Most homeowners stay in their homes for at least 6 years in our area and many people who decide to sell have lived in their homes a lot longer than that. It often comes as a surprise to see how much is involved in the selling process compared to the process when the home was purchased. This article sets out to bring you up to date with what to expect when you sell your home in 2016.
The first step, of course, is to hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home and that choice is critical to your success. It should go without saying that you need somebody who has considerable experience of selling homes in the San Ramon Valley but you also need an agent who knows how to advise you on preparing your home for sale and who has considerable technology based marketing skills, given the fact that over 90% of buyers are looking for homes on the Internet.
Once your home is on the market, the process begins. Your agent will have given you a set of Seller Disclosures to complete. Some of these, simply require your signature to acknowledge that you have received and read them but others, which include the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure, Seller Property Questionnaire, Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (for homes built before 1978) and Earthquake Hazards Report. require you to answer numerous questions about your home. These are important documents and you should take your time to read them carefully and answer them accurately. Your agent can’t do this for you as they pertain to factual matters about the history of your home where only you will have the answers.
As soon as you have agreed a sale, the buyer’s agent will open escrow with a local Title Company and copies of all of the above mentioned Disclosures are passed to the buyer, who will most likely have arranged for a number of inspections on your home including at least a home inspection, termite inspection and roof inspection. The buyer typically has 14 days to complete all inspections and investigations including consideration of all the various Disclosures.
The termite inspection (which covers not just termites but also any wood related issues) identifies any serious items (“Section1”) and not so serious ones (“Section 2”). It is usual for the buyer to request that the seller pay for Section 1 items to be repaired and the buyer may also request any necessary repairs that are identified as being needed in any other reports. These are all negotiable, but if you can’t reach agreement on these, the buyer is entitled to cancel the contract.
Once the inspections have been done and any negotiations for repairs have been completed, assuming the buyer needs a loan to complete the transaction, it remains for the financing approval to be confirmed. Your agent should already have confirmed that the buyer is pre-approved for the purchase of course, but that will normally be subject to your home appraising at the agreed sale price.
The buyer’s lender will have arranged for an appraisal to be carried out and that should have taken place within 7-10 days of agreeing the sale. Once the buyer has confirmation that the financing is assured, he should then remove that final contingency.
Having reached that stage, your agent will arrange for you to sign all the transfer documents at the Title Company and it is then a question of the buyer’s lender ensuring that the loan documents are received in escrow so the buyer can also sign off in Title.
Finally, once the funds to close the transaction have been wired to Title by the lender, they will record the transfer of Title, pay off any mortgage you have on the property and wire the proceeds of the sale in to your bank account.
Unless something else has been agreed, you will need to have vacated your home and removed all belongings by around mid-day on the date the transaction is completed.
From agreeing a sale to close of escrow will typically take 35-45 days where a buyer needs financing assistance. Cash sales can be completed in just a few days.
The above is a simplified summary of a typical transaction but there can be many variables . If you have any questions about the process or your personal real estate situation, let me know and I’ll be happy to give you the benefit of my experience. My contact details are on the cover. There is never any obligation and I am always happy to hear from you.