8 Steps to Selling A Home

From a Listing Agent Realtor

Deciding to sell a home is a big decision and there are a lot of criteria to evaluate and weigh in deciding when and how to sell your home.  Read below for 8 Steps to selling a home.  Keep in mind that these tips apply to conventional or traditional listings and luxury homes and not as much to distressed property sales such as short sales and foreclosures.

1. Define your needs

Write down all the reasons for selling your  home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to  accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your  need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may  necessitate a move. For your goals, write down if you’d like to sell  your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit  margin. Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to  achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.

2. Name your price

Your next objective should be to determine the  best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price  from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate  agents and buyers. You will need to take into account the condition of  your home, what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for,  and state of the overall market in your area. It’s often difficult to  remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so your real estate  agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step. Your agent will know what  comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average  time those homes are sitting on the market. If you want a truly  objective opinion about the price of your home, or if your home is hard to value, you could have an  appraisal done. This typically costs a few hundred dollars.

Remember:  You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting  your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3  percent of their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on  the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something  wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to  drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably  priced listings and to catch the attention again of agents who are otherwise ignoring it.

3. Prepare your home

Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom”  condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken  porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It’s time to break out of  that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. The condition  of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer  is willing to offer. First impressions are the most important. Your real  estate agent can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest  ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers.

  • A home with too  much “personality” is harder to sell and will make it harder for  buyers to visualize the home as theirs.
  • Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky  faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer’s first  impression.
  • Clutter is a big no-no when showing your home to potential  buyers. Make sure you have removed all knick-knacks from your shelves  and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area  seem as spacious as possible.

4. Get 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:

  • The internet
  • Yard signs
  • Open houses
  • Media advertising
  • Agent-to-agent  referrals
  • Direct mail marketing campaigns

In addition to listing your  home on the MLS, your agent will use a combination of these tactics to  bring the most qualified buyers to your home. Your agent should  structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are  the busiest.

5. Receive 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. The contract, though not limited to this list, should  include the following:

  • Legal description of the property
  • Offer price
  • Down payment
  • Financing arrangements
  • List of fees and who will pay  them
  • Deposit amount
  • Inspection rights and possible repair  allowances
  • Method of conveying the title and who will handle the  closing
  • Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
  • Settlement date
  • Contingencies

At this point, you have three options:  accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or  reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the  document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns,  be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away.

6. Negotiate to sell

Most offers to purchase your home will  require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. Your real  estate agent is well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in  your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining.  Your agent also knows what each contract clause means, what you will  net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some  negotiable items:

  • Price
  • Financing
  • Closing costs
  • Repairs
  • Appliances and fixtures
  • Landscaping
  • Painting
  • Move-in date

Once  both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will  prepare a contract.

7. Prepare to close

Once you accept an offer to sell your house,  you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must  do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised,  surveyed, inspected or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead  the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s  agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may  pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns  acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may  continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in  the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to  walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing.  Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to  contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the  necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also,  begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done  so.

8. Close the deal

“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership  of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Your agent will be  present during the closing to guide you through the process and make  sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he  or she can mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some  states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present.  After the closing, you should make a “to do” list for turning the  property over to the new owners. Here is a checklist to get you started:

  • Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services.
  • If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on  the account.
  • Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying  appliances.

We are experienced Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys and Sacramento Realtors. We are a unique and powerful combination and can help you buy Sacramento Real Estate homes or sell Sacramento Real Estate homes with proven results, legal advice and the strategy needed to give you the results you want. Contact us today by clicking HERE or by calling 916-378-5760. We look forward to helping you with all of your Sacramento real estate needs.