Decision to Sell
Select an Agent and Price
Preparing to Sell
Accepting an Offer
Escrow Inspections and Appraisal
Buying your Next Home
Close of Escrow
Decision to Sell
Perhaps you’ve been considering selling your home or property in order to improve your circumstances.
Why Do You Want to Sell? Do you want to sell your home in order to move to a different neighborhood, school district, or to be closer to family or employment opportunities? Perhaps you’re leaving the island. Maybe you want a country setting or want to be closer to town. Or maybe you need more bedrooms or storage? You may even want to downsize. As experienced real estate agents, we counsel our clients to help you understand not only your underlying reasons for wanting to sell, but the implications of how selling might impact your life and finances in ways you might not have anticipated. When appropriate, we will suggest other options for you to consider that might help you better reach your financial, lifestyle and real estate goals.
When Do You Want to Sell? If it is critical for you to sell quickly, using an experienced real estate agent can help you expedite the process compared to selling your home on your own. Or, perhaps you have the flexibility of deciding when you want to sell, and there is no urgency. We can help you understand the current market conditions of your area, and help you decide on the optimal time to place your home on the market.
What are the Current Market Conditions? The current real estate market may affect not only how much your home might sell for, but also how quickly. For example, in a buyers market, there are more homes for sale than there are buyers, so buyers have more negotiating power. In a buyers’ market, having an agent with excellent negotiating skills on your side can be instrumental in a successful sale, preserving your sales proceeds as much as possible. In a sellers’ market, there are fewer homes on the market, prices may be increasing and there may be multiple bids on desirable properties. In this kind of market, an experienced agent will help you price your home properly to maximize your exposure and bring you the best market price and terms available within your time frames.
Optimizing Your Finances & Taxes: Has your current income level increased or decreased? Whether you are trading up, trading down, or even trading across, your monthly ownership expenses will change, and we can help you estimate the cumulative impact of all these changes to make sure you are making a financially sound decision. We can also help you estimate the potential proceeds from selling your home net of selling expenses which may include any real property taxes unpaid to the date of closing, real estate commissions, escrow and professional fees. Finally, we can suggest you consider tax savings and estate planning strategies that should be addressed with your accountant or attorney prior to completing your transaction.
Select an Agent and Price
While it is possible to price and sell your home or real estate without an agent, this is one of the largest and most important financial decisions you’ll ever make.
How To Select The Right Listing Agent: Good agents strive to continuously improve themselves. Ask about their experience and education. Only agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors can call themselves a REALTOR®. Remember, experience, professionalism and integrity are paramount. We are focused on making your residential transaction as smooth and worry-free as possible.
Other Important Questions to Ask A Potential Agent:
Look for a full-time agent who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
Ask for a list of company references.
Interview the agent. Is he or she familiar with your neighborhood? What do they recommend you do to prepare your home for sale?
Find an agent who is tech-savvy: today’s transactions move at internet speed.
Ask how much time the agent will have for you: Successful agents are often the most efficient, and have knowledgeable office support available to answer your questions.
Ask the agent specifically how they will market your property.
Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to sell a home.
Complex issues will arise over the course of selling your home. You should feel comfortable that your agent is willing to explain everything to you until you understand clearly.
Finally, a good agent will spend more time listening to you and asking you questions about what you want, rather than talking about themselves. Pick an agent with whom you feel comfortable.
What Is Your Home Worth? Has your home appreciated? Do you know what it is worth? Pricing your home accurately is one of the most critical decisions you will make. On their own, most people tend to overestimate the value of their home. An overpriced home will languish on the market, and worse, may even be actively shown by agents just to make another home look like a better value. As experienced real estate agents, we look at dozens of homes every day and we know at what price homes actually sell for, compared to their original listing price. We can tell you, generally within an accuracy range of a couple of percent, the price your home should sell for on the market.
Preparing to Sell
Presenting your home in the best light can add thousands of dollars to the market price.
Creating Curb Appeal: The value of curb appeal is in enticing drive-by buyers to want to come inside the home. The yard should at least be comparable to 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. Add a splash of color by planting annuals along the entryway. We will tell you if the exterior of the home needs any improvement.
Should You Make Repairs? A quick coat of paint and other relatively affordable cosmetic upgrades might take years off a home’s appearance. A light neutral paint color has the broadest appeal and may also make rooms look larger. Will undertaking significant repairs prior to putting your home on the market generate the best return, or will selling your home “As Is” in its present condition? We can help with that decision. Having a written estimate from a contractor helps alleviate buyers’ fears of the unknown. Allowing the buyer to choose their own contractor relieves you of liability compared to pre-sale repairs, plus they can choose the materials. Consult with your agent before spending any money – we will advise you on how best to allocate your budget.
Cleaning Up Your Property: Keep your property tidy, clean, well-lit and smelling good. Your agent is able to see your home as a buyer will and can recommend how to show it in its best light. Often this requires removing memorabilia that you love but that others may see as clutter. Let buyers visualize their own belongings in the house. Turning on lights, even in the day time, makes your house appear more inviting, cheerful, and even spacious. A professional carpet cleaning 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.
Staging: A relatively new concept to the island and usually reserved for high end properties, agents may recommend staging so the home appeals to the widest audience. Do-it-yourself tips include putting out fresh flowers and baking fragrant cookies before an open house. A professional stager may be called upon to rearrange or even refurnish the house with their own furniture inventory, particularly applicable for situations like vacant luxury high end homes.
Disclosures & Inspections? One of your primary duties as a seller is to make a list of anything that should be disclosed to buyers. Real estate agents are familiar with the legal environment surrounding disclosures and will prompt you to develop thorough disclosure documents that will serve both you and the buyer in creating a sound and satisfactory transaction. Depending on the condition and age of your home, and the current real estate market, your agent may recommend you have a termite and pest inspection done before placing your home on the market. This can help avoid nasty surprises and broken contracts down the road.
