Deciding to sell your house is a big undertaking that has one too many forms to fill. There is a lot you can do in the months leading up to listing your home that can drastically increase the sale price. This home seller’s guide will walk you through the steps you need to take to be successful.
Couple shaking hands with a real estate agent. Hiring listing agent.
Stage 1 – Establish Permitters
1. Layout a Plan
The first thing you need to do when considering selling a home is to lay out a plan of what you want the next 3 months and beyond to look like. Once you sell, where are you going to live? Will you need to buy a house simultaneously? Where are you going to store your personal items during showings? It’s best to go in with a clear plan of attack before listing your home, and your real estate agent will be essential to help you do so.
2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent is your representative in the house selling process, so they must have your best interest at heart. Selling a house is a complicated and emotional undertaking: it is their responsibility to guide you through it. Your agent will find potential buyers, conduct showings, and most importantly, help you negotiate the offers. The best way to know if the agent is right for you is by asking lots of questions. Your prospective agent should have strong local market knowledge, experience, and a track record of success. If you are considering selling your home yourself, consider the amount of time it will take. Selling a home is a full-time job!
The agent is responsible for:
- pricing your home accurately
- help you navigate through the preparation and staging process
- preparing all disclosers and appropriate inspections
- conduct photography, videography, and prepare appropriate marketing
- listing your house on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) databases
- making sure the listing appears on all appropriate sites
- keeping track of all communication and paperwork
- presenting and negotiating all offers
- managing it to the closing
Moreover, listing with a real estate agent gets you more money than a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). According to the National Association of Realtors, an average of $80,000 more! During the closing costs, the real estate agent will be paid around 6% of the final sale price as a commission (half of which will go to the buyer’s agent).
3. Price to Sell
Be objective when pricing to sell. Here is where your real estate agent will come in handy. They can run a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will compare your home to other homes that are similar and sold recently. This is not an appraisal; a CMA is merely an approximation of the value of your home. Your CMA will help you price your home competitively and will result in a successful sale.
2-3 Months Before Listing
4. Get a Sellers Inspection
It is beneficial to get a seller’s inspection or a pre-listing inspection. According to the National Association of Realtors, the No.1 reason sales don’t go through is because of home inspections. Getting a pre-listing inspection helps you get ahead of any problems that could come up and help you adjust your budget. Once the inspection is complete, you should have a list of potential problems.
5. Tackle Any Big Repairs
Now that you know what could cause a problem down the line, it is time to jump in and fix them. Ask your real estate agent which repairs are the most crucial, where your dollar will go the furthest. Start with the repairs that make your house safer, i.e. the wiring, and then move on to cosmetic repairs, like a fresh coat of paint to make your house look fresh.
1-2 Months Before Listing
6. Create an Inviting Space
Now is the time to stage, clean, and depersonalize your home. Your real estate agent will help you with all three steps. Conduct a walk-through with your agent to identify the areas you can improve. Buyers need to picture themselves living in your home, which is why you need to create an inviting and overall neutral atmosphere. While you can have a few family photos or cards on the fridge, beware that personal items send a message and that you are sending the right one. It is just as important that your house is the cleanest it has ever been for the photographs and the showings. If possible, hire professionals to clean the hard-to-clean areas, like rugs and carpets. It’s these small touches that change the way your house is perceived, and in the end, the price you are offered.
Negotiating an Offer
Once you receive the offer, you can either accept, reject, or give a counteroffer. As the seller, you must pay attention to the details of the offer, not just the purchase price, such as:
- Closing or escrow date
- Home improvements requests
- Closing costs
- Contingency deadlines in regard to
- home inspection
- buyer financial
- Additional contingencies such as the sale of the buyer’s current home
Your real estate agent will guide you through this process. Keep in mind that you can negotiate on more than just the purchase price.
Whether you are choosing to sell because you want to downsize, move out of an area, or have outgrown your home, I have helped hundreds of clients sell their dream homes. If you should be getting top dollar for your property.
As a top producing agent with 20+ years of experience in the East Bay, I have helped hundreds of clients sell their homes in the Greater San Francisco Bay area and the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa. My experience as a former appraiser allows me to help my clients understand the market and help them enhance their homes to maximize the sale of their homes. If you have any questions, I am here to be a resource for you.