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From sale to settlement: What to expect when you sell your house

Created date

July 23rd, 2013

Personal Moving Consultant Contracts? Contingencies? Closings? Selling a house might sound awfully confusing if you don t know what to expect, but with a little insider knowledge, you ll be cool and comfortable through the whole process. The first offer. You ve prepared the house, listed it for sale, received an offer what happens next? Once you receive an offer, your real estate agent will review the terms of the sale and the buyer s qualifications with you. At that point, you ll have three options: accept, decline, or make a counter-offer. It may seem overwhelming, but there are really only a handful of factors to consider. What s included in the standard contract varies by state and region, but here s a list of the basics: Sale price Buyer s down payment amount Settlement date Mortgage terms and amount Contingencies (such as home inspections) and their deadlines Inclusions and exclusions (such as appliances, furnishings, etc.) Negotiations. Since the first offer is often the best offer, if you aren't ready to accept, you should be ready to negotiate contract terms and price. In fact, if you re patient and a little flexible, you might even turn a low offer into the perfect offer. Once you reach an agreement, the signed acceptance of the offer becomes the sales contract, but you aren t done quite yet. Contingencies. For the next 30 to 60 days, as outlined by the contract, the buyer wil secure necessary financial approvals and satisfy any contingencies while you make any agreed-upon repairs. Your real estate agent is the key to facilitating this process by keeping all parties informed and on track as you work toward your settlement date. Prior to settlement, the buyer will do one last walk-through inspection to ensure all the agreed-upon conditions are met. Closing. Now, it s time to finalize the sale. Settlement practices vary widely, but the settlement meeting, often called the closing, is the final stage in the process. At this meeting, the buyer and seller, accompanied by their real estate agents or lawyers, complete the final paperwork. The buyer makes payment on the property, and the seller transfers the deed to the property into the buyer s name. Then, the seller turns over the keys to the house, and one more successful sale is complete.