Portions of this article originally appeared on the Windermere Real Estate Blog, here.
There is a lot that goes into selling a home, and navigating it all can definitely seem intimidating. Breaking down the process will keep you organized and set you up for a successful home sale!
1. Partner with a great agent
The reason I list this one first is simply because your agent will guide you through the rest of the steps to prepare your house for sale. They should be able to help with guiding you on which repairs/remodels may or may not be worth it, setting a realistic timeline, pricing your home correctly according to the market, and much more. A lot goes into choosing the right agent! Although the ultimate goal is the sale, think about your compatibility outside of the transaction. Their ability to connect with you on a human level through the ups and downs of a home sale is incredibly important.
2. Set a timeline
Depending on your local housing market conditions, the timeline for selling your home may vary. However, a timeline is valuable in that it will keep you organized throughout the selling process and allows you to adjust if circumstances change. Your agent will work with you to build the ideal timeline.
3. Determine what your home is worth
The key to selling quickly is correctly pricing your home from the first day it hits the market. In particular, overpricing can lead to serious complications in the selling process. Your agent can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to better determine the best price of your home. CMAs provide information on local market activity + comparable home sales in your area (both pending and sold) within the past couple months.
4. Repairs + upgrades + maintenance
Now it’s time to get to work on the house! This is the perfect time to tackle any and all outstanding projects or repairs. Create a list separating which repairs can be done yourself and which need professional attention. Your agent can help recommend preferred + trusted vendors in your area to help with the projects if need be. This is also a great time to consider a pre-sale home inspection to identify structural and mechanical problems before your home is on the market.
Additionally, keep in mind that an impactful first impression goes a long way in the minds of buyers. Curb appeal is everything, so be sure to clean up the yard and clear out gutters (if applicable). Apply a fresh coat of paint anywhere you spot peeling or cracked paint. A super powerful way to make an impact is by staging your home, with the goal of making each room feel as spacious and welcoming as possible.
5. Showings + open houses
This is when potential buyers get to tour and appreciate your beautiful home! Your agent will help you coordinate this. For in-person showings, it’s best that you leave the premises so the buyer can freely ask their agent questions and visualize the home as their own. If you anticipate a lot of showing activity, it might be best to stay with family or somewhere like an Airbnb during this time (if possible).
6. Offers + negotiation
If you are in a seller’s market (defined by low inventory and high buyer competition), you may receive offers at or above asking price – and maybe even several of them. This is the case for many King/Snohomish/Pierce county homes right now! Many sellers are listing their homes for sale and setting an offer review date for 5-7 days later, asking that buyers submit offers on that date. The alternative is to review offers as they come in. Your agent will guide you in reviewing/comparing the offers but ultimately it is you who makes the final decision.
You can respond to an offer by a) accepting the offer, b) making a counteroffer, or c) rejecting the offer. If you are selling in a buyer’s market, you may have to be more open to negotiation. Discuss negotiation strategies with your agent to work toward a satisfying final price.
7. Home inspection
Buyers want to know what they’re getting themselves into when they purchase a home, so most of them will conduct an inspection (at their expense). Many buyers will do this before offering (known as a pre-inspection) so that they can waive the inspection contingency within their offer. They typically inspect the home’s foundation, structure, roof, plumbing and electrical systems, floors, windows, doors, and more for any issues/potential issues. In this market, as mentioned earlier, many sellers procure their own inspection to provide to buyers.
Congratulations! Your home is practically sold, but there are still some final steps before the deal is done. This is the time to sign the title and close escrow before handing over the keys. Be sure to consult your real estate agent for any questions about legal documentation and settlement cost.
If you’d like more information about selling your home, don’t hesitate to reach out! Whether you’re thinking about going for it now or six months from now, I’m here to help and be a resource.
Sorelle Hardin | Residential Broker
Windermere Real Estate Co.