Century 21 Selmar > Seller's Guide

Seller's Guide

It’s Time To Sell

Deciding to sell could be a difficult and frustrating process without the right guidance.  In fact, many home sellers say there aren’t enough resources to help them along the way.  Planning, anticipating, organizing, scheduling and preparing for a sale can all seem overwhelming – often leaving sellers feeling confused and discouraged.  That’s why we have provided this informative guide to help you better understand the process and prepare for your move. 

What’s first?  What to consider before your house is on the market.

Review your personal and financial goals. As a potential seller, your first step should be to review your personal and financial goals and try to determine how the sale of you home fits into those objectives.  Your Century 21 sales associate can help to clarify and implement your goals so that you get the most from your sale.  Your agent can help to determine how much money you will be moving with, help you find the best financing options for the purchase of your new home and maximize the value of your home as vehicle to provide you with enough money to make your next move.

Decide what’s important. Sellers often have different motivations, and while the result is the same, the process can be dramatically different.  When selling, decide what’s most important for you. For some, price is most important, while others would like to complete their move as soon as possible.  In general, there isn’t a “bad” time to sell. Markets will continue to rise and correct, yet ultimately the decision to sell depends primarily on your life plans. Review your goals and talk to your agent about how they can help tailor a plan that is designed to sell your home, while meeting your needs.

Change perspective. Next, you may have to change the way you think about your house.  Chances are that until now, your house has represented security, has been a safe haven for you and your family and probably contains the bulk of your family’s net worth.  But as a seller, you must begin to look at your home in different light.  Once on the market, your house becomes a saleable investment - one of the many parcels of real estate that must be sold.  As soon as sellers begin to remove their emotional and personal attachments, they can concentrate more objectively on the finer points of selling.

Ask Your Agent.  Your C21 Sales Associate can be an excellent resource for information leading up to your sale.  We are not only familiar with your neighborhood and the properties for sale in it, but can also find answers to many of the questions you may have before you put your house on the market.  With access to experienced colleagues and support staff, a range of industry professionals and information, and a global network of Century 21 agents and professionals, we are here to help however we can.  Once you’re a client, you will have access to the world’s largest, most recognized and most successful real estate sales organization - with more than 6,000 offices throughout the world.


Your Century 21 Professional

Century 21 is the world’s largest, most recognized and most successful real estate sales organization with more than 6,000 offices throughout the world.  As a client, you will have access not only to all the resources of our office and the Century 21 System, but also a global referral network which spans the globe from the US and abroad – including sub-franchisors in the Benelux nations!

When you employ the services of a Century 21 broker, you’ll sign a listing agreement- a contract whereby you hire the broker to find a ready, willing and able buyer in exchange for a predetermined fee, or commission.  Your broker then promotes the availability of your property in a variety of ways to prospective buyers, both directly and indirectly. 

Your sales professionals are trained to assist you with managing the details of selling your property - and much of your agent’s valuable work will be quiet and unseen – done from the office or in the field. 

Both your agent and our office will be marketing your home in a variety of ways - without even being seen.  Some of the things your Century 21 professional may do to promote your home include:

Conducting market research and providing you with comparable sales in your area to help you establish an asking price for your property

Displaying the internationally recognized gold Century 21 For Sale sign to attract buyers;

Promoting your property on the award-winning, internationally recognized Century 21 web site – century21.com.

Promoting your property to the Century 21 Global Referral Network and world-wide relocation systems;

Use the CENTURY 21 Customized Marketing System, to create a personalized selling program suited to your unique, individual needs

      • Pre-qualifying and showing your house to prospective buyers and other real estate agents;
      • Making telephone calls and emailing potential buyers;
      • Participating in direct mailing campaigns designed to attract potential buyers;
      • Handling calls from drive-by lookers and neighbors who may be more curious than serious about buying;
      • Handling incoming ad calls and sign calls and directing buyers to your home;
      • Creating web postings and creating visual tours;
      • Scheduling and marketing open houses and following up with visitors;
      • Promoting your property to other agents through the local Multiple Listing Service
      • Representing you in negotiations with buyers;
      • Consulting with you about prospective buyers’ offers, and the details of the sale;
      • Coordinating and managing the post-offer and closing details and processes.

Our goal is to attract buyers for your property and help you sell at the best price, in the shortest amount of time, and with the least inconvenience to you!


Pricing Your Home

A key part of the marketing plan is setting the list price. If your home is priced too low, you won’t benefit from the optimal profit, but if it is priced too high, potential buyers may be scared away and your house could remain on the market unsold.  Sellers sometimes miss the mark by either basing their price on what they paid for it, on how much their new house will cost, or worse, on speculative information gathered from neighbors. 

Your agent will work closely with you to set a price that is both appropriate for your market and aligned with your financial and personal goals. 

