Your complete guide to selling a home.
If you are in a position where you want to sell your home, you may have already been through the buying process. You might have been surprised by the complexity of the buying process. Selling your home will allow you to view the process from a different perspective. It’s still important to have an understanding of all the process requires. Knowing how the process works from beginning to end will increase your potential of maximizing your profit.
STEP 1: FIND AN EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE AGENT TO HELP
Sure, you can try to sell your home on your own. It’s not likely to be a successful endeavor, even if you know where to start. When you work with a real estate agent, you will benefit from their expertise and experience. They will have resources, marketing know-how, and a plethora of strategies to ensure maximum exposure. Finding the right agent is key to a smooth, successful transaction. Interview three to five agents before deciding which one to use. Ask questions like:
- What does the listing agreement include?
- How long will the home be listed?
- How much is the agent’s commission on the sale?
- Do you pay the commission for the buyer’s agent?
STEP 2: FIND OUT HOW MUCH THE HOME IS WORTH
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is asking too much for your home. It’s important to set a reasonable price. This is an area where having an agent helps. They can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis report. This report provides the price range of homes similar to yours and in the same region. Your agent can help ensure you set a fair price for your home so it will be more likely to sell. This is also important when it comes time to get an appraisal.
STEP 3: PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE SELL
There is a lot that goes into preparing your home and making it presentable for buyers. Again, your real estate agent can help you in this area. They can walk through your house and provide suggestions on things that need to be replaced, repaired, or cleaned up. These are just suggestions; you don’t have to replace or repair every single thing suggested. Use some common sense when choosing projects that will help you sell your house. This doesn’t mean totally remodeling the kitchen and bathroom. It does include making the house presentable and addressing anything that could detract someone from seeing its true value. Some things you will want to address include:
- Apply fresh paint where needed
- Repair doors, windows, or things that stand out
- Repair cabinets or cabinet doors
- Replace the carpet if needed
- Make sure all light fixtures and switches work properly
STEP 4: STAGING YOUR HOME
Part of preparing your home to show is a process called staging. This includes decluttering and removing items. Remove personal items from the rooms like family photos and memorabilia. Each room needs to have an uncluttered appearance. Think of it like a model home. You want to allow a potential buyer to envision what the house will look like with their things in it. Here are a few tips for staging your home:
- Clean every part of the house. That includes the floors, the ceilings, and everything in between.
- Declutter all areas of the home. Cluttered areas make it seem like there is less space. It also detracts buyers from the home’s features.
- Remove personal items like photos and keepsakes.
- Get rid of pet odors.
- Define each room so potential buyers can quickly determine its purpose.
- Clean or replace carpet.
- Open curtains and blinds to take advantage of natural light.
STEP 5: LIST YOUR HOME FOR SALE
Your real estate agent will take photos of your house and compile all the pertinent information needed for a listing. You will be asked to fill out a seller disclosure. You will need to disclose any problems the house has had while you were the owner. Make sure to record any rodent damage, water damage or leaks, cracks in the flooring or any other problem, even if you repaired them. Explain how you corrected each problem. Your agent will handle all of the marketing and listing your house for sale online.
STEP 6: SHOWING YOUR HOME
When you work with an agent, they will schedule the showings. Try to be flexible if you are making appointments for a home showing. Buyers will be juggling their own schedules and may need to see the home after work at night or on weekends. It’s a good idea to provide a lockbox or keypad for entry so agents can accommodate potential buyer’s schedules.
STEP 7: RECEIVE OFFERS AND NEGOTIATE
When your home is priced right, you should receive numerous offers. All offers are worth negotiating even if someone sends in a very low offer. You can always negotiate by providing a counteroffer. If your price is competitive and based on comparable sales, don’t be afraid to provide a full-price counteroffer. You always have the option of declining an offer.
STEP 8: WAIT OUT ESCROW
Once you accept the offer, the buyer sends earnest money to your listing broker or deposits it into a trust fund as stated in your purchasing agreement or offer. This shows they have a genuine interest in purchasing your house. If they back out, you get to keep the deposit. An appraisal and property inspection will be scheduled.
STEP 9: HANDLING THE HOME INSPECTION AND APPRAISAL
The buyer usually hires a property inspector who will check for damages or non-functional components. This allows the buyer to make a well-informed decision. If the inspector finds any problems, you may be asked to make repairs or replacements before the sale is finalized. It is also possible to renegotiate a price to allow for any repairs that may be needed. During this time, the buyer can back out without penalty if they deem there are too many things that need to be repaired or replaced. They may also back out of the purchase if there are serious problems. This is why it is important to make any repairs or replacements before showing the house.
The appraisal is scheduled during this phase too. This is usually required by lenders to make sure they are loaning the proper amount to the buyer. Appraisers protect both lenders and buyers and make sure they are getting a fair price. The appraisal can influence the purchase. As the seller, you hope the appraiser will value the home for at least your contract price. If they value it more, that’s good too. An appraisal lower than the lending price can cost you the deal. If you get a low appraisal, discuss your options with your agent. You may need to reduce the sale price.
STEP 10: FINALIZING THE SALE
Once all the paperwork has been completed and the lender grants the buyer the mortgage, the sale can be finalized. Your agent will give you the closing date. You will give keys and other items to the agent who will make sure the buyer gets them. Be sure to bring things like:
- Door keys
- Garage door openers
- Gate cards
- Mailbox keys
- Storage area keys
Congratulations! You successfully sold your home. The funds will be transferred or wired to your bank account, or you’ll be given a check for the final amount.