Selling your home is a very big deal and not something that most people do often. According to the National Association of Realtors, most people sell their homes every 10 years. The process can seem intimidating and may completely overwhelm you because it is such a huge decision. There are so many factors that go into selling a home.
Do your homework
There is so much information online today, so start with some good old research. Check out the local real estate market by visiting a few real estate websites like zillow.com or realtor.com and see what’s on the market in your area. What are homes like yours listed for, how long have they been on the market and look at the sold home pricing too. This is a great way to start gauging a price range for your home.
Find a top-ranked agent
Choosing the right agent is key to completing a successful sale. You want to choose an agent that knows their stuff, after all they are the professional in their field. That’s why you don’t need just any agent. You need the right agent. If the agent has additional credentials or recognitions, that is a major advantage.
Once you’ve selected your agent, they’ll give you guidance on every aspect including pricing, staging/repairs, negotiations and so forth. You should feel very confident that your agent will navigate you through the entire process.
Set competitive listing price
Setting the correct listing price for your home always makes a difference. Price your home competitively - too high and you may scare away potential buyers and too low and you may lose money. Your agent will prepare an in-depth market analysis or for short referred to as the CMA. The CMA is a thorough look at comparable homes in your area, actively on the market (your competition) and homes that have sold recently (less than 6 months ideally).
Getting ready for market
Repairs: make sure to make all repairs, big and small. The repairs are important to show to potential buyers that the house has been well maintained.
Declutter, depersonalize and clean: go room by room to accomplish an organized, stress-free decluttering and give each room a thorough cleaning. Don’t forget to make sure the outside looks great too, curb appeal is very important.
Keep in mind – less is more! Leave each room with the bare minimum to give it a larger, more open feel.
You want buyers to be able to see themselves and their things in the house. They can't do that if it feels like your house. Look at this as the first step in packing up to leave. Consider renting a storage unit for the stuff until you move.
On the Market and Showings
At this point, you let your agent take the lead as they orchestrate your home listing. Your will be working on all the marketing aspects: overseeing the photoshoot, inputting into mls, writing ads, confirming listings onto listing websites (Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.), brochures, mailings, signage, social media posts and so on.
As you start getting showings on your home, your role is to make sure everything is tidy (show ready), find a place for your pet, try to be flexible with scheduling appointments and to not be around for showings. FYI: buyers, whom are accompanied by licensed REALTORS, are very uncomfortable when sellers are present during a scheduled showing and it can actually distract them from the house.
Offer, Negotiations, Inspections and Contracts
Once an offer is made, your agent will review the price and all the terms of the offer. The terms include the down payment that the buyers will put down on contract, the mortgage amount, a proposed closing date, inclusions and any contingencies.
Offers. By this point, you're probably getting offers on the house from buyers. An offer will specify a price, the down payment amount, the deposit amount, the terms, the date you'll have to move out, and any contingencies. You have the option of rejecting, counter offering or accepting the offer. Once you and the buyer have come to an agreement, the buyer will schedule a home inspection and sign contracts.
What happens after contract?
Once contracts have been fully executed by both buyer and seller, the buyer will apply for their mortgage. This process takes approximately 30-45 days. In the meantime, the buyer’s attorney will order the title search which takes about the same amount of time as the mortgage. Once these two parts are completed, you’ll hear the buyer is “clear to close”.
The closing date gets scheduled. This is when you sign all the papers, get your check, and wish the buyer well in their new home!