Steps to Selling a Home
Selling a home quickly may seem great, yet what does that really mean? Better to take a step back to understand the home selling process; the steps to selling a home. Sure you can sell a home quickly, but the end result will likely not be what you had in mind. What do I mean, you wonder; “ … I thought you were going to tell us about the steps to selling a home quickly?!”
You can sell a home quickly, yet the actual steps to get you to the point of a quick sale will likely take some time and effort for an ideal outcome, thus the clarification of what selling a home quickly really means.
Selling a home shouldn’t be a mystery. Home Sellers have got to know how to have a successful home sale and exactly what it entails. This article will likely be most valuable to first-time Home Sellers, while repeat Home Sellers can benefit too, particularly if previous home sales were less than desirable. This article details your solution to selling a home. Well, …where do you begin?
When you think of the whole process all at once, it can seem overwhelming. Here I provide the steps to selling a home so you know exactly what to expect…making it easy. Making it doable.
What are the steps to selling a home?
1. Search online for a Real Estate Agent to consider
Wait, you’re thinking…”I wanted to sell our home ourselves” … do it yourself. Do you know the statistics for having any type of success at selling a home by owner? They’re in the single digits and, of those that sold a home by themselves, they sold for less money than had they sold their home with a Real Estate Agent. Yes, those are the facts. Pretty poor odds.
So now that we got selling a home by owner out of the way, back to finding a Realtor who is skilled at selling homes. A marketing master. A negotiator. A communicator. An online presence that rivals other Realtors; after all, home Buyers search for homes to buy online and your home will need to be seen by home Buyers. You want to see your hired Real Estate Agent with a strong online and social media presence, not simply a social media presence detailing what they had to eat! You want to be able to tap into their Real Estate knowledge in what they share online; do they really know how to sell homes?!
2. Interview the Real Estate Agents you found
What is it that they can do for you? How well do they know their local market? What can they tell you about your neighborhood’s home sales; how long does it take homes to sell, is it a sellers/buyers or balanced market and what does that mean to you? How long have they been selling homes and what is their success rate? What will they do to sell your home?
3. Select your Real Estate Agent
After you’ve determined their abilities, it’s time to choose the right Real Estate Agent. And most importantly, don’t let a sugar coated, inflated list price make your eyes pop out as for the reason to select a particular Real Estate Agent; basing your choice upon an inflated list price will only bring you future monetary disappointment when your home doesn’t sell for the list price, even after several needed price reductions; resulting in a lower sales price in the end and a longer time to get your home sold. Statistics will prove this time and time again. Your list price is critical in being able to sell a home fast and for the most money.
If the list price cannot be justified with comparable home sales and local market trends, then you’re likely only experiencing wishful thinking; like choosing a donut because it’s so tempting, yet you know broccoli would be a much wiser choice for you! What am I talking about donuts and broccoli?! The donut looks so tasty just like that higher list price being offered…what you could do with all that extra money. What about the broccoli…full of nutrition and touted to give you longevity in life? In Real Estate, longevity in selling a home is actually getting that home sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time. The broccoli has nutritional value and in the end will provide greater health benefits than a donut would do for you. So choose the broccoli and not the donut.
If the list price cannot be justified with comparable home sales and local market trends, then you’re likely only experiencing wishful thinking; like choosing a donut because it’s so tempting, yet you know broccoli would be a much wiser choice for you!
4. Know what it will cost you to sell your home
Your Real Estate Agent should provide you with a Seller’s estimated net sheet that details those costs. Such as:
- Any First Mortgage
- Or any Second Mortgage
- Any Buyer’s closing costs that you may agree to pay, this is typically up to and no more than 6% of the purchase price
- Documentary stamp tax on deed
- Recording Fees
- Any Warranty plan you may offer Buyer
- Attorney fees, if using an Attorney
- Settlement/Closing fee
- Document Preparation fee from Closing Agent
- Real Estate Professional Fee/Commission
- Tax Proration – payable from first of year to closing date
- Transaction fee, if applicable incurred by Real Estate Brokerage/Transaction Company
- Lien Searches
- Association Estoppel Letter – details any balances owed to your Homeowners Association if you belong to one.
- Any any other possible fees. And remember these will vary by your state. The ones I report here are typical for Southeast Florida where I practice Real Estate.
5. Disclose anything that can affect the value of your home.
If you know of anything that is wrong with your home, that may be hidden from the visible eye, you need to inform your Real Estate Agent and note on your Seller’s property disclosure. Do not think that you can hide a defect. Nothing is worse than a home Buyer later discovering a defect that you did not tell them about. You can expect a call from an Attorney and a potential lawsuit; you’ll want to avoid this at all costs. Be honest on what may be wrong about your home.
6. Prepare your home to be listed for sale
Preparation is key.
Make needed repairs – taking care of minor repairs that you’ve been meaning to get to so the home Buyer will not see them, lets the Buyer view your home as a home that has been cared for and everybody loves a well cared for home.
Remove the excess – do not let Buyers think your home is lacking in space.
Clean, clean clean – sparkling clean. If you don’t like to clean, then hire someone to get into all the nooks and crannies to remove the dirt and grime to let your home’s cleanliness shine through. A clean home sells even when it’s outdated. Make the effort either with your own elbow grease or in picking up the phone to call in a good cleaner; make sure they cleaner is good as now is not the time to hire a lousy cleaner.
Curb appeal – don’t forget the exterior of your home. Your home’s curb appeal will be the extra edge you’ll need in drawing in prospective home Buyers. Make sure you maximize your home’s curb appeal.
