Deciding to Sell

When deciding to sell a home, most of us consider the obvious – the current market conditions, timing and finances. However, too few of us consider the emotions tied to such an important decision.

Whether your home is your fulltime residence, a family vacation destination or investment rental, there are emotions involved and motivations behind the sale.

Here are a few questions to help you get to the heart of the matter:

What’s motivating you to sell?

Are circumstances driving your decision to sell? Are you relocating for work, family, or financial reasons? Digging a little deeper into the “whys” behind selling helps us clarify your goals and determine the best way to achieve them.

What’s your timeframe?

Do you have time to wait for the “best” offer? Is the purchase of your new property contingent on selling your current home? What other factors are affecting this decision and your timeline? Knowing these details allows us to develop an action plan tailored specifically to your needs.

What’s the real estate market doing?

It’s not enough to know what’s trending nationally; your agent must be a local expert. Southwest Florida is unique and our expertise in this area plays a key role in the successful sale of your home. Working with our qualified team of professionals ensures that you have all the data necessary for making informed decisions that provide the best outcome for you and your family.

Are you financially prepared for the sale?

Before going any further, it’s time to review the financial impact of selling your home. What are your current finances and how will proceeds from the sale affect you financially? Are you willing and able to bring money to the table, if necessary? Have you explored tax savings and estate planning strategies?

It’s our pleasure to refer you to mortgage and finance professionals who are qualified to assist in determining the best course of action for you and your investment.

Selecting an Agent and Setting the Selling Price

Deciding whether or not to sell a property yourself or work with a qualified Realtor is one of the greatest decisions you’ll make in this entire process.

A professional Realtor offers advantages that can help you enjoy the best outcome from the process. When selecting a real estate professional, you’re looking at several key factors:

  • Experience and Local Market Knowledge – Look for a fulltime agent familiar with your specific market area. Be sure to ask about their strategic marketing plans, number of similar properties they’ve sold, technologies they are using to reach buyers and how long they’ve been in the area. Do they specialize in the type of property you’re selling? Are they providing enough market data to make a qualified pricing decision?
  • Education and Certification – Experience is crucial, but so is ongoing education and certification. The real estate industry is constantly changing. Be sure to work with an agent who is up-to-date on professional certifications that apply to the property you are selling and holds designations in various industry fields.
  • Skills and Dedication – Implementation and execution is key to a terrific selling process and this takes dedication and communication. Your agent should clearly and concisely share information with you in a way that meets your schedule and needs. You are partners in the selling process.

Moreover, an experienced realtor has the advantage of being able to objectively set your home’s selling price based on local market data and experience.

Preparing to Sell

stagingThere’s so much more to selling a home than locating buyers and filling-out paperwork. You want an agent who understands how to spark that “Yes, I can see my family living here” feeling in buyers.

“Curb appeal” and “making a lasting impression” have become household catch phrases thanks to HGTV and the Internet. Wading through all that information can be overwhelming so here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Curb appeal – Take a walk around your property and look at the landscaping, porch/patio, driveway, shed/garage. If something’s not welcoming and appealing to you, it won’t be to potential homebuyers either. Investing a few dollars here nets great rewards.
  • Repairs and upgrades – Now is the time to fix the screen door and update the pulls on the bathroom vanity. Completing these small projects today provides potential buyers a more finished and polished home to imagine themselves living in tomorrow.
  • Staging – Perhaps the most challenging task is actually keeping your home free from daily clutter while in the process of selling it. Clear counters, corners, desks and vanities. Make sure there are no surprises if guests open cupboards and closets. Also, be sure the garage is clean and showcases the space available for parking. Pick-up pet bowls, clean carpets, place fresh flowers throughout and bake some cookies to create a warm, inviting space.

Now, it’s time for the Open House and the SanCap Gateway Realty team will expertly showcase your home to potential buyers. Yes, we do ask you to leave the premises during Open Houses so potential buyers are put at-ease about asking questions about the property.

Accepting an Offer

There’s more to accepting an offer on your home than price. Although a main consideration, price is just one of several factors you should consider when looking at offers on your property and an experience Realtor can advise you based on your goals and the terms presented by potential buyers.

For example, a sale might be contingent on the buyer’s ability to sell their home, or they may ask for a 90 or 120-day closing when you need to close in 30 days.

The Art of Negotiation

First and foremost, it’s our job to promote and protect your best interest as a client. As a result, we are experts at negotiation and work to create a win-win agreement for all parties involved, ensuring you have an exceptional selling experience.

A Binding Agreement and Deposit

As professionals who’ve closed countless real estate transactions, you can count on SanCap Gateway Realty to guide you through a process we know is both exciting and challenging.

Typically, being “under contract” means the buyer and seller have reached agreement on terms, pricing and are ready to move forward. This is the point at which inspections and appraisals occur, as well as the time for an earnest money deposit to be held in escrow pending fulfillment of conditions or contingencies in the agreement.

Throughout this phase, it’s crucial that you respond quickly to your agent’s calls and requests for information; supply all necessary documents and adhere to the schedule.

Appraisals, Escrow and Inspections

Most home sales are contingent upon the completion of a home inspection by a licensed property inspector. For those agreements contingent upon financing, the lending institution will also require a home appraisal to determine the value, completed by a licensed third-party vendor.

While you may be asked to help facilitate these appointments, working with your agent and being flexible helps keep the process moving forward.


Contingencies are conditions that have to be met before a contract can become legally binding. The need to secure financing and a satisfactory home inspection are two common examples.

For example, contingencies based on home inspections can result in:

  1. A positive home inspection, meaning contingences are met and have been removed.
  2. An unacceptable home inspection is an example of a contingency not being met and a renegotiation of the contract’s terms may be requested – for example, the seller may need to repair a garage door.

Title and Closing

At this point in the process, a title company or attorney is selected to insure that the title to the property is clear. This closing agent will also complete the recording of the sale, certify that your title is free and clear of leases, mortgages, liens and other encumbrances. They also include all new encumbrances in the title at closing.

Closing Escrow

Before you reach the closing table, where you will transfer ownership of your property, it’s customary for the buyers to complete a final walk through of the property to make sure it’s in the same condition as it was on their last visit and that everything is working.

This most often happens the day before or morning of the closing. Meanwhile, you can be using this time to confirm that you’ve canceled or transferred all your home services and utilities (we have a check list to help with this process).

On the day of closing you will need to bring a copy of the contract, your keys, garage door openers, any warranty information pertaining to the property being sold, and your driver’s license.

The closing agent will provide a settlement statement detailing the financial transaction enacted during the process and, with your agent present, all parties involved will sign the documents transferring ownership of the home.

Sellers receiving funds from the sale can have the funds wired to an account or have a check issued at this point.

Once the paperwork is signed and keys are handed over, you have officially sold your home – Congratulations!