Jo Cook on Selling Your Home

Steps in the Home Selling Process


Step 1. Needs Analysis

It is important to set out in writing the reasons that are motivating you to sell your current home. You might ask yourself, “Why am I selling my home and what do I expect to accomplish?” If you have a growing family and you need more space you may be under less pressure to get your house ready to sell than if you were, let’s say, moving to a new city due to a career opportunity. Explore your short and long term goals and decide how selling your house fits into those goals. Doing this will help you to establish a time management path for selling your home.
Your agent can save you time and money by applying their expert knowledge to your particular needs and setting a realistic time frame for the process to proceed. They can explore all of the variables within your individual goals and how best to achieve them in your local real estate market.

Step 2. Pricing Strategy

Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. You will need to take into account the state of the local market, the condition of your home, and sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. It is often hard to maintain an non-biased view of your property, so you will want to gather the necessary information in the most objective way possible. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home you could have an appraisal done. This will need to be paid for up front, in cash, and may cost between three and five hundred dollars.
Be reasonable about the price you set. You will always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price high expecting that someone will come along and be willing to pay it. If your home stays on the market too long because it is overpriced potential buyers may think that something is wrong with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price.
Your agent can save you time and money by educating you on how to set the asking price for your home. He or she will create a comparative market analysis by taking into consideration the type of market you are in and recent sales of comparable properties. Your agent will then guide you to the best fair market price that will help sell your house within the desired time frame. Usually, real estate agents have a better sense of market value than anyone else- including appraisers!

Step 3. Property Preparation

It’s time to get your house into “showing and selling” condition. Most of us don’t keep our homes in the condition it would need to be in to sell. Over the years those boxes in the corner of the garage just seem to multiply on their own. Things have broken that we just never get around to fixing and some things have just worn out. We just accept the fact that they will always be this way. It is this frame of mind that you have to break out of in order to get your house ready to show. How your house looks will have an immense impact on how quickly it sells and whether or not you get full market value for it.
First impressions are very important and you only get to make one. Approach your property from the buyer’s standpoint. What needs to be changed to make a good first impression? This may mean that all you do is prune the trees and shrubs. On the other hand, it may mean that you completely repaint the house, inside and out. Do a “curb to door” check. Give the potential buyers a clear path to enter the home. The fewer obstacles between the buyer and the true appeal of your house the better. Keep in mind that over time we become accustomed to our surroundings. What’s normal for you may be detrimental to the buyer. To find out more about your options when it comes to home improvement projects, visit our Home Services section.
Make your house look as spacious as possible. Organize your closets and kitchen cabinets, and if you have things stored in the attic or basement, make sure they are presentable. If you are showing during the day, pull back your curtains and drapes to show how bright and cheery your home is. If you are showing at night, turn on all of the lights to create a warm and welcoming environment for the prospective buyers.
A house that is marked with your personality and style may be harder to sell. You might even consider such things as removing obvious clues to your political affiliation and tucking away any biased literature that may be visible. This will reduce distractions and help the buyers to visualize the home as their own.
Your agent can save you time and money by providing an objective and expert opinion on what needs to be changed or improved. They know what the buyers are looking for because they are in the marketplace everyday. They will perform an analysis of the entire property and, taking into account the state of the market in which you are selling your house, point you to the changes that need to be made in order to sell it for the most amount of money and as quickly as possible.

Step 4. Marketing Strategy

Now that your house is ready, it’s time to put it up for sale and market it. Establishing a marketing strategy is a must. You will have to decide how you want to get the word out there that your house is for sale. There are many different ways to advertise your property. A yard sign, flyers, and direct marketing are just a few of the many options you have. The path you choose will depend on the money you have to invest, which program will bring the most potential buyers, and your comfort and experience level with each of your options. If you are in a buyer’s market you will have to be extra careful when choosing a plan. You don’t want your house to sit with no one showing interest. The first 3-6 weeks should be the busiest. If you don’t get any traffic within that time frame, you may want to reconsider your approach.
Your agent can save you time and money by exposing your house to the most potential buyers possible. Your agent will present to you the best marketing plan that will have the highest possibility of bringing not only the most buyers, but the most qualified buyers, to your doorstep.

Step 5. Receiving an Offer

Once a buyer decides they would like to buy your house, an offer will be presented. Review the written document taking care to note what needs to be done by both parties to execute the transaction. The contract should protect the best interests of all parties involved and should be comprehensive in nature. Once you accept the contract, it may be too late to make any changes. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following: