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Click to call Cathy Sentgeorge
We will review and explain all listing documents that will be needed to get the property on the market. We will review the obligations and responsibilities of both the brokerage and the seller.
The Seller and Listing Agent will review and sign the WWREA, Listing Agreement and all appropriate Disclosures and Triangle MLS forms. We will give the Seller a copy of everything they’ve signed.
We will prepare a cost sheet for several different selling scenarios to give you an idea of what your closing costs and net proceeds will look like. We will explain selling expenses. Sellers commonly pay the following at closing:
Introductory call from our Team where we will craft and manage a timeline to give you an idea of when your property should be ready for market.
Complete the “If These Walls Could Talk” online home overview:
– Share all renovations you’ve completed, along with estimated cost and completion date.
– Share your personal story to create an emotional connection between an online buyer and your home.
– Share average utility costs because interested buyers always ask
– Share your home’s survey, septic permit, past appraisals, proof of permits for additions, etc.
Any repairs or improvements needed to maximize your home’s value and appeal will be identified and discussed. More and more sellers today are seeing the value of investing in a pre-inspection on the property they are preparing to list. Whether or not you are confident in the condition of the home, an inspection can give us both a professional, third-party validation, as well as an in-depth report of potential issues you may need to deal with – issues a buyer inspection could bring to the surface later, making them part of the final price negotiation. We will provide you with recommendations for vendors and contractors as needed and make any needed repairs.
Staging is the art of preparing and designing your home to become a marketable product to sell at the highest price in the shortest amount of time. It involves de-personalizing the home and focuses on highlighting the positive attributes of the property. Staging helps to capture the buyer’s attention by creating an inviting environment, enabling them to connect emotionally with your home and be able to mentally move in, not move on to the next listing. We can help you to complete the designer’s recommendations – from simple paint jobs and curtains to table settings and fresh florals. We’ve got a professional for everything you may need!
We will schedule our licensed appraiser to measure your home. Professionally measuring your home and providing detailed renderings with room measurements increases buyers confidence in the property and assists them in envisioning themselves living there.
For some of the Sellers we represent, it is difficult to find relevant home sales to assist us in determining a strong marketable price for the property. If this is the case, we may recommend that we have our licensed appraiser perform an appraisal of your property.
We will install a sign in your yard with a “Coming Soon” rider to build excitement while your home is being prepared to go on the market. We will also get a spare key from you for our Sentrilock Lockbox and install it in a convenient location. Our Team will walk you through setting up the entire showing process through Showing Time (MLS vendor that facilitates showings). We are very careful with the security of our listings – please ask us about other ways we protect you and your home.
Enroll in Home Warranty, if selected. The program we use covers the seller during the listing agreement AND allows you to choose your own contractors. Since most buyers will be asking for a Home Warranty as part of the offer, we find that there is a strong benefit to the seller to have it in place from the get go.
Professional photos set the tone, informing what and how we communicate with the person who will buy your home. We work exclusively with the team at Visual Properties to create request. About a week before your house will be ready we will schedule the professional photo shoot. We’ll work out a convenient time with both you and our professional photographer for the photo shoot. The actual photo shoot typically takes no more than a ½ hour. He will take photos so amazing that every buyer will be able to visualize themselves in your home. Some suggestions to make the photo shoot go smoothly:
– Have the home clean and ready to photograph. Anything you don’t want in the photos please make certain they are put away someplace that won’t be photographed.
– Light dust generally does not appear in pictures.
– Turn on all lights (overheads and lamps) but make sure ceiling fans are in the off position.
– Open all window blinds in the rooms to be photographed.
– Remove all clutter, such as mail, keys, dishes, drying racks, etc. from the kitchen countertops. Kitchens are one of the highest viewed photos.
– Pets should be kept out of the way and any pet dishes removed during photography.
– Please have all cars removed from the driveway and in front of the home. Garage doors should be fully closed.
– Remove any garbage cans from the street and make sure the yard is picked up of large items, kids’ toys, and debris.
– All of the above items should be completed 1 hour prior to the photography appointment time.
– If the home is vacant, please make sure any alarm systems are disabled before the scheduled arrival of the photographer.
We’ll also be doing In-depth research of your neighborhood and surrounding areas in order to highlight the opportunities of living in your home. We’ll use this research to create a custom blog to showcase the merits of your property. It will be the basis of our marketing portfolio and designed to create extreme SEO traction. We’ll use this information to prepare a Full Color Marketing brochure. As well as create a custom Home Marketing Information Book to be placed in your home that showcases your home’s features with items such as an area map, school information, letter from homeowner to potential buyers, survey, deed, floor plan, Property Disclosure, tax information, and HOA documents.
