Selling A Home
HomeLife™ sales representatives know that selling a property can be a confusing and complicated process. This guide is designed to help buyers and sellers throughout the process.
Unparalleled Customer Service at HomeLife&trade
Founded in 1985, HomeLife™ Realty Services Inc. is one of the world's leading real estate franchisors with hundreds of affiliates and thousands of sales representatives providing Higher Standards™ service to buyers and sellers around the world.
Central to the success of HomeLife™ sales representatives is a Higher Standards™ Pledge — a commitment to professional conduct and excellent customer service. Along with a dedication to community involvement, the Higher Standards™ Pledge is an assurance to clients that HomeLife™ sales representatives are ethical, knowledgeable and caring. In addition, HomeLife's™ Higher Standards™ Five Star Marketing System ensures properties are properly marketed — and sold! For the right price.
Why Choose a HomeLife™ Sales Representative?
The Higher Standards™ Difference
Given the complexity of a property sale or purchase, it pays to have a HomeLife™ Higher Standards™ sales representative to help. HomeLife™ sales representatives stand by their clients throughout the entire process.
Known for their enthusiasm and willingness to work, each HomeLife™ sales representative is trained and ready to help homeowners navigate the real estate process.
HomeLife™ Knows Communities
Local Ties, Global Strength
As active members of the community, HomeLife™ sales representatives know local neighborhoods. With offices throughout local communities, HomeLife™ Higher Standards™ sales representatives are knowledgeable on all the local amenities, such as shops, parks and schools. The community connections created by HomeLife™ sales representatives allow them to set attractive prices locate qualified buyers and represent a home's potential to its fullest extent.
Based on years of experience, HomeLife™ sales representatives will develop a home's «distinct capacity» through a tour with a professional sales team to determine its principal benefit. Whether a property contains a newly renovated kitchen or swimming pool, is accessible to excellent local schools and transportation or is in proximity to a golf course, discovering what makes a home different allows HomeLife™ sales representatives to break through the clutter of the competition to catch a seller’s eye. This community familiarity is just part of HomeLife's™ commitment to customer service.
The Listing: Putting a Home on the Market
Meeting with a HomeLife™ sales representative at home is the first step toward putting a home up for sale. Known as a «listing appointment», it’s the beginning of the sales process that involves a host of professionals, such as:
- Listing Broker: A real estate broker hired by the seller to represent the seller through a contract known as a «listing agreement». While the listing sales representative is associated with the listing broker, the latter is directly paid the commission, which is split with the listing representative.
- Selling Broker: A real estate professional that produces a purchaser for a property and shares the commission with the listing broker. This transaction is called a «cooperative sale», because one broker lists the house, while a second broker provides the buyer. If the listing broker provides both, then he or she receives the listing and selling commissions.
Prior to a listing appointment, the home seller and listing sales representative have work to do. While the home seller collects the documents requested by the sales representative, the listing representative must study recent area home sales that are comparable to the seller's.
Projecting the Value of a Home
During the listing appointment, the listing sales representative will inspect the home and yard to get to know special features as well as the floor plan. At this point, it is important for homeowners to clearly indicate to a sales representative any community or home features that could be of value to potential homebuyers. Examples includes home features that are not readily apparent as well as community-based features such as schools, churches, child care services, public transportation and other community-based features. Because prospective buyers comparison shop and are aware of subtle differences in homes, it is vital sellers inform sales representatives on what makes their home unique.
Comparative Market Analysis
Maximizing Market Value
The preparation of a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an important tool HomeLife™ Higher Standards™ sales representatives use to help sellers earn the highest price for a home. CMA's involve looking at public records of real estate businesses in the community to better understand market conditions. There are four steps taken by a sales representative to prepare a home's CMA:
- SOLD Properties
A HomeLife™ sales representative will consider the amount paid for at least three recently sold comparable homes in the community. These homes are comparable in size and amenities and give a clear reflection of what the MARKET (buyers) is willing pay.
- CURRENTLY For Sale
The next step is to consider the asking prices of at least three properties presently listed in the community. Because these homes are similar to the one for sale, each operates as a benchmark against which the home will be priced and will be a direct competitor for buyers in this price range.
- EXPIRED Listings
A HomeLife™ sales representative then considers the asking prices of at least three houses in the community that went unsold within the least 90 days. Such homes indicate the price at which the MARKET (buyers) is unwilling to pay and clearly illustrates the dangers of overpricing a property.
- ASKING Price
Then, such pricing information is examined to arrive at an ideal asking price for a home to be sold.
Current Market Value is ever changing. It is dependent on a number of key indicators such as:
- Current Mortgage Rates
- Time of Year
- Size of Listing Inventory
- Economic Stability
- Recent Home Sales
- Crime Rate
- Profile of the Neighborhood
- Condition of the Real Estate Market
One important key indicator relates to the number of listings currently on the market and the speed with which they sell. This is referred to the absorption rate and shows the number of months inventory of houses for sale that are available and how many months it would take to sell them all if no new listing came on the market.
