertise for you on a pay-per-click basis. Your realtor will have your home listed on their website or, at minimum, their brokerages' website. 

Third-Party Sites

If you’re selling on your own, the perfect place to start is with reputable third-party websites like Zillow or Trulia. These websites may also pull data from other public sources, like the tax assessor’s office. This could inadvertently import incorrect data, such as square feet, owner names, and school zones.

Social Media

Social media is a great place to market your home. Millions of people use social media on many different platforms. This is a great free resource to generate potential buyers. Each social media site has a niche, so be sure to try a few.

Print Media

While print media is a classic approach, it’s effective if used correctly. There are numerous ways to accomplish this, including flyers, newsletters, brochures, postcards, door hangers, business cards, and, most importantly, signage. 

Anyone on the block will notice your for-sale sign. So don’t cut costs when choosing a for-sale sign; your home deserves better than the department store special.

Cold Calling

Phone sales are still relevant. It’s the easiest and most direct line of communication. Hopefully, your marketing plan has a way to address phone calls at all hours of the day. Buyers are unlikely to call and make an offer on a home, but they will ask questions and want to schedule an appointment to view it.

Caravans, Broker Opens, and Office Meetings

Depending on the market, these may not happen. A brokerage can schedule a viewing for a group of agents to visit. There is great value to this. Agents will have firsthand knowledge of your home, which may be the home that one of their clients is looking for. An agent can also share their listings internally at company meetings. In many cases, homes could be sold before they even hit the market.

How to Show Your Home

Having the public view your home is the most considerable inconvenience to you as the seller. You quickly realize that you’re not in control. Your emotions start to hit you at this point, and you’re probably exhausted. The solutions to this problem vary according to your agent and their marketing plan.

But the predominant ways for buyers to view your home are listed below.

Private Showings

This is where most for sale by the owners will struggle. We live in a world of instant gratification. An FSBO may not be available to show the home. If the buyer has no way to see the home when they want to, they’ll follow the path of least resistance and view another home.

Realtors have a system in place for buyers to view homes. They handle the appointments and take responsibility when showing the home. Most buyers will have a private viewing as their preferred way of viewing a home. This type of viewing tends to favor the buyer’s schedule.

Open Houses

Open houses can be a successful way to show your home, but only if there is an effort to advertise it correctly. At a minimum, an open house is advertised on the web, and the public is led to the home through GPS or directional signs. If marketed and advertised correctly, open houses can bring in many potential buyers. If planned haphazardly, it may bring no potential buyers at all. Open houses can be scheduled at any time, but premier showings tend to be on the weekend. Open houses generally favor the Sellers' schedule.

Virtual Tours

The pandemic has made virtual tours a powerful medium for viewing a home. It’s a great way for buyers with travel limitations or travel restrictions to view your home. A virtual tour can be done with a video, or a program called Matterport. A virtual tour favors the schedule of buyers and sellers and allows a global reach.

No matter how a buyer views your home, the market never lies. This can help or hurt your listing. You must be receptive to public feedback and be able to adapt your marketing strategy.

How to Handle Offers and Negotiations in Real Estate

Now that you’ve successfully marketed and advertised your home, the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. You’ve received an offer.

Receiving An Offer

When an offer is presented, the seller can accept, reject, or counter the offer. An agent would advise their seller to accept or counter one offer, as there are legal repercussions for doing otherwise. You need to make an informed decision and review it carefully.

Review the Offers

There are many versions of a sales contract. What is normally used depends on which county or region you’re making an offer. A realtor can access these sales contracts through their real estate board. 

If you do not understand what’s presented to you, consult a real estate attorney. If it’s a nonstandard purchase agreement, it is highly recommended to have a real estate attorney review the contract before signing. Doing this provides peace of mind, protects your interests, and reduces your liabilities.

If the seller has a licensed real estate agent, that agent must present all offers to the seller up until the point of closing—even if it’s under contract. 

Negotiations

You’ve received an offer, but maybe that’s not exactly what you wanted. How do you get closer to your goal? Well, you need to negotiate.

