Seller’s Guide

The Life Cycle of Selling a Home

Selling your home may be one of the most significant and complex transactions you will make in your lifetime.  The following describes what you can expect at each step and the role that Silversons plays throughout with its clients.

The Decision to Work with a Realtor

The first step is to choose a realtor to work with – or decide to sell it privately. Although selling on your own may appear to be an easy way to economize,  remember that it entails pricing, marketing and advertising, making appointments, qualifying the buyer, negotiating and attending to the many details that come with selling home. In the end, you may find that you are handling tasks that you are unprepared to manage and may end up losing money and opportunities.

UNDERSTANDING AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS

Before you enter into a discussion with a real estate agent regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand what type of relationship you wish to have with that agent.

SELLER’S AGENT: A seller’s agent acts solely on behalf of the seller. He or she has, without limitation, the following fiduciary duties to the seller: reasonable care, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience, and a duty to account.  The seller’s agent does not represent the interests of the buyer.  The obligations of a seller’s agent are established between the agent and the seller in the listing agreement.  In dealings with the buyer, a seller’s agent should (a) exercise reasonable skill and care in performance of the agent’s duties; (b) deal honestly, fairly and in good faith; and (c) disclose all facts known to the agent materially affecting the value or desirability of property, except as otherwise provided by law.

BUYER’S AGENT: A buyer’s agent acts solely on behalf of the buyer. He or she has, without limitation, the following fiduciary duties to the buyer: reasonable care, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience, and a duty to account.  The buyer’s agent does not represent the interests of the seller.  The obligations of a buyer’s agent are also subject to any conditions set forth in an agreement between the agent and the buyer.  In dealings with the seller, a buyer’s agent should (a) exercise reasonable skill and care in performance of the agent’s duties; (b) deal honestly, fairly and in good faith; and (c) disclose all facts known to the agent materially affecting the buyer’s ability and/or willingness to perform a contract to acquire seller’s property that are not inconsistent with the agent’s fiduciary duties to the buyer.

BROKER’S AGENT: A broker’s agent is an agent that cooperates or is engaged by a seller’s agent or buyer’s agent to assist the listing agent or buyer’s agent in locating a property to sell or buy, respectively, for the listing agent’s seller or the buyer agent’s buyer. The broker’s agent does not have a direct relationship with the buyer or seller and the buyer or seller can not provide instructions or direction directly to the broker’s agent.  The buyer and seller therefore do not have vicarious liability for the acts of the broker’s agent.

DUAL AGENT: A real estate agent, with the written consent of the buyer and the seller, may act as the agent for both parties. In such a situation, the agent will not be able to provide each party with the full range of fiduciary duties. The agent should explain the possible effects of this dual representation i.e. giving up their right to undivided loyalty.  A seller or buyer may provide advance informed consent to dual agency by indicating the same on this form.  Any individual should carefully consider the possible consequences of a dual agency relationship before agreeing to such representation.

DUAL AGENT WITH DESIGNATED SALES AGENTS: If the buyer and seller provide their informed consent in writing, the principals and the real estate broker who represents both parties as a dual agent may designate a sales agent to represent the buyer and another sales agent to represent the seller to negotiate the purchase and sale of real estate.  A sales agent works under the supervision of the real estate broker.  With the informed consent of the buyer and the seller in writing, the designated sales agent for the buyer will function as the buyer’s agent representing the interests and advocating on behalf of the buyer and the designated sales agent for the seller will function as the seller’s agent representing the interests of and advocating on behalf of the seller in the negotiations between the buyer and seller.  A designated sales agent cannot provide the full range of fiduciary duties to the buyer or seller.  The designated sales agent must explain that like the dual agent under whose supervision they function, they cannot provide undivided loyalty.  A buyer or seller should carefully consider the possible consequences of a dual agency relationship with designated sales agents before agreeing to such representation.

Choosing Your Broker

Silversons suggests that you meet with three realtors before making your final choice. Compare their pricing strategy, marketing plans, years of experience in the community, negotiation style, the number of listings they have and how available they will be to you or other brokers. Make sure you have an open line of communication with your realtor and will not be dealing primarily with an assistant. It is important for you to have full access to your broker and critical that you feel comfortable working with and trusting this person who will play this important role.

Silversons acts as a trusted consultant to our clients at every step of the selling process. We see our role as helping our clients make good decisions. Before we list the home we:

  • Discuss why you want to sell, where you want to move and your time table.
  • Help you prepare the home for sale. This includes de-cluttering, removing old carpets, repainting, repairing leaks and more. We may also suggest a pre-sale inspection to expose future problems.
  • Tour the house and note any renovations since you moved, problems, architectural details, as well as positives and negatives of the house.
  • Present Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which includes active and sold recent listings that would compare with your house.
  • Help you price your home. It is important NOT to choose a broker based on how much they price your home.  If you overprice a property it will take much longer to sell.  It’s more important to price at fair market value. The buyers ultimately determine the price not the broker or the homeowner.
  • We discuss the MLS forms: lead, ERS, Agency Representation and property disclosure.  We discuss the concept of Agency—seller agency, sub-agency, buyer representation, dual agency and no representation.
  • We review any environmental issues including lead, asbestos, radon, underground oil tanks and mold.
  • We discuss a marketing plan that includes print advertising, email, internet, virtual tours, mailings.

