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1. Selecting a real estate agent.
This is the first and most important step in the entire process. A poor agent can be a disaster, a good agent can save you money and aggravation; but a great agent can make you money and make the entire process go smoothly. There are 150 things that can go wrong in a real estate transaction and having an experienced agent on your side often makes the difference in whether or not a deal has a successful closing. Your agent should be very familiar with the local market and the entire home selling process in the Salt Lake City real estate market. Ideally, it is someone that you can trust or be referred to you by a friend that had a recent positive experience. This agent will analyze your needs, provide pricing recommendations based on recent comparable Solds, and provide all the necessary documentation and disclosures.
2. Prepare your house for selling.
Your agent will provide you with advice for touch-ups or small improvements, if necessary, both the interior and exterior, to help you get the most money while spending the least amount before the sale. It is highly recommended that homeowners do a pre-inspection to identify any major repairs that may be identified by the future buyer or their home inspector. Completing major repairs before listing will make the process go smoother once under contract and provide confidence to the buyer that you maintained the home.
3. Review the marketing plan.
Understand what your agent will do for you to get your home sold. To get top dollar, this will be for more than putting a sign in the yard and listing the home in the local MLS. While you can simply list it with someone who puts it in the MLS, that is no strategy, that is the bare basics. An experienced agent will put far more in your pocket by an extensive marketing and sales strategy to bring in multiple buyers and multiple competing offers for your property. If getting the very most money is important to you, I would recommend talking with an experienced “Sellers Specialist”.
Try to keep your home “showing ready” with short notice during the showing process. If possible, remove all pets from the property so as not to distract the buyers and use a mild air freshener to remove pet odors that exist, but you may not smell. Sellers should receive feedback from the showing agents after showings. This will provide the sellers an opportunity to make corrections prior to the next showing.
5. Receive offer.
Offers should include at a minimum a pre-qualification letter when a loan is required or proof of funds for cash purchases. Sellers are advised to review the offer closely with their agent so they understand their requirements. This could include concessions paid by the seller, dates, etc. The agent should create a net sheet for each offer received and any counter.
6. Under Contract.
Sellers should expect the buyers to be excited and want to make a few visits to show family and maybe take some room measurements; this is very common. Sellers will need to make the house available for inspectors and appraisers, and they should make sure the home is clean and presentable during these visits. Once the home is inspected, if there are any major problems or concerns, the sellers will review the inspection report (or Repairs to be made by Sellers addendum) understanding that the contract can be renegotiated. If there are repairs to be made by the seller, it will be documented in an Inspection Resolution which is signed by both buyers and sellers.
In our Utah real estate market, appraisals are sometimes an issue, as in a rising market, sometimes the comparables do not justify the sale and an appraisal can come in low. Should this happen, there is an opportunity to renegotiate the sales price of the home and still close the deal. There are four options if the appraisal comes in below the contracted price: the seller can lower the price, the buyer can cover the difference in cash, the buyer and seller can agree to some middle ground, or the contract is terminated. Every effort should be made to keep the deal together because no one knows when the next qualified buyer will come along.
8. Surveys and other inspections.
If a surveyor other test is required to identify questionable property lines, soil, radon, etc… it is typically a buyer’s responsibility and expense and will be done during the buyers due diligence period.
All parties are required to have a valid id (usually a state issued driver’s license) and will sign documents in front of a Notary (title company representative). Sellers will sign documents transferring title of the property to the buyers. Buyers will sign title documents receiving the property as well as their loan documents. If a loan is to be paid off, the title company will make payment to the sellers’ lender out of seller proceeds after closing. The sellers will receive their proceeds by a title company wire transfer, so sellers should bring a voided check or bank account and routing numbers to give the title officer. Sellers will turn over all keys, garage door openers, and any garage door codes at closing if other arrangements are not made.
These are just the major steps in the process. There are hundreds of things your agent does during the home selling process. There are many problems that can happen along the way, but a great agent will be on the lookout for these and be ready to solve them before they turn into “deal killers”.
We have put together a comprehensive guide book for all Utah Home Sellers, called the Utah Home Sellers Guide. You will find so much valuable advice in this free booklet. There is no obligation, and we don't ask for any of your information to get it. We give it free for you to enjoy and learn from. We hope that someday, when you are thinking of selling, you will remember us. We are always here to help.