Charles Buck
Portland Area Realtor®
T: 503.799.1742
E: chuck@chuck4real.com



Selling

 

Time for a change

For most families, their home is their largest financial asset, and deciding to sell it is a big decision that involves a lot of preparation and work. When you are ready to sell it’s important to have an experienced real estate professional handle the details involved in the successful sale of a home for top dollar and in the shortest time-frame possible.

Seller’s Road Map

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As an experienced professional who has helped numerous area residents sell their homes, I know how to handle every aspect of the sales process – from strategically preparing, marketing and showcasing your home to making sure everything’s signed, sealed and delivered by the closing date.

Providing you with a comprehensive, high-quality listing service is my top priority.

Please see the Top 5 Mistakes Sellers Make

 

The BIG decision

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Perhaps you’ve started the thought process of selling your home…

Why Do You Want to Sell? Do you want to sell your home in order to move to a different neighborhood, school district, or to be closer to family or employment opportunities? Perhaps you’re leaving the area. Maybe you want a country setting or want to be closer to town. Or maybe you need more bedrooms or storage? Is this the perfect time for downsizing?

When Do You Want to Sell? If it is critical for you to sell quickly, using a top-producing real estate agent can help you expedite the process compared to selling your own home. Or, perhaps you have the flexibility of deciding when you want to sell, and there is no urgency. I can help you understand the current market conditions in your area, and help you decide on the optimal time to place your home on the market.

GraphsWhat are the Current Market Conditions? The current real estate market may affect not only how much your home might sell for, but also how quickly. For example, in a Buyer’s market, there are more homes for sale than there are Buyers, so buyers have more negotiating power. In a Sellers’ market, there are fewer homes on the market, prices may be increasing and there may be multiple bids on desirable properties. In this kind of market, an experienced agent will help you price your home properly correctly to maximize your exposure and bring you the best market price and terms available within your time frames.

Optimizing Your Finances & Taxes: Has your current income level increased or decreased? Whether you are trading up, trading down, or even trading across, your monthly ownership expenses will change, and I can help you estimate the cumulative impact of all these changes to make sure you are making a financially sound decision. Depending on your circumstances, and level of interest in real estate, you may even be able to become a real estate investor.

 

Selecting an agent

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This is one of the largest and most important financial decisions you will ever make.

How To Select The Right Listing Agent: Good agents strive to continuously improve themselves. Ask about their credentials and education. Only agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors can call themselves a REALTOR®.

Ensure the agent is a CRS.  What is a CRS, and why should I care?

CRSIn today’s complex world of real estate, CRS (Certified Real Estate Specialist) stands for education, expertise, and enhanced value to the client, directly focused on making your residential transaction as smooth and worry-free as possible. This highest designation for residential Realtors is conferred by the Residential Sales Council of the National Association of Realtors® upon completion of detailed coursework in listing, selling, investment, tax aspects, and transaction management, and a documented history of a high level of real estate sales performance. Nationwide, only 3% of Realtors and only 2% of all real estate licensees have earned this distinction.

With this qualification, I bring you a higher level of knowledge, experience, and dedication in your sale or purchase.

Your ideal Realtor:

Is a full-time agent, who has sold a number of properties similar to yours.
Can provide you with a list of homes they’ve sold, including a list of references. Every good Realtor has a great appreciation and fondness for their past clients and is eager to share their names with you. So don’t be surprised if at the end of your transaction, they’ll ask you to be an advocate too.
Will be familiar with your neighborhood.
Make detailed recommendations on preparing your home for sale.
Is tech-savvy; today’s transactions move at internet speed.
Will provide a customized marketing strategy for your property.
Will return your calls promptly; time is money when attempting to sell a home.
Should explain everything to you in a clear and straightforward way as complex issues will arise over the course of selling your home.
Finally, your ideal Realtor will spend more time listening to you and asking you questions about what you want, rather than talking about themselves. You are going to be working closely together – pick an agent with whom you feel comfortable.

QuestionWhat Is Your Home Worth?

A home is worth only as much as a Buyer is prepared to pay for it! Pricing your home accurately is one of the most critical decisions you will make. On their own, most people tend to overestimate the value of their home. An overpriced home will languish on the market, and worse, may even be actively shown by agents just to make another home look like a better value. An experienced real estate agent could give you, generally within an accuracy range of a couple of percent, the price your home should sell for on the market. I will provide you with a comprehensive and detailed CMA (Customized Market Analysis) for your home. Recently sold homes and homes currently on the market (your competition) – all as near as possible to your home in area, style, size, amenities and condition – will be used as comparables.

How Are Agents Paid?

