Selling a house can be an exciting experience - and one of the largest financial transactions you'll make in your lifetime. By educating yourself on the home selling process and seeking out the sound advice of a Realtor, you'll save time, energy and money.
Realtors work within a legal relationship called "agency". The agency relationship is between you, the client, and the company with which your Realtor is licensed. It is a requirement for Realtors to disclose to clients the representation you will be receiving. This disclosure is usually done with the aid of a brochure entitled Working with a Real Estate Agent. Signing the brochure does not obligate you in any way. For more information about the agency relationship, read RealtyLink's "Understanding Agency Relationships with your Realtor".
Without any obligation, you can ask me to come to your house to give a "listing presentation." I will present my qualifications, explain how I will market your home, and most importantly provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA). The CMA details information on past sales in your neighbourhood, homes that didn't sell and homes that are currently for sale. I will use the CMA, market statistics and my knowledge of the neighbourhood to help you set a price for your home.
I can also prepare an estimate of the net proceeds you will receive when your home sells. This is based on the suggested sale price of your property and any financing you have in place.
Once you decide to have me market your home, you will need to sign a listing contract in order for me to list your property for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), a central database of properties for sale that is available to Realtors.
The contract will contain:
I will also have you fill out a Property Disclosure Statement, a form where you indicate the condition of your property.
Usually, all Realtors work on a commission basis and only receives payment upon the successful sale of your home. The commission can be a percentage of the total sale or a flat rate. The commission is not set by law or by local real estate boards. It is negotiable between you and I.
Before your home is shown to prospective buyers, I will recommend how to get your home ready for sale. An attractive, well-kept home generally has a better chance of selling faster. Review the Realty Link In Print article "Preparing your home for sale" for a few ideas to help you perk-up your home's appearance. More importantly, be sure to practice regular home maintenance check-ups. As any Realtor will tell you, regular preventative maintenance is vital to maintaining your property value. Use my "Home Maintenance Checklist" when inspecting your home.
One of the most powerful marketing tools I use is the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), a co-operative marketing system to ensure maximum exposure of properties for sale. Most Realtors use this central database of properties to match buyers with properties for sale. RealtyLink's "A Consumer's Guide to the Multiple Listing Service" will provide further information on the MLS® system.
When your property is added to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver's MLS®, your property automatically gets added to the RealtyLink - On Line Web site. I can also place ads in local newspapers such as RealtyLink - In Print, place a For Sale sign on your front lawn, and hold open houses and showings. I will also network with other local Realtors to find out if they know of any potential buyers.
An interested buyer will prepare a written offer, usually on a standard form called the Contract of Purchase and Sale. I must present you with all written offers and if you receive several at one time, you are under no obligation to accept one over the other.
When you receive an offer, you can accept it, refuse it, or make a counter-offer to the buyers, with the changes you want.
An offer usually contains subject clauses that the buyer needs to remove by a specific date. A subject clause is a special condition that must be met before the sale can take place. For example, a buyer may want to have a certified home inspection done before they commit to the sale. Once the subjects are removed and you've signed the offer, it becomes legally binding.
The Contract of Purchase and Sale will specify a completion day for the sale. On this day, legal ownership of the home will transfer from you to the buyer.
Before the completion day you should hire a lawyer or notary public to handle the completion procedures. I will be able to recommend some lawyers or notaries. The lawyer/notary will:
Although you will receive a payment upon the sale of your home, there are still some costs you need to be prepared to pay. They include:
A full glossary of real estate terminology can be found here.