Selling your Florida home can be exciting, but it also takes work. You’ll need to fix all those little problems you’ve let go for so long, while packing, arranging your move, and managing your career and family.

Selling your home can take some time, depending on your local real estate market or for those who must short sale. Select our attorney staffed title company for your settlement to ensure the guaranteed best prices and care!

Call us today at 888-412-5674 to discuss how we can save you money, while providing the best service!

We put together the following outline and resources to make your home sale as smooth as possible.

Here is what you will be facing

Choose a Listing Agent

A listing agent will represent you and have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests. Be wary of agents who don’t ask you questions and probe for your motivation. You wouldn’t work with just any agent off the street, and good agents are just as selective about their clients too. You will want to interview a few potential real estate agents. Try not to interview agents from the same company.

Some questions to ask your realtor:

  1.  How long have you been in Real Estate?
  2.  Are you a full time agent?
  3. Are you familiar with the area in which we want to sell?
  4. How many home sales did you participate in last year?
  5. What is the average list price of the homes you sold last year?
  6. Do you normally work with sellers or buyers?
  7.  How many sellers are you presently working with? How many buyers?
  8. Where do you feel your strengths lie?
  9. Can you give me 3 sellers that you have worked with as references?

Get the Home Ready for Sale

Prepare your home for sale by cleaning, de-cluttering and improving curb appeal. You may also want to consider hiring a professional stager, or ask your real estate agent for help in staging. Some other things to consider while getting your home ready for sale:

  • Disassociate, de-personalize, and de-clutter: Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners! Pack up personal photographs and family heirlooms. Don’t distract your buyers, you want them to imagine their own photos on the walls. Take this opportunity to donate unused item or just throw them away. Consider this: If you have not used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.
  • Rent a storage unit: Part of the staging process is leaving just enough furniture to give the home a nice feel. Store furniture that is in the buyers pathway or clutters up a room. You may also want to consider what items you want to take with you from the property. Before showing your home, replace appliances, draperies, and fixtures that you want to take to your new home. Once you show the property with those items, they are considered part of the sale – unless specified in the real estate contract.
  • Make minor repairs: Replace cracked floor or counter tiles, Patch holes in walls, Fix leaky faucets, Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam, Consider painting your walls neutral colors, Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  • Become a cleaning machine: Wash windows inside and out, Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior, Clean out cobwebs, Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks, Polish chrome faucets and mirrors, Clean out the refrigerator, Vacuum daily, Wax floors, Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures, Bleach dingy grout, Replace worn rugs, Hang up fresh towels, Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows, Clean and air out any musty smelling areas.
  • Take a step back and examine: Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you? Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense. Make sure window coverings hang level. Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull.
  • A little curb appeal: You will never sell you home if buyers will not get out of their car to walk thru it. Keep the sidewalks cleared. Mow the lawn. Paint faded window trim. Plant yellow flowers, as yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive. Trim your bushes and lay fresh mulch. Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

Set your Price – What is your home worth?

A seller’s biggest mistake is to overprice their home. Your realtor will pull a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) which will show the last sales of comparable houses in your area and price range. Stick to this, even if you think that your house is somehow “better”. At the end of the day, your house is worth what people are willing to pay for it – which will hopefully be cleared up with the CMA. Also, consider if you are in a buyer’s or seller’s market. Back in 2004-2006, buyers were paying over the asking price for properties. This trend has long passed as bank owned, foreclosure, and short sale transactions bog down the market.

Market Your Home

You or your real estate agent will be advertising your home for sale. Consider the following forms of advertising to increase your odds of a bite:

  • Internet advertising: If you list your home for sale with a realtor, the chances are extremely high that your home will be listed on This brings plenty of eyes to your listing, as buyers can customize their search without a real estate agent. Another great internet advertising source is Real Estate agents will increase their odds of selling your home by placing ads here. Internet advertising is very effective in this day and age. Be sure to get a 360-degree virtual tour set up online. Your agent or you should saturate the internet with photographs and descriptions of your home.
  • Direct Mail: You can buy specific mailing lists by identifying the characteristics of your potential home buyer and ordering lists that incorporate those particular traits. Look for direct mail list brokers in the Yellow Pages and on the Internet. Printing companies that offer direct mail services are also good sources for this information.
  • Newspaper and Magazine: Although newspaper readership is declining, this can still be effective in certain markets. Even non-subscribers might buy a Sunday newspaper to look at the ads of homes for sale. Before placing a newspaper ad, get a copy of the paper. If nobody else is advertising, don’t waste the money on a newspaper ad. Magazine advertising is sometimes utilized by your real estate agent in your local market. “The Real Estate Book” or “Homes and Land” are popular choices – and have a solid following.

