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Below is an overview of what's needed when buying or selling a home yourself, trust us, it's a big task. You can start with the list below, hire a Real Estate Attorney, and spend a few hundred hours to take it on yourself, all while running the risk of encountering one of the many issues that can occur with selling or buying a home yourself... or you can just hire a REALTOR®! 

Buy a Home in 784 Easy Steps:

• Assess your timing to buy
• Assess your motivation to buy
• Assess your immediate concerns in buying a home
• Determine how quickly you need to purchase
• Research current laws, interest rates, and insurance conditions as it relates to the housing industry, and specifically how it impacts the purchase of a home
• Research lenders
• Research loan program that fit your needs
• Identify a lender and get pre-approved
• Obtain pre-qualification letter from lender
• Identify neighborhood, style and size of home
• Identify home features that are important to you
• Search the internet
• Scrub online listings for only available properties
• Review ads on social and digital media
• Drive neighborhoods
• Visit open houses
• Make appointments to view homes
• Identify the home you want to purchase
• Research comparable properties that are currently on the market
• Research comparable properties that have sold in the past six months
• Research if property is subject to private transfer tax and the amount
• Research if property is located in a flood zone and will require flood insurance
• Research any litigation related to construction defects
• Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions
• Research property’s current use and zoning
• Research public schools in the neighborhood
• Determine fair market value of the property before writing an offer
• Identify the correct forms for writing an offer or engage an attorney
• Write an offer
• Review merits and weakness of offer
• Understand clauses in contract or engage counsel to assist
• Review the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form
• Complete Range Land Disclosure, if applicable
• Contact seller or seller’s agent to review your qualifications and discuss offer
• Negotiate the best deal for you
• Review counter offer
• Negotiate the best deal for you
• Write a counter to the counter offer
• Receive notice that counter to the counter offer is rejected
• Return to step 12
• Begin searching the internet again
• Drive neighborhoods
• Visit open houses
• Write an offer and addenda
• Review the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form
• Negotiate the best deal
• Write a counter offer with the terms and contingencies
• Negotiate the deal
• Prepare a buyers net sheet to determine all cost to close transaction
• Request that seller provide a Home Warranty
• Write a counter to the counter
• Offer accepted
• Draft timeline of contingency expiration dates
• Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to seller or seller’s agent
• Open escrow
• Promptly deliver earnest money deposit to escrow company
• Communicate with the seller and/or listing agent
• Review current title information
• Measure overall living space square footage
• Measure interior room sizes
• Ask seller for Homeowner’s Information Sheet which includes information on utilities and services you will need to know after closing
• Confirm lot size from copy of certified survey, if available
• Obtain copy of floor and pool plans, if available
• Review all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements
• Identify Home Owner Association manager, if applicable
• Verify Home Owner Association fees, if applicable
• Review resale package from Home Owner Association, if applicable
• Notify lender you have found a home
• Order the appraisal
• Identify and schedule qualified home inspectors
• Determine if Home Owner Association has received FHA condo certification for lending, if applicable
• Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased
• Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number
• Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months bills
• Verify city sewer/septic tank system
• Water system: calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills
• Well water: well status, depth and output from Well Report
• Natural gas: Review and approve availability, tranferability and supplier’s name and phone number
• Solar panel: Review and approve supplier’s name and phone number and transferability of ownership or lease
• Review and sign Lead Based Paint Disclosure, if applicable
• Contact seller about lead base paint remediation
• If property has rental units execute Estoppel Certificate
• If property has rental units involved; obtain copies of all leases, verify all rent and deposits, inform tenants of transfer of property
• Compile list of repairs and maintenance items
• Coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates
• Review and approve or reject unrecorded property information and assess impact on purchase
• Review and approve or reject septic system report and assess impact on purchase
• Review and approve or reject Well Flow Test Report and assess impact on purchase
• Review and approve or reject mold inspection report and assess impact on purchase
• Meet the appraiser and provide with comparable sales
• Review and understand the appraisal report
