I understand that people have very busy schedules nowadays, and often feel overwhelmed by information and documents to read. For your convenience, I put together a summary of the steps involved in the home selling process, based on my experience with what buyers need to know the most.
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Are you Ready to Sell?
The home selling process starts several months before your home goes on the market. Ask yourself why you want to sell. Is the home getting too small or too big for you and your family? Has the space layout become unsuitable for your needs? Has your job location changed? Do you have a clear idea about where you’d like to move?
You also should ask yourself if you can afford to move at this point in time. Particularly if you’re upgrading to a bigger house, how will you be making the additional payments? Browse the internet to get an idea of what’s on the market in your preferred communities. If after a while you don’t see anything you like, you may want to hold off on selling your home for now. Remember that selling your current home and finding a new one would have to go almost hand in hand so you have a place to move to once your home is sold.
Interview Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents are community experts. They have the inside access to the MLS system and knowledge of market trends. Look for agents who specialize in your area and get a home evaluation from at two or three of them. If they’re knowledgeable about the property value in your area, they should come up with very close suggested list prices. Beware of those who may inflate your home value in order to get the listing! Ask agents how long they’ve been in business, what’s their sale record, and how will they market your home and keep you informed about the selling process. When it comes to negotiating the agent’s commission, remember that you get what you pay for. Agents who will charge you the least will most likely also do the least work for you. Select an agent whom you feel comfortable with and confident s/he will have your best interests at heart.
Price your Home Well
The value of your home depends on a number of factors, mainly the current real estate market. When the supply of homes is limited, prices go up and you could expect to get more for your home. If the inventory is large, buyers will have more choices so you have to price your home competitively for the market to have a chance at getting an offer. Another factor that impacts home value is renovations. Certain improvements like kitchen or bathroom remodelling increase the value of your home. Location also makes a difference. If your home is on a busy street, it may be worth slightly less than one on a quiet crescent. The home evaluation you received should reflect all these factors.
Don’t overprice your home! An overpriced home will not get as many showings and will help sell your competition. Remember, you set the price but buyers will determine the value of your home relative to the market and other properties they’re seeing.
Prepare your Home for Showings
When you put your home for sale, it is no longer yours; it now belongs to any potential buyer. As difficult as this may be, you need to start detaching yourself emotionally from your home and imagine that you’re seeing it for the first time. What would you change? Buyers need to be able to see themselves living in your home. De-clutter as much as possible to open up the space. Do a thorough cleaning and shampoo the carpets. Do the necessary repairs. Stage your home so it shows at its best! Give your home a curb appeal. An unattractive exterior will not get buyers excited to go inside. (I’m a certified home stager and will help you stage your home at no charge when you list with me)
Stay Involved in the Selling Process
Your agent will be entering your home into the MLS database and marketing it through other tools. But much of the work s/he will do will be unseen, like follow ups with agents and conversations with buyers calling on ads. Make sure your agent is updating you regularly on the selling process. Be well informed before you make any decision on reducing the price or offering buyers certain incentives. Exercise cooperation and flexibility with showing times, and always make sure your home is clean, tidy and well-lit before any showing. While it would be counterproductive to interfere with your agent every step of the way, don’t leave the decision making entirely to them either. Stay involved.
Understand your Options with Offers
Your goal is to receive the best price possible for your home relative to the market. If your home was priced well to begin with, the offers you’ll receive should come close to the asking price. In a seller’s market, you may receive multiple offers. You can accept an offer, decline it, or counter it. How you respond depends on the offered price, how long your home has been on the market, how many other offers you received, and if you have time to wait for more offers. Consider the other terms of an offer in addition to price. For example, the buyer may be offering you $3,000 less than what you’d expect, but with a quick possession date that would save you one mortgage payment.
Closing and Beyond
Once all the conditions are removed and your home is sold, start getting ready to move so you’re not overwhelmed when you get close to possession date. Pack and label your items, and remember to always leave the house in clean conditions for the new owner.
Thinking of selling your home? Visit my free home valuation request form.