Review our selling process timeline below
- 1. Deciding To Sell
- 2. Select A Broker & Price
- 3. Preparing To Sell
- 4. Accepting Offers
- 5. Appraisal, Inspection & Escrow
- 6. Buying Another Property
- 7. Closing The Transaction
Perhaps you have been thinking of selling your home or real estate in order to improve your circumstances.
Why Do You Want to Sell?
There are several reasons for selling your property—job relocation or a new opportunity in another state, or simply because your current property no longer fits your needs or lifestyle. No matter your reasons, your trusted South Lake Associates professional can help you understand your motivations for selling, and the impact selling may have on your life and finances. If suitable, we are confident in making and presenting alternatives that may help you better reach your financial and property ownership goals.
When Do You Want to Sell?
Most sellers want the transaction completed quickly, and turn to an experienced real estate consultant to expedite the process. Others have the flexibility of deciding when to sell, with no sense of urgency. Our experienced South Lake Associates consultants will counsel you on current market conditions in your area, and help you use that information to decide on the ideal time to put your property on the market.
Analyzing Current Market Conditions
The contemporary real estate market can affect both your property’s selling price and how quickly it sells. A buyers’ market means the number of properties for sale outnumber potential buyers, and buyers have a negotiating advantage. In a buyers’ market, having an experienced real estate professional strong negotiating skills on your side is critical for a successful sale, leveraging your sales proceeds.
A sellers’ market has fewer properties on the market, which means higher prices and increased competition (multiple bids) on properties. In this market, an experienced real estate professional can help you determine a reasonable price for your property to leverage your exposure, attract buyers and ultimately get you optimal market price and terms.
Leveraging Finances & Taxes:
Has your income level increased or decreased? Whether you are up-sizing, downsizing or simply making a lateral move, your monthly real estate expenses will adjust, and our South Lake Associates consultants will help you gauge the potential influence of these changes to ensure you come to a fiscally sound conclusion.
We can also assist in estimating potential proceeds from a property sale after selling expenses which can include transfer taxes, tax with holdings, real estate commissions and in some areas certain legislated repairs. We will also propose tax savings and estate planning initiatives. We recommend that an accountant or attorney be consulted on these issues prior to completing your transaction.
While it is possible to price and sell your home or real estate without a broker, this is one of the largest & most important financial decisions you will ever make.
Selecting The Right Listing Broker:
When selecting a broker, don’t go for the dilettante who does real estate part time—go for a full-time broker who lives, eats and breathes real estate. Since they in effect become your employee and work for you, take the time to interview a few brokers to determine how knowledgeable they are, and how familiar they are with the neighborhood you want to live in.
Find a broker who is comfortable with computers; today’s transactions depend heavily on the Internet, and anyone not online is not tuned in. Determine how much time the broker will devote to your search or sale, and if they have a licensed assistant. This is important because the most successful brokers are the most efficient, and can afford to pay a knowledgeable assistant who will always be available to answer your questions.
Ask about their credentials and education: A good broker is always educating themselves about the latest real estate trends. Another litmus test of a good broker is simple: how long does it take them to return your calls? Time is money when attempting to buy a property.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a list of properties they’ve sold or a list of references. Another sign of a good broker is that they truly listen to you, interviewing you to make sure they understand exactly what you want and what you’re comfortable with.
What is your Home Worth?
Pricing your property accurately is a critical decision that directly impacts how quickly your property sells. Without expert advice, most people usually overestimate their property’s value, which will cause it to languish on the market, and may even be used by brokers as a comparison property just to make another property appear a better value. As experienced real estate brokers, we view dozens of properties each day and consequently are aware of what price properties actually sell for, compared to their original listing price. We can tell you with a high degree of accuracy, how much you can expect your property to sell for.
How Are Brokers Paid?
Real estate brokers are not compensated until a property has been sold, and they are paid a percentage of the real estate’s final selling price. Real estate commissions are negotiable in Washington. The commission will depend on the type of property you are selling, the anticipated sales price, and the type of broker you hire and the level of services they provide.
Commissions are usually split between your listing broker and his brokerage agency and the broker representing the buyer and their brokerage agency. Remember that, as your listing broker, we pay for all marketing costs for your property’s sale.
