There are many reasons why people make the decision to sell their homes.
Maybe you can no longer afford your mortgage due to a change in financial fortunes, a common one in this post Covid-19 era actually. Or probably you are relocating to a different part of the country or world for one reason or the other.
Some do it from the need to downsize, others entirely for personal reasons which vary broadly – cohabiting (or divorce), distance of commuting, neighborhood issues, too small a house, backpacking across the globe, you name it.
No matter the reasons behind it, selling a house is a big decision that can be confusing, if not overwhelming, if you don’t know where to start or how to go approach it.
By following a few straightforward steps, however, you can minimize the stress that comes with home selling.
So, before you start sourcing moving boxes and packing tape or looking for a moving company to move you out, here are all the important details you need to know.
A home is a big project financially-speaking. The last thing you therefore want is to rush into a deal that will have you regretting the sale.
Step 1: Decide which approach you want to take
There are different ways to sell a house, each with its own pros and cons. The best method varies from seller to seller as people’s needs and capabilities differ.
Some options to consider when determining the most viable option for you include:
- FSBO. Short for “For Sale By Owner”, all the responsibilities involved in the sale process are in the seller’s hands – the listing, marketing, showing the home to potential buyers, negotiating, contracts etc. The profit margins can be good, but there is a big learning curve and its time-consuming.
- Selling through a realtor. In this approach, you entrust the whole selling process to an experienced real estate agent. They can help you establish the best sale price, market the property, and close the deal.
- Online. A modern way of selling homes according to the Zillow Group Report.
Step 2: Pricing your home
This is a tricky aspect every seller struggles with. Your personal expectations and emotional attachment may dictate one thing, but the prevailing market conditions cannot be ignored.
There are two types of markets to take note of. The seller’s market favors you, the seller (meaning you stand to sell the home at a higher price due to increased property demand), while the buyer’s market favors homebuyers.
It is important to remember that your home listing price will determine how fast offers come in. That’s why fair and competitive pricing is important.
Step 3: Make your home show-ready
The phrase first impressions matter applies more in house selling than most other cases. Both the interior and exterior condition of your home have a direct bearing on how many offers you receive, therefore the need to ensure everything is tip-top.
That means making the necessary repairs and replacements, especially structural and cosmetic ones. Some low-cost but significant improvements include addressing flooring issues, adding a fresh coat of paint, upgrading light fixtures, and changing the front door.
Making your home show-ready should also factor in remodeling to boost the return on investment – e.g. a small kitchen upgrade or replacing the siding of the house.
A thorough clean is a must, and staging the home a bonus.
Step 4: Home inspection
To avoid potential snags when you put your home up for sale, consider having a home inspection which formally documents the condition of every aspect of your home, from the windows to the roof, to the walls and floors, and all the systems in place – electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, etc.
A home inspection gives the property a clean bill of health, and every buyer worth their six pence will place great importance on this.
Step 5: Marketing the home
With the repairs done and remodeling completed to breathe new life into your home, all that remains now is to take photos of the property in all its splendor.
Photographing your home to put up on the property market calls for more than just your smartphone camera, though. A dedicated camera works best, and if photography is not your biggest strong suit, consider bringing in a professional photographer who can also do the editing work for you.
That is, of course, if you’re selling the home yourself.
Otherwise, some few rules to follow when photographing include:
- Make sure the home is completely devoid of any clutter
- Avoid photographing at night or during cloudy weather
- Ensure all curtains and blinds are open to let in natural light
- Aim for more wide-angle photos
As regards the number of photos you should be looking at, according to Zillow research, the most ideal number of images for real estate is between 22 and 27.
Step 6: Negotiate the best terms and seal the deal
So, you have done the hard work and it’s finally starting to pay off. The offers have started coming in and you get one, or better yet, multiple attractive offers and are ready to close the contract.
Before you hand over the keys to the buyer, the two of you need to agree on the terms of course. In addition to the final price of the home, you also need to set the closing date, agree on the closing costs, as well as discuss any structural and/or cosmetic updates that may be needed.
As much as you may be in a hurry to close the contract, try to stave off the pressure of accepting any offer that comes your way.
A home is a big project financially-speaking. Matter of fact, this is one of the largest, if not the largest, project you’ll be involved in on a personal level. The last thing you therefore want is to rush into a deal that will have you regretting the sale.
Make sure you’re well-versed with the nuts and bolts involved in closing a home before signing on the dotted line.
Selling a home does take a good amount of work and time.
Armed with these steps, however, you’ll avoid many of the potential snags that may slow down the final sale.