Selling a Home in Western Slope2020-06-24T13:36:46-06:00

HOME SELLING TIPS

SELLING WITH COWAN HOME TEAM

Are you selling a home in Western Slope Colorado? Welcome to the Western Slope Colorado home seller’s section for Cowan Home Team. Cowan Home Team buys and sells homes with clients across the towns of Grand Junction, Clifton, Fruita, Fruitvale, Orchard Mesa and Loma in Western Colorado. We are the Mesa county residential housing experts who will make sure to walk you through the entire home selling process, even if you’ve done it before.

We can save you time and money because we know the market trends and how to best position your home. Whether it is time for a quick sale to relocate, or if you have plenty of time to see what bids come in, we have the skills to negotiate any and all offers.

We understand what a good offer looks like, how to counter an offer, how to handle multiple offers and even predict the best time to list your property for the highest and best price. We can offer up the minute market pricing data, how to take the emotions out of the selling process, how to showcase your home beautifully as well as explaining full disclosure. Let us help you avoid the legal traps, paperwork pitfalls and lost hours of sleep trying to organize your home’s sale.

You wouldn’t let your dentist argue your case in court, so why not let the licensed practitioner of real estate step up to sell your home?

We absolutely loved working with Carol! She was easy to work with, protected our interests well, helped us make great decisions and in the end both sold our home (four showings, four offers!) and ushered us into a new (to us) home that still makes us comment almost daily, "Gosh, we love this house!"
Karen S.
Carol Cowan, helped me out with several investment properties, from showing to closing. Carol was always available to answer any questions and she went over and beyond her normal duties to help with any issues. She is an outstanding realtor in my opinion.
Richard B.
This was my first home purchase and Carol was very patient and helpful in helping me find the house that I wanted. I flew in from Colorado for the weekend and she dedicated the entire Saturday to view 10 properties. In the end we had competing bids and following her advice I was able to close on the house I wanted. I would definitely recommend her if you are searching for a house. Excellent service.
Val S.
Our home buying experience could not have been better or gone smoother! We came in from out of state and bought a home before the weekend was over. Great experience!
Bill W.
My wife and I tried to sell our Fruita home for 3 years with no success.We hired Carol and within 4 days we started seeing results. Through her diligence and hsrd work we sold our house in a matter of days. Her work did not end there as she found out perfect new home. Through Carols hard work we achieved all of our real estate goals,.
M. W.
I worked with Ris and was delighted with the service provided. Ris stayed on top of things and was very thorough in explaining anything that I did not fully understand. He went above and beyond to negotiate not only the best price for me, but also to negotiate all needed repairs that I overlooked so that the house was move-in-ready for my fiance and I. A huge plus for me was the fact that Ris went out of his way to consistently drop by the home once it was in contract to make sure everything was kept up with and all needed repairs were sufficient and on schedule. Very happy with my first home and the overall experience, due in large part to Ris and Carol. Would highly recommend. Thank you guys!!
Cody F.
Having knowledgeable real estate agents make such a big difference on the stressful home buying experience. Ris made us feel comfortable the first time we met. He helped us out every step of the way and responded immediately to any of our concerns or questions. We are very happy with the end result. Thank you both!
Jeff E.
I lived 4.5 hours away from where I bought my home. Carol was great to work with. I even was told by my mortgage broker that Carol was on top of things and that not all agents are. Both I and my mortgage broker give her the highest review possible. I call her based on website info. I was so glad I chose her.
Anita A.
Carol was extremely warm and honest as we went through the process of both buying and selling. I appreciated her experience and knowledge. For instance she told us when a home had blue pipe and that it would be an issue long term. I would recommend her to anyone!
Enrica D. - Grand Junction, GA
Carol and Ris were our real estate agents when my wife and I searched for our first house. They were patient, pleasant to work with, and consistently available. They went the extra mile to make sure we were well informed about this process, which was completely new to us. In the end, we had a very pleasant home purchase experience. I highly recommend Carol and Ris to anyone who is in the market for a home.
Holly P.
We loved Carol! She was always quick to respond to use and very patient with all of our questions. She was always quick to show us a house when we wanted to see one and would even show us a listing later into the evening if we needed! We loved working with Carol!
Lauren L.
As first time homebuyers, we had a ton of questions. Carol was always willing to explain the process and what we could expect. She worked around our schedules to show homes, and was very receptive to our "wants" or dislikes about a particular home. She worked quickly to get a backup offer in place on a short sale that we had our hearts set on, and again when the original offer fell through and we were able close on the home we thought had gotten away. We are very happy with Carol's services, and would recommend her to anyone without hesitation.
Jeremy H.
My wife and I have been looking for a new home for our expanding family for a long time. On a whim, I sent an email from Zillow to Carol about a property. She was very quick to respond and while that property and many others turned out not to be the "one" for us, she never gave up looking for our perfect place. We looked at several homes over a year, and learned a lot from our agent about the home buying process. Anytime of the day, any day of the week, we could get a quick response about any concerns we had. We when finally found our home, she negotiated an incredible deal for us. I would highly recommend Carol Cowan for any of your real estate needs.
Jonathan F.
