Steps to Selling Your FishHawk Ranch Home
The following are the steps to selling your FishHawk Ranch Home:
This guide is designed for the FishHawk Ranch, surround Tampa Bay area, and Florida real estate market. If you are reading this article and are looking to list your home outside the FishHawk Ranch, Tampa Bay area, or Florida, please consult with a local professional to ensure your local customs are the same.
1. Research REALTORS®
Researching multiple REALTORS® is an essential part of the home buying process. The goal is to find an experienced REALTOR® that you feel comfortable with, has your best interests at heart, and has a written marketing plan on how to get your home sold!
2. Choose a Listing Agent
A listing agent represents you and looks out for your best interests. Interview a few of the local experts before making a final decision. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to sales and experience. Here are a few items to look out for:
- Real estate teams should have more sales than individual agents. Ask who will be your agent and did deeper for their specific experience. Be careful for them using the team experience.
- Years someone is licensed are not always a good indicator of experience. The number of closed transactions means more to me than years in the business. Both would be a bonus! An agent that has been licensed for 20-years may not have as much hands-on experience as an agent that has been licensed for 2-years. I believe that a REALTOR® learns on every property they close on.
Ask questions about the listing agreement:
- How long is the listing for?
- Can you cancel the listing prior to the home being sold?
- Are there any penalties for canceling the listing?
- Do they have any guarantees?
- How much is the commission? How is it split?
As an example, my listing agreements are for 6-months. I also allow my sellers to cancel the listing agreement with me anytime before going under contract if they are not satisfied with my service. Luckily this has never happened!
Since you are looking for a real estate agent to list and sell your home ask to see their written marketing plan so you can sell what they are doing to get your home sold for top dollar. Selling a home in today’s digital world is much more than taking photos on your phone, putting the listing in the multiple listing service (MLS), and sticking a sign in the ground. It takes a full-fledged marketing plan and effort.
3. Pricing Your Home
The biggest mistake most sellers and REALTORS® make is overpricing the home. You should be pricing your home at or just a tick below the current market value (based on current similar sold homes). Your best chance for selling a home for top-dollar will be in the first two weeks the home is listed for sale. You will be hoping for multiple offers and hope they go a little higher than the asking price.
Overpricing a home only makes the competition look better, the home sits on the market longer, and will ultimately sell for less than if it was priced correctly, to begin with.
Zillow is an interesting tool but not very effective in coming up with an accurate list price for your home!
4. Prepare Your Home to Sell
Prepare your home for sale by cleaning and decluttering it and improving curb appeal. You might want to consider hiring a professional stager to stage your home for showings, especially if it is vacant.
Make any necessary repairs. Please see How to Prepare Your FishHawk Ranch Home for a Home Inspection to assist with what to look for.
If you have pets, please have plans to have them out of the home during showings. It puts undue stress on the pets and does not allow the buyers to concentrate on your home adequately.
Remember, you only get one chance — and sometimes only 3 seconds or so — to make a great first impression, so make it count.
As part of preparing your home, you will need to provide your REALTOR® with information regarding your home, complete and sign legal disclosures about the home. In the FishHawk and Tampa area, we usually provide the following:
- Seller Property Disclosures
- Home Owner Association Disclosure
- If part of an HOA the Covenants and Restrictions for the community plus any additional documents the HOA may require
- For homes built before 1978 a Lead-Based-Paint disclosure
5. Market Your Home
Aside from properly pricing your home, having and following a marketing plan for your home is essential.
It will be beneficial for your agent if you could list and upgrades to the home as well as identify what you love about your home and community. Your agent will use these points in the MLS to hopefully write an enticing property description for your home.
As good as cell phones are at taking photos, they should not be used for MLS pictures of your home. Ensure your REALTOR® will be hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality photographs, drone photos, and my favorite, the 3D Interactive Virtual Tour.
I have a 150+ Point Marketing Platform that I use for every property I list and sell.
6. Home Showings
When listing a home to sell, I aim for a minimum of three showings a week. With the amount of marketing, I do for my listings, if we are not getting three showings a week something is not right. The market is telling us something. For security purposes, the use of an electronic lockbox is highly-recommended. Using a combination lockbox is simply a safety issue for your family. Please do not use one! Since most qualified buyers use a REALTOR®, the REALTOR® will have electronic lockbox access. With the lockbox, you can see who, when, and how long someone was in the home.
Try not to be home during showings. You want to do your best to have the potential buyer feel comfortable at the home. We want them to imagine it as their home, and when you are there, they feel like it is your home. You also run the risk of giving the buyers a negotiating advantage. Anything you say could inadvertently do that.
7. Receive and Negotiate Offers
If the home is priced correctly you had a bunch of showings in the first few days. Now we are hoping for an offer or multiple offers. Please remove your emotion from this process (I know it is easier said than done). Buyers like to make lowball offers even on nice homes, that are priced right, in a seller’s market. Just because the initial offer was low, they could still be a serious buyer that was testing the water. Your expert REALTOR® will guide you in this process but be ready to make a counteroffer. I’ve seen counter-offers go back and forth 6 or 7 times before an agreement was reached. A large part of this is being knowledgeable and knowing the value of your home. A REALTOR® that knows your market well and is a strong negotiator is extremely beneficial.
