Selling your house and moving is a big transition to make, but it doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Learn how to sell a house the right way with these seven steps!
Hire A Professional Real Estate Agent
There are hundreds of real estate agents and agencies you can turn to, but you don’t want just any agent to sell your home. You want a genuine professional – someone with the experience and knowledge to close the deal. This is the person who works to get you the best deal, works only in your best interest and will sell your home quickly.
It’s not cheap to hire a professional real estate agent, but the payoff is well worth it. This person will have the knowledge necessary to get the most money for your home in a short period of time. Your golfing buddy, relative or co-worker may not have all the experience you need to get the most for your home. You may save money, but you’re also losing it!
Selling your home yourself may also save you a little bit of money, but a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) process is far more tedious than hiring a no-name real estate agent. You don’t have the kind of tools a real estate agent does to get your home in front of prospective buyers. Plus, in the FSBO process, you only save money on your side of the transaction; the buyer’s agent still needs their commission given more than 90% of home buyers have a real estate agent.
You may be able to advertise your home, but an experienced and certified real estate agent will have more tools at their disposal to make this happen. For example, they can list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), where thousands of would-be homebuyers can see it. They can also reach out to other agents to increase word about the sale.
According to the latest information from the National Association of Realtors, the average home sold by agents is about $280,000. The average FSBO amount is $200,000, which is a decrease of $80,000. Couple that with the loss of the buyer agent’s commission, and you lose even more.
It is in your best interest to find a professional real estate agent to sell your home.
Price The Home For It To Sell
It doesn’t matter what you think your home is worth; what you think is irrelevant. What matters is what someone is willing to pay for your home. You need to put yourself in the shoes of prospective homebuyers. If you’ve been in the home for a long time, your memories will affect your judgment. Focus on the facts to determine what the best price to sell your home is.
How can you determine the home’s market value? The real estate agent you hired should conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA). It’s a free report that compares homes similar to yours nearby – whether they’re currently on the market or were recently sold. This information gives the agent a good idea of what people would be willing to buy your home for.
This report is 10-30 pages and will include pictures and maps of the properties reviewed in the analysis. Your real estate agent will give you a detailed rundown of the report, helping you understand what your home is worth and how it measures other homes in the area. You and your agent can use this information to formulate a competitive price that isn’t based on emotion.
Develop A Timeline To Sell Your Home
Take advantage of all the weeks you have before putting your home on the market. If you know when you want to sell your home, break the to-do list into something more manageable. Below is a timeline that can help you know when tasks need to be tackled:
- Talk With Real Estate Agents– Do your research to find a professional real estate agent who has proven themselves within the community and industry.
- Craft A Plan –Work in conjunction with the agent to determine what tasks need to be tackled.
- Declutter –Determine what items can be packed up and moved out.
- 1-2 Months Before Listing
- Stage Your Home –You want prospective buyers to feel invited when they walk in.
- Do A Thorough Clean– Every surface should be cleaned – carpets, baseboards, walls, etc. Hire a professional carpet cleaning company to make your carpets smell fresh and new.
- Perfect The Home –A real estate agent will want to take pictures of the home, allowing people to get a glimpse of the house before actually visiting it in person.
- 2-3 Months Before Listing
- Inspect The Home –You’ll need to bring in a home inspector to look over the property to ensure there are no problems. If they do find issues, you can address them before you put your home on the market. You can also add the cost of repairs to the budget, letting prospective buyers know what they are in for.
- Make Repairs– Find out where your repair money should go to get the best deal possible.
Hiring a professional real estate agent and having a plan of attack months in advance of your impending sale can alleviate stress in the latter stages of the process. Your real estate agent can help you better understand the whole real estate selling process to ease your mind and anxiety level.
Have A Home Inspection Before You List Your Property
The majority of home buyers understand the importance of a home inspection, but home sellers should get one as well. Why is it also important to get a home inspection when you’re just trying to sell your home? It keeps the buyers from coming back during the negotiations with demands.
Yes, you’re going to spend several hundred dollars on this presale inspection, but it’ll be well worth it in the end.
