While interest rates rose slightly and home price increases slowed toward the end of last year, home prices are still widely on the rise in most markets. Overall, the housing market is stable and presents favorable conditions for sellers. If you haven’t sold a house before, you may not realize how much goes into selling a house. For example, you will need to determine the actual market value of your house, clean it, determine appropriate disclosures, host open houses and showings, find a buyer, negotiate the price, get it appraised and inspected and close the deal. There is a lot that goes into selling a house so here are some tips on how to sell your house.
1. Find a Real Estate Agent
The first step to selling a house is to get a real estate agent. Some people think, “I can sell my house without a real estate agent.” Some do. But the process of selling a house is extremely complex. Selling a house requires a lot of detailed knowledge about the market, understanding how to find interested buyers, skilled negotiation tactics and detail management of all the appropriate legal paperwork to complete the sale successfully. We take a ton of stress out of selling your house and make sure every part of the process is done correctly.
2. Determine Your Home Value
The next step in the home selling process is to figure out how much your home is worth. Your real estate specialist will put together a comparative market analysis. The analysis generally looks at the quality of your neighborhood; the age, condition and any upgrades made to your house; the overall property value; and the average price of similar homes recently sold in the area. All of this information will help your real estate specialist determine the best pricing strategy to sell your house.
3. Make Necessary Repairs and Updates
A home buyer is looking for a NEW home. That means the more you can make your house LOOK new versus lived in will help entice potential home buyers to make an offer. Updating small items that are low cost and take minimal time to replace is a great strategy to improve the overall appeal and value of your home.
Update ceiling light fixtures, or clean your current light fixtures. Check to make sure all of your light switches and lights work, and replace any burned out bulbs. Some of the rooms in your house may be darker than others and could benefit from a small lamp to lighten it up. Just make sure it fits the room.
Repair or replace portions your floors that are chipped, scratched, torn up or stained. If the floors need to be re-finished or re-carpeted, now is the time to do it.
Old, hard water corroded or stained faucet and sink hardware can be an eyesore. Updating your sink hardware and other bathroom accessories like towel holders, toilet paper or paper towel dispensers, shower rods, curtains, or shower doors can dramatically improve the overall appearance of your bathrooms and kitchen.
Tile and Grout:
Tile often becomes water stained or cracked over time. Grout and caulk will also stain, crack or fall out. These items should be replaced, re-finished or at a minimum cleaned to help your tub, shower or backsplash look good as new.
Many real estate experts claim painting walls and permanent fixtures with a fresh coat of neutral color can help enhance your home and potentially appeal to a larger number of home buyers. Some items to think about are walls, cupboards, kitchen island, or exterior door.
Fix and repair water damage spots inside your home from a roof leak, or stains on the wall from a window or wall leak. Repair all of the nail holes in walls or trim. Repair or replace cracked windows or torn screens. Make sure the garage door opens easily
Cupboards, Closets, Doors and Drawers:
The hardware on these items can become outdated, discolored or damaged over time. Updating, repairing or cleaning these items will improve the eye appeal and functionality.
Repair or update any damaged landscaping. Pull dead plants, leaves and weeds out cracks in rocks, pavers or concrete. Trim trees, bushes and shrubs. Level or top-off landscaping rock or mulch. Re-seed dead or thin patches of your lawn and keep the grass cut while your house is on the market.
4. Get Your Home Ready to Sell
As clean and organized as your home may be, you will want to make sure your home is as tidy as possible to attract the highest offers. This means doing a deep clean from top to bottom. Getting your home ready to sell also means staging your home so it appeals to the most buyers.
Your real estate specialist will also implement a marketing strategy for your home. It may include professional photography, ad campaigns, open house events and showings. Bottom line, when it comes to selling your house, it’s all about attracting the attention of potential home buyers and getting them to fall in love with your house.
5. Prepare Your Seller’s Disclosure Statement
A seller’s disclosure statement is a legally required document in which you disclose any issues with your home, past or present. This could be anything from a leaky basement to an addition built without a permit. Although the general idea is to protect buyers from buying a property on the verge of collapse, it can also protect you as the seller too. By disclosing known issues, you can save yourself from potential legal action in the future. If you’re not sure whether to include something on the seller’s disclosure statement, consult with your real estate specialist and they will inform you if it’s something typically included.
6. Get Ready for Open Houses and Showings
Once your home looks its best and you have your disclosure statement ready, it’s time to open your home to potential buyers. Your real estate specialist will take the reins on this one. Hosting open houses and showings can be a long and tedious process. You do not want to put your life on hold just because you’re selling your house. Your real estate specialist can show your home while you handle everything else in your life.
7. Approach Purchase Offers and Negotiations Carefully
When offers start to come in is when it gets exciting. Pay attention to how much they’re offering, the type of mortgage, their contingencies, personal letter and any other factors included in their offer. Your real estate agent can help you sort through the offers to determine which, if any, are solid offers.
If an offer is worth considering, your real estate specialist will handle the negotiations. This can take some back and forth. Always remember, you’re trying to get the highest price for your house, and the buyer is trying to the lowest price for your house. In the end, both parties will need to meet somewhere in the middle. Going through the purchase offers and the negotiations with your experienced real estate specialist will yield the best offer possible for you and your family.
8. Hire an Attorney
Accepting an offer is a huge step when selling your house. Celebrate the victory, but there is still plenty to do before completing the sale. Before closing day, you will need to hire an attorney. The Attorney will make sure there are no outstanding issues with the property, essentially clearing the way for the sale to be completed.
9. Home Appraisal and Home Inspection
Before you can close on the sale, you’ll likely have to get your home appraised and inspected. The appraisal process involves an appraisal specialist doing a home walkthrough and other analysis to determine the appraised value of your home. This is important because most banks won’t issue a mortgage for more than a home’s appraised value. Best practice is to hire your own appraiser because you will not be entitled to the report if the home buyer pays for it.
During the home inspection, the buyer and a professional inspector will evaluate your home. Home inspectors will look at your home’s basic structural components, HVAC system, electrical work, foundation, basement, roof, attic, floors, windows and doors. Make it easy for the inspector to access all parts of your house. Also, consider hiring your own inspector to look for issues before you put your house on the market to avoid any unforeseen issues during the selling process. Big issues that surface following a home inspection can often delay the sale or cause the buyer to back out entirely.
10. Get Ready for Closing Day
Closing day is when you’ll finally hand over the keys and the sale becomes official. Most parties — including agents, lenders, Attorneys, buyers and others — will be in attendance. Be prepared to sign a lot of paperwork. If you have to pay any closing costs, you’ll likely need a cashier’s or certified check. Your real estate specialist will guide you through what to expect before the day actually arrives. Once all the paperwork is signed, and the keys are given to the buyer, your home is officially sold. You can say goodbye to your old home and hello to your next adventure.