Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Home Selling Tips
- Step 1: Find an Amazing Real Estate Agent
- Step 2: The Price Has Got to Be Right
- Step 3: Develop Your Home-Selling Timeline
- Step 4: Consider a Home Inspection Before Listing
- Step 5: Get Your Home Ready for Potential Buyers
- Step 6: List Your Home and Start the Showings
- Step 7: Negotiate and close
Whether you’re 100 percent ready or you’re just starting to dabble with the idea of selling your home, you likely have a ton of questions. Selling your house is kind of a big deal, and there’s a lot you need to know before you start the process. In this post, we will give you a guide containing everything you need to know about selling your house in 2021. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Find an Amazing Real Estate Agent
You’ve likely noticed there are a ton of real estate agents out there. This is why it’s important to take some time and do your research so you can find the real estate agent that aligns the most with your goals and needs. Do some Googling, ask around, and meet with a few agents until you find the one best for you.
Now, you may be wondering, “can’t I just sell my house myself?” You can, but you really shouldn’t. A licensed real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the market and selling process, and that expertise is worth much more than saving a few thousand bucks on agent fees. If you’re still not sold, take a look at this recent data from The latest National Association of Realtors that shows that the average home sold by an agent in 2020 brought in $280,000 compared to the average for sale by owner home that went for $200,000— a difference of a whopping 80 grand.
Step 2: The Price Has Got to Be Right
If you want your home to sell fast, you need to price it to sell. We know you think your house is the world’s best house and the home you brought your babies home to, but you really need to think objectively about your price. This is where the help of an experienced real estate agent comes in handy once again. Your real estate agent will likely run a comparative market analysis (CMA) to come up with your home’s price. This free report will compare your home with other homes nearby that are comparable in size, have similar features, are on the market, or have sold in recent months. This comparison gives your agent more power to accurately predict what potential buyers will be willing to pay for your home.
Your CMA report will offer several pages of information with photos and a map of all of the properties in the analysis. A professional realtor will take the time to explain the results to you and make sure you understand exactly how your house stacks up to the competition. Armed with this information, you and your agent can work on setting a competitive price based on the facts, not emotions.
Step 3: Develop Your Home-Selling Timeline
The weeks and months leading up to listing your home can make or break the stress levels of the whole process. If you know you’re feeling eager to list your home, start attacking that pre-sale to-do list.
- Interview real estate agents and take your time finding the best one.
- Now work with your agent to outline a plan and set your priorities so you can focus on one task at a time.
- Declutter. Decide what’s going and what’s staying. Pack up the discard items and get them out of there!
2-3 Months Prior to Listing
- Hire a home inspector. This will help you identify and fix any issues early on in the home-selling process. This allows you to work the cost of repairs into your budget ASAP so they don’t ruin your deal later.
- Get started on the repairs and consult your real estate agent to find out which items on the list are worth the most.
1-2 Months Prior to Listing
- Create an inviting space in your home to allow buyers to see it in its best light.
- Deep clean. Scrub every surface of your home until it shines. Hire the professionals to make your carpets look and smell brand new.
- Apply any finishing touches and get your home magazine-worthy before the photographer arrives.
Step 4: Consider a Home Inspection Before Listing
Most home buyers will tell you that it pays to get a home inspection. But what you may not realize is that it’s a powerful tool for sellers too! A pre-sale inspection may cost a few hundred dollars, but we promise, it’s worth it. Why? Because it can keep buyers from demanding lots of cash during negotiations.
A home inspection will typically cover:
- Electrical, plumbing, HVAC
- Windows, ceilings, walls, doors, floors
- Attic, roof, visible insulation
- Foundation, basement, and structural elements
A qualified home inspector will comb your property’s accessible areas in order to assess the home’s condition and identify any potential health and safety concerns. Once complete, the inspector will send you a detailed report that outlines what’s working, what doesn’t work, and recommendations for repairs and maintenance.
It’s not necessary to address every single finding in your inspection. You should, however, fix big issues because they can scare home buyers away, especially if there are issues with the roof, plumbing, electrical, or HVAC system— those should have priority on your fix-it list.
Step 5: Get Your Home Ready for Potential Buyers
It’s showtime! Or, should we say, showing time! Start with a deep cleaning and scrub all surfaces until they sparkle. Don’t forget to keep your house clean for showings that may pop up. You should also consider adding a fresh coat of paint and paying a professional to deep clean carpets and rugs.
Keep your decor colors and themes neutral, and try to take the personalization out of your home by taking down family photos so that buyers can imagine themselves in their new home— not you.
Don’t forget to clean up the outside of your home too. Clean your front porch and put some nice planters near the entryway. Pressure wash the deck or patio and add a few colorful plants and/or flowers to make the area really pop.
When it’s time for photos, you must make sure your home is in tip-top shape. Professional photos work wonders to show off your home’s features, but if your home is not looking its best, professional photos can’t do their job properly. Here are some tips to get the best shot:
- Stay organized. That means no clutter and unnecessary items, decor, or piles. Pick up all toys and pet stuff.
- Clean off the counters. Now is not the time to show off your Margaritaville Margarita Maker.
- Add some lights. Bright rooms make homes appear bigger. Open up the curtains, pull up the blinds, and let the sunshine through.
- Put the seat down! Make sure all toilet seats are down during photos.
Step 6: List Your Home and Start the Showings
We know, home showings can be a pretty big nuisance. Sitting down to dinner? The realtor calls. Finally home from a long day at the office? The realtor calls. Finally got the baby down to sleep? The realtor calls. But, they’re necessary! If you’re struggling to keep your home clean for showing after showing while you also try to live in the home, follow these tips:
- Try a daily to-do list to avoid a sudden showing, and your home is a disaster. Give everyone in the family a daily task to help keep the home tidy.
- Secure a place for your pets during showings. Again, if showings pop up, you don’t want to be forced to throw Old Yeller outside. Ask your parents or neighbors if they can be on-call doggie duty, or take your pets for a ride during showings.
Step 7: Negotiate and close
Negotiations may or may not take some time. You should know that the contract process works differently from state-to-state, so you’ll need to depend on your agent to explain those details to you. You should never sign a purchase agreement before you fully understand what is and isn’t included in the offer—and how it will affect you. You will want to pay close attention to the following details:
- Purchase price
- Closing or escrow date
- Special allowances for home improvements, personal property closing costs, and so forth
- Contingency deadlines for the home inspection, buyer financing, and appraisal
Once you and the buyer reach a final deal, there’s still some work to be done from contract to closing. Here are some tips to help you manage the seemingly mounting tasks:
- Don’t wait until the last minute to pack
- Communicate frequently and openly with your buyer
- Make a list of what you need to bring to closing day
- Remain flexible and hopeful—delays are part of the process!
Selling your home is an extremely exciting and stressful time. The key is to manage stress by allowing yourself ample time to complete all of the necessary steps, checks, and other requirements. Working with a licensed, experienced, and skilled Realtor will also help you relax and gain a better understanding of the selling process.