Selling your home can be both exciting and overwhelming. We will walk you through the steps that a typical home seller goes through in the life of a home sale transaction. Jeff Dial and the agents at HomeSmart will be happy to answer any questions you might have about selling your home!
If you're thinking about selling your home within the next 18 months, it is a great idea to meet with an experienced Realtor now. We can help you come up with a plan for which improvements would give you the biggest benefit. Factors such as location, the condition of your home relative to other similar homes in your area and general market conditions are taken into consideration when deciding what projects you may want to consider. If you are early in the process and are considering some projects to ready your house for sale, we strongly suggest that you contact us. We'd be happy to walk-through your home with you and make suggestions about what, if anything, you might consider doing to your home prior to listing it for sale.
Once you are ready to sell your home, the first step is to understand the current market value of your home. Accurate pricing is critical to maximizing your sale price and minimizing the time on market. Selecting a price that is too low or too high can negatively impact the final purchase price of your home.
Sellers often assume that the best strategy is to price your home above the market value in hopes that they will either find a buyer who loves the home and agrees to a higher price or that it will give them extra room to negotiate an offer with potential buyers. In reality, overpricing your home often has a severely negative impact on the selling process and eventual sale price of the home for several reasons. Pricing your home higher than you expect to finally receive can immediately eliminate a significant number of potential buyers.
This can happen because:
On the other hand, pricing your house at a reasonable price can often result in one or more offers being submitted very soon after listing your home. Buyers will often feel a sense of urgency when a new property is listed that is considered to be fairly priced. This can drive buyers to move very fast to make sure that they capture the property before someone else does. The multiple offer scenario is almost always a result of pricing your home so that it offers a very fair value in a strong market. Your agent is the best resource to help you understand how to price your home for the best possible result.
Staging a home to sell is an important part of maximizing the appeal to potential buyers. It's amazing to see how in some cases the smallest changes to the position of furniture or decorations can open up a space and make it more attractive during showings. The list of items may be short or long, and sellers may choose to implement some or all of these items. Common suggestions include de-personalizing spaces, rearranging furniture, removing decorations, and painting rooms a neutral color to provide a more broad appeal. Some sellers have a hard time accepting that their personal taste is different that the styles suggested by a staging professional, but our experience has shown that staging can have a significant positive impact on the sale of their home.
The vast majority of home buyers begin their search online. Photographs are the first thing that they see in their search. High quality photographs ensure that the first impression buyers have of your home is a good one. If we don't capture the attention of buyers as they view the listing online, we may never get them to come see the home in person. We work with professional photographers who use best-in-class cameras and post-processing software. Using special lenses designed for this purpose, the pictures we use to showcase your home will capture the attention of potential buyers and make sure that your home looks like something that they need to see in person.
Marketing strategy is one of the most important things to consider when selecting an agent to represent you during the sale of your home. Effective marketing can create or amplify demand for a home and generate significant financial returns for the seller. We employ cutting edge, multi-pronged marketing strategies both before and after listing your home in the MLS. We will make sure your listing reaches the largest possible audience as early as possible. This approach, when coupled with accurate pricing, will generate enormous interest in the property.
We feel strongly that our marketing strategies set us apart from other agents. We would love the opportunity to discuss these with you in detail. We're happy to show you real examples of materials and advertisements that we have done for clients. If this interests you, please contact us at your convenience and we will be happy to schedule a time to meet with you.
Listing on MLS and Online When all the preparations are complete and your home is ready for showings, we will upload your property information into MLS, the network used by realtors (and this site!). In addition, we also provide our clients with featured placements on the most popular national real estate websites. Rest assured that if you list your house with us it will get the maximum possible online exposure on all possible fronts to ensure that all interested buyers will be able to find it.
