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Closing Your Sale

Conducting a Home Inspection

A home inspection will give you the best picture when it comes to accuracy on your home’s current condition. The inspector of your choosing will do a walk-through of both the interior and the exterior of the home, to check for any ventilation, structural, plumbing, electrical and element issues.

They will also check the condition of the appliances, such as the fridge and the oven, to ensure they are in working order as well.

Generally, a home inspection will take a couple of hours, and at the end the inspector will produce a report to you stating all of the issues that were uncovered during said inspection.

Backing Out of the Deal

Depending on the terms of your contract, there are inspection contingencies in which the buyer is allowed to back out of said deal for whatever reasons after they have gone over the inspection report.

The buyer is allowed to cite “deal breakers” within the report and further produce that to the seller, for the purpose of addressing the importance of why they are backing out of the deal. As the seller, there is a way around this. For example, say the buyer has an issue with a plumbing issue that needs to be fixed, and they would like you to fix it.

You have two options here; either fix the plumbing issue or whatever the case may be, or allow them to back out of the deal and search for another buyer. As the seller, the decision is solely up to you.

If you are serious about the deal as the seller, then do not make an offer that is purely halfhearted, considering the fact that this inspection contingency report is an important protection for the buyer. Therefore, it is not something to be taken lightly, as they are making an incredibly large investment.

Locating an Inspector

If you are working with a real estate agent, they will be able to give you information on inspectors and give you references. Always ensure that the inspector you are looking into choosing for your home’s inspection has references of their own through previous clients, are knowledgeable when it comes to conducting reports on vacant homes, for example, and that they are registered with a home inspector’s group that is reputable.

For example, you may look for an inspector who is registered with the National Association of Home Inspectors, also known as the NAHI, or the American Society of Home Inspectors, also known as the ASHI. In fact, both of these inspector’s groups include a directory for reputable home inspectors located on their website, which is easy to find through a web search.

The Cost of Hiring an Inspector

Typically, an inspector will cost between $300 and $500, but this all depends on the rates of your local area, and the size of your home itself.

A follow-up inspection by a specialist, which may be suggested from your inspector, which could help you narrow down the condition of the sewer line running from your home, or even a structural engineer, who can give you a report that is more detailed in regards to bulging or cracks to your home’s foundation, for example.

Additionally, these specialist inspectors may also cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s always a good idea to have all of your bases covered, so you can have more information should you need to have any repairs done, or if you’d like the buyer to see all is well with the home so they can have a peace of mind before officially closing the deal.

What You Should Expect During a Closing

During the process of transferring ownership and your possession of the property to the buyer, you will need to be able to export multiple things. This process is generally pretty easy, as all of the hard parts have already been run through, but there are still things that you should readily expect during the process of closing.

During this process, it’s best to communicate with the buyer or the seller, depending on which you are, on a constant basis, to ensure that requirements are met when it comes to the sale agreement.

Improving or Repairing the Property

If you have told the buyer that you will be taking any action to improve the property or make any repairs, be prepared to take action right away. This can be done before or after the process of closing, it all depends on what you and the buyer have agreed on.

All endeavors that have been agreed upon should be completed by the closing, so you do not have to worry about it, but the only real general exception would be if the buyer and you have created a separate contract for any and all improvements or repairs to be completed by a certain date.

Settlement and Your Settlement Agent or Escrow

During the settlement process, where the seller, buyer, any and all real estate agents, the seller’s lender, and the buyer’s lender, will get together with all parties who have provided documents or services for the process of selling, buying and closing the deal for the home. This process is enabled and made secure through the closing task, where an escrow or a settlement agent will be hired as a disinterested third party.

The escrow or settling agent will take all of the money, documents, and any other items involved with the closing process from each party involved.

From there, the money will be paid out to clear the title, furnish, and pay off any lien holders or old lenders involved. As well, they will pay all of the real estate agents and any other service providers, such as an inspector for the home, who were involved in the overall transaction.

Where the Closing Will Take Place

The closing process will take place within the office of the escrow or the settling agent, who is typically the title’s insurance company, which insures the buyer’s title to their new property. However, should it be requested, certain escrow and title companies will send a mobile escrow for the purpose of handling the closing process in a location which is convenient to all of the parties involved with the transaction.

