Home Seller’s Guide Index:
Step 1: Planning
Map-The Home Selling Process
Home Selling Checklist – Simplified
Step 2: Your Strategy
Step 3: Steps in Selling A Home
Step 4: Meeting Your Agent
Your Net Proceeds
Both Selling & Buying – Avoid 2 Mortgages
Step 5: A Marketing Plan Specifically For Your Home
Preparing Your House For Sale
The Marketing Plan
Step 6: From Sale to Settlement
From Offer to Sales Contract
The Sales Contract
Personal Property That Conveys
Time Between Contract and Settlement
Step 7: Time to MOVE!
Available upon request:
(see last pg for more information)
“Home Staging Secrets”: 500 Tips & Tricks straight from
Moving Guide & Checklists
Additional Information Attached:
VIP Elite Preferred Home Seller Program
Checklist of Information Needed to List Your Home
Our Quality Service Guarantee
Our Cancellation Guarantee
Glossary of Real Estate/Mortgage Terms
VIP Elite Preferred Home Seller Program
To see how we use all of the steps in this Guide, make you and your home the central part of the Real Estate Transaction,
and the specific programs that I employ for Home Sellers , check out our…
The Complete Home Seller’s Guide
How To Sell Your Home In Today’s Market
Selling a home is complicated. From experience, we know it’s not just a question of selling a home
– it’s also a question of relocating a family, across town or across the country. Selling your home is
not an everyday experience, and it is probably the largest investment you own. The process raises
as many questions which we will try to answer in this guide.
Table of Contents
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 3
Our Client-First Philosophy
There are many qualities and skills that go into being an excellent real estate professional – integrity, in-depth community and market knowledge,
marketing savvy, effective negotiation skills and a high-quality professional network, all of which are hallmarks of how we work.
That said, in our experience as Fargo-Moorhead real estate professionals, we’ve also found that providing the very best service is essentially about putting
our clients first. This means keeping ourselves accessible, being good listeners as well as good communicators, and responding quickly to your needs. This
“client first” philosophy has always been our approach and it requires us to continually improve our skills and ways of doing business. In addition, we’ve
found that the latest technologies are enabling us to do everything we’ve always done, only much more quickly and efficiently. They’ve also helped us to
extend the range of services we provide to our clients. When you decide that you’d like to buy or sell a home in the Fargo Moorhead area, contact us
anytime, we’re here to help!
Modern Market Realtors is the Most Innovative, Technology Based, Real Estate Company in the FM Area. We work as a “Team”, together we can
accomplish much more than one single agent. We have over 25 years of combined Real Estate Experience.
We both grew up in the FM Area. Prior to real estate, Shannon worked in the Title Closing industry for many years. Jim owned and operated several local
businesses. We have 4 wonderful children who keep us very busy outside of our real estate careers. It’s very important that you feel comfortable with
your real estate agent and most of all have a relationship built on trust.
We specialize in residential real estate transactions working with buyers and sellers in all types of real estate transactions. We are also Certified SFR (Short
Sales & Foreclosure Resource). Over the years, we have been with many of the large Real Estate Companies in the area. During that time we gained a vast
array of knowledge and experience in the Fargo Moorhead real estate community. With those relationships, we have been able to combine the ideas and
systems we have learned over the years and implement them into a way of doing business that will help you have a stress free & enjoyable buying or
selling process. Call us today and we will go to work for you!
Our Services for Sellers
We specialize in “marketing” homes, not just “listing” homes. We do a lot more than the average Realtor will. We shoot an actual home video walk thru
tour of your home, we provide a personalized text code for your listing so that people can simply text a code to receive the full listing pictures and
information… instantly! We help you stage your home. We hold public, neighborhood and specialty open houses around your schedule, marketing them
aggressively. We use exceptional marketing materials to make your home show in its best light. We do creative listing descriptions to give your home the
attention it deserves. We have large, high quality yard signs to dress up your yard. Plus we utilize today’s technology to make sure that your home is in
front of the entire online community via websites, search engines, social media, virtually everything that is being used by buyers to search for homes. The
research has been done to see where the buyers are, ultimately, your home is found each and every time a buyer is searching! We use all of these tools to
keep only very serious buyers scheduling showings inside your home. There is no need for you to be inconvenienced more than necessary, we want to sell
your home, not let everyone just wander through. This is one way we make the process less stressful on you as a seller. Everything we do, is to make sure
your lives can go on as normal as possible throughout the home selling process. Let us take care of the details while you handle day to day life as
uninterrupted as possible. All the “over-and-above” services we provide are of no additional cost to you, we give the same quality and top notch service to
all of our listing clients.
Our Services for Buyers
We take the time to examine exactly what you are looking for in a home. We do a thorough buyer consultation where we get to know what your personal
wants and needs are in your next home. We then search through the thousands of homes available for sale to find homes that fit your criteria and send
them to you the very FIRST day they go up for sale. We set you up on our auto email service so that you receive an email immediately when a home is
listed that fits your needs. This way, you will not miss your perfect home! We then take you on a tour of all the homes that interest you and start the hunt
for that home that you walk into and immediately know that “you are home”. We educate and inform you throughout the whole process. We are also
very patient and will allow you to move at your own pace, fast or slow… we’re ready to guide you along the way. We enjoy the entire process and can’t
wait to help you in your search. We understand how important of a move this is for you and we take the time and patience to work with you and make
sure you find exactly what you want in a home. Let us take care of all the details and simplify the process for you so that you can enjoy every minute until
“move in day”!
