Introduction and the Listing Relationship
In this sections we seek to update homeowners on the selling process as well as to explain our services.
In recent years many changes have occurred in the way properties are sold. Over 75% of all buyers today search the internet. Still, real estate is very much a people to people business. While computerization, Realtor websites, and the "pooling" of listing inventory through the REALTOR® MLS "cooperative" have transformed the buying-selling process, most sellers still seek a hands on relationship with their broker.
The contract that employs the services of the listing broker is the listing agreement/listing profile sheet. In it, items such as price and brokerage fee are set forth.
The Pricing Strategy
In developing a pricing strategy with our clients, we look at current market conditions and the factors specific to a home, i.e., price segments, neighborhood condition, etc. After review of these items, the seller sets a price at which the home is brought to market and listed for sale. In listing a property for sale, we advise that sellers keep in mind that on the open market demand determines price and the buyers routinely comparison shop. Our pricing study provides a seller with a "range of value". The question of where to set the listing price within that range is an important one...
- Should you as the seller price your property where comparable sales are occurring and hold firm if lower offers are made?
- Should you start high, expecting to negotiate or reduce price after the market has been tested?
These are the kinds of questions we talk through with you. A lot depends on things such as ...
- What is the timetable for bringing about a sale?
- Are there very many similar comparable properties currently on the market?
We may suggest you actually drive by or view competing properties and/or buildings to get a better understanding of how we arrived at our recommendation for a price range. Gathering information on the special features of your home is most helpful as we go about the tasks of reviewing value and, thereafter, marketing and showing your property. At the beginning stage of the listing process it is useful to collect pertinent documents and records which you may have on file such as copies of the deed, the house location survey, previous title search abstracts, condominium documents/by-laws and Association records, and utility bills. Typically, we need you to provide us with information on the property which is not requested on the standard listing agreement profile form. To augment the MLS listing data/form, we often use a Seller Description/Disclosure checklist which enables us to answer accurately questions which potential buyers often ask.
Property Description/Declaration: A good faith effort should be made by the seller to provide information to potential buyers. Our intent is to disclose to customers information that we believe to be relevant to the sale of your property. While our role as your REALTOR® is that of Marketing Agent, not home inspector, potential buyers expect that we will have basic knowledge about your property. So we ask you to provide us with information on your home. While there are many potential issues today's buyers and/or lending institutions may investigate, some of the more common ones include: easements, betterments, zoning, property boundary lines, condo reserve funds, asbestos, radon, mold, pest/termite, sewage/water, attachments/liens, parking restrictions, age of improvements, wetlands/flood plain, hazardous waste, lead paint, in-ground oil or gasoline tanks, et cetera.
To promote Hammond listings broadly, we design a marketing program which fits each property specifically. Some of the key elements often included are:PRE-MARKETING ACTIVITIES/OVERVIEW:
- Photographic services are scheduled.
- Hammond brokers preview property, critiquing it with the listing agent, offering insights, and matching the home against their pool of current buyers.
- Digital image of the property is made and the photo and copy are uploaded onto www.hammondre.com
- Deed and/or condo documents/By-laws are obtained.
- Property Handout Sheet with property description, home data, and disclosures about the property is created and distributed to agents and customers.
- Keys and alarm systems are reviewed.
- Town Hall records are reviewed re: tax assessment, betterments, permits, flood plain, school district.
- Environmental issues (asbestos, oil/gas tanks, radon, etc.) are reviewed.
- History of property is reviewed.
- Merchandising and property condition issues are addressed.
- Copy for classified advertising is prepared.
- Copy for brochure is prepared.
- Pre-marketing property inspection or appraisal (if applicable) is initiated.
- Seller's description of property is addressed.
- Target Audience is defined.
- Property information is prepared for Relocation Sources.
- Property documents and title issues are reviewed.
- A schedule for marketing progress report(s) by the agent is set.
- Property information is sent to Listing Services (MLS and Link) for distribution to all Realtors.
- Broker house tour is held for the brokerage community to introduce the property's entry onto the market.
- Internet: Your property is posted on www.Hammondre.com, on Boston.com, on Realtor.com, and other key websites, making it available to all buyers.
- An Email alert with the description and photos is sent to buyers registered on the Hammond website.
- Every other week print ads begin.
- A sign (optional) is installed.
- Just listed cards are distributed.
- Multi-property office brochure is distributed to prospect lists, target market groups, and out of area brokerage firms.
- A mailing is made to sources for relocating parties including referral network members.
- Open Houses for buyers are conducted (optional).
- Accompanied showings by appointment.
- Marketing activity review sessions occur.
- All offers are presented (required by law).
- Negotiations are conducted.
- Post Offer-to-Purchase inspections are monitored.
- Purchase and Sale Agreement is facilitated.
- Post Purchase and Sale inspections are monitored.
- Final inspection walk through is made.
- Closing/settlement at which deed is exchanged.
About the Offer
It is the listing agent's obligation to present all offers to seller. It is normal practice for the offer to be in writing and for it to be accompanied by an initial deposit "earnest money" binder. The form most used is the Offer to Purchase Real Estate form, or upon occasion, the Purchase and Sale Agreement. All the terms of the offer need to be presented to the seller. The format which most offers take is a statement of: the legal address of the property being sold, the amount of the proposed purchase price, the timing of deposit monies, the mortgage and financing terms, the proposed settlement date, and the conditions of additional contingencies (such as a structural inspection clause, mortgage contingency clause, condominium document review clause, radon gas test clause, asbestos inspection clause, etc.) Typically, deposit funds are held in escrow to be released or returned when contingencies are met, waived, or not satisfied. If the offer is deemed unacceptable, the seller may wish to reject it outright or make a counter-offer. The prospective buyer may then accept the counter, or respond with another offer or withdraw. A seller needs to be informed about ongoing market conditions as they relate to their home.