In some cases, however, the lender of the buyer will host and close while acting as the escrow, or they will bring in an escrow or notary company employee to act as an escrow. The buyer’s attorney, or the seller’s, either or, can offer his or her office, but restrictions involving client trust accounting can make this impossible for either attorney to disburse the funds straight away, which is where an escrow company will handle all of the transferring funds.

Otherwise, the escrow will take on the closing responsibilities, where they will take and disburse all of the funds while explaining each document. They may even draft all or some of the necessary documents, but only if the escrow is an attorney who is licensed. “Witness only” closings are for an attorney or a notary who will go to the closing location, which is selected by the seller and the buyer to provide all of the disbursement services and documents on behalf of the buyer’s lender.

Although, the attorney, and the notary will not explain any of the legal effects of the documents, which includes the closing itself. Such closings will typically occur in the office of a licensed attorney.

The Seller Attending the Closing

The seller, unlike the buyer, who will generally attend the closing for the purpose of signing all original loan documents which are delivered to the lender to the closing, may choose not to attend the closing if they do not wish to.

As the buyer, do not be surprised if the seller does not show, considering he or she is not required to do so. The seller may choose to pre-sign the deed, as well as any other transfer documents that are involved in the closing, which refers to the conventional table closing or escrow closing.

The seller can also give the buyer’s attorney the power to sign any and all incidental documents in regards to the escrow, where all of the sale proceeds could be directly wired to your newly purchased home escrow, or to your bank account. However, this is only allowed should the buyer be purchasing the home on the same day, or quickly after, the overall sale and closing has been completed.

Once the Closing Has Been Completed

Once the closing process has been completed, and the escrow has proceeded to pay off all lien holders, such as your lender, and service providers, pays the overall sales proceeds that are intended to go to you, places the deed and the mortgage, if applicable, for the record of the country recorder of deeds, and gives all other documents for transfers to the buyer, the closing process has been completed.

Once the closing process has been completed, you as the seller must relinquish all possession of the home, and all keys, which include all keys to all doors, garage door openers, and any device or key which controls the home’s appliances and systems. At this time, you will have already been expected to have your belongings removed from the home unless the house was vacant while you were going through the process of selling. The home must be spotless, as well, or the buyer can create a lawsuit against you for breaching the sales contract.

Therefore, doing an additional walk-through of the home yourself, without an inspector, is ideal, so you can be sure that all your loose ends have been tied up. This should be done before the buyer has the final opportunity to go through the home themselves to ensure that the condition of the home has not changed whatsoever since the initial sale agreement was signed.

If they should have any issue with the state of the home, regardless of how small, it’s your responsibility to handle any complaint that they may have. This may include dishing out additional funds to handle whatever the problem is. Therefore, you should be one step ahead of the buyer and take one last walk-through yourself to ensure that there are no surprises, such as a frozen pipe in view that could burst because the house is vacant without the heat being on.

The Process of Closing Your Home

Once all of the work with your real estate agent has been finished to find a suitable and potential buyer, go through the negotiations process, and conduct a sale agreement, the closing process of selling your home is, in fact, the easiest part. This part may take some extra time, depending on the availability of all of the parties involved, but rest assured, this process takes less stress and hair-pulling than the rest of the process.

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson today!

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Avoid Mistakes Pricing Your Home

How do you avoid selling your house for less than it is worth? How do you avoid losing money in your sale? The first thing that you need to do is find out what other people have done wrong.

Find out where others made a mistake

and lost money as a result.

Then avoid making that same mistake yourself.

I’m going to go through a few mistakes and show you what they are. I’ll show you what the home seller did wrong that caused their home to sell for less than their neighbor’s home.

Underpricing is the easiest way

to lose money on your home sale.

The number one reason people lose money on their home sale is underpricing. They think their home is worth X. They don’t research the value. That is why it is so critical you have a true understanding of the value of your home in today’s market.

They put their home on the market, sell it for less than it’s worth, and never realize their mistake.

A perfect example is the sellers who sold 3 acres

– that was worth about $300,000 – for $80,000.

