“How To Sell Your House” is one of the most searched real estate phrases on Google. To help add some visual clarity to the process, I’ve created this infographic and basic breakdown of the steps...
involved in selling real estate.
Step 1: Get Your House Ready to Sale
How to sell your houseWhen considering how to sell your house, start by identifying and completing any repairs your property may need. When you sell your home, the buyer will most likely hire a professional inspector to inspect your property for damages and potential problems. It’s best to take care of those problems before listing your real estate so that they do not become potential deal breaking issues later on.
how to sell your house - upgradesNext, evaluate whether or not your home needs updating to receive a good offer. Look at other homes in your neighborhood online, or with your REALTOR. If all the current listings, or recently sold listings have granite countertops, solid wood floors, and/or other current updates, it will be in your best interest to add those things to your home as well. If most of the homes around you are offering current upgrades and your property does not, the chances are high that your home will be on the market for a while and eventually receive offers much lower than you prefer. Installing and performing upgrades before listing can be a smart investment. For the best results, meet with your REALTOR to get advice on which upgrades will have the greatest impact. Also, check out this article called 5 Best and Worst Home Improvement Projects When Selling A House, by Lolly Spinder at HouseHunt.com. It’s a great article with very valuable information.
how to sell your house - home look newFinally, you will want to make your home look new again. The goal is to take all the “wear and tear” out of your home. This usually involves touching up the paint, shampooing carpets, touching up baseboards, adding fresh mulch, trimming bushes, and deep cleaning every room in the house. It’s often that sellers find that they need to completely paint the interior of the house and put new floors in, as even every day wear and tear can turn buyers off . You will also want to take the “you” out of your home. Take all personal pictures and pack them in a box for your next residence. Take any items that are personal to you and pack them as well. Make your home as clean and neutral as possible so that homebuyers can imagine their furniture and items in your house. If possible, hire a professional home stager to help arrange your home for an amazing presentation to homebuyers. Staging is becoming more common ever year and many of the homes that your home will be competing with may be staged.
Step 2: Get Your House Listed for Sale
how to sell your house - hire a realtorStart by hiring a good REALTOR. Don’t just use a family member or someone in your neighborhood. Do your homework and find someone with a good online presence and strong reviews.
Here’s a good list of questions to ask before hiring a REALTOR.
Do they hire professional photographers to take pictures?
Do they (or their photographers) use HDR imaging software and professional photography with wide angle lens? Ask for examples.
Do they use a professional Showing Service, or are they responsible for coordinating all of your showings?
Do they use Secure Electronic Lockboxes (SUPRA) or cheap combination lockboxes?
How many homes do they sell each year, and how does that average compare for the area?
Do they have online reviews and a strong online presence?
Do they communicate in ways that you prefer? (email, text, social media, phone call, etc.)
How much of their commission are offering the buyer’s agent?
Where are they advertising your listing and what do they offer that other agents do not?
Do they use electronic signing services for your convenience?
These are just a few questions to ask. Your whole home selling experience will be greatly affected by the competency of the real estate agent that you hire. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you do your research on this one. For more info, check out this blog post called Top Home Seller Mistakes When Selecting a REALTOR, by Bill Gassett at MaximumExposureRealEstate.com. It’s loaded with useful info to help you find a great REALTOR.
How To Sell Your House - Pricing Your House RightNext, you’ll want to think long and hard about the price that you want to list your property at. Get comparable sold properties from your REALTOR and ask their advice. The challenge is to find the right price that will sell your house fast, but not leave any money on the table. Statistically, the longer a home is on the market, the lower the offer the seller(s) will receive. It’s a common scenario for sellers to list their home for too much and then drop the price later, after few or no showings and/or offers. The problem is that your best chance for a great offer is when you first list the property. Once your house has been on the market for a couple of months, buyers will know that you are worn down and are more desperate to get rid of your home. The offers that you receive will most likely be lower than offers that you would receive in the first week, because buyers know that if they are interested, then so are other competing buyers. It works out great if you can create a bidding war between buyers.
How To Sell Your House - home staging and lightingFinally, make sure you keep your home presentable and ready for showings. I’ve shown many homes to homebuyers over the years and I am always surprised at how many of them are dirty and not ready to be shown when I get there. Home usually look different in person than they do online. Above all, make sure your home smells good and is clean. This is a non-negotiable point. In addition, try to set the home up for the showing by opening blinds and curtains in strategic areas to allow natural light in and highlight the best views. Also, leave some lamps and lights on so that the home buyers don’t see your home in dim light. Make it feel like a home as soon as they walk in the front door.
Step 3: Get Your House Sold
How To Sell Your House - Execute Real Estate ContractOnce your house is listed and you have done the right things to get it sold, you will start receiving offers. It’s important to wait for the right offer. Home selling rookies will be tempted to get excited about the first offer that comes along. This can cause problems if you are only concerned with the offer price. The downpayment amount, loan type, and pre-approval letter are very important parts of the offer as well. Any seasoned REALTOR has had deals fall apart. Most of us would agree that FHA loans with 3.5% downpayment from buyers who need closing cost assistance are the most common deals to fall apart. When buyers do not have much cash in the bank and are barely able to qualify for a loan, it can greatly increase the chances of a deal falling apart. If you have the option to wait for a strong contract from a buyer offering a decent down payment and who can pay for their owning closing costs, your chances of closing the deal are much higher. Take these things into consideration when you are receiving contracts on your home.
how to sell your house - real estate communicationOnce you have an executed contract at the title company, you’ll want to keep the communication going between you and your real estate agent. Make sure that they are checking in with the buyer’s agent and lender on a regular basis. Make sure that that they know you are anxious for information and that you are going to be contacting them regularly. I’ve seen too many deals where agents left a deal alone expecting the mortgage lender to be doing their job, only to find out days before closing that deal needs to be extended, or a deal is dead in the water. Unfortunately you can’t just assume that your REALTOR, mortgage lender, title company, appraiser, or anyone else involved in the transaction are all doing their jobs well. Check in often and stay on top of them.
How to sell your house - real estate contractFinally, once the deal has a clear to close from the lender, schedule the closing with the title company. If you want to get your funds on the same day, try to schedule the closing in the morning so that the wire transfer has time to make it to your bank. This is very important for people on the west coast as the wire cut off time is 6:00 pm eastern time. Also, Fridays are usually the most hectic at the title companies because everyone wants to close on Friday. If you can schedule Monday through Thursday, your chance of not having any issues are higher.
Bring your photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) to closing, along with all the keys, garage door openers, appliance documentation (if applicable), repairs receipts, and any other relevant items to the transaction. As the seller, your paperwork will be minimal and you should be finished within minutes. Once the buyers sign their documents, the title company will forward the docs to the lender and if everything was done properly, the loan will fund within a couple of hours and you will receive the funds from the closing.
This is a basic walkthrough of the home selling process as a reference. A good REALTOR will be able to help you navigate the process with confidence, and will get the best price for your home within the least amount of time on the market. Please, let me know if you need help selling your home. I get great satisfaction in helping the homeowners I work with get the highest offer in shortest time possible, using modern technology and years of experience.