Selling your home is a monumental task. Going it alone or working with the wrong agent can potentially cause you to lose significant amounts of money and experience unnecessary amounts of stress.
On the other hand, the best agent will help you prepare your home for listing, price the property competitively, market the house assertively, show it professionally, help you review offers, negotiate contracts, and see you through the closing process.
Create a list of real estate agents, starting with referrals from people you know. Take your search online to find agents in your area who specialize in the type of property you’re selling (single-family houses, condominiums and townhouses, waterfront homes, and luxury properties).
Read ratings and reviews, and then interview at least three. Choose an agent who makes you feel at ease, confident, and comfortable.
Step One: Preparing Your House for Sale
Before listing your house, make sure everything – inside and out – is ready for showing. This means making any necessary repairs, including things like roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating and air, and other major components of the home. Not only is that the ethical thing way to prepare the property, but it will save you time and potentially earn you more money.
When you accept an offer on the house, the buyer’s mortgage lender requires that the property be appraised and inspected. Anything that’s awry will be discovered, hindering your progress. At that point, the buyer can ask you to make repairs before closing, could ask for a lower sales price to allow them to handle the issues, or could even pull out of the deal if the problems seem insurmountable.
Two: Staging Your Home for Showings
Staging a house is the art of dressing it for success, to present it in its best light. You can either stage your house yourself with guidance from your real estate agent, hire a professional stager, or inquire about digital staging for your home. Or, you can follow a system that simplifies the process.
To stage a home means to remove anything you won’t be taking with you on your future move. For example, you’ll eliminate outgrown clothing, old toys, magazines that have stacked up, and also throwing away trash.
You’ll also want to reduce your furniture as much as possible. Keep what’s necessary to live with, but store away anything that you won’t need before your move, such as china cabinets, hutches, and bookshelves. Large pieces of furniture can create the illusion that a room is smaller than it actually is. You want the house as open and airy as possible.
Staging is also depersonalizing, or packing away your personal items like books, knick-knack collections, photographs, or memorabilia. The goal is to design the house to feel neutral so that when buyers browse, they can imagine living in the space and seeing how their belongings would fit.
Another part of staging is a deep cleaning, which you can also either outsource or take on yourself. Check floorboards to ceiling fans and everything in between, including the walls. If necessary, add a fresh coat of neutral paint. If you have carpet, give it a good shampoo – or, if its beyond repair, consider replacing it before you list.
Ask your real estate agent how they’d advise you to get your house show-ready.
Three: Price Your House Effectively
Pricing your house for sale can also feel like a challenge. Here, again, you can rely on your agent’s guidance. The agent has access to a report called a comprehensive market analysis or a CMA. The CMA presents data on recently sold houses in your area, including their asking price compared to their sales price. This helps you gauge how much money buyers in your area are willing to pay, which shifts with the fluid real estate market.
Pricing your house too high could mean that it stays on the market longer. The more time your house is up for sale, the less appealing it becomes to buyers who may become skeptical. The same is true with price-dropping. You might think it’s a wise strategy to price high and drop if necessary, but that could backfire. When the price is reduced multiple times, buyers get suspicious.
Trust your agent to help you price your house so that it’s competitive with other homes in your area, will sell faster and for more money.
Step Four: Showing Your Home
It used to be that open houses and in-person showings were the only way to sell a house. Technology has changed things drastically. Today, it’s possible to show your property online – as extravagantly as using professional tour companies with drone footage, 3D, and Dollhouse views. By showing your house online with pictures and videos, you’re able to reduce foot traffic in your home by attracting only serious buyers.
Real estate agents have also evolved to harness digital and social media marketing, hosting virtual live open houses or one-on-one tours via live video where buyers can ask questions and interact with the agent.
Serious buyers will still want to see the property in person, so be prepared to leave the house with an hour’s notice, making sure the home is tidy and ready for showing. If you have pets, find a place for them or take them with you during showings so that neither the pets nor the buyers feel stressed.
Step Five: Offers and Negotiations | Inspections, Appraisals, and Surveys
Trust your agent to help you understand each offer, including contingencies. Contingencies are stipulations that buyers include in their offer, such as contingent on approval for financing, or that the buyer has to sell their current home before they can buy yours. You might also look at timelines to see if a buyer is ready to move when you are.
Let your agent negotiate on your behalf until you find the right buyer with the best offer.
The buyer’s lender requires that the property get inspected, appraised, and, in some cases, surveyed.
A survey determines property lines only in cases where boundaries are in question. However, the inspection and appraisal are mandatory.
The appraisal is when a professional appraiser assesses the value of your home based on style, size, condition, and neighborhood.
The inspection satisfies the buyer and the lender that the house is in excellent condition.
You’ll be a bit inconvenienced during this phase because it’s also best if you’re not home during these processes (the animals, too).
Step Six: The Closing Table
The closing table is the place where the real estate agents, buyer, escrow agent, and attorneys, if applicable, attend to complete all paperwork and to transfer ownership from you to the buyer.
If you have made arrangements with your real estate agent for digital signing or expediting notarized paperwork via overnight mail, then you don’t need to physically attend the closing meeting. However, you’ll need to have vacated the property because, as of the end of closing, you’re no longer the home’s owner.
A lot goes into the sale of your home, and you’ll be working closely with your agent to get the job done as quickly as possible and for the most bang for your buck. Choose an agent that’s best for you. Get the home show-ready with repairs and staging. Talk over each offer with your agent so that you understand all of the terms. By following these steps, with the help of your agent, you’ll have a successful and less stressful experience with selling your home.
Have Questions? Ask Havens Thompson Group!
Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give The Havens Thompson Group a call at 931-980-4799 or 910-391-9596 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.