You’ve decided to sell your house and there are so many things to do! If the selling process is new to you, then it might be a bit nerve-wracking. But, with this checklist you’ll know exactly what to expect.
- Getting your house ready to sell:
The first question you need to ask yourself is how you plan to sell your home. Will it be through a realtor, an iBuyer, or do you plan to do it yourself as an FSBO?
Selling your home with a real estate agent
A real estate agent will charge up to 6% of the home’s selling price and be responsible for determining the price, the market, and so forth. Remember to keep a close watch on what they’re doing to market your home. If you feel they’re not reaching your expectations, let them know early in the home selling process.
Selling your home by yourself (FSBO)
If you’re someone that would rather sell your house on your own, rather than hiring an agent, it means you are an FSBO (For Sale by Owner). Being your own realtor can help save you some money, but it will be your job to do the things a real estate agent would typically take care of.
You’ll need to market your house, show your house, and decide the price on your house. You’ll need to prepare your home for showings, by doing cosmetic upgrades, or repairs. You’ll also negotiate the offer and hire an Escrow or Title company to do the closing when the house sells.
Selling your home online with an iBuyer
If you’re looking for an alternative to hiring a realtor, or trying to sell your home on your own, use an iBuyer. iBuyers such as Zillow, OfferPad, or Opendoor will give you a market price offer for your home within 24 hours.
They will also have a local agent inspect your home. There are no repairs and no showings when you use an iBuyer. They will handle the repairs and the staging of the house.
- Put a price on your home:
There are some no-cost and low-cost ways to find out how much your home is worth.
1. You can request a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA looks at the housing market and gives you an approximate value for your home.
2. You can have an appraisal done by a certified house appraiser. It will take around 2 weeks to do and will cost around $300 to $500.
3. Comparable sales is another way to estimate your home’s market value. You compare homes in your neighborhood or similar neighborhoods to see what they’ve sold for.
4. Use an iBuyer to get a market value estimate. iBuyer.com can provide that information
Consider the costs of selling your home
If you sell as an FSBO, you won’t pay the average realtor commission of 6% of the house selling price. But, you will pay for and do all the marketing yourself.
These costs include yard signs, brochures, flyers, advertising, and open house expenses. The buyer may also ask you to pay part or all of the closing costs, so be prepared.
- Make your house move-in ready:
First impressions are critical. Here’s what you can do to make a buyer more interested in your home:
1. Declutter your home, and get some pre-packing done while you’re at it.
2. De-personalize your space, so that the potential homebuyer sees themselves in the house instead of you.
3. Do any cosmetic repairs such as power washing the driveway, adding a fresh coat of paint, or taking out some furniture to open the space.
Prepare for an open house
Now it’s time to get your house ready for showtime! An open house is an opportunity for potential homebuyers to physically go through the space and see if it fits their needs. It’s important that your home is fully prepared to be seen by prospective buyers; this means making sure the space is in prime condition.
*A quick tip: There is a direct correlation between our sense of smell and making a purchase. Make that work for you during your open house. Using attractive scents, the smell of freshly baked cookies for example, will signal “this is home” to a buyer.
Although it is not always necessary to stage your house to sell it, doing so can increase the chance of attracting potential buyers. Your real estate agent may offer to stage your house, you can do it yourself, or you can hire a professional to do the job for you.
Consider getting a pre-listing inspection
Technically you don’t need a house inspection to put your house on the market, but we recommend it. You always want repairs to be taken care of before you price the home and put it on the market.
If buyers find that the house needs major repairs, they may back out of the house sale. Important repair issues can include problems with the HVAC (heating and air) system, foundation cracks, water damage, electrical problems, poor drainage and plumbing issues. This is why the iBuyer trend is becoming so popular, because they’ll take care of these types of repairs for you.
- Steps taken after your house is on the market:
Be mindful of the amount of time your house is on the market
If there are no offers on the house, and the house has been on the market for over 30 days, it’s time to take action. Evaluate the efforts of your realtor; are they proactive and aggressive in marketing your house? Maybe your home is priced too high, or there’s been a shift in the economy, increased interest rates, or a sudden decrease in jobs near the area.
The same goes for an FSBO. If you’re not getting much activity on your house, it’s most likely a marketing or pricing problem. Your options are to ramp up your house selling, invest in a realtor, or use an iBuyer.
- You’ve got an offer
Now it’s time to negotiate and accept an offer. A realtor will do the negotiating for you, usually with the homebuyer’s realtor. Since the offers are typically on a time limit, you must accept the offer, reject the offer, or give a counter offer within a certain amount of time. Don’t let the pressure of time force you into making a wrong decision though. Step back and assess their offer.
If you’re an FSBO, you’ll be negotiating either directly with the buyer or the buyer’s realtor, so you’ll need to be at the top of your game to get what you want.
Look carefully at contingencies in the offer.
Do they need to sell their home or get financing first? Do you need to stay in your house for a longer or shorter period of time? Be clear in communicating what your needs are, because this is key to getting the job done.
- Pre-closing steps
It’s time to get your paperwork together in anticipation of the closing. These include:
– Financial documents related to the house.
– HOA documents if you’re in a Homeowners Association.
– All the warranties/service records of the appliances and mechanical systems in the house.
– House Tax Records.
– Homeowner’s Insurance.
– Home Appraisal.
– Documents related to the title and ownership of your house.
Talk with your Title or Escrow company, to confirm you have all the paperwork necessary.
You’ve made it! The final step is the house closing process.
If you’ve done your pre-closing paperwork, then closing is just a matter of signing the documents and transferring the money held in escrow for the sale of the house. It’s not necessary to meet with the buyer at closing; you can both do it separately.
Now it’s your turn to go through the home buying process, and find your new home-to-be.