Selling your home is so much more than placing a ‘for sale’ sign in your yard–it’s a major process! You might think trying to sell it on your own is a good way to go, but a real estate professional will be able to help you get the most money for you house, help you market to a wider audience, and will help to get your house sold as quickly as possible.
This home seller guide will take you through the steps you need to take to have a successful home sale.
The winter months are often some of the slowest in real estate, so decide now what the best time will be for you to sell. Fall and winter are less competitive than summer months with home sales and winter can make your house sit or drive up prices because there are so few homes on the market. Figure out a time that’s best for you and best for maximizing your profit.
You should take more than just a day to get your house ready to go on the market. In fact, you should be actively cleaning, repairing, de-cluttering, and staging your home well in advance of listing it. Potential home buyers want to see a home that is well kept, neat, clean, without blemishes or obvious repairs, and attractive to the eye. You’ll want to do all the work that is necessary to prepare your home for listing. That means scrubbing the entire place, working on your curb appeal and making the yard look neat and manicured. You’ll also want to prepare documents, like prices of utilities, property taxes, and heating and cooling costs for the home.
This might be one of the most important steps in this list– a great listing agent will help you sell your home fast and for the right price. They will help you understand the selling process and will be effective in marketing your home. Your real estate agent will work for you and have your best interests in mind.
Your agent can’t tell you what price is the right one for your home, but they can show you neighborhood comparables and help you see what price homes are selling at in your area. You don’t want to select a price that is too high and will allow your home to sit on the market for a long time, but you also don’t want to risk going too low and losing out on potential gains. Your agent can guide you towards selecting a fair and honest price.
Now that your home is ready to go on the market, you want potential buyers to be able to see it! This means having quality photos taken of the home, getting the listing in the online MLS (Multiple Listing Service), putting up ‘for sale’ or ‘open house’ signs and using social media to spread the word about your home. Your agent will help you in this area a lot, but you can still share information about your house in order to help the ideal buyer find your home.
By this point, you probably have several potential buyers who are wanting to see your home in person (why wouldn’t they, it’s a wonderful home!). Here’s what you can do to make it better–don’t be there! It’s awkward for everyone, so if a potential buyer is coming to see the house with an agent, you should leave. Go for a walk or drive–and take the pets with you (link to your pets article here). Keep the house clean (since people could come over anytime) and don’t be too strict with the times potential buyers can visit or they’ll be less likely to come by.
Most offers will come in with one of two conditions– a financing condition (meaning the buyer needs to make sure they can finance the home with a mortgage lender), or an inspections condition (meaning the buyer wants your home inspected before they’ll agree to terms). After these conditions are met, other items like the price, deposit, inclusions (what will be included with the house) and closing date all need to be agreed upon. If there is a bidding war on your house, your real estate agent will guide you through getting the best price.
You need to have a plan in place if your home sells faster or slower than you anticipate. Will you be moving into another home? Relocating to an apartment? Put your things in storage and travel the world? It’s important to be prepared, because home sales can happen sometimes faster than you expect. Your agent will be key in helping you balance selling one home and buying another at the same time.
Before closing, you’ll want to start packing up your home and getting ready to move out. You’ll also want to be prepared to pay closing costs, including the buyer’s (and your own) real estate agent fees. You should inform the utilities company that you will be moving, let the city know (for property taxes) of your move, and cancel your homeowners insurance (or change the policy to your new home, if you have one).
At closing you’ll sign a whole bunch of documents that will deed the home and title over to the new owner. You’ll receive your payout (minus the legal and brokerage fees) through your real estate lawyer a few days after that.
Selling your home the right way is quite the process, plain and simple. You’ll want some help along the way to make sure you sell your home as quickly as possible and for the right price.
That’s where I come in! If you’re looking to sell your home in the New York Metropolitan area, I’d love to help you out. I know the best way to prepare your house for sale and to market effectively. I’d love to chat with you about your home!