Why Choose Us?
Quite simply, South Lake Associates brokers know the best ways to get your house sold for the price you want. When we list a property for sale, we immediately set in motion a complex and tech-savvy marketing plan to broadcast the availability of your property. We host Brokers’ Open Houses; we post your property with photos on this website and the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). South Lake Associates’ real estate professionals are technologically savvy and we use digital photography, virtual tours, and Internet search and optimization technology to maximize your listing’s exposure. We also employ traditional marketing methods like signs, fliers, lockbox, public open houses, and print advertising.
Creating Curb Appeal
“Curb appeal” refers to how attractive your property looks from the street, and its value is in terms of first impressions and influencing passers-by to want to come inside the property. The yard should at least be comparable to others in the neighborhood; the cost of a quick clean up by a landscape crew usually pays for itself through a faster sale near the asking price. We will offer advice and solutions if the property’s exterior needs any improvement.
It’s amazing how a little goes a long way, and that’s true when it comes to sprucing up your property’s appearance. A quick coat of paint and other simple and affordable cosmetic updates can take years off a property’s appearance. Which is best for your situation— making significant repairs prior to putting your property on the market, or selling it “As Is”? We can help you make that decision.
Having written estimates from contractors in hand helps alleviate buyers’ fears of the unknown. Also, allowing the buyer to choose their own contractor relieves you of liability compared to pre-sale repairs, and they are free to choose their own materials. Consult with your broker before spending any money – we will advise you on how best to allocate your budget.
Put Your Best Face Forward
You know that feeling when you walk into a home whose owner is indifferent about housekeeping? It’s hard to feel comfortable in a house like that, and when you’re selling your property, you want people to feel so comfortable in your home that they’ll want to buy it!
To make sure that happens, keep your property clean, well-lit and smelling good. Your broker can view your property through a buyer’s eyes, and make recommendations on how to show it in its best advantage. Often this requires removing personal items that mean much to you but others may see as clutter. The property should be like a new canvas, as blank as possible, that let buyers visualize their own belongings in the house.
Get your carpets cleaned by a professional who can remove stains and odors that you may not notice but are immediately noticeable and often offensive to buyers who don’t smoke or own pets.
Brokers may recommend this fairly new concept so the property appeals to the widest possible audience. There are a few things you can do yourself, like placing fresh flowers around the house or baking something that fills the home with a delightful smell. Professional stagers take it to the next level by rearranging or even refurnishing the house with their special furniture that bring out the best in a property.
Disclosures & Inspections
One of your primary duties as a seller is to make a list of anything that should be disclosed to buyers, and failing to do so can have serious repercussions. Real estate brokers are conversant with the legal environment surrounding disclosures and will aid in the development of disclosure documents that protect both you and the buyer in creating a sound and satisfactory transaction.
Showing Your Property
Your property is a prized possession, and it’s only natural to want to be there when strangers come to walk through your home. However, this is one time when it’s not in your best interest to hover over potential buyers, so it is important to leave your property while brokers are showing it to potential buyers or during open houses.
There are several reasons for this: buyers are more comfortable discussing the property’s merits and drawbacks with their broker if you are not there to overhear; your presence might make them feel like they are intruders, and remember, you want them to feel comfortable. Your broker has extensive experience in dealing with others on your behalf and has a fiduciary duty to represent your best interests.
Price Isn’t Everything
It may seem counter intuitive, but price is not always the deciding factor in accepting an offer; and furthermore, the first offer received may not be final. At South Lake Associates, our duty is to help you filter distill the offer down to its elements of an offer to determine if it’s best for you. When appropriate, we will help draft a counter offer in response to any offer that has potential but comes up short in its current form. It’s true—in a multiple offer situation, the highest price offer may not be the best offer.
Dealing Objectively and Fairly
This point cannot be emphasized enough— selling your property requires you to stay objective and to negotiate in good faith. As your representatives, we are committed to helping negotiate contractual terms that are beneficial to you and fair to the other party.
Once there is a ratified offer, the buyer will deposit an agreed upon good faith deposit into an escrow account, reflecting their earnest intention to purchase your property.
