Selling a Home
Whether you are thinking about selling your first home or your seventh home, it is statistically proven a trained real estate professional can help you earn more money in less time on the sale.
Our associates work hard to understand the unique selling points of your home and neighborhood, and can provide you with the expertise you need to put a SOLD sign on your property.
To help you get started on your home sale, take advantage of these valuable resources.
9 Steps of Selling a Home
Step 1: Define Your Needs
Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, "Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?" For your goals, write down if you'd like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin.
Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.
Step 2: Establish Your Selling Price
Unfortunately, a house doesn’t come with a Price Tag attached to the door knob. The price is based on what the seller will sell for and what the buyer will pay. So, it is extremely important to do an evaluation of similar homes in the area and build a strong case for your asking price. A Kingston Realty agent can provide you with a free Current Market Analysis that will provide you with information to help you set a reasonable price for your home. Problems with setting the price too low are obvious; mainly, you won’t get all you should for your house! But there are problems with the price being too high as well: Buyer’s agents will avoid showing the house, buyers will see other homes in their search that seem of better value; you as the seller will have to keep the house in “showing condition” longer, etc. If your home sits on the market too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings. Let an experienced agent help in this all-important step!
(Note to webmaster- We could include a button to a CMA request form (see http://mysoundproperty.com/app/comparable_market_analysis for example)
Step 3: Choose a Kingston Realty Agent
When you're looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else good agents put their clients first. Some of the main roles your real estate agent will perform include:
- Serve as your advocate and representative when dealing with buyers, buyers’ agents and service providers.
- Help you establish a fair asking price that also meets your goals.
- Advise you on how to present your home aesthetically to maximize its appeal to buyers.
- Design a customized marketing plan that will promote your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tactics can include the MLS, direct mail campaigns, fliers, yard signs, advertising, Internet listings and open houses.
- Screen all written offers and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
- Assist you in making counteroffers.
- Prepare your closing documents.
- Represent you at closing and mediate any last-minute obstacles to ensure a smooth, successful transaction.
Step 4: Prepare your home.
Most of us don't keep our homes in "showroom" condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It's time to break out of that owner's mindset and get your house in tiptop shape. The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer.
First impressions are the most important. Your real estate agent can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers.
A home with too much "personality" is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized décor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs.
Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer's first impression.
Clutter is a big no-no when showing your home to potential buyers. Make sure you have removed all knickknacks from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible.
Remember the 60-second rule: That’s all the time you have to create a winning first impression. Here are a variety of possible ways to maximize your home’s appeal.
- Keep the grass cut and remove all yard clutter.
- Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds.
- Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.
- Tighten and clean all door handles.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Power wash home’s exterior.
- Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
- Paint the front door.
- Buy a new welcome mat.
- Place potted flowers near the front door.
- Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller.
- Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
- Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves.
- Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
- Shampoo carpets.
- Remove excessive wall hangings and knickknacks.
- Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
- Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).
- Clean or paint walls and ceilings.
- Replace worn cabinet and door knobs.
- Fix or replace discolored grout.
- Replace broken tiles.
- Replace worn countertops.
- Special details for showings.
- Turn on all the lights.
- Open all drapes and shutters in the daytime.
- Keep pets secured outdoors.
- Buy new towels for bathrooms.
- Buy new bedding for bedrooms.
- Replace old lamps or lampshades.
- Play quiet background music.
- Light the fireplace or clean out the ashes.
- Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla.
- Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party.
- Vacate the property while it is being shown.
Step 5: Get the Word Out
Now that you're ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including:
- The Internet
- Yard signs
- Media advertising
- Agent-to-agent referrals
- Direct mail marketing campaigns
In addition to listing your home on the MLS, your agent will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. Your agent should structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.
Step 6: Receive an Offer
When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real estate agent will first find out whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following:
- Legal description of the property
- Offer price
- Down payment
- Financing arrangements
- List of fees and who will pay them
- Deposit amount
- Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
- Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
- Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
- Settlement date
At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away.
Step 7: Negotiate To Sell
Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. Your real estate agent is well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. Your agent also knows what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some negotiable items:
- Closing costs
- Appliances and fixtures
- Move-in date
Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will prepare a contract.
Step 8: Prepare To Close
Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer's agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing.
Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also, begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.
Step 9: Close the Deal
"Closing" refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Your agent will be present during the closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present.
After the closing, you should make a "to do" list for turning the property over to the new owners. Here is a checklist to get you started.
- Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services.
- If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account.
- Gather owner's manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances.