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For a home seller, there’s no better feeling than having your home go under contract quickly and at the price you wanted. It’s important to know that this is an important time to stay vigilant and maintain realistic expectations. After your house goes under contract, a Realtor typically assists with various tasks to facilitate the closing process. This may include coordinating with the buyer’s agent, ensuring all necessary documents are submitted, scheduling and negotiating inspections, and providing guidance and support until closing is finalized. After your home goes under contract, the real work of an experienced real estate agent begins.

1. Send HOA/CONDO Documents to Purchasers

One of the first responsibilities of an agent is to ensure that Home Owners Association (HOA) and Condominium (CONDO) Resale Packages are delivered to the prospective buyer as soon as possible. In Virginia, the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act allows for a Buyer to cancel the contract “within 3 days, or up to 7 days if extended by the ratified real estate contract”. This allows the purchaser time to fully review important information about the rules, regulations, fees, and restrictions imposed by an HOA and/or CONDO.

By delivering these documents earlier rather than later, the Realtor ensures that the buyer has access to all relevant information about the property right away. These packets contain information such as: Governing Documents, Financial Information, Meeting Minutes, Insurance Information, and Resale Certification. If a buyer chooses to cancel the contract after 3 days, it allows the agent to immediately put the home back on the market while marketing is still fresh.

2. Ensure the Earnest Money Deposit is Delivered

An earnest money deposit (EMD), also known as a good faith deposit, is a sum of money provided by a buyer to demonstrate their serious intent to purchase a property. It is typically given to the seller via a title company upon the acceptance of an offer. The purpose of the earnest money deposit is to show the seller that the buyer is committed to the transaction and to provide some financial security in case the buyer fails to fulfill their obligations under the contract.

The amount of the earnest money deposit is negotiable and can vary depending on factors such as the local real estate market, the purchase price of the property, and any specific terms agreed upon by the parties involved. The deposit is typically held in an escrow account until the closing of the transaction, at which point it is applied towards the buyer’s settlement costs.

If the buyer successfully completes the purchase, the earnest money deposit is typically credited towards the cost of settlement for the buyer. However, if the buyer fails to fulfill their obligations as outlined in the contract, the seller may be entitled to keep the full or partial amount of the earnest money deposit as compensation for the time and effort lost during the transaction.

3. Inspections

The listing agent can help the seller prepare for the inspection by providing guidance on what to expect and how to make the property presentable. Before a home is put on the market for sale, an agent will offer suggestions on repairs or improvements that could enhance the home’s condition and appeal. These will help to make the home inspection process go more smoothly. In more remote or larger parcels of land, well and septic inspections are also the norm.

In addition to coordinating the date of the home inspection with a homeowner and a purchaser’s agent, the Realtor may also facilitate access to the home and/or property. During the inspection process, the agent will make themselves available to answer any and all questions from the home inspector and buyer’s agent. They also ensure that all areas are accessible and any necessary utilities are turned on. They will also keep the homeowner up to date on everything that is going on.

If the inspection reveals any issues or deficiencies, the listing agent can help the seller navigate the negotiation process with the buyer. They can provide guidance on how to respond to repair requests or negotiate any necessary adjustments to the sale price. Overall, the listing agent acts as a liaison between the seller and the home inspector and the buyer’s agent, providing support and guidance throughout the inspection process.

4. Appraisal

The listing agent can play a significant role in the appraisal process by providing relevant information and supporting documentation to the appraiser. Here are some ways in which a listing agent can assist:

a. Accompanying the appraiser during the inspection: The listing agent can be present during the appraisal inspection to answer any questions the appraiser may have and provide additional information about the property.

b. Providing property details: The listing agent can provide the appraiser with accurate and detailed information about the property, including its features, upgrades, and recent improvements. This helps the appraiser understand the unique aspects of the property.

c. Presenting a comprehensive listing package: The listing agent can prepare a comprehensive package that includes relevant documents such as floor plans, property surveys, and any recent appraisals or inspections. This package provides the appraiser with a complete picture of the property.

d. Sharing comparable sales: The listing agent can provide the appraiser with recent comparable sales in the area that support the listing price. These comparable properties help the appraiser assess the market value of the property being appraised. It also helps to ensure the appraisal amount is as close to full sale price as possible.

It’s important to note that while a listing agent can provide assistance, the appraiser is an independent professional who ultimately determines the appraised value based on their own analysis and methodology.

5. Communicate with Buyer’s Lender

An experienced real estate agent is skilled in communicating with a slew of professionals throughout the transaction process. The purchaser’s lender is no exception. The agent provides the lender with all necessary documents such as disclosures, property information, etc. If the buyer’s lender has any questions or requests for additional information, the listing agent can promptly respond and provide the necessary details to keep the transaction on track.

The listing agent can help ensure that any lender-required repairs or conditions are addressed promptly, working with the seller to meet these requirements within the specified timeframes. One of the most important roles a real estate professional plays in the closing process is to ensure the completion of all requirements and that deadlines are met.

It’s important to note that while a listing agent can assist with communication between the buyer’s lender and the seller, they cannot provide financial or legal advice. Buyers and sellers should consult with their respective professionals for guidance on specific financial and legal matters..

Bottom Line

A real estate professional provides many crucial roles in the real estate settlement process, from start to finish. A Realtor’s presence is most valuable when something does not go as planned. Having a trained and experienced real estate professional to gauge situations, plan in advance to avoid unnecessary delays, and negotiate on behalf of their clients, is ABSOLUTELY VITAL.