Assembled below are some helpful resources to help you in the selling process.

Why Use a Real Estate Agent

It’s always a good market in real estate — when you know what you’re doing. Structuring transactions, arranging financing and finding the right buyers are some of the keys to success. There are few entities that know as much about the trends in today’s market as your local real estate agent or broker.Real estate has become a very complicated business. Selling (or buying) a home can be one of the most important financial transactions in your life. That’s why it pays to work with a professional who specializes in this field — a licensed real estate agent or broker.Becoming a licensed agent or broker requires thorough training and examination. Several states, including California, require continuing education in real estate for license renewal. These specialists are compensated on their ability to sell properties quickly and cost-efficiently — and their expert abilities are chargeable only when a transaction is complete.

Why It Pays to Use a Professional

  • When you use an agent, you’ll get the benefit of professional experience from the moment you consider selling your house. Your agent will help you establish a fair market value from his or her daily dealings in your neighborhood, and arrange financing terms that make it easier to obtain a quick sale in today’s market — helping you receive the equity in your home.
  • If you wish to participate in financing the purchase of your property, your agent or broker can structure a workable plan that helps reduce risk from unusual terms — and give you an estimate of the anticipated yield from carrying a property-secured financing plan.
  • Real estate agents are professionals at marketing properties — that’s their job. They can choose the media — and the message — that brings interested prospects to your home. They’ll interview and qualify buyers for you. They’ll use their sales skills and negotiating techniques to help you receive the best possible return on your sale.
  • Every brokerage office has a steady stream of prospects that no individual can match. National referral networks and multiple listing services also help to reach buyers from out of town — or out of state. Many corporate relocation clients may be working with a broker before a move is made.
  • When you work with an agent or broker, they will follow-up with other agents who have shown your property and share their constructive comments on cosmetic repairs, financing arrangements, or re-evaluating your list price.
  • An agreement between buyer and seller is just the beginning of a final transaction. From that point on your agent or broker can handle the details and paperwork necessary to make it complete: from building and termite reports to fire insurance and closing arrangements with the escrow company, title company or closing attorney.
  • As an expert in real estate, your agent or broker will give you advance estimates of your closing costs and net proceeds from the sale, as well as keeping you informed of the details to assure a smooth and timely closing.

When You Make the Sale
A vital part of any sale is title insurance. Lenders usually require a loan policy to protect their interests, and buyers need an owner’s policy to protect their equity. Be sure to ask your agent or broker for protection from a reputable Title company.

If You’re Selling a Home
Here’s a Quick Read on How a REALTOR® Can Help You Realize Your Goal. You probably know that working with a REALTOR® is an indispensable part of selling your home. For one thing, your REALTOR® can list your property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), providing your home with incomparable exposure and ensuring you have as many REALTORS® as possible helping to find a buyer. But that’s not all a REALTOR® does to market your home. He or she knows how to specifically target advertising to reach buyers for your home, and uses all the marketing tools available to ensure that your home is sold expediently. Additionally, a REALTOR® conducts a variety of other marketing efforts on your behalf, from holding open houses and handling phone inquiries to showing your home to the prospective buyers. What does a REALTOR® do for you besides find buyers? Plenty. A REALTOR® provides information on local market conditions to help you price your property realistically and fairly, and keeps you abreast of changes in the market which may affect your property. And let’s face it: buying or selling a home means paperwork, lots of it. When it comes to closing escrow, a REALTOR® can be invaluable, leading you through the paper trail with a steady hand, and familiarizing you with escrow, insurance, property disclosures and inspection procedures, to name a few.

What to Expect When Selling Your Home

You should select a professional real estate agent to represent your needs. Once you establish a working relationship with your agent, your home is put on the market and marketed to potential buyers. Once a buyer makes an offer on your home you have three options: accept the offer, counter the offer, or reject the offer.