Contact Us Today! We look forward to helping you with all of your real estate needs.
Shannon Barnum & Jim Christl
(701) 491-2000 (701) 205-5517
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 4
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 5
Step 1: Planning
To successfully sell your home you must systematically plan
all the steps involved and fit the pieces together.
Home selling typically is accomplished in three major steps…
Planning your strategy
Getting ready for the sale
Getting from sale to the final settlement table.
A Real Estate Professional is in the business of accomplishing these steps. To make it easier for you, we have put our
experience into this handbook.
This handbook is written from the point of view that you are going to use a Professional Realtor to assist you with the sale
of your home, but it will serve you just as well as a “do-it-yourself-guide” to help you sell your own home.
Your Professional Real Estate Agent will put together a personal marketing plan for selling your home as fast as possible,
with the least inconvenience to you, and for the best price possible.
Home Selling Process Map (Next page)
The following page is a step by step map showing you each and every step of the process. Please note that this is not
typical for all Real Estate Agents and Companies. The listing process is specific to Modern Market Realtors and how we
treat our listing clients with the utmost care and professionalism. We do not stick to the basics when it comes to selling
homes. We spend a lot of time and energy on each and every one of our listings to make sure that you are satisfied but
most of all to make sure that you receive the highest sales prices in the least amount of time with the least amount of
problems and/or stress.
We don’t just list homes, we “Market” homes. Please take a look at the following map to see some of the amazing
services that we provide to all of our sellers. None of the services are of any extra charge to you, we go over and above to
make sure that you net the most profit for your home. Hire us today to sell your home and we guarantee you will not be
“We look forward to guiding you through your entire home selling process.”
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 6
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 7
Your Home selling Checklist
You’ve seen the map of the home selling process and all the details can be a bit overwhelming. Many people like to follow the process and
check off the items as they’ve been completed. I’ve created a checklist for you with the steps “SIMPLIFIED”. Here is a summary of the process so that you can follow along throughout your home selling process.
⎕Start your process with Modern Market Realtors experienced Realtors you can trust!
⎕Schedule your initial consultation and tour of your home
⎕Your Realtor will analyze your needs and establish goals
⎕Your Realtor provides advice and guidance
⎕Your Realtor researches and analyzes market data
⎕You and your Realtor establish pricing strategy together
⎕Complete listing paperwork
⎕Schedule professional staging consultation
⎕Discuss showing plans that work for you
⎕You prepare your home for sale (implement plan decided between you and your Realtor)
⎕Thorough clean, declutter, depersonalize
⎕Complete repairs and/or improvements
⎕Staging (professional or personal)
⎕Your Realtor does photo/video shoot
⎕Your home is officially LISTED FOR SALE!
⎕Realtor implements marketing strategy
⎕Realtor brings sign, lockbox, home information booklet, flyers, remove shoes sign
⎕Realtor obtains feedback from showings
⎕Realtor discusses findings of feedback with you if changes are needed from information
⎕You Receive An OFFER!
⎕Discuss terms of offer with Realtor
⎕Accept – Negotiate & Counteroffer – Reject
⎕If offer rejected, back to showings.
⎕Realtor obtains earnest money (deposits in brokers account)
⎕Realtor notifies you of time/date of inspection (if applicable)
⎕Realtor facilitates inspections & other contingencies until all contingencies removed
⎕Proceed to closing
⎕Realtor notifies you time/date of appraisal (once appraiser calls to schedule)
⎕Receive notice of passing appraisal!
⎕If appraisal fails… Discuss re-negotiation with your Realtor
⎕Realtor starts transaction management with closing company
⎕Closing company orders your existing loan payoffs (may contact you for more info)
⎕You provide abstract to Realtor who supplies to closing co for updating
⎕You contact utility companies with date of sale
⎕Receive notice of “clear to close” from buyers lender
⎕Receive notice of “clear title” from closing company
⎕Buyer and buyer’s agent completes final walk thru (usually day before closing)
⎕Realtor reviews final HUD1 with you (breakdown of all fees and final proceeds/costs)
⎕$$$ Receive proceeds check $$$
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 8
Step 2: Planning
First, you need to adopt a business attitude
about the entire situation.
Planning a strategy for Selling a Home In Fargo-Moorhead
Remove Emotion – Think Business!
Homeowners are often quite emotional about their homes, and it can prevent them from making rational decisions when
selling. They reminisce about all of the holiday get togethers, back yard barbecues, and how the family grew together in the
Potential buyers are not interested in nor affected by your emotional attachments to your home. Potential buyers are not
looking to buy your home, they are looking to buy a house that they can make into their home.
You must put your emotions aside and realize that you are going to have to make a dollars and cents business transaction.
You are NOT selling your home. You are putting it into the Real Estate Marketplace!
It must then compete in that marketplace with all the other homes available for sale. You must market your home effectively
against all of its competition. Whether you are trying to sell your home yourself or hiring an agent you need a “Home
Marketing System.” Your knowledge of your home and neighborhood helps at every step to target the market where we will
find the right buyer for your home as quickly as possible with the least hassle and get the maximum price for your home.
What you need to know in planning a strategy:
We discuss all of these in detail in subsequent chapters of this guide.
In Chapter 4: Your Realtor will discuss in detail:
What services to expect from your Fargo Moorhead real estate agent.
How to set your asking price.
How to estimate the net proceeds from your sale.
How to figure your tax benefits and more.
In Chapter 5: You will learn all you need to know about how you can, and should, market your home to get the most money
possible in the shortest time.
Finally, In Chapter 6: We deal with the details of negotiating the sales contract price, term, contingencies, and all the steps
from Contract to Closing.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 9
Step 3: The Steps
in Selling a Home
As you can see, selling your home is complex series of
The Steps in Selling a Home in Fargo Moorhead
Based on the Modern Market Realtor Team’s 25+ years of experience in helping Fargo Moorhead Home Sellers, we are
happy to have prepared this comprehensive guide to provide you with the information, tools, and references you need in
order to have a successful Transaction.
Not only do you need to know all the steps, but it often takes a professional with the knowledge, experience and credentials
to be your trusted advisor. Using this guide you could learn everything you need to know to accomplish the process
yourself, but it is much easier and less stressful if you have the assistance of someone who will help you to develop a
personalized program to guide you through the complex home selling process.
The details involved in each step of the process:
We will be discussing in detail in the remaining 3-Chapters of this guide.
Meet with your agent:
Prepare and sign a listing contract
Determine your wants and needs in this sale
Determine an asking price
Work out a customized plan for the marketing of your home
Review all financing options, including seller financing
Discuss repairs or improvements that will increase the marketability of your home
Notifying all of the Multiple List Service Agents as to the features and price of your home, and encourage them
to show your home.
Arrange for the showing of your home only to qualified buyers
Aid you in the evaluation and consideration of ALL purchase offers, and negotiate purchase contracts on your
Be sure buyer is qualified, and has financial ability to purchase your home
Finalize the sales contract
Transaction Coordination to confirm that all contingencies and requirements of contract are completed
Have all necessary inspections made
Go to closing
Moving out of your current home, and into your new home
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 10
Step 4: Meeting Your
When you put your home up for sale, it’s called “listing” because
your agent lists the property on the open market & in the Multiple Listing Service (Fargo Moorhead MLS), to expose your home
to the widest range of buyers.
LISTING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
Now is the time to put your planning to work and your home on the market. Your main concern at this stage is “what to expect at
a “listing” appointment,” and how to be prepared. You will want to know how to set an asking price, how to fix up your home to
sell and how to show your home to its best advantage.
What is meant by a “listing agreement?”
When you put your home up for sale, it’s called “listing” because your agent lists the property on the open market and in the
Multiple Listing Service to expose your home to the widest range of buyers. To do this you employ the agent to market your
home by signing a contract – The Listing Agreement. All Real Estate Transactions in North Dakota & Minnesota must be in writing.
The Listing Agreement contains the following terms:
A complete description of your property
The price you’re asking
An indication of the financing terms you will accept
The brokerage fee
The length of time the agreement is to be in effect
When you sign the listing contract, you may agree to give your agent the “exclusive right to sell” your home for a certain listing
period, at the end of which you may extend or terminate the agreement, depending on your satisfaction with your agent’s efforts
to sell. When you give the agent the right to list and sell your home, the agent’s has certain duties and responsibilities to you
under a strict code of ethics and the laws of the State. All of these are spelled out in the listing agreement.
A listing appointment is most productive if you have certain specific essential and optional information on hand. Because the list
is long, we have attached it to the end of this guide. See: “Checklist of Information Needed To List Your Home”.
You and your agent will discuss the special features that you think would help sell your home. All of these items will be included
in your listing to entice agents and potential buyers to consider your home above other comparable listings, and increase the
value of the home.
The remainder of your meeting with your Realtor should be a discussion of the following topics:
Section A:. Pricing
Section B: Your Net Proceeds
Section C: Tax Implications
Section D: Both Selling & Buying – How to avoid 2 Mortgages
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 11
Section A. PRICING:
This is by far the most important, yet most often misunderstood step! Failure to properly price your home is the single biggest
factor that will cause it to NOT SELL!
To make sure that this doesn’t happen, you must first focus on two main areas:
Current Market Conditions
Your time requirements
Local Market Conditions vary and you must make decisions based on the current state of the market. When there are few
homes on the market for sale, or a large amount of eager buyers prices rise. Conversely, when there are few buyers or lots of
eager sellers, prices fall.
It is only the current local market that determines prices and the amount of time it may take to sell your home. The market is
extremely sensitive to things like interest rates, the current rate of home sales, and local and national economic factors.
So that you have the most current and complete information, your agent will provide you with a computerized analysis of
homes available, under contract, and sold homes. Then your agent will identify the homes that are similar to yours, ones that
are nearly the same, as well as those that have other features and upgrades that your home does not have.
DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that maintenance items can be considered as improvements that increase value. Things
such as a new roof or new heating & cooling unit are really maintenance items. While these items may make your home sell
faster, they typically do not add much to the potential asking price of the home. After all, a buyer will expect a home to have a
roof that doesn’t leak and a properly functioning heating/cooling unit.
Next, the agent will review all of this data and make an honest, unbiased comparison with all of these other homes, and adjust
values of those houses versus your home. A seller can ask any price for their home, regardless of what it is really worth. Sellers
often want to price their home above the market value, but these homes are overlooked by Agents and Buyers and linger on
the market – unsold.
The agent will depend on the pending and closed sales, and the behavior of prices in the current “market” to help you set a fair
range of market values to use as a possible asking price.
The real value of your home is what buyer’s are willing to pay and what seller’s were willing to sell for in a free, open market.
This is the price at which your home is most likely to sell for.
Once you determine the proper price range for your home, how quickly you want to sell will dictate whether you price at the
lower or higher ends of the price range. This is where your own time frame and other requirements come into play.
It is natural for every homeowner to have a certain pride of ownership, and to think that their home should be worth more
than the one down the street. This is where you must be objective, and try to take your emotional attachments to your home
out of the situation.
You must be reasonable. The most attention your home will receive is in the first 6-weeks after listing. If you price your home
too high in the beginning, IT WILL NOT SELL!! It will sit on the market for months on end. People will assume that since the
home has not sold, there must be something wrong with it. This is a common misconception that must be avoided to net you
the most profit. Even if you drop the price over time (“lets try a higher price to start with”), the damage is already done. The
stigma is there, and you may need to drop the price even further to entice skeptical buyers.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 12
Improper pricing is the single biggest mistake that sellers make. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure that you set a
reasonable price for your home right from the start. Choosing a Realtor® with years of experience and pricing ability will be the
key factor in targeting that sweet spot. Getting the price right is a talent and years of pricing homes aid in that talent. Listen to
the advice of your “experienced” Realtor and you will walk away with the most profit.
Section B. How much cash will you walk away with?
During your listing appointment, once you and your agent have set a listing price for the property, based on that price, your
agent will be able to give you an idea of your expected expenses to close the transaction, and your estimated proceeds – or net
“walk-away” cash. Not all Realtors® will provide this service. Make sure that your Realtor® provides this very important step so
that you are clear about every detail, every fee and your final potential proceeds.
NOTE: As your Realtors®, we will create an estimate based on a potential scenario of offer terms based on sales terms of similar
homes in the area that have recently sold.
Once you receive an offer on your home, we use what is called an Estimated Proceeds Form (or Sellers Net Sheet), we will start
with the Sales Price & terms of the offer, and make a good faith estimate of the breakdown of closing costs and fees to be
Some common closing costs that may apply to you:
Mortgage Payoff (including prorated interest due, pre-payment penalties if they apply)
Payoff of 2nd Mortgages, HELOC-Home Equity Lines of Credit, or any other liens on the property
Buyer’s closing costs that you may have agreed to pay (loan discount/origination pts, other buyer closing costs)
Abstract Update (or replacement if lost)
Title Commitment Fee
Title Insurance Fee
Brokerage Fee (commission)
Appraisal, Survey and Flood Certification
Title Company Closing Fee
Other Miscellaneous Closing Company Fees
Inspections Fees (if required)
Any anticipated owed taxes
Possible credit for prepaid taxes and/or escrow reimbursement
NOTE: Some fees are negotiable as to who pays them – Buyer or Seller. Remember until final closing this is a good-faith estimate
based on estimated costs & sales price. Any changes in the figures will affect the bottom line at the time of the actual sale.
Other possible costs of selling: Besides the above costs you may also have some or all of the following expenses:
Fix up costs
Home-buying costs, including down payment, if you buy another home
Costs of equipping and/or furnishing your new home
Be sure to maintain a cash or credit reserve for unexpected expenses.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 13
Section C. Tax Implications
Homeownership tax deductions are probably the best investments available to most taxpayers. When you sell your home,
taxes come into play in many ways. Because of the Tax Relief Act of 1997 and other tax law provision, up to $500,000 of any
capital gains realized on selling your residence is excluded from taxation for married couples ($250,000 for single or married,
filing separate status).
The property must have been used as your principal residence for at least 2 of the 5 years leading up to the sale
You can exclude $500,000 on sales over and over, but there must be at least 2 years between each sale.
If your gains are larger than $500,000 or $250,000 exclusion amounts, you can reduce the tax by deducting the
following from the sale profit:
The cost of improvements
The cost of broker’s commission and lawyers fees
The cost of title insurance, recording charges, transfer fees and other closing costs
You can reduce your immediate tax burden, in situations where the gains are larger than the exclusion
amounts, by making an installment sale where you spread out your income – and taxes – over a period of years.
If your lender requires you pay a penalty for paying off your mortgage before its due date, in most cases, that
charge is deductible.
Remember: All tax matters are subject to change and you should consult your professional tax preparer or accountant before
making any claims. The above information is only a guideline to possible tax situations and not to be considered tax advice,
only a guideline to assist you in questions you may want to ask, please contact a tax professional for specific answers in
regards to your personal situation.
Section D. Mortgage
“In selling my home and buying a new one, what can I do to be sure I won’t get stuck with two
Senario 1: Most authorities suggest that your best strategy is to place your home on the market far enough in advance to
attract a buyer. In this scenario, you will have 2 options:
Negotiate a contract that has a settlement date far enough in the future so that you can go house hunting, and
buy a new home that will close before you have to move out of your old home. If you do not find a home in that
time frame, you will need to obtain temporary housing depending on the time frame needed and the options
you have in your personal situation (you may need a rental, hotel, or simply stay w/friends or relatives).