Carol helped my wife and I purchase our first home. She made the experience enjoyable and was a good source of knowledge for a first time homebuyer. She worked to find out just what qualities were most important to us in a home and found us a house that met all of our "must haves"! Carol was pleasant to work with and was very low pressure about making a sale. Her focus was always to make sure we were going to be happy with our decision, no matter how long or how many houses we needed to look at. I would definitely recommend her for first time home buyers like us!
Ryan C.
Carol stayed on top of our frustrating and long-term transaction. She explained the processes necessary in a foreclosure transaction and helped find answers when the processes didn't seem to follow the anticipated route. She was very professional and encouraging to help us get into a great home that is perfect for us!
Dennis W.
If you are looking for someone who is attentive to every detail, then Carol Cowan is the realtor for you. We just closed on our new home and this being our 13th home purchase, she was by far the most wonderful professional throughout the process. She was very knowledgeable about and responsive to the many humps that were a part of this process for us. Her positive attitude and encouraging words got us through the hard times, like the seller being so stubborn about so0000 many things. The whole experience was so worth it, but Carol made it a joy. I take pleasure in recommending Carol as your realtor and wish her many years of great success!
Lynne B.
Carol is the ultimate professional. She not only was attentive to our needs, but very flexible, available, courteous, knowledgeable, encouraging and let the property sell itself. She was never pushy but made us feel very comfortable throughout the entire transaction. Carol had our vision in mind prior, during and after the sale. We were very satisfied with her skill set and have recommended her to other business and personal friends. Carol is the best.
Patsy M.
Carol is awesome! Moving up here from south of Aspen we really needed someone with the local knowledge to steer us towards our dream house (and away from the chicken houses). It took us a while to find that "perfect" combination of house and land, but she was great. She showed us so many properties and was always upbeat and encouraging. When we finally found the one, she negotiated the price down to an AMAZING price. Needless to say, we were ecstatic! We are now happily ensconced up here in the beautiful mountains and just love it!
Lisa C.
Carol is a wonderful real estate agent with very good knowledge of the industry and area we were looking in. We highly recommend her services to anyone looking to purchase a new home in the Aspen and North Ga. area's and will definitely be recommending her to all our friends and family.
Tommy S.
My house was sold in 1 week after being listed. She had great/professional pictures of the house and did an awesome job marketing it. Great team! I wish she was in SC to help me buy my house here. Very thankful for all her dedication.
Gabriela L.
Carol was so great to work with! She is very patient and has a super intuition. I didn't really know what I was looking for in house, but I had pretty specific logistics issues to contend with. She helped me find a great home that meets all of my needs. This lady is unflappable! She and her husband are a great team!
Andrea B.
Ris and Carole were excellent agents! We worked with them to get our rental property sold and was impressed and felt vert comfortable with them at the first meeting. Their knowledge and wisdom throughout the entire process was spot on. When things got a little discouraging, they were always positive and creative on ways to get around obstacles. And on a personal level, they are just good down home people that we plan to keep in our family circle.
Rebecca T.
A+++ Having knowledgeable real estate agents make such a big difference with the stressful home buying experience. Ris made us feel comfortable the first time we met. He helped us out every step of the way and responded immediately to any of our concerns or questions. We highly recommend them.
Ronaa Z.
This team will be stellar! Both great people with 5 star work ethics!!
Carrie Lanier Haney
We chose Ris and Carol for selling our home and we went under contract within 3 weeks of listing. Choosing Ris and Carol was one of the best decisions we made. I was very impressed with their responsiveness even while they were on vacation. They amazed us at every step during the selling process. I sincerely recommenced them to all of you to take the benefit of their service.
npm2001 via Zillow
Carol is everything you would want your real estate agent to be! It was a pleasure dealing with her and our special needs as we are out of town and purchasing this property in GA. A great go-between, between locations. We are still in touch with regard to little piddily things and she is still eager to help even tho the deal is done and over-with.
tuckerhill2 via Zillow
Carol and Ris are the best husband and wife team out there. Carol listened to what we want and the type of property we were looking for. And she found us something even better than we could imagine. Ris on the other hand sold our home in record time. You can't have one without the other, they are bother very knowledgeable, experienced and professional.
nytrauma911 via Zillow
Ris and Carol exceeded our expectations! They helped us every step of the the way, giving us there best advice and recommendation in getting our house ready for listing. They market our house so well we had a ton of traffic, our house was in contract in less than 2 weeks! We thought it would be so hard to sell our house, but they made the process seem less. We had an amazing experience and would Highly Recommend Ris and Carol for your Real Estates needs!
saneledrum via Zillow
Carol and Ris are an excellent team of realtors. Due to their marketing strategies my home sold in less than three days. We had multiple offers, many of which were over the asking price! I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to sell a home.
donnadochney via Zillow
Carol and Ris were knowledgeable, flexible, and willing to do nearly anything to help us purchase our new home. I can’t recommend them strongly enough. If you want someone who will truly put in the work for you and who will listen to you I think the Cowan’s are absolutely the best out there.
woodymahan via Zillow
Carol and Ris helped us with both buying a new home and selling ours. They are great negotiators! They listened to our concerns and wishes. They also trusted us when it came to deciding pricing and didn’t rush us along. They provided great advice on what to do and not do in readying our home for sale. Already have referred them to others, and will continue to do so!
ehoffmann001 via Zillow