In order to maximize exposure to the buyer pool, we start hyping your home on our marketing channels before it’s ready to go live.
– Circle Prospecting
– Reverse Prospecting of MLS
– Present your home to our proprietary database of qualified buyers. Follow up phone call to targeted buyer clients who are the best match for your property.
– Notify Top 20% of Agents in TMLS
We create a Pre-Showing package that is sent to the buyer’s agent when they schedule a showing. We help agents sell your home to their buyer.
In most cases, we go live with the properties we represent on Thursday to allow sufficient time for syndication of your listing information for a great turnout of showings on the first weekend. We will notify you by phone as soon as we place your property as ACTIVE in the MLS. This information will then syndicate to 350+ websites including Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and all local, regional, and national real estate firm websites.
We frequently conduct an Open House Event the first Sunday the home is on the market. This allows us to take advantage of the immediate buyer demand for homes like yours. To market this Open House, we:
1. Install directional signs on Wednesday prior to Open House
2. Call/email surrounding 500 homes to invite
3. Door Knock neighborhood
4. Advertise on MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com
5. Social Media Blitz
6. Notify our Buyer Database
7. Notify Top 20% of Agents in MLS
We will then launch your property-specific website and will start publishing a steady stream of online advertising to draw your buyer into the lifestyle of your home.
Use this list as a guide to keep your property in showcase condition while it is on the market. It may seem like a lot of work, but by following these steps you can significantly reduce the amount of time your property is on the market:
1. Open all drapes and blinds to let in natural light.
2. Turn lights on in your absence.
3. Adjust the air conditioner and heat as weather dictates to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
4. Leave soft music going in your absence.
5. Keep countertops free of temporary items and open food.
6. Place all personal items, mail, and jewelry out of sight.
7. Empty out all trash cans. Keep odors neutralized – cat litter works wonders!
8. Air out the home by opening windows as weather permits.
9. After rain or storms make sure your largest windows are clean.
10. Dust and vacuum often – at a minimum Swiffer daily.
11. Straighten living areas, fold throws, and clear off tables.Close all
toilet seat lids and quick wipe sinks and countertops.
12. Make all beds and pick clothes up off the floor.
13. Close all closet doors and remove items from the closet floors.
14. Hang clean hand towels in bathrooms. Store extra beauty and toiletries under the counter and pull shower curtains ¾ closed.
15. Store dirty laundry out of sight.
16. If possible, confine pets to one location, preferably outside.
17. Store household items, children’s toys and pet items.
18. Hide any last minute clutter under the bed – no one looks there!
We will set you up with login information to the company that will be managing the showing requests for us. That company is Showing Time. Your login credentials will allow you to manage showing requests and see feedback as it is provided by the agents who show your property. All comments from showings will be posted to the online portal and can be accessed with the login information you were provided. You will receive notification via text and or email when showing feedback is received. Most, but not all, agents provide comments when showing a property. We send multiple reminders and call to request feedback from showing agents to ensure that you receive feedback from every showing. Our Team is notified for every showing request and we can manage them for you directly or help facilitate if there are extenuating circumstances where you cannot accommodate the request.
This handy guide will help you interpret showing feedback.
1. Weekly Updates – you will be updated on a weekly basis through a personal call or an email – whichever is your preference – on the status of the marketing of your home.
2. Market Condition Updates – You will be updated on a regular basis of any changes in market trends, any new listings that serve as direct competition, as well as sales in your price point during the duration of your listing.
Our team follows up with each agent that shows your home until we have feedback. wE Aggressively reach out to the agents who show your home to get more detailed feedback than they typically give. We engage in a conversation to overcome objections and offer possible solutions they might not have considered. All the while selling your home to elicit a strong offer.
We complete a monthly review of activity and events that affect your home’s marketability and current value.
Continued online advertising until your home is sold.
We use buyer feedback to help you improve the property to appeal more to current buyers. And we stay current with your competition so that we may be able to suggest any adjustments to market conditions and tweak our marketing strategy to sell your home.
If the home is vacant, we periodically visit the home to flush toilets, run faucets, clean and check for theft or vandalism. We’ve even been known to shovel snow and swap smoke detector batteries!
