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Home Selling Process

It is vital to understand the home selling process before listing. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re flying blind while hoping for the best. As a Realtor, I’ve put together a condensed step-by-step guide to sell your home.

a step by step guide for the home selling process

  1. Hire a Real Estate Agent
  2. Find Out How Much Your House Is Worth
  3. Make Repairs as Necessary
  4. Make Your Home Presentable for Buyers
  5. Create a Marketing Strategy
  6. Negotiate Offers
  7. Begin the Closing Process

First Step of the Home Selling Process: Hire a Real Estate Agent

When choosing a Realtor, you should get more than someone that can list your home on the MLS and stick a sign in the yard. If that’s the case, you might as well do that yourself and deal with the headaches of selling your home. Even though the internet has disrupted many industries such as retail and taxi-cabs, there are still plenty of benefits to hiring a Realtor. Below is a small list of factors to consider when looking to hire a real estate agent.

  • Knowledge of the local market
  • Marketing strategies
  • A pool of potential buyers
  • Negotiating power
  • Their network of professionals (tradesmen, attorneys, etc.)

Research done by the National Association of Realtors shows 88% of homebuyers bought their home’s through a Realtor. If you’re planning to go the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) route, you could be at a significant disadvantage during the negotiation period. The naive mindset of “how hard can it be?” can cost you a lot of time and money as a result. Hence the reason 89% of home sellers used a real estate agent.

Don’t Sell Your Home with a Discount Broker or Agent

You may think all of us Realtors do the same thing, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, it’s all about how well each agent does their job.

Selling your home with a discount broker or agent may not be a wise choice for one reason. If they aren’t willing to defend their livelihood, then what makes you think the opposite will apply for the sale of your home? They are incapable of negotiating the highest possible sale price.

Trust me, agents who are considered to be some of the best in the market will not lower their commission. Why? Because the services they offer justifies the standard six percent. In fact, I’ve never known a discount broker or agent to be amongst the top real estate agents, period. The words “discount” and “high-quality” hardly ever go together.

Just like there’s a lot of Realtors, there’s also a lot of very talented dancers out there. But we have yet to see anyone outperform Michael Jackson. Needless to say, you get what you pay for.

the benefits of using a realtor for during the home selling process

Find Out How Much Your House Is Worth

Your real estate agent will more than likely perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This is done by selecting comparable properties that sold within the past six months. They will typically be no further than a mile away. Or you can also hire an appraiser.

Price your home accordingly before beginning the home selling process

The Most Important Thing to Know During the Home Selling Process: The Market Is the Boss

There is one crucial thing you must understand. Neither you nor I can actually decide the value of your home. That is because the market is the boss. Instead, all I can do is interpret the market. The reality is that you have no choice but to price your home within what the market can bear.

You’re Probably Not Going to Get Away with Overpricing Anyway

Before the financial crisis of 2008, houses were appraising for way more than their actual value. But in today’s world, that is very unlikely to happen. Even if you found a buyer who is willing to pay what you’re asking, their lender isn’t going to lend more than your home appraises for.

In that case, unless you lower the asking price, the buyer won’t obtain financing. Then the contract will die, and your overpriced house will continue to sit on the market.

Don’t Make Unnecessary Upgrades

Although enhancing your home’s condition can increase the overall value, you don’t want to go too far. Before spending a dime, consult with your real estate agent. Your agent will then show you home improvements are driving the recent home sales in the area.

This should give you a general idea of what upgrade(s) may yield the highest return. If you begin renovating without doing your research, the overall task of selling your home could end up being more challenging than expected.

Make Repairs as Necessary

Even though the buyer will obtain their own home inspection, getting a pre-sale home inspection could be a wise choice. Repairing your home’s significant defects before going on the market could save you from wasting time and getting headaches.

The most common issues home inspectors find are usually related to the roof, foundation, and utilities. Nonetheless, the minimum property requirements will vary per loan type. For this reason, you will probably have to make repairs of some sort regardless.

Make Your Home Presentable for Buyers

The Effects of Staging Your Home to Sell

Next on the home selling checklist is interior and exterior detailing. If you’re planning to live in the home while it’s listed for sale, chances are you’re not going to need full-blown staging. Your real estate agent might recommend staging consultation instead. This means the stager will come into your home and decide what should stay, go, or be repositioned.

