Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Listing Your Home, What You Should Know !

This week I am going to write about something I don't talk about very often which is sellers who are new to the process of selling their home.  Now some of you might be thinking this doesn't apply to you but it just might so I have compiled a quick list of sellers that is a sign you should take the time to read this blog:
  • You purchased your first home from a For Sale By Owner 
  • You have not sold a home in the last 5 + years 
  • You inherited a property or are an Executor of an estate 
One of the most important steps to selling your home is the paperwork, not only signing it but reading it and understanding it! I can't tell you how many homeowners who have not sold a home recently are very surprised by the amount of paperwork that now goes along with listing your home. 

NYS Agency Disclosure 
New York State requires that anyone who is buying/selling a home fills out the agency disclosure paper, it clearly defines who it is that the Realtor is working for.  Obviously you will sign that the agent will be working for you, but NYS has changed with the times and they now address Dual Agency before it exists.  

Dual Agency is when your agent works for both you as the seller, but also works for the buyer.  This can sometimes cause a conflict of interest, if the deal requires negotiating it can blur the lines of who your Realtor must disclose what to.  It is my recommendation that when it comes time for you to sign this piece of paper that you require if Dual Agency exists that it is Dual Agency with a designated sales person.  What this means is if a buyer walks into your home and wants to negotiate a deal that your Realtor will have an agent from their office work for this buyer rather than representing both sides of the deal.  

Multiple Listing Service Contract
This is a very important contract for you to read most Realtors will tell you it is standard and direct you straight to the bottom to sign.  They are correct when they tell you it is a standard form, but you should be reading it because this is the detailed description that will be on not only on MLS but all of the additional websites that your home will be listed on.   

You want to check certain things in particular: 
  1. Taxes are correct (Ex: If your taxes are not correct you may end up with a buyer who is unable to purchase because they were mis-informed, remember pre-approvals do include the yearly taxes)
  2. Make sure the number and descriptions of rooms are correct (Ex: If your kitchen is an eat in kitchen, you must make sure it is accurately inputted. These are things buyers will be placing in their search criteria and you wouldn't want a oversight to cause potential buyers to not see your home.  
  3. Be sure your floor plan is accurately described (Ex: If you have an entry hall, or a laundry room you want buyers to know that because these might be important to them)
  4. Utilities are described completely (Ex: Some people will have a preference when it comes to these things, again you never want to misrepresent your home, even a simple mistake can turn off a buyer) 
  5. This last one may upset some Realtors, but the 2nd page of your MLS Listing agreement is where it shows what the commission will be, and where it will be going.  Remember there are 2 sides to every deal if your agent has told you that they will be taking a 6% listing because they split it equally with the buyers broker make sure that it is written that way in your contract.  
Exclusive Listing 
This is something that you may or may not see, if you are listing your home on Multiple Listing Service you should not be signing this paper unless there is a beginning and an end date filled out.  I will sometimes hold a listing as an exclusive until I have the pictures uploaded, & the virtual tour online but when I do I always write that the end date is at the homeowners request.  You might wonder why I do this, and it is just the way I run my business I want to make sure that my listing is up to not only my standard but to my sellers as well.  Once the homeowner sees the listing and approves it we than release the listing onto MLS for it's big debut !! 

Property Condition Disclosure 
The property condition disclosure is pretty much self-explanatory, it is a semi-large packet that details the history of the property.   Most Realtors, and your Real Estate Attorney will recommend that you do not fill this out. Instead you at closing you provide the buyer with the  $500 opt out credit.  The reason we recommend you do this is to simply protect yourself from future liability, even the most knowledgeable homeowner can be unaware of hidden issues in their home.  

Lead Based Paint 
If your home was built prior to 1978 than you are required to fill this out, and your Realtor is required to give the buyers a informative booklet about Lead Based Paint.  This is a common form that you, the buyers, and all Realtors involved will need to sign and is required.  If you are not sure what year your home was built it is always better to fill one out to be on the safe side.  

Seller Services Guarantee 
Unfortunately not all companies offer this, but if you are going to list your home I would recommend not signing with a company that does not provide you with one.  This is your guarantee that the Realtor will provide you with all the services he/she agreed to do in order to get your home sold.  It also gives you the ability to walk away from the contract with them if they are not providing all the services, I can't tell you how many unhappy expired clients I come across because the Realtor did not do what they had assured the client they would do, always remember that you have your guarantee and if your Realtor isn't doing the job perhaps they need to be reminded of that guarantee.  

Now, I have to take a moment to remind you that in order for you to be able to hold your Realtor accountable for the work that they are supposed to be doing, you must also do your part.  Mis-communication about the marketing plan for your home, can often cause a strained business relationship between Realtor and homeowner so you want to go over the details prior to signing anything.   

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage does have some additional paperwork that your average Brokerage does not have.  The reason is very simple, we are not your average company we offer additional services to our sellers that not only get their home sold but to make it a easy and enjoyable experience.

Affiliated Business Agreement
If you are one of my frequent readers than you have heard me talk about all of the additional services we are affiliated with.  For today I will not be going into the description of them, but I will link the appropriate information so you can look at the ones you may not be aware of.  Our affiliated business agreement, is to let you know the different companies and services we offer but we as agents do not profit from our buyers or sellers using them.  The reason each of these are so important to our company as a whole is the difference it makes for our clients.  

You will also receive a copy of your Comparative Market Analysis, be sure you keep this in your file for future reference.  Also make sure you keep full copies of everything that you signed, as well as additional paperwork you may sign during the time your home is listed.  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, does have a system set up on a secured server that will store copies of all the paperwork you will accumulate during the transaction.  This is a great tool for someone who is on the road for work,  lives out of state, or just prefers keeping documents stored online rather than filed away.  

I hope everyone finds this blog helpful, if you have any additional questions please always feel free to comment and I will respond to your question as quickly as possible ! 

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