Selling a home: an overview

At the outset, selling a home may appear to be a large undertaking.  Here is an overview of what to expect.

The process begins for the seller with the decision to sell.  If you are using a real estate broker to list the property, you will need to decide who that will be and the terms under which they will list and sell the property.

A seller will need to decide at what price to list the home for sale, as well as how the property will be advertised.  Your real estate broker should be able to assist you with these considerations, including by gathering market information about similar, comparable properties nearby.  How quickly one needs to sell, and the unpaid amount of any sums borrowed, also can be taken into account.  Sellers are required to supply certain disclosures about the home, which will be tendered to the purchaser.  These will need to be assembled early in the process.

If there is a homeowner association, such as with condominiums and townhouses, then the seller will need to provide or arrange for the relevant documents and disclosures required by the contract.   Typically, these include the Declaration and Bylaws of the Association, any Rules and Regulations, prior and current year budgets, and certain other disclosures from or about the association.  Some of these may be able to be obtained in advance of a sales contract.  Other documents change more frequently, and may become outdated in the event of a lengthy listing.    Also, the seller may need to notify the association to transfer the unit, to certify the payment of assessments, and to waive any right of first refusal as to the sale.  Some associations charge the seller for these documents.

As a part of the transaction, you are required to provide evidence that you have, and can transfer, good title to the property.   This involves looking at the property history for any liens, unpaid taxes, assessments, easements, and restrictions that affect the land.  We assist our clients to arrange this.

Various documents will be needed for the closing, including to actually transfer possession, and to satisfy the applicable Illinois, Cook County, and municipal taxes, requirements and certifications.   We will coordinate with you to make these steps as seamless as possible.

Also, the buyer likely will expect to take possession of the property at closing, unless you made a different agreement.  Therefore, if you are living in the home being sold, you also need to consider where you are going to move.   If purchasing a new home, then you will need to plan early for the time constraints and financial requirements to do so.

As a final thought, only the seller can decide the right time and price at which to sell.  But when that decision is made, our goal is to assist sellers by taking care of a lot of the mechanical aspects of the transaction, providing the freedom to move forward.