You’ve decided it’s time to list your home to sell! Maybe you are upsizing, downsizing, or moving out of the area. Whatever the reason, you want to prepare ahead and you probably have a lot of questions about the process. Let’s look at all the steps that go into listing your home for sale.
1. First, you want to get your house buyer-ready. This includes making repairs, doing some simple upgrades, decluttering, and staging. This is so important because you will be competing with other sellers for qualified home buyers. You want your house to stand out and be as movie-in ready as possible. An attractive home will draw more interest and could result in multiple offers and several buyers competing for your home. This would be the best case scenario and could cause your home to sell for over list price. See my previous blog for all the details.
2. Meet with your real estate professional to set the list price. We look at homes in your area that are similar in style, square footage, and age that have sold in the past few months. We take into consideration the list price, closed price, seller concessions, and price per square foot. Then we make adjustments for the condition of your home and come up with a market value range. The price always reflects the condition of the home. If your home needs work, it will be on the lower end of the market value. If your home has been upgraded, it will be on the higher end. Correct pricing is imperative to a good selling experience! If priced too low, you risk leaving money on the table. If priced too high, buyers are turned off and you will most likely end up doing a price reduction. Click here for your free home valuation.
3. Professional photos and video will be taken. Work with an agent who uses an experienced real estate photographer for high-definition photos, aerial shots, and video footage. You can look at the agent’s past listings to see how she presented the houseand the quality of the images. Over 90% of buyers decide if they want a showing based on the photos of the property. Bright, clear photos that show the home in its best light is what you want. A professional will know how to take the correct angles to show off the home, as well as how to edit the photos for the best presentation.
4. Work with an experienced real estate agent who will properly market your home. She should offer both traditional marketing, such as postcards and mailers, as well as targeting digital marketing that reaches home buyers in your zip code through online advertising. Extensive marketing strategies will put your home in front of as many home buyers as possible. Remember, the more exposure your home has, the more chance of reaching multiple home buyers and creating competition for your home among these buyers.
5. Create the timeline for listing your home. Does it make sense to start with a “coming soon” period to give time for photos and marketing? Are there holidays or special occasions you need to work around? For a highly desirable house, it can benefit the home sellers to go away for the weekend when the home first goes active. This allows for multiple showings without disrupting the sellers’ weekend. During this time an open house can be held as well. Having a vacant home for the first 2-3 days allows showings to be scheduled back-to-back, getting as many buyers through your house as possible.
6. Photos are taken, marketing has begun, and now it’s time to go active with your home listing! Your realtor will put a lockbox on your door to allow other agents to show your home. You will be alerted with a showing request via text, email, or phone call (your choice). You can confirm or decline the requested time. If the time doesn’t work, you can suggest an alternate time. Once a showing is confirmed, you will leave the house to give the buyers and their agent privacy to view your home. Remember to turn on the lights, open blinds, and put away any clutter!
7. You’ve had lots of showings and offers are expected to come in. Talk with your real estate agent about setting an offer deadline. Your agent will also alert all agents that have shown your home once an offer has been received. This gives other interested buyers time to write an offer. Once offers have been received, your real estate agent will review all of the offers and terms with you. If you have multiple offers, she should create a spreadsheet for you to easily compare the offer terms. She will help you understand all of the terms so you can make the best decision.
8. Offer accepted! You are under contract. First, your agent will make sure the buyer’s earnest money deposit is turned in on time. Then it’s time for all of the contingencies to clear. These contingencies could include inspections, appraisal, and mortgage approval. There are deadlines for all of these and your realtor will keep track of the dates. Sometimes negotiations need to happen with inspection results or a low appraisal. The time between accepting the contract and going to closing is a critical time. You don’t want your buyer to “fall out of contract” so you want an experienced agent to guide you through this process.
9. All of the contingencies are clear and you are getting ready to move out. Make sure to call the utility companies to transfer the property out of your name. You may also have a trash service to contact. Water and sewer will be transferred with the deed when the property closes. You will need to “broom clean” your home once your things are out. The buyer will do a pre-settlement walk through, usually the day before, to make sure your home is in the same condition as when they saw it. If you agreed to leave the washer/dryer, or a piece of furniture, make sure they don’t accidentally get moved out of the home!
10. Closing day has finally arrived. You will have received a settlement statement with all the final numbers – your credits, debits, and final amount that you will walk away with. Take along extra keys, garage door openers, mailbox keys, etc. You will have a few documents to sign, but the buyers will have a lot of paperwork if they have a mortgage. During this time the buyers may ask some questions they have about your property and it’s a good time for buyers and sellers to chat. Be prepared for 30-60 minutes for the closing to complete. You can receive a check for your proceeds or have them wired to your bank account. Then it’s over and your home is sold. Congrats!
Now, this may seem like a long list, but it’s a generic list. Every seller has a unique situation. For example, you may need to buy a home at the same time you’re selling your home. You may be building a home and need a rent-back situation. You may be moving out of state and need help finding a moving company. Don’t worry! Your specific situation can be navigated smoothly with the right professionals by your side.
Set up your free pre-listing consultation with me.