Getting ready to sell your home can be a daunting task. Hopefully, we can break it down for you so you can feel a bit more comfortable with the entire process.
Define your needs & Write it down.
You’ll want to ask yourself and write down all the reasons why you’re selling your home and what you need/expect to accomplish with the sale of your home. For instance, a growing family may require the need for a larger home, or you’ve been given a job opportunity in another city that requires you to move.
As for goals, you’ll want to write if you want to sell your house within a certain time frame or if you’re looking to make a particular profit margin. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent is crucial to setting accurate expectations and a realistic time frame for the sale of your home.
Now, let’s talk pricing.
Money talks. Name your price.
The next objective of selling your home is determining the best possible asking price. Setting a fair and accurate sale price for your home from the get-go is vital to generating the most activity from other real estate agents and their home buyers. If you want to have a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This does, however, cost a few hundred dollars. You’ll always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting the asking price of your home too high.
Fun fact, studies show that homes priced higher the 3 percent of their market value take significantly longer to sell. In some cases, if your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think something’s wrong with the property and will ultimately force you to drop the price below market value to compete with the newer and more reasonably priced homes for sale.
Things to consider:
- Take into account the condition of your home.
- What are some comparable homes in your neighborhood selling for?
- What’s the current state of the overall real estate market?
- Is it a buyers market? Or a seller’s market?
Ultimately, when it comes to pricing your home, it’s definitely best and highly recommended to consult with your realtor. A real estate agent will understand the current state of the market, will know what comparable homes are selling for in your area, and the average time those homes were on the market before they sold.
Prepare your home.
If you’re like the rest of us, odds are your home isn’t in superb “showroom” condition. As homeowners, we all tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, a broken porch light, and doors or windows that stick. It’s imperative to get your house in tip-top shape and make the necessary repairs and replacements. Leaky faucets, a torn screen, or even a worn out doormat can ruin a home buyer’s first impression. And as well all know, first impressions are everything. The condition of your home can affect how quickly your home sells and the price that a potential home buyer is willing to offer.
Also, make sure to remove any knickknacks from shelves and ensure all bathroom and kitchen counters are cleared, making every area seem as spacious as possible.
Something to note, a home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Consider temporarily removing family photos, mementos, and personalized decor during showings and open houses. This helps potential home buyers visualize themselves living in the home.
Getting the word out.
Now that you’re ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home.
There are many ways to get the word out, including:
- Yard Signs
- Open Houses
- Media Advertising
- Agent Referrals
- Direct Mail
- MLS Listing
Using a combination of these tactics, real estate agents will usually structure your home’s marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest. Bringing the most qualified buyers to your home and creating buzz.
Receiving an offer.
When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real estate agent will first find out whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction.
A contract, although not limited to this list, should include:
- Legal description of the property
- Offer price
- Down payment
- Financing arrangements
- List of fees and who will pay them
- Deposit amount
- Inspection rights
- Possible repair allowances
- Method of conveying the title
- Who handles the closing
- Appliances and furnishings that stay with the home
- Settlement date
- Any contingencies
At this point, you essentially have three options:
- Accept the contract as is
- Accept it with changes (a counteroffer)
- Reject it.
Keep in mind, once the written offer is signed by both parties, the contract becomes a legally binding contract. Make sure you address any questions or concerns with your real estate agent as soon as possible.
Some negotiating required.
Most offers on your home that come in will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement that works for all parties involved. It’s important to partner with a seasoned real estate agent that understands the intricacies of the contracts and contract clauses used in your area and, understands the areas that are easiest to negotiate, and will protect your best interest throughout the entire negotiating process.
Some negotiable items:
- Closing costs
- Move-in date
Once both parties have agreed to the terms of the sale, your real estate agent will prepare a contract. If all goes according to plan, the closing table isn’t far off.
Preparing to close.
Once an offer has been accepted, there are a couple of things that need to be done before closing per the contract. Your home may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected, or repaired. And, depending on the terms of the contract that was written, as the seller, you may pay for all, some, or none of them. For the most part, your real estate agent can spearhead all of this and advocate on your behalf when dealing with the service providers and buyer’s agent.
If the results of every procedure come back as acceptable terms defined by the contract, then the sale can move forward. However, if there are any issues with the home, the terms set by the contract will ultimately dictate the next step. It’s entirely plausible, depending on the outcome of the results, that the buyer or you may decide to walk away from the deal, open a new round of negotiations, or proceed to the closing table.
A few days before the closing, you’ll want to make sure that the entity that is responsible for closing the transaction has all of the necessary documents that will need to be signed on the closing date.
And finally, you’ll want to make any necessary arrangements for your upcoming move.
Finally. The closing table.
“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. For the most part, your real estate agent or a member of the team will be present during the closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned.
After closing, it’s a good idea to make a “to do” list for turning over your home to the new owners.
Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:
- Cancel utilities (e.g., electricity, water, gas)
- Cancel any routine services (e.g., lawn care, pool maintenance)
- Cancel any other recurring bills associated with your property.
- If the new owners are retaining any of the services, change the name and billing info on the account.
This about sums up the entire process. If you’re looking to sell your home or know someone who is, we would love to help make this an easy and seamless transition.
We’re not your typical Orlando Realtor. We’re a real estate team consisting of different talents, strengths, and backgrounds. Coming together to achieve a common goal. Helping you.