After you accept an offer you can expect to do the following:

  • Escrow is opened and buyer deposits “earnest money” into escrow
  • Seller submits documents and information to escrow holder, such as:
    • addresses of lien holders
    • tax receipts
    • equipment warranties
    • home warranty contracts (if any)
    • any leases and/or rental agreements
  • Seller approves and signs the escrow instructions, grant deed and other related documents required to complete the transaction
  • Seller orders inspections, receives clearances and approves final reports and/or repairs to the property as required by the terms of the purchase and sale agreement (responsibility for inspection procedures may vary)
  • Buyer and Seller fulfill any remaining conditions specified in the contract and/or escrow instructions; approves the pay off demands and/or beneficiary’s statements
  • Buyer and Seller approve any final changes by signing amendments to the escrow instructions or contract
  • Buyer and Seller fulfill any remaining conditions specified in the contract and/or escrow instructions; approves the pay off demands and/or beneficiary’s statements

Note: The above is general information only. Your situation may differ. Please consult your real estate professional for details about your specific situation.

Sellers Check List

A Good First Impression Can Help Sell Your Home
You can assist your real estate Agent or Broker when you are showing your home to prospective buyers by remembering that first impressions are the most lasting and the most important to its sale.

Your major role as a seller will be to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The time, effort and limited financial investment involved can give you the competitive edge needed to sell your home when you want – at the price you want.

Your Home’s Exterior Creates The Prospective Buyer’s First Impression
Since the exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, a little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates. And pay big dividends when the sale is made.

Use this check list to make sure your home’s exterior looks its best:

  • Lawn is well cut and neatly trimmed around the walks and drive.
  • Flower garden is weeded.
  • Shrubs are trimmed and dead trees and branches are eliminated
  • All debris is disposed of and toys and lawn equipment are neatly stored.
  • Fences and gates are repaired and repainted, if necessary.
  • The roof, gutters and downspout are in good repair.
  • Driveways and sidewalks are washed down and checked for cracking and crumbling.
  • Cracked windows and torn screens are replaced. Screens, windows and window sills are washed. Doorknobs are polished.
  • Doorbell and front lights are in good working order.

New Coat of Paint
If you have planned to paint the house within the coming year, consider painting the house before showing it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value a good deal more than the cost of the paint.

If your home’s exterior looks clean, orderly and in good repair, that’s the impression your house will first convey.

A Spotless Interior will Reinforce Your Home’s Good First Impression
Interior dirt and clutter can obscure your home’s good points, so start with a full house cleaning from top to bottom. Store unused or unnecessary items in closets and storage areas or hold a garage sale. Eliminate clutter and your home will look more spacious – an important selling point.

Take an inspection tour of your home, observing it as a potential buyer would.

  • Walls are clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents.
  • Woodwork and wallpaper are inspected for problem areas; wallpaper is cleaned and woodwork is waxed.
  • Badly worn furniture is temporarily stored in family’s or neighbor’s attic or basement.
  • Curtains and drapes are freshly laundered or cleaned.
  • Rugs and carpets are shampooed. Floors are waxed.
  • Loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and warped drawers are repaired.
  • Leaky faucets are fixed. Water discoloration in sink is eliminated.
  • Loose stair banisters are tightened and steps are free of objects.
  • Light fixtures are in good working order. Discolored or cracked switchplates are replaced.
  • Closets, shelves and drawers are organized to display spaciousness.
  • Clothing is hung neatly and shoes and other objects are neatly arranged.
  • Bathrooms are sparkling clean. Tub and shower caulking is repaired.
  • Bedrooms are neat. Bedspreads and curtains are attractive.
  • The kitchen is clean and tidy, including cupboards, stove and oven.
  • The basement, attic and garage are clean and well organized.
  • Mirrors, picture frames and glasses covering pictures are clean.
  • Mirrors are strategically placed to create an impression of added space in problem areas.
  • Lamp shades are in good condition.
  • Electrical connections are plugged in.
  • Consider painting walls and replacing carpeting if cleaning doesn’t do the trick

Good Lighting
It is also important to keep lighting in mind when you show your home. Good lighting will make your home seem more cheery and spacious.

Over-improving Doesn’t Pay
Don’t plan major improvements on your home. Most home buyers want to make their own major changes. You are usually wiser to sell them the potential – at a price they can afford.

