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SELLING YOUR HOME

When we represent a seller, we have your best interests at heart.  We provide top-notch staging, professional marketing, insightful negotiating skills and honest advice.  When preparing your home for the market, we arrange our contractors to make any necessary improvements to maximize the value of your home.  We stage your home using beautiful koa furniture and art work to enhance its appeal.  If any repairs are required after the home inspection, we have a trusted team of professionals who can correct any deficiencies.  From the acceptance of an offer to the signing of the closing statements, our escrow coordinator will keep you informed and on track for a smooth transaction.  When it is time to move, we can help you find a professional mover.  We follow up with our sellers to make sure that we have served them well.  If you are interested in working with us, contact cathy@cbislandhomes.com.

STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME

DETERMINE THE PRICE:

The two factors that are most critical in a smooth transition in the sale of your home are the price and the condition.  We will work with you to evaluate the current market conditions and determine a competitive purchase price based on comparable sales in your neighborhood.

With a price in mind, we need to do the necessary paperwork.  In addition to the representation agreement, we need to complete an input form to provide an accurate description of your home for our MLS entry and begin working on the seller’s disclosure form for our buyer.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE SALE:

Let us know what date you want your home to go live on the MLS. Keep in mind that before your home goes on the market, we will need to declutter, fix any items that need repair and professionally clean the home.

Declutter as much as possible.  Your home should like like a hotel room, with no personal photos or memorabilia on display.  Remove and secure jewelry and prescription drugs.

Each room should have one purpose with as little furniture as possible, extra items should be placed in storage.

Closets and cabinets should be organized and have clear areas.  In Hawaii, space is at a premium, don’t give the impression that your home doesn’t have enough storage space.

Once the house is decluttered, thoroughly clean the carpets, closets, baseboards, ceiling fans, refrigerator and the oven.

Any nail holes or cracks in the wall should be patched and touched up with paint.  If the house needs refreshing, consider painting the walls a neutral color.

If your home is vacant, we will provide staging to bring it back to life.  If you have any questions, call or text us at 808-800-1823.

REPAIRS:

Our team will conduct a pre-marketing inspection of your home.  If we find any deficiencies, it is a good idea to address them before go live.  Most failed escrows in Hawaii are cancelled after the buyer’s home inspection scares off the buyer.   It is better to address any issues beforehand to avoid that problem.

We have a team of trusted professionals, who can make any repairs or improvements required.  We will oversee any work performed.

Some common repairs that you might want to tackle include:

  • Clean the gutters and make sure the downspouts move water away from the house.
  • Install new caulk around the tub and shower walls.
  • Touch up painting.
  • Clean the filter in any split AC wall unit.
  • Have torn window or door screens repaired.
  • Make sure that sliding doors work smoothly, repair if necessary.
  • Replace any broken cranks or handles on the windows.
  • Make sure the smoke detector is working properly.
  • Power wash the sidewalks around the house and the driveway.
  • Repair any loose floorboards or railing on a deck.

For help, we have provided a list of trusted professionals in our resources section.
 
PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY:

We are moving closer to marketing your home.  In the next step, we will provide a professional photographer to take photographs, paid for by us.  The appointment will last for about two hours.

Please follow these tips to ensure that we have great photos of your home:

  • Remove any pets or confine them during the appointment.
  • Make your bed.
  • Clear the kitchen counters.
  • Remove personal items from the bathrooms.

The photographer might ask that we remove or rearrange items for a particular photo.  We will make every effort to put them back in place when he is finished.  Please excuse us for the inconvenience, but be assured that we want the photos of your home to look amazing.

If you live in a community with amenities, please let us know, so we can take those photos as well to enhance our marketing.

We will have our photos and tour available within 48 hours.  Then we will begin the marketing campaign.
 
MARKETING:

To assist our team in the marketing of your home, we need to know about your neighborhood.  What inspired you to buy this house?  Tell us what you will miss when you leave this home.

Our marketing team will use your input, the professional photos, and the virtual tour to assemble our marketing package.  Your home will first go live on the MLS and within 24 hours populate online sites including: realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, homes.com, etc.  We will also send “just listed” post cards to hundreds of homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Your home may be posted in Hawaii Luxury Home Magazine for exposure to markets beyond Hawaii.

We will conduct a broker’s open house before the first public open house to introduce your listing to every realtor in the area.

We will create and print professional brochures for the open houses and for targeted distribution.

We will install a For Sale in your yard to help potential buyers locate your home.

If you have any questions, call or text Cathy at 808-800-1823.
 
TIME FOR SHOWINGS:

We want buyers to love your home.  Here are some useful tips before any open house:

  • Keep the bathroom tidy and put the toilet seat down.
  • Turn on the AC units, if you have them.
  • Turn on all fans and lights.
  • Remove all valuables including jewelry and prescription medication.
  • Hide personal information, checkbooks and bills with your information.
  • Turn off the alarm system.
  • Take your pets with you.

We will meet you at least fifteen minutes before any showings.

If you have any questions or concerns, call or text Cathy at 808-800-1823.
 
THE OFFERS:

Great!  We have one or more buyers who have submitted an offer to purchase your home.  In the review of these offers, there are several elements of the purchase contract to consider.  They include the price, funding, length of the escrow and any special terms.