Once your property is listed in MLS, interested buyers will schedule showings with their agents to view the property in person. You will want to make sure that your home is tidied and cleaned for each showing, make sure the lights are on and you take any pets with you. We use an electronic lockbox system to give agents secure access to your home in your absence. For scheduling the showings we utilize a service that handles all the coordination between the showing agent and the seller directly (via email, telephone, and/or text messaging at your discretion). This simplifies the scheduling process and ensures that showing requests can be easily requested by agents. It also allows sellers the ability to have a schedule that meets their needs. With this system we can eliminate missed showing opportunities due to difficulties in getting in touch with a busy sellers agent or the listing office after normal business hours.
Open houses can also be a great way to minimize the inconvenience of preparing your home for multiple showings. Often an open house on one or both weekend days immediately after listing your house for sale in MLS will result in a large number of buyers coming through. Getting a large number of buyers through to look at your home at the same time can have multiple benefits:
This is the part everyone is anxiously waiting for - you've got an offer! Now what? Your agent will present the offer and review the terms with you. While the purchase price is typically the main element that sellers focus on, it is only one aspect of the offer to be considered. In addition to the price, the seller should also consider the closing date, how much the buyer will be financing and what type of loan is the buyer using, whether the buyer is providing a strong mortgage pre-approval and any contingencies that are included in the offer. You may decide to accept the offer as-is, provide a counter-offer back to the buyers or reject the offer outright. If you decide to counter back to the buyers, your agent will work with you to settle on the terms of the counter offer and present the counter-offer back to the buyer via their agent. This process may be repeated for several rounds of negotiations.
Once you accept an offer, the next step in the process is typically for the buyer to schedule a home inspection. The home inspector will go through each area of the house and perform a non-invasive inspection to identify significant defects and safety issues with the structure. The home inspection may identify either very minor issues or possibly, some more significant problems.
Your agent will help you sort through the issues and the buyer's requests. In most cases, the buyer and seller agree to a fair middle ground after the inspection; the necessary issues are addressed and the sale of the property moves forward.
The purchase contract is the document that fully spells out all the terms pertaining to the sale. The seller's real estate listing agent will draft the purchase contract, negotiate with the buyers agent and talk with the seller about all of the details within the purchase contract. Along with the executed purchase contract, the buyer usually provides an additional deposit in the range of 1-2% of the final purchase price which will be held in an escrow account by the title company and applied to the down payment and buyers closing costs at closing.
Unless you are lucky enough to get a cash offer on your home, the buyers will be applying for a mortgage for some portion of the purchase price. The bank providing the mortgage will order an appraisal of the property. The appraiser will come into your home to take photos and measurements. After leaving your home, the appraiser will put together an appraisal report which will compare your properties to other comparable homes which have recently sold in your area. If your home appraises at a price that is lower than the agreed-upon sale price, the bank may decide not to provide the buyer with the amount of financing that is being requested. Your agent will usually be able to identify this as a risk earlier in the process when you are reviewing offers. Your agent can also assist by providing the bank's appraiser with comparable sales to help justify the price of the sale. If this is not successful, and the appraisal still comes in lower than the purchase price, your agent will help you to understand how to proceed and what your options are.
Prior to closing, you will receive a settlement statement that lists all the financial details for the property transaction. This document shows you where all the credits and debits are going; you will also know how much money you need to bring with you to the closing. On the day of closing, the buyer will meet with the title company and sign all the necessary documents for the mortgage and the purchase of the property. Once the documents have been signed by both parties, the title company will take care of recording the transaction at the County recorder's office (in the county where the property is located). Ownership and the keys are then officially transferred to the new owners.
If the seller is also purchasing a new home with the proceeds of the home sale, then everyone will work together to schedule the closing of the new home after the sale of your current home is complete and on record. Sometimes we can do both closing on the same day, but it may be better to plan for the closings to be a day apart, if possible. If you are looking to buy immediately after selling your current home, we strongly suggest contacting one of our agents to discuss this in more detail. We will help you understand what the options are and how to best proceed to minimize risk through this complicated and intricate process.
As you can see, the process of preparing, listing, and selling your home has many complicated steps for you to navigate along the way. The good news is that with an experienced, competent agent on your side giving you the best possible guidance, you can maximize the sale price of your home and minimize the hassle and inconvenience. Contact us today to let us help you begin the process!