How To Sell Your House in 2019: The Definitive guide

It’s been a seller’s dream market for the past 7 years with home prices rising dramatically.

But change is constant, in the real estate market and for the first time, 15% of all home listings saw price cuts in January.

Houses are taking slightly longer to sell and there are more homes on the market. With that you have a shifting picture of how well you'll do in selling your home.

What’s a seller to do?

The good news is that it’s a great time to sell your house!

Let’s take you through the steps to make sure you have thought of everything.

Person selling his house

PART 1

Have a Reason To Sell

We’re so human right? We love choices and all the options of where and how we can live.

We like “more”. There’s always a better, newer, easier home just waiting for us to move in to.

People finding reason to sell

And with all those choices there are so many reasons to sell your house.

It really comes down to your thoughts about your home, your stage of life, your job demands, and ease of life.

Consider your finances:

Your home is often your biggest investment. After seeing your neighbors sell their homes for a great profit you feel it’s your turn.

With the sellers' market starting to slow down a bit now is a great time to make the most money on your home.

What about your finances?

You may want to get out of a high mortgage. Yes, you can refinance, and it could lower your monthly mortgage payments. But maybe you want to simplify your life with a much lower housing cost.

Having a smaller mortgage gives you more income to do other things. Travel, put your child through college, pay off debt, or take care of an ageing parent.

You’ve gotten a dream job somewhere else

9.9% of people move for new jobs or job relocation. Since you can’t live in two places at once it’s time to sell your home.

Man celebrating his new job

You’re entering a different life stage

Maybe you’re a young family that needs more space (and who doesn’t with children?)

Or you’re an empty nester who put your youngest in college last month.

Or you feel it’s time to enjoy a great retirement somewhere else.

There are other reasons to sell too.

You’re newly married or divorced. Needing more space to care for your parents or children who’ve moved back home (hello millennials).

In a recent survey by Ameritrade 50% of millennials plan to move back home after graduating college. And half of those plan on staying a year of more.

You’re over your home or neighborhood

What seemed so great when you first moved in just isn’t so great anymore.

Maybe nobody uses your pool that’s expensive to maintain.

Or worse:

Your neighborhood is changing and it’s not for the better.

And it was a nice idea but...

Maybe you thought you’d rehab your house, but it never really happened, and you don’t want to live with that 1990’s black toilet and bathtub anymore.

One walk through a home for sale with all the things you want is a powerful motivator to sell your home.

PART 2

Know What

Home value

Your Home is Worth

This is the perfect time to do a little research on what your home is worth because there are so many options.

Only a few years ago the only way to find out what your home was worth was through a real estate agent.

The agent pulls home sales in your neighborhood and gives you a price to list your home for.

If the agent overpriced the home, it would sit, and the listing would become stale. If the home is underpriced, then you’d get less money than you could have gotten.

What can you do?

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 what’s sold in your neighborhood. It gives you an approximate value for your home.

2 You can have an appraisal done by a certified house appraiser. You’ll pay $300 to $500 or more to have it done and it will take about 2 weeks

3 Comparable Sales is another way to estimate your home’s market value. You compare homes in your neighborhood or similar neighborhoods and see what they’ve sold for.

4 Use an iBuyer to get a market value estimate. iBuyers like Zillow, Offerpad, Opendoor, Knock and others instantly give you a market value of your home. You must go through each website and fill out their survey to get that information.

5 Find out what iBuyers will offer for your home in one place. If you want an estimate to know what iBuyers are willing to buy your house for then iBuyer.com will provide a price range.

The iBuyer.com value estimates will compare what iBuyers are buying houses that are like yours in similar markets and give you a selling estimate for your house.

PART 3

Your Options When Selling a House

It’s great that there are more options to sell your home than ever before but how do you choose?

Each way of selling has pluses and minuses.

It depends upon how much work you want to do and how much you want to pay to have your house sold.

