Starting January 1, residential real estate sellers will have a new Offer to Purchase and Contract form that they need to understand and plan for. I recently posted a overview of the highlights in a post directed at home buyers, which is applicable to sellers as well.
For those looking to sell their home the new year, the new contract actually offers you a number of advantages which will allow you to stand apart from your competition.
Up-Front Effort Rewarded
With the new Offer to Purchase, Buyers will be given a Due Diligence Period that they will need to complete:
- Complete all inspections and negotiate repairs with seller
- Review all Homeowner Association and Condo Documents
- Investigate and agree to the cost to insure the property
- Order the appraisal and find it the results satisfactory
- Order a survey to assess if any fences, sheds, etc are over the property boundaries
- Investigate any special assessments that may be pending for the property (i.e. city to install sidewalks and charging the homeowner for the work)
- If the home is in a flood hazard
- Zoning and Governmental Regulation (i.e. buyer discovers that the school assignment for the upcoming year is no longer desired).
As a homeowner, some of this you can take upon yourself to complete before your home is listed for sale, which will entice a buyer – especially first time home buyers wary of this new process. That includes:
- Ordering a new survey of your property
- Obtaining the Homeowners Association Covenants / Condo Restrictions and having your agent upload them to a site online
- Consulting with the FEMA floodplain maps to accurately disclose if your home is in a floodplain
- Completing the Owners Association, Residential Property, and related disclosures up-front
Additionally, homeowners can hire a home inspection firm for a pre-listing inspection – a report to provide prospective home buyers as to the issues with the house – and provide the report along with a list of repairs with paid invoices to the buyers.
Essentially, the more you will be able to provide to interested buyers when they are looking for a house, the better the chances that an interested buyer will make an offer on your house over one that is not disclosing as much.
When the market shifts to a seller's market again (where there are more buyers than homes for sale), disclosure will not be as much of an issue as scarcity will drive demand. However, with most of North Carolina and the Charlotte area in a buyer's market (more homes than buyers), the seller priced appropriately and disclosing will be the one that goes to closing and for more money.