The absorption rate is calculated by taking the number of listing currently on the market and dividing it by the number of sales that occurred in the previous 30 days. Your HomeLife™ sales representative will be able show you how this effects the pricing of your listing and the condition of the real estate market.
The following chart shows how the number of month's inventory provides a reflection of the current market condition:
|Number of Months Inventory||Type of Market||Effect of Market Value|
|12+ Months of Inventory||Extreme Buyers' Market||High Depreciation|
|9-12 Months of Inventory||Normal Buyer's Market||Moderate Depreciation|
|6-9 Months of Inventory||Balanced Real Estate Market||Flat Depreciation|
|3-6 Months of Inventory||Normal Seller's Market||Moderate Appreciation|
|0-3 Months of Inventory||Extreme Seller's Market||High Appreciation|
How Price Affects Buyer Interest
When a home is priced above its market value, fewer buyers will show interest and those that do view the home find a home of lesser value than they expected. In contrast, when a home is priced below market value, the number of interested buyers increases and they find a home of greater value than they expected and want to buy it before someone else realises what a bargain it is. This sometimes has the effect of creating a bidding war and causes the house to sell for a higher price as interested buyers compete to purchase the home. In the end, the price set and interest created should reflect the seller's goals.
Property Profile Folder
To help the listing sales representative prepare a highlight sheet on the property, home sellers need to provide documents and information relevant to the specific location and jurisdiction. Given the number of documents, it is encouraged homeowners have them ready before the listing appointment. Such materials include:
- Pay-off Notice: Signed by the home seller and mailed to the lender by the listing broker, this letter notifies the lender of the intention to pay off the mortgage in order to minimize prepayment of interest penalties to the seller (note: the home seller should provide the broker with the lender’s address, loan balance, assumability, years remaining on the present mortgage, PITI and the interest rate, if possible).
- Septic and Well Inspection: If a property is on a septic/well, inspections by local health authorities are required while the home is occupied. The listing sales representative will typically arrange for an inspection after the contract is ratified.
- Order Lender Appraisal: Usually required by a lender, it is an appraisal to assure a property is adequate collateral for a loan. An appraisal may be ordered (and paid by the seller) but is often completed after an «offer to purchase» is accepted (and is paid by the buyer).
- Assessment/Easements: Sales representatives typically ask home sellers if any property assessments or easements exist that must be paid or included in the purchase contract and passed on with the land once it is sold.
- Property Taxes/Condominium Fees: A record of property tax or condominium fee payments must be provided by the home seller, which the buyer will reimburse on a prorata share to the home seller at settlement.
- Inspections: Many new mortgage lenders require an inspection certificate to show a house is free of major defects.
- Utilities: A record of the past 12 months' utility bills, including gas, electric, sewer, water and trash, where applicable, must be provided by the home seller for the homebuyer.
Helpful Documents Provided by the Home Seller to the Listing Representative:
- House Location Survey
- Condominium Laws or Homeowners Association Documents
- Subdivision Map
- House Floor Plan
- Previous Title Search Abstracts
- Legal Description of Property (subdivision, section and lot)
- Warranties on Major Systems or Home Owners Warranty (if still in effect)
- Copy of the Home Owners Insurance Policy (for endorsement in the purchase contract)
What to Convey
In anticipation of a buyer's offer, home sellers must be prepared to provide their sales representative with a specific list of personal property included in the property for sale. Items to ‘convey’ include: draperies, drapery rods, remaining heating oil, firewood, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave, disposal, swimming pool chemicals, awnings, storm doors and windows, screens, blinds, shutters and window air conditioners. Items that do not convey should be tagged or removed.
- Listing Agreement: When a home seller is ready to put the home on the market, a listing agreement is completed and indicates a specific period of time the agreement is in effect (listing period) and is signed by the seller.
- Lockbox: A metal container for a house key that is hung on the front door and is only opened by a special key or combination by a licensed sales representative. A lockbox provides access when the owner is away and ensures full exposure to prospective buyers.
What is Required for a Listing to Sell?
There may seem to be a number of reasons why a listed property sells or doesn't sell; but ultimately there are only two main reasons:
Price — the correct listing price is the responsibility of the seller
Exposure (Marketing) — is the responsibility of the listing sales representative.
Assuming that the pricing strategy detailed previously was utilized, then the remaining factor is the marketing and should be one of the main criteria in choosing who you would like to represent you in the sale of your home.
HomeLife™ sales representatives are well trained through HomeLife™ University to provide customised marketing strategies for each new listing.
HomeLife's™ 20-Point Marketing Strategy
Five Star Marketing System
Since 1985, HomeLife's™ success is largely based on a Higher Standards™ commitment to a 20-point plan to sell properties quickly and at the best possible terms and price. Through Multiple Listing Service’s (MLS) electronic database, properties are posted and accessible to every major realty firm across the country. In addition, available properties can be located using the listing search on the HomeLife.ca web site.
