8 Steps to Selling a House
Thinking about selling your home? It's a complicated process, but I'm ready to take care of the details for you.
Prepare Your House to Sell
When selling your home, you want to make sure to get top dollar offers for the shortest time on market (ToM). If you're even considering possibly selling your home, contact a Realtor for a free home assessment. Your agent will help you decide on realistic expectations and can give you plenty of advice about what upgrades or changes could be made to the home to get the biggest bang for your investment.
Pro Tip: You hate that carpet and think everyone else will too? You never use the basement bath so you haven't paid attention to decor or finishings? Ask the Realtor for an expert opinion about what matters.
Repairs and Staging
Whether you decide to do some "sprucing up" or just stick to the necessary repairs your Realtor recommended, once your house is ready to be put on the market, it's time for staging. Staging involves a deep clean and declutter. The goal is to make the house look like anyone could live there and comfortably call it home. Your Realtor can help you decide on staging priorities or put you in contact with a professional stager who can do wonders for reinventing your spaces with furniture and accessories you already own.
Pro Tip: You want to remove personal items like pictures and decals on the walls. Don't forget curb appeal and staging the outside of your home as well with fresh flowers and freshly mowed lawn.
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Once your Realtor has listed your home, potential buyers and other Realtors will request showings. Be as flexible as you can be with scheduling. Keep your house in "staged" mode so it's always clean and clear of clutter and ready for a call "Can I show your house in 10 minutes?" because those can happen.
Pro Tip: Keep your laundry cleaned up and out of sight, trash removed, and if possible, take your pets with you when you leave during the showing.
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Promote Your Home
Your Realtor will take care of marketing your home, especially to other Realtors. However, if you're social media savvy, use your own network to share about your listing. Posts should include some of the positive aspects of the home and a request that others share or retweet your message to reach as wide of an audience as possible.
Pro Tip: Share a few things that you like about the house that are special. These may include your amazing neighborhood block parties, historic woodwork, or easy commute to a favorite restaurant. These mean more coming from the owner directly.
Negotiate Offers and Make a Contract
When a buyer is ready to make an offer, your Realtor will call you with the news. The decision to accept the offer or not isn't cut and dry. You can choose to counter-offer for a different price or terms. Your Realtor will guide you through this process, but it's important to listen to your agent to set realistic goals for the negotiation. Once both sides have agreed to a contract, the home cannot be sold to anyone else unless the terms for leaving the contract are met. Even if another buyer offers more money, the buyer with the contract still has rights to the purchase. Pro Tip: Almost all offers will be contingent on the home passing inspection and there being no major problems discovered. They are also often contingent on buyer financing and bank assessment of the property. If a contingency is met, the buyer can walk away or choose to renegotiate.
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Your Realtor can tell you what services and inspections you need for your home and in some cases your Realtor will offer to schedule them for you. Check with your contract before scheduling inspections. Some contracts specify the tests can be done no more than 30 days before closing. Your buyer will also be scheduling a variety of inspections and will let your Realtor know. Most inspections can be done without anyone home.
Pro Tip: It's common to need a pest inspection and radon testing in this area. For homes with well and septic, there are different types of inspections that the seller can request.
About 48 hours before closing, the buyer will do a final walk through. The house should be completely empty of your belongings.
Pro Tip: Arrange for a housekeeping business to come in and sure everything is tidy after your boxes and furniture are out.
Sign for Closing
Unlike the buyer, you do not have to attend closing. You can choose to go to your chosen lawyer's office and sign the papers ahead of time. Be sure to pass the house keys, garage door opener, and any important information you want the buyers to have over to your Realtor at that time if you don't plan on meeting them important.
Pro Tip: Gather a file of warranty and appliance information that's relevant to the house and pass it on to the new owners. They'll appreciate knowing which plumber has worked on the house in the past or if they can get a warranty transferred to their names for the HVAC.