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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

The final steps of closing a home sale

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If you've sold your home previously, you know how exhausting yet relieving the process can be once everything starts to wind down. A sense of relief overpowers you as you don't have to worry about your home sitting on the market for much longer.

But if you're a first-time home seller, the process has likely been just as stressful. Depending on where your house is and other factors, you may have received numerous offers, some of which met or exceeded expectations, not to mention those few that were lowball offers.

When you do finally receive a suitable offer, there are certain steps you have to take to close the sale and ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

Prepare for the appraisal
Homebuyers have a checklist of their own to go through, and this includes having an appraiser come to look through the house.

Realtor.com said this process is similar to when an inspector comes out, but there are some key differences. An appraiser comes out to try to determine the value of your home. Buyers see this as an important step in the home buying process because it lets them know if their purchase is a financially sound one. Potential home buyers want to ensure their money is buying what is advertised.

The appraiser will go about this process a few different ways. First, he or she will compare the desired home with other ones in the neighborhood and if the price the buyers are paying matches the appraiser's, everything is good to proceed.

However, if the buyer's price comes back lower from the appraiser, some issues may arise. This is because lenders do not like to lend more than the appraisal amount. There are two possible solutions if this were to occur.

The buyers can either pay you the difference in cash, or you can work with them to lower the price. The second step has its own risks and rewards. You can easily say no and find a buyer who will agree to your price, but you may run into appraisal issue once more. You would also have to consider how easy, or difficult, it may be to find a new buyer.

An inspection
Chances are that a majority of buyers will have a home inspection completed before finalizing the sale. On their end, such inspections are important because they might reveal some underlying or unknown issues with a home, such as faulty plumbing, fire hazards, faulty appliances, structural damage and inadequate roofing.

If some issues are found, the buyers will most likely use them as bargaining chips  in an attempt to get you to lower your asking price. They may also demand these issues be repaired, or that you offer a credit so the buyers can fix problems themselves.

Provide a seller's disclosure
Once you've accepted a buyer's offer, you will have to provide a seller's disclosure. Essentially, this is a list that highlights issues within the house and surrounding area.

State laws will dictate just how much information you have to disclose. You will want to utilize the guide provided by Nolo, an online destination for law information. Prepare yourself to reveal even hidden information, but in general, expect to give buyers the heads up on:

  • Environmental issues that might impact the house
  • Known issues
  • Structural issues
  • Utility costs
  • Age of home

While you may not have to disclose everything up front, it might make sense to do so. Sooner or later, issues will be discovered and it might help to let buyers know about them beforehand.

When a buyer agrees to purchase your house, there are still important steps to take to ensure the sale is completed.