People considering house sale options

Sell Your House by Yourself (FSBO)

You’ll need to learn about the housing market and do the work to prepare, market and sell your house yourself to save costs. You’ll be your own realtor and need to do what they do.

Realtors market the homes they are selling by marketing. You will need to do the same to sell your house.

  • Use social media and post on your account.
  • Post on community groups because you never know who’s interested in your home.
  • Advertise in the classifieds and Craig’s List.
  • Put flyers up and go to a printing company to mail flyers out to a specific area. The small cost to market your home to sell will be well worth it when you create attention and interest.
  • Have Open Houses and spread the word to your neighbors, friends and community.

What else can you do?

People discussing selling ideas

  • Be sure to make the house look show-ready before you market your home. You’ll make the best first impression with potential buyers.
  • Get an idea of the costs involved in selling your home by yourself. Research property taxes, transfer taxes, title insurance fees, escrow fees and any other fees that will need to be paid.

Want an easy way to do that? Go to Pricing Estimate to have it calculated for you.

It’s time to negotiate and accept an offer:

This takes patience and knowing what you’re willing to accept to sell your house.

Don’t immediately react to the price offered.

Look over carefully what’s being offered and give a counteroffer if the terms or price is not in your ballpark.

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 longer or shorter because of a job situation or family need?

Remember this is a time of give and take.

Be clear in communicating what your needs are and listen to the buyer’s needs to have a good negotiating dialogue.

Keep your emotions out of it because they’ll only get in the way of coming to an agreement to sell your house.

Now it’s time to close on the sale of your home.

This is where the closing paperwork comes in.

You’ll need to allow time for the seller to get the home appraised and inspected.

Provide any documents the seller needs and get in touch with your mortgage company to begin the paperwork to pay off your mortgage with the sale of the house.

It’s also time to put together your move! Contact moving companies or friends to help with your move.

You’ll also need to have documents for the closing.

Those include disclosure forms, insurance documents, property records, mortgage and lien records and more.

You can buy a packet of those closing forms for around $60 at DIY Real Estate Forms & Guides.

Sell your home with a real estate agent

Need to have someone else do the work to sell your home?

A real estate agent will charge up to 6% of the home’s price and do all the things needed to price, market and sell your home.

- Real estate agent handing keys

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the rate with the agent.

Remember to keep a close watch on what they’re doing to market your home and sell it quickly.

Make your realtor work hard for the money they’ll get from the sale.

Sell your house with an iBuyer

There is a growing list of online real estate websites.

They’ll give you an instant offer for your home and connect you with a real estate agent to buy a home.

The iBuyers pay the realtors a set fee to bring them a sales lead. You can also sell and buy directly through an iBuyer. The benefits are a quick price estimate for your home and a quick sale.

And you’ll do no prep because they often provide minor clean-up and repair services.

You will get a slightly lower price for your home but the ease and quick timing of it may be worth it.

It makes the whole house sale really simple.

iBuyers like Zillow, OfferPad, Opendoor and others will give you a market price estimate for your home within 24 hours.

They will have a local agent inspect your home and give you a concrete offer.

You can go to each of the iBuyers websites to request an estimate or you can go to iBuyer.com.

Here you can use the estimator to get a range of what price you can expect your home to sell for with iBuyers.

The iBuyer.com home value estimates give you a more accurate idea of what the iBuyers will pay for your home.

It is based on comparable sales instead of fair market value.

It’s true that knowledge is power.

iBuyer.com is a great tool to easily get the estimate and information you’ll need to sell your house.

PART 4

Take Care of Repairs and Improvements

Nobody’s home is perfect, and the wear and tear of everyday life takes its toll on any home.

It’s time to look at your home with a critical eye to see the good, the bad and the just plain ugly.

Team getting ready for house reparations

Focus on the first impression

You’ll have less than 5 seconds to make a good first impression so make it a great one!

