Here's what to expect after you've accepted an offer to purchase your home.
1. Within 7 days of the offer, the buyer will schedule a home inspection. Our office will call you with the details. You should plan to vacate the property for 3 hours while the inspection is being conducted. We should receive the inspection results in about 48 hours.
If you scheduled your own inspection before you put your house on the market, there should be no surprises uncovered in the buyer's inspection. However, if the inspection report identifies any problems:
* the buyer may request that you repair or replace the items;
* the buyer may ask that you issue a credit in the final settlement to pay for the repairs (the amount of credit can be negotiated); or
* the buyer may decide that, with the problems that have been identified, he doesn't want the home anymore.
If the buyer wants you to make repairs, do so in a timely manner.
2. Then comes the appraisal, arranged by the buyer through his lender. You don't have to do anything for the appraisal.
It usually takes about 30 minutes to conduct the appraisal, and the appraiser will measure square footage, take photographs and make notes of the home's condition, both inside and out. Property value also is taken into consideration, based on comparable houses that sold recently.
Results should be ready in 7 to 14 days.
The home appraisal is an educated guess of how much your property is worth. The purpose of an appraisal is to assure the lender that, if the borrower defaults on the mortgage, the lender has a marketable property that can be sold to recoup its losses. So the appraisal value is the maximum amount of money the bank or mortgage company is willing to lend the buyer of your home. A buyer can't borrow money for a mortgage without an appraisal, so it's a critical part of the process.
If the home's appraisal value is at or above the value of the purchase agreement and no repairs are required, then you are ready to close on the sale of your home. However, if the appraised value of the home is less than the agreed-upon selling price, then you -- with the assistance of your real estate agent -- must negotiate an acceptable lower price.
3. The next step for you is to start packing for your move. Leave all the attached items including window treatments, drapes and drapery rods, blinds, light fixtures, attached mirrors, attached shelving, fireplace doors and screens, storm windows and attached speakers.
Continue to maintain the house in good condition.
Do not do anything with the utilities; the buyer will transfer them into his name.
4. Now you will have to wait for a "clear to close," signifying that all of the conditions of the sale have been met and the buyer has been approved. We usually don't get a clear to close until a day or two before the scheduled closing date.
Do not cancel you homeowner's insurance policy until the closing has been completed.
5. The closing date is agreed upon by you and the seller as part of the contract for the home sale. It's usually 4 to 6 weeks after the offer to purchase has been accepted.
The closing is a meeting, probably in an attorney's office, where the final paperwork is signed by both parties. The closing papers are filed at the county courthouse to complete the property transfer.
You and the buyer will sign a stack of documents. Bring your driver's license to verify your identity.
All bills will be paid, including agent commissions, mortgage payoffs and down payments. Whatever you agreed to pay at closing is deducted from your selling price or proceeds.
Typical seller expenses include:
* the outstanding mortgage (If you do not have enough equity in your home, you may be notified of the amount you need to pay Escrow; have a certified Bank Cashier's Check made out in that amount, payable to the title company, and bring it to the closing);
* real estate commissions;
* pro-rated property taxes, utility bills and homeowner's insurance;
* Title and/or Attorney fees.
Lastly, you will also turn over the keys and security codes to the buyer.
Should I be there for the home inspection?
No, you should leave. This is a time for the inspector and the buyer to review and discuss the home without having to worry about offending the owner.
If the buyer asks me to repair or replace something -- or asks for a dollar amount to be reduced in lieu of the repairs -- do I have the right to counter the request?
Can I take the lock box and key off my door?
No. It still will be necessary for access for the inspector and appraiser. Then before closing the buyer will do a final walk-through of the home.
Can I still show our house after we accept an offer?
No. Once you accept an offer it must be marked as pending in the MLS and all showings will stop. The only exception to this rule is if the buyer makes an offer on your home that is contingent upon selling their home. If that's the case, then we can mark your listing CCS, which means "contingent continue to show."
When will we know if we are closing on time?
As crazy as this sounds, we won’t get the clear to close until 24 to 72 hours before closing. That’s just how lenders work. They have thousands of files and they prioritize them by the closing dates. So don’t be alarmed if the purchaser buying your home doesn’t get their clear to close until a couple days before closing.