1.) Define your needs. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For your goals, write down if you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Set a realistic time frame for the sale.
2.) Name your price. Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. You will need to take into account:
- the condition of your home
- what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for
- the state of the overall market in your area.
Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent of their market value take longer to sell. Homes for sale get five times more visits on the very first day they’re listed than they do a week later. That means if buyers believe your home is overpriced from the start, they may not take a second look.
That’s where I come in handiest: setting the selling price. Many people who try selling their home themselves miss the mark AND market it poorly.
At left: This is how buyers view a home sold by the owner, vs. a home represented by a Realtor.
And Redfin says cutting the price later may not be helpful, since just-discounted homes get half as many views as newly listed properties.
If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.
3.) Prepare your home. Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were quick fixes?
A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized decor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs. Here’s the entire checklist.
4.) Get the word out.
Now that you’re ready to sell, I will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including:
- The Internet: Social Media/YouTube
- Yard signs
- High Tech Open houses
- Media advertising
- Agent-to-agent referrals
- Direct-mail marketing campaigns
In addition to listing your home on the MLS, I will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home.
5.) Receive an offer. When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, I will first find out whether or not the individual is pre-qualified or pre-approved to buy your home. If so, then you and I will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following:
At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with me right away.
6.) Negotiate to sell. Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. I am well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. I also know what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some negotiable items:
- Move-in date
Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, I will prepare a contract.
7.) Prepare to close. Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. I can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items.
As a seller, you usually pay for the following at closing:
- Real estate commission
- disclosure reports
- existing encumbrances
- pest inspection
- termite report
- transfer tax
- escrow fees (split)
If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step.
You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also, begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.
8.) Close the deal. “Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. I will be present during the closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present. After the closing, you should make a “to-do” list for turning the property over to the new owners.
Here is a checklist to get you started.
- Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services.
- If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account.
- Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances.