When selling their property, home sellers may be surprised at the many steps one has to go through before officially selling their property to someone else. Upon deciding that they want to put their house on the market, home sellers are tasked with finding a real estate agent that is experienced and qualified to do business in their city or suburb. Often dismissed as “not that important”, this is perhaps one of the most important steps in the process – even more so if the seller is looking to make a handsome profit on the sale, with the property spending the shortest possible amount of time on the market. After this, comes the marketing of the property, which is key to catching the eye of as many prospective buyers as possible. Once buyers have come to view the property and have made offers to purchase, it is time to close the deal.
While this whole exercise may seem tedious to the average seller, having a real estate agent that knows their stuff on board goes a long way in taking the stress out of selling, and making everything easier for the seller. However, even if you feel like the fatigue of the selling a home is getting to you, your real estate agent will also tell you that this is no time to rest on your laurels. Closing on a house at last finalises the transaction and ends the journey from “for sale” to “sold”. Not sure exactly what closing on a house entails? Read on to learn more.
Get the repairs done
The real estate agent helping you to sell your property is likely to recommend that you undertake certain repairs and renovations to the property to attract the attention of potential buyers and get your own home on par with comparable properties in the same city, town or suburb. With that being said, interested buyers may insist on having other repairs or upgrades done before officially acquiring it.
Should the person buying your property have asked you to do this, these repairs absolutely need to be done before the deal is officially closed. While some property sellers put off doing renovations until the very last minute, your real estate agent will probably advise against this course of action, as these are essential in ensuring that the rest of the closing process go off without a hitch.
The rule of thumb is that requested repairs, renovations and upgrades are completed at least a week before the final documents are signed. This will leave the seller more room for negotiation, should there be any unexpected issues, or if the person buying the house points to problems during the final walk-through.
Remember to take good quality before and after photos of the areas where the renovations are done. When completing repairs, make sure to keep careful track of every invoice and quote. This is vital to backing up your claims if a buyer has any qualms about the completion of upgrades to the property.
Delaying upgrades doesn’t bode well for the seller. If there are any delays in this regard, it’s likely to delay the entire process – this is not something that any home seller wants.
The final walkthrough
Approximately 24 hours before the date of closing the sale, homebuyers are invited to take a final walkthrough of the property in order to inspect it for the last time. This is when they’ll be following up regarding things that they requested be altered or repaired, and check for anything they might have missed during the initial and consequent home inspections.
This step in the home-selling process frequently makes sellers nervous – what if the buyers see something that put them off entirely? Rest assured: if you have made sure that the property is in the condition that you and the seller agreed upon, there is no reason to worry about the seller being nit-picky about nonsense.
Even so, unexpected issues do sometimes crop up, but these definitely don’t have to entirely hamper the sale of the home. If something unexpected happens, let your real estate agent talk to the seller about resolving the issue. Some buyers will settle for a discount on the final selling price, while others will insist that the home is in prime condition before they sign the final documents. Both of these instances have the potential to delay the closing of the sale, but reaching an agreement in this regard is crucial if you want to finalise the process.
Keep in mind that the seller is usually not present during the final walkthrough, which can take any time from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on how thoroughly the buyer inspects the entire property. Your real estate agent will immediately notify you if anything comes out during the final walkthrough, and will handle the ensuing admin on your behalf.
Double check documents and financials
As soon as all the repairs that were agreed on have been made and the final walkthrough is over, the very last step of the selling process can be completed. Precious few among us enjoy going through loads of paperwork, but this last thing is what signals a successful sale.
You and your real estate agent and/or lawyer will meet with the buyer and their representatives to sign the reams of documents that officially transfer the ownership of the property. If everything has gone swimmingly thus far, the chances of a last-minute price renegotiation are very rare, albeit not impossible.
Your real estate agent does most of the heavy lifting in terms of meticulously checking each detail of every page of every official document, but you can also ensure that you pay special attention to the final settlement statement. This document lays out the finances, indicating exactly what you will be paid for your property, and the taxes associated with the sale. Check this very carefully, and quietly consult with your real estate agent or lawyer – preferably in private – if the amounts do not match what you and the buyer agreed on.
Once all the necessary documents have been signed, you need only worry about moving into your new home.
Be prepared for last-minute drama or a renegotiation
What if – oh, the horror – there are complications in the final moments? Buyers do sometimes decide to renegotiate the sale at the very last minute, for whatever reason, although this is not a common occurrence. Don’t be discouraged if this happens. Even if it can delay the sale of the property, hearing the buyer out is entirely within the boundaries of the law, as property buyers are allowed to makes changes to the terms and conditions associated with selling a property up to the moment the final documents are signed.
Your real estate agent will probably tell you that it will be much easier and quicker to renegotiate and push the sale through if this doesn’t require the amendment of the terms. Any amendment to the terms of the sale will necessitate the home loan to be rerun in its entirety, which may take a few days – but offering to leave some kitchen appliances in the home, for example, is a caveat that doesn’t delay the selling process any longer.
As soon as the buyer and seller are both satisfied about everything associated with the sale of the property, the documents can finally be signed. The funds from the buyer will be transferred to your lawyer, who will ensure that your own loan payments are covered and that the real estate agent’s commission and other fees are settled. Soon enough, you should receive a notification from your bank that the profit on the sale of your home has been transferred into your account.
It is not surprising that many home sellers are especially nervous about the very last steps of the home-selling process. And it makes sense: regardless of how long your property has spent on the market, seeing it through to the end will require some grit and determination – and quite a bit of reading.
To ensure that this process is completed in a smooth and quick manner, sellers must make sure that they undertake agreed-upon renovations, repairs and upgrades in a timeous fashion. Waiting until just before the last documents are signed to complete repairs simply leaves too much room for error, and sellers can count on buyers using a hawk’s eye to inspect the property and make absolutely sure that everything they requested has been attended to during the final walkthrough. If all parties are happy and satisfied, the buyer and seller complete the final paperwork, and ownership is officially transferred.
Selling a home needn’t be a solo expedition, and a real estate agent you can trust is the perfect companion on your selling journey, making everything simpler, easier and quicker. Still haven’t found an agent that knows everything you don’t understand? Perfect Agent can help you today!