However, if you plan to leave your home vacant while it’s for sale, traditional or virtual staging might be recommended. With this in mind, 83% of homebuyers stated staging made it easier for them to visualize the place as their future home. The most common rooms to get staged are the family room, master bedroom, dining room, and kitchen.

Keep Your Lawn Up to Par

Curb appeal is essential since the exterior is the first thing anyone will see. For this reason, keeping your grass cut and hedges trimmed will do a world of good. Moreover, if homebuyers can see the exterior of your home is well maintained, they can only assume the same applies to the interior. Lastly, standard lawn care has the potential to yield a staggering 267% return. Given these points, make sure to keep your yard neat and tidy.

Other Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

A few other ways to enhance your curb appeal is to pressure wash your house. This could be a definite need if your home has lightly colored vinyl siding. No one wants to see ugly and nasty algae on a property they are contemplating on buying as a home.

In the same fashion, you want to make sure your gutters are clear and free of debris. Birds’ nests, leaves, and twigs are some of the most commonly found pieces of rubbish.

If you have a front porch, fence, or back deck, you may also want to consider getting them stained. But then again, I wouldn’t put this first on the list.

Create a Marketing Strategy to Sell Your Home

This is something you will discuss with your real estate agent. A significant part of the home selling process is to get the most exposure possible. We are no longer living in the ancient era of newspaper and magazine ads. Nowadays, social media and content marketing is one of the best platforms. An all-time high of 97% of homebuyers used the internet as a part of their home search.

the evolution of marketing has now made selling a home easier

The Importance of Video Marketing 

Then video marketing is essential. Almost 83% of internet users in the U.S. are video viewers, about 235.1 million people. Also, videos get 1,200% more social shares than images and text combined. I think it’s safe to say video marketing is forthwith one of the best methods of marketing.

Professional Photography is Still Important

No, video marketing does not abolish the need for professional photos. After all, homes with high-quality images can sell 32% faster, in addition to a 47% higher asking price square foot.

Photography statistics show professional phots are still needed

There are still many other marketing strategies you and your real estate agent can use besides the above. At present, you should look for an agent that knows how to leverage technology to its highest and best use as a marketing tool. Trust me; there’s a lot more to it than just posting a few pictures online with hope and a prayer to get a buyer.

Negotiate Offers

The home selling process’s negotiation period is what separates the good Realtors from the bad ones. Having one or the other can either save you or cost you in the long run. You will typically have two or three days to accept or reject the buyer’s offer.

During this period, you and your Realtor will go over the terms of the buyer’s purchase contract. This will consist of their financing, contingencies, and any other request, if applicable. An example of the latter would be the buyer asking to include the furniture with the home’s sale.

Furthermore, an example of a contingency would be if your home’s purchase is contingent on selling the buyers’ current home. In other words, the buyers’ house has to be sold before buying yours. Then there are different types of contingencies a homebuyer may use. They could be for a home inspection, obtaining financing, etc.

The Last Step of the Home Selling Process: Closing 

Otherwise known as “opening escrow” or the “settlement period,” the closing process can be rather challenging, to say the least. Not to mention closing can take 45 to 60 days.

For instance, the buyer may request you to make specific repairs after reviewing the home inspection report. Hence the reason I recommend getting a pre-sale home inspection beforehand.

As previously mentioned, why wait until closing and get repairs out the way ahead of time? You’re generally subject to make repairs if any known faults are currently affecting the home’s structure.

Just as food for thought, you also want to make sure your title is clear and free of defects ahead of time. In fact, Virginia’s exclusive right to sell contract states that the seller must have their title freed of such. To put it another way, you’re going to need a general warranty deed before conveying the property.

Other parts of the closing process will consist of an appraisal and transferring the title via attorney or title agent.

The closing process is the most crucial part of the home selling process. Therefore, you need to have all of your ducks in a row before putting your home up for sale.

Big mistakes sellers make is being stubborn

About the Author

Marlon Thomas Jr
Marlon Thomas Jr

Marlon A. Thomas Jr. is a residential Realtor and blogger in Williamsburg, Virginia, and has been living there since he was two. As a Realtor, his job is to act as a personal marketing expert and consultant for buyers and sellers. July of 2015, Marlon was on a family vacation in Miami, Florida. The skyline filled with a vast array of skyscrapers under construction further sparked his interest in real estate. His long-term goal is to become a commercial real estate investor. While also being an avid car lover, Marlon loves to attend drag races and car shows when possible.

Contact Marlon