You’ve decided it’s the right time to sell your home and you’re not quite sure where to begin the process. Don’t be overwhelmed, there are a few things that you need to put into motion before you actually put your home on the market. Below is a guide to assist you with the typical home selling process.
Prepare Home to be Listed
You’ve heard it over and over again. Declutter, neutralize and add curb appeal when listing your home. Make sure countertops and closets are cleaned off and cleaned out. Potential buyers don’t want to see an already small kitchen with blenders, toasters and other small appliances covering the countertops. Nor do they want to see closets with items stacked from floor to ceiling. Spaces appear larger when they’re organized, especially when the back of the closet can be seen. Next, neutralize any wall colors that may not appeal to the majority of the market. Experts agree that white and beige are the best colors for the interior of a home when trying to sell it. It’s easier for people to see themselves living in the home with their own belongings. Add curb appeal with a couple colorful potted plants or fresh flowers on each side of the front door. Finally, make any repairs to your home that may be an eyesore or could prevent someone from making an offer. Most prefer a home that is move-in ready and don’t want to be concerned about making costly repairs.
Prior to listing your home for sale is also a great time to gather all the paperwork you will need once you have an accepted contract. It will save time and frustration in the excitement of having your home move from the “Listed” category to the “Pending” category.
Choose a Listing Agent
Your agent will be with you every step of the way so you need to be selective about the person representing you and your property. A listing agent has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests throughout the process. Once you have interviewed and selected a Realtor, you will sign a listing agreement including the terms which include commission and duration of the agreement as well as a seller property disclosure form. The disclosure form lists the presence of any hazardous materials in your home or significant flaws in construction you may be aware of. By this point, your Realtor will have completed a market analysis of your home to be sure it is competitively priced.
Market Your Home
Your agent will then begin marketing the property and completing any legal requirements for selling your home. Be sure to notify your Realtor of any selling points that could be overlooked. Pictures will be taken, the home will be listed in MLS and printed materials such as flyers and brochures will be created. You may want to consider hiring a professional real estate photographer to take quality photographs and put a 360-degree virtual tour online.
Showing Your Home
Prospective buyer’s agents will contact your Realtor and arrange specific times to view your property. Typically, the homeowner is not present and the agents use a lockbox located on the front door to gain access. Never be concerned about allowing your Realtor to place a lockbox on your home. The lockbox is a mini computer that holds the key to your home and can track everyone who has had access. Most listings with a lockbox receive more showings rather than by “appointment only” with no lockbox.
Receiving Offers & Negotiations
Your Realtor will mediate offers between you and the buyer’s agent to reach a mutually acceptable price. In most cases, after receiving an offer, a counter-offer is usually recommended. Even if you receive a lowball offer, entertain the idea, then counter. Elizabeth Weintraub from About.com suggests a few tips to discuss with your Realtor depending on your situation:
• Ask for a first right of refusal if the buyer’s offer is contingent on selling a home.
• Consider making a counter offer contingent on buying a home.
• Don’t be afraid to make a full-price counter offer if you’re priced competitively and market conditions warrant.
A deposit from the buyer has been received and your home is under contract. You’re beginning to think about the packing and moving process while your Realtor is diligently working behind-the-scene to make sure the sale of your home goes quickly and smoothly. Your agent will pass the necessary information onto the transaction coordinator; escrow will be opened and a title policy ordered. A closing agent will be selected, an appraisal, home and pest inspection scheduled, and a closing date selected based on when the buyer’s loan will fund. Based on the age of your home, other inspections may be required and your Realtor will notify you should that situation arise.
Settlement Day/Close Escrow
Known as closing day, your Realtor has done all their homework and will be with you to explain and support you while you sign you’re little heart away on an abundance of documents. You then relinquish the keys and legal rights to your property in exchange for the balance of payment from the buyer or their bank. Congratulations, you have just successfully navigated your way through the home selling process.