To determine the best asking price for your home, your agent will evaluate the sale prices of recently sold homes in your area and study the marketplace trends and data.  A review of the recent home sales in your area considering the similarity of those properties to yours, when they sold, their condition, and the actual sale prices, should help you approximate your property’s value. 

In addition to recently sold properties, you want to review other properties that are for sale – which compete with yours in the marketplace. Your agent is trained to use this information and help you reach an asking price that is right for you.

It is also helpful to discuss other terms and conditions, such as timing and items that may be included with the sale of the home. Both could make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining your price:

1) Location: You can't get away from this one. If your house is located in a desirable area that is in demand, you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area.
2) Condition: A house that has been better maintained and shows better will always sell for more than one that has had deferred (neglected) maintenance and needs work.
3) Desirable amenities: If a house has amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it could bring a higher price.
4) Price per square foot: The average price per square foot for homes in your neighborhood can be a useful tool when determining your asking price. Keep in mind that various methodologies can be used to calculate square footage and in some areas square footage may not be available.
5.) Appraisals:  A formal written appraisal can be useful if you have unique property, if there hasn't been much activity in your area recently, if co-owners disagree about price, or if there is any other circumstance that makes it difficult to put a value on your home. Appraisers consider the location of the home, its proximity to desirable schools and other public facilities, the size of the lot, the size and condition of the home itself and recent sales prices of comparable properties, among other factors.

Finally, and most importantly, remember that each property is unique and there is a buyer for every home.   When pricing your house, remember the market value of your property is simply the price at which a willing seller will sell, and a willing buyer will buy, on any given day.


For Sale By Owner

At some point, you may consider trying to sell you house on your own.  The reason most homeowners attempt to sell their own homes is to save the real estate commission.  But keep in mind that buyers will understand that you are saving on commissions and generally negotiate a much lower price when dealing directly with an owner.

Time and Safety - Selling your own property will require your time for advertising and promoting your property, answering phone calls, following-up and being available to show the house at various times of the day or evening with or without prior notice.  You must always take into consideration the risks involved when giving out your address and inviting strangers to look through your property.

Misrepresentation and Litigation - You must present your home positively to prospective buyers without embellishing or seeming disingenuous.  On your own, you will need safeguard against unintentional misrepresentations, incomplete disclosures, and exaggerations which could not only cost you a potential buyer, but also result in possible litigation - since the laws of most states tend to favor buyers when disputes arise.  You must also be aware of, and comply with, fair housing laws - designed to safeguard buyers from being discriminated against.

Many buyers realize that licensed agents must adhere to disclosure regulations and often prefer to be informed by them.  
The Sales Process - Both you and the buyer will be ultimately responsible for the many functions handled easily and routinely by real estate professionals.  You’ll want to be prepared to discuss comparable sales in the area, types of financing, and the transaction closing process.  It will be up to you to find out if a prospective buyer qualifies for a loan and has the appropriate down-payment prior to removing your property from the market.  Later you may be in charge of securing title information, physical inspections, repairs, paperwork, paying off your loan, and, in general, coordination of the entire closing process.

When managing the sale process without the oversight of a Realtor, it is critical to avoid the ‘he said/she-said’ miscommunications that often jeopardize and terminate private transactions.


Preparing and Showing Your Property! 

Examine your house as if you were buying it!  

It stands to reason that if your house has outstanding “curb appeal”, you’ll attract more buyers.  A well manicured yard and lawn show potential buyers that your property has been well cared for and reflects pride of ownership. 

Clean up anything that might detract from a buyer’s initial impression - such as debris on the driveway and yard, contact marks on the garage and driveway from the children’s bouncing balls and bikes, and toys scattered about the yard.  Sparkling clean outdoor light fixtures illuminate the home and enhance evening showings while a cleanly swept entry and inviting doorway show attention to detail, heighten buyer’s anticipation and set the tone for a good showing.

Then, focus on the inside.  Scrutinize each room in the house, paying close attention to the kitchen and bathrooms.  Cleaning walls and counter tops, and having guest towels in the baths are important in helping your house show well.    

Imagine that you are looking at your house as if you were a prospective buyer.  Does each room look welcoming?  Make sure that the other rooms and closets are clean and not overly crowded.  Pick–up or organize clothes and shoes that can easily see messy.  Gain a competitive edge by repairing, painting, or replacing anything that detracts from the interior of your property.  If necessary, shampoo the carpets, wax the floors, and clean the windows, screens and window coverings.  Finally, arrange furniture so that each room appears spacious and comfortable.

Open all the window coverings to let the light in!  Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views. If you have seasonal photographs showcasing flower gardens, leaves bursting in color or a snow-covered lawn twinkling from street lights, then display them in a prominent position. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spot lights on the floor behind furniture. 

