The Home Selling Process
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
The first stage in the home selling process entails preparation, research and finding yourself an agent.
- Get your home “Camera Ready.” In real estate, first impressions are everything. Buyers will form immediate opinions about your home based on the online photography and their first viewing. It is critical to make your home as presentable as possible. This may include cleaning, decluttering, landscaping, painting and staging to attract the right buyer.
- Get your paperwork in order. In order for a home to pass ownership, it is required to provide the purchaser of your home with clean title. Make sure that any work that was done to your home has been legalized and that all C/O’s (certificate of occupancy) have been obtained. This may include permits for additions, decks, removal of oil tanks, etc.
- Find an agent. Your home is one of your most valuable assets and finding the right agent to handle that asset is critical. Forming a relationship with someone that you can trust guarantees that the home selling process will be as seamless and stress-free as possible. An experienced and successful agent will use cutting edge marketing methods to sell your home quickly and for the highest possible price.
LISTING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
The second stage in the home selling process involves understanding the market, advertising and showing your home.
- Learn your local market. Now that your home has been prepared for sale, it is important to gain an understanding the market in your area. Your agent will prepare a detailed report for you comparing your home to other listings on the market as well as listings that have sold. Keep in mind that active listings are your competition and that asking price is not necessarily indicative of market value. Sold listings provide greater relevance when pricing your home for sale.
- Prepare to hit the market. Once you have agreed upon an asking price and your agent has gone over the relevant paperwork with you, they will schedule an appointment to have professional photos taken of your home. This appointment may also include taking measurements for a detailed floor plan and an online virtual tour. Brochures will be printed to give to potential buyers and a mailing sent to homes in the area to introduce your home to the market.
- Going live. Now that all of the preliminary work has been completed, your home is ready to go live on the internet where more than 98% of buyers will begin their home search. The Multiple Listing Service will feed your listing to 20+ websites including Daniel Gale, MLSLI, Trulia, Zillow and many more.
- Track activity. The first few weeks that your home hits the market will be the busiest. Your broker will schedule and keep track of all appointments. This will be accompanied by showing feedback to let you know what buyers like and dislike about your home. Online website traffic will also be tracked and emailed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
FROM NEGOTIATING TO CLOSING
The third, final and most important stage in the home selling process involves negotiating a deal, proceeding to contract and the final steps through closing.
- Negotiating an accepted offer. When a home is priced properly under current market conditions, it is not unreasonable to expect an offer to come in within the first few weeks of marketing. Your agent will handle all negotiations and ensure that the buyer is ready, willing and able to purchase. It is common to counter-offer back and forth before coming to an agreement. Keep in mind, a verbal agreement is non-binding and your home will continue to be shown until contracts have been fully executed.
- The home inspection. After coming to an agreement in price and terms with your potential purchaser, they will schedule their home and termite inspection. The purpose of this inspection is to educate the buyer on the condition of the home and prepare them for general maintenance and home ownership costs. If prior evidence of termite activity is found, it is customary for the seller to have the issue treated and provide a 1-year guarantee to the buyer.
- Proceeding to contract. Now that the potential buyer has completed their home inspection and is prepared to move forward, attorney information will be exchanged via your real estate agent. Your attorney will draw up a formal contract to be approved by the buyer’s attorney. Once they have agreed on a final draft, the buyer will sign and put their down payment before the seller signs and the contract becomes fully executed.
- The appraisal. If your buyer is obtaining financing, they will submit the fully executed contract to their lender. The lender will then order an appraisal of your home. Your agent will coordinate to have the appraiser come take a few photos and measurements. This is usually a relatively short appointment and ensures that the home is worth what the bank will be lending the buyer. The completed appraisal along with the buyer’s remaining paperwork will be examined and once approved, the buyer will get their commitment.
- Final walkthrough. When the buyer has obtained their mortgage commitment and the closing has been scheduled, your real estate agent will arrange for the buyer to come have one final look at the home. This serves to make sure that nothing has happened to the house in the time period between contract and closing. They will look around and make sure no damage was done during the moving process, check all of the appliances, etc.
- The closing. It has been a long journey and the closing is finally here! Your attorney will let you know exactly what you need to bring with you (identification, checks, etc.). You and the buyers will sign all of the paperwork to transfer ownership and provide the purchaser title. Congratulations!