Seller Guide

Selling your property involves a seemingly endless number of details. This guide is designed to make the process easier to navigate and understand. We hope it serves as a valuable reference, from hiring a realtor® to handing over the keys.

6. SELLER P&S TIMELINE

 

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve signed a Purchase & Sale contract on your property. This sets in motion the process that gets us to the closing table. We, along with your attorney, will help keep track of the deadlines, and will negotiate on your behalf whenever needed. Here is an overview of key deadlines and components of the contract we hope you’ll find helpful. (Numbers in bold refer to the relevant paragraph.)

 

5.5 – INSPECTION CONTINGENCY DATE. The purpose of the inspection is both for the buyer to familiarize themselves with how the property functions and to scrutinize it for any safety, mechanical or structural defects. It typically takes at least a couple of days for the inspector to give the buyer a written report to review. The buyer has until the contingency date to tell us whether the inspection was satisfactory.

Plan to be away during the buyer’s inspection. Inspections typically take 2-4 hours, depending on the inspector and the property. Your listing agent will open the house for the inspection.

There are two schools of thought regarding whether the agent should follow the buyers and their inspector during the inspection. Some attorneys advise having your listing agent simply open the house, and then sit in their car during the inspection. Why? Because your listing agent will be required to disclose any defects they become aware of at the inspection. (They can’t disclose anything they don’t know.) The other perspective is, your realtor can better advise you about any defects if they’ve seen them first hand. Don’t you want to know about any safety and structural issues the inspector finds? If these buyers don’t purchase the property, you may very well want to address the issues— either because they affect your investment and/or your family’s health—or simply because you don’t want the next buyer to discover the same potential deal-breakers.

After the inspection, the buyer will respond in one of three ways:

  1. They will tell us the inspection was satisfactory.
  2. They will tell us the inspection was unsatisfactory and cancel the agreement.
  3. They will tell us the inspection was unsatisfactory and make a request. They will either ask you to address any safety, mechanical, or structural issues, or they will ask for a monetary concession because they prefer to make repairs themselves.
Heads up: often buyers make ambitious requests, forgetting to distinguish between “improvements” they wish to make, and safety, mechanical and structural defects. We will review the buyer’s requests together and respond appropriately.

Occasionally, an extension is warranted if professional estimates need to be obtained as part of this negotiation process.

Assuming an agreement is reached, all parties will sign a revised P&S. If there has been an extension, the second deposit is typically delayed until agreement is reached regarding inspection issues.
 

 
3 – SECOND DEPOSIT.

We’ll make sure second deposit is received by deadline and put in escrow.

5.6 – SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION DATE. A passing Title 5 (or a Certificate of Compliance for a newly installed septic system) is required for most closings. Otherwise, careful provisions must be put in place, usually including escrowing 150% of the estimated cost to install a new system.

If you don’t already have a passing Title 5 report on hand, you will need to hire a licensed excavator to inspect the septic system. You have until the contingency date to provide the buyer with the Title 5 Report.

The system may pass, pass with conditions, or fail. If the system passes, great!

If the system is given a conditional pass, this means it requires some relatively minor repairs. You will receive the passing report after you complete the repairs.

If the system fails, the buyer may cancel the agreement. But in most cases, the seller has a new system designed and installed. You may also ask the buyer to offset the expense of a new system. Assuming an agreement is reached, all parties will sign a revised P&S.

APPRAISAL. If the buyer is getting a mortgage, their bank will schedule an appraisal of the property, to make sure the mortgage is in line with the value of the property. We’ll schedule this with you accordingly. If the purchase price is higher than the appraised value, the bank will not approve the buyer’s loan. In this case, your options are:

  • Modify the purchase price to match the appraisal and move forward with this deal
  • Challenge the appraisal by arranging for a second appraisal
  • Allow the deal to fall through

Keep in mind, if you let this buyer go, you will likely be faced with the same situation the next time.

Cash buyers may also make their offer contingent on an independent appraisal.

5.3 – MORTGAGE CONTINGENCY DATE. If for any reason, despite diligent efforts, the buyer is unable to obtain a commitment letter from their lender, they may cancel the contract—as long as they let us know by the contingency date.

