Learn about what you can do to improve the process when selling your home.
Selling your home is a complicated process. The Arizona Real Estate market is constantly changing. Many things can go wrong. With a transaction valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, any error can be an expensive one. Unless you are a sophisticated seller, we highly recommend that you educate yourselves to the extent possible and then obtain help from experienced professionals. Here are a few things that we believe a seller should consider.
- Obtain a pre-listing home inspection. This will identify items that should be fixed before you put your home on the market. This is also a good time to tend to cosmetic repairs that have been neglected over the years. Your home should be generally spruced up, neat, clean and de-cluttered before you interview real estate agents.
- Investigate the market for similar homes in your area. Consult online services such as trulia.com, Zillow.com or realtor.com. Visit open houses in your area. Be objective about the pricing of your home. The amount you paid and the cost of your improvements are not relevant. The most relevant data is what price similar homes in your area are actually selling for.
- Hire an experienced realtor. Interview several before making a decision. Your earlier visits to open houses can be of help here as you will meet realtors with listings in your area. Once you select a realtor you will be given a listing contract. Review this and understand it before signing. Ask questions or consult your attorney if there are portions of the listing contract that you do not understand. The commission to be paid can sometimes be negotiated, especially for higher priced homes. It is usually best to keep the listing term short. If you are pleased with your realtor’s services, you can always extend the listing.
- Assist your realtor in creating a selling package by assembling all of the information available to show the repairs and upgrades you have made to the home as well as any transferable warranties that may exist. If there were large projects, be prepared to show that the work was done by a licensed contractor and that permits were obtained if needed.
- Arizona law requires the disclosure of anything that might be important to a buyer. Your realtor will provide you with a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) for this purpose. This is a very important document so take the time to fill it out completely and accurately. If there are items that are not covered by the form, disclose them anyway. Most of the claims we handle for buyers involve a seller’s failure to disclose. You can help prevent this from happening to you by being detailed and accurate in your disclosures.
- Review all contracts with your real estate lawyer before you sign them. Once signed, a contract is binding upon you. There is no three day right of rescission or right to cancel a real estate purchase contract in Arizona. You must understand the terms of any offer and how they may work before signing. You must evaluate whether or not a counter offer is appropriate and how this should be presented. Your lawyer can also help in the event problems arise during the course of the sale.
- Ask questions about the potential buyer to make sure that the buyer is qualified and has a reasonable chance of obtaining financing. Your realtor can help you with buyer qualification questions.
- If you agreed to make any repairs prior to close of escrow, be sure to hire licensed contractors to do the repairs and follow up with them to make sure they are done before COE. If not, closing may be delayed.
The lawyers at Platt and Westby, P.C. have been practicing in the area of Real Estate Law for over 40 years. Our partners are experienced real estate investors and landlords. Contact any of our Phoenix Real Estate lawyers at 602-277-4441 or use the e-mail contact utility on our website at www.plattwestby.com to schedule a no-fee initial conference concerning any matter involving Real Estate. We will answer your questions and, where appropriate, suggest potential solutions.
Platt and Westby, P.C. has offices in Phoenix, Arrowhead, Avondale, Scottsdale and Gilbert, Arizona.