We will notify you immediately of any offers, potential offers, or requests for additional information from potential buyers. Once we receive notification that an offer to purchase your home is signed and ready to be presented, we will contact all realtors with upcoming showings as well as other realtors who have shown your home and have indicated any type of interest. This method often yields more than one offer to purchase your home, which can result in a higher purchase price and better terms of sale for you.
Once an offer is received we will review it and have a conversation with the buyer’s agent to review the offer and gain pertinent information to help in negotiating the highest and best terms for our Seller.
There are two types of upfront money the buyer will offer to the seller in the contract – due diligence money and earnest money. Generally we see these two amounts equaling 1% – 3% of the purchase price of the property. There are variables to these amounts and there is no hard and fast rule governing them. The Due Diligence money is the amount the buyer pays to the seller for the right to take the home off the market while they do inspections and secure financing. This money is to be deposited by the Seller right away and may be spent. It will go toward the purchase price of the home. The Earnest Money can be offered either at the time of Executed Contract or at the end of the Due Diligence period. This money is deposited into a trust account that is governed by the laws of the State of North Carolina. It will also be applied to the purchase price of the home and in the event that the buyer decides to terminate the contract after the Due Diligence period, this money will be given to the Seller.
We will explain what contingency paragraphs allow as far as the buyers’ ability to exercise their right to get out of the contract. We will also review your obligations such as specific performance and maintenance of the property through closing.
Counter offers go back and forth between the Buyer’s Agent and the Seller’s Agent until the Buyer and Seller agree on the terms of the Offer to Purchase and Contract. During the offer process, we will utilize our strong negotiating skills, and knowledge of the real estate industry, in order to protect and promote your interests to the very best of our ability.
Once the buyer and seller are in agreement on the terms, the contract is updated by the buyer agent and reviewed by the listing agent and then sent to the Seller for signature via DocuSign, our online electronic signature program.
Once the Buyer and Seller have come to agreement on all the terms of the contract, have signed and dated the Offer to Purchase and Contract, and the Agent of the last signing party communicates acceptance to the other parties’ Agent or their client we have an executed cont
Reaching a successful closing requires paying attention to an incredible number of details. We will work closely with you to make sure all the details are handled to your satisfaction. As always, our goal is to have a smooth closing process and relieve any unnecessary stress. Our amazing Transaction Coordinator will handle all the administrative functions of the process between now and closing day.
It’s time to start vetting moving companies – we can give you recommendations. However, we recommend that you don’t start packing, yet. It’s fine to box up and clean out the attic, garage and closets, but we recommend leaving the main parts of the home intact just in case the contract falls through. The chances of that happening are slim; we just want to make sure that we let you know it could happen so you are prepared.
During the Due Diligence period the Buyer will conduct inspections and secure financing. The Buyer has the right to back out of the contract for any reason or no reason during the Due Diligence period. However, you do get to keep the due diligence money so deposit it right away and feel free to spend it. It will go toward the purchase price of the home when they close.
Our Team will send a copy of the Executed Contract to you for your records. In most cases, the Due Diligence check will be delivered to your home within 24 hours of executed contract. The exception would be if the buyer is out-of-town and the check is being overnighted to us. We will ask you to sign a form signifying you’ve received this money. That form will be sent to you via DocuSign. The Earnest Money check is held in a Trust Account typically by the closing attorney. In the event that the buyer decides to terminate the contract after the Due Diligence period, this money will be given to the Seller.
Your property will now be listed in MLS as contingent. This lets real estate agents know that the property is under contract. On occasion we might still get a showing request. It is our recommendation that you go ahead and allow showings. Wouldn’t it be great to have a backup offer on your home? That’s why we recommend you approve all showings even after you’ve gone under contract.
We will supply a copy of the executed contract to all parties involved in the transaction. As well as be in continual communication with the buyer’s agent, lender and closing attorney to ensure that all details are being handled in a timely manner so we close on time.
The Buyer’s Agent schedules the closing date and time with the Buyer’s Attorney, the Seller, and Seller’s Agent. The Buyer’s Attorney conducts a title search, prepares the closing paperwork, and works with the Buyer’s mortgage lender to make sure documents are ready for closing. The Buyer’s Attorney conducts a title search, prepares the closing paperwork, and works with the Buyer’s mortgage lender to make sure documents are ready for closing.
