Selling Your Home  and Sale to Settlement
                        The Offer(s)
A buyer makes an offer by submitting a written and signed offer to purchase, which will become the sales contract when ratified by everyone's signature. Once the seller and buyer sign the paper, they are bound by the contract conditions.

The "presentation of a contract" begins when the Buyer's broker submits the offer to the Seller's Broker, usually electronically.
                         Net Sales Price
What is the net price?  Has the buyer accepted the asking price or something close?  Has the buyer then buried thousands of dollars in discounts and seller costs within tiny clauses and contract additions?  Two contracts with the same sales price can have different bottom lines.

                         Terms and Conditions
Price or rather net is only one of the factors to look at when considering an offer.  What good is a full price offer if the buyer is not qualified?  Some of the other considerations are:

     ·         Settlement date:  Can you work with the date?
     ·         Inspections:  Are they normal and customary?
     ·         The Buyer:  Is the Buyer qualified?  If not you don’ have a sale.
     ·         Inclusions/Exclusions:  Are they correct?
     ·         Contingencies:  Is the a sale of home contingency or other contingency which would affect your decision?
     ·         Type of buyer financing:  Is the financing conventional, FHA, etc.?
     ·         Deposit:  Is the deposit acceptable?·          

                           Multiple Offers
What if several offers are received? Do you choose the high offer from the purchaser with questionable finances who may not be able to close, or a somewhat lesser offer from a buyer with preapproved.  All offers registered must be presented to the home seller. They will be presented in the order registered. The home questions. No action is necessary until all offers are heard.

                            Seller's Action
A decision on an offer should be made at presentation, if possible. A home seller has two options.

1.       Accept the offer as written.

2.       Reject the offer, if it is totally unacceptable. Otherwise, if the offer is rejected you should consider a “counter offer” to the buyer (technically a new offer).A contract exists when all terms including changes are ratified by initials of all principals.

 Does the sale of a condominium or a property within a Homeowner's Association (HOA) require any special action?  Usually yes.  The purchase offer for a condo sale or Homeowner's Association property will contain, in compliance with the law, a requirement that the seller furnish the buyer with certain disclosure information and documents.

                          What do you do if the property doesn't sell?
The first step is to go over carefully with the listing broker why the property has not sold. Usually price, and property condition are the key. Study and analyze what has sold in your area and at what price. Then relist the house after adjusting for shortcomings.


The Hard Part - From Sale to Settlement

                           Really Sold?
Now what you have is a ratified offer to purchase.  Your house is not yet settled.  A number of inspectors  and professionals come into your home during this period, including but not limited to the items below.  A serious defect with any of these can kill the sale.  Most of this process is commonly completed within the first three weeks.

                          A home Inspection
The purpose of such inspection is usually to discover significant and material defects, if any, in the condition of the listed components and systems of the Property and other items, and usually expressly excludes items of a routine maintenance or cosmetic nature.  Normally the buyer will give the seller an addendum listing any defects to be corrected by the seller. 

                          Well and Septic Inspections
The well usually has two components: first the yield has to pass local standards and second the water has to be potable.  In addition, the septic has to be certified that it is in satisfactory operation.  Failure of one of these requires correction by the seller.

                            Radon inspection
When the purchaser requests a radon test and the radon level is in excess of the EPA suggested, then normally the seller is requested to mitigate.

                            Termite Inspection
The termite inspector, based on a careful visual inspection, must certify that there is no evidence of termite or other wood-destroying insect infestation in the residence and damage due to previous infestation has been repaired. Treatment and repairs are the responsibility of the seller.

A property appraisal is ordered to confirm that the property is adequate security for the mortgage (home seller should expect appraiser to call for inspection appointment). An FHA or VA loan may specify requirements which must be met before loan will be made, such as repairs.

                              After Buyer's Loan Approval
The Buyer's  broker will remind the buyer to arrange for insurance coverage in at least the amount of the mortgage as of closing, and to bring a certified or cashier's check made out to the settlement attorney or title company. 

                                    Walk-Through / Buyer's Final Inspection
The purpose of the walk-through inspection prior to settlement is to determine if conditions in the contract are satisfied. The time for the buyer to inspect and note defects for correction by the seller is during the contract negotiation and prior to signing the sales agreement. Repair or replacement items should be noted in the contract.  The listing broker will confirm with the Buyer's Broker  that  repairs have been made before settlement, if possible. Upon receipt of bills and notification that repairs are complete, attorney will release balance of funds to seller, if money is escrowed for needed repairs.