On average, people move once every seven years and it typically accompanies a major life change such as marriage, divorce, families getting bigger or smaller, retirement, career change. Suddenly, as if you don’t have enough on your mind with whatever is going on, selling your home gets added to the mix. Now what?
Well, now you need to hire a Realtor, and hopefully one that you can trust to handle your unique situation with care and professionalism. You’ll need to communicate clearly with your realtor about what your priorities are. Are you in a hurry to sell? Do you need to find somewhere else to live before your home sells? Are you moving out of state? Be ready to explain your situation so that your realtor understands what your intentions are.
1. Understand the Market
Are houses like yours selling at lightning speed and at full price? Do you have a one-of-a-kind vintage house with train tracks in your front yard? Lakefront? A five-car garage? Chickens? A community pool? Are interest rates going up? Is the market hot? These are all factors that a realtor will take into account when valuing your home. Your real estate agent will prepare a market analysis which will help you create a realistic, competitive pricing strategy for your house.
2. Prepare Your House for Showings
Every once in awhile, a homeowner will be truly talented in the area of home decorating and furnishing. You know these people – their homes are beautiful. They could appear in home decorator magazines and give advice about tile, paint colors, and couch styles. If you aren't one of these people, you should definitely consider staging or at least partially staging your home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 81% of buyers find it easier to visualize a staged property as a future home and over 95% of Buyer's agents say that home staging has at least some effect on the buyer's view of the home. Almost a third (28%) of buyers are willing to overlook property faults when the home is staged. In a Real Estate Staging Association Survey, pofessionally staged homes spent 72% less time on the market. A clean property is a priority. Your windows, floors and bathroom tiles should sparkle. Shampoo dirty carpets, clean tubs and showers, and repair dripping faucets. Remove unnecessary clutter from the entire property. Keep your home neat, clean and picked-up at all times. Cosmetic improvements such as paint, flooring and landscaping help a home “show” better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs, which ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition, are required to get a top price. Always consider staging. A well-staged home will often pay for its cost, so discuss this with your agent.
3. Negotiate an Offer
When you receive an offer from a prospective buyer, your agent will meet with you discuss strategy, price, terms, conditions, inclusions and exclusions, deadlines, and other issues contained in the document. Once you understand the offer, your agent will guide you through the bargaining process and counsel you on your decision to accept, decline, or make a counter-offer. Real Estate negotiations typically involve compromises.
4. Work Towards a Successful Closing
Your agent will work to help you meet the requirements of the contract, including ordering title insurance, coordinating and negotiating the property inspection, and meeting other deadlines.
Closing is essentially a meeting where the closing agent, from the title insurance company, takes in money from the buyers, pays out money to the owner, and makes sure that the purchaser’s title is properly recorded in local records along with any mortgage liens. The title company’s closing agent also reviews the sales contract to determine what credits the owner should receive, what amounts are due from the buyer, and makes necessary adjustments for commissions, taxes and fees.
6. Finally... Move In!
The keys to the property are handed to the new owner.