We recommend having an attorney different than the buyer’s attorney prepare the seller closing paperwork. This way you have someone looking out for your best interests. Once they prepare the paperwork for you, you can sign the seller portion of the closing paperwork at your convenience either by having it mailed to you and you signing in front of a notary or you can schedule a time to go to the attorney’s office and sign everything there in person.
The buyer will schedule all their inspections of your home to be completed during this timeframe. We will make you aware of these as soon as they are requested and coordinate with your schedule.
Expect that the buyer will have a home inspection completed and most likely a radon test and pest inspection. If the inspections show areas that need further inspection such as HVAC, Plumbing, Electric, etc. the buyer will most likely schedule additional inspections.
The buyer may elect to have a Radon Test performed. This is a simple device that will be left downstairs in the center of your home for 48-72 hours. Its purpose is to measure Radon levels in your home. The inspector will arrange with you a convenient time to pick up the device once the test has been completed. We will notify you if the buyer elects to perform a Radon Test.
Once the buyer has completed these inspections they will most likely submit a Due Diligence Repair Request. We will email the inspection report and due diligence repair request and schedule a time to review with our listing agent. Anything that they ask for the seller to repair is negotiable.
As you review the inspection report, you will see that inspectors will suggest the type of contractor they believe should perform the work. Please do not allow that to alarm you i.e., we find that electricians do not replace a light bulb any more effectively that a homeowner! We will address the appropriate person to perform the work on a case by case basis.
In terms of a response to the buyer, there is no requirement that the seller agrees to this repair request. All of these items are negotiable. Here are your options:
1. You could agree to fix some or all of the requested items by a qualified contractor, and this work would need to be completed at least one week prior to closing. Receipts must be submitted as well.
2. You could agree to some monetary concession (based on a cost evaluation) to be given to the buyer at closing. This money is paid via the HUD in the form of a closing cost concession. This is typically the cleanest way to handle the negotiation as you don’t have to worry about the logistics of facilitating the work.
3. Or, there could be any combination of these items.
4. And of course, you could always tell them to go pound sand…:-)
Once the repair negotiations are complete the buyer’s agent will update the Repair Request to reflect what was negotiated. The listing agent will review it for accuracy and it will be sent to the Seller for signature via DocuSign. The Seller will receive a copy of the executed Repair Request for their records.
Whew, the Due Diligence period has ended and we are in the home stretch!
Please remember when you are packing your home to leave behind all fixtures (as outlined in your listing agreement) and any personal property that is part of the contract. Please leave all house keys and garage door openers on the kitchen counter.
Confirm when you will be moving out.
You will want to schedule the termination of your homeowners insurance. It will need to remain in effect through the day of closing.
Please call in advance to have the utilities “transferred” out of your name for the day of closing. Once this is done the buyers will be able to call to have them put in their name.
As it’s getting closer to the big day please be prepared to have everything out of your home prior to the closing. All personal items removed (unless stated to remain per contract), all appliances and bathrooms cleaned, all flooring broom swept (unless contract states alternative), all appliance brochures, warranties placed in a kitchen cabinet.
You will need to complete a change of address with the post office.
Final walkthrough by the buyer happens generally the day before closing or the morning of closing. We will let you know a few days in advance when the buyer would like to do their walkthrough to make sure it works with your schedule.
The Buyer’s Attorney completes a Closing Disclosure and provides a copy to both the Buyer and Seller generally at least 24 hours prior to Settlement.
Receive a copy of the Closing Disclosure for review. We will review this, too. If you have any questions, it is best to speak with your lender or the closing attorney to make sure that all numbers are accurate.
Please understand that the NCREC standard contract stipulates that closing can occur up to 14 days after the date written on the contract provided that all parties are moving forward in good faith toward a closing. This is a rare occurrence, but it’s super frustrating when it does because it messes up the timing of everyone’s move.
This is where the closing attorney meets with some or all the following individuals: the Seller, the Seller’s agent, the Buyer, the Buyer’s Agent, a representative from the lending institution and a representative from the title company, in order to transfer the property title to the buyer. Though the seller is certainly allowed to attend the Settlement, we have found it most convenient for the seller if we handle everything on their behalf.
After all the paperwork is signed and the attorney has communicated everything back to the buyers mortgage company, they will release the funds and the deeds can be recorded at the courthouse. Nowadays, this happens electronically and can happen within an hour or so of the Settlement. However, sometimes there are hiccups even at this late stage and recording can be delayed. Our Team follows this process all the way to the end, so you can be confident that you’ll be kept in the loop until the very end.