Guide - The Morden Way To Move

Here’s how we make it easy to sell, buy, or trade in a home.

Selling Your Home

You're ready to sell your property. And, while you're looking forward to seeing the word "SOLD" posted from the curb, you know there's a lot to consider along the way. One of your first decisions is to select a real estate company and real estate agent who'll join you in the process.

1. Manage Showings

Once you’ve chosen your Fairdealss agent, and together have prepped your house for sale and set a price, you’re ready for the public to see your home.

  • A showing takes place either at an open house, which is a scheduled session when anyone can come by without an appointment, or during an appointment scheduled with you or your listing agent.

  • Your Fairdealss agent is a great source of advice on specifics for your home preparations so that your house is positioned competitively in the market. Preparations will likely include two phases. During phase one, before photos are taken and before the first showing, you should:

    • Clean deeply.
    • Paint some or all of your house.
    • Do minor repairs such as caulking tubs and windows.
    • Make major repairs – if needed and in your budget, such as replacing your counters or appliances.
    • Stage your furniture to showcase your home’s best features.
    • Remove personal items such as family photos.
    • Declutter every surface and storage space.
    • Reorganize your closets and pack excess items.
    • Eliminate odors by cleaning the fireplace or pulling out musty rugs.
    • Add a color scheme with rugs or pillows if needed to warm up your home.
    • Upgrade your lighting or light bulbs to make your rooms brighter.
    • Spruce up the landscaping.
    • Power-wash your decks and sidewalks if needed.

  • Three important things you can do to help get your house sold are:

    • Leave when your house is being shown. Buyers prefer to look at homes when they can move around freely and the owners aren’t there.
    • Make your house as available as possible. While it may be inconvenient to show your home at dinnertime or on weekends, buyers who can’t see a property when they’re eager may cross it off their list.
    • Listen to any feedback from buyers or agents about ways you can make your home more appealing.

    Always coordinate with your Fairdealss agent for maximum exposure and a faster sale.

2. Review Offers

Congratulations! You received a message from your Fairdealss agent that you have an offer on your home. Now you need to evaluate that offer and decide how to respond.

  • An offer to buy your home is a purchase agreement signed by the potential buyer that includes:

    • The amount of the offer
    • An explanation of how the buyers will pay, such as cash or a pre-approval for financing
    • The terms – such as a request for closing cost help or contingencies such as the sale of the buyers’ house, a final mortgage approval, a satisfactory home inspection and an appraisal
    • A target date for closing
    • An earnest money deposit
    • A time limit for the offer

  • When you receive an offer to buy your home, you and your Fairdealss agent should review it and consider whether you want to accept it. Whether you have one offer or several, you and your agent will look at:

    • The amount offered
    • Whether the buyer has included or waived contingencies
    • Where the funds are coming from, such as all-cash, a reputable local lender, a well-known online lender, or an unknown out-of-town lender
    • The proposed closing date and date of possession of the house to see if it aligns with your needs
    • Any special requests for items to convey or for special inspections

  • If you receive multiple offers, your Fairdealss agent can advise you on one of these options:

    • Accept the best offer. If one offer stands out above the rest, you can accept that one right away. But be careful not to be swayed by a high offer if the financing seems uncertain or if the buyer hasn’t explained a plan for a possible low appraisal.
    • Counter all the offers to get a better price and terms. You can ask all potential buyers to give you their best offer by a certain deadline.
    • Counter one offer that’s close to what you want. If you like one offer but think the buyers could do a little better, you can send them a counteroffer to see if they’ll accept it.

    You and the buyers can negotiate until you both agree on the final contract. Your Fairdealss agent is your best ally during the negotiations and is equipped with the data and knowledge to guide you.

3. Prepare for Inspection

Most buyers request a home inspection as a condition of their offer. While a home inspector will dig more deeply into your home than a buyer, the preparation you made before your first showing should help you get ready for the inspection. Your Fairdealss agent can give you personalized advice, too.

