Step By Step
Every House is Different
It is so important to have an experienced expert helping you every step of the way. There are many legal requirements for which you must comply in order to sell your house. Whether it be basic requirements like a Sellers Property Disclosure Statement or ordering a Truth In Sale of Housing inspection (some cities require this), you must stay in compliance. Some houses have bedrooms that cannot be legally described as bedrooms. Some have encroachments, shared driveways, Home Owner Associations, DNR restrictions, lead based paint disclosure requirements, etc… I can help you through the whole process.
Review and Sign My Fee Agreement
Before I invest any time in your file, it is important that you read and sign my fee agreement. Unlike Realtor fee agreements, my fee agreement can be cancelled and I will never expose you to dual agency. And my fee is only payable upon a successful closing. Realtor contracts entitle Realtors to collect their whole 6% if you back out of a deal.
Prepare to Sell
There is typically a lot that goes into preparing your house to sell. And you will have some important decisions to make. Here are just a few of the things we may need to discuss:
- Read the articles I provide to you on how to prepare your house to sell.
- Consider meeting with a stager I recommend to get advice on preparing your house. Stagers are home decorators, Realtors are not…
- Get a TISH inspection if required.
- Verify all building permits have been finalized with your city.
- Have you received any notices or aware of special assessments on the property?
- Have the house professionally measured. Appraisers complain that most of the properties listed in the MLS have the incorrect square footage advertised. This is a huge liability for sellers and me. In most circumstances I ask my clients to have the house professionally measure by an appraiser I recommend. The cost is only $150.
- I will send you a link to fill out the Sellers’ Property Disclosure statement online. Once you have completed the form I will review it and then set it up for e-signatures.
- You may want to order the Resale Package from your HOA (if you are in one) in order to save on the rush charges.
- Photography – I will help you select a professional photographer
Things I will NOT do are listed in the “Gimmicks and Tricks” section of this page (click here).
Setting a Price
No one knows how much your house is worth. Even appraisers are struggling with setting values on homes in this market. A Realtor can press a few buttons and create a very pretty Comparative Market Analysis for you (I have the same software). This is not an appraisal and Realtors are not licensed appraisers. In fact, many Realtors employ different pricing strategies and make impossible promises in order to get you to agree to list with them. Pricing a home to sell is a guessing game. If you price the house too high, the house will likely not sell and will likely sit on the market and end up selling for less than it should have had it been priced appropriately. If you list too low, you could be leaving money on the table. You just never know who your pool of buyers are going to be and how much they are willing to pay until the offers come in. I go through an analysis with you so that we can make an informed decision about pricing your home.
Showings and Negotiations
I use the same automated showing software that Realtors use (I am a reluctant member of the Realtor Association and MLS). I will provide a lockbox and you will get to approve all showings.
When it comes to negotiating with buyers you want to have an attorney. Not only are Realtors not trained in negotiation, many are prohibited from negotiating on your behalf. For example, if the buyer is represented by an agent under the same brokerage firm, it is illegal for them to negotiate on your behalf. And if they do, they are committing a serious licensing violation that could unwind the entire transaction. Here’s an excerpt from the licensing statute, “Dual agents may not advocate for one party to the detriment of the other.” I provide exclusive representation and will never subject you to dual agency.
I will also prepare a custom Seller Net Sheet for you as offers come in. You will see a side-by-side comparison of all offers received. We will examine all the offers carefully and decide which buyers we feel are strongest and best for you.
In addition, many agents use an inspection contingency to try and negotiate better terms. We will discuss different strategies to better protect you in these circumstances.
Realtors are not permitted to provide you with legal advice in regards to the closing. As your lawyer I am qualified to review the title work (which calls out title issues found by the buyers’ title company) and closing documents. Good real estate attorneys will tell you that there is rarely a reason to attend closing. Rather, it is best to review all the documents prior to closing. I will help you through this process.