You may want to copy ideas that you’ve seen in new model homes such as leaving a book open on a master bedroom chair with a cozy blanket over the back of a chair.  Keeping fresh flowers, having the lights on and television and video games off, setting the dining room table attractively as if for company or keeping a friendly teddy bear perched on the corner of a child’s bed are all ideas homeowners can use to warm and make their homes inviting to prospective buyers.

Determine which items remain with the property and which articles will go with you.  If you have a favorite chandelier, bookcase, or wall display that you plan to take, be sure to clearly define these items before you market the property.  You may even want to replace such items before you show the property so that there is no misunderstanding on the part of a prospective buyer.

While you may love your pets and allow them complete freedom throughout your home, keep in mind that some buyers have negative reactions to pets, their fur and feathers, and unkempt pet area.  It’s a good bet to keep all pet areas clean and to best ensure the comfort of prospective buyers, either contain or remove pets from inside while buyers are in your home.
Finally, most prospective buyers prefer to see a house when the owner is not there.  Buyers are more comfortable asking questions, pointing out defects, discussing price and comparing your home to others they have seen when their conversations are not being overheard by sellers.  In some cases, potential buyers will not thoroughly inspect a house if the owner is present for fear of being too intrusive.  Let the agent ‘show’ the house – he or she knows the business and will present your property to its best advantage.



Be prepared to enumerate anything that has occurred to the property or anything that could materially affect the property, such as flooding, fire damage, structural issues like a cracked foundation or even just a lot line dispute with a neighbor.  If you are unsure about which issues will influence a buyer – and ask your agent about what you are required to disclose.  Remember disclosure now can prevent a transaction from falling through later. 



Your agent will review all offers to purchase your property with you.  When a buyer decides to make an offer on your house, they can either do so verbally or in writing.  Offers in writing are considered to be more serious and most sellers will not entertain verbal offers.  As a result, most buyers will submit their offer in writing.

Among other things, the offer should detail the offer price and terms - such as a proposed closing date, both contract and total down payment amounts, and include an earnest money deposit to show that the buyer is serious.  The offer will also indicate if the purchasers intend to have an engineer inspection and a timeframe in which that should occur.

If you feel that the buyer’s initial offer is not acceptable as presented, you have a right to either reject it in whole or present a counter offer.  Offer negotiations could take a few minutes, a few hours, several days or even longer, depending upon the issues being worked out.

Once both sellers and buyers have agreed to all terms and conditions of the offer in writing, acknowledged and signed by all parties, a contract exists and the offer is considered accepted!

After the offer is accepted and the purchasers have completed their engineer report, more formal contracts will be drafted and executed by both parties.  Then the purchaser has 45 days to obtain a mortgage commitment from their bank.  In that time, a termite inspection, appraisal are usually conducted and all parties prepare for the closing.


Closing The Sale

The closing is the final event in the life of the transaction that was set in motion by the Offer to Purchase.  It is at closing where you will receive payment for the sale of your home and title is conveyed to the buyers.

The closing agents, title companies, lenders and lawyers will have prepared the necessary paperwork, which allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests.  For example, the buyers will receive title to the property, lenders can have their loans recorded in the public records and state governments collect their transfer taxes.

The closing is also the time when the "adjustments" will be made. For instance, if you've pre-paid taxes four months in advance, the closing agent will compensate you for the prepayment at closing by having the buyer pay you the additional money. But if you are behind on property taxes, the closing agent will reduce the money due to you at settlement by the amount of the unpaid taxes.

At the closing you will also receive a final settlement statement that clearly illustrates, among other things, the payments and credits to both parties and all fees paid by you in order to close the transaction.  It is important to provide a proper forwarding address so that the mortgage satisfaction and any escrows can be correctly returned to you. Afterward, the purchaser's title will be recorded in the local records, along with any mortgage liens. 

After all of the work to get you to the closing has been done, the purchaser’s mortgage documents are executed, the deed is transferred and they keys are given to the new buyers - you transaction is complete! 


After Your Sale

We would like to hear from you.  After your closing your agent will stay in touch with you, occasionally sending neighborhood information, market updates, home magazines and other useful correspondence that will help you feel more at home.  Remember that our office is a great source for answers to questions that new homeowners often have, and we are happy to help.  We enjoy hearing from all of the people who buy and sell homes with us, so please  

Ask about a career.  After buying or selling a home, many of our customers and clients develop an interest in real estate as a career.  As a matter of fact, some of our most successful agents were former clients!  If you have an interest in a career in real estate or would like more information, please visit www.C21selmar.com/careers, email us, or call and speak to one of our career counselors.  We look forward to hearing from you!

We value your future business.  Referrals are the highest compliment we can receive and we are always happy to help the friends and families of the many people who have worked with us.  If you know anyone who is thinking of making a move ask how we can help!


CENTURY 21 Selmar Realty 96 E. Main St. East Islip, New York 11730 Ph: 631-277-0900