What is Earnest Money:
Earnest money is a deposit made to a seller that represents a buyer's good faith to buy a home. The money gives the buyer extra time to get financing and conduct the title search, property appraisal, and inspections before closing.
Earnest protects the seller if the buyer backs out of the contract. The earnest money requested is usually around 1%-3% of the sale price and is held in an escrow account until the deal is complete. If the transaction goes smoothly the earnest money is applied to the buyers down payment for closing costs. If the deal falls due to contingencies or failed home inspection the buyer will get their money back.
When the earnest money goes hard, which is typically between your loan commitment deadline and closing, and you terminate for any reason in that time period the money would be forfeited to the seller for liquidated damages for having their home off the market.
How to get your house ready to sell:
Start at the outside of the house and work your way in. Realtor’s spend the most time with their clients outside while waiting for the door to be unlocked. It is natural for the buyers to look around and check out the home. First impressions are important. We all get those little spiders in and around the doorway, spray down the front walls and entry way. If the front door needs a little painting, touch it up. Trim down overgrown bushes or trees. Remove any weeds, keep any grass mowed down, rake any leaves, and sweep the sidewalks.
“Spring” Clean Your Home
Deep clean your home. Shine appliances, vacuum and shampoo carpets, polish floors, dust lights, fixtures, and ceiling fans. Wipe down the windows and blinds. Keep all surfaces clean during the showing process.
Soon you will be moving and it is a good time to get a head start on packing. Take down any personal items such as pictures because it can become a distraction for the buyer. Depersonalize the home to allow the buyers to picture themselves living there. Remove most items from the countertops. Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of it. Tidy up your closet and try to get at least have the stuff put away and organize the rest. Open up space throughout the home by removing any extra furniture.
Get Rid of Odors
Odors are hard to explain and always noticed. Try not to cover up the odor with a lot of fragrance because it makes the buyer feel like you are hiding something. Light fragrance is okay. During the showing process do not cook any fish, eggs, anything that will put off strong smells and sticks around for a few hours. If you have pets, make sure their areas are maintained. Make sure the cat litter is cleaned daily. If you have children making sure their rooms are maintained. If you smoke, please avoid smoking in the home during the showing process, not everyone smokes. Ask us about our special service regarding smoke and pet odor.
Fix or Repair
Any items in the house that are not in working order need to be repaired. Go through the home and tighten up any loose knobs, change out any burned out light bulbs, light switches, and fix any broken windows.
Light it up
Make your home as bright as possible. Maximize the light in your home. Take down any drapes, change lamp shades. Leave the blinds open during showings to increase natural light. Making your house as bright as possible will make it more sellable.
What to expect when closing a real estate transaction:
By this time you have made it through the contract! You got through all the dates and deadlines and now, it's “payday” if you are a seller or it's your “new home day” if you are the buyer. You are so close to home ownership! It is an exciting day and the keys are almost in your hands!
You should have all your settlement statements sent to you. The buyer will know how much money they need to bring and the seller will know how much money they will receive. The seller is responsible to pay any existing mortgage amount, taxes, and fees.
The home buyer will more than likely do a walk-through of the home either the day before closing or the day of closing. The reason for the walkthrough is to make sure the home is in the same condition as when they saw it last and decided to write the offer. The home buyer will transfer the money to the title company and the title company distributes the money to the home seller. At the closing table, the home buyer will sign all the loan documents and closing documents. It takes about 30 minutes normally, to sign all the documents.
In our marketplace, the home seller usually comes after the home buyer has signed all the documents. The home buyer/seller are not in the same room at the same time for privacy reasons. The home seller would turn over any keys or garage openers at this time. The home sellers could let the new owners say anything unique about the home they want them to know. After that, then the home sellers would go to the closing table and sign the release to the deed of trust, all the closing documents, and the title company would either wire the money or write a check out to the seller.
What is a home warranty:
When buying a home, even a brand new one, it is a good idea to get a home warranty! A home warranty provides homeowners with a safety net against any unseen expenses after the sale closes. A home warranty is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company that usually provides for discounted repair and replacement service on a homes major components, such as the furnace, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. A home warranty may also cover major appliances, such as washers and dryers, refrigerators, and swimming pools. Home warranties can help ease the cost of repairs or replacements instead of dipping into emergency funds! Home warranties are not expensive when you start repairing or replacing a home's important components. The bottom line is that this warranty will give new homeowners peace of mind! Let us know if you have any questions!
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