A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME

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1 A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME PAGE 1

2 A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME Everything Usaj Realty does challenges the status quo of real estate. We believe in thinking and acting differently. We don t just want to help you buy or sell a property, we want to be your local real estate experts. We strive to help you with every real estate need or question you may have over the years. We aim to create a client for life, not just for one transaction. Usaj Realty believes real estate investments are some of the most significant financial decisions in an individual s portfolio. Growing financial returns, connecting with clients, and giving you peace of mind when it comes to your investment will always be our primary focus. While the market may be uncertain, we will be in business to help you maneuver the market with certainty. We are driven to significantly contribute to your wealth growth. PAGE 2

3 A GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR HOME HELLO, Congratulations! You are ready to sell your property. With more than 20 years of practicing real estate, we specialize within the industry by offering only experiences of exceptional quality and professionalism. Our team knows that selling property is much more than a simple business transaction. There are dreams, aspirations, and needs involved that make this journey very meaningful, personal, and individualized. Creating this extraordinary experience makes Usaj Realty a truly unique brokerage. What sets us apart from other agencies? The Usaj Realty culture is grounded in our brokers in who we are, how we behave, and what we believe. Our personalized service includes attention to detail, high-quality guidance, and providing a sense of satisfaction. With Usaj Realty, you will receive a superior level of expertise and service. Because satisfying our clients depends on the united efforts of many, we work together cooperatively to effectively close on the sale of your property. We love what we do, and are excited to get to work learning about your investment dreams. We are available 7 days a week to answer all your questions and make sure your needs are met. The following pages offer important information for home sellers, including an overview of the entire selling process and a wide array of advice and tips. Thank you for choosing Usaj Realty. We are delighted to help you! Sincerely, THE USAJ REALTY TEAM PAGE 3

4 AN OVERVIEW OF THE SELLING PROCESS Usaj Realty will provide you with a sales and market analysis that will assist with the following: Together, we establish a price Your home is prepped for showings The property is entered into Multiple Listing Services Usaj Realty performs thorough marketing and advertising Buyer agents take their clients on tours Usaj Realty holds open houses and broker opens Offers are presented Brokers negotiate on behalf of their client, counteroffers may ensue Sales contract is accepted The following will then happen simultaneously: Seller gives buyer property disclosures. These documents are written by the seller to inform the buyer of the history of the home. Buyer schedules property inspections with seller s approval. Then any objections about the home inspection are negotiated and removed. Buyer gives the earnest money to the title company. They will obtain the deed for the property and give to County Clerk s Office after closing. Buyer s lender will coordinate an appraisal to make sure the home s value is worth the amount of the loan. Title company researches the title and provides a title policy for the buyer and seller. Brokers will negotiate terms and conditions of the sale. This can include facts about inspection and purchase of items in the home (e.g., appliances). A closing appointment marks the end of the transaction. At this appointment all remaining funds are transferred into escrow and multiple forms are signed. After all the necessary forms are filled out and notarized, a transfer of keys will take place. PAGE 4

5 OUR SERVICES COMMUNICATION Your needs always come first. We provide the service we agree to, in the way that works for you. Whether it s once a week or once a day, we will always communicate in a way that is right for you. From listing to closing, you ll know the status of our marketing efforts, the offers on the table, and the steps leading to a successful closing once an offer is accepted. EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE The complexities of your real estate transaction will be resolved in a professional manner. Smoothing the way for your listing and sale, we will capably remove any potential challenges before they have the opportunity to appear. MARKETING Your home will get the exposure it deserves. Our marketing systems maximize your property s exposure to buyers. Neighborhood tracking tools and feedback collection after showings allow us to reach active buyers who want to know about your listing. PRICING Your home will be priced right, adjusted as needed, and will sell quickly. With a keen understanding of both the big picture and the very latest local and neighborhood listing and sales data, the information you need is at our fingertips. SATISFACTION We guarantee your satisfaction. Our relationship is dependent on meeting and exceeding your needs. We identify those needs together, and our cancellation guarantee protects your right to end our relationship in the unlikely event that you re disappointed. PAGE 5

6 PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE Before your home is listed Before your home is placed on the market, there are two steps that must be completed. The first is how you will prepare your home for sale. The second is determining the perfect price for your home. The following 4 pages go through these steps. QUICK TIPS GET A PRE-INSPECTION Whether or not you are confident about the condition of your home, an inspection can either give a professional, third-party validation, or reveal issues you should attend to before listing your property issues a buyer inspection could surface later, making them part of the final price negotiation. This allows you much more control regarding how the issue is handled. STAGE YOUR HOME We will help you coordinate a professional stager to evaluate the current state of your property and arrange the home staging. Any repairs or improvements needed to maximize your home s value and appeal will be identified and scheduled. PAGE 6