HOME SELLING GUIDE & F.A.Q.

SELLING YOUR HOME IS A PROCESS.

There are many different ways to sell a home, and the methods used can determine how quickly your home sells, how much the home sells for, and the amount of stress involved.

We’ve drawn on our own experience and other reputable sources to try and break it all down into a 9-step guide to help you better understand what goes into selling your home. You can read more about each step by clicking on it to expand the text:

You need to ask yourself some important questions:

Why do you want to sell your home?

Knowing and understanding your reason(s) for wanting to sell your home is extremely important to ensure that you’re making the right decision. Are you selling your home because you’re unhappy with its condition, its location, or its features? Did your financial situation change and you need more affordable housing? Are you an empty-nester preparing to downsize, or needing additional space for a growing family? Whatever the reason, just be certain that you’re making the right decision.

RELATED: 3 Myths About Selling Your Home

Do you have an ideal selling price, and does it align with your home’s current market value?

It’s very common for homeowners to believe that their home is worth more or less than it is, which is why it’s so important to get an accurate market value report for your home. There’s no “easy” way to know your home’s true market value, and contrary to popular belief, sources such as your annual property tax assessment and Zillow’s “Zestimate” are rarely accurate reflections of what a buyer would be willing to pay for your home. Many homeowners believe their home value is practically the same as their neighbors’, and while a home on your street that sold recently is definitely a relevant value that will factor into your home’s value, there is a great deal more to be considered about the similarities and differences between your home and theirs that can affect your value substantially.

If you have an ideal target selling price, and especially if you have an absolute minimum selling price, that should be one of the first things you talk about with your Realtor.

RELATED: Sell Your House for More Than It’s Worth – Fact or Fiction?

Are you prepared to make some changes to your home and your lifestyle while the home is on the market?

For most sellers, this just means keeping the house tidy and perhaps purchasing a pet crate or kennel for showings. However, for some sellers to reach their desired outcome, they will need to make repairs, improvements, and/or adjustments to their home before it goes on the market. We can provide guidance, advice, and assistance with that step of the process as well, but for now, it’s just important for you to prepare yourself mentally for these potential changes.

Who you choose matters.

Why is this important?

Selling real estate is a complex matter. At first, it might seem like you could easily sell your home online or with a simple “For Sale By Owner” sign in your yard, but you’re likely to face more difficulties than you’re expecting.

For starters, you won’t have the ability to list your home in the MLS and syndicate your listing to hundreds of thousands of websites across the internet, and more importantly, you probably don’t have the marketing experience we use to ensure your home is seen by not only MORE buyers, but specifically THE RIGHT buyers.

Also, similar to a defendant who chooses to represent themselves in court, you’re unlikely to get very far negotiating on your own behalf, and when you do finally accept an offer, you’ll likely have a very limited knowledge of the contract terms, financing contingencies, inspection requirements, and so on. A transaction this large and important can cost you time, money, and sanity – trust us!

In this maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with experienced professionals who know the community and the real estate industry inside and out. Those professionals are the local REALTORS® who serve your area. Yes, that’s us!

RELATED: Five Reasons Why You Really Do Need A Real Estate Agent

How do you choose?

Most communities have thousands of real estate agents, but it’s typically fairly easy to tell the difference between the true real estate professionals and the others. Competition between local REALTORS® is heated, and we fight hard to succeed in the Western Slope real estate market. Not every REALTOR® works as hard to earn your business. More importantly, we fight hard for YOU during your home selling process by looking out for you, helping you avoid pitfalls, and giving you sound advice along the way. We have the experience to ensure your home sells quickly for top dollar, the process is as stress-free as possible, and to help you make the most informed decisions.