Showing Your Home: It is important to leave your home while agents are showing it to potential buyers. We recommend you leave the showing of your home to professionals for several reasons. Buyers are more comfortable discussing the home’s merits and drawbacks with their agent if you are not there; they might even feel like they are intruding if you are home. Your agent is experienced in dealing with others on your behalf and has a fiduciary duty to represent your interests in the best possible way; let them do the talking. This way, you don’t accidentally volunteer information that your agent could use more strategically during negotiations.
Accepting an Offer
Having an experienced negotiator on your side can save you time and money.
Price Isn’t Everything: Price is not always the deciding factor and the first offer may not be final: Our role is to help you sift through all the terms and conditions of the offer(s) you receive to help you create a transaction that best suits your needs. When appropriate, we will help you draft up a counter offer in response to an offer that comes up short of your needs. Contrary to popular belief, when presented with multiple offers, the highest price offer may not be the best offer to accept, after all things are considered.
Dealing Objectively and Fairly: Selling your home requires remaining objective and always negotiating in good faith. We will help you negotiate contractual terms that are beneficial to you and fair to the other party. An experienced agent knows how to handle situations including multiple offers and multiple counter offers prior to your going into contract with one buyer, or “accepting” their offer.
The Deposit: Once there is an accepted offer, the buyer will deposit an agreed upon good faith deposit into an escrow account, reflecting their earnest intention to purchase your property.
Keep it in Writing (counter offers and addendums): Converting all verbal agreements to a commitment in writing signed by both parties clarifies everyone’s intentions and prevents things from being ambiguous, forgotten or contradicted later. We will help you draft addendums 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, or close of escrow. Upon acceptance of an offer, we will give you a copy of the timeline we will be using to track the transaction, so you will always know what’s next.
Escrow Inspections and Appraisal
During this stage of the property selling process, the Buyer will learn more about the property…
What is Escrow? In a nutshell, escrow begins when your earnest money deposit and purchase offer is accepted by the seller. Escrow ends when there is an official new owner and the documents may be recorded at the Department of Land Management, Government of Guam.
Title Company and Escrow Holder: On Guam, typically the buyer selects the title company and escrow holder, because they are paying for the costs. The title company will research the complete recorded history of the property, to make sure that 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. You will receive a copy of the “preliminary title report” or “PTR”, which we can explain to you.
Contingencies: Most purchase agreements provide the buyer with specific amounts of time to inspect the property, review the preliminary title report and all disclosure documents and obtain financing and insurance before they must actually complete their purchase of the property. At the successful conclusion of each of these milestones, the buyer will remove that contingency of their purchase and move one step closer to the close. Or, the buyer may use information they have learned to request a renegotiation of the terms of the contract (often the price). This is when an objective, experienced listing agent can really make a difference by helping you make an informed decision on how to respond to the buyer.
Inspections: 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, air conditioning systems, property boundary survey, septic tank, pool/spa 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. Later, the lender will send an appraiser out to the property, to ensure the property is worth the sales price.
Time to Start Packing: We can recommend when it is time for you to start packing, based on our vast experience with transactions similar to yours. Too soon, and you risk having your house in upheaval right when a buyers’ offer falls apart or when we need to begin showing your home to prospective buyers again.
Buying your Next Home
You may have already started dreaming about your next home. Now that your current home is well along in the sales process, you have a much better chance of your offer on your dream home getting accepted.
What Do You Want in Your Next Home? Chances are, living in your current home has given you some pretty clear ideas about what you want from your next home. Our job is to help you prioritize your needs and set realistic goals about the likelihood of finding and being able to afford these dreams.
Where Will You Live? Worried where you will live if your home sells before your next purchase closes? This is a common concern when juggling a sale with a purchase. We have many ideas to help you! For example, we can negotiate a rent-back period, where you continue to rent your first home back from the buyer while we help you find and buy your new home.
Thinking of turning your first home into a real estate investment? See what we can do for you in our Company Information section.
Close of Escrow
This is the culmination of the selling process. You’ve already started packing…Congratulations! You’ve sold your home!
Final Walk-Through Inspection: A few days before the buyer closes on your property, they will visit it one last time. This final inspection is to ensure that the property’s condition meets the buyer’s expectations compared to its condition when they made their offer. During this final inspection you will have the opportunity to “sign-off” on the property's condition to document that you have transferred the property in satisfactory condition.
Canceling Home Services and Utilities: We can provide you with the location of local utilities and services so that they can terminate your service as of the date escrow will close. For the buyers’ convenience, we will suggest they initiate service as of that same date.
If Things Get Complicated: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. This is when you really need an experienced real estate agent. Maybe something in the house broke at the last moment, or the buyer’s loan won’t close on schedule; there are a lot of variables. We’ve been through this numerous times and have various strategies and options to help make your transaction as smooth as possible for you.
Close of Escrow: When your transaction is nearly completed, the title company will provide you with a “closing statement” – a summary of all the financial details (pro-rations on property taxes and all the transaction-related costs.) We will go over this with you to be sure it is accurate. Prior to the planned closing date, the title company will have you sign the final documents. When everything is complete, the title company will record the transaction for you and the buyer at the Department of Land Management, Government of Guam, you will receive your proceeds from the transaction, and the buyer will become the official new owner.
Keys: We will coordinate the delivery of your keys to the buyer once the deed has been recorded or according to any other contractual agreements you’ve made.
Feedback: A good agent knows there is always room for improvement, so we will ask for your written feedback on our service and performance.
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