7 IT S A FACT: Acquiring the highest market value and elevating your home above others in the same price range often comes down to first impressions. Well-placed furniture can open up rooms and make them seem larger than they are. Opening drapes and blinds and turning on all lights make a room seem bright and cheery. Here are some great ways to maximize your home s appeal: EXTERIOR Keep the grass freshly cut Remove all yard clutter Paint the front door Wash or paint home s exterior Tighten and clean all door handles Ensure gutters and downspouts are firmly attached INTERIOR Remove excessive wall hangings, furniture, and knickknacks (consider a temporary self-storage unit) Clean or paint walls and ceilings Shampoo carpets Clean and organize cabinets and closets Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps Clean all light fixtures FOR SHOWINGS Turn on all the lights Open drapes in the daytime Keep pets secured outdoors Play quiet background music Light the fireplace (if seasonally appropriate) Infuse home with a comforting scent like apple spice or vanilla Vacate the property while it is being shown PAGE 7

8 THE PRICE How will the price of my home be determined? It is determined primarily by the market. Understanding the market conditions of your home and neighborhood tells us exactly where to price your property and how to strategize the marketing of your property. Below are the factors that will affect the value in today s market. PRICING YOUR HOME PROPERLY FROM THE START IS THE DECIDING FACTOR IN HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO SELL IT. Pricing your property competitively will generate the most activity from brokers and buyers. Pricing your property too high may make it necessary to drop the price below market value to compete with new, well-priced listings. Location Location is the single most important factor in determining the value of your property. Selling a home located in a desirable neighborhood will net you a much higher price than selling one in a lessthan-optimal one. Having quality schools nearby also plays into this. Condition The condition of the property and any special amenities the home has affects the price and the speed of the sale. As prospective buyers often make purchases based on emotion, first impressions are important. We ll be able to help in optimizing the physical appearance of your home to maximize the buyer s perception of value. Competition Prospective buyers are going to compare your property both the condition and the price to the other listings in and around your neighborhood. Those buyers will determine value, based on properties that are listed or have recently sold in the area. Timing Property values are affected by the current real estate market. Because we can t manipulate the market, we ll collaborate on a pricing and marketing strategy that will take advantage of the first few days your property is listed. It s the window of opportunity when buyers and their agents discover your property and are most likely to visit and make offers. PAGE 8

9 Usaj Realty will recommend a price for you Based On A detailed, custom market analysis. The unique characteristics of your home and its setting. Usaj Realty s expertise in the real estate market and formal education in economics. Our primary goal is to make you the most money possible. We believe this pricing plan, matched with our 15-step marketing plan (found on pages 10 and 11), will draw brokers and buyers to your home and position it as a highly appealing and highly competitive property. PAGE 9

10 15-STEP MARKETING PLAN This 15-step marketing plan encompasses a wide array of strategies. From print marketing to social media to word of mouth, we will make sure the community and the world knows your home is for sale. Based on the needs of your property, we will: PRICE IT APPROPRIATELY Price your home strategically so you re competitive with the current market and current price trends. STAGE YOUR HOME Have a professional help stage your home to cast a positive light on the features most important to buyers: uncluttered rooms and closets, fresh paint, and terrific curb appeal. CREATE A VIDEO Create and promote a YouTube video of your home that can be included in all online marketing materials and sent out via social media. TELL THE NEIGHBORS Distribute just listed notices to neighbors, encouraging them to tell family and friends about your home. PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY Pictures taken by a professional photographer will be placed on multiple websites to attract both local and out-of-town buyers. MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICES Optimize your home s Internet presence by posting information in the global MLS system, including plenty of photographs and a description of your property. YOURHOME.COM Create a personalized website just for your property. Interactive floor plans can be added to this as well. BROKERS ONLY INVITES Hold invite-only showings at the property for brokers to attend and preview for potentially interested clients. PAGE 10

11 SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS Integrate your listing into our social media marketing. Your home will be a part of our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogging campaigns, reaching thousands of individuals and companies interested in real estate. CONTACTS REACHED Personally contact other Realtors who have clients looking for a home in your neighborhood to point them to the new listing. FOR SALE SIGN Place a for sale sign, in your yard complete with a laminated property flyer easily accessible to drive-by prospects. SEND OUT E-BLASTS Advertise your home in real estate direct-mail campaigns and campaigns. HOST OPEN HOUSES Create an open house schedule to promote your property to prospective buyers and market those open houses. CONTACT INTERESTED PARTIES Target active buyers and investors in our Top Producer database who are looking for homes in your price range and area. UTILIZE FEEDBACK Provide you with weekly updates detailing our marketing efforts, including comments from the prospective buyers and agents who have visited your home. PAGE 11