Always Get It in Writing (counter offers and addenda)
In a real estate transaction it’s critical to document every element and phase of the transaction to eliminate vagueness and to ensure everyone is aware of all points of the deal. The best way to accomplish this is to convert all verbal agreements to a written document signed by both parties. This clarifies everyone’s intentions and prevents things from being forgotten or contested at a later date. We will help you draft addenda to your contract that will help further your objectives.
Staying on Track
Real estate contracts provide a series of deadlines for both buyer and seller; keeping this series of events on schedule ensures a timely and successful close of the transaction. Once you accept an offer, we provide a time line for tracking the transaction so you will always know what’s next.
What is Escrow?
Escrow begins when the buyer provides an earnest money deposit and a purchase offer is accepted by the seller, and ends when the buyer becomes the official new owner, with the transfer of title registered in the county records.
Title Company and Escrow Holder
In Washington, the buyer usually selects a title company and escrow holder, because they pay for these services. The title company researches the complete recorded history of the property, to ensure the title is free and clear of all encumbrances by the date of closing, and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title.
Most purchase agreements give buyers specific time allotments for property inspections, reviewing the preliminary title report and all disclosure documents and obtaining financing and insurance before the completion of the purchase. As each of these issues is resolved, the buyer removes that specific contingency from the purchase agreement, and the sale is one step closer to conclusion.
Alternately, the buyer may use newly obtained information to request contract renegotiation. This situation is when an objective, experienced listing broker can really prove their worth by offering guidance in making an informed decision on how to respond to the buyer.
The buyer has the right to have a wide variety of property inspections to determine the property’s condition and the cost of any impending repairs or upgrades. Inspections may include roof, termite/pest, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, arborist or mold. You are entitled to a copy of any of their inspection reports.
Appraisal and Loan Approval
We recommend accepting offers from buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval letter, which is stronger than a pre-qualification letter. The lender will send an appraiser out to the property, to ensure the property is worth the sales price.
Where Will You Live?
This is a common concern when simultaneously handling a purchase and a sale. Don’t worry—we have many solutions to help you! For example, we often negotiate a rent-back period for our clients, so they can rent their first property from the new buyer for an interim period—typically month or two, while we assist in the new property search and purchase. Rest assured that we will help you find the most convenient and affordable solution, that minimizes your concerns during this time.
Final Walk-Through Inspection
A few days prior to taking possession of your new property, you will visit the property together one last time with your trusted DiTo professional. This final visit ensures that the property’s condition meets your expectations—that the condition remains unchanged since you made your offer. A checklist will provide you to note any last-minute details for the seller to attend to.
Property Services and Utilities
It is necessary to change the services and utilities into your name, and we are happy to provide you with contact information for local utilities and service providers so everything is in your name at the close of escrow.
Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes unexpected issues can arise, and this is when an experienced real estate agent can really prove their worth to you. There are so many variables in the average real Estate transaction that it’s not uncommon. But don’t panic—it’s not the end of the world. We’ve been through the purchase process countless times and subsequently have a series of strategies to easily overcome these issues and conclude the transaction as quickly as possible.
Close of Escrow
When your transaction is nearly completed, the title company will provide you with a “closing statement” detailing all the financial details of your property purchase, with items like pro-rations on property taxes and all the transaction-related costs. We take you step-by-step through this document to ensure accuracy. When everything is complete, the title company records the transaction at the County Assessor’s Office and you become the official new owner. Congratulations!
We will coordinate the delivery of your keys to coincide with the recording at the County Assessor’s Office.
A good agent is always looking for ways to improve their service, and to do that, DiTo Properties will ask for your written feedback after you settle into your new property. We welcome your comments regarding our service, and you can do so by click here.
Areas We Serve in Seattle
We manage real estate all over Seattle, including Ballard, Wallingford, Lake City, Kenmore, Madison Park, & Northgate.
When you’re looking for Seattle property management help and real estate services in Kings County and Puget Sound, South Lake Associates is your expert. We’ve been in business for over 10 years, and we know the local market better than anyone. Whether you’re looking for a home, thinking about investing, or you need help managing your property – we’re your best choice.
If you don’t see your area listed, feel free to reach out to our team and we’ll see if we can work together.
-South Lake Union