There’s an art to the home selling process. To make sure the transaction is successful, homeowners need just the right combination of patience, resources, and preparation.
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is trying to go through the process alone. Working with a trusted real estate professional can take the guesswork out of an emotional and complex business transaction.
If you’re looking to sell your home, check out this overview of the sales process to help you get started.
The Home Selling Process
Should you sell your home now or wait it out? This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the home selling process.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not you are ready to put your home up for sale.
Budget for Repairs
Do you have extra money available to make repairs or upgrades to your home? You don’t need a complete renovation to sell a home, but every home has room for improvement.
Making repairs on your home before listing it for sale is an investment that can boost its listing price. Expect to at least make minor upgrades to ‘wow’ buyers when they come for a walkthrough.
Upgrades can make your home more attractive to potential buyers by giving it curb appeal. Research shows that it only takes a few seconds to make a good first impression on a potential buyer.
When buyers visit your home or do a drive-by, they are judging every aspect of its exterior. Make a list of the simplest upgrades you can make to your home’s exterior to make it attractive at a glance.
If you’re not sure what buyers think is attractive, consult with a realtor. An experienced realtor can help you make your home marketable without breaking the bank.
Local Market Conditions
Is your area a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? While you can’t control the direction of the local real estate market, you can decide whether or not you want to take a potential loss.
When housing inventory is high, buyers have more options. This is called a buyer’s market.
Sellers won’t usually get top dollar when it’s a buyer’s market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good price on your home. Not every neighborhood is created equal.
For example, if you live in a top-performing school district, you’ll have much better options than sellers in undesirable neighborhoods. Consult with an agent to devise a marketing plan that’s specific to your neighborhood.
Timeline for Selling a House
Once you’ve connected with your agent to create a solid sales strategy, it’s time to start getting organized. Here’s a step by step timeline of what you should expect once you make the decision to sell.
Step One: Make New Housing Arrangements
There’s no way to say for sure how soon you’ll get an offer on your home. It might be hours, days or weeks depending on the Days on Market (DOM), but you need to make housing arrangements right away especially in a seller’s market.
If you plan to buy another home, start the approval process for a new home loan. If you plan to rent, start looking at listings for properties that meet your needs.
You’ll need money set aside for down payments or rental deposits well before you make your move. Meet with local movers for a consultation once you find your new property.
Doing an in-person consultation gives you much better pricing than asking for quotes over the phones. You want movers to see the size of your furniture as well as the width of entryways so they know what to expect.
Step Two: Make Repairs
Work with a trusted contractor or handyman to make repairs around your home. Touch up dirty, smudged walls with a fresh coat of paint to give rooms a clean feel.
While you don’t need to fix every loose doorknob, doing small upgrades like fixing a broken doorbell can make the home appear well-kept. Work with your realtor to decide which repairs you can negotiate that the buyer take on and which will make your home sell faster.
Step Three: List Your Home
The next step in the process is to list your home. Good realtors usually know the DOM in your area by heart.
But there are still factors that will impact how quickly your home sells once it’s listed. They include:
- List price
- Condition of your home
- Marketing strategy
- Staging of home
- Availability of home for showings
If you don’t have any money for professional staging, aim to declutter instead. Remove unnecessary furniture from crowded rooms.
Put items in storage you’re no longer using. Keep countertops, coffee tables and dining room tables free of personal items like mail or photos.
Talk to your agent about the best list price that will encourage a quick sale, but still offer a healthy profit. Selling quickly is advantageous because homes that linger on the market too long often sell for less.
Step 4: Closing
Once you get a good offer and accept it, it’s time to prepare for closing. This is the most nerve-racking time of the selling process.
An inspector will review your home in detail to evaluate its condition and report back to the buyer’s lender. Avoid taking home inspections personally.
The home inspector is trying to make sure the home is as presented in the contract. There may be a few things you need to tweak in order for the home to pass inspection.
Unless you have a cash offer, expect the closing process to last a minimum of 30 days. This gives the buyer a chance to get final approval on a home loan.
Making Your Move
The home selling process can be an exciting time. Expect your emotions to run the full spectrum as you wait patiently for an offer and then wait again for buyers to secure financing.
Sometimes the buyer’s financing falls through leaving sellers to start the process all over again. This is very inconvenient but it’s also a part of the selling process.
Most experienced realtors already have a plan in place to attract more offers. For more information on how to list your home for sale, contact a member of our team today.