1968 FAIR HOUSING LAW

New York law prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental or lease of housing accommodation on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability or marital status by the owner, lessee, sub lessee, or managing agent of housing accommodations or by real estate brokers and salespersons.

Real Estate Agents and Realtors are not alone in being subject to the Fair Housing laws. It is important for real estate buyers and sellers to know that they, too, are subject to most provisions of federal, state or local fair housing laws whether or not a real estate agent or realtor is involved in the transaction. In particular, racial discrimination by anyone in the sale or rental of housing is a violation of federal law.

Once the property is listed

Silversons completes all necessary forms and enters the information into the Multiple Listing Service within 24 hours of signing the contract with the seller. To make sure listing information is correct, we obtain property cards from the assessor and building departments, confirm taxes, square footage, any STAR or Veteran exemptions and open permits. We ensure that all work done on the premises was filed for, permits closed, and we request a survey.

Before showing the home, we carefully discuss your showing preferences and instructions, including times and days of the week that you may prefer not to show the house. We review which items in the home are included and excluded from sale.

Silversons works hard to develop a marketing plan that will provide maximum exposure to the largest potential pool of buyers.  We work closely with you to design a plan that includes:

  • A broker open house for the brokerage community the first week the property is listed to ensure maximum exposures for your home.
  • A public open house
  • Internet exposure on some 30 real estate and social networking sites
  • Newspaper Advertising, both print and online
  • Direct mail/ “Just Listed” postcards/flyers/brochures
  • Open houses for area brokers and the public
  • Lawn Signs
  • Virtual tours
  • Videos
  • Personal networking through community and with top agents

We follow up on all showings and provide feedback to the homeowner.

Once You Receive an Offer

When an offer is presented, it includes the price and terms, including the

occupancy or closing dates, financing plans, whether or not there’s a mortgage

contingency and inspections.  If financing is involved, we request a pre-approval

and, if possible, speak with the mortgage broker. If the buyer will be paying in cash,we request proof of funds.

Once an offer is accepted, the listing and selling brokers prepare a Memorandum of Agreement which includes the names, attorneys, brokers, inclusions and exclusions and all terms and price. This is sent to both attorneys and the cooperating agent.

Silversons attends the inspection with you. If no issues turn up during the inspection, then the contract is drawn by the seller’s attorney, and sent to the buyer’s attorney for review, comments and changes. The buyers sign the contract and return it signed to the seller’s attorney with a deposit, usually 10% to be held in the attorney’s escrow account until closing.

An appraisal is done and ordered by the lending company

Closing is set 45-90 days from contract signing.

We schedule a walk-through before the closing. Prior to closing, all final readings are done including oil, water, and electric meters. All phone, mail, cable and alarm services are discontinued.

Closing

Closing Costs

Both the buyer and seller have certain closing costs.  The seller must pay the transfer tax of $4/$1000, as well as the brokers and their attorney.  Buyer’s costs include bank fees, title insurance, and a mansion tax on any properties that sell for more than $1 million.  In the case of a coop, a flip tax is usually paid by the buyer but this is often negotiable.

Please discuss all costs with your attorney.

Who Attends the Closing

You and your attorney, the seller and the seller’s attorney, the lender’s attorney, the title closer, and the Realtors involved with the transaction.

Items to Take to the Closing

Please be sure to bring:

  • Checkbook with extra checks for additional items.
  • Picture Identification (Driver’s License, Passport)
  • Homeowner’s insurance policy and paid receipt
  • Certified Check for balance of proceeds
  • Certified Check for estimated title charges

All buyers must be present at closing to sign mortgage document (or a Power of Attorney)

At the Closing

The attorneys and the title closer review all documents and agree on the calculation of adjustments. It is the responsibility of the title closer to assure the buyer’s attorney and the lender’s attorney of clear title to the property; that any mortgages, liens, and judgments presently on the property have been satisfied, that all taxes have been paid to date, that there are no violations on the property, and that a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued. When all necessary documents have been signed, all adjustments made, and the seller has received his or her monies, the deed and any other required documents are given to the title closer to file at the County Clerk’s office.  The buyer receives keys to the property.  A Disclosure Estimate will be given to you by your attorney.  This shows the actual settlement costs.

CONGRATULATIONS!