  • They lived about 30 miles away and didn’t realize the development potential the property had.
  • They hired an agent who wasn’t familiar with the area.
  • Their agent didn’t realize the development potential.

Their buyer had experience with developments. He researched the zoning and discovered the 3 acres was zoned for high-density condos.

The sellers didn’t know the property was zoned for high density condos. They didn’t know the county was planning on putting in a new road right past their property.

Stories like this are the reason banks will

not accept an unsolicited offer when a bank

owned home is NOT on the market.

They know if someone comes along and makes an unsolicited offer, most of the time those offers are going to be below fair market value.

In one case, a bank lost about $25,000 on a mistake similar to this. They were selling a property worth $90,000. For some reason, possibly oversight, they put the property on the market for $67,000.

Two people were very interested in buying that piece of property. It was in a very good location. There wasn’t anything similar available nearby. Both buyers were very anxious to make an offer before someone else could snatch it up.

Bottom Line:

Both buyers really wanted that property!

Either one of them would have been willing to pay the fair market value of $90,000 for the property. Money was no problem; both buyers had the ability to pay in cash.

Unfortunately, the bank refused to take any offers on the property. They would not budge until it was listed on the open market.

There was a catch:

The bank made two big mistakes.

  1. The bank underpriced the property by $23,000.
  1. The bank hired an agent who did a lousy job of marketing the property. He didn’t see a big profit, and got sloppy.
  • He didn’t put it into the MLS correctly. As a result, it didn’t show up in search results for other agents who had a buyer looking for that type of property.
  • Secondly, he didn’t have the correct address. As a result, the listing did not show up on any of the real estate websites that use a map display.
  • Finally, he neglected to put a sign on the property. (The person who ended up buying it lived just down the road and drove past the property every day.)

Had the bank not made mistakes, the two initially interested buyers would have made an offer, and likely started a bidding war.

There is a good chance the two buyers would have driven the price up to the $90,000 Fair Market Value.

Maybe even higher.

After the bank refused to work with the buyers, they waited for the listing to appear. When it did not show up in searches, they gave up. Ultimately, both buyers moved on to find another piece of land.

Meanwhile, the property sat on the market, unnoticed. Because of the agent’s errors, nobody who was interested was seeing it.

It was pure luck the man who ultimately bought

the property even discovered it was for sale.

This man knew the bank was trying to foreclose on the property. He did some research on the foreclosure with the courthouse. He found out the bank had successfully foreclosed on it.

Knowing it had to be listed somewhere; he went online and searched through all of the properties for sale until he found the listing. To his surprise, it was priced well below the market.

Most bank owned homes are priced below market for a reason. Banks will discount the homes they sell because the house has not been lived in for 6 months – and the bank doesn’t know if there are any problems with it. Sadly, this was not the typical bank owned home.

The bank missed a full-price sale

and lost $28,000!

This was a piece of raw pasture. There were no unseen problems with it. The buyer had lived down the road from it for years and was intimately familiar with it.

The buyer submitted an offer for $62,000 and the bank accepted it. He saved $28,000 because the bank’s agent was sloppy. – and they substantially underpriced it.

Why does this story matter to you?

Moral of the story: Anyone can lose money in the real estate market.

Any seller unfamiliar with the market risks selling their home for less than it is worth. In most cases, you would never even realize it.

See how important it is to know the true value of your home? The bank was following a strict policy. But, the same thing can, and does, happen to private sellers. Knowing the true value of your home protects you from settling for less money than you deserve.

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson today!

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The 3 Step Formula I Use To Sell Homes Other Agents Can’t Sell

These techniques will sell homes that other agents have failed to sell. You may not realize it, but small details make a big difference!

Here is a small sample of homes other agents weren’t able to sell. After applying these techniques, they all sold successfully:

  • Home was listed for over 11 months with two other agents. Neither of them could sell it. Listed and sold in 45 days using the strategies outlined here.
  • Home was up for sale for 6 months with another agent. Not much happened. A few showings had resulted in no offers. Listed and sold 3 months later.
  • Home was for sale for over 18 months with two other agents. Neither of them could sell it. Listed and sold 65 days later. The owners were thrilled!
  • There are countless more stories, just like these. (These are just a few examples that come to mind.)

