Even the most seasoned sellers can feel lost during a real estate transaction. That’s why we’ve broken the process down into this simple explanation that covers the basics. Think of it as your map to the closing table. Understanding the steps involved can help you expect the unexpected and make it an easy and straightforward experience.
Roots is committed to making sure our clients are heard and that each client receives the highest quality of service. It is important to choose an experienced agent that you feel understands your needs. We encourage you to explore your options, but hope your search will end with Roots.
Before your property hits the market, the pre-listing groundwork must be laid. Primarily this means some light paperwork and locating files from when you purchased the property. While property is different, typically you will need to fill out a seller’s disclosure, locate the survey (or order a new one), notarize a t-47, and order an Energy Audit (if in the city of Austin). Your agent will assist you in identifying which documents are necessary, helpful, or superfluous for your property. Finally, you will work with your agent to determine a list price that fits your needs and the current market climate and sign a listing agreement.
In addition to gathering the necessary paperwork, before listing is the time to make your property shine – you will only get one chance to make a first impression on buyers. Roots has a helpful seller’s maintenance checklist to get your started, but your agent will happily help you identify the most important areas to focus on to get your house show and photo ready. Once the property is ready, your agent will have the property photographed and begin the listing and marketing process.
If you are occupying the property while it is on the market, the best rule of thumb is to make the property as easy as possible to show. Guide to showing your property lists your options for scheduling showings and the pros and cons of each method. Buyer’s agents will have access to your home through a Bluetooth lockbox and your agent will request feedback from buyers about the condition/price/etc. of the property.
Once you’ve found a home you like, you and your agent will discuss the terms of the agreement in detail. Your agent will then write the offer and review it with you before submitting it to the sellers. The seller will usually counter and negotiations can go back as forth and many times as necessary for both parties to come to an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the offer is void with no financial repercussions to the buyer.
Once both parties have agreed to the terms of the offer, by initialing and signing it, the contract is now considered “executed”. The buyer’s agent then delivers the earnest money (generally one percent of the sales price) and contract to the title company where it is held in an escrow account and the closing process begins. The option money must be delivered to the sellers within 48 hours of executed contract for the option period to be valid.
Once the contract is receipted, the title company will send the executed contract to the buyers, sellers, and the agents involved. From this point on, the title company will serve as a liaison between the involved parties— collecting information, ordering the survey, maintaining the escrow account, etc. The title company also ensures that the title to a property has no claims against it and can be freely transferred.
The option period is a time for you to do your due diligence, have the property inspected and negotiate any potential repairs. During this time, buyers reserve the unrestricted right to cancel the contract. Typically, option periods are between 7 and 10 days. You and your agent will review the inspection and determine what, if any, items need repair. Inspection reports may seem intimidating at first, but a good agent will help you determine what is significant and what is merely cosmetic. Please note that repairs are negotiable and need to be agreed upon by both buyer and seller. Additional documentation will be signed and executed if any agreements are made.
After the option period, the lender required appraisal will be ordered on your behalf. The buyer is responsible for the cost – between $500-$750 – which should be included in the loan estimate.
When the underwriter is satisfied with your information, the lender issues a “clear to close”, sends the documents to the title company, and delivers the Closing Disclosure to all parties at least three days prior to closing.
Within 24 hours of closing your Roots agent will schedule a final walk-through of the property to ensure that any negotiated repairs have been made and the home is in satisfactory condition.
Once the title company receives the necessary documentation from the lender, they will set appointments with the seller and buyer to sign documents. These generally happen on the same day, but not generally at the same time. The seller’s appointment often takes 30 minutes or less. The buyer’s appointment takes about an hour. After everything is signed, the lender must still approve funding before the buyer gets the keys. This usually occurs the same day. The title company will send all the documents to the lender for final approval. Once the lender has issued final approval the transaction is considered “funded.” Keys are then released to the buyer and proceeds are disbursed to the seller.
Breathe easy and smile as you start a new chapter in your life!
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