8. The Home Inspection
Once under contract, one of the first things most buyers will do is schedule a home inspection. There are a lot of home inspection companies out there. Some are better than others. Since you have hopefully repaired the items in the home prior to the home being on the market, all you need to get ready for inspection day. Ensure that the water, electricity, and gas are all on for the inspection. Move stuff away from the walls in the garage and do not block the attic access. Prepare the attic for the inspection too. The inspectors will try and get as far into the attic as possible for a visible inspection.
9. Repair Requests
No home is perfect, not even a brand new home. It is likely that after the home inspection, the buyer will ask for some items to be repaired or ask for a credit. With that in mind, there are two types of contracts with use in Florida:
- AS-IS Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase – This contract allows for the buyer to inspect the property and gives them the right to cancel. The inspection clause reads as follows:
Buyer shall have ______ (if left blank, then 15) days after Effective Date (“Inspection Period”) within which to have such inspections of the Property performed as Buyer shall desire during the Inspection Period. If Buyer determines, in Buyer’s sole discretion, that the Property is not acceptable to Buyer, Buyer may terminate this Contract by delivering written notice of such election to Seller prior to expiration of Inspection Period. If Buyer timely terminates this Contract, the Deposit paid shall be returned to Buyer, thereupon, Buyer and Seller shall be released of all further obligations under this Contract; however, Buyer shall be responsible for prompt payment for such inspections, for repair of damage to, and restoration of, the Property resulting from such inspections, and shall provide Seller with paid receipts for all work done on the Property (the preceding provision shall survive termination of this Contract). Unless Buyer exercises the right to terminate granted herein, Buyer accepts the physical condition of the Property and any violation of governmental, building, environmental, and safety codes, restrictions, or requirements, but subject to Seller’s continuing AS IS Maintenance Requirement, and Buyer shall be responsible for any and all repairs and improvements required by Buyer’s lender.
So as a seller, what does this mean for you:
- The buyer has the right to cancel this contract within the specified inspection period “For any reason” and get their earnest money deposit back.
- The seller is not obligated to make any repairs.
- The buyer can still ask for repairs to be done. The seller can agree to the repair request, say no to the repair request, or counter the repair request. Keep in mind the buyer can cancel the contract for any reason, including not being satisfied with the results of the repair request.
Note: I am a believer that the buyer should be making an offer based on what is visible during the viewing of a home or disclosed prior to the offer being made. If during the inspection an active roof leak is discovered the seller should repair the roof as it was not visible during the viewing of the home.
- Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase – with this contract the seller is obligated to repair up to a pre-determined amount on warranted items, wood-destroying organisms, and the cost associated with closing out open permits and obtaining required permits for unpermitted improvements.
This clause reads as follows: Repairs and Permits: Seller will pay up to $______________ or ______% (1.5% if left blank) of the purchase 78 price for repairs to warranted items (“Repair Limit”); and up to $______________ or ______% (1.5% if left 79 blank) of the purchase price for wood-destroying organism treatment and repairs (“WDO Repair Limit”); and up 80 to $____________ or ______% (1.5% if left blank) of the purchase price for costs associated with closing out 81 open permits and obtaining required permits for unpermitted existing improvements (“Permit Limit”).
With this contract, the buyer cannot simply cancel the contract for any reason. It does, however, obligate the seller to repair up to a specific amount of issues that were found. If the repairs cost more than the specified amounts, the buyer can still request the repairs be made. If the seller does not want to make the repairs above the repair limits, the buyer will have the right to cancel the contract and receive and refund of their earnest money deposit.
Most homes that are going to be purchased using a loan and some that are paying cash will require an appraisal. To prepare for the appraiser have the home clean and bright just like a showing. The appraiser is looking at the condition of the home compared to other homes that have sold on the market.
Keep in mind that if the home does not appraise for the purchase price that depending on the offer, the financing could get denied. To keep the deal from being canceled, the buyer may be able to add to a down payment or the seller may need to drop the price. The seller is typically not entitled to receive a copy of the appraisal because you didn’t pay for it.
11. Behind the Scenes – Preparing to Close
In Florida, most closings are done at a Title Company (some with an attorney) and you as the seller usually get to choose that company. Title companies, in general, do the following:
- Do a title search into the legitimacy of a deed to a property.
- Act as the escrow agent, holding deposits and other payments until the transaction is completed.
- Title Company Ensures the Seller is Legitimate and has Maximum Rights to Sell the Property Issue title insurance for the buyer and lender, protecting them against any claims or issues with the property.
- Orders the property survey
- They act as the closing agent; The final closing for a home is typically held at the office of the title company
- They disburse funds when the property is closed
12. Final Walk-Through
The buyer and their agent usually do the final walk-through the morning of or the day before closing. The seller should be fully moved out of the home at the time of the final walk-through. Ensure that all the items that are to remain in the home per the contract remain in the home. There should not be anything left behind unless previously agreed upon. The home should be clean, and broom swept.
For the seller, closing day is generally pretty straightforward and should take less than half an hour. Buyers and sellers, for the most part, do not close together any longer. Be sure to bring a valid photo ID to closing. If you would like the Title Company to wire funds into your account, please bring a copy of a voided check with you to closing.
Thinking About Selling? Please Allow Me The Opportunity to Interview With You!
I hope you found the information on this page helpful. When you are ready to take the next step, I would like to apply for the job of selling your home. Please do me a favor and allow me about an hour of your time to interview for this job! There truly is a difference, and I’d love the opportunity to show it to you.
As always feel free to text or call me at (813) 421-3007. I look forward to hearing from you!