RELATED: 10 Questions Sellers Should Ask Their Realtor

What should you expect when you work with a REALTOR®?

Once you select a REALTOR® you will want to establish a proper business relationship. You likely know that some REALTORS® represent sellers while others represent buyers. Each REALTOR® will explain the options available describe how he or she typically works with individuals and provide you with complete agency disclosures (the ins and outs of your relationship with the agent) as required in your state. When you select us to help you sell your home, we become a Seller’s Agent, more commonly called a Listing Agent – and that means we represent YOU during the whole process.

Once hired for the job, we will provide you with information detailing current market conditions, marketing opportunities and strategies, and options and negotiating issues that might apply to your situation. Remember: Market conditions can change and the strategies that apply in one negotiation may be inappropriate in another.

During your listing’s time on the market, we will keep you updated and alert you to each step in the process.

RELATED: 6 Reasons to Choose Us to as Your Western Slope Listing Agents

This is an important step that shouldn’t be saved for later.

You’re ready to sell your home. You’ve chosen your listing agent (hopefully you chose wisely!), and you’re ready to put your home on the market as soon as possible, right? Not so fast!

Before you actually list your home, you need to research your home’s recent comparable sales, understand your home’s current market competition, know your home’s market value, discuss potential outcomes, determine optimal and alternate timelines, decide on a pricing strategy, and complete your listing paperwork.

Knowledge is power!

In terms of home selling strategies, knowing is over half the battle. That knowledge comes from research, data, property comparisons, and studying the market’s current trends, which is all part of the services an outstanding listing agent should provide. We provide this information to sellers and explain everything to them so they can make informed decisions about the strategies we use for everything from pricing to marketing to negotiating and more.

Here’s a brief example of how a little research can go a long way…

Let’s say you were wanting to list your home for $550,000, which is on the high side of your home’s market value, but still justifiably within reason of recent comparable sales data. However, another home in your neighborhood was just listed for $525,000 and it has most, if not all, of the same features and amenities as your home. An uninformed agent, or one who didn’t do any research, would go ahead and list your home at the $550,000 price, blissfully unaware of the listing you’re directly competing with. They wouldn’t do any specific marketing to justify the higher listing price or showcase what features/amenities your home has that the lower-priced home lacks. Obviously, two listings in the same neighborhood with nearly identical features will attract the same audience of potential buyers, but buyers will automatically see the $525,000 listing as a better deal, and/or will see your listing as overpriced. Your listing will likely get MUCH less attention and showings because of the competing listing, and you’re also likely to get “low-ball” offers closer to the other home’s asking price. Without seeing a justification of your listing’s higher price, a buyer is unlikely to be willing to pay your full asking price, or anywhere near it. This will cause your home to sit on the market longer than it should, which means that even after the lower-priced listing is sold, new-to-the-market buyers looking at your listing will see how long it’s been on the market, wonder why it hasn’t sold yet, and assume there’s something wrong with it.

Alternatively, an agent who did their research would know about this other listing, and would make adjustments to the marketing strategy or to the timeline of the listing to allow for this curveball. Whether the strategy encompasses marketing materials that showcase the premium features that make your home distinctive and worthy of the higher price, or simply waiting for the competing listing to be sold and closed so that buyers see your home in a more fair light, the end result is a much more desirable situation for any seller!

Listing paperwork

To finalize your listing, you’ll have some paperwork and documentation to complete, and standard listing documents require more than just your signature. You’ll have to apply your signature to several agreements of course, but you’ll also have disclosure documents to fill out.

Disclosure documents are legal documents that are provided to potential buyers as a way for you to tell them anything and everything you know about the home’s major systems, including previous damage incurred, any repairs made and/or renovations that have been done, and even the care and maintenance of the home’s major appliances. With disclosure documents, honesty is the best policy; you can legally be held liable for knowingly failing to disclose an issue or problem to a buyer, but these kinds of issues are rare and shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

This is also a great time to dig out any documents you have that you think should convey to the new owner of your home. Some things, such as appliance instruction manuals and exterior/interior paint color codes can be given to the new owner upon closing, but you may have some items in your possession that may actually be helpful to include in the marketing, such as a roof/shingle warranties, to-scale floorplans, blueprints, and so on.

If your home is in a deed-restricted community or a neighborhood/subdivision with an HOA (homeowner’s association), documentation on that will be needed as well. It’s important that the listing and marketing portrays an an accurate representation of your home, and things like deed restrictions, recurring fees, and community features are a big piece of that puzzle as well.