Do cosmetic changes that don’t cost much and that you can do yourself.

Painting, power washing, landscaping and lawn maintenance are easy ways to make your house attractive and inviting.

Staged house for selling

Look at your lighting inside and out. It’s easy to replace broken or dated light fixtures and it makes a big difference in first impressions.

Pre-pack and declutter

Clean your home space by pre-packing. It declutters the house and gives you a place to put all the "stuff".

And it makes it so much easier to move when you sell your house!

Depersonalize your home

Remove all personal items. That means clear off all counters with "stuff" on them and take down family photos..

You want the potential buyer to see themselves in your home instead of you in it.

Invest in making your home look "toothbrush ready"

This means the buyer only needs to bring their toothbrush to settle into your home.

And no major work is needed to make it livable for them.

Fix the things that are unattractive or don’t work in your house.

This will affect your selling price because the buyer will want you to pay for things to be fixed so be proactive.

Ready to move in house

Do you want to skip most of these steps?

Then use an iBuyer to give you an instant offer estimate for your home.

To get all the information on all iBuyers go to iBuyer.com to learn all about your options, how they work and get a iBuyer price range estimate for your home.

Closing an ibuyer deal

PART 5

When’s The Best Time For Selling Your House?

That’s the million-dollar question, right?

It’s still very much a seller’s market because there aren’t enough houses for people wanting to buy them.

That varies by market and the price of your home.

Traditionally Spring and Summer have been the best time to market and sell your house.

The rule was: after the children get out of school and before they go back to school.

People looking for best time to sell house

A recent study, though, found that sellers typically net more above asking price during the months of December through March than they do from June through November.

Why?

Because there’s more competition then with more houses on the market.

A 2018 study by ATTOM Data Solutions of 147 million home sales from 2011 to 2017 found the second-best day of the year to sell a home is February 15th, with sellers netting an average premium of 9% above their house’s estimated market value on that day.

Other questions include: How prepared are you to go through the selling process and move?

How does timing affect your decision to sell your home?

Don’t forget the economy and mortgage rates in your decision to sell your house.

Those affect the potential buyers and either create a sellers’ or a buyer’s market.

Know where the mortgage trends and economy are going.

PART 6

Take Care of Your Paperwork

Extracting the right paperwork needed

The paperwork needed to close on your house can be an intense process.

Here’s a list of the most important documents you need when selling your house:

1 You’ll need the original sales contract for your house with the
purchase price on it.

2 Have any documents related to the title and ownership of your home.. This includes all the details like a certificate of occupancy, certificates of compliance with building and zoning, a property survey and anything else related to the physical property.

3 You’ll need your mortgage and financing documents.

4 Tax Records may need to be provided to show all the tax information related to the home.

5 Bring your original appraisal that was done when you bought your home. You’ll also want any paperwork on renovations or additions, or upgrades done to your home since the original appraisal.

6 You’ll need your homeowner’s insurance plan.

7 Did you have any inspections done before putting your house up for sale? Bring those.

8 For tax purposes have receipts and photos of improvements you’ve made to your house. Did you add a bathroom? Find out how records of improvement can help you reduce your taxes when you sell your house.

9 It’s good to have home repair and maintenance records. It’s better to have a copy of those so that you can give that to the homebuyers. That way they’ll know the last time the AC had a maintenance check or how old that roof is.

10 Bring any manuals or warranties for appliances that are a part of your home sale.

11 Are you in a homeowner’s association? Then you’ll need all your HOA documents. If you’re using a real estate broker, ask them in advance what HOA documents you’ll need to make sure you’ve got them all.

Now that you know how to sell your house what’s next?

It’s up to you!

We’ve shown you price, market and selling options. Life is about being flexible because everything changes.

The option to sell is a deeply personal one. It’s filled with emotion about leaving and excitement about what’s next.

Do your research (which you are doing already by reading this article) and pick the best option for you!

Person thinking about selling their house