3 basic things a good agent can do to succeed where other agents have failed:

#1. Improve the marketing. Take better pictures and write better descriptions. Perform an in depth “marketing analysis”. This helps identify marketing opportunities other agents have missed.

#2. Solve any problems holding back the sale. Yes, sometimes a problem is holding the sale back. Here is an example:

Contrary to what most people think, price is notalways the reason that a home doesn’t sell.

One sale was held back 12 months by a pending municipal lien. A little creative thinking and consultation with some experts on the subject solved the problem. That home sold a week after the problem was resolved, without dropping the price.

Bottom Line: Good agents are problem solvers. Solve the problems and the home sells. Unfortunately, not all agents are good problem solvers.

#3. Improve the showing condition of the home. A “staged” home will sell for 10-15% more. A home in good showing condition (but not staged) can still sell for 1-10% more than an average listing.

Have you ever wondered why foreclosures are a “bargain?” Well, there is your answer. Some foreclosures are complete dumps. Others are dirty, stinky, and do not show well at all. The foreclosure that is in perfect condition is a rarity. (They rarely sell for a discount.)

So, why do so many people think that the only reason a home doesn’t sell is because it is “overpriced?”

It’s just the accepted wisdom in the marketplace.

This may seem absurd. After all… everyone wants a magic formula to solve all their problems. But, sometimes simple things can solve seemingly impossible problems.

In fact, few people knew and taught “the basics” better than football coach Vince Lombardi. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest football coaches of all time.

He started coaching the Green Bay Packers when they were consistently losing one game after another. He turned the team around and won 5 NFL Championships.

Those unfamiliar with Lombardi’s coaching tactics might assume that he was successful because he had complex strategies and completely unheard-of methods.

Actually, the opposite is true.

Vince Lombardi believed for the Green Bay Packers to become a great team, they would have to go back to the basics of the sport and re-learn even the simplest aspects of the game.

In his first pre-season speech, he shocked every one of his new players. He stood in front of them, held up something up in his hand, and announced, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

He then proceeded to revisit all of the basic rules of football, what the different lines on the field were for, etc.

Some might have thought he was going a little overboard. His results proved them wrong.

Lombardi led the Packers to five NFL Championships as well as two Super Bowl wins. His “back to basics” approach paid off, and the team got to enjoy its rewards.

The same philosophy should be used to sell your home.

You can bombard social media, list your home on every website imaginable, beg your friends to put up flyers on the notice board at work, and so on.

If you don’t start with the basics everything else is just a waste of time.

Time is very valuable, so most people who are looking to buy a house will not waste even a second on a listing that hasn’t mastered the basics.

If they have to ask questions like, “Why are all the photos so dark?” or “Is it a house or a condo? I can’t tell!” they’ll just move on to the next listing. The first impression has to be perfect.

Even a great home cannot sell itself without the proper marketing.

A great agent is needed to make sure that your home is being showcased in the best way possible.

Just like Vince Lombardi knew that going back to basics would help his team, a qualified real estate agent will know the basics of marketing are crucial to selling your home.

Every home has a base, and without that base, the whole structure could fall flat. A selling strategy for your home works the same way. Hurrying to post an ad for your home on your Facebook wall will do little good if it’s a rushed job that shows more of the neighbor’s garage than your beautiful front porch and garden. 

Contact Real Estate Agent & Attorney, Arthur Simpson today

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First Time Buyer Searching For A Home

For most people, the prospect of going to view homes they like is thrilling. It’s tempting to think that that is the first step to buying a home, but it’s not.  

Assuming you have your down-payment, mortgage pre-approval and other financial issues handled, the first thing you need to do before viewing any home is to determine what you’re looking for.

What is your criteria?

Do you need a set number of bedrooms and bathrooms?

Do you want a yard?

Do you want property only in particular neighborhoods?

How much are you willing or able to spend?

Answering these questions will save you a lot of time and effort running around to view homes that do not suit you.

Once you’ve decided on your criteria, call your Agent. Let him or her know what you’re looking for and what your price range is.

He or she will get to work on your behalf, shortlisting the properties that meet your criteria so you can start your viewing from there. Then comes the fun part, finding that perfect home you’ve been dreaming of!

