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Rose and Womble Realty Company
Equal Housing Opportunity  Realtor®

Seller Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long will it take to sell my home?
  2. How long will it take to get my money?
  3. Does the condition of the paint and carpet really mean much?
  4. Why should I leave my house when buyers are looking at it?
  5. What if I don't like the offer from the buyer?
  6. What about my grandmother's chandelier which won't stay?
  7. Will you be here every time the house is shown?
  8. Why should all the lights be turned on for showings?
  9. When do we have to move out?
  10. What if I don't want my neighbors to know my house is for sale?
  11. Why do you have to put one of those signs in my yard?
  12. Can I leave my pets free to roam the house during showings?
  13. What about my security system?
  14. What about turning off the utilities?
  15. When do I notify my homeowner's insurance?
  16. What is important about a home inspection?
  17. Who deals with the appraiser and all the inspections?
  18. How clean should my house be?
  19. Why shouldn't I just sell my house myself?
  20. What's the difference between an assessment and an appraisal?
  21. I've always taken care of my house. Are home and termite inspections necessary?
  22. How could anyone offer us such a low price?
  23. Why are appraisals important?
  24. How can a real estate agent justify his commission
  25. What's the difference between ratification of a contract and contingency removals?

1. How long will it take to sell my home?

Market time is defined as that period which spans the initial listing date to the date of the complete ratification and contingency removal of a sales contract on the property. Market time does not include the time and effort to prepare a home to be marketed and sold. Conservatively, Paul Fuqua normally advises his clients that the entire time period, from decision to sell, preparation to sell, listing to sell, and closing the sale, is on average no less than ninety (90) days. You may get a contract in the first day of the marketing period, but that does not reflect the reality of the total time frame. Better yet, ask the question: "How long will it take to get my money?"
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2. How long will it take to get my money?

Remember always that real property has not been sold until the deeds are recorded with the appropriate governmental office. Distribution of all the monies changing hands in a real estate transaction occurs after the recording of the documents has been done. Usually you will receive the net proceeds from the sale of your home within 24 to 48 hours of the closing and the act of recordation.
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3. Does the condition of the paint and carpet really mean much?

Absolutely. These elements of a home are the major visual elements. Think for a second. What else is there in greater quantity than the wall and floor space covered by paint and carpet? Poorly painted walls and worn carpet are seen as indicators of the overall condition of the property and are always seen to require more money to repair or replace than the actual costs.
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4. Why should I leave my house when buyers are looking at it?

Have you ever been uncomfortable in the presence of strangers? Have you ever avoided being honest about something when your comments could hurt feelings? Buyers are just like you. They tend to be intimidated by the presence of the seller in the home being shown. The goal of the marketing and showing process is to create an emotional bond between the buyer and your home. That is almost impossible when the owner of the home is present exerting his or her sway over the premises.
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5. What if I don't like the offer from the buyer?

Every offer or counteroffer on property will receive one of the following responses: acceptance, rejection, modification and counteroffer. There are no other possibilities. You, as seller, control totally your side of the process.
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6. What about my grandmother's chandelier which won't stay?

Any items in your home which would be considered fixtures and permanently installed such as chandeliers, lighted sconces, bolted-in-place mirrors, stained glass windows, ceiling fans and other such items, should be removed and replaced. Buyers expect to get what they see when they buy a home and the courts have affirmed that they should. To avoid a battle at closing and not misrepresent what comes with the house, "if it doesn't stay, it doesn't show."
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7. Will you be here every time the house is shown?

In many instances, at the request of the seller or upon my suggestion, we are present for all showings. It is an important consideration, especially if there are aspects of the property that must be explained in detail to prospective buyers. Unfortunately it also restricts showing times to those when I or members of my staff can be available. Often, a buyer's agent will request a showing at the last minute, which can be difficult to accommodate because of conflicting schedules. If having one of us present at every showing is your wish, we do it.
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8. Why should all the lights be turned on for showings?

Light and bright are the most coveted aspects of a home. Buyers will not purchase homes at any price level if the home is as dark as a cave. Plain and simple, human beings don't like the dark. Major retailers, because of the studies originally used from Bloomingdales, have realized the importance of well-lighted displays to move their products out of the store and into homes. The same is inordinately true of homes.
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9. When do we have to move out?

One of the major terms and conditions of a contract is the settlement and possession date. It is very important to all parties and is not automatic. You should plan to have moved from your home no less than 24 hours before the actual date of closing. And that date of closing is a negotiated item.
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10. What if I don't want my neighbors to know my house is for sale?

Then you have a major problem. The key component of a marketing plan is exposing the house to as many people as possible. Your neighbors may well have friends who love your neighborhood, or know people at work who would love to live where you live. If the neighbors don't know your house is for sale, they'll find out quick enough.
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11. Why do you have to put one of those signs in my yard?

Studies have demonstrated that one of the most effective elements of selling real estate is the "For Sale" sign in the front of the home. Without it, you miss the chance of someone who is looking for a new home in your neighborhood noticing that yours is for sale. Very often people drive through neighborhoods looking for homes for sale. If we don't alert the world driving by that your home is on the market, it may be an opportunity lost.
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12. Can I leave my pets free to roam the house during showings?

Nope. Animals should be taken out of the house, or confined to a specified area not to be disturbed by prospective buyers during showings. You do not want buyers to be confronted with a protective family dog, or your housecat while touring your home. Allergies, fear of dogs and cats, there are all manner of reasons why some people in this world don't have pets.
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13. What about my security system?

Most companies will allow the installation of a "Realtor's" code that will allow us to open the house and re-alarm it easily. Plus you can be assured that the security of your home is of paramount concern to us.
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14. What about turning off the utilities?

