Step #5: Making It Official:
Listing Your Property
I'll bring the pens and the forms - Plan on meeting for an hour or more; typically your home is a good meeting place, because you may need to refer to documents you have on file there. You will sign a Listing Agreement giving me authority to represent your home for sale. I'll cover a long list of specifics about the timing, conditions, and items included in any offer.
I will ask you about personal property - Things like appliances and furniture that aren't permanently attached to your house, but may be included in the sale. Typically buyers assume they're entitled to everything they see when they tour your home, so you need to be clear about anything that isn't included in the sale.
You will also have to establish a clear legal right to sell your home. That typically means that a deed has been recorded with the county indicating that you are the rightful owner of the property. Deeds often list husband and wife; sometimes deeds list brothers, sisters, or other relatives; and sometimes they reference trusts or other business entities. Yes, deeds can quickly become a complication, especially when several people are involved. Fortunately, I've handled transactions with complicated titles, and I know how to find a way to sort through the complications.
Expect to spend a fair amount of time completing the "Owner's Disclosure." It lists every key feature of a typical home, from garbage disposals to garage door openers, and asks you to say whether they're in working condition. It's essential to be honest with your answers on the disclosure, because it is legally binding. Fortunately, "Don't Know" is one of the answers.
Other forms include:
Our "Office Policy" - It's a form that explains the protections in place in case I or someone else in my office finds a buyer for your home. You'll want to know that any confidential information relating to your property is safe.
Mortgage Information - If you have a mortgage, this gives the financing institution of the buyer to establish what your mortgage balance is.
MLS Information - I actually fill this one out, capturing all the things I need to know to post your listing online, on MLS and the real estate web sites. Among the things i need to know is your property tax bill, so plan on having that number handy.
Yes, it's possible for all of the "paperwork" to be taken care of online, by email and e-signatures. That's great if your schedule is busy, or if you (or other people with an interest in the property) aren't available. More and more paperwork is being handled online, and there are safe, secure ways to do so.
As we finalize the listing details we'll cover other details, including when and how you want to be notified when someone wants to see your home. You'll provide me with copies of keys for all the doors we need to open (including garages, sheds, outbuildings, etc.), and I'll put an electronic lockbox on your front door. I'll arrange to get pictures, measure rooms, and plant a sign in your front yard. I'll have other questions, and it's likely you will too.
Making It Official - Your Key Step: Be ready to answer questions about the features and condition of your home; have tax and mortgage info available.
Step #6: Lights, Camera, Action!
Pictures are very important to today's real estate listings, because home shoppers spend so much time looking for homes online. It typically takes 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours to get the pictures we want. I often send a professional photographer. You don't have to be on hand for the photos, because the photographer can use the lockbox keys to get inside. You'll want your house to be "show-ready," though - Looking its best.
Once photos are taken, I'll upload all the information about your listing to the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS is the recognized clearing house for all property listed by Realtors in the county, and represents the most active, most accurate, and most complete marketplace for real estate. MLS is the go-to tool used on an ongoing basis by Realtors for clients looking for homes.
The data on MLS is used by every major real estate web site, including Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia, and others. It is the de facto source for real estate information across the entire country.
That's why it is such a powerful and effective tool for presenting your property to the largest and most motivated market.
Lights, Camera, Action! - Your Key Step: Make sure your home is showroom ready for my photographer.
Step #7: Showing Your Home
Here's the typical procedure when someone wants to see your home.
An interested prospect will ask their Realtor to set up a showing.
Their Realtor will call me to make the arrangements
I'll make sure the prospect has the proper financial qualifications
I'll contact you to find a time that works for you
You'll leave your home 10-15 minutes before the scheduled showing
The prospect will tour your home with their Realtor
Their Realtor will provide written information about your home to the prospects and make note of any questions they have
Their Realtor will tell me about the propect's impressions of your home and will forward their questions to me.
I'll pass the prospect's feedback and questions on to you.
I'll pass your answers back to the prospect's Realtor, and find out for you if the prospects have any further interest .
If the prospects have any further interest in your home, they will likely arrange to make a second visit. That's a great sign!
If they don't express any immediate interest, it may well be because they're considering other homes. Choosing a new home is a big decision, and takes time.
The feedback provided by prospects is very important, even if the prospects aren't interested in your home. They may mention deficiencies or issues that need to be addressed. They may have questions that others will have. You'll get an outsider's perspective of your home that may well identify things that can make your house more attractive to buyers.
Here are a few alternatives to the "standard procedure" I've outlined above.
Don't be surprised if a house shopper knocks on your door and asks to see your house. What should you do? Have them (or their Realtor) call me to set up a showing. That's