How to Negotiate

There is a fine line to push and pull when negotiating. Ask too much, and the buyer can pull their offer and walk away; ask too little, and you may have seller's remorse. The ability to compromise is key.

When negotiating, the seller must know that before acceptance, the buyer can withdraw their offer at any time. Choosing what and when to negotiate is vital to the successful sale of your home.

Once terms and conditions are agreed upon, both parties will sign the offer. The Buyer and Seller are now in a legally binding contract. They are expected to do due diligence or risk default and possible legal consequences. 

Negotiations often do not end at the time of offer. Negotiations occur over many instances of the sales transaction and are where many deals fall apart. Negotiating can happen after any inspections, appraisals, or other contingencies, and at the final walk-through.

What To Do After Accepting an Offer on My Home

What do you do after accepting an offer?

Upon acceptance, it’s time for both buyers and sellers to execute what they’ve agreed upon. It will depend on the terms and conditions of the sales contract, but due diligence must be performed. You must be reachable during this period.

Time is of the essence, meaning all paperwork will be submitted to the closing company (which could be a real estate attorney, title, or closing company). This is where an escrow account may be set up by a closing company. The closing company will be in contact with the buyer, seller, lender, and agents (if applicable).

What or who closes this deal depends on the terms and conditions agreed upon in the contract.

Despite the closing company's involvement, you may still have tasks you are required to do. It will vary according to the agreement, but you may have to respond and possibly negotiate any agreed-upon repairs discovered during the inspection and contingency period.

Inspection Period

If requested, the buyer may have a home inspection period where they are allowed to hire a professional (at the cost of the buyer) to discover any latent defects, safety, and hazardous conditions. They may submit a request for repairs. 

Like in the offer period, the seller's options are to accept, reject, or counter the repairs. Once terms and conditions are set, both parties once again have a responsibility to perform what was agreed upon.

The seller should typically execute these actions as soon as possible due to the possibility of unforeseen circumstances. It may be difficult to have a contractor or technician provide a solution, so time is of the essence in completing the task at hand.

If a termite inspection is requested or required, it will usually occur about 30 days before closing. If any corrections are recommended, be prepared to address the issue.

Once all inspections and contingencies are met, you are in the sale-pending phase. This is the perfect time to forward your address, plan out the last day of your utilities and any other service providers, and finalize your moving plans. To avoid any unnecessary stress, please plan properly.

The Final Walk-Through

Once all contingencies are completed, you’re on your way to closing! Before closing occurs, the buyers typically have a chance at a final walk-through. This allows the buyers to reinspect the property to ensure that any requested repairs were completed, and the property is in the same or better condition at the time of the offer.

Issues may have occurred before the final walk-through. Systems, components, and other appurtenances can fail, or accidents could happen. 

The buyer must ensure that the property is as agreed upon before closing and accepting the property. Should any discrepancies arise, there may be one last round of negotiations to make things right.

What Happens at Closing 

Finally, the end is near. Before closing, the closing company will send you a closing disclosure. A closing disclosure is a statement that transparently shows the debits and credits of the transaction. To ensure a timely closing, it is the responsibility of each party to verify the accuracy of that information.

On the day of closing, you may be in the same room. If you have health concerns or prefer not to be in the same room as the buyer, you can make a request ahead of time to accommodate that. 

The closing attorney/title company will verify your personal information. Then, the closing company will proceed to review and have you sign the documents in the closing package. Apart from the closing company documents, a final walk-through form may be presented to you from the buyer as well.

The closing company will then submit the signed documents to the buyer’s lender, and any real estate agencies involved. The closing company then must record the title with the registrar's office.

Next, you’ll receive your settlement check or confirmation of your wired funds. If you’ve moved out of state and are closing through a mail-away, using a power of attorney, or signed ahead of time, discuss with the closing company how you will receive your funds.

Verify that you’ve removed your responsibilities from any utilities or services towards the property.

Now, you’re all done.

Congratulations! You’ve just successfully sold your home.