Major or minor changes

It’s time for you to look at your home as a house and think of it as a “product”. To do this, you’ve got to see your home through the critical eyes of someone who is looking for the BEST home on the market, which may be hard for you to do because you’ve got years of warm memories influencing your opinion, not to mention that it’s likely suited to your own personal tastes and needs.

Your home may need to be thoroughly and deeply cleaned, likely by professionals, especially if you have kids or any indoor pets. Shampoo the carpets, wash the drapes, and take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to your trim, doors, fixtures, and appliances. Apply touch-up paint in areas where the paint is stained, worn, or faded. Pressure wash your home’s exterior, including the roof, patio/porch, driveway, and sidewalks if applicable.

To go a step further, do you have any small (or not-so-small!) repairs that have been lingering on your to-do list? If so, now is the time to tackle them! Even an extremely minor issue can be major to a potential buyer, because most buyers are looking for evidence that the home hasn’t been adequately maintained or is in general disrepair. A burned out lightbulb, a steady drip-drip-drip from a faucet, or even a squeaky door hinge could be enough to make a buyer’s imagination run wild.

You may also want to take some steps to neutralize and otherwise depersonalize your home. Although it sounds counterintuitive, the more personality your home’s decor has, the harder it will be for a buyer to picture themselves living there. Ideally, you want to make your home as much of a “blank slate” as possible, so potential buyers can more easily imagine their own decor in the space.

Marketing materials

Once you’ve got your home exactly how you want it to be for potential buyers, it’s your listing agent’s turn to shine.

Marketing materials will be prepared for your home, and the most important piece of those materials is your home’s photos. We hire professional photographers who specialize in photographing houses, architecture, and interior spaces. These professionals have the equipment required to accurately capture every room of a home, and they have the experienced needed to know how to leverage a home’s features within the photos. From showcasing volume ceilings and rooms-with-a-view to bringing life to small dark spaces like closets and bathrooms, an excellent photographer is truly our greatest marketing tool.

It’s showtime!

Once your home is listed on the MLS and digitally syndicated to hundreds of thousands of other real estate websites, we also begin additional targeted marketing via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and more. Your listing will be in front of hundreds (if not thousands!) of potential buyers, many of which are looking for a home just like yours.

If the pricing strategy was accurate and the initial list price wasn’t too high, your home should start getting showings immediately. We can handle showings however you like; typically we put a key into a lockbox that can only be opened by a licensed Realtor, and strive to allow as many showings as possible to be scheduled. Of course, we are very understanding of your schedule and situation for showings, and adhere to any time windows and guidelines you give us. We work hard to make sure your home’s showings go as smoothly as possible.

Going from “For Sale” to “Sold”

Depending on your listing’s pricing strategy, you may have an offer on the table in the first 7 to 10 days. In fact, we’ve sold plenty of listings in 5 days or less! The important thing to keep in mind is that an offer isn’t a contract, and if you don’t like an offer, a counter-offer and/or negotiations can be employed to bring it a bit more in line with your goals.

Offer contingencies

The price being offered isn’t the only thing that matters, as it almost certainly has plenty of other opportunities for negotiation. There are many other factors to consider, such as the buyer’s financing, inspection window, closing timeline, and what, if any, concessions they are requesting.

Multiple offers

It’s not uncommon for our listings to receive more than one offer, which can essentially create a bit of a “bidding war” between two or more buyers. If there is more than one offer on the table, then your listing agent will contact the agents representing the buyers who submitted offers, inform them of the multiple offers, and request their “highest and best” offer by a certain date or within a certain number of days. This gives the agents time to call their buyer clients and determine what they are willing to submit as their highest and best offer. Sometimes, a call for highest and best offers will result in offers being submitted that are over and above asking price, but there’s really no way to predict what kind of offers you’ll get from a “highest and best” situation.

Turning an offer into a contract

An offer becomes a contract when you, as the homeowner and seller, sign the offer and return the newly executed offer to the party who submitted it.

Choosing which offer you want to move forward with isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. You will definitely want to take every part of the offer into consideration, including the buyer’s financing. You want to choose the offer that is the strongest overall, as a strong offer with strong buyers has the best chance of making it to the closing table.

It’s a countdown to closing, but there’s still plenty that could go wrong.

Once you have an executed contract for the sale and purchase of your property, it’s easy for you to think that your home is pretty much sold, but you’d be a bit premature! It’s actually not sold until after the closing occurs, and there are plenty of things that could go wrong between now and then. The buyer may not qualify for a mortgage, a home inspection could change the buyer’s mind, or the home’s appraisal value could cause the buyer’s mortgage to fall through.