What will the home inspector be looking at?
- Foundation, basement, structural elements
- Plumbing, electrical, cooling and heating systems
- Windows, doors, ceilings, floors, etc.
- Roof, visible insulation and attic
Be sure this home inspector is reputable and qualified to carry out the inspection. They will go over every accessible area of the home to determine its condition and make you aware of potential issues – health and safety. You’ll be provided with an in-depth report about your home and any recommendations for repairs and maintenance.
While you don’t have to address all the “issues” laid out in the inspection, you do need to address the bigger ones. If you have any plumbing, electrical, roof or heating/cooling system problems, make sure you deal with them before painting your bedroom wall or fixing the light socket in the bathroom.
Stage and Ready The Home For Prospective Buyers
After you’ve fixed the major problems, you need to prepare the home for prospective buyers. Begin with a deep cleaning such as
- Scrubbing all surfaces until they shine, including the baseboards, floorboards, carpets, cabinets, etc. You want to keep your home as clean as possible while it’s being shown.
- Pay a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and deep clean the carpets and rugs.
- Reduce the clutter to increase the home’s space
- Paint your walls to create an inviting atmosphere. This will take time but is well worth it.
After you have cleaned your home, it’s time to stage it. Use neutral colors and get rid of personal items. Remove family photos and clean out your closets. The idea is to have the would-be buyers imagine themselves living in your home. They can’t do that if you don’t hide your personal belongings.
Your home’s curb appeal is something that needs to be staged as well. Clean the porch and plant some flowers near the door. Pressure wash the exterior of your home and add some colors to create an air of desire.
Prepare your home for pictures. Your agent will want to take professional photos of your home as part of its online listing. The only pressure you have in the process is getting the house ready; the agent should be doing the rest. What are some ways to prepare the home for its photoshoot?
- Keep It Clean and Organized – The most important aspect of preparing a home for sale is to keep it clean and organized. Turn on the music and give it a good deep clean.
- De-Clutter Kid/Pet Stuff – All buyers understand that you may have a kid or pet, but they don’t want actual evidence of it when viewing your home. Pick up and put things away or go ahead and pack them up.
- De-Clutter The Counters – Your kitchen counters should be cleared of the blender, juicer, toaster or any other distracting kitchen appliance. You want to do the same for your bathroom. All personal items need to be stored out of sight.
- Lower The Lid – When it comes to the bathroom, make sure you lower the lid during the photoshoot.
- Add Decorative Touches – Bring life to rooms by adding some decorative items such as plants, decorative pillows, paintings, etc.
- Add Lighting – Bring more space to your home with more lighting. Pull the blinds up or open the curtains to allow natural light in. Of course, make sure you’ve washed the windows before you do this. If an area of the home can’t get a lot of natural light in, add a lamp to it.
- Dealing With Rugs – It’s an unfortunate truth, but rugs don’t look good in pictures. In fact, they can make a room look smaller than it really is. Your real estate agent will let you know which rugs accentuate a room and which ones are not.
The purpose of staging a home is to bring out the positives points without overpowering buyers’ senses. If you’re unsure about something, stick by the old saying, “less is more.” A professional real estate agent will help you to identify what needs to be addressed in the staging process.
Put The Home Up For Sale and Ready Yourself For Showings
It doesn’t matter if your home is full of kids and pets or if it’s an empty home, showings can be challenging to go through. If you live in the house, there are five tips to help you deal with showings and still maintain your sanity.
- Create A Daily To-Do List – You may have days where there is a surprise showing, which can leave you panicked in cleaning the home. You can alleviate the stress by coming up with the daily to-do list (done before you leave for the day). Be sure to put things away as soon as you’re done using them. This ensures the home is always ready for unexpected guests.
- Address The Pet – Your animal is a part of your family, so take them with you when you have a showing or have someone watch them at their home while the showing is going on. Showings with pets at home can be distracting to prospective homebuyers.
- Have Some Flexibility – It can be hard to get up and leave at any given time for a showing, but if you want to sell your home, you need to be flexible. You need to work around the buyers’ schedule, not have them work around yours.
