Seller Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Most sellers do! Below are some of the most-commonly-asked questions I am asked.

What is a “Listing Agreement”?

A “listing agreement” is a document which lays out the contractual terms between the seller and the agent who will be listing the property.

What type of information will you need from me?

To do the best job for you, I will need the best information you can provide. This would include such things as:

  •  your financial goals regarding the sale of your home 
  • flexibility in accepting terms and conditions 
  • preferred timing for a sale 
  • disclosure as to any defects the property may have 
  • details about the positive aspects of the home

How do real estate agents get paid?

The seller is generally responsible for paying the agent compensation on the home—the listing office and agent then split that compensation with the buyer’s agent and office. Agent compensation is typically paid at closing, out of the proceeds of the sale of the home.

What if a buyer approaches me directly?

If your home is listed and a buyer contacts you directly, please refer them to me. I would be happy to put them in the hands of a good agent who can both show them your home and represent them in preparing an offer.

How much notice am I given if an agent wants to show potential buyers my house?

In our area, two hours or more is typical, but if you need to be given more time, we can specify this in the listing information. However, when agents are touring buyers, they may be looking at several homes in a row. The agent will do the best he or she can to arrive at your home in the provided window, but if the tour goes quicker or longer than expected, they may arrive at your home either before or after they have specified. I know it can be difficult, but try to be as flexible as possible.

My baby naps between 10:00-12:00 noon and 3:00-4:30 pm each day. I would prefer to only have my home shown after 4:30 to not disrupt his schedule. Is that possible?

That is possible, but I do recommend having an alternative napping situation on the weekends when many buyers may be out wanting to see properties. You don’t want potential buyers having to skip seeing what could be the perfect home for their buying needs because it doesn’t fit into Junior’s schedule. The more limited the showing schedule, the fewer potential buyers, the smaller the buyer pool, which generally means a lower selling price.

What if I want to take the chandelier in the dining room and kitchen sink faucet with me when I move? Is there something special I need to do?

You have two options – replace these fixtures now before the home goes on the market or designate that these come with the house. In my experience, removing the fixtures you intend to take before the home goes on the market is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and conflict later.

What if I don’t have extra money to fix anything that the buyer has listed to be fixed after the inspection?

Fixes after the inspection can be negotiated. However, my advice is to read the request for repairs from the buyer’s point of view and keep an open mind. There may be small fixes – or even big structural repairs – that must happen before the home is allowed to change hands. Sometimes, these fixes can be paid out of your net proceeds, meaning you don’t have to come up with that money before the sale closes. The challenge with simply indicating that no changes will be done may cause the buyer to walk away and if the buyer walks away, now you have knowledge of your property’s flaws which will need to be disclosed to the next buyer. Keep an open mind and remember, we have options.

What happens when I receive an offer on my home?

Once a buyer is interested in making an offer on your home, the buyer’s agent will prepare a “purchase and sales agreement”, or real estate contract. This written document will lay out all the terms and conditions of the sale, as proposed by the buyer.

Most states have a very “buyer-friendly” contract process, meaning the buyer will have several opportunities to terminate the sale prior to closing. However, once the seller signs the contract, they typically do not have an opportunity to terminate the transaction. For this reason, it is critical that you clearly understand – and are in agreement with – the final terms of the contract.

Once an offer is written, the buyer’s agent will deliver this offer to me. You and I will need to review the contract and determine how to respond. Typically, a seller’s time limit for response is anywhere from several hours to several days.
As a seller, you have three options upon receipt of the offer:

  1. Accept the offer as written. 
  2. Counter the offer on those terms and conditions which are not acceptable to you. 
  3. Do not respond to the offer.

Acceptance of the offer—as written—puts buyer and seller in a position of “mutual acceptance”, and is the trigger for counting the days for the purposes of deadlines.

A counteroffer from the seller to the buyer allows the buyer a specified period of time to accept the seller’s offer, after which point the offer expires with no contractual obligation on the part of either the buyer or the seller. Upon receipt of a counteroffer from the seller, a buyer has the same options as those available to the seller when reviewing the original offer – acceptance of the offer as written, a counteroffer to the other party, or a decision not to respond to the offer. The number of counteroffers made between buyer and seller are limited only by the interest of the parties to continue to negotiate toward an agreement.

Not responding at all to an offer is always an option, although not one I generally recommend.