Schedule an Adequate Time

When going to view homes, make sure you’ve got plenty of time on your hands.

Always schedule enough time to do a proper inspection. It’s possible you’ll be living there for years to come, so five minutes strolling around isn’t going to cut it.

Schedule about two hours to view your potential house. Research suggests that when buyers spend a longer time viewing a home, they are more likely to pay below the asking price.

Be Thorough

Be thorough when checking out the home. Open drawers, cabinets and cupboards, look behind furniture, lift up rugs if necessary. While this may seem rude, it is not.

You are about to make a substantial investment and you need to know exactly what you’re getting.

Sellers are not obliged to inform you of or show you every single defect in the home so you need to find them yourself. An artfully positioned chair could be hiding something, so feel free to look where you need to.

Of course, if you already hate the home from the get go, by all means do only a minimal inspection or don’t bother with the inspection at all. But if it’s something you like, open every door and look in closets.

Rest assured that the sellers have had sufficient notice of a potential buyer and would have straightened up those spaces knowing you will be poking around.

What comes with the Property?

Confirm what comes with home. For example, whether the stands or fixtures are for the exclusive use of that home or the owners will remove them. Make sure to get confirmation in writing if you do decide that you would like to buy the property. 

Don’t be Fooled by Staging

Sellers have been known to use clever tricks to make a home more appealing. They can strategically light a room to draw attention from a problem or apply fresh coats of paint to cover a mold issue.

While you are viewing the house, try to look beyond the immediate aesthetics of the interior décor. Focus your attention on what you will get when the furniture and interior décor are gone.

Keep Emotion Away

When viewing a home initially, try not to get attached immediately. Keep emotions aside and only consider it as a building you need to inspect.

If you get attached from the get go, you might make an emotional decision and overlook major problems.

View Multiple Times

If you like a particular home, view it multiple times. You’re more likely to identify potential problems if you view it several times at different times of the day.

This way you will know what traffic is like in the area and the noise levels that occur at different times.

Consider the Overall Context

When viewing don’t just consider a property on its own, view it in the context of its location.

What is the area like?

Is the property adjacent to a train track or noisy intersection?

Is there a pub or bar close by that gets noisy at night?

How close are you to the things you might need, such as schools, public transit, a grocery store, or hospital?

All of these are legitimate questions to consider when viewing properties, as they can add or subtract from the overall enjoyment of your home.

Let your Agent do their Job

Don’t just go viewing on your own.

Apart from the fact that this is not safe, it also makes you vulnerable. A seller’s agent might think you’re unrepresented and try to take advantage of you.

Let your Agent do their job. If you happen to come across a property that interests you but your Agent hasn’t told you about it, chances are it does not match your criteria.

If you like the look of it however, call your Agent with the address and phone number on the board. That way, they can arrange a proper viewing for you without the owner being present.

The Condition of the Property

When viewing a home there are some very important things to look out for, the primary one being the condition of the property.

Is the Home Structurally Sound?

Walk around checking the walls and ceilings for big cracks. Hairline cracks are to be expected in some places. Make sure you check the exterior for cracks. Cracks could be a sign that the property is not structurally sound. Points at which extensions join are good places to look, as cracks often occur there. 

Also look for loose or broken tiles on the roof or broken guttering, evidence of damage to the drywall and weaknesses on the floors.

Any signs of a problem anywhere on the structure of the property should be questioned about what caused it.

How long has it been like that?

Will it be fixed?

Furniture or accessories like rugs could be hiding wall cracks or problems with the floor, so again, don’t forget to look behind furniture or move them around if necessary.

You might love the house, but if you see major cracks or any of the walls look like they are bowing, you should have a structural engineer come in and take a look.

Watch out for Mold

Mold is a major problem that could cost you a lot to fix. Don’t just try to look for it, use your nose as well. Mold frequently gives off a musty smell, even when there are no visible signs.

Plaster that’s flaking, watermarks on walls or ceilings, even a fresh coat of paint in a particular section of a room could all be an indication of mold.

Don’t forget to examine the ceiling and around the skirting boards properly for evidence of leaks or water damage.

Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrics

Other aspects to consider when looking at the general condition of the property are the heating and air conditioning systems.

