Checklist to Close

This is a step-by-step consumer checklist to assure you of the top dollar for your house. It will tell you what you will need, what you should know and what questions to ask. It should let you know before you sell your home exactly what's involved and how you can help.

You and your family have decided you want to move. Maybe it's a corporate move to another city, or perhaps you want a different location or home amenities within the Greater Louisville area. Here's what you do first:

If it's a move to another city or state, call your Semonin REALTORS® office and request assistance with your destination city. They will find out exactly where you are moving and call a broker in that city to find a top REALTOR® who works in the area. These referrals are usually given to the more experienced, higher-producing associates so you can get better service than by just calling any REALTOR® when you arrive in your new city. The cooperating REALTOR® will then call you long distance and discuss your wants and needs. They will usually send you information in the mail about the neighborhood and homes in that area, and arrange to meet you as soon as you arrive. The best thing is, it's all free. The calls, the information, the work on the part of the REALTOR® are all part of our service. Take advantage of that service first and save yourself time, money and aggravation.

If you are moving within the Greater Louisville area, the Semonin REALTOR® who helps you in the sale of your current home will also show you homes in the area you want to live. This is an advantage because the REALTOR® knows what you will net from this home, and also knows more about your needs.

Before your Semonin REALTOR® arrives to review the marketing of your home, be prepared. Gather together the deed, warranties on appliances, mortgage payment book, tax bills, assessments, community fees, restrictive covenants or any other guarantee or legal documents about the home. It will not only save you time, but also make you aware beforehand of the different charges and obligations which are now on the home. Warranties and guarantees on recent work done on the home may also raise the home's value in the eyes of the buyer.

After your Semonin REALTOR® arrives, take them on a tour. Show your associate the special features which you have enjoyed about the home, and features or benefits which originally attracted you to the home. The features which helped you to make your original decision to buy the home will probably be similar to features which may attract the next buyer. The REALTOR® can use this information not only under the 'Remarks' section in the Multiple Listings computer printout that goes to cooperating REALTORS®, but also in any Semoninitten ads on the home. Tell the REALTOR® about the neighborhood, the ages of the children in the area, the closest shopping, schools and other features that may not be readily visible. This neighborhood information might be the important factor that sells the home. Since the right location is always at the top of a buyer's list of wants, you want to tell the REALTOR® why this is a good one.

Pricing is always a variable which will determine the final net proceeds you get for your home, but it's not the only one. If you are able to provide seller financing, have your loan assumed, give quicker possession, or give more extras with the home, these features and others will determine your final net proceeds. Where do you start? Ask questions.

Ask your Semonin REALTOR® for a list of properties similar to yours which have recently sold in your area. Although currently listed properties and listings which expired will also help, the only real determining factor for pricing is what actually sold. The strange thing about pricing is this - it doesn't really matter what either you or the associate thinks the price should be. All that matters is what actual buyers have paid for that type of property, with similar amenities, in that neighborhood, at this time. You know yourself, that if you sell the home ten years from now it will be worth more, or if the home was in a totally different location, it might be worth more or less. The important thing is to ask questions.

Examine each comparable sold listing and look at its features, the date it sold and other details. Then review the other factors, such as financing options for your buyers and inclusions in the sale of your house. Together set a realistic price which will get you the highest possible dollar amount in the shortest period of time. Remember that overpricing hurts your chances for the best sale price. After you have established the optimum price, have your REALTOR® prepare a net proceeds sheet. This estimate of the various closing expenses gives you a good idea of what you will net from the sale of your home.

Review with your Semonin REALTOR® the total marketing plan on your house. Such things as open houses, tours or caravans by the entire staff, exposure to buyers and the entire marketing plan should be presented in detail. Then, look at the marketing program in its entirety. Have the REALTOR® explain what he/she will do personally and again ask questions. We think our REALTORS® are the best trained and most well prepared anywhere in the country. They know marketing, qualifying, legal documents, everything. Draw on their experience and knowledge and let them tell you what comes next.

An offer to purchase/contract/purchase agreement will be Semoninitten by your Semonin REALTOR®, another REALTOR® with Semonin REALTORS®, or a cooperating REALTOR® within the multiple-listing system, and then presented to you through your listing REALTOR®. Ask for a sample blank contract at the time of listing so you can review the paragraphs and ask questions. Once the offer is presented, it covers the areas of down payment, price, financing, inclusions, exclusions and closing date. After you review the entire offer, you have to decide to either accept the offer by signing the purchase agreement or change some part(s) of the offer and send back a counter-offer. Although you may reject the offer outright, it's usually better to counter the proposal if the terms are not acceptable. By countering the offer, you are able to let the buyers know in Semoniniting exactly what you will accept. A warning - if the offer is similar to your expectations, you may want to accept the offer rather than counter. Any changes, no matter how small, allow the buyers to rethink their entire decision on the purchase of your house. Sometimes when buyers receive a counter back on what they consider to be an excellent offer, they psychologically refuse to sign an otherwise good counter.

After you have received a copy of the completed agreement, there is still a lot of work to be done to assure that you receive top net proceeds.

After the buyer applies for a mortgage, an appraisal is done on your house by an appraiser, usually hired by the lender to assure the value of the house on which they are giving a mortgage. Title search and sometimes other inspections are then requested by the lender. Review the net proceeds sheet with your Semonin REALTOR® to become aware of which costs the buyers assume. Just before closing, the buyers will probably have a final walk-through inspection of your property. This is a time when you want everything to look just right. If you have already moved, and taken your furniture and other belongings from the house, take a couple of extra hours to clean up, fix up and otherwise repair. Some buyers who have had second thoughts about their new, higher payments for this home, or just feel the trauma associated with a change, look for flaws. Your extra cleanup and concern at this crucial time reassures the buyers of your sincere concern for their family.

At closing, the sellers usually give the keys to the buyers and receive a check for the entire net proceeds. At this time, review and ask questions about anything you may not fully understand so this settlement is a rewarding and pleasant experience. The monies you receive can then go to the purchase of your next home or for any purpose you decide. Closing is a great time for both buyers and sellers, because the buyers gain possession of the new home and sellers get the net proceeds to use as they wish. We want this final step to be wonderful, and through good consumer knowledge and a Semonin REALTOR® who cares, it will be.