• Meet the home inspector
• Receive notice that loan requires an improvement in credit score. Stop process. Go to Step 1
• Renegotiate the offer because the appraisal came in low
• Communicate with the listing agent/seller
• Sign new addenda and notify lender
• Follow loan processing through to the underwriter
• Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track
• Ensure compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements
• Confirm trustworthy contractors are performing any required repairs
• Notify title company of addendum to contract
• Sign off on Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Statement
• Review inspection reports
• Notify seller in writing of needed repairs
• Prepare addenda to address repairs
• Renegotiate offer because seller is unwilling to make all repairs
• Communicate with the listing agent/seller
• Review the preliminary title report from title company
• Meet with escrow officer to discuss cloud on title and appropriate title insurance
• Communicate with the listing agent/seller
• Sign the Before You Purchase did you Know (applicable to common-interest communities)
• Follow-up on appraisal
• Address process if appraisal report comes in below agreed price
• Meet appraisal conditions
• Coordinate closing process with seller or seller’s agent and lender
• Have all forms and information needed to close the sale
• Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties
• Solve any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc)
• Schedule final walk-through prior to closing
• Research all tax, Home Owner Association, utility and other applicable pro-rations
• Request final closing figures from escrow officer
• Receive & carefully review closing figures on Closing Disclosure to ensure accuracy of preparation
• Confirm that any and all tax, home owner association, utility and any other pro-rations on the home have been resolved.
• Review final figures on Closing Disclosure before closing
• Forward verified closing figures to seller and or seller’s agent
• Review and verify the Closing Discosure for final closing amount.
• Request copy of closing documents from escrow officer
• Confirm receipt of title insurance commitment
• Confirm transfer of “Home Owners Warranty” at closing
• Review documents with escrow officer
• Schedule the closing date
• Conduct final walk- through
• Close of escrow delay, prepared addendum to extend close of escrow
• Deliver to seller and/or listing agent for signature
• Deliver signed copy to escrow officer
• Postpone movers
• Arrange for possession and transfer of home (keys, warranties, garage door openers, community pool keys, mail box keys and appliance manuals)
• Have a “no surprises” closing with no unexpected expenses to close escrow
• Review terms of Home Owner Warranty
• Contact seller or listing agent to resolve any conflicts about repairs, if any

or you can just hire a REALTOR®



Sell a Home in 784 Easy Steps:

  • Research tax records to verify full legal information
  • Research property’s ownership and deed type
  • Research public record information for lot size & dimensions
  • Research and verify legal description
  • Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions
  • Research property’s current use and zoning
  • Verify legal owner’s name in county public property records
  • Research sales activity in your neighborhood for past 6-18 months from public records
  • Research days on market for comparable property, price range, and location
  • Research comparable properties that are currently on the market
  • Research comparable properties that have been withdrawn
  • Research comparable properties that are currently under contract
  • Research expired listings for comparable properties
  • Research comparable properties that have sold in the past six months
  • Research the previous sales activity (if any) on your home
  • Research if property is subject to private transfer tax and the amount
  • Research if property is located in a flood zone and will require flood insurance
  • Research and disclosure any litigation related to construction defects
  • Find copy of deed
  • Find copy of survey
  • Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout
  • Confirm current public schools and be able to explain impact of schools on market value
  • Find copy of title policy current tax bill, (this could potential save you money if you purchased less than three years ago)
  • Download and review property tax roll information
  • Complete Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Statement
  • Complete Range Land Disclosure, if applicable
  • Make necessary repairs and document them
  • Determine how much you owe on your property
  • Determine fair market value of your property
  • Interview and contract with real estate photographer to take professional interior and exterior photos
  • Interview and contract with virtual tour company
  • Write eye-catching advertisement
  • Prepare marketing materials
  • Contact area media about ad placement
  • Clean home of all clutter and debris
  • Put valuables away
  • Place ads on social and digital media
  • Be available to show property
  • Review current title information
  • Measure overall living space square footage
  • Measure interior room sizes
  • Confirm lot size from copy of certified survey, if available
  • Obtain copy of floor and pool plans, if available
  • Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements
  • Disclose all easements and assessments
  • Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information; companies and loan account numbers
  • Verify current loan information with lender(s)
  • Check assume ability of loan(s) and any special requirements
  • Review current appraisal, if available
  • Identify Home Owner Association manager, if applicable
  • Verify Home Owner Association fees, if applicable
  • Order and pay for resale package from Home Owner Association, if applicable
  • Determine if Home Owner Association has received FHA condo certification for lending, if applicable
  • Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased
  • Verify if you have a transferable Termite Bond
  • Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number
  • Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months bills
  • Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system
  • Water system: calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills
  • Well water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report
  • Natural gas: Research/verify availability, transferability and supplier’s name and phone number
  • Solar panel: Research/verify supplier’s name and phone number and transferability of ownership or lease
  • Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure
  • Verify if property has rental units involved; if so, make copies of all leases, verify all rent and deposits, inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled
  • Compile list of repairs and maintenance items
  • Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time window
  • Assess your timing
  • Assess your motivation
  • Assess your immediate concerns
  • Start looking at places to relocate (See 784 Easy Steps to Buying)
  • Determine how quickly you need to move
  • Obtain lockbox if property is vacant
  • Have extra keys made for lockbox
  • Perform interior décor assessment and make adjustment to shorten time on market
  • Perform exterior “Curb Appeal Assessment” of subject property
  • Spruce up exterior of home
  • Prepare home for showing (ie lighting, soft music, etc)
  • Compile and assemble formal file on property
  • Explore method of pricing your property below comparable value to bring the most buyers to your property quickly
  • Review and adjust your marketing strategy to bring the most buyers to you in the shortest amount of time
  • Explore the option of marketing your home with an incentive of buying down points on the buyers’ loan; potential results are: you retain a higher agreed upon price (which results in more proceeds to you) and the buyer saves on monthly payments and a tax credit
  • Prepare an equity analysis to show expenses, closing costs and net proceeds
  • Be able to explain the use of the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement that must by law be presented to the buyer of your home. This will help you avoid devastating setbacks and preserve your legal rights
  • Set up Home Warranty to protect your home during listing period and for 12 months after the sale to reassure buyer of the quality of your home
  • Prepare detailed list of property amenities to have readily available at your home, to include in marketing material
  • Submit digital photos of the interior and exterior of your home on social media
  • Promptly convey price changes to all internet social media sites
  • Review Home Owner Warranty
  • Submit Home Warranty application for conveyance at time of sale
  • Create, print, assemble, compelling flyers
  • Create a marketing property brochure of features and lifestyle benefits of your home for use by buyer agents showing your home. Prominently display in your kitchen or dining room
  • Prepare copies of Seller’s Disclosures and Home Owner’s Disclosures to be placed in your home to be available for buyers; these are to be included in a contract
  • Create a custom “Home Marketing Book” to be placed in your home for buyers & buyer’s agents to reference home features, area map, plat/lot map, floor plan (if available), tax information, and other possible buyer benefits. Provide 5 copies for your property, and replace as needed.  This makes your home stand apart in the buyer’s mind long after they have left your property
  • Screen qualified buyers to protect against curiosity seekers
  • Respond promptly to requests to show your property and arrange to meet prospective buyers
  • Be available to show property during business hours, evening and weekends
  • On vacant properties, coordinate utility access for showing and inspections
  • Convey all price changes promptly to Internet real estate sites
  • Research current laws, interest rates, and insurance conditions as it relates to the housing industry, and specifically how it impacts the sale of your property
  • Clean and tidy home interior and exterior for weekend open house
  • Install sign in front yard when allowed by Home Owners Association
  • Market your home on the following internet sites: Truilia, Zillow, Oodle, Craig's List and more (all that apply to your specific property)
  • Marketing of your property on REALTOR.com will not be available to you
  • Submit a crisp, clean digital montage of photos complete with personally written remarks detailing your home and upload on all websites