Have an expert assess that they are the appropriate models and capacity, and that they are working properly.

Check the fuse box, it shouldn’t be old or outdated, must be easily accessible, and in good working condition. Ensure wiring was done properly. You don’t want to spend a fortune rewiring the home to bring it up to a standard.

Consider if there are enough power outlets and if they are in good condition.

Basements and Attics

Also check the attic for water problems, look for water damage or leaks that may have affected the insulation, walls and ceiling of the attic. And while you’re at it, make sure that the insulation is adequate for where the property is located.

In the basement, look for evidence of moisture problems in the home. Is there water leaking onto the floor or water around the foundation? There should be no cracks in the basement walls and any wood such as those in exposed beams should be in good condition with no rot.

Pipes and Taps

Check that the plumbing is up to date. Run taps to ensure they work properly and the water pressure is strong enough. Exposed pipes in unheated areas should be insulated, as frozen pipes will eventually cause water damage.

It is particularly important from a health perspective to ascertain that the pipes are not lead. If they are, you will need to replace them. Also, find out where the hot water tank is located. If it is on the roof you may need to replace it, as it is probably an old tank.


Check for evidence of water around the foundation which may indicate drainage issues.

The ground should slope away from the foundation. If there is a porch, it should have a foundation and not simply sit on soil. Check that driveways or any walkways leading up to the house do not have cracks and are not crumbling.

Check that the siding of the home is in good repair. Take a look at the landscaping on the property as well. It shouldn’t be unkempt and unsightly, as that can indicate a lack of care.

The sprinkler system should be in proper working condition. If there is a deck, ensure there’s no decay or damage from termite or beetles. 

Property History

Don’t just settle for the information contained in the customer copy of listings. Ask your agent for more detailed info.

How long has the property been on the market?

Was it previously listed, withdrawn and relisted for a lower price?

These kinds of questions can help you decide how much to offer.

You also need other detailed information on the property, most of which will be available from the public records.

Public records will show you the name of the owner, original age of the home, mortgage history, parcel number, previous sales of the property, property deeds and any judgments or liens filed against the seller. Information about how much the property taxes are and whether they are paid or in arrears will also be available in the records.

You will also be able to see if there were permits obtained to make improvements on the home. These permits could complicate the sale of the property.

Do not skip this search, because it reveals important information about the property you are interested in and could save you money.

You can get all of this information through your agent if you’re using one, since most agents subscribe to services that give them access to such data.

If you are not using an agent, then you can obtain this information through a local title company or you can order them online for a small fee.

Making the Choice

Once you’ve done all of your homework, you need to decide whether or not to buy the house.

 It is important that you step back and evaluate all the information available to you from viewing the house, inspecting its condition and obtaining public records.

Bear some things in mind:

  • You may need to compromise on some of your priorities. No home is completely perfect.


  • However good it may be, there will be one or two things you wish you could change. If only it was facing that lovely park you saw on the way there, or if only the house you prefer was in that other neighborhood, or if only this cost a little bit less.


  • At the end of the day, you will need to decide on which factors are most important to you. If you prefer the neighborhood over the house, you may decide to look for a different type of property within the same community. A condo for instance, instead of a town house.


  • If finances are the issue, you may want to discuss with your bank if they would be willing to increase your mortgage. This is only if you can afford it.


There is no point in getting into financial trouble just to get a particular property, when more affordable ones could do just as well.


  • Lower your expectations on the condition of the home.


If your inspection revealed a few small problems, you could still buy the property and do the repairs yourself.


  • Use the problems as a bargaining chip to get a reduced price from the seller.


If you go this route, please get a quote from a professional for the cost of repairs.


  • Don’t estimate based on your own judgment and don’t let the seller decide how much he thinks it will cost.


Also, do not let the seller get the quote, as he will likely get a quote that is favorable to him.


  • If you allow the seller to decide the repair cost, you may find that the expense is much higher than was quoted.


  • Be prepared to walk away.


Again, this goes to our earlier point about not getting emotionally attached until you have bought and moved in. If at the end of the day you find out the compromise required is more than one you’re prepared to make, walk away.


Working with your Agent, you will soon find something else that you love.

Please feel free to contact a Simpson & Associates Agent today!