12 OFFERS You Have an Offer on Your Home: Now What? When you receive an offer on your house, we will review it carefully together. The offer tells you the price the buyer is willing to pay and under what terms. A good offer is close to the list price, and is sometimes exactly your asking price. That is a sign that your home is priced correctly. If the offer is less than you wanted, look at the contract as a whole. Perhaps the buyer is assuming some of the closing expenses, has a flexible possession date, or is proposing other desirable financing terms. Remember that time on the market to find another buyer is an additional expense. You may also wish to consult with an attorney before you sign the offer, and it becomes a binding contract of sale. ONCE YOU VE READ THE OFFER, YOU HAVE SEVERAL CHOICES: ACCEPT THE OFFER REJECT THE OFFER COUNTER THE OFFER Accept the terms with no changes and sign the offer. Reject the offer in its entirety. Make a counteroffer to the buyer by making some changes. In some cases, a series of negotiations will take place before the final agreement is signed. By far the most common response is the counteroffer. Your broker can help you with this choice by giving you an estimate of your proceeds (offered sale price, minus fees, taxes, and insurance). Furthermore, your broker will vet offers based on a prospective buyer s down payment, and the time needed before closing on the home. This will ensure that valuable time isn t wasted and you only sell your property to a highly qualified buyer with agreeable terms. Once you ve signed an offer, the property is under contract. You may accept a backup offer if that buyer clearly understands the house is under contract. The backup offer becomes effective only if the first offer falls through and the transaction fails. You and your broker will carefully go over all the details of the contract. More in-depth aspects of the contract are described on the following page. PAGE 12

13 UNDER CONTRACT Buyer Delivers Earnest Money An earnest money deposit will be held by a third-party title company until an agreement is reached or there is a closing between the seller and the buyer. After closing, the earnest money is usually applied to the buyer s down payment. Ownership Rights Research is Conducted As a part of the contract process, a title company will prove that the seller is actually the owner of the property and that there are no legal claims against the property. This is called a title search (i.e., ownership rights). The insurance company may also search the title through the owner s policy of title insurance. The certificate of title is reviewed by an attorney who searches the title and issues an opinion that the title is clean and clear. Subject to Appraisal If the buyer is using a loan for the purchase, the home must appraise for at least as much as the agreedupon sale price. Mortgage loans are calculated using the sale price or appraised value, whichever of the two is less. If a home is appraised lower than a contract amount, the entire loan amount will need to be changed. Property Deed A deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of the property to the new owner. Most buyers will require a general warranty deed, in which you guarantee that no one will bring a claim against the title. Conditions and Contingencies Review the contract for special conditions (e.g., the purchase of your home is contingent on the buyer selling their current home or that you need to provide a survey of the property). A common contingency is that the buyer is allowed to conduct a home inspection. Should the home inspection reveal an expensive repair, the buyer can choose to negotiate with the seller or walk from the contract without any further obligation. Provisions The provisions (i.e., ground rules) lay out who pays for what in the context of the sale. For instance, the contract should explain who is responsible if there is damage to the house after the contract is signed. The responsible party will want to insure the property through the transition. Sale Specifics Does the refrigerator stay or go? How about the washer and dryer? Double-check that everything you intend to sell with the house is listed accurately in the contract. This may include items such as fixtures, window coverings, custom furniture, and major appliances. If all terms are met and agreed upon, then you will move to closing. PAGE 13

14 CLOSING DAY The closing process finalizes the sale of your home and transfers the ownership to the buyer. Closing is when you get paid and the buyer receives the deed to the property. ON CLOSING DAY BE SURE TO BRING: House keys Garage door opener(s) A picture ID WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT? The closing agent will look over the purchase contract and identify what payments are owed and by whom; prepare documents for the closing; conduct the closing; make sure taxes, title searches, real estate commissions, and other closing costs are paid; ensure that the buyer s title is recorded; and ensure that you receive any monies due to you. WHAT ARE YOUR COSTS? Sellers commonly pay the following at closing: Mortgage balance and prepayment penalties, if applicable Other claims against your property, such as unpaid property taxes Unpaid special assessments on your property Document stamps (or taxes) on the deed Real estate commission Legal fee or title insurance premium IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS THE SELLER SIGNS ON CLOSING DAY I SWEAR $ BILL OF SALE AFFIDAVIT PURCHASE PRICE 1099-S DEED I SWEAR TRANSFER DEED TITLE AFFIDAVIT OF TITLE TRANSFER DECLARATIONS PAGE 14

15 BEYOND THE SALE AFTER THE CLOSING, MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE FOLLOWING FOR TAX PURPOSES: Copies of all closing documents All home improvement receipts on the home you sold Beyond selling your home, your Usaj Realty broker is happy assisting you with the following: FINDING YOU A NEW RESIDENCE RECOMMENDING A GREAT MOVING COMPANY PROVIDING YOU WITH A MOVING CHECKLIST REFERRING YOU TO A VARIETY OF OTHER REAL ESTATE-RELATED SERVICES AND VENDORS ANSWERING ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS THAT COME UP AFTER YOUR SALE We are here to make the sale of your home as smooth and stress-free as possible. PAGE 15

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