Selling your home can be daunting if you have never gone through the process before. There are steps to follow on how to get your house ready to sell that will allow you to survive the sale of your largest asset.
1. Getting Your House Ready For Sale
Selling a home may sound intricate but as a savvy, conscientious consumer, you will be able to handle the process. Begin by deciding realistically how quickly your need to sell your home. If you are moving for a new job, you may need to be prepared to try to sell your house quickly. Also, consider any impacts your children will experience if they move during the school year. Thinking about your current position will help you make decisions in the selling process. Having to sell a home quickly will mean listing at a lower price. Getting the best offers takes some time.
From a personal standpoint, you will want to assess your financial situation and budget for selling the home. Be sure to include transaction costs and remaining equity into your budget. Gather the documents needed for the selling process such as the title, survey, mortgage, and insurance. Also do some research on the homes in your neighborhood to determine values, trends, age and times on the market. This information will help you be an informed seller as you are moving forward.
2. Maintenance, Staging & Cleaning
Getting the house ready for sale is more than giving it a simple cleaning. The home itself needs a deep clean. This is the time to make all of those repairs that you have been putting off. Many cosmetic problems can be fixed quickly and inexpensively. Some repairs, such as plumbing, electrical or roof repairs will be costlier and involved. You need to make decisions about what you need to take care of pre-sale. Also, you may decide to upgrade some of your older appliances and home features to get the best sale price. The home should be clutter free so store some items to give the home a fresh, clean appearance. You may also consider hiring a professional stager to help show your home to its best advantage. There will be issues that you cannot correct, such as traffic noise, the school district, etc. If there are unfixable issues with the house itself, these must be disclosed to the buyer. Also, you can provide a home warranty covering the repair and replacement of major systems. This may motivate some buyers.
3. Finding a Real Estate Professional
A real estate agent is an integral part of your team when getting your house ready to sell. Not only will they represent your property in the marketplace and set the appropriate selling price, but they will also guide you through the sales process with your best interests in mind. When you decide on the best person for the task, negotiate a listing agreement and determine how long the home will be listed.
4. Marketing Your Home
Your real estate agent will work with you to identify the most attractive selling points of your home. They will photograph your home and assist with staging it to show it in the most attractive light. These will be used to market the home online and in materials. In additional to photographs and descriptions, consider hiring a virtual tour company to give potential homebuyers the opportunity to “tour” the home before they tour your home.
5. Showing Your House
Some potential buyers will see your home by appointment, but there will be more showings if agents can use a lockbox. The timing of the showings needs to be considered because spring is often better than winter and it is very difficult to get higher sale prices during the holidays. These are just some rules of thumb to think about. Be prepared for your realtor to hold several open houses. Many people will begin their home search online but will, on average, look at 8-10 homes before making a selection and submitting an offer.
6. Negotiating and Accepting an Offer
The most critical time in the sale of a home is when the written offers come in. Consider each against the market research you did and negotiate the best terms if needed with a counter offer. If you feel that you priced your home correctly, don’t be afraid to make a full -price counter offer. Also, check to ensure that they buyer is financially able to complete the transaction.
7. Preparing for Closing
When you have decided on an offer, your agent will open an escrow account. Escrow is an account where funds and documents are held by a third party until the terms and conditions of the contract are completed. An account is created when both the buyers and the seller sign a purchase offer. At that time, the buyer’s earnest money is deposited in the account to be held in trust. A closing date will be selected based on when the buyer’s loan with be completed. While every sale is different, traditionally, closing takes about one month. During this time, you will work with the home inspectors and the lender’s appraiser. You will also be handling the legally required disclosures, property records, insurance, mortgage and lien documents. Before closing, there will be a final walk-through of the home.
At closing, you will sign the title and escrow documents. You may consider hiring a real estate attorney to assist with the closing process. There are only a few states that require this, but it can be helpful to have a knowledgeable advocate to help. When the escrow is closed, the property’s deed, reconveyance, and deed of trust will be recorded in the public records by the title company.
By staying on top of the details of the home sale, you can successfully find a buyer and manage the process. Diligence, patience and a sense of humor will pay off in the end.