REAL ESTATE: Support documents sell homes faster

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks explains the importance of property documents

By Freddy Marks

Property buyers spend a lot of time asking questions to determine if a property is the right choice for them.

Buyers must perform some level of due diligence with every property they are seriously considering. A buyer must examine every aspect of a property to confirm your listing is accurately represented and there will be no unpleasant surprises down the line. Mortgage lenders also depend on documentation to determine if a property is factually represented in order to approve buyers.

Accurate and detailed listings with corresponding support documentation are a catalyst to sell your home faster and closer to the asking price.

Your realtor will ask you many questions about your property in order to create a detailed and accurate listing description. Your listing description is the white paper for your home, a chance to fully inform the reader of all the properties assets, services and features.

It is imperative that you have a comprehensive list of details and the supporting homeowner documentation that back up your listings claims. Documents make it real, they let a buyer know that what they read in your listing is actually true and honest integrity will prevail if they enter into a purchase contract with you. Their decision to make a competitive offer, and follow through with the final vetting and inspections, depends on how confident they are that the property is being truthfully represented.

Many buyers will still purchase property even if they know there are dated services, old wiring or major renovations are needed. It is to your advantage to be up front!

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When a buyer ask questions of the listing realtor, for example, “how deep is the well, what year was it drilled and how many gallons a minute does it produce?” They expect that there is an honest and accurate answer backed up by the drillers’ well log.

Just typing out what details you know can be satisfactory, but it then puts the onus on the buyer to have a well inspection completed at their own time and expense. Quickly emailing a copy of the well drillers’ log directly to a potential buyer is the best way to answer their question and build a buyer’s confidence in selecting your property.

People don’t make major purchases that they don’t actually believe will be a benefit and asset.

Having the documents at the ready when buyers are vetting your listing puts your realtor in a position to market your property effectively. Confidence and accuracy of representation is extremely important and it is in every sellers’ best interest to keep a binder of all your homes pertinent documents that covers all the bases right from the beginning of ownership.

  • You may have old documents that you were given when you purchased the property. Include those, as well as all your own documents since becoming the homeowner. Like a property owner’s manual. Your property owner’s manual should include the official property deed, documents regarding loans on the property, your property tax invoice, copies of the property land survey, inspection reports, and copies of permits and contractors’ invoices for any upgrades.
  • If your home was built by a contractor in the last 10 years you will have warranty documents, and if you built your home yourself, an owner builder declaration certificate is needed.
  • If you own a mobile/manufactured home, the CSA number and registration papers are necessary.
  • Include records of your homeowner’s insurance to show the home/property are currently insured and the annual cost associated.
  • Keep and file records of plumbing, heating, service calls and any new appliance purchases with accompanying warranties.
  • Home buyers may want to know your homes energy consumption numbers, so include a years invoices for your hydro, natural gas/propane, pellet or wood cordage costs.
  • You may also have service contract documents, for example, an alarm system contract, pool servicing contract, or underground sprinkler contractor that services the property.
  • When the property is a rental unit, include a copy of the lease agreement.
  • Buyers should be aware of lease timelines, and if a buyer is purchasing the property for investment purposes, they will require the amount of revenue generated.
  • Pertinent rural farm or ranch property, water rights documents, irrigation equipment hour records, Crown range lease documents and other Agricultural Land Reserve documents should be in your property owner’s manual.
  • It is necessary to disclose any Homeowners Association (HOA) documents that include fees, charter by-laws, rules and insurance. Provide contact information for the HOA contact so buyers can conduct their own due diligence on the property.
  • Review the legal disclosures you are responsible for providing. They will be listed on your original purchase paperwork.
  • Properties in airport flight paths must be disclosed for noise.
  • Flood zones, earthquake zones and hazardous material sites must also be disclosed if you are aware of them.
  • When you enter into an agreement on a price with a buyer, transparency is important.
  • You are required to follow “disclosure laws” and make known to the buyer any hazards affecting the property before the sale is official. Examples of mandatory disclosures include: lead-based paint, asbestos, environmental hazards such as oil, gas, or toxic chemicals, water damage, defects/malfunctions of major appliances or systems, and past disputes over things like property lines or fencing.

Remember clarification improves efficiency and documentation can keep the forward momentum when a buyer shows interest in your listing.

It can be a very time-consuming process to perform due diligence research. Providing your properties “owner’s manual” to a buyer shows integrity and honesty. It can make a difference on how quickly potential buyers are able to make an offer, and ultimately, how long your listing will remain on the market.

SEE ALSO: B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

Even if you plan to stay in your home for years to come, it is always a good idea to create and keep adding to your property owner’s manual, as the years go by fast. It will make selling your home when you are ready a much easier, less stressful and enjoyable experience.

I’d like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you for following our column.

Freddy Marks, together with his daughter Linda Marks, runs Agassiz’s 3A Group Sutton Showcase Realty. He has been a Realtor in Canada and Germany for more than 30 years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.



news@ahobserver.com

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