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What to know when you are selling your home

Robert W. Gordon

Branch Manager and Photographer of Inglenook Realty, Inc...

Branch Manager and Photographer of Inglenook Realty, Inc...

Oct 13 9 minutes read

Introduction

Selling a home can be quite complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. For some people the process of selling their homes is just as stressful as buying one. So they are left wondering what questions should they ask before they sell? What are some things that will make this easier on them? This article seeks to answer those questions and provide information about what you need to know before you sell your home. 

The first thing you want to do is get informed about the whole process of selling your home, including all the steps that go into it. It may sound like a lot of work, but if you break it down into small chunks there isn’t anything too intimidating about it. The more knowledge you have going in to the sale process, the easier it will be for you to be satisfied with the outcome.

What is a home inspection, how do you prepare for it and what does it entail?

A home inspection is a comprehensive assessment of your property's condition to determine any problems or deficiencies in the property and its systems. This includes the interior and exterior of the home, the general condition of appliances, plumbing, heating, electrical, water, sewer and etc. A typical inspection is generally around two hours but this will depend largely on the size of the home and the systems within it.

Most inspectors are NYS licensed professionals or engineers who are independent contractors. The inspector should be certified by their state licensing agency and they can belong to one of several national certification agencies such as NACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors).  

An inspection includes:

-General conditions and age of exterior and interior components of your home

-Any current or potential defects that arise from deferred maintenance on the property, defective structural components or obvious safety hazards.

-A full visual examination of the visible walls, ceilings, attic and basement areas.

Inspections are completely visual only.  A home inspector cannot see inside walls and ceilings or areas that are finished and they do not tear down any finished areas of the house.  To prepare for the home inspection, please make sure the home is cleaned and any entry ways to basements, attics and crawl spaces are accessible.  You can also cut back bushes and shrubbery that touch the home to allow for easy access.

What documents will you need to provide your agent before selling a home? 

1. Provide your agent with your deed, tax bills and survey (if available) along with a copy of your driver's license or identification card. 

2. Provide them with contact information and a list of any contractors or service providers you have used in the past for maintenance on the property.

3. Have copies of all receipts, warranties, and manuals available in case they are requested by buyers or their agents.

4. Copies of utilities bills so you can provide those as well if necessary.

What are the Seller's costs of selling a home?

1. Broker’s commission - Real Estate commissions in NY are negotiable and are determined at the time of the listing.  Depending on whether or not you hire a discount brokerage or full service agency will determine the amount.  Commissions can be a flat fee or a percentage of the sale price. 

2. Transfer Tax - As of the date of this article, transfer tax is calculated at a rate of $2 for each $500 of sale price or fractional part thereof in NY. 

3. Attorney Fees - As the seller of Real Property it is in your best interest to have representation by a Real Estate attorney.  The cost of the attorney can vary but in most cases in the Capital Region area it varies from $500-$1,000. 

4. Abstract of Title - An update to the abstract of title is an expense that may or may not be due by the seller.  Your attorney will be able to provide you with any expected costs for this. 

5. Additional Expenses - In some cases there may be additional expenses in order to sell the home but they are generally on a case by case basis. 

What are some ways you can assist your agent to help facilitate a quicker sale?

One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your agent has recent professional pictures of your home and that photos are updated for the appropriate season. This will allow potential buyers to get a more accurate feel for the property online and help them make a decision as to whether or not they want to view the house in person. Inglenook Realty has an in-house paid professional photographer and licensed aerial drone photographer.

A few other strategies include: 

-Make sure you, the seller, make the home appeal to all the buyer's senses and make sure it is picked up, smells great, is a comfortable temperature and turn on all lights in the home. 

-Clean up the exterior front to increase curb appeal.  Make sure the lawn is mowed and trash cans and other debris are not visible from the road. 

-Ask your agent about using a lock box while your home is on the market or consider installing locks for this matter if not already present.  When a seller limits access to the home instead of permitting showings when the buyer is able to view it is a huge factor that could impact the sale.  That one showing you decline when that one buyer is out looking at several homes could cause you to lose out on the perfect buyer to another property.

What is an appraisal, how do you prepare for it and what does it entail? 

An appraisal is an estimate of the current value of a property.  It can be used to compute tax liabilities, set insurance rates, by your lender to establish the value for a refinance or establish the most probably selling price of real estate.  For residential Real Estate sales, the sales comparison approach is generally considered the most valuable approach and involves the appraiser researching comparable home sales to determine the value.

There are many factors that are taken into consideration on an appraisal but it heavily involves a thorough analysis of the five primary components of the property:

-Location – Location is the single most important factor in determining the value of Real Estate.  For instance, a home in the Schenectady Real Estate market could have an identical match in the Saratoga Springs Real Estate market but due to a difference in location would sell for different amounts.

-Condition – Neighboring properties that are exactly the same but are in different conditions will sell in most cases for different prices.

-Features and Amenities – How does your home compare to others of its type in the area? Factors including how much acreage, square footage, how many bedrooms and bathrooms and how many garage spaces all play a role.  Furthermore, upgrades such as Granite and Quartz countertops vs Laminate or Hardwood Floors vs carpeting are also important factors.

-Style - Single story Ranch style homes are generally not considered comparable to 2 story Colonial style homes. If your neighbors 2 story saltbox sold for a particular price, that doesn't mean your single story Ranch is valued the same.

-Age -  Effective age is an important factor.  Your 1 year old Colonial style home is generally not considered highly comparable to your 200 year old Colonial neighbor.


The average homeowner will spend many weeks searching for a buyer, and the process can be challenging. You’ll want to find an agent that has experience in your area or with properties like yours. They should also have access to real-time data on the market so they are aware of what buyers are looking for when it comes time to make their offer. There is no way around it; selling takes hard work but there are plenty of resources available if you plan ahead!  Contact our team at Inglenook Realty, Inc. - we specialize in helping homeowners sell their property quickly and painlessly while getting them top dollar! Contact us today for more information, guidance, or help finding homes near your current location.

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