Contracts, Pricing and Disclosures
Once you have your home in selling condition, the next step will be to list your property with your Realtor of choice. Every Realtor has their own criteria for what they feel is a successful marketing plan. Some Realtors feel open houses generates a high number of buyers, others employ an elaborate marketing plan involving video and professional photography. You may find that agents charge different commission rates depending on the services that they offer to their clients. Commissions and services offered are unique to every agent and every Brokerage. Do your research and find an agent that will market your home in a method that will satisfy you. If you want Drone footage, then make sure you hire an agent that offers that service. Perhaps you want to have an open house every other weekend until the house sells, then you will need to employ an agent that agrees to take that approach. Just as when you are buying a home, do your research. Not all agents are created equal and you have to find one that meshes with your personality and your ideas for what needs to be done to sell the home. Listing your home is a contractual agreement and the term can be extensive so make sure you hammer out the details before you sign on the dotted line.
You will usually sign what is called an exclusive right to sell with your agent of choice. What this means is that you are granting your agent of choice, the exclusive right to market and sell your home. Other agents can of course bring a buyer, but they will go through your agent for all showings and inquiries about the property. This contract details the listing price, the terms of the contract, the length of the contract and an agreed upon commission, among other things. Once you agree to the terms of the contract, you are legally under contract with your chosen Realtor. Firing your Realtor is not as easy as you might think. You are agreeing to give your agent a certain period of time to sell your home. Realtors can invest a substantial amount of money and time in marketing a home and this is why they require a commitment from the seller to allot them a certain amount of time to achieve the goal of selling the home and recouping some of those expensive. It is a contract, so make sure everyone is clear on the expectations, communications and resolutions if one party is dissatisfied. lack of communication, unsubstantiated overpricing and frustration about time on market are just a few of the reasons that tempers can flare when trying to sell a home. That is why its so important that everyone be on the same page.
You will also sign other documents associated with the listing agreement. A relationship disclosure will explain the duties of your agent to you. There will also be a portion that allows for the agent to be a
"dual agent". What this means is that the agent that is working to sell your home could also bring the buyer. Dual agency is 100% legal in the state of Montana and a fairly common practice, but if you are not comfortable with your agent working on the selling and buying side, make sure to have that discussion.
Every brokerage has their own required forms. These forms are generally to protect the parties on both sides of the agreement. They will be explained in detail.
Disclosures are a very important part of listing your property. They are your opportunity to ensure that the buyers knows everything that you know about the property. The mold disclosure essentially discloses that virtually every property has mold but that if it is a concern for the buyer, it is their responsibility to hire a professional. Now of course, if as the seller, you are aware of a mold issue, it is your responsibility to disclose that information.
Lead is another disclosure you will sign if your home is older than 1976. Prior to that date, lead paint was used extensively and a lead disclosure is utilized for any properties that fall into that time frame. Many sellers insist that there is not lead, but it is for your protection just in case under layers of repainted or in a corner of a basement it is discovered. And of course, if you as the seller, are aware of any lead issues, it is your responsibility to disclose that information.