The good news is that if you have an excellent listing agent, they have already taken many steps to prevent these kinds of things from impacting your sale, and will continue taking precautionary and preventative measures to ensure that the deal is as solid as possible. With each seller we represent, we make every effort possible. We do things like call the buyer’s mortgage company to check up on the buyer’s financing and ensure things are in order, and we send sales data and price justification details to mortgage appraisers to ensure they have the best and most accurate data about your home for their appraisal. Our efforts can’t completely eliminate the possibility of the deal falling apart, but we’re 100% positive that it reduces those odds significantly.

Your listing’s status

While your home is under contract, during the time the buyer requested to do their inspections and get approved for financing, your home’s listing will still technically be listed on the MLS and many other real estate websites, but it will no longer show up in normal home searches and will be flagged as “Pending” or “Under Contract”. In some cases, we may advise our seller clients to accept a “backup offer”, which is just an offer from a secondary buyer who wants the first opportunity to purchase if the current buyer’s offer falls through. Once your home is under contract, there won’t be any new showings (unless it’s for the purpose of trying to have a backup offer in place), but you’ll still have a few in-home visitors during this time.

Inspections, appraisals, surveys, and more

We’ll work with you, the buyer’s agent, and the third-party to coordinate other visits to your property as needed in accordance to the contract. This includes (but is not limited to) a home inspector, pest inspector, property appraiser, property surveyor, and more. Additionally, the buyers themselves may request additional visits to your property to take measurements or get quotes from contractors for their own planned improvements. Obviously, these will all be scheduled and coordinated just as a showing would be, and it’s perfectly normal for your home to be in the “packing” phase at this point, so there’s less of a need for you to worry about keeping the house looking spotless.

This is where you hand over the house keys and receive the funds you made on the sale.

The “closing” is where we finalize all the steps along the way to selling your home. It’s where everyone involved in the process gathers to sign all paperwork: you, us, the buyer, the buyer’s agent and a real estate attorney. We all literally sit at the same table (called the “closing table”) and “close” out the purchase.

The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as “settlement” or “escrow,” is increasingly computerized and automated. In many cases, buyers and sellers don’t need to attend a specific event; signed paperwork can be sent to the closing agent via overnight delivery. But typically most of the parties involved attend.

In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the “transaction” process. For example, while the history of property ownership has been checked, it’s possible that the records contain errors, unrecorded claims or flaws in the review itself, thus title insurance is necessary, but in Colorado, real estate cannot be transferred without a clear title. At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims must also be settled (including closing costs, legal fees and adjustments). In most transactions, the closing attorney also completes the paperwork needed to record the buyer’s loan, as well as making the payoff to your mortgage company, if applicable.

RELATED: All About Real Estate Closings – What You Need to Know

What to expect

Settlement or closing is a brief process where all of the necessary paperwork needed to complete the transaction is signed. Closing is typically held in an office setting, sometimes with both buyer and seller at the same table, sometimes with each party completing their papers separately.

Whatever the case, the result is that title to the property is transferred from seller to buyer. The buyer receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the home. From the amount credited to the seller, the closing agent subtracts money to pay off the existing mortgage and other transaction costs. Deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed and filed with local property record offices.

What you need to do

One of the best parts of settlement is that buyers and sellers need to do very little.

Before closing, buyers typically have a final opportunity to walk through the property to assure that its condition has not materially changed since the sale agreement was signed. At closing itself, all papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders and lawyers. This paperwork reflects the sale agreement and allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests. For instance, buyers get the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records and state governments collect their transfer taxes.

RELATED: Why the Walk Through Matters for Buyers and Sellers

Congratulations! You sold your home!

You’ve done it. You’ve listed your home, accepted an offer, and gone to closing. The home now belongs to the person who purchased it from you. Is there any more to the home selling process?

In fact, there are a few more steps you’ll want to take.

Those papers you received at closing are extremely valuable, so hold on to them! In the short-term they can help establish the gains you’ll be taxed on from the sale of the property. In the future, these papers may also be important for proof of mortgage payoff, and in some cases, for calculating estate taxes.

The buyer will have already contacted all utility companies to have them transferred to their own name on closing day. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off utilities.

About a month after closing, you will need to ensure that your mortgage (if applicable) was paid off. This is something the closing agent takes care of and it’s rare that any issues arise, but you don’t want your mortgage company to be waiting for your normal monthly mortgage payment when they should have received the full payoff amount! The closing agent will also take care of recording this information in public records.

Moving out

It is generally understood that sellers will leave homes “broom clean” when moving out. This expression does not mean “vacuumed” or “spotless.” Broom clean makes sense because it means the house is ready to be painted and/or moved into.