5.4 – INSURANCE CONTINGENCY DATE. If for any reason, despite diligent efforts, the buyer is unable to obtain a satisfactory insurance binder—for example, due to flood insurance requirements— they may cancel the contract—as long as they let us know by the contingency date.

13 – FIXTURES. All fixtures attached to/used in connection with the house are included in the sale (see detailed list in P&S). Hopefully, you have removed—or at least disclosed—any fixture(s) you want to exclude. As part of negotiating the terms of the P&S, you have one last chance to specify any exclusions. It is commonly assumed that appliances stay, and most buyers reiterate this here.

24 – SMOKE AND CO DETECTORS. You must obtain a Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector Certificate from your Fire Chief, to be delivered at closing. The Fire Chief will make sure the units are installed everywhere they are supposed to be, are functioning, and are not too old. If your detectors are hardwired, you will need to hire an electrician to make any updates required. If your (hardwired) system is connected to an alarm company, you will have to hire the alarm company to test the system for the fire chief. We are happy to help you prepare for your appointment with the Fire Chief.

24 – WOOD STOVE PERMIT. If you have a wood stove permit—great. We’ll give the buyer a copy by closing. If you do not, you need to disconnect the stove before closing.

HOME STRETCH. Your attorney will guide you through the home stretch to closing. Make sure you are in touch. Give yourself enough time to pack and prepare for closing, especially if you live out of town. Use the SELLERS HOMESTRETCH CHECKLIST to assist you.

22 – WALKTHROUGH. Within 24 hours of closing—most often, the morning of—the buyer will do a walk-though. This is largely a formality to ascertain that the property has been left broom clean, with all personal property and rubbish removed. If this is not the case, you will be asked to rectify the situation.

CLOSING. Closing typically occurs at the buyer’s attorney’s office. Sometimes, it is held at the Registry of Deeds. If the buyer is getting financing, you will arrive 30 minutes after them, to give them time to complete mortgage documents with their attorney. Your attorney will guide you through the closing, which typically takes about 15-30 minutes after you arrive. For cash closings, all parties arrive together, and the closing can take as little as 15 minutes.

Guides written by Barney Stein,

LVRE agent since 2007

6. SELLER P&S TIMELINE

 
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve signed a Purchase & Sale contract on your property. This sets in motion the process that gets us to the closing table. We, along with your attorney, will help keep track of the deadlines, and will negotiate on your behalf whenever needed. Here is an overview of key deadlines and components of the contract we hope you’ll find helpful. (Numbers in bold refer to the relevant paragraph.)

 

5.5 – INSPECTION CONTINGENCY DATE. The purpose of the inspection is both for the buyer to familiarize themselves with how the property functions and to scrutinize it for any safety, mechanical or structural defects. It typically takes at least a couple of days for the inspector to give the buyer a written report to review. The buyer has until the contingency date to tell us whether the inspection was satisfactory.

Plan to be away during the buyer’s inspection. Inspections typically take 2-4 hours, depending on the inspector and the property. Your listing agent will open the house for the inspection.

There are two schools of thought regarding whether the agent should follow the buyers and their inspector during the inspection. Some attorneys advise having your listing agent simply open the house, and then sit in their car during the inspection. Why? Because your listing agent will be required to disclose any defects they become aware of at the inspection. (They can’t disclose anything they don’t know.) The other perspective is, your realtor can better advise you about any defects if they’ve seen them first hand. Don’t you want to know about any safety and structural issues the inspector finds? If these buyers don’t purchase the property, you may very well want to address the issues— either because they affect your investment and/or your family’s health—or simply because you don’t want the next buyer to discover the same potential deal-breakers.

After the inspection, the buyer will respond in one of three ways:

  1. They will tell us the inspection was satisfactory.
  2. They will tell us the inspection was unsatisfactory and cancel the agreement.
  3. They will tell us the inspection was unsatisfactory and make a request. They will either ask you to address any safety, mechanical, or structural issues, or they will ask for a monetary concession because they prefer to make repairs themselves.
Heads up: often buyers make ambitious requests, forgetting to distinguish between “improvements” they wish to make, and safety, mechanical and structural defects. We will review the buyer’s requests together and respond appropriately.