- Address The Toys – This is the time to choose which toys stay in the home and which ones need to be packed up. Ask the kids to choose the toys they want to play with and then put the others away in bins. If your child becomes bored with their selected toys, you can bring out another toy while packing up the other.
- Ask Kids To Help – If your kids are old enough, you can ask them to help you ready the home. There is nothing wrong with giving kids responsibilities, as it teaches them the value of working hard. Make it fun by doing timed practice drills or singing along to their music, etc. When they’re done, recognize them for their effort – give them money for their help or spend quality time with them.
There will be days when you can’t put things away and get out the door on time. You’re human, and things happen. If your agent calls about an unexpected showing, let them know about time issues so the buyer is made aware ahead of time that the house may not be as tidy as you’d like. No matter how your home looks, it really should be seen whenever possible.
Time For Negotiations To Sell The Home
The buyer’s initial offer on the home starts the negotiations process. Your agent should let you know what each contract stage in your state is and how it works. Do not sign anything before you have a full understanding of what is in the document and how it’ll affect you. What you need to pay close mind to are the following:
- Purchase price
- Escrow/closing date
- Contingency deadlines for buyer financing, home inspection and appraisal
- Additional contingencies (buyer’s current home sale)
- Special allowances (closing costs, home improvements, home inspections, etc.)
After a final purchase price has been agreed upon, you may think you’re done. Surprise, you’re not! There is still much that needs to be done, including:
- Packing up your house; not waiting until the last minute
- Talk with the buyer
- Stay flexible as unexpected delays may happen
- Maintain homeowner’s insurance until the contract has been signed
- Have a list of what should be brought to the closing
How Long Can It Take To Sell A Home?
Selling a home is different for everybody. For some people, a home can be sold within a matter of days, where it can take months for someone else. It all depends on the market. The 2020 market average is 60 days. This takes into consideration when the home is first listed to when it’s sold.
The two primary factors that play a role in how long it takes for a home to sell includes:
- Home’s particulars
- City’s real estate trends
Other factors that can affect the timeline of selling a home:
- Current Real Estate Market – If buyer demand is high for homes, you’re likely to sell your home faster than a home in a cool market.
- Season – If you want to reduce how long your home is on the market for and increase how much it’s sold for, listing it in the late spring is recommended. Now, this isn’t applicable to all markets or homes. It really does boil down to when the time is right for you.
- Location – Home details can determine how long the property takes for an offer to be made. These details include the school district you are in, the kind of neighborhood it’s in and how close the shopping centers and restaurants are.
- Price – The more expensive your home is, the longer it will take for it to sell. The number of buyers looking at expensive homes tends to be less.
- Readying Your Home – If you need to make repairs to your home before it’s listed, the timeline for selling will be a little longer.
- Closing Process – The closing date is often dictated by the buyers’ mortgage company. However, appraisal problems and home inspectors can affect the closing date as well.
Bear in mind that this is not the end-all, be-all list that can affect the length of time a home is on the market before it’s sold. A professional real estate agent can give you a better idea of what to expect regarding your home, the market, etc.
What Costs Could You Expect When Selling Your Home?
While you’ll be making money from selling your home, there are some costs you must pay during the process. There are three factors that affect how much you pay for everything, including the home’s sale price, necessary repairs and time takes to ready the house.
What are some costs to keep in mind?
- Real Estate Commission – Since you are the seller, you are responsible for the real estate commissions of both your listing agent and buyer’s agent, typically six percent of the sale price.
- Home Staging – You’ll need to spend a little money updating your home, giving it a fresh look.
- Repairs/Maintenance – You may decide to do some repairs before you put your home up. You may also be asked to do repairs by a buyer before they agree to buy the home.
- Contract Fees – The buyer may suggest that you cover the fees associated with the purchase, such as the title insurance, closing costs, etc.
Use A Professional Agent To Sell Your Home Quicker
If you want to sell your home, you need to work with an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent who can help you get the most dollars for your most significant investment. You should be the one making the calls but listen to the advice they give you. A professional agent works to alleviate your concerns, not overwhelm you further.