  • A home inspection is a thorough review of your home’s structure and systems by a professional home inspector. Buyers can use the inspection report to decide to rescind their offer if a major issue is uncovered or to request repairs if the contract is contingent on a satisfactory report. In some cases, a home inspection is solely for the buyers’ information and can’t be used to negotiate.

  • The inspector will check:

    • Structural conditions such as the foundation, beams and floors
    • Roof condition
    • Mechanical systems such as heat and air conditioning
    • Appliances – to make sure they’re working, although some inspectors skip appliances that are not built-in
    • Plumbing – for leaks, rust and water pressure
    • Electrical systems such as grounded outlets and code violations
    • Safety issues such as stairs, handrails, mold or chimney maintenance

  • The inspector won’t check some items that are unusual or inaccessible, such as:

    • Septic systems
    • Wells
    • Underground pipes and sprinkler systems
    • Swimming pools and spas
    • Playground equipment

  • Before the home inspector arrives, you should:

    • Clean your house.
    • Remove or crate your pets.
    • Make sure all your light bulbs work.
    • Empty your washing machine, dryer, oven, and dishwasher – in case they are inspected.
    • Make sure everything is accessible, including your attic, a crawlspace, your garage and any sheds.
    • Leave a note if anything doesn’t work and explain that you’re getting it fixed.
    • Provide documents about maintenance and repairs.
    • Leave your cell phone number for the inspector.
    • Leave the house.

  • Once the inspection report has been generated, you and your Fairdealss agent can discuss how to handle any possible issues the buyers mention. You can negotiate with the buyers, decide to fix an item, provide money for the buyers to fix it themselves or provide documentation that the problem has already been addressed. Your Fairdealss agent can help you handle any inspection issues.

4. Prepare for Appraisal

As you near the end of your home sale journey, you will need to pass one more test: an appraisal. Your Fairdealss agent can help you gather materials and prepare for the appraiser’s visit.

  • An appraisal is an objective valuation of your property that serves as a safeguard for the buyer and the buyer’s lender. While the buyer pays for an appraisal, the appraiser actually works for the lender. While an appraiser may look at some of the same things as a home inspector, the result is an appraised value of your property rather than a condition report.

  • Appraisers use as many measurable pieces of data available to provide an accurate value of your property, including:

    • Comparable properties in your area that are of similar size, age and condition
    • The condition of your home’s systems and structure
    • The square feet of your property
    • The square feet of your property
    • Your location
    • The quality of your flooring, plumbing and electrical systems

    Appraisers include research about other properties and neighborhood values, as well as an in-person visit for their evaluation of your home.

  • Preparing for an appraisal is similar to prepping for an inspection. You should:

    • Provide a list of all major improvements to the home and the age and condition of your roof, heating and air conditioning system, and appliances.
    • Provide any permits required for home improvements.
    • Clean your house.
    • Provide full access to all rooms and spaces, including the garage, sheds, attic and crawlspace
    • Remove or crate your pets.
    • Leave the house, or at least stay out of the appraiser’s way.

  • An appraisal could require a renegotiation if the property value comes in lower than the sales price. The appraised value dictates the maximum amount the lender will allow the buyers to borrow, minus their down payment. Depending on how the contract was written, if the appraisal is low, you can:

    • Ask the buyer to come up with extra cash to make up the difference between the loan amount and the purchase price.
    • Reduce your price to the appraised value.
    • Split the difference with the buyer.
    • Cancel the contract.

    Your Fairdealss agent can advise you on your options in the context of the contract and market conditions.

5. Close

While it’s tempting to focus on your next move, your Fairdealss agent is likely to remind you that until the closing is over, you have some final responsibilities as a seller.

