When selling a property, there are many steps a Seller will need to take. The first important step is pricing the property. There are myriad factors, including the much ballyhooed location, location, location, but there’s also condition of the property, layout, curb appeal, and other factors that will determine the real value of the property. In the end, the fair market value is what the Seller is willing to sell for and what the Buyer is willing to pay.
After making a decision on the price of the property, the Seller should prepare the property for sale. If it’s a home or condominium, it should be cleaned and removed of as many personal items as the Seller can live with comfortably. This may be different for a primary home than a second home, but in general, there is a balance between a property looking warm and inviting, but not so full of personal items (such as photographs) that prevent a Buyer from imagining themselves as the owner.
The broker will also ask the Seller to complete a Seller’s Disclosure, which is a detailed document listing information about the property that ranges from well and septic information to asbestos, underground tanks, radon tests and heating systems to whether the property is encumbered with any deed restrictions. It is the Seller’s responsibility to complete this form as thoroughly as possible, including any past or current material defects. The listing agent is responsible for disclosing any known material defects regarding the property so it’s incumbent upon the Seller to disclose latent defects as well.
Some Sellers opt to have their own home inspection completed to provide to Buyers. This does not preclude a Buyer from conducting his own, but for the Seller, it provides an opportunity to correct any issues with the house prior to marketing it and it can save a lot of hassles for both parties once the property is under contract. If a Buyer finds issues with a property, for example, a positive result for a radon test, they may try to renegotiate with the Seller for the cost of the mitigation so it makes sense for the Seller to know before negotiating the sale price of any impending items.
If the property is land, it is helpful for the listing broker to compile any information that is helpful to market the property, such as soils test, subdivision plans, restrictions (easements, rights of ways or Covenants) or access to utilities.
Regarding costs for the Seller in a transaction, the Seller pays an attorney to prepare the deed, typically at a cost of $150 to $200. The Sellers also pay one-half of the $4.40 State of Maine transfer tax, so that’s $2.20 per thousand of the sale price. If the Seller lives out of the state, he will also be liable for a 2.5 percent withholding tax, a tax the state collects as an estimated payment on any potential capital gains. The Seller, may however, request a waiver from the state by providing information stating that no capital gains were earned on the sale.
Finally, the Seller will also be responsible for the commission paid to the real estate agent(s) involved in the sale.
The Seller will receive a HUD settlement statement in advance of the sale that will list these costs as well as any pro-rations of taxes or association fees and any mortgages on the property.