Home Selling Process in 9 Steps!

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring someone to stick a sign out front. What you don’t know, can hurt you. What you ignore to learn will hurt you. This is especially true when you enter the world of selling your home. Below are the most efficient and effective ways to sell your property.

STEP #1 – DECIDE TO SELL YOUR HOUSE

  • What’s My Motivation?
Believe it or not, your schedule could greatly impact the listing price. If you are in a hurry to sell, you may find that a more competitive asking price will move your home faster. If you’re moving out of the city or have already bought a new house, then that timing will likely override everything else. Likewise, an upcoming baby, need for live-in nanny, wedding or divorce might dictate your timing too.
  • Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market?
If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy will also be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, which could land you in a place of carrying two mortgages. Make sure your agent understands your level of motivation at all times to ensure you don’t get in-over-your-head due to lack of communication.
  • Why Should I Interview REALTORS®?
Just like no two homes are alike, no two owners are alike and each has different needs when it comes to real estate. The REALTOR® that you ultimately hire will have access to your home and will be responsible for marketing it to potential buyers. As such, you should choose someone that you feel comfortable with and will do the best job for you. The only way to know which person will be the best fit for your needs is to interview more than one. Ask plenty of questions and get a feel for how they do business. You wouldn’t let just any doctor perform surgery on you without at least getting a second opinion, right? Why limit your choices by making hasty decisions when allowing someone to handle one of your largest assets?
  • Is It A Good Time To Sell?
Everything is seasonal but, no one stops buying or selling at any point during the year. The school year, holidays, Summer vacations do play a valid role in the real estate industry but, we don’t sell houses. Your house, at the right listing price, will sell itself. If you’re honest in your motivation to sell, trust our advice and limit your expectations to stay within reality — you have potentially 365 days to sell your home.

STEP #2: GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE FINANCIAL STUFF

These questions will help you become more comfortable with your decisions by becoming comfortable with finance questions. What you don’t know, can hurt you. What you ignore to learn will hurt you. This is especially true when you enter the world of selling your home.
  • Have you built substantial equity in your current home?
Check your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out how much you’ve paid down. Usually you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest. But if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.
What is Equity?
  • Has your income or financial situation changed?
If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. If your Income has decreased, you may want to consider downsizing.
Hidden Homeowner Costs
  • Can you Afford Closing Costs?
Many of the closing costs on the sale of a home usually fall to the buyer side of the deal. However, in most situations, a seller should consider offering to pay the closing costs when they really need to get the home sold fast. Offering such an incentive may mean that your home sells faster and more easily than had you not offered. You might also offer to pay closing costs if you have a lot of equity and will make a good profit off the sale.
Who Pays What at Closing?
  • Are You Prepared for Repair Costs?
When selling your home, the last thing you want to do is invest more into it, but in most cases making a few repairs or renovations to your home before putting it on the market can really be worth the financial and time investment. Repairs will be requested by the buyers after the home inspection is complete. No repair is required, but you need to be aware of which repairs allow the buyer(s) to walk-away if denied. And although a lot of the requests may be minor they add up! Throw in labor costs or a major repair, and you could face a very difficult situation. Keep in mind there’s a difference between Repairs, Upgrades, Updates and Maintenance.
  • Do You Have Judgments?
A creditor obtains a judgment lien by winning a lawsuit against you. A judgment lien is one way to ensure that the person who won the judgment (the creditor) gets what he or she is owed. A judgment lien gives the creditor the right to be paid a certain amount of money from proceeds from the sale of the debtor’s property. Judgments prevent you from providing a clear and marketable title to buyers until the judgement is paid in full. See Understanding Real Estate Liens.

STEP #3: YOUR HOMEWORK

  • Get your documents together
Your agent will be asking you for copies of your heating, electrical, utility, and tax bills, so take the time to photocopy or scan them. Any current warranties and manuals should be gathered, too. See 19 Documents Required to Buy (or Sell) a Home.
  • Make a list of renovations and repairs
Compile a list of all the renovations and repairs that have been completed since you have owned the house. Be prepared to discuss with your REALTOR® any current issues with the house – it’s better to disclose any ongoing issues now than to risk being sued later. Home Seller Disclosure Obligations
  • Make an extra set of keys
 You’ll likely have a lockbox at your house so that real estate agents can show your home to their Buyers, so make an extra set of keys.
  • Consider a pre-list home inspection
Completing a pre-listing home inspection before you put your house on the market will help you identify any issues with the home that might be objections for Buyers. For example: the home inspector may determine that your house needs a new roof. Armed with that information, you can choose to either a) fix the roof before putting the house up for sale, or b) factor it into your asking price. Either way, having accurate information puts you in control of how the deficiencies in your house will affect the price you get for the house. See Key Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection.

STEP #4: PRICING SELL

Pricing a house in Greenville is both a science and an art (and let’s be honest, sometimes, a complete crapshoot). We will discuss with you the pros and cons of pricing your home to sell vs pricing high with the intent to negotiate vs pricing your home at market value. We will do this by compiling a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis)
There are two parts to this research:
 Part One: Fantasy-Land [fan·ta·sy·land]
  • a place or circumstance existing only in the imagination or as an ideal; dream world.
  • What homeowners list homes for based on inadequate amounts of data, biased feelings of value and a lack of understanding with regards to reality.
Part Two: Reality [ree-al-i-tee]
  • The state or quality of being real; a real thing or fact; real things, facts, or events taken as a whole
  • What Real Estate Agents list and sell homes for based on current market trends, research and facts.
In the end, buyers will decide how much your home is worth by determining how valuable it is to them. Not how valuable it is to you. Buyers don’t care what you are going to net. Will you be concerned about what the seller nets when you purchase?
List Price, Sales Price and Appraised Value: Do you Know The Differences?