If you are leaving anything at the property for the buyers to have, make sure you tell your agent so the message can be conveyed to the buyers. Otherwise, the buyers might assume you left personal belongings, or worse, garbage for them to clean up. Many sellers leave spare building materials, such as extra flooring and half-full cans of paint, which is generally the only acceptable item to leave behind without letting your agent know, but if you’re leaving things like this behind, make sure they are left in a corner of the garage so they aren’t mistaken for trash.

In the event that you accidentally leave something at the property that you meant to take, you MUST contact your agent immediately! DO NOT try to go back into the house after closing has occurred, even if the buyers haven’t moved in yet. Remember, this property no longer belongs to you, and you should have given all your keys to the buyer at closing.

YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, WE HAVE ANSWERS.

Answering your home selling questions is precisely what we’re here for! We’re happy to answer your questions anytime via phone, text, or email, but we’ve also decided to tackle some of the most common seller questions right here.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most frequently asked questions, or F.A.Q.’s, that we get asked by our selling clients. Just click each question to expand the text and see the answer:

Top dollar for your home is the goal when selling your home, right?

It is also the best time to take personal preferences out of the equation because less personalization equals more cash in your pocket. Take the time to step back and view the property not as a personal home, but as a listed property. Cowan Home Team offers you a valuable perspective. What will the buyer expect? What is your home’s competition of other currently listed homes nearby?

A ready to sell home has meticulous landscaping, mulch laid, grass trimmed and trees pruned properly. The outside of the home should reflect the home’s clean interior, and not be an eyesore that diminishes the neighborhood. Fresh paint, gutters in place, with no drainage issues, is expected. A welcoming front door makes an impression to guests and visitors so be sure to inspect it thoroughly. Rusty handles, broken knobs and filthy windows all detract from the first impression. Sweep the steps, fix a loose railing and put out a planter with seasonal flowers nearby all help to show pride in ownership.

Inside, homes with no noticeable scent are best, although many agents suggest a fresh smelling candle may be lit for open houses. A ready to sell home is neat, tidy, with all personal photos and detracting clutter removed. The big cosmetic items such as worn carpets, refinished hardwood floors, repainting walls to neutral colors, repairing a loose handle or leaky faucet are already complete. An open house is not the time you want to put off potential buyers with mysterious patterns of black mold in your basement or cracked tiles in your shower.

Closets look more spacious by removing half the contents and putting it away at an off-site storage facility. Unfinished basements can be handled the same way. If the boxes are still unopened from your last move over a year ago, it is probably safe to assume you won’t need them. Remove toasters, storage canisters, water pitchers and other bulky kitchen items to make counters appear larger. Barking dogs are best removed completely from the home, although safely crated away can work in a pinch. Many buyers have allergies to pets, so disclosing that pets are in the home is helpful. Be sure to clean up thoroughly after your pets, both indoors and outside.

Talk to the Cowan Home Team today for more details on how to make a great first impression, including the latest market conditions for your neighborhood.

Cost, value, and return are important considerations.

Improving your homes’ value depends on what things you can do before listing the property. If you put yourself into the buyer’s shoes, would you prefer a home that has everything done already or one that still “needs updating”. As your premier listing agent, we can tell you that homes requiring updating have a lower listing price. A freshly painted, updated and clean home will fetch a higher price than one that needs new carpet, paint, appliances and other issues. In some cases, new carpet and paint will suffice to woo buyers into making offers. In older homes, for those with serious issues or in need of repair, the price cannot help but be affected.

Basics for improving your homes’ value include:

  • Replace worn out roofs, windows, and siding. They are not fun items to replace, but few buyers will want to deal with the extra hassle and costs.
  • Replace old carpeting, refinish the hardwood floors or update vinyl floors. The life expectancy of a carpet is less than 10 years, even less with pets or children. Hardwood floors can be made like new again with a sanding and re-staining. Vinyl and linoleum may be easy to clean and cheap to install but it buckles unlike a tile floor, which will last far longer.
  • Update appliances in the kitchen. These items can be more affordable when purchased together, such as a stove, refrigerator and microwave.
  • Replace outdated kitchen cabinets and countertops. Often times simply re-staining or repainting the fronts of solid cabinets can work just as well instead of spending a lump sum on a big remodel for a kitchen. New drawer handles and matching pulls are a great detail to add. Can’t afford granite counters? Companies today also offer a ¼ inch granite overlay that goes over the top of the existing counters. Even a new laminate counter can spruce up a dated kitchen.
  • Update an old bathroom using fresh paint, a new sink and vanity plus a shower curtain will put your dollars to work for you. A complete remodel might not be needed if you can cover the damaged tile with a shower surround. New towel bars and lights always help to showcase a bathroom to new buyers.
  • Install a new energy efficient furnace and A/C unit.