Showing Your Home

Regardless if your have a realtor or not, you will want to consider how your home will be shown. You will maximize showings with a lockbox on the door, but if you situation does not allow a lockbox – be readily available to set appointments for buyers to come by. Selling your home during the holidays will likely net fewer showings and a lower sales price. Holding open houses can be hit or miss, but you don’t know until you try.

Field Purchase Offers and Negotiate

Now comes the fun part, negotiating your sale. If you have priced your house right, you will receive multiple offers. If not, prepare to counter-offer your buyer. Even if you receive a lowball offer, negotiate by issuing a counter offer. Ask for a kick out clause or first right of refusal if the buyer’s offer is contingent on selling a home. Consider making a counter offer contingent on buying a home, if market conditions warrant. Don’t be afraid to make a full-price counter offer, if you are priced competitively. Eventually you will settle on a sale price with your buyer and enter into contract.

Open Escrow

Once under contract, ask for an escrow letter from whomever is holding the earnest money deposit. Your agent or transaction coordinator will put you in contact with the title company handling the settlement. Typically they will need:

  1. Your present address
  2. Marital Status
  3. Mortgage Lender name and Loan # (s) to pull payoffs
  4. Your social security number for 1099 and authorization purposes
  5. Condominium or Homeowner Association contact info (if any)
  6. Current Title Insurance Policy (Owner’s Title from initial purchase)
  7. Trust Documents, Divorce Documents, and Death Certificates (if required)

Fulfill your Contractual Obligations

The sale and purchase contract call for your and your buyer to act diligently to complete certain obligations. A buyer will have financing and inspection hoops to jump through, and you have yours. Here are a few:

  • Schedule Appraiser Appointment: Clean the house the day before the appraiser arrives. If you receive a low appraisal, ask your agent about alternatives. You are not entitled to receive a copy of the appraisal because you did not pay for it. If the buyer decides to cancel the contract based on an appraisal, ask your agent or lawyer about your rights.
  • Cooperate with Home the Inspection: Be prepared for the home inspection, as this will only cost you in the end. Ask your agent to provide you with a home inspection checklist so you will know which items an inspector will be looking for. The inspector will want access for an attic and/or crawl space inspection. Prepare as well for the final walk-through inspection.
  • Deliver Seller Documents: If live in a Planned Unit Development or Condominium Development, you may be required to deliver up the governing documents within a certain time period. Most contracts allow a buyer a certain amount of days to review the rules of these entities. Failure to provide them in a timely manner, can result in a buyer having an escape hatch from the contract.
  • Negotiate Request for Repair: Typically, a home inspector will nickel and dime you for minor repairs (leaky faucet) that your can probably fix yourself. There may be some larger items that you cannot tackle yourself (roof repairs or electrical problems). In this case, you can negotiate a closing cost credit toward the repair of these items. Keep in mind that you are entitled to a copy of the home inspection report, if the buyers request repairs.

Closing and Settlement

A closing date and time will be coordinated between all parties, and scheduled by your title company. Finally, the day you have been waiting for. You will be asked to bring all house keys, garage door clickers, pool keys, gate keys, etc – for transfer to your buyer. If you have any instruction manuals for alarms, appliances, or pool equipment – please bring those as well. Bring any coupon books for payment of monthly maintenance fees due Associations. Lastly, bring a valid ID for the settlement agent to copy. Certain documents will require notarization, and verification you are in fact the seller.

Communicate with the title agent as to how you would like your proceeds (if any) from the closing. Wires and Trust Account checks are no problem, but a Cashier’s Check may need to be arranged beforehand. You will be required to sign a variety of documents at closing, including a Settlement Statement and Title Transfer Documents. Upon the execution of these documents and funding by your buyer – you have successfully sold your home. Congratulations.

Be Prepared for the Tax Implications

Consult with your tax or financial advisor about your tax situation. When selling a primary residence occupied for 2 or more years, a single person can walk away with $250,000 tax free ($500,000 for married folks). This same rule applies for losses on property. If you short sale your primary residence for $100,000 less than you owe, you lender will send you a 1099 and treat this as income for you. So long as the loss is no more than $250,000 – you are fine. For investment properties, you will receive a 1099 for the loss that the lender takes – and have to pay the coinciding tax. Consult with your tax professional for more details.

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