  • Report to the Attorney General and the Federal Communcations Center fraudulent scraping of your property information and being posted on national websites in a rental scam
  • Schedule Open House to be held, arrange for print ad to be placed in (PAPER) the Monday before Open House to maximize number of customers
  • Review copies of advertisements and marketing material of your home
  • Make info box or tube available under “For Sale” sign for feature sheets
  • Prepare the Homeowner’s Information Sheet which includes information on utilities and services the buyer will need to know when transferring after closing
  • Pre-qualify all buyers
  • Discuss with buyers the qualification and motivation to determine ability to purchase and probability of closing on the sale
  • Handle paperwork if price adjustment needed
  • Take all calls to screen for qualified buyers
  • Receive and review all Offers to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents to determine best negotiation position
  • Be prepared to cooperate with and compensate a buyer’s agent
  • Evaluate offer and calculate your net profit for comparison purposes
  • Review merits and weakness of each offer
  • Understand clauses in contract or engage counsel to assist
  • Contact buyers’ agent to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer
  • Fax or deliver Seller’s Disclosure form to buyer’s agent or buyer (upon request and prior to offer being made if possible)
  • Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling loan officer
  • Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from loan officer
  • Negotiate highest price and best terms
  • Draft timeline of contingency expiration dates
  • Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer or buyer’s agent
  • Identify title and escrow company that has favorable rates
  • Fax or hand deliver copies of contract and all addendums to closing title company
  • Record and promptly deposit buyer’s earnest money in escrow account
  • Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to buyer or buyer’s agent
  • Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender
  • Positon additional offers to purchase that may be considered in back up position
  • Review buyer’s credit report results— consider worst and best case scenarios
  • Coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates
  • Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer
  • Order septic system inspection, if applicable
  • Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale
  • Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender and buyer
  • Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender and buyer
  • Coordinate termite inspection ordered
  • Coordinate mold inspection ordered, if required
  • Coordinate home inspection ordered and handle contingencies, if any
  • Arrange for qualified contractors to handle lead based paint remediation, if necessary
  • Confirm Verifications Of Deposit and buyer’s employment have been returned
  • Follow loan processing through to the underwriter
  • Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track
  • Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection
  • Review home inspector’s report
  • Ensure compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements
  • Identify trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs
  • Schedule appraisal
  • Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser
  • Follow-up on appraisal
  • Address process if appraisal report seems too low
  • Coordinate closing process with buyer or buyer’s agent and lender
  • Have all forms and information needed to close the sale
  • Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties
  • Solve any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc)
  • Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting final walk-through prior to closing
  • Research all tax, Home Owner Association, utility and other applicable pro-rations
  • Request final closing figures from escrow officer
  • Receive & carefully review closing figures on Closing Disclosure to ensure accuracy of preparation
  • Review final figures on Closing Disclosure before closing
  • Forward verified closing figures to buyer or buyer’s agent
  • Request copy of closing documents from escrow officer
  • Confirm buyer has received title insurance commitment
  • Provide “Home Owners Warranty” for availability at closing
  • Review all closing documents carefully for errors
  • Review documents with escrow officer
  • Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to escrow officer
  • Receive call from buyer’s lender that buyer has just make large purchase on credit and no longer qualifies for the loan. Place house back on market.
  • Schedule the closing date
  • Set up final walk- through for buyers and their agent
  • Coordinate closing on your next purchase and resolve any timing problems
  • Arrange possession and transfer of home (keys, warranties, garage door openers, community pool keys, mail box keys, educate new owners of garbage days/recycling, mail procedures etc)
  • Have a “no surprises” closing to receive anticipated net proceeds check at closing
  • Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company if requested
  • Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied

or you can just hire a REALTOR®