If you’re getting ready for the home selling process, then more likely than not, you have been through the home buying process at least once before. If you were surprised by the buying process’s complexity, this should be a fair warning that the home selling process will not be any easier. On the bright side, according to CNN.com, this decade has been the most profitable time to sell a home. By taking the time to research the process of selling a home from start to finish, you will be sure to set yourself apart from other sellers in your area and maximize your profits.
The Real Estate Home Selling Process Explained
If you are in the process of selling a home and are lucky, then you will not be in a rush and have some time to prepare. The home selling process is similar to the buying process. There are many steps and moving pieces involved; if you remember when you purchased your first home, you might even reverse-engineer the process to anticipate what it may look like for the seller.
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Determine Why You Want To Sell
Before committing to the sometimes long and expensive process of selling a home, be sure you have identified your reason for doing so. This will help you determine if you are ready to make the full commitment. Assess your current finances and determine how much equity you have in the house. Furthermore, make a list of non-negotiables that include desired time frames and minimum offers you are willing to accept.
Researching Market Trends
Before you decide to actually list your house, research market trends in your area. Is it a buyers market or a sellers market? If you have any flexibility, pay attention to signals that demand is increasing in your area. This will allow you to set a higher sale price and ultimately give you more power with negotiating.
Sellers can make use of online research for more information about the best time to sell. While spring and summer are typically noted as real estate selling seasons, each market has different characteristics. Review tools on Zillow or other real estate websites to see when most properties are listed in your market. Again, paying attention to selling trends can help give you more power when listing and selling your home.
How To Sell A House
Below is an introduction to the home selling process, step by step:
Find the right listing agent: The home selling process can be a long one, and sellers will want to make sure to find the right real estate agent to serve their best interests. The process of finding the right agent can include asking friends, family, and coworkers for referrals, reviewing agent websites, and sitting down for an interview with top picks.
Pick a competitive listing price: Being able to sell your home quickly is a matter of competitive pricing. There is a fine line between pricing low enough to sell versus pricing just above market value. Your listing agent is responsible for conducting market analysis to recommend the best possible listing price to help your property sell within a reasonable amount of time.
Devise a marketing plan: A good listing agent will present to you a concise marketing strategy, such as listing on the MLS, hosting open houses, and sending out targeted campaigns. However, sellers should participate in the marketing process, such as opting for a virtual tour or tapping into their networks to find interested buyers. According to Ben Reynolds, the CEO and Founder of Sure Dividend, owners need to strongly consider hiring a professional photographer. “Investing in professional photos of your home is critical in the home selling process. When buyers browse a new home online, they might pass your house on a negative first impression because you took amateur photos that didn’t do the home justice. This means you might be putting off buyers who would pay for the asking price or those who would bid higher,” says Reynolds.
Give your property a makeover: Although you may love your property the way it is, new buyers will be looking for a fresh face. Spend time preparing your home for sale by conducting a deep cleaning and refresh its appearance by providing a fresh coat of paint. Your agent can also help provide guidelines, such as decluttering, removing overly personalized effects, and getting rid of pet odors.
Prepare for open houses and private showings: Work with your listing agent to prepare for upcoming open houses. Typically, the agent will show the property professionally to interested buyers in the homeowner’s absence.
Do not be afraid to negotiate: The great thing about selling a home in a seller’s market is that there is often room for negotiation. If your property is in a desirable location and is priced well, you will most likely have several competing offers. Work with your agent to negotiate on your behalf to make and accept the best possible counter-offer.
Wait out the escrow period: Once a seller and buyer have reached a purchase agreement, they will enter into a period called escrow. During this time, the buyer and seller will await the closing and move-out date and address duties such as ordering a title report, scheduling an appraisal, and conducting a property inspection.
Meet with the property appraiser: The buyer’s prospective lender will typically require a property appraisal to make sure that the negotiated purchase price is fair and parallel to the actual property value. Be sure to keep your property clean and organized before the appraisal appointment, and be sure to cooperate fully with the appraiser. Be sure to ask your agent regarding your rights if the buyer chooses to back out based on appraisal results.
Help out with the property inspection: In today’s day and age, property inspections are an oft-opted for purchase agreement contingency. Inspections help buyers confirm that they are purchasing a home that is truly in the condition for which it appears. Suppose the property inspector discovers a serious underlying issue, ranging from cracks in the foundation to plumbing that needs replacement. In that case, the buyer reserves the right to back out of the deal if they are not comfortable with the results. Once all contingencies are met, be sure to ask the buyer to lift contingencies in writing.
Prepare for closing: Both home buyers and sellers can start breathing sighs of relief as they cross off their checklists and approach the closing date. Your listing agent should prepare you by walking you through all the documentation and paperwork you will read and sign during the closing meeting. Prepare yourself to read and sign a large stack of documents with fine print. Once everything is signed and verified by all parties, the property has officially been sold.
Home Selling Process Flow Chart: 10 Steps To Success
The number of home sales in the U.S. has steadily risen, yet the growing demand from first-time homebuyers has grown at a formidable rate. In what is arguably a seller’s market, it is an opportune time for homeowners to refine their home selling strategy and maximize their sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, 8 percent of these homes were sold by owners. If you are considering the selling home by owner process, it should be noted that it is very much the same as teaming up with a listing agent. Instead, however, the owner would be responsible for executing any aspect of the home selling process that is usually encompassed within the agent’s responsibilities.
Regardless of what strategy you choose, be sure to make use of the pointers from the home selling process flow chart below:
Home Selling Process FAQs
It is perfectly normal to have questions about the home selling process. But, with the right preparation (and the right agent) things will run smoothly. Read through the following FAQs for more information.
How Much Does Selling A House Cost?
Selling a house will typically cost a small percentage of the overall sale price, plus any moving fees or taxes incurred. Depending on your state, and whether you work with an agent, your closing costs will be between 3 and 6 percent of the final price. This covers the agent’s commission, legal fees, and other costs associated with escrow.
Aside from closing, sellers may include moving expenses when estimating selling costs — as these will be incurred around the same time. Moving costs vary by state, and how much you hire vs. do on your own. Finally, sellers should be aware of capital gains taxes if they gained more than $250,000 on the sale of the home compared to the original value.
How Long Does It Take To Sell A House?
It takes anywhere from two months to a year and beyond to sell a house. The exact timeframe will depend on your market and the type of offer made. Luckily, real estate markets across the country have been fast-moving in recent years. These conditions favor sellers who are hoping to move quickly. However, keep in mind this can change and may be different based on your property, market, and agent’s expertise.
Can You Sell Your House On Your Own?
You can sell your house on your own, but it is not always advised. While the idea of avoiding a seller’s agent commission may be nice, keep in mind that you will be in charge of all of the marketing, negotiating, and more to sell your property. In most cases, the price is worth the benefits an agent can provide.
That being said, if you happen to be a licensed agent or Realtor you can sell your own property. The NAR only requires that you disclose your ownership to prospective buyers.
Navigating the home selling process for the first time can be intimidating, but there are steps you can take to feel more prepared. Start by finding an agent you trust to help you get started. The right real estate agent will be there to guide you through marketing, staging, and ultimately accepting an offer. Don’t be afraid to do a little research on your own as well. This will prepare you for each step of the process. If you play your cards right, you will secure a profitable offer and sell your property in no time.
Are there any tools you have found that make the home selling process easier? Feel free to share in the comments below.
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