STEP #5: DETACH, DE-CLUTTER AND CLEAN

We apologize for not including the overdressed pantsuit, sugar-coated sales-pitch filled with over-promising methods of madness. If you’d prefer to be pitched with an old-school presentation, I’m sure your mother has a recommendation. When preparing your house for sale, keep these 3 goals in mind:
  • Detach: After you’ve lived in a house, it becomes much more than four walls and a ceiling. It’s a home and it has a lot of good memories. Your first step to preparing your home to sell is to realize that you will take these memories with you wherever you go, but you won’t be taking the house. It can be difficult to let go, but the task will be much easier if you start to think of it as a new beginning rather than an ending. See Why Seller’s Remorse Is So Common.
  • De-clutter: Your goal is to maximize the space you have and allow potential Buyers to imagine living in your home. Remove personal items and anything that could distract potential buyers. Clear out closets, donate items you don’t use. See 5 Places to Get Free Moving Boxes.
  • Clean, clean and clean again!
    The cleaner your house is, the faster it will sell. Buyers won’t just look at surfaces – they’ll look inside your closets, your kitchen cupboards and your bathroom vanity. Make sure everything sparkles!

STEP #6: MARKETING

One of your real estate agent’s most important jobs will be making sure potential Buyers see your house. A comprehensive marketing campaign for your house should include both traditional and digital marketing and aim to make people fall in love with your house. Real estate marketing should include:
  • Photography/Videography – Professional photography is a must! Most Buyers will see your home for the first time online, and if the photos don’t capture their attention, they’ll move on to the next house and be lost to you forever.
  • “For Sale” Signs – It’s not unusual for Buyers to cruise their target neighborhoods in search of their perfect house, so a For Sale sign on the lawn is always recommended.
  • Online Marketing – With 92% of Buyers starting their search on the web, being found online is critical! And….there’s a lot more to being found online than being listed on realtor.ca. Make sure you’re working with a real estate agent who has heavy Buyer traffic on their website and who knows how to use other websites to the advantage of you and your house.
  • Email Marketing/Social Media – Top REALTORS promote their listings to other agents via email and have a network of potential Buyers they can reach via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. Don’t forget, you can help with the sale of your house by sharing the link to your listing too!
  • Print Marketing – Most agents will print feature sheets for your home so that the potential Buyers who see it will have a takeaway of information and photos. Depending on your REALTOR and your ideal Buyer, your home might also be promoted with postcards or in real estate magazines.
Your ideal Buyer is out there – they may be first-time buyers, the parents of first-time buyers, an international investor, a recent divorcee, a newly married couple, seniors who’ve just sold their family home or a young couple with a baby on the way. Smart real estate agents will go to great lengths to profile your target Buyer and create a marketing campaign to reach them.

STEP #7: SHOWINGS

When Buyers make an appointment to see your house, keep the following in mind:
  • Leave your house! There’s nothing more distracting for a Buyer than having to walk around the owner.
  • Be flexible with showing times – Most Buyers look at properties in the evening or on the weekends.
  • Board the dogs! Not everyone will love your dog as much as you do. At minimum, crate them during showings. Ideally, take them for a walk or board them.
  • Consider temporarily moving out of your home while it’s for sale – If your home is popular with Buyers, you may have 5 or 10 or more showings every day. Going on a weekend getaway or staying with friends or parents can make your life a lot more tolerable – especially if you have kids or pets.
  • Cleanliness matters! It isn’t enough to have a clean house on day 1.  You’ll need to wash the dishes, make the beds, wash the floors and weed the garden every day while it’s listed for sale.

STEP #8: OFFERS

Sad but true: not every house Seller gets a bidding war. While your agent will take you through what to expect come offer time, if there is only one Buyer for your house, you can expect to see the following two conditions in an offer:
  • A financing condition, which allows the Buyer to confirm their mortgage qualifications with a lender
  • A home inspection condition, which allows the Buyer to bring in a home inspector of their choosing to go through the home. Home inspections generally last 2-3 hours.
Of course, there’s a lot more to negotiate than conditions: there’s price, closing date (the date the Buyer takes possession), inclusions (appliances, big screen TV’s, etc.) and deposit (usually 5% of the purchase price in Toronto, paid within 24 hours of the offer being accepted).
In the event of multiple offers (more commonly referred to as a “bidding war”), offers will generally be “firm”, meaning there are no conditions. There are many ways for a bidding war to proceed – your agent will suggest different strategies to help you get the highest price.

STEP #9: CLOSING DAY

As closing day (the day the new Buyer takes possession) approaches, you or your lawyer will need to make sure to:
  • Know that closing is a big deal—it’s the moment when you commit yourself to up to 30 years of mortgage payments.
  • Prepare for your closing in advance, so you can be confident and prepared on the big day.
  • Pay attention to the details at closing to make sure you are getting what you expected.
  • Know you have a right to understand 100 percent of what you are signing.
  • Ask questions until you feel comfortable with everything.
  • Know that walking away at closing may be better than signing a deal you’re not comfortable with
Before closing:
Taking a few key actions can make your home closing go more smoothly. Use this worksheet to prepare in advance.

Still have questions about selling your home? Text, email or call me and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about selling your house for top dollar.