Once you’ve made the decision to list your Staten Island home for sale, the fun part starts!
In this blog I will outline some of the steps you will need to take in order to sell your Staten Island home, from preparing your home for sale to exchanging contracts and handing over the keys.
Step One: Take a deep breath
Selling your Staten Island home may seem a daunting process, but try to take a deep breath and approach the situation with a clear mind. Surround yourself with a capable team (we’ll go in to who might be included in that team in this blog) and take the process one step at a time.
Step Two: Get your home market-ready!
Have you read our most recent blog, How to Stage your Staten Island Home for Success? This blog shares some valuable tips on how to show your home in its best possible light, and some surefire ways to get a nice uplift in the value of the asset before it hits the market.
Step Three: Know your market
If possible, do some of your own market research to understand what properties are on the market in your neighborhood. Check out the homes for sale online, and also try to visit some open homes to get a feel of what works … and what doesn’t.
Not only will this give you a good indication of the prices you may be able to achieve, but you will also get a feel of who the key players are in the Staten Island real estate market, which leads on to my next tip …
Step Four: Form your A-Team
It’s more than likely you are going to need a group of professionals to guide you through and assist you with the process of selling your Staten Island home. We will delve into this further in a future blog post, however, your A-Team should consist of:
- Your Staten Island Real Estate Lawyer
- Your Staten Island Realtor
- Your Staten Island Financial Advisor (optional)
- Your Staten Island Stager (optional)
Choosing a realtor and real estate lawyer is a deeply personal decision. We would encourage you to do your own research both online and in person, seek feedback and recommendations from trusted friends and family if they are familiar with the Staten Island housing market, and go with your gut feeling. We cannot overstate how important it is that you feel comfortable & confident with the professionals with whom you entrust the sale of your Staten Island home. In our previous blog we explored the use of professional stagers and the way their services can uplift the value of your home, but this is completely optional. Having a sound financial advisor is also always an advantage for large transactions such as selling a home.
Step Five: Get your paperwork in order
Many of my clients are going through the process of selling their homes for the first time, so there is a lot of new information and concepts that they are unfamiliar with. In my role as a Staten Island real estate lawyer, I take pride in my ability to lead my clients through the process of selling their home, and explaining each phase of the process. I will work alongside your chosen real estate agent to ensure that all the checks and balances are completed in a timely and accurate fashion. The last thing anybody wants is a documentation misstep that delays the process.
Step Six: Get your home on the market
Once you’ve chosen your A-Team, and more specifically your real estate agent, they will guide you through the process of valuing your home, deciding on a price (or price range) to offer the property at, and the method of sale. You will also need to agree on a marketing campaign which your real estate agent will make recommendations on. Be guided by their experience but don’t be afraid to make your own suggestions, either. You know your home best and may be able to show off an aspect of your home from a different angle or perspective that will make the potential new owners just fall in love with it!
One part of the marketing campaign to sell your home will involve the real estate agent creating an ad copy and a timeline of marketing activities. Most agents will ask for your input at this stage before the final sign off. Professional photos will also be taken to show your home in the best possible light!
Part of the marketing campaign will most likely include ‘showings’ or an open house. Your real estate agent might also suggest installing a lockbox to enable last minute showings. Consider whether this fits in with your lifestyle and the need to have your home in order at all times. It may also, if you decide to allow it, open your home to a wider range of buyers.
Step Seven: Receive offers (then negotiate!)
Depending on how your home is priced it’s not unusual to start receiving offers on the home as early as the first showing! Be guided by your real estate agent on whether the prices being offered are in line with what the Staten Island housing market in general is offering, or indeed if it is above or below what could be considered reasonable.
Also, expanding on the timeline in which you need to sell your home, you should consider counter offering if the offer is on the lower end. Be confident in what your property is worth, but also be mindful of scaring away buyers if your expectations are unreasonable. Your real estate professional will be able to advise on this.
The potential buyer may also look to include a myriad of clauses (or contingencies) in the contract such as a kick-out clause, delayed closing, subject to finance/appraisal clause, subject to council approval, subject to building report, subject to home sale, etc. Be mindful of these contingencies and consider your circumstances. Your friendly Staten Island real estate lawyer would be happy to advise you on how to best proceed with a buyer requesting any of the above contingencies on their contract of purchase.
Step Eight: Offer acceptance and Contract
Once the purchase price and terms have been decided upon, the realtors will write up all of this onto a deal sheet or offer to purchase. It’s then time to communicate with your real estate attorney so they are able to draw up an official contract of sale. Your real estate attorney will then forward a copy of the proposed contract to the buyer’s attorney and all legal terms will be negotiated. Once the terms are agreed to, the buyer will sign and submit the contract back with the deposit. Then you will meet with your attorney to counter sign.
Step Nine: The waiting game begins
If a buyer is applying for financing, this process starts now. In addition, the buyer’s attorney will order a title search on the property. In most circumstances, it is imperative that the seller be able to convey clear title – free and clear of any liens. Our law firm will assist in this process to avoid any delays to your closing.
Step Ten: Preparing to close
Once the buyers have a mortgage commitment in place and have cleared all of their bank’s conditions, the lender will give a green light to set the closing. Now is the time to start arranging for movers and getting ready to vacate the premises. It is also customary for the purchasers to do a final walk through just prior to closing to ensure that it has been left in the condition noted in the contract. Assuming all goes smoothly with this stage, you and the buyer will be set to continue to the next and final step of the process.
Step Eleven: Closing
One of the most rewarding parts of my job! This is the grand finale where we all get together (the title company, the buyer’s and seller’s attorneys, real estate agents, and the buyers and sellers themselves) and complete the transaction.
As a seller, keep in mind that your closing costs will be deducted from the proceeds of your sale, and the balance will usually be cut to you via a check. Last but not least: don’t forget to bring those all important keys and garage door openers to the closing!
It is at this stage that the ownership of the property officially changes hands to the new owners!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and found it informative! Be sure to check with your local authority and lawyer on the procedures relevant to your local area. I based this article on my own experience as a real estate lawyer and current real estate trends in Staten Island.
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This information, based on New York law, was provided courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher J. Arrigali, P.C. It is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should try to interpret or apply any law without the assistance of legal counsel. Please click here for the full disclaimer.