Occasionally, an extension is warranted if professional estimates need to be obtained as part of this negotiation process.

Assuming an agreement is reached, all parties will sign a revised P&S. If there has been an extension, the second deposit is typically delayed until agreement is reached regarding inspection issues.

3 – SECOND DEPOSIT.

We’ll make sure second deposit is received by deadline and put in escrow.

5.6 – SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION DATE. A passing Title 5 (or a Certificate of Compliance for a newly installed septic system) is required for most closings. Otherwise, careful provisions must be put in place, usually including escrowing 150% of the estimated cost to install a new system.

If you don’t already have a passing Title 5 report on hand, you will need to hire a licensed excavator to inspect the septic system. You have until the contingency date to provide the buyer with the Title 5 Report.

The system may pass, pass with conditions, or fail. If the system passes, great!

If the system is given a conditional pass, this means it requires some relatively minor repairs. You will receive the passing report after you complete the repairs.

If the system fails, the buyer may cancel the agreement. But in most cases, the seller has a new system designed and installed. You may also ask the buyer to offset the expense of a new system. Assuming an agreement is reached, all parties will sign a revised P&S.

APPRAISAL. If the buyer is getting a mortgage, their bank will schedule an appraisal of the property, to make sure the mortgage is in line with the value of the property. We’ll schedule this with you accordingly. If the purchase price is higher than the appraised value, the bank will not approve the buyer’s loan. In this case, your options are:

  • Modify the purchase price to match the appraisal and move forward with this deal
  • Challenge the appraisal by arranging for a second appraisal
  • Allow the deal to fall through

Keep in mind, if you let this buyer go, you will likely be faced with the same situation the next time.

Cash buyers may also make their offer contingent on an independent appraisal.

5.3 – MORTGAGE CONTINGENCY DATE. If for any reason, despite diligent efforts, the buyer is unable to obtain a commitment letter from their lender, they may cancel the contract—as long as they let us know by the contingency date.

5.4 – INSURANCE CONTINGENCY DATE. If for any reason, despite diligent efforts, the buyer is unable to obtain a satisfactory insurance binder—for example, due to flood insurance requirements— they may cancel the contract—as long as they let us know by the contingency date.

13 – FIXTURES. All fixtures attached to/used in connection with the house are included in the sale (see detailed list in P&S). Hopefully, you have removed—or at least disclosed—any fixture(s) you want to exclude. As part of negotiating the terms of the P&S, you have one last chance to specify any exclusions. It is commonly assumed that appliances stay, and most buyers reiterate this here.

24 – SMOKE AND CO DETECTORS. You must obtain a Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector Certificate from your Fire Chief, to be delivered at closing. The Fire Chief will make sure the units are installed everywhere they are supposed to be, are functioning, and are not too old. If your detectors are hardwired, you will need to hire an electrician to make any updates required. If your (hardwired) system is connected to an alarm company, you will have to hire the alarm company to test the system for the fire chief. We are happy to help you prepare for your appointment with the Fire Chief.

24 – WOOD STOVE PERMIT. If you have a wood stove permit—great. We’ll give the buyer a copy by closing. If you do not, you need to disconnect the stove before closing.

HOME STRETCH. Your attorney will guide you through the home stretch to closing. Make sure you are in touch. Give yourself enough time to pack and prepare for closing, especially if you live out of town. Use the SELLERS HOMESTRETCH CHECKLIST to assist you.

22 – WALKTHROUGH. Within 24 hours of closing—most often, the morning of—the buyer will do a walk-though. This is largely a formality to ascertain that the property has been left broom clean, with all personal property and rubbish removed. If this is not the case, you will be asked to rectify the situation.

CLOSING. Closing typically occurs at the buyer’s attorney’s office. Sometimes, it is held at the Registry of Deeds. If the buyer is getting financing, you will arrive 30 minutes after them, to give them time to complete mortgage documents with their attorney. Your attorney will guide you through the closing, which typically takes about 15-30 minutes after you arrive. For cash closings, all parties arrive together, and the closing can take as little as 15 minutes.

Guides written by Barney Stein,

LVRE agent since 2007

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