Generally I suggest you provide notice to the utility companies to cancel your service as of the day after the projected closing date. Doing so takes only a few phone calls and avoids the last minute panic. My office can supply you with all the pertinent telephone numbers.
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15. When do I notify my homeowner's insurance?

You should notify your insurance carrier of the impending sale and the scheduled date of closing once you have a ratified and contingency-free contract. Your insurance agent will best advise you on the transfer of your coverage from the house you're selling to your new home.
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16. What is important about a home inspection?

In most instances the home inspection by the buyers is a stated contingency in the contract. If the inspection finds elements of your home which are unsatisfactory to the buyer, the buyer has the right to an unconditional release from the contract. I suggest most sellers should have their home inspected before placing it on the market. Then there should be no surprises and you may elect to make repairs in advance so it does not become an issue when the buyer conducts his inspection. In a red-hot market, many contracts are written which do not include the home inspection contingency.
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17. Who deals with the appraiser and all the inspections?

I do, on your behalf. Successful appraisals and inspections are critical to the process. That's why we meet with each and every one of the inspectors and the appraiser.
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18. How clean should my house be?

Plain and simple, as clean as a hospital's operating room. Nothing is more distasteful to a buyer than a kitchen or bathrooms that do not gleam like a morning's sunrise. Windows should sparkle, closets straightened and everything removed from their floors. An often-overlooked room, which has impact on a buyer's perception of cleanliness and maintenance, is the utility/laundry room.
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19. Why shouldn't I just sell my house myself?

You can. This is America. Just as you can pull your own teeth, give yourself a haircut, or amputate your own diseased foot, you can certainly sell your house yourself. In fact, even with a Realtor, you are selling the house yourself. It's your house. You're hiring an agent to assist you in the process, in the details, in the legal requirements, in the transactional process, in the removal of contingencies, the qualification of buyers, the maintenance of your personal security during any showings, the presentation to the appraisers, the staging of the property, the meeting and greeting of prospective buyers, the placement of all the material on national websites, the photography, the recording of virtual tours, the placement of advertising. That's what an agent does for you, in part. But in the long run, you are the seller, you are selling your house. You control the dollar amount you'll accept, you control the terms you'll accept, and the bottom line. The money you'll get from the sale of your home will be the amount which you have instructed your hired professional help is acceptable to you. You are in control.
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20. What's the difference between an assessment and an appraisal?

An assessment is a value on property as seen through the eyes of local government assessors. It is the amalgamation of values in your neighborhood. It has political ramifications. People lose elections because local tax assessments rise dramatically and taxes are calculated against the assessed value of the property. An appraisal is an opinion of value used by the lending institutions to ensure that the mortgage loan placed on the property is in keeping with the risk/reward ratio that bankers use to protect the monies entrusted to their care by their customers and investors. Appraisals are time sensitive and have no political or tax consequences. Assessments look to the general, appraisals are specific. Assessments are slow to react to marketability of a property, appraisals are reflections of the market.
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21. I've always taken care of my house.
Are home and termite inspections necessary?

Yes. You don't spend large sums of money without knowing what you're getting. Homebuyers don't either, and lenders want to be sure that the house they're lending money on is sound and secure and not riddled with termite damage. Termite inspections and moisture inspections are required. Home inspections are not, yet many, many buyers place a successful, acceptable home inspection contingency on the contract. I suggest that the seller preempt them, by having the house professionally inspected when it is listed. Let's catch any problems early ourselves rather than have someone else tell us what's wrong with it.
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22. How could anyone offer us such a low price?

An offer is just that - an offer. It is not binding unless you make it so by accepting it. Most sellers take lower offers very personally and should not. The business of real estate is, and always has been, one of offers and counter offers. In a heated market in certain price ranges, with little supply and great demand, offers more likely than not are at the asked-for price if not more. As the houses become larger and the prices bigger, the demand slackens because there are fewer folks financially qualified to purchase the more expensive homes. I can't fault a buyer for putting in a lower offer. The seller may actually sell his home for the lower amount. It's what we all experience in comparison-shopping. This is a negotiating process as long as all parties realize that none of the steps taken should be considered a reflection of personal worth. Just business.
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23. Why are appraisals important?

Appraisals are the snapshots in time at which a trained professional indicates his informed opinion of the market value of a piece of property. Lending institutions rely on the appraisal to set the loan limits available to their clients, the buyer. If an appraisal indicates a home's value is less than the sales price agreed upon in the sales contract, the lender will not be able to complete the deal in most instances because the primary loan amount is always keyed to a limitation of 80% of the lower of the sales price or the appraised valuation. Appraisals provide the basis for that funding ratio. That's why they are so critical to the success of the transaction.
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24. How can a real estate agent justify his commission?

Professional services are not free. Realtors are professionals. Statistics demonstrate that Realtors consistently produce better financial results for their seller clients. Realtors know the rules, regulations, quirks, pitfalls and dangers of the buy/sell process. Their value lies in their ability and experience to help the seller set the best possible price, to stage the property for its sale, to handle the negotiations in a professional and advantageous manner, to assure that all the correct T's are crossed and the I's dotted. The most capable Realtors are consistently the primary motivation for the studious and sustainable increase in value realized for sellers and are especially critical in establishing the validity of the sales price for appraisers.
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25. What's the difference between ratification of a contract
and contingency removals?

Basically the same as night and day. A ratified contract represents a completed agreement, in its totality, and any contingencies. A contingency is part of that completed agreement and the contingency is the big IF. In essence, we've agreed that this transaction will happen IF this is done or IF that is done. IF not, the party enjoying the power of the contingency can terminate the contract if his or her IF isn't met. The contract may well be ratified when all parties have initialed all aspects of the contract, but until the contingencies have been removed, the contract is not enforceable.
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