You can do a lot to help your real estate agent show your home. Showing your home is all important to its sale, and there are many ways you can help your real estate professional do his or her job successfully.

Here are some last-minute details that will maximize your home’s selling potential:

  • The television and radio are turned off or low enough to allow the salesperson and buyer(s) to talk, free of disturbances.
  • Children and pets are sent outdoors to play or otherwise entertained to eliminate confusion and to keep the prospect’s attention focused positively on your house.
  • Bad odors are eliminated. Air freshener is used before the potential buyer arrives, especially if you have pets or if the house has been closed up for some time.
  • The house has adequate lighting (during daytime drapes are open; at night plenty of lights are on, including the porch light).
  • Wood is stored next to the fireplace. In winter a fire is lit.
  • The kitchen sink is free of dishes.
  • Magazines and children’s toys are in order.
  • Plants have been watered and look healthy.
  • Fresh flowers are arranged tastefully around the house.

What you can do while your house is being shown:

  • Be courteous, but don’t force conversation with the potential buyer(s).
  • Ask your real estate broker or agent if your presence is necessary.
  • Never apologize for the appearance of your home. Let your real estate broker or agent answer any objections.
  • Leave it to your real estate professional to emphasize the features of your home.
  • Make sure your agent or broker knows where you are so you may answer questions, but don’t tag along.
  • Let your real estate professional discuss price, terms, possession and other factors with the potential buyer(s).

Relocation Tips

The following check list will assist in making the relocation process more organized. An important aspect of a successful move is pre-planning.Find out what to do before the move and things you may overlook on moving day. Also, prepare yourself with the minimal necessities during the moving process. Finally, plan ahead and prepare your new residence for your arrival.

What to do before moving day:

  • Schedule rental truck and/or moving company at least six weeks in advance.
  • Begin gathering packing supplies and start packing early.
  • If you are renting, notify your landlord or management company at least 4 weeks in advance.
  • Contact utility companies and schedule shut off dates. These include water, electricity, gas, cable, trash service, telephone, etc.
  • Call your local phone company at least two weeks before your move to either transfer your number or request a new number for your new home.
  • Have gas, electric and water services connected at your new residence the day before you move in. Have services scheduled to be turned off at your old address the day after you move.
  • Arrange for cable installation at your new address.
  • Notify post office of new address and mail change of address forms at least one month in advance.

The following will be forwarded at no charge for the period indicated:

  • First Class, Priority and Express Mail: 12 months unless otherwise requested by mailer.
  • Newspapers and Magazines: 60 days.
  • Packages weighing 16 ounces or more: 12 months locally (you pay forwarding charges if you move outside the local area. If you do not want this class of mail forwarded, contact your local Post Office).
  • Mail Address Change Notification cards to people and businesses who send you mail.
  • If you have pets and/or plants, you need to arrange for their transfer. Most moving companies cannot move them for you.
  • If you need to dispose of hazardous products, call 1-800-cleanup.

Specific Tasks You Don’t Want to Overlook

  • If you are traveling a great distance, have your car serviced 2 weeks in advance.
  • Make hotel reservations if you are traveling long distance or are unable to move in to your residence right away.
  • On moving day carry hard-to-replace items with you, such as jewelry, family photos, etc.
  • Make sure to back-up your computer files before you disconnect and pack it away.

Last Minute Tasks for the Day of the Move

  • Pack a survival kit with enough essentials to tide you and your family over for at least 24 hours:
  • Personal needs – eyeglasses, medication, extra clothes, etc
  • Bathroom needs – towels, soap, toilet paper, etc.
  • Cleaning needs – sponges, cleaners, broom, dustpan, etc.
  • Kitchen needs – snacks, drinks, disposable utensils, cups, and plates, etc.
  • Basic tools – hammer, screwdrivers (phillips head & flat head), knife, tape, etc.
  • Payment for movers.
  • Keys and directions to your new home.

Responsibilities at your future address:

  • Arrange to register your children in new school(s).
  • Familiarize your children with their new environment.
  • Put together your childrens’ and your own health records – keep these handy during your move.
  • Look for new doctors and dentists.
  • Update or open new bank accounts.