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Seller’s Guide

Selling a property in Miami, Florida


If you are plan on selling your property in Florida, your Barnes Consultant will prepare a free evaluation, based on a full market study that summarizes a whole set a data : comparable sales in the neighborhood / building (when dealing with apartments), analysis of comparable properties (condition of the property and other elements affecting the price), available competition, average days on the market before sale. This study allows you to validate the selling price based on sound judgment and to stay competitive on the market.

Exclusive mandate, partner Agent

The American real estate system is based on cooperation and information sharing between Agents. At the bottom of this system: Exclusive mandates. In order to give your property maximum exposure whether local, national and international; you must, at the beginning, grant exclusivity to one agent who then places a listing into the MLS (shared database). The MLS can be accessed (partially) by the general public. For example Barnes has a bridge to that central database on its website. It allows buyers to perform their own research, wherever they live. In the US, it is very hard to find a sale between private individuals, it is almost non-existent; this is even more the case when dealing with luxury estates. Vendors want a professional who will accompany and help them through every step of the process. Your Barnes real estate Consultant takes care of marketing, visits, handles negotiations with the buyer’s agent, submits bids, advises on the purchase contract, conditions and coordinates the closing between your attorney and the buyer’s attorney.

What cost are at the seller’s expense?

Agency fees are usually 6%, at the seller’s expense, and divisible into two: 50% for the seller’s agent, and 50% for the buyer’s agent. If the agent finds a customer directly, he/she can represent both parties and is entitled to 100% of the commission if this has been defined in the listing agreement. The amounts of the commissions are included in the selling price as well as in the cooperation conditions. These should then be specifically mentioned in the central database. When you sign a listing agreement, you also have to choose the length of the mandate. Most of the time, a minimum of 6 months is required since the agency will be carrying out marketing operations on the property. Beyond agency fees, there are closing costs (notary fees) between 1.5 and 2%. To this you will have to add legal fees for the preparation of the seller’s documents. These can go from $1000 to $2000 depending on the office.

Staging, or how to make a home welcoming and attractive
In the USA, the art of presenting a property to potential customers is a true staging when dealing with luxury estates. This trend has been exported to Europe under the name ”home staging”. The idea behind it is not only to make the house look appealing, but to depersonalize it so that the buyer can see himself/herself into the living spaces. Your Barnes Consultant will advise on what can be improved by taking the perspective of future visitors. If necessary, we will recommend contractors to perform adjustments, or a staging company that could place temporary furniture in order to enhance living spaces. This is done to make sure your property is ready for a vital step: the photo and video shoot.
At Barnes, we attach great importance to photos as the first impression is crucial when attracting a prospect. We work with a team of professional photographers specialized in real estate. Each shoot can last from one hour to half a day and is supervised by your Consultant who ensures all the details. The report is available to our customers.

Rely on recognized professionals for your real estate business in Miami
Going on the market, marketing and advertising
Your Consultant will create a listing in the Realtor’s Association shared database, the MLS. That listing will contain a detailed description, conditions of visits, photos etc.. It gives your property maximum exposure both on a local and national level. At Barnes, you also benefit from the power of our international network by operating online and off-line campaigns that include a media mix: advertising, articles, brochures, public relations (luxury real estate). Our teams are experts in communication and marketing, this is part of our difference.
From visit… to offer
The Consultant is committed to total availability and will never miss an opportunity to show your property. Owners are generally not present during visits, so two agents (buyer and seller), must cooperate in their client’s best interest in order to make a transaction.
For Luxury real estate, we qualify visitors through their agent beforehand. We regularly hold open houses for cooperating agents (Broker’s open) and the general public (Open House). In the US, visits are performed every day, so 7 days a week. At Barnes, we are very attentive to the quality of visits: presentation, punctuality, detailed tour/explanation, justification of the price with comparable homes etc. It’s a key event in the sales process.
When a client is interested, his agent writes an offer which becomes the final contract if accepted. He/she then has to be provided the seller’s disclosure which is a document stating the condition of the house and things the owner is aware of, it is completed by the seller. Negotiable terms in a ”as is” contract are: the duration of the inspection period, method of payment (cash only, or cash and credit), closing date (signature and keys remittance), and financial responsibility of condominium fees when dealing with apartments (such as when raising funds after a vote) etc.

After the offer is accepted by all parties, it becomes executed. This is now the inspection period. The buyer wishes to check everything and tends to ask for discounts if problems are found. This is often a second negotiation. During this period, the buyer performs a due diligence, and the seller is expected to cooperate with: additional inspection, architect for future work, appraisal.

The closing or bill of sale
The buyer’s attorney gets the seller’s documents ready and sends them to the closing Agent in charge of executing the bill of sale. If the buyer doesn’t have to be present when purchasing (can sign documents electronically with virtual authentication), the seller on the other side, must sign documents on the spots or with a certified notary. If you are living outside the United States, that certified notary can be found at your local US Embassy (by appointment). Non-residents are subject to FIRPTA. The American revenue service (IRS) holds a portion of the sale until they have calculated taxes on the capital gain. Repayment of that balance can take anywhere between 6 months and 1 year.
In the US, the buyer and seller rarely meet. The closing is often done by each party at their attorney’s office with documents being exchanged throughout the process.


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