As well as using the latest technology to sell homes, HomeLife™ sales representatives are trained in employing conventional methods for selling a property, particularly informing residents in an area of a home sale, conducting open houses, placing attractive signs on properties and displaying listings at franchised HomeLife™ offices. Coupled with a marketing strategy rooted in customer service, HomeLife's™ dedication is also evident in a Higher Standards™ 20-Point Plan of Action.
20-Point Higher Standards™ Plan of Action
The following HomeLife™ promise outlines the steps a real estate sales representative will take to ensure a home's quick sale at the best possible price and terms.
- Prepare a home market analysis.
- List the property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for maximum exposure.
- List the property on HomeLife’s™ website (www.HomeLife.com).
- Display and promote the property at HomeLife™ locations and to HomeLife™ staff at marketing meetings.
- Compose a detailed highlight sheet that lists the features, advantages and benefits of the property.
- Develop the property's «distinct capacity» through a tour with a professional sales team to determine principal benefit.
- Display a professional and distinct HomeLife™ sign on the property.
- Promote the sale of the property through the community.
- Communicate to clients on all marketing aspects.
- Provide the client with regular updates on marketing conditions.
- Pre-qualify potential purchasers to save the client time.
- Make clients aware of all financial alternatives regarding the sale.
- Explain to a client the home warranty program(if available)
- Offer both the buyer and seller moving services to ease the process.
- Communicate with clients regularly and adhere to the «Pledge of Availability».
- Represent the client on all offers and negotiations for the best possible price and terms.
- Provide the client with copies of all information relevant to the sale.
- Conduct follow-up on all necessary closing details until the money is in the client's hands and they're ready to move.
- Leave the client a copy of «My Action Plan».
The action plan may contain any number of traditional and modern marketing strategies specially matched to your home. They might include but would not be limited to:
- Place Listing on Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Place a distinctive HomeLife™ For Sale sign on the Property
- Newspaper and Real Estate Publications advertising
- Open Houses
- Just Listed Flyers
- Standalone Property Websites
- Communication through Social Media Channels
- Video Tour on HomeLife™ Websites and YouTube
- Ads on Kijiji and Craigslist
- First Time Home Buyer Seminars
- Office Tours
- QR codes on For Sale Signs to Property Brochures, Websites, etc.
Once your home is officially on the market, you need to ensure that:
- Your home is accessible — available for showings during reasonable hours, a fully workable lock and key, a lock box, etc.
- «Showing ready» — house is clean, bright, devoid of pet odors, uncluttered, personal effects taken down and put away, deferred repairs completed, staged, etc.
The ultimate result of a properly priced listing that has been effectively marketed is an offer. Of late, the form of that offer has been opened up to include digital offers with digital signatures but the process of offer presentation remains the same.
The sales representative representing the buyer details the terms, conditions and offer price on an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and informs the listing agent of the offer. The listing agent will then arrange a time to present their offer, explain its merits, both good and bad, after which you decide how to proceed. You can accept it, reject it or counter it.
Your decision will be communicated back to the buyer through their sales representative at which time they can acknowledge acceptance of the offer, accept or reject or re-counter the offer. This process continues until mutual agreement is reached or it is decided that it cannot be reached.
If the offer is accepted, that the process begins to «firm-up» the offer (remove any conditions) once firm the closing process and transfer of tile process begins. The closing process varies by state and province so your HomeLife™ sales representative will provide you with the specifics for your area.Be considerate and ensure that all light fixtures are working properly, that you leave the home clean, and that you consider leaving toilet paper in the bathrooms. Wouldn't you appreciate the same when you move into your new home?
- Schedule your mail to be forwarded to your new address.
- Purchase boxes and moving supplies
- Arrange phone service at your new home
- Depose of unwanted items to charity and/or dump
- Dispose of household chemicals properly (old paint, caustic cleaners, etc.).
- Return of any cable TV equipment
- Complete necessary change of address forms: Drivers’ license, Health cards, Insurance, Employer, Doctor, Dentist
- Memberships, insurance
- Cancel newspaper deliveries, health memberships
- Bank accounts, credit cards, and tax office
- Notify kids' schools, transfer records.
- Register at new school.
- Obtain copies of medical and dental records; if you have pets, get copies of veterinary records.
- Arrange connection of utilities at new home.
- Arrange disconnection of utilities at current home: Water, Electric, Gas, Telephone, Hot Water Rental
- Dispose of all flammable materials.
- Pack a suitcase with the clothes and toiletries that you'll need the first day in your new home.
- Pack a special box with other essentials you'll need for the first few days and marks this box «Do Not Move»
- Take down curtains and curtain rods.
- Pack your personal belongings, except your alarm clock, necessary clothes, jewelry and bedding
- Empty, defrost and clean refrigerator; clean the stove.
- Keep paperwork accessible.
- Collect all keys; keep them in a safe place.
- Final walk-through: check all closets and cabinets
- If using a moving company, confirm the new address and delivery time with the driver
- If using a moving company, walk about with supervisor and sign inventory forms.
- If moving a distance, have car tuned-up for trip
- Plan how to move plants