What to Expect

Selling your home can sometimes be a stressful and emotionally draining experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing the steps involved can make the experience a much more positive one. Once you have made the decision to place your home for sale on the market, your first step is to locate an agent. Then focus on making necessary repairs and doing a deep cleaning will be some things you will need to do before it is officially ‘listed’. These tasks can seem overwhelming, especially if you have never sold a home, or if it has been awhile since your last sale. Below are a few basic steps in the sales process that can take the mystery (and anxiety) out of selling your home.

  1. Know Why You Are Selling -If you know exactly why you are selling, then it is easier for you to establish the right plan of action, and to stick to it.  This understanding will help you get keep a realistic objective on the sale.  If you know you need to sell your home as quickly as possible, then getting the best possible price might not equate.  This does not mean that you won’t, or can’t get the highest price, just that it should not be a deciding factor.  Once you know what your motivation and limitations are, discuss them with your Realtor so that they can work with you and help you realize these goals.
  2. Disassociate Yourself – After you have realized your need or desire to sell the home, you must take an objective position.  Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house… a tangible product to be sold, like a box of cereal or a sweater.  Once you have let go of that emotional attachment you will be much better equipped to handle the sale and negotiation process.
  4. Setting The Price - Ensuring that your home is priced right is one of the most important steps in being competitive, and securing a buyer.  List too high and you risk alienating buyers, too low and you may not maximize your home’s equity.  Your agent will provide you with a CMA (comparable market analysis) showing you market activity and performance of comparable properties, and recommend a price point designed to sell your home in your specific market.  Remember, this is a business transaction, so try to maintain a realistic perspective of the property.
  6. Advertising – Let your Realtor take charge. They will make sure that you have your home advertised in accordance with your listing contract (ie: MLS {Multiple Listing Service}, various Internet sites, take ad space in the local paper’s home section, put a sign in your yard, etc.), and tailored to your home.  Trust that your Realtor has the knowledge and experience to broadcast your home to the widest possible array of buyers.
  8. Readiness – You should be prepared to show your home on a moment’s notice. It is best to make sure that your home is neat and picked up at all times. This may be hard if you have small children or pets, but having your home show-ready means that you will never lose an opportunity to have a prospective buyer walk through.
  10. Access – Your realtor should install a lockbox on or near your front door so that other agents can show your home easily. It is best that you are not present when your home is shown, even if it is inconvenient for you. Most prospective buyers are uncomfortable making honest comments about the features they like and dislike if you are present. It’s also easier for them to picture themselves living in your home without the current owner nearby. Finally it is important to note that the agent showing the home is in tune with the Buyer’s needs, and can tailor the showing to them.
  12. Traffic – Typically you will see a lot of interest right away, as both agents and buyers are eager to check out new listings. After this immediate surge you may see periods of days or even weeks with no activity or interest. Don’t be discouraged.  Your Realtor will stay in contact with you to discuss feedback and see if there are any adjustments to the staging or décor of the house that may position it better with buyers.
  14. When an Offer is Received – Do not be discouraged if the offered price is lower then the asking price; all parties involved are trying to get the most out of their dollar.  This is a starting point.  If you prepare yourself early and know your limits, you will be best situated to negotiate the price and terms for the property, that are most favorable, without the risk of loosing the buyer. Again, you must remain realistic about the market value of your home.
  16. Contingencies – Depending on the terms of the accepted offer to purchase there may be several contingencies or inspections required for the property.  These can range from a generalized home inspection, to a financing appraisal to a simple water test.  It is best if you make the home as accessible as possible to expedite this process and allow time before the scheduled closing date to ensure any necessary provisions are satisfied.  Depending on the results of the inspections, you may be asked to re-negotiate some of the terms of the offer to purchase, depending on the type of defects uncovered.   Once all of the contingencies have been removed from the offer to purchase, you will move towards the closing.  Depending on the offer this could be a matter of days, or even weeks.
  18. Closing – Working with the buyer, your Realtor will schedule a time for closing, the location of which is determined by the buyer’s lender.  On the day of closing you will sign all of the applicable paperwork specific to your type of transaction.  This is when ownership of the property if legally transferred, and will be your opportunity to hand off any additional keys, or garage door remotes you may possess.

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