A lot goes in to selling a home.  Here is a comprehensive home seller checklist to keep you on track through each different phase of the home selling process.

Pre-Listing Checklist

  • Pricing Analysis: Pricing is paramount to a successful sale.  Really look in to the neighborhood market activity.  Use our Market Compare tool to see what’s been selling in your neighborhood.
  • Know your finances: Once you have determined your price, you can start to calculate what your final take home will be.  Here is a great net sheet by Stewart Title for sellers to calculate listing expenses.   Some of the expenses you can expect as a seller in Texas are.
    • Commissions
    • Title Insurance Policy
    • HOA Fees: It’s a good idea to call your HOA to find out what expenses are incurred by the seller in your neighborhood
    • Home Warranty
    • Survey (if you don’t have your existing one)
    • Misc. Title fees
  • Finish all those small projects you’ve been talking about for five years.  Or better yet, hire a handyman to do it right.  The buyer’s inspector will be looking through every nook and cranny so it’s a good idea to knock out any issues likely to show up on an inspection
  • Collect all of your documentation so you have it ready to go when the buyers ask for it.
    • Survey
    • Seller’s Disclosure Notice
    • Warranties/Service Paperwork (For recent upgrades like HVAC, water heater, roof, pest control treatments, foundation, etc). Showing you have taken great care of your home goes over very well with potential buyers.
    • You will need additional documents if your home was built prior to 1978, if you have a septic system or well and are located in a MUD.
  • De-Clutter: If you don’t NEED it, get it out of the house.
    • Many stagers will offer a reasonable rate for a consultation to stage your home with the furnishings you have and re-arrange everything to look as good  as possible.
  • Clean up inside and out.  You have likely gone “nose blind” to your own home so take a hard, honest look.  It’s recommended to have a professional come in and deep clean the house and carpets as well.

Listing Checklist

  • Keep the house clean and show ready
  • Open the blinds.  A home that is too dark that appears to lack natural light can be a big turn off.
  • Make showings easy without requiring too much prior notice. Some buyers are searching/looking on the fly and if you turn them away, they may not come back.
  • Give buyers plenty of information on the house and the neighborhood.  A good idea is to prepare a binder near the front door with following information.  ListReports.com is a great resource to provide neighborhood and area information.
    • Seller’s Disclosure Notice
    • Survey
    • Neighborhood info discussing parks, pools, hike/bike trails, etc.
    • List of upgrades
  • Don’t let the landscaping get overgrown.  Make sure to keep the yard mowed and in good shape and keep watering during the summer.
  • Keep the A/C running when it’s warm out.  Buyers are much more likely to hurry out of a house if it is too hot and uncomfortable and that is the feeling that sticks in their mind

During Contract Negotiations

  • Make sure you as the seller can hit all deadlines set forth in the contract
  • Update the netsheet you did in the beginning to reflect the terms of the offer your are considering so you know everything you are paying for as the seller
  • Make sure your contact information is on the contract so the title company can send you all documents and correspondence
  • Double check all fields are completed and there are no blanks that should be filled in
  • Make sure the buyer has received any required documentation prior to contract execution
    • MUD, PUD or PID notices must be presented to the buyer prior to executing a contract:  If you are a part of a Municipal or Public Utility District or part of a public improvement district, there is a specialized form that MUST be presented and receipt acknowledged by the buyer before the final signatures and contract execution are complete.  You can contact the title company to obtain these forms
    • You will be on the clock to deliver the Seller’s Disclosure Notice so it is a good idea to deliver it prior to execution of the contract and have the buyer sign off in advance to ensure that you have performed on that section of the contract
      • It’s also a good idea to look through the seller’s disclosure one more time.  You may have rushed through it at the beginning of your listing, and it is important to make sure this is up to date and accurate
  • Make sure all utilities are on, the contract will require this for the buyer’s inspections

Contract to Close

During Buyer’s Option Period

  • Make sure all contracts, addenda and documents are sent to title with the final execution date on the contract
    • The execution date is day 0 so the every critical date begins the day following the execution date.  So if you execute a contract on the 1st the 2nd will be the first day of the buyers option period, financing contingency period as well as other critical dates
  • Deliver your existing survey (if you have one) and T-47 affidavit (which will need to be notarized) to the title company
  • If you are in an HOA, make sure the title company has their contact information and instruct them to order the HOA documents in accordance with the contract so there is no delay in delivery to the buyer
    • Typical turn around time for HOA document delivery is 7-10 days
  • Be ready for inspections
    • The buyer will likely have the house inspected within the first 1-4 days
  • If you are in the city of Austin and your home is older than 10 years, you will be required to furnish an energy audit to the buyer prior to their option period expiring. Here is the link to a good company that has a quick turn around time: http://www.austinauditors.com/
  • If you negotiate any repairs or credits with a contract amendment, make sure to send the executed amendment to the title company

Outside of Option

  • Check with buyer or their agent regarding when the appraisal is scheduled
    • Have a list of upgrades and other important information in regards to your homes value ready to give to the appraiser
  • Ensure the title company has delivered the HOA documents to the buyer
  • Check in with title to make sure they are not waiting on any information or documentation from you
  • Schedule your closing time.  Closings should take place as early in the day as possible to ensure funding happens same day

Week of Closing

  • Make sure any required repairs are complete and invoices/receipts have been sent to the buyer
  • Contact your lender to notify them of the closing and make sure they have your forwarding address to send your tax and insurance escrow refund to
  • Contact your utility providers to schedule the utilities to be shut off.  Do not shut utilities off prior to closing.  Let the buyer know the shutoff date for utilities so they can get them transferred
  • Have a plan to get the buyer(s) keys, garage door openers, remotes, codes etc
  • Contact the buyers agent 4 business days prior to closing to make sure the lender has sent the buyer the required closing disclosures
    • If the buyer does not receive these at least 3 business days (counting Saturday), you will not close on time.  This is now a lending requirement.
  • Review the final closing settlement statement to ensure all figures are accurate
  • Ensure all furnishings, trash and debris are removed prior to closing and the home is left broom swept and clean
    • If you plan on leaving anything behind including paint, shelving, etc it always a good idea to let the buyer know in case they do not want them
    • Once you close, you MUST be completely out of the house because the buyers take possession and ownership as soon as the house closes and funds
  • Make sure you have your drivers license at the closing
  • Finally……..Celebrate!

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