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, then this should serve as 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. 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 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 professional photography and virtual tours or tapping into their networks to find interested buyers.
- 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 was fair and parallelled 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 in case 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. If the property inspector discovers a serious underlying issue, which can range from cracks in the foundation to plumbing that needs replacement, 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 be reading and signing 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.