Steps to Selling Your Home in Florida
When you put your house on the market, you are letting people know that you are interested in receiving and entertaining offers from people who may be perspective buyers. One of the best ways to do this is to use a real estate broker such as Hamilton-Franklin Realty, who will be glad to help you every step of the way. Real estate brokers can help you get the word out that your house is up for sale, and can make that sale accessible to the public.
All real estate transactions are going to differ in some way, there are a series of common steps that can serve as a guideline for what to expect.
- The house is put on the market by the seller.
- Buyers take a look at the house and make offers to buy the house.
- The seller accepts one of the buyers’ offers and both parties enter into a contract.
- The buyer turns in an application to obtain a mortgage, which will allow him or her to buy the home.
- A title search is ordered and the house is inspected. This is normally paid for by the buyer.
- The inspection and title reports are examined by the buyer. At this stage, the buyar and seller must come to an agreement as to who is going to pay for repairs to the property. The buyer can also decide whether to continue with the transaction or not.
- If the buyer and seller come to an agreement, and the buyer continues with the transaction, a closing is held. At this point, all of the paperwork is signed and the seller relinquishes the deed to the house to the buyer. This is the point at which the seller receives money from the closing.
The Role of the Real Estate Broker
Hiring a real estate broker is an excellent way to increase the visibility of the property you are going to sell. Hamilton-Franklin Realty will gladly help the seller navigate his or her way throughout the entire process of selling the home. Real estate brokers are familiar with the area and houses for sale in the area.
Aside from helping the sellers to find buyers for their property, Hamilton-Franklin Realty can help determine a fair price for the house. If a seller is trying to sell a house for over what is considered the fair market value for an area or neighborhood, this can result in the house being on the market for an undesirably long time or not sell at all.
When you hire Hamilton-Franklin Realty to help sell your house, one of the first things you will do is give a listing of the house and sign a listing agreement. There are three types of listings.
- An Open Listing–The broker gets commission if he or she locates a buyer.
- An Exclusive Listing–The broker gets a commission if any real estate broker locates a buyer for the property.
- An Exclusive Right of Sale–The broker gets a commission if the house is sold during the term of the listing agreement, regardless of whether the broker was responsible for the sale or not.
Generally, buyers make an offer on a house by presenting a proposed contract showing the buyer’s plan for purchasing the home. Remember that while you are trying to sell a house for as much as you can, the buyer wishes to buy it for as little as possible or get as much out of the deal as he or she can. As a result, there can be some back and forth between the seller and the buyer as each side gives and takes provisions from the contract to get to a compromise both can accept.
Not only does the contract act as a sort of guide of how the transaction will close, it also details how certain problems such as repairs will be taken care of. Hamilton-Franklin Realty will be glad to go over your contract and help to explain the offer the buyer is making.
As a seller in Florida, you have a legal obligation to let the buyer know of any known defects of the property, even if they might not be obvious. Normally, a disclosure form has already been filled out by this point, but if it hasn’t, this information must be disclosed and listed to the real estate contract. If you have corrected a defect, it doesn’t need to be listed, but disclosing more than is necessary is often a good practice. Failure to disclose a defect can end up with the buyer being able to escape the contract or possibly even suing after the closing. If you sell a property “as is,” you still must list defects, but aren’t making any guarantees as to the property’s condition.
Go over the contract carefully. Remember that it is a legally binding piece of paper, so you want all information to be correct and true on the contract. Again, Hamilton-Franklin Realty can help you with this portion of the selling process to make sure that everything is squared away and properly recorded.
When reading over a contract, remember that it is a legally binding piece of paper. There is no such thing as a provision that doesn’t really mean what it says. What is in the contract is actually what the contract means legally, and there is no such thing as a “boilerplate” entry. Make sure to read all of it, ask plenty questions and if you still have more questions seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in practicing real estate law.
Home Inspection and Survey
The buyer will next most likely have the home inspected to see if there are any defects which need attention. Many sellers also hire an inspector to inspect the house, to make sure that there are no surprises on the buyer’s inspection report.
The inspector’s report should include color photographs of each defect, a list of what was inspected, an approximation of the repair cost for each item needing to be repaired and whether the defect is classified as cosmetic or non-cosmetic. The buyer will also have the home inspected for termites and other organisms that destroy wood, and this should be done by a licensed pest control company.
The survey is similar to inspections and can possibly detail problems with the property. A survey is simply a scale drawing of a property, showing the house’s footprint and the location of various parts of the property such as the location of sidewalks and the property line, If you received a survey when first purchasing the house, you can give this to the buyer as long as there have been no changes to the property or neighboring property since that time.
One of the items paid for at the time of closing is title insurance. This insurance lets the buyer know the condition of the property’s title and is good for as long as the property is owned. Title insurance is paid for one time, at the closing. Large insurance companies underwrite this insurance in Florida, and the cost of title insurance is controlled by the Office of Insurance Regulation. The customary payer of the title insurance in some areas of Florida is the seller.
Scam Red Flags
Unfortunately, scams happen. Here are a few warning signs and red flags to watch out for.
- Watch out for the phrase “creative financing.” This is often a good sign something odd is going down.
- At closing, you should only sign one HUD-1 form, and never more.
- You are asked to sign the deed to someone other than the buyer.
- You are asked to sign documents with blanks to be filled in at a later date. Never sign if this is the case.
- No payments should be made without record, or “under the table.”
- You are informed that the buyer is assuming the mortgage without notifying your lender or getting the lender’s permission to do so.
- You are asked to sign any statement that is untrue.
- You are asked to raise the purchase price of the house so that the extra mount can be used by the buyer as a down payment.
If you encounter any of these red flags, or otherwise feel as though something is amiss, you should retain an attorney to look over the transaction for you. There are state and Federal tasks forces designed to fight these sorts of scams, but they still occasionally happen, which can leave otherwise good people in a precarious situation.