  • Before the closing day, you’ll need to:

    • Take care of repairs required by the contract.
    • Keep all receipts and invoices and before-and-after photos of repairs.
    • Gather all appliance manuals and warranties for your buyers.
    • Hire a mover.
    • Cancel all utilities for the day after you move.
    • Cancel all utilities for the day after you move.
    • Change your address.
    • Review all settlement documents, especially the settlement statement.
    • Check the property survey to be sure it’s correct.
    • Clean the house.
    • Prepare for the buyers’ final walk-through

  • Sellers may or may not attend the closing, so you should consult your Fairdealss agent and the settlement company to decide what’s best. You can sign all documents before the official closing. Sellers’ expenses, which are deducted from the proceeds of the sale, include:

    • Final balance on your mortgage
    • Real estate commissions
    • Prorated property taxes, utility bills, homeowner’s insurance, and homeowners association dues

    If you can’t move before the closing, you’ll need to arrange a rentback from the buyers. Your Fairdealss agent can help you complete appropriate paperwork for a rentback. If you are moving, the buyers will do a walk-through of your home within 24 hours before the closing to check that the property is in good condition. If the buyers find something that needs to be fixed, your agent can help you decide how to handle it. Whether or not you attend the closing, you’ll need to provide house keys to your buyers, along with all alarm codes, remote controls for the garage, and mailbox or gate keys.

  • After the closing, you’ll:

    • Receive the proceeds from the sale, usually by wire transfer.
    • Cancel your homeowner’s insurance “post-close” – to make sure you’re covered on that day.
    • Save your closing documents and home improvement records for taxes.

    Congratulations! You can shake hands with your Keller Williams agent: you’ve successfully sold your home.

Home Buying Tips from Fairdealss

In our experience, a house is not a dream home because of its size or color. It's about how you feel when you walk through the front door - the way you can instantly see your life unfolding there. This about more than real estate. It's about your life and your dreams.

1. Home Visit

We'll arrange to visit the homes you've selected, together and in-person, to determine the best fit for you

    • Get an accurate idea of your price range, an estimate of your monthly payments and a pre-approval letter, so sellers will take you seriously when you make an offer.
    • Work with your Fairdealss agent to hone your “wants” and “needs” list. Think about what’s most important to you: the location or the house itself.
    • Preview homes through the Fairdealss app to eliminate those you won’t need to visit in person.
    • Plan an itinerary with your Fairdealss agent.
    • You and your Fairdealss agent typically visit homes together
    • Homeowners usually are not home, so you’re free to spend as little or as much time as you want.
    • Buyers often have a gut reaction to a home. First impressions count, but you can also consult your agent to learn more about home values and possibly to reevaluate your priorities in the context of what’s available in your price range.

  • Sometimes buyers find their future home the first time out and others look at 50 homes before they see one that checks all their boxes. It’s a good idea to see at least a few alternatives so you have some points of comparison, but sometimes you just know a place is where you want to live.

    • Look beyond the staging and decorative items to see the features and fixtures that convey with the house.
    • Check the condition of the home.
    • Keep track with photos and notes.
    • Consider possible home improvements you might want to make so you can research costs later.
    • Don’t forget to check out the outside of the property and the neighborhood. Your Fairdealss agent has access to neighborhood insights and data to help inform your decision.
    • Locate your commuter route, schools, shops, restaurants, parks and other amenities.
    • If the property is a condo or located in a homeowners association, find out the fees and rules to see if you can live with them.

    Your Fairdealss real estate agent will be your trusted partner for your home search.

2. Making an Offer

Once you’ve narrowed down your list and have a clear favorite, collaborate with us to make an offer on a home.

  • Your Fairdealss agent will have the most recent standard purchase offer forms that comply with state and local laws.

    • The price
    • Terms – such as a request for closing cost help or that the offer is subject to your obtaining financing and a home inspection
    • Target date for closing
    • Earnest money deposit – your Fairdealss agent can advise you about how big your deposit should be based on local customs and current conditions
    • Request for final walk-through
    • Time limit for the offer

    • Financing. Unless you’re paying cash, it’s typical to write your offer with a contingency clause that lets you off the hook if you can’t finalize your mortgage within a certain number of days. Even though you have a pre-approval for a loan, it’s smart to protect yourself.
    • Home inspection. Your offer can be made dependent on a satisfactory home inspection report within a certain number of days. This protects you if the inspection uncovers expensive necessary repairs.