There are specific terms of your sale we can add to make sure that you are not required to sell if you are unable
to find a home that you want. In some markets, this can potentially hinder the sale but it’s completely up to you
how you want to proceed and if you need the peace of mind that you will not have to find temporary housing
while you wait to find the home you want. We will explain your options in great detail when the time comes
that you are ready to make the move.
Senario 2: If you find a new home before you’ve sold your old one, you have 2-options:
You may be able to arrange a bridge loan secured by the equity in either your old or new home to cover your
expenses until the closing on your old home. Lenders sometimes require you to have a purchase contract on
your old home, but bridge loans can sometimes be found if you home is not yet sold.
If your move is job-related, but no home-purchase relocation program is in effect, you might persuade your
employer to either provide a bridge loan or pick up some of your relocating expenses
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 14
Step 5: Marketing
Plan Specifically for
Your Agent, and other Agents, have a pool of qualified
buyers. Some of them will be looking for exactly what
your home will provide.
Section A: Introduction
Section B: Preparing Your House For Sale
Section C: The Marketing Plan
Section A. Introduction
Even before preparing your house for sale (Section B) or developing a marketing plan (Section C), we start marketing your
home. Your Agent and other Agents, have a pool of qualified buyers. Some of these ready and willing buyers will be looking for
exactly your home.
Agents have the tools to “market” your home. Agents can attract a “qualified buyer” that actually can buy your home whether
your agent actually has that buyer or the buyer is represented by another agent.
Again, immediately, after the preparation of the home and the formal marketing plan, this is what your agent does:
They place your property in the Multiple Listing Service of homes (Fargo Moorhead MLS), which exposes your home to ALL the
buyers working with cooperating member agents and brokers. This effectively exposes EVERY agent in town, EVERY real estate
company and ALL the buyers that they are working with to your home.
Additionally, the Agent will produce professional brochures/flyers describing your home. These not only go in your
informational booklet for potential buyers to take with them. You will want to leave this booklet sitting out for showings. A good
agent sends copies of those flyers to every other agent in town to remind them of your home’s availability.
A good agent’s personal Internet site(s), as well as all of the other internet sites that rebroadcast the listings in the Homes, will
have a full description of your home and its features. In this market well over 70% of buyers use the Internet as part of their
home buying process. Be sure that your agent has an active Website or more than one site that is exposing your home to buyers
around town, across the country, and around the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Only by using a Real Estate Agent do you get benefit of every other professional Agent who spends their career generating a
pool of qualified buyers drawing on that pool of buyers to find one that wants exactly what your house has to offer.
The Real Estate Agent provides solid up-to-date market information with recent sales and current listings, which help you, price
your home appropriately and realistically. Such pricing is crucial to the possibility of a quick sale at the best price obtainable.
The importance of this issue cannot be overstated. See Section A in Chapter 4.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 15
Before we move one to Section B – the “Preparation of your home for sale,” you and your agent need to go over every part
of your home.
Your agent will note special features, especially those which may not be obvious to the potential buyer.
You need to discuss what items you are including with the sale of the home and what you are excluding from
You’ll discuss how to show the positive points about your home and neighborhood.
You and the agent will determine how to show your home most appealingly (“staging”). A complete
discussion of Staging your home for sale is in the next section of this guide, and we will provide a comprehensive booklet to help you.
You need to be frank about any defects whether visible or not.
You’ll discuss any repairs, renovations, and improvements, which might increase the marketability of your
home. The agent will know which repairs may bring you back more than they cost you, or even if they only
return part, or none of their cost, they are likely to help sell your home faster and at a better price.
A frank discussion of your reasons and motivation for selling, will help you arrive at a competitive asking price
and marketing strategy.
Your agent will discuss different financing possibilities that may be useful to buyers, and thus facilitate their
ability to make an offer on your home.
Exposure sells homes. Provide for easy access for agents to show your home. Offer extras that convey with
the home like appliances, and fixtures.
Remember your home is in competition with every other home for sale at the time. Your agent will help you
compare your home with other homes for sale, have sold, or have not sold in your area. All of the above
introductory details are designed to begin to differentiate your home from all the others.
Section B. Preparing Your Home For Sale.
A big plus to having an agent is helping you prepare your home to be shown. After Pricing, this is the second most
important factor that determines whether you sell your house and especially at the best possible price.
Properly preparing your home for sale can make the difference between a quick sale at full price, and a home that sits
unsold for months, even after several price reductions.
As a FREE service, we provide a professional staging expert to advise you how to make your home stand out from other
comparable homes on the market. This will maximize the value and be a major factor in selling your home quickly. We will
work with you to enhance the features and amenities that make your home outstanding.
The first order of business is to forget your emotional attachment to your home and look at it through the eyes of a
potential buyer. Be impartial, and recognize the weaknesses of your home. How does it stack up?
Remember, potential buyers are going to be viewing lots of other homes, and if yours doesn’t stand out, it will be much
more difficult to sell. Buyers buy what they see. If what they see is dirty, messy, and worn looking, you don’t stand a
With a mental picture of a model home in your mind, YOU AND YOUR AGENT should make an attack list of items to be
completed on your home. It may be a short or long list, depending on the condition of your home, but keep in mind that all
your efforts now will pay off big on closing day.
