Home Selling Guide
7 Step Home Selling Process
Whether buying or selling a house, it is one of the most important transactions you’ll ever go through. The process itself is stressful, so understanding the process should offer some peace of mind.
The 7 Steps to Selling a Home are:
Step #1: Hire a Professional
Step #2: Pricing Your Home
Step #3: Preparing to List
Step #4: Actively Listing Your Home
Step #5: Offer Presented & Negotiations
Step #6: Under Contract to Day of Closing
Step #7: Closing Day
You have finally decided you are ready to list your house for sale, but you’re not sure where to start. After researching online, you are left more confused with all the information you were given.
What should your first step be?
Step #1: Hire a Professional
Why Hire a Professional?
By hiring a professional, you have someone that is going to work on your behalf throughout the whole home selling process. The real estate agent you hire will have extensive knowledge in all aspects of the real estate transaction which should bring you some peace and a lot less stress. Along with knowledge, your real estate agent is associated with a brokerage that has a brand. This brand gives access to a much larger marketing reach than you could achieve by listing your house yourself.
When looking to hire an agent, ask questions regarding their experience in your particular area whether it’s your neighborhood or your city. Research their reviews online to see the success they have had with previous clients.
What Do You Get with a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Agent?
You get the power of a brand, and not just any brand. You may recognize the name from the magazine, the infamous cookbooks or maybe even the candles. Better Homes and Gardens® is a household brand that makes it the most recognizable brand in real estate. With over 175,000,000 monthly magazine readers, agents have access to the database of readers.
We have an award winning Relocation Department with access to an international networking sphere of agents. Your home buyer could be located ANYWHERE in the world and we have access to them.
When listing your house with one of our agents, your property gets listed for sale on over 200 websites. The most important website is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which is exclusively available to all local real estate professionals. The other homes for sale websites include Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Google.com, Homes.com and many more.
Better Home and Gardens Real Estate is partnered with various companies to offer benefits and discounts to our clients. Some companies we are partnered with include services like home protection plans, budget truck rentals, and PODS moving storage containers.
You’ve hired a real state agent and outline their experience along with your expectations… now what?
Step #2: Pricing Your Home
The first step to get your house ready to list for sale is to figure out the appropriate price to list your house at. Agents determine the appropriate list price by completing a comparative market analysis which will suggest the maximum amount you could get when selling your house. Keep in mind that no matter the list price, your house will have an appraisal completed which will determine the final value.
Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis is a document prepared by your real estate agent that gives the maximum value of your house. Recent sales and current active homes similar to yours are used to determine this amount. Now you maybe asking, what kind of house does an agent consider similar to mine? Location, size, condition of the home and the local housing market are all used to select the appropriate comparable homes. The recent sales carry the most weight, because they show what buyers have recently paid for a home like yours. Current homes active on the market show what buyers are viewing and what your competition is.
For more information on pricing your house appropriately, see our latest blog article Home Selling: The Price is Right… or Is It?
Step #3: Prepare Your Home to List
The exterior of your home is the first impression made to potential buyers. Buyers will eliminate a property based solely on the exterior appearance and condition.
What can you do to prepare the exterior?
Keep the lawn neat and manicured
Clear the walkways
Trim and maintain bushes/trees
Rake up the leaves up
Remove toys and clutter
Keep in mind that the way you live in your home and the way you sell your home are two different things.
Also, remember that your ‘home’ is being viewed as a potential buyer’s ‘house’. They don’t attach the same sentimental value to the house as you do. What can you do to prepare the interior to appeal to potential buyers?
Depersonalize your decor by removing pictures
Put your extra furniture and boxes in storage
Organize the closets and cabinets
You have prepared the interior and exterior of the house. A for sale sign and lockbox come next!
Step #4: Actively Listed
At this point, your house is ready to be listed for sale. You will read over and sign the listing agreement your real estate agent has prepared for you. You should also have received a Seller’s Property Disclosure to complete as well. REMEMBER- you can legally be help accountable if you intentionally withhold any property defects.
The for sale sign will be placed in your yard and a lockbox will be secured on the door. The lockbox allows local real estate agents access into your house once your agent has approved the showing and given them the code to the box.
Photographs are taken of the inside and outside of your house to be posted with your property online.
Listed in the MLS & Other Websites
Your house is submitted to the Multiple Listing Service. The details of your property, list price and showing instructions will be displayed here. Over 2,000 real estate agents in the Greater Augusta area are members to the MLS and use it as the #1 tool to find homes for their clients.
Once placed in the MLS, your listing then feeds to the company website along with over 200 additional websites like zillow.com, trulia.com, realtor.com, homes.com, etc.
Property Showings & Feedback
As a seller, you have to be ready to show, or unless you have already stated designated showing times to your real estate agent to enter into the showing instructions in MLS. There are a few ways to stay ready to show. One way is to be flexible with the showing times. Make it a point to leave the house during the showing. There is nothing more uncomfortable than for a buyer to view a house and the seller still be there. That alone could deter a buyer from making an offer on your house. Be sure to pick up before you leave the house each day. Keep the house neat and clean at all times.
Most buyers provide their feedback to their real estate agent who typically passes it back to the listing agent (your agent). Your agent will then share the buyer’s feedback whether it is good or bad. Your agent will use this feedback to keep you informed on any status reports.
Step #5: Offer Presented & Negotiations
Offer Has Been Made
A buyer viewed your house and has decided to make an offer.. yay! The buyer’s agent will prepare the offer on the standard state purchase and sale agreement. The buyer’s agent will present the offer to your agent. Your agent will then present the offer to you.
This is when your agent’s expertise is put to work for you.
Together, you will go over the details of the offer. Your agent can recommend what you should do, but ultimately the choice is yours.
From here you have 3 options as the seller:
- Accept the offer
- Reject the offer
- Counter their offer. Countering their offer starts the negotiation process.
Negotiations start because there are certain terms of the offer that you were not okay with. The terminology used in the purchase and sale agreement is confusing, so be sure to ask questions when you don’t understand something or need clarification. Try to meet halfway to agree on terms.
Both parties have agreed upon terms and have signed the counter offer… what’s next?
Step #6: Under Contract
Review Seller’s Estimated Charges
There are various charges that come with selling your house like the title company’s closing fees, commission fees, and possibly some buyer’s closing costs (determined during negotiations).
Other Activities After an Offer
Your real estate agent will deliver the contract to the closing attorney (also determined during negotiations). The closing attorney can also confirm they have all of the necessary information about your current mortgage loan. One of the most important duties your agent will perform is communicating with the buyer’s agent to confirm all approvals and underwriting processes are being completed on schedule.
The buyer has the right to have a home inspection completed. Following the home inspection, a repair amendment is usually presented with a list of repairs the buyer requests to be completed based upon the home inspector’s report. From here you have the same 3 options: accept it, reject it, or counter it. Once repairs are agreed upon, you may have to arrange for repairs to be completed before closing.
You are closer to your closing date, so be sure to call your utility companies to schedule for your services to be disconnected.
You’ll also review your closing disclosure with your agent before the day of closing. This will outline what you’re paying along with the credits you’ll be receiving.
Everything on the closing disclosure looks good. You know what’s next….
Step #7: Closing
At this point all of the contingencies and repairs have been completed before closing. The buyer will complete a final walk through of the property with their agent.
The day of closing you will arrive to the closing attorney’s office. The attorney will review the closing statement line-by-line with you (the seller), the buyer and your agents. The attorney will also guide you both through and be a witness to the signing the appropriate forms.
Once completed and funds have been received, then keys will be exchanged. The closing attorney will ensure the buyer’s title is properly recorded.