Home Selling 101
Selling a home can be stressful, especially for first-time sellers. One of the best ways to ease anxiety and reduce stress is to know what to expect.
GETTING YOUR HOME READY TO SELL. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for its market debut.
- Start packing valuables and items you don’t plan to use until after you’ve moved, including any personal photos displayed in the home. Removing clutter will make your home appear more spacious. While deciding what to pack, think about which appliances to take with you. For example, are the washing machine and dryer included or do you want to take them?
- Get your home move-in ready. Most buyers want a home in move-in condition when they buy. For example, painting the interiors a neutral shade or white is a simple way to make a home appear brighter and allows potential buyers to easily incorporate their style into the space. Also, be sure to complete regular maintenance on your home’s cooling and heating and other systems to keep them in good working order for the next owner.
- Have a home inspection. In many cases, a buyer will hire a home inspector to inspect the property. However, hiring one beforehand will help you assess what may need to be fixed before you sell. If the inspector finds major issues with appliances or your home’s plumbing/septic, heating or electrical systems, you may be required to make the repairs. Don’t worry; this is a normal part of the process–one we’re happy to guide you through.
- Boost curb appeal. The exterior is often a potential buyer’s first impression of your home. If it’s well-kept outside, many buyers also assume it’ll be well-kept inside. Paint or clean your exterior, trim hedges and shrubs and mow the lawn. These small activities have a big impact on attracting the right buyers to your home.
- Clean. Hire a professional cleaner to thoroughly clean your home for potential buyers.
- Stage. Make your home look its best by staging high-traffic rooms, such as the living room and kitchen. Staging helps buyers picture themselves in the home. While many sellers hire a professional, especially in competitive markets, you may also be able to do it yourself.
MARKETING IT RIGHT. Once your home is ready to sell, it’s time to think about marketing. Marketing helps find the right qualified buyer to purchase your home. It all begins with pricing. Homes that are priced right are often picked up by buyers in a short amount of time. To price your home, we’ll review comparable homes in your area that are currently on the market or have sold in the last few months. We’ll also take into account your home’s location, square footage, amenities and condition, as well as local market conditions. All of this information is included in the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
SHOWING YOUR HOME. Interested buyers will make an appointment to see your home in person. It’s standard to leave your home while potential buyers are there; doing so makes them feel more comfortable talking about the home and encourages them to take their time. Be sure to let us know what appliances and fixtures will not be included in the sale so we can let buyers know before they submit an offer.
- Identify and remove potential hazards ahead of time. During showings, keep your walkways clear, take your dogs to the park and, if you have a pool, make sure the gate is closed. If a potential buyer gets hurt while viewing your home, they may try to sue.
- Open the curtains and blinds to let light in and turn on all the lights in your home. Also, turn the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
- Keep your home in show-ready condition. Keep the clutter under control and home maintained, inside and out.
HANDLING OFFERS. When you get an offer, we’ll present it to you and negotiate on your behalf. The offer may include the amount the buyer is proposing to pay, how much they plan to mortgage, their ideal closing date, any contingencies, and personal property they want included or excluded.
- Once you’ve accepted an offer, we’ll outline contingency dates and start the paperwork process. During this time, it’s important to make sure all contingencies, including inspections and repairs, are made by the deadlines. On closing day, the buyer will do a final walkthrough to check the condition of the home and ensure the required repairs were made.
CLOSING. During the closing process, you and the buyer will sign the final paperwork. Additionally, the title will be transferred to the buyer and they’ll receive the house keys. Most importantly, you’ll receive payment for the home, minus the payoff of the existing mortgage and transaction costs.
Avoid these Common Mistakes Sellers Make When They List
Getting caught up in emotions. Selling a home may be an emotional process. It helps to remember it’s a financial transaction; you’re selling your home, not the memories you made in it. Overpricing the home. It may be tempting to overprice the home, especially if you’ve made improvements. However, overpriced homes may sit on the market longer than it would if it was priced right. Expecting buyers to pay the asking price. Buyers will attempt to negotiate a better deal unless you live in a seller’s market where bidding wars are common.
Not taking listing photos. A growing number of buyers search for homes on the web first, making your home’s listing photos the first impression they’ll have. Make sure your photos are clear and show your home in its best light. Hiding issues. Buyers have the option of hiring a home inspector to look at the home before they buy it. Any issues will be revealed during this inspection, and, as a result, your buyers may walk away from the deal unless you repair them before the transaction goes through.