1. Find out what your home is worth
A real estate agent can put together a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) based on the values of comparable homes in your area. The CMA is tailored to your specific property and is based on the current marketplace and recent sales, so it’s a vital piece in determining the value of your home and what the listing price should be. If you’re interested in your home’s value so that you can consider whether or not it’s the right time for you to sell, just contact me for a CMA.
2. Prepare your home to be listed for sale.
What’s involved in preparing a home to be listed for sale varies depending on the home–its condition and furnishings–and a seller’s agent should work with you to create a checklist of items to address in order to make your home ready to sell. Some homes will require a little preparation and others will require more. Some homes might need simple decluttering (maybe removing papers, toys, or knick-knacks from different areas before the house is photographed or shown) while others might need a fresh coat of paint, refinished wood flooring, or even a new roof, just to give a few examples. Again, this all depends on the needs of your home and whether there’s maintenance that should be done, updates, or simply some dusting and sweeping. After establishing what the reasonable value of the home is, your agent will help you determine which items that you work on will allow you to list at a higher price–and whether there are things about your home that will bring in less money if they are not addressed before the home is listed for sale.
Preparing your home might also involve staging, which can mean either working with some of your existing furniture and decor or bringing in pieces you do not own but that will be placed in your home during the listing period. Careful placement of the right furnishings can help potential buyers see how to use the spaces in a home and can help them to envision living in it. This can bring an offer in. I enjoy consulting with sellers about staging and I can also bring in a professional stager to evaluate how to work with existing furnishings and where to place them in the home–or to stage the home from scratch with different furnishings.
3. List your home for sale
When your home is listed for sale, the marketing begins. A real estate agent listing your home will have discussed a marketing plan with you and will put that plan in place to make sure that your home is seen by potential buyers–in person, online, and sometimes in other outlets. A good marketing plan is an important piece in selling your home and I’d be glad to talk with you about how I can work to give your home as much visibility as possible–locally, nationally, and internationally. Just contact me for an appointment. You’ll want to be ready to make your home available as frequently as possible for showings. Buyers who want to see your home and whose agents are taking them on tours will generally want to get in to see your home quickly and easily. It’s also a good idea to make your home available for open houses. Those are publicized and can bring in a number of potential buyers all in one day. A seller’s agent will talk with you about how showings and open houses will work for your home, and your agent will generally be responsible for scheduling and hosting open houses and will be the point of contact for buyers and their agents who want to see the home or have questions.
4. Receive an offer
Potential buyers, usually through their real estate agents, will present offers to you through your real estate agent. Your agent will give you any offer that comes in and will discuss how you want to respond to it. Whether you accept it, reject it, or make a counter offer, your agent will communicate your response to the buyer (since most buyers are working with agents, this is usually done through the buyer’s agent) and will also communicate the buyer’s response to you once received. It’s during this process that negotiations can begin.
5. Accept an offer/contract with buyer
When you have accepted an offer, you and the buyer will have agreed to the terms of the sale. Those terms usually include a home inspection by the buyer and financing terms (when the buyer is applying for a loan to cover part of the purchase price). The inspection period takes place while you’re under contract with the buyer: the buyer has a home inspection done and any repairs can be negotiated during that period. It’s very common for repairs to be made as a result of the inspection report or for a credit toward the sale price to be negotiated between the buyer and seller to cover costs the buyer will take on to make needed repairs. The financing terms generally require the buyer to take the necessary steps with the lender so that the mortgage loan can be in place by the agreed-upon closing date. The lender usually orders an appraisal as a part of that process.
The closing is the actual transfer of funds from buyer to seller and transfer of ownership of the home from seller to buyer. This all happens on the date that has been agreed to by the seller and the buyer in the contract. There are documents that you and the buyer will need to sign before the closing takes place.
This should give you an overview of the home selling process, but nothing replaces talking with a real estate agent about your home and your needs. Feel free to call, text, or e-mail me and we can schedule a time to meet.