Real estate agents don’t get paid until you have successfully sold your home; typically they are paid a percentage of the real estate’s final selling price. Real estate commissions are negotiable in Oregon. The commission will depend on the type of property you are selling, the anticipated sales price, the type of agent you hire and the level of services they provide. The commission is generally split between your listing agent and his brokerage agency, and the agent representing the Buyer and their brokerage agency.

 

Prepare to sell

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Presenting your home in its best light can add thousands of dollars to the market price. Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and spend your money wisely) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal.

Creating Curb Appeal: The value of curb appeal is in enticing drive-by Buyers to want to come inside the home. The yard should at least be comparable to the neighborhood; the cost of a quick clean up by a landscape crew usually pays for itself through a faster sale near the asking price. Add a splash of color by planting annuals along the entryway. During my initial visit, we will discuss if any area of the property needs any improvement.

Should You Make Repairs? A quick coat of paint and other relatively affordable cosmetic upgrades might take years off a home’s appearance. A light neutral paint color has the broadest appeal and may also make rooms look larger. Will undertaking significant repairs prior to putting your home on the market generate the best return, or will selling your home its current condition? I can help with that decision. Having a “Buyer take care of it” might cost you much more than addressing the issue beforehand. Ask me about my “Certified Platinum Listing” program!

Disclosures & Inspections: One of your primary duties as a Seller is to make a list of anything that should be disclosed to Buyers. Real estate agents are familiar with the legal environment surrounding disclosures and will prompt you to develop thorough disclosure documents that will serve both you and the Buyer in creating a sound and satisfactory transaction. Nobody probably ever got sued for disclosing too much!

I strongly recommend having a pre-sale inspection done before placing your home on the market. This can greatly help avoid nasty surprises and broken contracts down the road.

CleaningPreparing Your Property: A house that “sparkles” on the surface will sell faster and for a higher price than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well maintained. Additionally, Buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is well maintained, they assume that what they can’t see has probably also been well maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:

Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning. Keep your property tidy, well-lit and smelling good. Try to see your home through a Buyer’s eyes! Often this requires removing memorabilia that you love but that others may see as clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Let Buyers visualize their own belongings in the house. Some homeowners actually rent storage garages and move some of their furniture out, creating a sleeker and more spacious look.

A professional carpet cleaning can remove stains and odors that you may not notice but are immediately noticeable and often offensive to Buyers who don’t smoke or own pets.

Staging: The end goal of staging is for the home to appeal to the widest audience.

Do-it-yourself tips include putting out fresh flowers and keeping a little basket of fresh and colorful fruit in the kitchen. A professional stager may be called upon to rearrange or even refurnish the house with their own furniture inventory, particularly applicable for situations like vacant homes.

Stagers are professional people who can turn a problem area into an attraction! This alone could mean the difference between success and failure.

The yard: Often, one of the most overlooked, and crucial aspects in the sales preparation are the lowly yard! A few dollars spent on a “yard manicure” and a few colorful plants and or pots can pay big dividends in the end.

ShowingShowing Your Home: Keep the temperature in your home at a moderate level such as 68 to 70°F. There are few things worse than viewing the inside of a refrigerator in winter! Turning on lights, even in the day time, makes your house appear more inviting, cheerful, and even spacious.

It is important to leave your home while agents are showing it to potential buyers. Buyers are more comfortable discussing the home’s merits and drawbacks with their agent if they are alone; they might even feel like they are intruding if you are around. Your agent is experienced in dealing with others on your behalf and has a fiduciary duty to represent your interests in the best possible way; let them do the talking. This way, you don’t accidentally volunteer information that your agent could use more strategically during negotiations.

 

Negotiating and Accepting an Offer

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Price Isn’t Everything: Price is not always the sole deciding factor and the first offer may not be final: My role is to help you sift through all the terms and conditions of the offer(s) you receive to help you create a transaction that best suits your needs. When appropriate, unsatisfactory Buyer’s offers can be countered with a Seller’s Counter Offer. Contrary to popular belief, when presented with multiple offers, the highest price offer may not necessarily be the best offer to accept. All the other terms and conditions should be considered as well.

Dealing Objectively and Fairly: Selling your home requires remaining objective and always negotiating in good faith. I will help you negotiate contractual terms that are beneficial to you and fair to the other party. An experienced agent knows how to handle situations including multiple offers and multiple counter offers prior to your going into contract with one buyer, or “ratifying” their offer.

