Step 1. Listing Your Home
You will want to schedule a time and day to meet with your Realtor. It’s in your best interest to not be in a hurry and make a list in advance of any questions or concerns. Have a list ready with all of your upgrades, improvements and repairs that you have already done. Your Realtor will also suggest specific improvements and modifications, which might include staging and decluttering. She will also create a customized marketing plan that best highlights your property’s features in the current market and present you with a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA), which is a list of homes that have sold in the past 180 days that have equal or close comparisons to your home.
Step 2. Pricing Your Home
When a home is priced too low, you will not maximize your profit, and buyers may perceive that something is wrong with it. However, if the price is too high, buyers may avoid viewing your home because it’s not in their price range and concern about meeting appraisal value. Interestingly enough, asking too much might be more costly than asking too little for a property.
- Factors to consider:
- Price Per Square Foot
Step 3. Marketing Plan
Upon listing your home, it will be entered into the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), placed on the company website, your Realtor’s website and on several local and national websites. The Internet, social media and several real estate websites put your home in the public eye much more than in years past.
Your Realtor will also use other methods to sell your home at the best price and in the shortest length of time. Depending on the area, planning open houses and following up with respondents to ads, signs and inquiries from the web all play a part in marketing your home. A unique marketing plan will help set apart your home from the others in your market, drawing in potential buyers.
Step 4. Preparing Your Home for Showings
First impressions count. You want to allow potential buyers the opportunity to envision themselves living in your home.
- Curb Appeal
Step 5. Showings
Sellers often have emotional attachments to their homes, however it is best to leave your home during showing times. To ensure the best showing possible, make your home inviting and welcoming by creating mood lighting, adjusting the temperature and adding decorative touches. If you have pets, please make accommodations for them before showings.
Step 6. Negotiating
Your Realtor has received an offer on your home. You can count on your Realtor’s expertise, this time in the art of negotiation. Your agent will guide you toward arriving at a price that both you and your buyer agree upon. A formal contract—written by the buyer’s agent and signed by the buyer—will be submitted to you for review and consideration.
As the seller, you can help facilitate moving the offer to a final sales agreement. Remove any emotion on your side from the negotiating table. If you are truly motivated to sell, allow your agent to negotiate on your behalf and move things in the right direction—often that means one or more counteroffers. Compromise is vital. You want to arrive at a fair price where all parties are happy.
Step 7. Inspection
Typically, a clause in the sales contract states that the offer is contingent upon a home inspection. A home inspection typically takes between 2-4 hours depending upon the size of the home and the number of rooms, features and amenities. Your home will be evaluated from the foundation to the rooftop and will include, where appropriate, the functionality of the heating and air conditioning systems, electrical, plumbing and all appliances. The inspector will look at the home’s structure including the foundation, basement, roof, chimney, walls, doors and windows. The buyer can use this report as a bargaining tool to re negotiate the sales price if needed.
As a seller, you could also hire an inspector before listing your home in order to get a full scope of any necessary repairs. You are allowed to be present while the inspection is taking place. If you have any questions or concerns the inspector can give you some helpful information You are allowed to make some repairs but decline to make other repairs. However, any defect that is known to you, must be disclosed on the seller’s disclosure of property condition when listing your home.
Step 8. Appraisal
The buyer’s lender will set up for the appraisal process. They will need an appointment to have access to your home. This process is similar to an inspection but not as lengthy. This process is to determine your home value in comparison to other “sold” properties that have similar criteria to your home.
Step 9. Closing
The closing, also known as the settlement or escrow, in simplest terms is when money is taken in from the buyer and paid out to the seller. The closing can take place in person or by mail and is handled typically by a title company.
The buyer’s title and mortgage liens are legally recorded in local municipalities. The paperwork, which by this time has been formally reviewed by all involved parties—the buyers and sellers, agents, lenders, attorneys and title companies—details specifics of the sales agreement. In addition the paperwork enables all parties to verify their interests in the transaction.
The sales agreement details the payments and credits that are due to the seller and the payments and dollar amounts due from the buyer. Details include transaction costs such as title and tax searches, and adjustments, if applicable, such as prepaid taxes.
- Homeowners’ Insurance Policy
- Title Insurance Policy and Certificate of Title
- Property Tax Bill
- Water and Sewer Bills
- Utilities Records
- Warranties, Service Records and Referrals
- Surveys and Plot Plans
Step 10. The Move
The date of possession will be in your sales contract. This can be negotiated as well. Make sure to coordinate the date and time of your move with the buyer if the move falls on the same day. No matter how many times you have done it, moving is never easy. However, you can take certain organizational measures to ensure that your move is as smooth as possible.
Prior to moving, create a simple record-keeping system with a checklist and a schedule. The more prepared you are, the fewer surprises await you on moving day, so stay on schedule. A short to-do list might include:
- Hire movers
- Find storage
- Get moving supplies
- Pack ahead of time
- Safeguard valuables
- Transfer utilities, cable and phone
- Notify post office
- Take care of change of address notifications
- Clean both homes
- Re-key doors in new home