Selling your house may feel like a daunting task. There’s a lot to do, and you want to make sure you get the most return on your investment. But listing your house for sale doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Here are six steps you can follow to simplify the process of listing your property on the real estate market.
One: Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent will guide you through every step of the process of selling your home, so it’s important you find the right one. Real estate agents are different not only in personalities, but also in the specialties, certifications, and the areas in which they practice.
Seek out a real estate professional who is familiar with your area, and with the type of house you’re selling. For example, if yours is a waterfront home, you’d look for an agent who specializes in selling waterfront properties. If you’re selling a condo, look for an agent who has honed in on that niche.
Interview agents so that you get a feel not only for their expertise, but also for the way the communicate, and how they make you feel. The right real estate agent will make you feel comfortable and confident, like they listen attentively and answer your questions thoroughly.
You’re entering into a semi-long term relationship with your agent. You’ll be working together closely for the duration of your transaction, so it’s crucial you find an agent you can trust.
Two: Make Sure Your House is in its Best Condition
Once you accept an offer, your house will undergo an appraisal and an inspection. If there are issues in your house, you could delay the sale, have to reduce your price, or even risk terminating the contract.
The appraisal is a determination of your home’s value in the current market. Appraisors generally work in $500 increments, so even a few small changes could increase the value in your appraisal.
For example, replacing window screens, light switch covers, electrical plate covers, doorknobs, and other small features that make a big impression.
The inspection looks at the integrity of the structure, including the foundation, roof, heating and air, electrical, plumbing, pests, and more. It’s best to make sure your home is ready to pass inspection with flying colors.
If there are problems with your inspection, the buyer has the right to ask you to make repairs, to reduce the price, or, in the worst case scenario, can back out of the deal.
Three: Price Your Home to Sell
Your real estate agent will guide you in determining the best asking price for your house. He or she will do so by providing comprehensive market analysis, advising you on how to prepare your home for showings, and by drawing on a deep understanding of the real estate market.
A comprehensive market analysis is a report that shows the prices of houses that are similar to yours and have recently sold in your area.
Knowing what other houses have sold for is relevant to you because it shows you what buyers are willing to pay.
Listing your house for too high of a price could make your house unattractive to buyers when they can buy something similar in the same neighborhood for less money.
Ask your agent about ways that you can make minor upgrades and repairs to increase the value of your property.
Four: Stage Your House for Showings
To stage your house is to dress it for success. To impress potential buyers, your house has to be in its best possible condition. Staging can be broken into four parts: decluttering, depersonalizing, cleaning, and accentuating.
Decluttering means you go through every item in your home – ever drawer, closet, nook, and cranny. Pack anything you won’t use in the next few months. Thing about having a yard sale or donating to charity. Consider storing away any furniture that’s not essential such as china cabinets and bookshelves.
Depersonalizing is the act of safely packing away your personal items such as knick-knack collections, photographs, books, or anything related to sports, religion, or politics. You want house-hunters to be able to imagine themselves living in the home, to envision their belongings in that space. You don’t want to risk offending anyone, which could alienate buyers.
Cleaning is crucial. The entire property must be spic-and-span. Shampoo carpets, clean windowsills, sweep dust from ceiling fans and air vents. If necessary, paint the walls a soft, neutral color. A clean environment gives buyers the impression that the property has been well cared for. Don’t forget the outside!
Accentuating is the act of infusing the home with charm. For example, add white towels to the bathroom for a spa-like feel. Place a potted plant by the front door. Put fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table. These elements make a home feel warm and inviting.
Things to Consider When Pricing Your Home
Five: Showings, Offers, and Negotiations
When your house is being shown, make arrangements for pets to be elsewhere, and plan to stay away during that time. It can be awkward for sellers, buyers, agents, and animals during showings if the seller and animals are present.
Review offers carefully and consider contingencies. For example, a common contingency is that the buyer can only purchase your house if he or she sells their current house first.
Other contingencies include timelines for closing, or requests for the seller to pay closing costs. Understand your needs and find an offer that matches.
Trust your real estate agent to walk you through the process of reviewing offers and navigating negotiations.
Six: The Closing Process
The closing process is when your house will be appraised and inspected. Keep in mind that your contract isn’t locked in until you’ve passed both.
If problems are found, the buyer can request that you make repairs, discount your price so that they can make repairs, or they can terminate the contract. That’s why it’s important to prepare your house before listing. These can be time-consuming processes, so be patient.
Also during the closing process, there will be a title check to satisfy all involved that there are no liens or tax holds against the property so that it can be legally sold.
The closing table is where the real estate agents, buyer, escrow agent, and, if appropriate, an attorney, all who gather to sign documents and complete the transaction.
It’s not necessary for the seller to be at the closing meeting, provided arrangements have been made with your real estate agent or real estate lawyer.
There are many steps involved with selling your house. However, if you’re educated ahead of time, you can simplify and expedite the process while still earning top dollar.
Communicate with your real estate agent about how to prepare your house for sale, how to price it competitively, and how to handle offers and negotiations.
Have Questions? Ask Us!
Keller Williams Realty – Milwaukee Southwest is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give us a call today at (262) 599-8980 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.