Earnest Money: Once there is a ratified offer, the Buyer will deposit an agreed upon good faith deposit into a neutral escrow account, reflecting their earnest intention to purchase your property.
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Keep it in Writing (counter offers and addendums): Converting all verbal agreements to a commitment in writing signed by both parties clarifies everyone’s intentions and prevents things from being ambiguous, forgotten or contradicted later.

Staying on Track: Real estate contracts provide a series of deadlines for both Buyer and Seller. Keeping this series of events on schedule ensures a timely and successful close of the transaction. Upon acceptance of an offer, I will provide you with the timeline we will be using to track the transaction. This way, you will always know what’s next.

 

Escrow, Inspection and Appraisal

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What is Escrow? In a nutshell, escrow begins when your earnest money deposit and purchase offer is accepted by the seller. Escrow ends when you become the official new owner, registered in the county records.

Title Company: The Title Company acts as a neutral third party which holds all instruments necessary to the sale, including funds and deed with instructions as to their use. The Title Company will research the complete recorded history of this property, to insure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. The earnest money is usually deposited in a Client Trust Account at the Title Company. You will receive a copy of the “Preliminary Title Report”, which the Escrow Officer can explain to you.

Contingencies: Most purchase agreements provide the buyer with specific amounts of time to inspect the property and negotiate for repair work, review the preliminary title report and all disclosure documents and obtain financing and insurance. At the successful conclusion of each of these milestones, the transaction moves one step closer to its conclusion. Or, the Buyer may use information they have learned to request a renegotiation of the terms of the contract (often the price). This is when an objective, experienced listing agent can really make a difference by helping you make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Inspections: If not waived, the Buyer has the right to have a wide variety of property inspections to determine the property’s condition and the cost of any impending repairs or upgrades. Other than a general, whole house inspection, inspections may include roof, structure, termite & pest, HVAC, soil, oil tank, well, septic, sewer system, radon, lead, mold, boundary survey, etc.

Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of the following may happen: If the Buyer is satisfied with inspection results, the process can move forward towards closing. If the results are not favorable, requests for repairs can be made to the Seller or the terms of contract are renegotiated between the parties. If all of this fails and if allowable within to the terms of the contract – the transaction may be canceled and the buying process started over.Approved

Appraisal and Loan Approval: I recommend accepting only offers from Buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval letter. Later, the lender will send an appraiser out to the property, to ensure the property is worth the sales price.

Time to Start Packing: This is generally the recommend time for you to start packing. If you start too soon, and you risk having your house in upheaval right when a Buyer’s offer falls apart or when we need to begin showing your home to prospective Buyers again.

 

Buying your next Home

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What Do You Want in Your Next Home? Chances are, living in your current home has given you some pretty clear ideas about what you want from your next home. I will help you prioritize your needs and set realistic goals about the likelihood of finding and being able to afford these dreams.

Where Will You Live? Worried where you will live if your home sells before your next purchase closes? This is a common concern when juggling a sale with a purchase. You may actually have quite a few options! For example, I can negotiate a rent-back period, where you continue to rent your current home back from the Buyer while you find your new home. A short term lease on a corporate apartment might be another option.

Please see the BUYING section for more information on buying your new home.

 

Closing!

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This is the culmination of the process. You’re done packing, the movers are moving…

Congratulations! You’ve SOLD your home!

Final Walk-Through Inspection: A few days before the buyer closes on your property, they might visit it one last time. This final inspection is to ensure that the property’s condition meets the Buyer’s expectations compared to its condition when they made their offer, and if all repairs, if any, were executed as stipulated in the contract. The home should be cleaned and vacuumed, the garage cleaned out and the yard left in a tidy condition. This should keep the respective parties from throwing each other with eggs in the driveway!

Canceling Home Services and Utilities: You should call local utilities and services so that they can terminate your service as of the date escrow will close. Buyers should initiate service as of that same date.

If Things Get Complicated: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan! This is when you really need an experiencedBeware real estate agent. Maybe something in the house broke at the last moment, or the Buyer’s loan won’t close on schedule; there are a lot of variables. I’ve been through this numerous times and have various strategies and options to help make your transaction as smooth as possible for you.

Close of Escrow: A few days prior to the planned closing date, the Title Company will have you sign the final documents and they will provide you with a “closing statement” – a summary of all the financial details (pro-rations on property taxes and all the transaction-related costs). The Escrow Officer will go over this with you to be sure it is accurate. When everything is complete, the Title Company will record the transaction for you and the Buyer at the County Recorder’s office, you will receive your proceeds from the transaction, and the Buyer will become the official new owner.

Keys: I will coordinate the delivery of your keys to the Buyer or their agent once the deed has been recorded at the County Assessor’s office or according to any other contractual agreements you’ve made.

 

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