There are alot of moving parts (pun intended) when it comes to selling a home that you own. This month’s blog is intended for those of you who are considering selling a property, and our goal is to help you prepare and execute a smooth, successful sale. To get you ready, we will touch upon the following eight steps:
1. Ownership/Agreement to Sell
2. Information on any Liens on the Property
3. Add Some Sweat Equity!
4. Get Your Neighbors on Board
5. Summarize the House & Take Photographs
7. Ratified Contract
8. Title Company
Thanks for checking out our blog and as always, contact Charm City Builders for your buyer and seller needs. We’d love to talk!
Step 1: Ownership/Agreement to Sell
Even if you feel 100% sure that you are the sole owner of the property that you want to sell, it’s worth verifying it. In Maryland, you can see who is on the deed of a property by searching the property address on the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation (SDAT) website. It’s a good idea to do this search and either print out the page showing ownership, or screenshot/take a picture of the page. It may serve beneficial down the road.
If you are not the sole owner of the property, know that in order to sell, all owners of the property will need to be listed on, and eventually sign, a purchase sale agreement to make it legally binding. In other words, make sure all owners agree on selling before moving forward with the process!
Step 2: Information on any Liens on the Property
Finding all liens on a property can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s good to do some research as an early step in the selling process. Eventually, when under contract to sell your property, the title company will do a deep dive into any outstanding liens on the property. However, knowing as much about what you owe AKA will have to “payoff” at settlement, is very important! If you carry a mortgage, which is a lien on the property, you will owe the remaining principal, plus a small amount of interest, to the lender when you close on the home.
Step 3: Add Some Sweat Equity!
Whether you plan to try and sell quickly for cash directly to an investor, or by partnering with a Real Estate Agent to try and maximize sales price, you want your home to be as presentable as possible when you begin to market it. Now, we aren’t saying spend a bunch of money trying to make it perfect, but if there are unwanted items you can remove, yard work that can be done, etc, it is worth considering! No matter the buyer or their intentions, they will naturally have a first impression of the property, and it’s important!
Step 4: Get Your Neighbors on Board
Let’s talk real for a second – the folks living around you can make or break the sale of a home. Your goal is to have them rooting for you to get top dollar, as this helps increase values in the neighborhood. Trust us, we understand neighbor relationships can be delicate, but if you are able to inform them of your intentions, it can go a long way.
Consider the following…..
You are ready to sell. After putting some work into the exterior and interior of your property, you send the following text out to the folks living directly next to, across from, and behind you:
Hey Neighbors, we have made the decision to sell our home and are preparing the house to show. We wanted to give you a heads up so you aren’t caught off guard when you see folks taking a look. We hope to get top dollar, as it helps all of our home values! Let us know if you have any questions and we appreciate you being positive during this process.
In our experience, neighbors will appreciate the heads up and may be inclined to do things around their home to help the sale. At the least, you have taken a courteous step that could help avoid a neighbor airing the neighborhood’s “dirty laundry”, if it exists.
Every scenario is different, but we believe communication and extending the peace pipe so to speak will help you in the long run.
5. Summarize the House and Take Photographs
Whether you plan to work with a Realtor, or sell directly to an investor, it is a good practice to write out the highlights of the home. This will be handy to send to potential buyers and Realtors to make sure things aren’t overlooked. For example, did you replace the roof recently? Are the windows new? Improvements will help you get more for your home.
Once you have your property decluttered and clean, you will want to take photographs. Even if only with your phone, having photographs of the interior and exterior of the home will enable you to market the property online and via email, therefore casting a wider net to reel in buyers. It is worth noting that if you plan to work with a Real Estate Agent, they should be willing to cover professionally shot photos of the home at no charge to you.
At this point, you need to decide how you plan to attract buyers to your home.
Option A is to hire a Real Estate Agent to assist you. Although working with an agent means you will be paying commission, usually 5-6% of the purchase price, you will have professional guidance and the agent will handle all of the marketing of the property.
Option B is to sell the property as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). If you go this route, you will want to share the information you summarized and photographs you’ve taken with potential buyers. You can post your property for sale on sites like Craigslist, Zillow, and Facebook. If you want to hear more of our thoughts on how to sell your home FSBO for cash, check out our How to Sell Your Home for Cash blog.
7. Ratified Contract
In order to transfer ownership of a property, you will need a ratified purchase sale agreement/contract. This is the legally binding agreement between all Sellers and Buyers of a property. If you are working with a Real Estate Agent, they will provide these forms for you, the Seller, and the Buyer and Buyer’s Agent to sign.
If you sell the property FSBO, you will want to obtain your own Purchase Sale Agreement (PSA). We aren’t attorneys, so feel free to resort to Google to explore your options there. That said, if your Buyer pool consists of investors, there is a likely chance they will present a PSA they use when they acquire a property. Do your due diligence. At Charm City Builders, we have a transparent, concise, straightforward PSA we present to the property owners we have the opportunity to work with.
8. Title Company
In the state of Maryland, the buyer has the legal right to select the title company for a property sale. This article on Zillow.com details the role of a title company in a real estate transaction. While the property is under contract, you will work with a title attorney and their team to prepare for closing. If your Buyer selects a top-notch company like REXTAR Title, it will be a smooth process en route to you walking away from settlement with money in your bank!
We hope you found the tips above helpful. We appreciate the time you took to read along, and if thinking about selling, we would love to talk. We have a long list of former sellers who we have worked with who can attest to the transparency and fairness of our buying process.