The objective is to make your home appear well maintained, spacious, organized and clean. Many factors such as how light
it is, the colors, sounds and smell subtly effect the buyer’s impression of your home.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 16
Start by walking out to the middle of the street and take a good, focused look at the overall appearance of the exterior of
your home. Good curb appeal will make the critical proper first impression. Remember, if a home is unattractive from the
outside, buyers won’t bother to see the inside and if they do, they have already prejudged the home from their first
impression. “Staging” a home for sale starts with at the curb and moves inside. Then you need to outside and look at your
lot, landscaping, and finally out to the garage.
It can be a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Clean, organized, clutter-free homes are always the first to sell! Whether your
efforts will make a difference of thousands of dollars or hundreds of dollars, think of it this way… If you spend 10 hours of
your own labor detailing your home and that makes the difference of only $1000 in price (just an example), that’s a payment
to you of $100/hr (pretty nice paying job!) Potentially, the hours you spend may net you more than you can make at any job.
We will work with you to enhance the features and amenities that make your home outstanding. Contact us for a FREE copy
of our book “450 Ways To Make Your Home Sell Faster.” This is a detailed, Sellers Guide to all of the things that you
personally can do to make your home what prospective sellers are looking for.
Now that your home is ready to show, when an agent calls you to make an appointment, or if your home is shown while you
are away the following will help:
Air the rooms, perhaps use air freshener or run a lemon through the disposal
Baking cookies, bread or simply a pan of cinnamon adds a “homey” aroma’
Turn on lights, turn off stereos, TVs and radios;
Keep children out of the way; park the pets outside – many prospects are afraid of or allergic to animals, and
you don’t want to give a potential buyer a reason not to thoroughly consider your home.
In short, get the whole place ready for close inspection.
If at all possible, you should not be home when your house is being shown. Leave the selling to the agent.
Agents know what your home has to offer and what these particular buyers are looking for. Agents also know
how to sell. Buyers tend to feel uncomfortable when current owners are around, it makes them feel like they
are imposing on someone else’s home and unable to envision themselves actually living in the home.
Section C. The Marketing Plan.
You will find Agents vary in the tools that they have available to market your home. We use many special marketing tools to
attract the qualified buyer that actually buys your home whether I represent that buyer, or another agent represents the
In my “VIP Elite Preferred Sellers Program” and my “Quality Service Guarantee” (both attached), I describe in detail all of
the things that I will do, and what should be done to market your home. Just like you have worked with the Agent to
determine a staging plan, it is important that the Agent, with your input, presents you with a detailed, written Marketing
Plan with specific strategies, programs, and buyer targets. This is the third step in getting your home sold quickly, for the
most money and with the least inconvenience to you. Also included in our free listing package is a checklist to show you all
the elements of a customized marketing plan, as well as the Premier Service Policy, and Quality Service Guarantee.
Setting the “right price”
Make your home more marketable than the competition
Place the Home on the Multiple Listing Service (Fargo Moorhead MLS)
Place the Lockbox, Sign, Flyers and Informational Booklet for Buyers
Expose your home to all the Agents in town and their buyer pool
Place home on all national, local, company, and personal Agent Internet Websites
Multiple Pictures of your home on Internet and on all marketing pieces
Home Video Walk Thru Tour of your home enhancing special features
Direct promotion of your home to all Real Estate Agents & their entire pool of potential buyers by direct email
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 17
**RARE** At Modern Market Realtors, we create a “Home Video Tour”, an actual walk thru of your home. This is something that is
almost exclusive to Modern Market Realtors, most companies/agents do not provide this service and it is a very important one for
many reasons. The main reason of course is to enhance your homes best features but another important factor is to provide you a less
stressful home selling situation. This step will eliminate unnecessary showings. Buyers having the ability to view a walk thru video tour
of your home will target only serious buyers to schedule a showing. Having numerous showings to buyers that your home would not
work for is only a waste of time for them but more importantly for you as you are trying to live a normal life while selling your home.
The more times you have to leave, clean up, get the house ready, the harder it is to get through the process. We want a lot of
showings, but only to those buyers who would really consider buying your home. This not only gives potential buyers an opportunity
to see your entire home and ALL of its features (many of which are difficult to capture with still photos), but every agent at every
company will also have the ability to view the video and share with their potential buyers.
Prestigious Agent and Company Yard Sign to attract buyer’s attention.
A professional high quality flyer/brochure describing your home and its features
A text service with a personalized code for buyers to receive full information, pictures and video directly to their mobile
device. They are also able to schedule a showing right from the app.
Just Listed postcards sent to homes in your neighborhood.
Print Advertising in The Fargo Forum (Various options: HomesHQ, open houses, hot homes, featured properties)
Target marketing via direct mail and directed email marketing.
Massive Online Marketing – We do not miss a thing! Technology is our best friend and we utilize everything possible so
that your home is found each and every time someone searches for homes with your specifics!
A lock box to allow ease of availability to show your home.
In some cases open houses are used. (This is an optional service and only used if you are comfortable with it.) We will go
over all the pros and cons with you and you will make the decision whether you would prefer we do them or not. The
different possibilities we offer are:
Traditional Saturday/Sunday open house for the public. (this is what most agents may or may not offer)
Evening open houses during the week also for the public. In some cases, maybe certain times of the year or other factors,
we feel this may be a better option than the standard weekend open houses. For instance, in the summer, a large percentage of people tend venture to the lakes area. We may do a midweek open house to make the home available to
those who are not able to attend weekend open houses. (This is not as common but can be very effective in certain
situations. We do what works, not just what is common amongst other Realtors.
