What to Tell Your Realtor When Buying/Selling Your Home – by Robin Glasener
Autumn has arrived, and you’ve decided the time is right for you to buy or sell your home. You’ve done your research, interviewed and selected a Realtor (hopefully, me!) and it’s time for your pre-listing or pre-buying appointment. Given that this may be your largest financial transaction, what are the things your Realtor needs to know, once you engage in a business relationship together?
Your Financial Situation:Whether buying or selling, if you have ever filed for bankruptcy, had a short sale or foreclosure, or had a bad credit report, no matter how long ago, tell your Realtor, even if these things have been resolved.
Your Credit Score: If buying, your Realtor needs to know that you’re able to qualify for the mortgage in the price-range in which you are shopping.
Differences in Opinion: When buying, if you and any other parties to the transaction have differing opinions such as location, budget, needs vs. wants, etc., talk to your Realtor. They are extremely knowledgeable community resources and are great at finding compromises.
Why You Are Selling: Telling your Realtor your reasons for selling will let him/her know your sense of urgency as well as how to price your home for sale. Keep in mind you can give – or not give – permission to your Realtor to disclose this information to potential buyers, and he/she must do as instructed.
How Much You Owe: When selling, your Realtor needs to know whether you have any mortgages on your property, including any second mortgages or any lines of credit, even if they aren’t being used. This could affect the sales price of your home, along with your ability to qualify for new mortgage, if you need one. Also, knowing how much you owe will help your Realtor give you the most accurate estimation of your net proceeds when you sell.
Who Is On Title: Before listing your home, your Realtor will order an Ownership and Encumbrances Report from a title company, to help verify the names of the people on title, but this might not show everyone. Liens or claims against your property by other parties may make it difficult to sell your home, as can previous deeds with no record of ever being paid off.
Mineral Rights and Gas/Oil Leases: If you’re selling a property with mineral rights and/or any oil and gas leases, your Realtor needs to know, along with whether your intentions are to sell or keep them.
ALL Invisible Defects: Leaky roofs and cracks in the ceiling may be clearly visible, but there could be any number of invisible issues, such as dampness/mold in the basement, infestation of pests, or even extremely loud, disruptive neighbors. As a seller, don’t be tempted to conceal such items temporarily and hope no one will notice. Really. Don’t do it. Your Realtor is obligated by law to disclose any defects to a potential buyer and you could both end up in a lawsuit. For clarity, the loud, disruptive neighbors aren’t a defect, but they may feel like one to a buyer, especially if the neighbors are one of the reasons you’re moving.
Other Realtors Involved: If you are now working or have previously worked with another Realtor to sell your home, be honest about it. If you want to change Realtors, you may have to wait until a previous contract you signed has expired. An ethical Realtor will not steal another Realtor’s client, no matter how unhappy you may be.
In any relationship, business or otherwise, openness and honesty is key. If there are some things on this list that you don’t feel you can entrust with your Realtor, it is imperative you find a Realtor you can trust. Buying and/or selling a home can be stressful, but remember your Realtor is on your team and has your back. Be up front. It’s always best to give him/her all the details, in the beginning, to promote the smoothest transaction as possible, with the least amount of surprise along the way!