Making the decision to sell your home and begin the process can be very daunting. It's hard to know exactly where to start or what to expect when selling your home for the first time. You may have friends or family that can give you the benefit of their experience, unfortunately that also means you may have to listen to one or two "nightmare" stories. The process, with a little bit of effort and attention, really should go smoothly if you're educated, prepared and have a professional agent guiding you through it. Here are some basic steps outlining the sale process
. I'd be happy to discuss it with you - even if you're not ready to sell right now.
Step 1: Discuss your selling needs
Step 2: Choose your listing agent
Step 3: Determine the value of your home
Step 4: Prepare your house for sale
Step 5: Marketing your house
Step 6: Negotiating and accepting the contract
Step 7: Pre-closing activities
Step 8: Move!
Step 1 Discuss your selling needs
When do want to sell? When do you want to move (not always the same as when you want to sell)? Are you willing/able to do any repairs? Desired terms of selling besides price, etc
Step 2 Choose your listing agent
Choose your listing agent. See Listing With An Agent for more information on how to choose an agent, what agreements you'll fill out with them and what services you can expect from real estate agents.
Step 3 Determine the value of your home
Find out what your home is worth with a current Market Analysis (CMA). I'm happy to provide you a complementary Market Analysis. Just click on the link to fill out the form. Also see Your Home's Worth for much more information on this topic. Your agent will assist you in coming to a reasonable asking price for your home.
Step 4 Prepare your house for sale
The next step is to make your house ready to sell. Try walking through your house as if you're the buyer. View everything, from the front door to your bedroom closet through a buyers eyes. Check out a few open houses in your neighborhood if you really want to get a sense for the condition and appearance of other homes for sale. Get unbiased opinions from your friends or your agent. You don't have to do everything they suggest, it's just nice to have fresh eyes see your home. Get detailed information on getting your house ready in the Preparing Your Home for Sale page.
Step 5 Marketing your house
Not only do you need to prepare your home to sell, but you should also prepare yourself, pets and family for having buyers coming in and out of your home. For example, if you have a rowdy dog, you may consider having a friend watch it for a couple weeks. You can generally set times you'd like people to view your house, but the truth is that the more viewing hours permitted the more exposure your house will get. While it isn't necessary that you leave for every showing, buyers feel more comfortable looking around if you aren't sitting on the couch watching them. Your agent will also generally set up some times to have open houses that you usually would not be at.
Step 6 Negotiating and accepting the contract
Negotiate and accept the contract. I will assist you in understanding the pros and cons of particular offers. I will also handle all the negotiating and paperwork. The buyer's offer will most likely be subject to an inspection, so you will need to be flexible to let their inspector come into your home for a few hours. Their offer might also be subject to them obtaining financing and, in that case, their appraiser may need to come out to view your home as well. In either case, I will handle getting them into your home during the day. Part of negotiations can include doing repairs. In that case, you would need to have someone do the work (or do it yourself) and then allow the buyer to come back in to inspect the completed work.
Step 7 Preclosing activities
As soon as the purchase and sale agreement is signed by all buyer(s) and seller(s), escrow is set up and working in the background to get your transaction ready to close. See The Closing Process for more information on this process. A few days before your sale is scheduled to close, you will need to go into escrow and sign all the necessary documents to transfer title to the Buyer. You will receive a HUD statement detailing all your costs. See Example HUD for more information. Once the sale has been recorded with the County, your check or direct deposit will be delivered to you. You are finished!
Step 8 Move to your next home!!