Special open houses specifically for neighborhood invites. Your neighbors and people who live in the general vicinity
many times have friends or family that they would like to live close to them. They can be a great reference for potential
buyers that may want the opportunity to buy a home in a neighborhood where they know someone. This is a commonly
overlooked marketing strategy that can be very helpful.
We will go over our suggestions for what we feel will be the best strategy for your particular situation.
A Very Important Factor Is Communication!
“I will communicate with you regularly to keep you informed as to showings, agent comments, and market changes. We will use this
information to consider any changes in your marketing plan.”
Thorough communication is a service that should not be optional, but sadly, for many agents it’s not a service they
We’ve had numerous prior sellers over the years tell us that they listed their home and didn’t hear from their agent
throughout the entire listing. We’ve also heard that prior sellers have been disappointed with the amount of work their
agent did to to sell their home. In many cases, the home did not sell and they had to find a different agent that was
willing to put the time and effort in. The sad part is that by that time, the damage most likely has been done. It’s much
more difficult to get market price for the home when it’s been poorly listed and been on the market for a long time. In
those cases, it’s even more important to find a Realtor who is going to go over and above to make sure that the seller can
profit as much as possible.
Learn from past sellers mistakes… Don’t get stuck with an agent that follows the standard “Three P’s” of listing a home…
Put the house on the MLS, Put a sign in the yard & Pray! Very few agents go over and above the call of duty, the 3 P’s are
common because it is all that is required. Many agents feel that that’s all they should be expected to do.
We pride ourselves on all of the exceptional services we provide to each and every client. Our main goal is Client
Satisfaction! To achieve that, we work very hard, we are very thorough & we offer all of the “extras” to obtain the most
profit in the least amount of time possible.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 18
Step 6: From Sale
And everything in between!
Selling a home from sale to closing
You receive an offer to purchase your home.
Negotiate with the Agent of the potential buyer
Sign a contract
Wait for your buyer to secure a mortgage loan
Make preparations to move
At settlement, finally collect payment and hand over the keys.
Throughout the process, numerous other steps/details will be happening “behind the scenes”, your agent is at hand to handle all
of those details, keep you informed, answer your questions and help in any way needed until you have sold, settled and moved.
Section A. From Offer To Sales Contract
You receive a signed offer
Discuss the terms and buyer’s qualifications with your agent.
Every seller has three basic options when presented with an offer.
You can either accept or reject what’s offered, or you can make a written counter-offer as soon as possible.
Until you sign, buyers can always withdraw an offer.
Be sure to reply immediately because buyers are in the mood to buy when they make an offer, but moods change.
Either your agent, or the buyer’s agent will have the information you need to determine whether the buyer is
qualified to buy your home.
Remember the first contract received often turns out to be the best.
Experience shows the first 30 days on the market are critical because a backlog of buyers often exists. These buyers have been
looking and waiting for a home just like yours. Overpricing misses out on this buyer backlog, and so does turning down good
offers in the early days in hopes of doing better later. Negotiating the sale price and term sometimes means walking a tightrope
between the highest price the buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price you can accept. Arriving at an agreement may take
patience, psychology, flexibility – and intuition.
Keep the dialogue going until you agree on price and terms. Remember, in many cases a low offer can be turned into just what
you are looking for. Rely on your agent, who is in a unique position to help negotiations along, since your agent knows your
situation. Your agent is professionally trained to find a meeting of the minds where everybody wins. After all, everyone has the
same goal: you want to sell, and the buyer wants to buy.
Your signed acceptance of a written offer becomes your sales contract. Except for removing any contingencies, this document is
the binding basis for the sale. Contingencies are typically used to smooth acceptance of a contract without delaying the buyer
decision. Most contracts are contingent upon financing. This is for your protection as well as the buyer’s, because you don’t want
to be tied to a buyer who can’t deliver.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 19
Section B. The Sales Contract
The sales contract is a very important document. The terms defined in writing will be used throughout the transaction.
Depending on the situation, terms and conditions will vary. Most important is making sure you know who pays what and what
the costs of those items are. Here are some typical points contained in a contract.
A description of the property, including separate personal property that is to be conveyed to the buyer.
The amount of earnest money (also “deposit”), this money is a partial down payment that shows the buyer’s good
faith in buying. Normally, earnest money deposits are returned to the buyer if the contingencies are not met.
The sales price of your home
Financing Terms. The amount of the buyer’s down payment. This amount, plus the mortgage loan, equals the
purchase price. The amount of mortgage loan the buyer intends to obtain & the maximum interest rate the buyer
will pay. The amount of lender required repairs the buyer expects you to cover if any repairs are noted as required
on the appraisal and who will pay the re-inspection fee to the appraiser for coming back to make sure those repairs
have been done.
Discount points or buyer closing costs and who pays them.
The date of settlement
Possession date and any pre- or post-settlement occupancy agreement if you wish to stay in the home after
settlement and pay rent, or the buyer needs to occupy before settlement.
Contingencies that will determine the fulfillment of the contract, such as: prompt inspection to determine the
condition of your home; required improvements or repairs amongst various other possiblities.
Your signature and signature of the buyer.
Section C. What Personal property a buyer expects to “go with the home?
