Overview of Selling Process
DECIDE TO SELL. You’ve made the decision to sell your home. Even if you’ve sold a house before, this process can be daunting because it is a major financial transaction that involves many steps from selecting a sales professional and marketing the home, to negotiating with buyers and finally receiving funds at the closing. Yet, the home-selling process doesn’t have to be intimidating if you know what to expect. The process can be divided in nine steps.
CHOOSE A GREAT LISTING AGENT. Select someone who is knowledgeable, listens carefully, and with whom you feel comfortable. Interview at least three real estate professionals. Use their listing presentations to compare their preparation and professionalism. Don’t base your selection solely on selling price or commission. It’s probably best to avoid working with someone who promises you the moon-in this case, an unrealistically high price-then has to make price reductions until the property sells. Instead, focus on marketing plans, service and past results.
GET YOUR HOME READY. 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. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized décor will help buyers 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.
PRICE IT RIGHT. 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.
- Turn on the lights and leave. Set up an inviting and welcoming home for buyers. Turn on the lights, freshen up the home and leave so the buyers can take their time to view the house.
- Agents will leave their business card letting you know they were there. Sometime agents do forget to leave their business card behind, but usually you will find their business card on an entry table or the kitchen counter.
- Sometimes agents don’t show up. This can happen. Sometimes the clients decide at the last minute they don’t want to see the house or other issues come up preventing them from keeping the appointment, however most agents will call to let you know.
- Agents are usually showing multiple homes. If they say they will show the house at a specific time or if they give you a 30-minute window, for example, understand they are showing multiple homes and they may not be able to stick to that time exactly. If they say they will be there at 11 AM, you may want to be out of the house by 10:45 AM.
- Put away any valuable items. Don’t leave out cash or small, valuable items that easily can be picked up by people touring your home. An agent will ALWAYS be with the clients. Children may also be house-hunting with their parents and may be tempted to touch fragile items.
RECEIVE AN OFFER & NEGOTIATE. Once your home is on the market, a buyer will make an offer through his/her real estate sales professional. The buyer’s sales professional will present the offer to your representative, who will promptly relay it to you and help you evaluate the offer. One of the most critical roles played by your real estate professional is in the negotiation phase. Negotiations over the terms of a home-purchase contract can be extremely sensitive. The process of offer and counter-offer may go on until parties arrive at an acceptable contract, which can go very quickly or take days, even weeks.
INSPECTIONS & APPRAISALS. As a seller, you agree to allow the buyer to have a home inspection. This home inspection is at the buyer’s cost. The buyer’s agent will schedule the appointment with you and you should be gone from the home. A home inspection can take about 3 hours. After the home inspection, the buyer’s will respond with four choices: 1. the buyers will not ask you for any repairs; 2. the buyers will ask you to repair specific items; 3. the buyers will ask for more time to have additional inspections; 4. the buyers are dissatisfied with the inspection and are rescinding their offer.
TIME TO CLOSE! “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.