Most of these costs will be recouped upon the sale of the home, often as much as 80-90%. If a new furnace costs $1,000 to put in, that money will be put back in your pocket when you sell the home, of up to $800-$900.

Extremely!

Having a home show beautifully on the internet is very easy. First, you’ll prepare the home by de-personalizing (removing photos and family pictures) and de-cluttering (sweep the countertops of bulky items, paper piles, toothbrushes and other messes). Next, you’ll want to accent the positives, such as sky lights, transom windows or a sun filled custom deck.

When a photographer or videographer comes to your home, be sure to have cleared the clutter out of the kitchen, office and bathrooms. These professionals will want to have wide shots of the rooms, not up close details like the knick-knacks on the mantel. Videographers typically shoot enough footage for a 60 second video, although some may go up to 2 minutes. The idea is to offer viewers what they want to see, showing them the home’s best attributes, updates or upgrades, clean and accessible, not dark and dingy. Photos showing bright windows, spacious closets and inviting kitchens always set the stage for more views. Jarring images of a homeowner’s china doll collection or rows of fantasy football league trophies are not going to have buyers anxious to put in an offer. Outside photography should include manicured lawns, trimmed shrubbery and pruned back trees. Pools should be sparkling clean and inviting.

Remember, great photos start with a great subject and making your home sparkle is the best way to have great views. More online views mean more buyers are interested in the property. The more interested the buyers are, the more showings a property will have. Although over 80% of home searches are started on line, in person viewings are vital to selling a home. It is essential to have great looking video and photos of your property available.

One of the listing agent’s best tools, internet videos and photos never rest, are online and available 24/7, so even when you’re sound asleep, your home is still viewable. This is an important piece of advertising that your Cowan Home Team agent will go over with you in greater detail.

First impressions happen online.

Shopping for a home today means over 90% of buyers start their search online, according to Google and the National Association of Realtors. Homebuyers looking for the most up-to-the-minute listings need to check the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provided by Cowan Home Team. Not only are the home listings loaded into Colorado’s largest MLS database, Cowan Home Team also allows for further online syndication of the listing. This means all the other big home search sites (over 20,000) pick up our listings and spread them across third party websites.

Cowan Home Team’s home search database offers the latest information, plus the widest possible exposure for sellers who list with us. When you list your home with us, more buyers will find your property and be able to set showing appointments with a click of a button. More showings of your property through our database will help to sell it faster and for top dollar.

Want the newest listings for your neighborhood? It won’t be found on Zillow or Trulia. Try Cowan Home Team’s home search for current homes for sale. Want to know the agents remarks or specific listing details? You won’t find those on any other site, but Cowan Home Team has that too. Pending sales or under contract properties are usually left as “Active” on the third party sites, and don’t show up as “Closed” for months afterward. But your Cowan Home Team listing agent has the up-to-the-minute, latest information at their fingertips. Don’t hesitate to call, click or connect with Cowan Home Team when you have real estate questions around Colorado’s Western Slope.

What does it mean for your home to be “show ready”?

Morning, noon, or night, virtual visitors that are house hunting are checking the listings as soon as they are posted. These online viewers want to see your home and be impressed with the spacious kitchen, remodeled bathrooms, cheerful breakfast nook and sparkling pool. When they take your home out for a virtual spin, using the video, they can envision themselves lounging by the pool, or sipping a latte on the breakfast bar. The more a home shows neutral overtones with professional staging, the more welcoming and appealing it is to viewers. Potential home buyers apply their own personal flourishes without worry of extra labor.

More showing appointments are set when 12 or more photographs are posted. Even more appointments are made when a combined virtual tour + photos are set up for the listing. As noted above, virtual visitors want to be drawn into a home, to see inside the rooms for the quality of lifestyle that can be enjoyed. Move up buyers look for upgraded features, like master baths or upgraded kitchens. Empty nesters seek convenience and ease of use to enjoy an active lifestyle. First time home buyers want to see huge closets, extra bathrooms and plenty of parking, especially if they are moving out of an apartment.

When buyers are convinced they’ve found the perfect home, the next move is to call a Realtor and set up a showing. Having already made a wonderful first impression online, the showing appointment should really confirm what they already saw. They’ll want to see that it looks just as good in person as it did online, so be sure to maintain the high level of de-personalization and de-cluttering that the photos represent. Open houses are also a great way for visitors to check out the home. All these details and much more will be covered in full with a marketing analysis with Cowan Home Team.

READY TO GET STARTED?

We want to show you how our outstanding marketing plan ensures that more potential buyers will see your listing, increasing the odds that your home will be sold quickly and for top dollar.

From showings and contracts to inspections and negotiations, we’ve got you covered!

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