  • In a competitive housing market, you may find yourself competing against other buyers. In that case, your Keller Williams agent is your best ally in strategizing for your offer to be accepted. With access to real-time market data, your Fairdealss agent will know how to best position your offer. If there’s more than one offer, the sellers can:

    • Accept the best offer
    • Counter all the offers to get a better price and terms
    • Counter one offer that’s close to what they want

    You and your Fairdealss agent can work together to find out what’s important to the sellers, such as a specific moving date, and to discuss possibly waiving contingencies, adjusting your price or writing a “love letter” about the house.

  • Sellers can accept your offer as is or they can make a counteroffer with an adjustment to some or all of your terms. You can accept or reject the counteroffer and make your own counteroffer. The contract is final once you and the sellers have agreed to all the terms.

    Your Fairdealss agent is essential when negotiating the terms of your purchase.

3. Execute Contract

The crucial period between an offer and a final contract is an important time to stay in close contact with your Fairdealss agent so you’re equipped with all the information you need to make smart decisions.

  • Ask your Fairdealss agent to explain the key points in your multi-page contract, such as:

    • Accuracy of information, including the correct spelling of your name and the property address
    • The effective date of the contract – important because your contingencies have time limits.
    • A list of contingencies, such as that the sale depends on financing, an appraisal, a satisfactory home inspection and perhaps the sale of your current home.
    • Property disclosure information from the seller, depending on your state laws.
    • A complete list of what conveys with the property
    • A list of required inspections, such as a home inspection and a pest inspection
    • Information about when you can move in.
    • In some cases, such as if your offer is contingent on the sale of your home, the seller may add a “kick-out” clause, which means that the seller could accept another offer if one is made before your home is sold.

  • Your Fairdealss agent can guide you, but you also need to decide how much you want a particular property and what you’re willing to accept to get it. You may want to let go when:

    • A bidding war drives the price too high
    • The appraised value of the home is below your offer
    • A home inspection finds defects that would be expensive to repair
    • The sellers are unwilling to make reasonable repairs
    • You learn about homeowners association rules that won’t work for you

  • Your Fairdealss agent will help you watch out for:

    • Unrealistic deadlines: you’ll need time to arrange a home inspection and receive the report, as well as arrange financing
    • Missing deadlines means you lose your chance to end the contract and keep your deposit
    • Items that don’t convey with the property: if you’re not sure, ask your agent to confirm
    • Communications from your lender

    According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the most common reasons for contracts to fail or to be delayed are home inspection problems, financing problems or an appraisal issue. Contact a Fairdealss agent to help you navigate the complexities of a real estate contract.

4. Schedule Home Inspection

As soon your offer is accepted, you should schedule your home inspection. If you’re buying in a busy season, it may take time to find an available inspector, so rely on your Fairdealss agent to recommend trusted home inspectors.

  • Your home inspector will check a massive list (more than 1,000 items) of systems, appliances and structures in your home to evaluate its condition. You’ll get a written report that identifies potential problems and future maintenance issues. It’s up to you to decide whether the report means you want to walk away from a house or ask the sellers to make repairs. You can also have an “information only” inspection, which means you’re buying the house as is, but want to know its condition.

  • The inspector will check:

    • Structural conditions such as the foundation, beams and floors
    • Roof condition
    • Mechanical systems such as heat and air conditioning
    • Appliances – to make sure they’re working
    • Plumbing – for leaks, rust and water pressure
    • Electrical systems such as grounded outlets and code violations
    • Safety issues such as stairs, handrails, mold or chimney maintenance

  • You and your Fairdealss agent should attend the home inspection to learn about home maintenance and so you can see any potential problems yourself. The inspector can answer questions as you go, so if there’s anything you don’t understand or are worried could be a problem, just ask.