When your home is sold there is a distinction between real property and personal property. Generally, the home, land, trees,
shrubbery, fences, TV antenna and any fixture inside or outside that would cause visible damage if removed is considered real
property. Anything else is personal property. Unless you say in the contract otherwise, real property stays and personal property
goes with you. That’s why some real property is often written into the contract to be clear it is or is not part of the sale.
You’re free to remove whatever freestanding personal possessions you want to take with you, such as the washer, dryer,
firewood, swimming pool chemicals, window air conditioner, etc., if the items do not alter the condition of the home. Clearly,
you won’t take with you the wall-to-wall carpet or built-in cabinets and appliances – unless your buyer agrees and this is spelled
out in your sales contract.
When you place your home on the market, decide what’s to stay and include these items in the sale price. Usually home sellers
leave behind awnings, draperies, blinds, shades and rods bought to fit specific windows. Sometimes buyers ask for personal
property like appliances. Whatever you wish to take with you, either remove before showing your home or specify in the written
contract that it does not go with the home.
Section D. How long between sales contract and settlement?
During this time your agent will probably be busier than ever. Your agent, or the agent’s transaction coordinator, will facilitate
the process all the way through settlement by keeping in touch with all parties, ironing out problems, expediting the loan
process, arranging inspections, running papers across town, coordinating appointment dates.
You can help speed up the process by signing the contract promptly and making any repairs required as soon as possible. Your
sales contract can specify how long you’re willing to wait, but it must be realistically based on the time lenders are taking in your
area to process loans. Depending on the type of financing your buyer is applying for, a typical waiting period can be any time
between 30 and 60 days, but sometimes more or less.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 20
Section E. Settlement
What items do I have to get ready for settlement?
All the keys for the home. Don’t forget garage door opener, garage and shed keys, padlock combinations and
code for security systems!
Warranties on mechanical equipment. Sometimes these are left at the home. Instructions and manuals on
maintenance and operation of equipment.
The Transaction Coordinator or Closing/Title Company Should provide:
A copy of the sales contract
Proof that contingencies have been met
Documents to implement the transfer of title
Prorations for continuing expenses, such as utilities, taxes, insurance, interest on an assumed loan
Your lender’s certification of your mortgage balance and the date to which interest is paid.
What do settlement costs include?
Your settlement costs depend on your area and the outcome of your negotiation with your buyer. Typically, these costs are
about 2% of the selling price of the home, plus Real Estate Commission and Sales Tax on the Commission.
What reimbursements can I expect to receive at settlement?
Reimbursement somewhat offsets the costs of settlement and you’re due all of the following applicable refunds:
The difference between the purchase price and any amounts due on mortgages
Insurance premiums you’ve already paid for the portion of the month after settlement
Property taxes you’ve already paid prorated
Utility deposits held by gas, water, electric and phone companies
Remainder of any service contracts you’ve already paid
Balance of any escrow funds held by your mortgage lender
What happens at settlement?
Although settlement details vary from area to area, three basic steps are always taken.
You, as the seller, prove you have marketable title,
The buyer pays for the property
You give the buyer a deed or bill of sale.
Settlement usually takes place in less than an hour.
Specifically, you sign the settlement papers and the deed.
Your buyer signs the settlement papers and mortgage note.
All payments by you and your buyer are detailed on standard federal settlement forms. You pay for your
closing costs and your buyer pays whatever is owed on the down payment plus the buyer’s closing costs.
You receive, either now or shortly after settlement, any money kept in escrow for taxes and insurance and
unused prepaid items, such as insurance. Disbursement of funds may be at settlement or within 1-2 working
days, depending on local custom. When all papers are signed and checks have changed hands, you hand the
buyer your keys. Your home is sold and the transaction officially settled when the papers are recorded.
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 21
As a reference guide to the closing process we recommend visiting the following website:
The Modern Market Realtors Team understands the anxiety and stress of moving, whether it is across town or across the
country. You are not alone. We are with you every step of the way. Your peace of mind is important to us, and we offer the
information you want and need as well as many helpful programs to assist you throughout the moving process.
To make your move as smooth and stress free as possible, we offer:
“A Moving Guide – A step-by-step guide to the entire moving process.”
“A Moving Checklist – A checklist that follows our moving guide so you can be organized
during the process.”
Contact us to request your FREE Moving Guide & Moving Checklist, as well as to ask any
Now that your home is sold, your check’s in your pocket and moving day’s over. You can smile, remembering how
you and your agent turned a confusing array of puzzling parts into a completed transaction.
If you know someone who is planning to sell soon, please pass along this handbook or contact us for an additional
copy with our compliments. We would be glad to share our experience with them.
Step 7: You Have
Now Sold Your
Home…Its Time to
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 22
VIP Home Search Access
Search Homes Like a Professional
Search the exact same place that REALTORS search for homes! The MLS is
the ONLY place you can search absolutely every home listed by every
Realtor and every Real Estate Company. The MLS is the ONLY site that is
completely accurate and thorough. PLUS… the MLS is updated in “Real
Time”! No more wasted time viewing sold homes, spam or incorrect
information. You can sign up for updates of new homes on the market and
be the first to know when a home comes on the market and fits what
you’re looking for!
Or…simply let us know what you’re looking for
and we will gladly set it up for you.
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Community Information & Much Much More!
Modern Market Realtors Shannon Barnum (701) 491-2000 Jim Christl (701) 205-5517 FargoHomeSearch.com 23
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