If the price offered is our asking price or higher, terrific!  However, the offer with the highest price isn’t necessarily the best offer.  The terms of financing are critically important in Hawaii.  The financing begins with the earnest money.  Most buyers will not put down more than $5,000 or $10,000 to begin the escrow.  VA buyers are not obligated to put down more than $1,000 in earnest money, but they are often excellent buyers.

In addition to the earnest money, many buyers will make a second deposit after the home inspection.  The final amount, if any, of the down payment, will be made at closing.  Ideally, the total down payment should be close to 20% of the sale price.  If the buyer is paying all cash for the property, it is critical to have proof of funds before accepting a contract.

In a contingency sale, the buyer will need to obtain cash funds, for the down payment or sale price, from the sale of another asset, generally their home.  These sales can become problematic, especially if the buyer is unable to sell their home before the closing date of your contract.

The closing date is generally 30 to 45 days from the date of acceptance of the offer.  A buyer may request a longer escrow to accommodate the sale of their residence or factors involving their move to the Islands.

A buyer may request additional terms for the contract, including existing furniture, specific repairs or any term of the contract that needs clarification.

When the offers come in, we will discuss them with you to determine if you would like to accept an offer as written or counter some of the terms.  The offer can be countered several times, if necessary, to come to agreement on the specific details of the contract. Once all parties have come to an agreement, the earnest money is paid and escrow begins.

If no agreement is reached, we will continue to show your home until a more suitable buyer is found.

If there are multiple offers on your home and several suitable buyers, we will review the offers simultaneously to determine which buyer is the best fit.  If another buyer would also be a good candidate, we could offer them the position of the backup buyer.  In that case, should the first escrow fail, the backup buyer will be offered the opportunity to begin escrow with you immediately.  The home would not go back to the market as an active listing again, but would continue in escrow with a new buyer.
 
THE ESCROW PROCESS:

The first two weeks of escrow can be daunting in Hawaii, as this is the discovery period.  During this time, you will need to complete the seller’s disclosure form.  It is important to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your ability.  There will be a request for the cost of utilities, so it is helpful to have copies of utility bills available.

We will need to provide a full set of the condo, or Association, documents to the buyer for review.

The escrow officer will send you a request for information about residency, your legal name and any outstanding loan obligations.  If your property is held in a trust, the escrow officer will also need information about the trust documents.

We will be asked to schedule a termite inspection, with a company chosen by the buyer.  The inspection report must be available two weeks before closing.

If requested, we will order a property survey to establish the boundary lines and the existence of any encroachment with neighboring properties.

During this time, the buyer will have a home inspection to assess the condition of the home.  This inspection can last from two to five hours.  It is also possible that a separate more focused inspection might be requested to examine an issue discovered in the initial inspection.

If the inspection reveals issues that are unacceptable to the buyer, they have three choices:

  • Cancel the escrow and receive a full refund of their earnest money.
  • Accept the inspection but renegotiate the price to be paid as a closing credit.
  • Accept the inspection if the buyer repairs the deficiencies prior to closing.

This is a challenging time in the escrow.  We will discuss the best options for you to stay on track.

Once the inspection results are resolved, the second deposit is due from the buyer.

At this point, the escrow shifts toward funding for the buyer and the appraisal.  If the property was correctly priced, the appraisal is not an issue.  We always recommend that a home be property priced, if you demand to place your property on the market above the market value, the appraisal will come into play.  The buyer pays for an appraisal, which is required by a lender for a home mortgage.  If the appraisal price is below the list price, the buyer will ask you to reduce the sale price to the appraised value.  If you refuse, the buyer can cancel the contract. In that case, we start all over again after two weeks of an escrow.

If the appraisal comes in at our sale price or even higher, terrific!  It is mostly downhill from here.

There are still a few things to finish before closing:

  • Finish the requested repairs.
  • Complete the survey.
  • Conduct a termite inspection.

The buyers have the right to walk through the property before closing to be certain that we repaired all items listed on a contingency list.  If we fail to do so, they can withhold funds at closing.   Our team will work hard to meet the deadline to avoid that problem.

If the survey shows no boundary problems, great!  Should there be an encroachment with a neighboring property, our team will meet with the neighbor to request an encroachment agreement be drawn up prior to closing and signed by both parties.

If the termite inspection discovers live termites in your home, we must tent if infestation is extensive or spot treat if it is an isolated area.  This must be completed before we close.

Once of the buyer has final loan approval from the mortgage company, we are almost finished.
 
FINAL CLOSING:

In preparation for the final closing, it is time to take care of the final business:

  • Call the utility companies to give them date to stop service.
  • Hire the movers and start packing.
  • If you are moving off Island, make plans for your pets.
  • Let your homeowner’s insurance company know that you will be moving.
  • After you have moved your belongings, have the home professionally cleaned.

The escrow officer will arrange an appointment for you to sign your closing documents about a week before recordation.  This is the day the new owners take title.  The actual signing will take about thirty minutes.  Be sure that you have the wiring instructions of your financial institution for escrow officer.  If the property is held in trust, make sure that the trust has a separate checking account to receive money at closing.  It can take several days to set up a checking account for a trust, so take care of this before closing.

Once these final tasks are finished, you can finally relax.
 
Your home is sold.  Congratulations from our team!  We hope that you will complete a survey about our services after this sale.  Please recommend us to your family and friends.  We sincerely appreciate your business.
 
Mahalo!!