The good news is that yes, houses in the quad-city area are selling. Good morning, this is Gary Edelbrock, and after being in the real estate business for many years, I know that selling a house can be a project. Nancy and Brian Biggs have put together some tips on selling a house that should keep the process streamlined and organized.
The Process of Selling a Home in Arizona
If you are thinking about selling your home in Arizona, and you are wondering what the process is, then you have come to the right place. As agents who sell homes all the time, we are intimately familiar with the process of selling a home in Arizona. We need to be cognizant that sellers may need some instruction and coaching. Sellers should be informed as their home sale is progressing and there should be no surprises. Surprises should be kept for birthday parties and raffles.
The following steps occur during a typical residential home sale transaction. Your particular sale may have intricacies not described here, but these steps are a good baseline.
- Decide to Sell Your Home: This step may seem obvious, but it is very important. You do not want to waste the valuable time of agents and buyers if you are not committed to selling your home.
- Prepare Your Home for Sale: Prior to contacting a real estate agent, prep your house for sale. Think back to all of those repairs that you have been meaning to get done. Fix anything that is broken including: electrical outlets, switches, burnt out light bulbs, plumbing leaks, and doors that won't latch. Patch and paint nail holes. Thoroughly clean the house. Throw out all of the clutter that you have acquired, or pack it away, or have a garage sale. Trim trees and shrubs, and clean up the yard. You want your house to be in the best condition to get the highest sales price and have the least surprises during inspections.
- Find a Competent, Compatible Agent: This is probably the most important step. You can gain a lot of peace of mind and save a lot of heartache if you find a really good real estate agent. For further help on this topic, see: Top Ten Questions to Ask When Selling a Home .
- Set Price and Terms: Once you have selected your agent, work with your agent to determine the price and terms that best meet your objectives. Your agent should provide you with a detailed market analysis to give you a baseline with which to start.
- Sign Listing Paperwork: You will sign paperwork which describes agency relationships, property location, price, terms, commissions, and listing duration. Your agent will also work with you to identify all of the attributes of your home for the MLS database and other advertising. You will need to decide if you want the refrigerator, washer, and dryer to convey, and if there are any special fixtures that you plan on taking with you.
- Fill Out the Seller Disclosure Document: While this document is technically not required until you have an executed contract, this is a great time to complete it and have it available for prospective buyers. Make sure that you disclose anything that might be pertinent to the history of the house.
- Show Your Home: You agent will get the advertising rolling. Most of the time you will get a few hours to a day's notice prior to a showing, but sometimes last minute calls do come in. Do your best to accommodate every showing. Remember, if the buyer doesn't see it, the buyer doesn't buy it!
- Re-Evaluate: If your home is not getting showings or is getting showings, but not getting offers, then re-evaluate your strategy. Work with your agent to review feedback from showings.
- Analyze the Offer: Wonderful. You have an offer! Make sure your agent reviews and explains the purchase contract and the details of the offer. Have your agent check that the contract is complete and that the timelines are reasonable. After analysis, you can accept the offer or submit a counter offer. If you counter, the buyer may cancel, accept your counter, or send you a counter offer. Hopefully you will both come to agreement and arrive at an accepted purchase contract.
- Open Escrow: The buyer's agent will typically open and then the escrow company will mail you an opening package with various documents that you will need to fill out. Make sure to fill these out quickly and send them back to the escrow company.
- Be Ready for Inspections: Inspections will be coordinated through your agent. You are required to make the house available for inspections. Make sure that the inspectors can access all of the walls, outlets, attic access locations, and crawls space access locations. After inspections, the buyer's agent will send a BINSR, which is the document where the buyer asks the seller to make certain repairs. The seller can fix all of the items, some of the items, or none of the items (although the seller is required to fix major systems, such as a non-functioning water heater). If the seller refuses to fix something, the buyer can chose to accept the seller's response, or cancel the contract.
- Process the Loan: If the buyer is getting a loan, the buyer will have applied for the loan, and should be busy getting the lender any paperwork that the lender might require. Your agent should make sure that the buyer's loan is progressing. The buyer will have a loan contingency and an appraisal contingency. If the home does not appraise or if the lender refuses to give the buyer a loan, then the buyer can cancel the contract and get the earnest money returned.
- Make the Repairs: Once you are through the inspection period and the appraisal, and you are fairly confident that the transaction will go through, it is time to do the repairs, septic pumping, survey, and any other items that you may have agreed to do in the contract. There is no sense for the seller to expend money prior to this point in case the transaction falls out. When repairs are made, make sure that you pay for them in full and obtain receipts. You will need to provide the receipts to show that the work was completed and paid for. If you are on a septic system, you are required by AZ state law to have the system pumped and inspected. If the inspector finds a functional problem with the septic system, you will be required to fix it.
- Phone the Troops: Call the movers and start packing. You are required to keep the utilities on through the day of close, so call the utility companies and have the utilities transferred out of your name as of the day of close. The buyers should also be calling to have the utilities transferred into their names.
- Sign the Closing Documents: Once the escrow company has all of the paperwork from the buyer's lender, the closing documents can be drawn up, and you will be contacted to meet with the escrow officer to sign the paperwork. Be sure to review and understand the closing documents and, in particular, the settlement statement (HUD-1).
- Clean the House: After everything has been packed up, make sure to give the house a thorough cleaning. Sweep and vacuum the floors. Vacuum out the drawers and wipe down the cabinet shelves. Pull any nails, fill the holes with DAP, and touch up the paint. Leave your extra keys, garage door remotes, ceiling fan remotes, mail keys, and any user manuals that you might have for the appliances. The buyer's agent will typically take the key out of the lockbox and give it to the buyer when the sale records.
- Await the Call: On the day of close, once the escrow company has received all of the buyer's funds, the escrow officer will send the deed to be recorded with the Yavapai County Recorder's Office. Once the deed is recorded, the escrow officer will disburse funds and call you or your agent to inform you that your sale has completed. Congratulations! Don't forget to check your bank account to make sure that your proceeds were deposited.
We hope that this information helps you understand the process for selling a home in Arizona and we hope that your home sale goes as smoothly as possible!