Typically after a home has received an offer that is agreed upon by Buyer(s) and Seller(s), the Buyer will hire a licensed Home Inspector to inspect the systems of the house. The inspector will generate a report that will instruct the Buyer which items they should have repaired or have a specialist give an opinion of. Generally, most items can be addressed by a handy homeowner however after a contract, that might not be acceptable to the Buyer.
A pre-listing home inspection will allow you to see what items an inspector will point out to a Buyer and to have those items corrected prior to listing the home for sale. It the inspection report, along with the repairs, can also be used as a marketing tool to attract prospective buyers.
Home Staging allows your home to show in its best possible way to Buyers. Vacant homes can be staged with furniture and art work to give the home a “lived-in” look. Occupied homes can benefit from a professional home stager guiding re-decorating options (which rooms to paint), what items to remove from the house to make it show less cluttered to buyers, and even re-arranging room furniture to increase flow and appearance or space.
Professional Photography & Virtual Tours
According to the NAR Survey of Buyers and Sellers, prospective home buyers find photos of a listing the most important part of a home’s marketing listing. Hiring a professional photographer is the very best way you can market your home. The majority of our listings are photographed by local professionals and some feature 360 degree virtual tours and floor plans to encourage buyers to make an appointment as a result of viewing the home online.
Pricing the home for today’s market is essential to not only obtaining a buyer but ensuring the transaction can end successfully. Regardless of whether a Buyer obtains a mortgage or not, 99% will order an appraisal to assess the home’s value. The appraiser will consider the values of similar homes that have sold in the last six months, similar in size, and closest in proximity. Pricing the home outside of those criteria will most certainly lead to a home not appraising for the right value and depending on financing, that appraisal could remain for the next six months.
Appraisals are subjective so its best to consider the most recent sales around your home at the time of listing and then again at the time of contract to ensure that the home isn’t overpriced for the market.
Home For Sale
When a home is listed for sale, it is active in the real estate agent’s database (referred to as the Multiple Listing Service or MLS) along with a description, multiple photos, a virtual tour, and instructions on how other agents are to view the property. In the Charlotte area, most properties are shown to prospective buyers by Buyer’s Agents. These are real estate agents that have an agreement with the Buyer to represent them in the transaction. Appointments are scheduled through a centralized service and the buyer agent (represents the buyer) will show the home typically without the assistance of the listing agent (representing the seller). They access the property either by special code given to them by the centralized service or by a special electronic box that can only be opened by a Realtor.
It is customary for Sellers to leave the home prior to a showing however prior to, it is recommended that lights are left on and window blinds are open to let in as much light as possible. After an appointment, the buyer agent will leave feedback from the Buyer which can be used to adjust pricing, marketing or used to put together a deal with the Buyer.
In certain circumstances, open houses can be a great tool to attract Buyers however with the advent of the internet and virtual tours, most Buyers have toured the home virtually and rarely take advantage of open houses.
When an offer is received, some items we will be negotiating with the Buyer and their agent is:
- Offer Price
- Closing Date (the date the home is no longer yours)
- Due Diligence Period (the time period a Buyer has to complete inspections, appraisals, etc)
- Earnest Money and Due Diligence Fees paid by the Buyer
- Any Contingencies (anything that must be satisfied in order to complete the sale).
When an offer is agreed up on by all parties, it is a Contract.
Due Diligence Period: Inspections and Appraisals
After a contract has been reached by Buyer and Seller, the Buyer’s Due Diligence Period begins (In South Carolina, the concept is the same but the terms are slightly different). The Buyer will complete any requirements set forth by their lender (paying fees, completing application, providing documentation), ordering a home inspection, survey (if necessary), etc.
It is customary, after a home inspection, for a Buyer to request that the Seller complete all of the repairs uncovered in the inspection report or to ask for additional money off the contract price. Therefore, it is always a good decision to complete a home inspection prior to listing the home for sale to identify potential problem areas and to have those items addressed prior to the Buyer’s home inspection.
The Buyer will also complete an appraisal to ensure the sales price is within the market value for that type of property. If the Buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the lender may request that the price is adjusted down to meet the appraisal value if the home does not appraise.
Title and Underwriting
Prior to closing, the Buyer’s lender will order a title report on the house to ensure that there are not issues with current or past ownership that could cause issues down the road. In final underwriting, the lender checks to ensure the Buyer is still employed, did not open any new lines of credit, and is still mortgage-worthy.
In North and South Carolina, real estate closings generally take place with a real estate attorney overseeing the transaction. Attorney’s certify title and ensure that the information is correct. This is where the Buyer provides the funds to purchase and the Seller signs over the deed. Once the deed is recorded, the home has officially passed to the Buyer and all funds are released to the Seller (and their bank if any).