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12 Steps To Selling Your Home

Selling your home is a big endeavor and it can be overwhelming. To make the process simpler and easier to tackle, we have compiled a complete list of steps to selling your home in New Jersey. If you have any questions about the process along the way, be sure to ask your agent so that they can better service you from the beginning and address your specific concerns and needs.  

 

1) The Decision to Sell

The home selling process typically begins several months before a property is made available for sale. Your motive for selling can impact the negotiating process so it is important to be open with your agent and discuss all your reasons for selling your home. For example, if you are in rush to relocate, you may want to place a more competitive price on your home in order to encourage a fast sale. If time is not a consideration you can decide to list the property at a higher price and see what the market brings you.

 

2) Build a Relationship with a Good REALTOR®: What can my agent do for me?

 At our initial meeting, our agents will do the following:

  • Offer a Free Comprehensive Market Analysis
  • Create a schedule and timeline of marketing activities
  • Create ad copy, along with a list of websites, newspapers and marketing publications in which the ad for your home will appear
  • Produce promotional materials with photos of your home and its special features – prepared as handouts to prospective buyers or for distribution to a custom mailing list

Once you list your home with us, we will immediately start putting a marketing plan into action, to help you achieve a timely sale at the best possible price for you.

 

3) Listing your Home: How much do you expect to get for your property?

There are many factors that affect the price of a home: location, condition, and amenities of a home, supply and demand, and the local marketplace. Our agents will do an in-depth analysis of your home, so we will be able to develop a realistic and competitive pricing strategy for the property. Keep in mind: putting your house on the market at the right price from day one, will help speed along the sale. 

As a seller in New Jersey, it has become a best practice for you to complete the Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement. This is a written form on which you describe, to the best of your knowledge, the condition of all physical aspects of your property. This includes things like land condition, structural condition, plumbing, roofing, electrical components, and additions to or remodeling of the property. This is the best way for you to clearly communicate your knowledge on the property you are selling. It reduces uncertainty and possible misunderstandings, and gives buyers the confidence and peace of mind to enter into a sales transaction with you.

 

4) Prepare To Sell

Dress for Success - Now is the time to make any necessary home repairs you may have been putting off. A house that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both may be structurally identical. You would be amazed at the difference cosmetic improvements can make in how buyers react to your home. If the cosmetics of your home (ie: floors and walls, paint and landscaping) are well maintained, buyers feel more confident that the inner workings of the home (ie: plumbing, electrical) have been cared for as well. In preparing your house for sale, you should consider spending the time to spruce up the exterior of your home for curb appeal and the interior for appearance. This will not only help you get the very best price for your home, but may help you get an offer quicker. Our agents will help you determine what should be cleaned, painted, or repaired before showing your home.

The Value of a Lock Box - A lock box is a key storage system placed at the entrance to your home that is accessible only to active, licensed real estate agents. The lock box allows other sales agents to show your home to buyers when you’re not there, and without having to obtain the key each time. With this system, you are granting more real estate agents access to your home and guaranteeing your home will be shown to a larger pool of prospective buyers. With today’s technology, most lock boxes allow us to track which sales agent showed your house and when.

Arrangements for Pet Care - If you have a cat or dog you may consider noting that in your listing so outside real estate agents can act with due consideration. You may request advance notice from agents showing the property so you can make arrangements for your pet to be out of the home or in a separate area when buyers arrive.

 

6) Marketing and Open House

Your agent will work with you to develop a personalized marketing plan to reach the largest pool of qualified buyers and real estate agents.

Our strategy includes the following: 

  • Supervising a professional photo shoot of your property
  • Preparing and printing all informational literature, including the glossy “take away” brochure for your open house, which highlights the most attractive features of your home
  • Listing your home on the most popular real estate databases with technical descriptions, photographs, and virtual tours. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a great way to advertise you home to thousands of agents in the area and buyers nationwide. Mainstream sites like Homes.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, realtor.com, Yahoo Real Estate.com, get steady web traffic from individual buyers scouring the internet.
  • Placing print ads in local publications to maximize exposure over the weekends.
  • Holding a broker’s open house to give other agents a chance to see your home before they show it to their buyers. Your agent will review feedback and suggestions with you from the attending agents.
  • Placing a lockbox outside your home so other agents can show your house to buyers easily throughout the day.
  • Hosting your public open house – We will discuss the option of an open house with you. If you decide to host an open house, your agent will stage your home to make the most attractive impression on buyers. The public open house gives an opportunity to buyers who don’t want the pressure of working with an agent, a chance to see your house with no obligation.  After the open house, your agent will report back to you with feedback and comments from visitors throughout the day.

 

7) Negotiating An Offer

In New Jersey it is typical for a buyer to provide an earnest money deposit with an offer.  It is your prerogative to accept, reject, or make a counter-offer. If you receive an offer below asking price, you must decide what the bottom line of your acceptance price will be. Depending on the current market conditions and your specific situation, our agents will advise you on what your negotiating options are and how to proceed with a counter offer. 

Sometimes, usually in an extremely competitive market, a multiple offer situation arises. In these cases your agent will typically present all multiple offers to you at once, and a blanket counter offer can be made. Your agent will review strategy, price terms, conditions, closing date, inclusions/exclusions and other issues pertaining to the offer, with you.

 

8) Offer Acceptance – Attorney Review Period

Once a meeting of the minds has occurred between buyer and seller, the Buyer’s Agent writes up an official contract and supplies original copies to the buyer, buyer’s attorney, seller, seller’s attorney, and both real estate sales associates to sign. The signing of this contract officially puts the agreement into Attorney Review.

Attorney review is considered three business days in New Jersey, but can be shortened or extended by the attorneys with the agreement of all parties.  You should discuss the details of attorney review with your attorney.
         

9) Mortgage Process & Commitment

Our agents will work with you and your attorney in managing the mortgage process to make sure all deadlines are being met. A written mortgage commitment from the bank to the buyer takes approximately 30 to 45 days.  At this point you should get the Certificate of Occupancy from your municipality; it can take up to a month to get this done, depending on the time of year and how many sales are happening at the same time in your area. 

 

10) Home Inspection

Home inspections should be expected according to the terms of the contract. Inspections are typically ordered within 10 business days. Any issues arising as a result of the home inspection should be discussed with your attorney.

 

11) The Final Walk Through

In New Jersey, the home buyer and their real estate agent will perform a "walk through" of the home to ascertain that it has been left in "broom-swept condition" and that items were not left behind that should have been removed. Please refer to your contract of sale for specifics.

 

12) The Closing

The closing typically occurs at the buyer's attorney's office. The agents for both buyer and seller should be present. Remember to bring all extra keys and garage door openers to this meeting. Typical costs due at closing could include attorney's fees, mortgage liens, mortgage cancellation fee, realty transfer fee (rate fixed by sales price of property), adjustments (either a credit or charge for tax, water, sewer, oil in tank, etc.), certificate of occupancy and real estate commission. This is not a definitive list; be sure to ask your attorney for specific details and closing costs.