What To Expect When Selling Your Home


By: Karen Laurence Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

Most people buy their home not only as a residence that will provide them comfort through the years, and house their family, it will eventually become their major asset. That is true for most of the house –buying population, but when is the time to sell the home? Is it wise to hold onto it for many years after the family has grown or should you sell it when the children have left, or to downsize or upsize comfortably? Selling your home or condo has legal ramifications and is usually your greatest single asset. There is currently low inventory in the housing market and it seems as if the sellers are having a tough time letting go. They are worried about where they will go.

Selling a home has many steps and is a similar process regardless of where you live. Florida’s real estate laws and practices are unique as Florida is not an attorney state, it is a state where the Real Estate Agent performs many of the functions that in other states would be done through an attorney.  The agents spend much time learning the Florida laws and practices as they are the ones who will be writing the contracts and other assorted legal disclosures.

In order to sell your home, it is advisable to learn the selling process and all that is involved. Once you find a licensed Real Estate Agent that you wish to work with, you sign a listing agreement. The agent that you chose, as a job-type interview, will help you price your home based on a comparative market analysis. That is a current assessment of what has sold, usually within the last 6 months, and what is either active, available for sale, pending, usually waiting for a contract to be signed, and closed, which is sold. The agent’s job is to deal with prospective buyers, handle the marketing tasks, follow-up on all leads and to be the procuring party for the sale of your home.

Marketing the home to all of the websites, preparing brochures, and making sure that everything is right, is the job of the agent. They will prepare and review the listing agreement according to the disclosures required by the State of Florida.  This agreement gives the agent the right to market and handle all related media. They will make sure that the listing is on all current social media websites because the largest exposure to the public will help to find the best buyer in the shortest amount of time, for the best price.  The agreement can range from 3 months to 12 months and can be renewed at the seller’s request.

The Basics of the listing agreement are the commission that the realtor will receive as the selling broker and the commission that the buying broker will receive. In most cases, it is usually split between the two agents. In some cases, the listing agent sells both sides. Your listing agreement will most usually be an exclusive right to sell listing, which means that the commission will be paid to the agent( and their broker) regardless of who brings in the buyer.

The price will have been determined through the analysis of the homes and what has happened during the last 6 months in your specific area. We use 6 months as that is how far back an appraisal will go to compare other similar homes that have closed and are for sale. An appraisal can be gotten for any sale of a house but is used primarily for the instances when the buyer is getting a mortgage.

You have to go through your home and decide what items you will leave, such as permanent fixtures, kitchen cabinets and what you will take, such as lamps and tables that are considered personal property. This is usually a major job as you are thinking of what to keep and what to discard as you move through the home and get it ready for the sale. Some people take a storage unit to keep some of the items that are “cluttering up” the house. You need to detail items such as chandeliers and rugs, whether they will be left or not.  The agent will work with you to help you put the best foot forward to sell the house.

A buyer who wants to purchase your home will make a written offer specifying the price, down payment, and terms of the offer and any contingencies, such as the home inspection that will note any flaws that are revealed that could potentially hold up the sale.  These repairs are usually negotiated to a satisfactory conclusion so that the sale will proceed to it closure. There are also time periods of when to close to be determined, and of course, upon the financing agreement.

At the closing or settlement, both the seller and the buyer should have fulfilled all the terms of the purchase agreement. This usually happens in one day, depending on circumstances such as if the buyer must close on his current home in order to purchase this one. At the end of this process, the buyer has their new home and the seller can move onto the next phase of their life, wherever that may take them.

Karen Laurence is a sales associate with The Keyes Company. She is a Technical Real Estate Instructor, Real Estate Agent and Certified Luxury Agent. 516-524-3953.