  • While you and your Fairdealss agent can decide whether to negotiate on anything in the inspection report, you can ask the inspector the following questions:

    • Are the items you’ve flagged major or minor issues?
    • What needs to be done to resolve any flagged issues?
    • Can you give me an estimate of the cost of any repairs?
    • Do I need another inspection, such as by an electrician or a structural engineer?
    • Are there things I need to do after I move in

    Your experienced real estate agent can be the best adviser to help you understand the implications of the home inspection.

5. Get a Home Warranty

Some home sellers pay for a home warranty that covers them while their home is on the market and conveys to the buyers after the sale. You can ask your real estate agent for advice about negotiating for the sellers to pay for a warranty or buying one yourself.

  • A home warranty policy, which typically lasts for one year and is renewable, provides coverage for some of your home’s systems and appliances. In return for the annual fee, the company will cover repair costs and arrange for contractors. You’ll pay a deductible fee and possibly service fees if you need to use the warranty.

  • If you’re buying an existing home, especially one with appliances that are more than four years old, a home warranty can give you peace of mind about paying for unexpected repairs and finding a reliable contractor. If you’re a first-time buyer, especially if you have limited savings, this can be particularly important. If you have plenty of emergency savings, you’re handy or know good contractors, you may not need a warranty. Your real estate agent can also be a good source of recommendations for contractors. If you’re buying a newly built home, structural defects are usually under warranty by the builder for 10 years and other items are typically covered for six months to two years, so you don’t usually need a home warranty.

  • To choose a good home warranty, you and your Fairdealss agent should review:

    • The home warranty company’s license with your state’s real estate commission
    • The fine print – that’s where you’ll find exclusions and limitations
    • What’s covered and what’s not
    • The coverage limits – your repairs will only be paid for up to a specific level
    • Service fees and deductibles
    • How quickly service and claims are handled
    • How contractors are vetted and what happens if you use your own
    • Coverage differences between a basic warranty and enhanced warranty
    • Online reviews

    You can always ask your real estate agent for home warranty recommendations and advice.

6. Close

While you may feel jittery before your closing, your Fairdealss agent and lender should have you fully prepared for the day. As the buyer, you choose the title company for your title search and the closing. Your agent and lender can recommend reliable title companies.

  • As your closing nears, you should:

    • Stay in close touch with your Fairdealss agent, lender and title company.
    • Avoid lowering your credit score with a new credit application or late payments.
    • Confirm that your contract contingencies are resolved, including the home inspection, an appraisal and your financing.
    • Finalize your homeowner’s insurance policy.
    • Gather your down payment and closing cost funds in an accessible account.
    • Review your Closing Disclosure form, which you’ll receive three days before your settlement, and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
    • Arrange a wire transfer or get a cashier’s check for the funds you need for the settlement.
    • Schedule a walk-through of your new home within 24 hours before your closing to check its condition.
  • In a word: Paperwork! Allot a few hours for your closing. Bring to the closing:

    • A government-issued photo ID
    • Proof of homeowner’s insurance
    • Your copy of the contract
    • All paperwork associated with your loan and the home purchase
    • Your cashier’s check or wire transfer confirmation
    • Your checkbook for miscellaneous funds that weren’t included on your closing estimate

  • You’ll be signing numerous documents, including a repeat of the documents you signed when you applied for your loan. The most important documents you’ll sign are:

    • Promissory Note to repay the mortgage
    • Deed of Trust, which gives the lender the right to foreclose if you don’t repay the loan
    • What’s covered and what’s not
    • Initial Escrow Disclosure, which outlines the funds on deposit for your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance bills
    • Right to Cancel form, which states that you have three business days to cancel the transaction

  • After your closing:

    • Keep all your signed documents in a safe place.
    • Avoid lowering your credit score with a new credit application or late payments.
    • Change your address.
    • Change the locks and security codes on your home
    • Review your due dates and new budget.

    Congratulations! You’ve got the keys to your new home! Stay in touch with your Fairdealss agent for future recommendations and service.

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