Additional Info for Sellers/Buyers
Once a seller and buyer have agreed upon a purchase price and other sale conditions, and a Purchase Agreement (PA) has been signed, a property is then considered to be “under contract”, or moving towards a closing. Here’s a quick summary of what comes next in the process when financing is involved:
- Applies for a mortgage within 3 days
- Provides conditional mortgage commitment within 5 days
- Conducts a home inspection within timeframe on PA (any issues are negotiated in good faith)
- Lender orders a property appraisal
- Appraisal and buyer’s financial information are sent to lender’s underwriter (underwriting can take up to 2+ weeks in some cases)
- When under writer gives final approval of the loan, a closing is scheduled
- Provides the buyer with a Disclosure Statement
- Seller’s agent orders title work through a title company
- Conducts any township/county-required septic inspections
- Resolves any issues that “cloud” the clear title before closing
How to Prepare for a Showing
There are fewer buyers in the marketplace today yet with an abundant number of properties for sale. Buyers have a lot to choose from, and most feel that they can afford to be picky. With this condition in today’s market, it’s more important than ever to be sure that your home is looking it’s best for showings. The way you prepare for a showing can have an impact on the buyer’s decision to either write an offer or walk away. Here are some things you can do to prepare for that first impression:
- Take a walk – If possible, leave the home unoccupied for the showing as most buyers feel uneasy looking around when a member of the household is present.
- Take the pets – While you may adore your dog or cat, the potential buyer may be allergic or turned off by their presence. If you can’t take them, crate them in a removed room.
- Keep it clean – We know that life happens and it’s not always possible to have your home in perfect showing condition 24/7, but the cleanliness of your home does matter. Next to the price, the cleanliness of the home is a big factor in a buyer’s opinion. If you have children, get them involved – make it a team effort. If you need 24 hours’ notice to prepare, let us know and we’ll note it in the listing so agents are aware.
- De-clutter – Make the beds, pick up the toys, file the stacks of mail, etc.
- Keep it fresh – We recommend a quick spritz of the air and upholstered furniture with a light air/fabric refresher.
- Turn on the lights – It creates a warm, welcoming feeling for the buyer.
- Keep it clear – In the winter make sure the driveway is plowed and the sidewalk is shoveled. If you live out of the area, ask us for a name of a service to take care of it for you.
- Go the extra mile – Buyers are looking at dozens of homes before making a decision in today’s market. Set your home apart from the rest – leave a welcoming note, a small plate of treats, a vase of flowers, or another sign of hospitality. Make them feel at home!
With all the shopping that buyers do on the internet before they ever pick what they want to see in person, if you have a showing scheduled it means you’ve made it through the first screening process. Make the most of this opportunity by preparing as best as you can.
What Is Title Insurance?
One part of your closing costs as a seller will be a title insurance policy. Lots of sellers ask what title insurance is and why in the world they are paying for it when it’s for the buyer.
According to the legal dictionary on Law.com, title insurance is:
“a policy issued by an insurance company guaranteeing that the title to a parcel of real property is clear and properly in the name of the title owner and that the owner has the right to deed the property (convey or sell) to another. Should a problem later arise with the title (such as an inaccurate description), the insurance company will pay the damages to the new title holder or secured lender or take steps to correct the problem.”
Upon the signing of a sales contract, we order title work through a title company. This company researches the title to the property and provides us with a commitment, on behalf of an insurer, to provide a title insurance policy upon fulfillment of several requirements.
So, why does the seller pay for the policy if it’s for the buyer? This policy ensures clear and marketable title to the new owner. No buyer wants to end up in a situation where another person stakes a claim in their new property - a title insurance policy guards against that.
When the buyer uses a lender for their financing, the bank is also issued a policy (at the buyer’s expense) to protect the bank’s investment in the property as well.
As a seller, you may be able to benefit from the title insurance policy issued to you when you purchased the property. If the policy is new enough, you may receive a credit towards the reissue of title insurance for the buyer.