Can I Sell my Los Angeles Home if I am an Absentee Owner?

Do you want to sell your Los Angeles home but are worried how you are going to do it because you are an absentee owner?  Worry not, the process is no different from, and probably easier than, selling your home while in residence.

Where do you start?

The first thing you will need to do is allow your Los Angeles Realtor® to gain access to your property.  Many times absentee owners are selling the home of a family member who may have moved to an assisted living facility, or recently passed away, so it can be a sensitive process and having someone to help you through it can take away some of the stress.

If you are reasonably close then it would be good to meet with your Realtor® at the property that one time.  If not then your agent can go through the property and help you make some of the following decisions:

  • Should you make any cosmetic changes to the property so that it shows better.  You may need to paint, remove or clean carpeting, or refinish floors.  Maybe the landscaping needs to be addressed.  You don’t want prospective buyers to drive by without getting out of their cars because of the look of the home from the curb.  Your Realtor® can recommend and arrange for contractors to handle these changes.
  • If furnished, will you want to leave the furniture or have the home empty.  Staging is an option but that will depend on the condition of the home.  If furniture needs to be given away or stored, your Realtor® can make those arrangements.
  • Pricing.  Obviously you are going to want to get as much as you can for the property, but that is going to depend on recent comparable sales (like for like) in the immediate area.  After seeing the property, your Realtor®  will be able to advise you on the best list price in order to meet your goals.

Once your Realtor® has established a price then you will sign a listing agreement which authorizes them to represent you in the process of selling your Los Angeles home.

What happens next?

  • Your Realtor® may advise that you have a home inspection.  This will take away the surprise of anything that may come up when the buyer has his or her inspection.  You can choose to make repairs or wait for the buyer to ask you to make them or provide a credit during escrow. In the case of absentee owners an inspection is a good idea since you will probably have no knowledge of any defects, and certainly if they are minor, you can avoid some of the hassle that comes with a Request for Repairs from the buyer.  Your Realtor® will have a list of recommended inspectors and can arranged to have any repairs made.
  • One of the good things about being an absentee owner is that it makes things easier for your Realtor® to have open houses and show the property.  Showings will happen until an offer comes in and can be disruptive to a homeowner.
  • Once offers come in (and I say offers, because in this market most homes are receiving multiple offers) your Realtor® will discuss each one with you and advise you on the course of action.  One offer may stand out and you may accept it, or you may counter some or all of them.
  • After an offer has been accepted, the next negotiation may be on the Request for Repairs, should the buyer submit one.  Again, this is something your Realtor® will help you deal with.  This is an area where contracts can be canceled and it needs to be handled with care.
  • If you are selling a condominium then a duty of the seller is to provide copies of the Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of the building.  This is often handled by an outside management company.  You will just have to sign the paperwork to release them and generally pay for their production.
  • If you are selling a house you will probably have agreed to a termite inspection, and should infestation be found, you will be expected to remediate the infestation. Generally the inspection is free, and your Realtor® will arrange both the inspection and subsequent remediation.
  • If repairs are agreed upon then your Realtor® will be able to provide a list of recommended contractors, and arrange for the repairs to be made.
  • At the end of escrow you will be required to sign the Grant Deed.  Soon after, the buyer’s funds will be transferred to your account and Title will transfer

You do not have to be present for any of the above.  All paperwork can be handled via electronic signature.  The only exception is the Grant Deed signature which the escrow company will arrange for a local notary to handle.

Besides the inspection (should you have one), repairs (if needed), and CC&R request most of the finances are handled through escrow, so you don’t have to deal with sending payments.

The only thing you as an absentee Los Angeles home owner need to do, is be accessible to your Realtor® via phone, text, or email, as many parts of the process are time sensitive.  Apart from that you should should have a much easier time than a resident seller who is going to be inconvenienced throughout the entire sales process.

So, can you sell your Los Angeles home if you are an absentee owner?  I would say that is the best way to sell.

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