7. Plan for packing and your moving out date prior to the date of closing.
Contact movers for quote on moving you out of your home prior to the closing date. You need to be moved out of your home leaving it clean for your new home Buyer.
8. Stage your home for optimum presentation
Many of the steps that have been described above, detail the beginning stages of staging. Finally, after you’ve completed the preparation above, now it’s time to finalize the “Production Staged Set” – which is your home. The production is in selling your home and the preparation is setting the stage for your home to be sold
Production Staged Set – it’s a combination of “inputs and outputs”. Putting in what is needed and taking out what is not needed. It’s all about creating a scene that will be favorable by prospective home Buyers.
You’ll clear all the clutter and stuff from your countertops in the Kitchen leaving out only the necessary items such as, small appliances such as your Cappuccino/Espresso/Coffee/Tea maker(s), a toaster/smart oven and decorative type items with coordinating Kitchen towels.
The same goes for in your Bathroom as far as only the decorative items; no toothpaste, mouthwash or shavers! Clean and nicely folded towels.
All rooms will also need to be cleared of the clutter leaving only decorative type items on top of furniture pieces. Beds neatly made with coordinated bedding and decorative pillows.
Arrange your furniture in each room, as I like to say; allowing for a peaceful, flowing river to flow in and around your furniture, being sure not to block any eye pleasing features of your home.
9. Photographs and Videos will be taken
Now it’s time for your photo and video shoot. You’ve set the stage for the production to begin as was discussed above. Turn on all the lights. Open up the curtains and blinds, letting the light shine in. Interior photos and video will be taken, along with the same on your home’s exterior that will include drone aerial photography/video. Excellent quality images. One of these most mind boggling things I run across is a home that has been listed for sale with just a couple of photos, dark photos and simply awful photos. Photos presented, that in my mind, is grounds for being fired!
10. Your home will now be listed for sale
As long as your Realtor is an active member of the MLS’s in their area, this means your home will be entered into the MLS (multiple listing service) where all of the Real Estate Broker’s Real Estate listings accumulate and disseminate information on what is on the market for sale. The MLS feeds to all of the many, many Real Estate web sites; such as the ones you’re likely most familiar with such as, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more! Oh, so many, many more. This is the marketing starting point for prospective home Buyers to be able to view your home for sale.
11. Your home will now be marketed intensively.
This is where all the preparations that you had made will highlight your home for all the world to see. In addition to being listed on the MLS as discussed above, your home has to be seen to be sold well beyond the MLS, particularly when the vast majority of prospective home Buyers are searching for a home to buy over the internet. Know your Agent’s marketing game plan and that they have a strong online presence themselves; if they can’t market themselves how will they ever be able to market your home?!
12. Be ready for showings
This means that your home needs to always be “show ready” or at a minimum be able to get “show ready” in a short amount of time. It can be difficult and quite inconvenient when you’re selling a home when Buyers seems to always being interrupting something at home. However, keep in mind that the quicker you find a Buyer for your home, the quicker your life can get back to a bit of normalcy without having Buyers running in and out.
13. Know how showings are typically scheduled
Makes sure your Real Estate Agent has explained to you in detail how the showings of your home will work. You’ll want to be clear on any instructions that you’ve provided to your Agent, making sure that you don’t want them to be too restrictive where you find that you’re turning away Buyers due to your restrictions. Setting up limited showing hours and wanting a long notice will keep your home on the market for sale longer than it needs to be had you allowed greater flexibility when a Buyer wants to view your home.
14. Prepare your home for showings
It’s all about having your home ready for a Buyer to come by your home. Make sure your home is ready as described in staging your home. No clutter. No dirty dishes in Kitchen sink or on countertops. No clothes laying around. No messes. No evidence of pets and/or children messes. This all helps to boost your home’s value too!
15. Leave for showings
Nothing is worse is then when a prospective home Buyer knows a home Seller is hovering around their every move when they walk through your home. Sellers need to be out of sight. Let the Buyers feel at ease meandering through your home. Let them be able to talk aloud about your home and where their things would fit. Let them plan and visualize them living in your home. This is what you want and your being around, greatly hampers their comfort levels to actually “feel” your home. Even at a minimum, step outside to the driveway or street to allow them free reign.
16. Review and analyze a Buyer’s offers
You received a Buyer’s offer. You’ll want to thoroughly review it making sure all is well understood and ask your Agent any questions that you may have. You’ll be considering the main sections of a Real Estate contract, such as;
- Purchase price
- Time for Acceptance
- Closing Date
- Closing Costs, fees and charges
- Financing, if financing.
- Financing Pre Approval letter. Your Real Estate Agent should go over the details and what to look for in this letter.
- Paying cash – ensure Buyer has provided Proof of Funds detailing they have readily available cash. Note that you can’t rely on a Buyer’s “cash” being tied up in investments that would need to be liquidated and subject to market volatility.
- Title Evidence
- Time periods for financing loan approval, inspections, closing date and the like.
- Any additional Riders that are incorporated into the Real Estate Purchase Contract; such as the more common ones below, along with many other possible riders that could be included:
- Homeowners Association
- Lead Based Paint
- FHA/VA Financing
- Housing for Older Persons
- And any and all additional items and/or clauses that may be inserted.
17. Accept a Buyers offer for an executed contract
What does that mean, an executed contract? This is when all the initials, signatures and required details have been completed and the completed contract has been delivered to all parties, resulting in an “executed contract”.
Now all terms of the contract will start and timelines kick-in while being monitored.
18. Time to get to the actual packing of your home
Showings will now cease and it’s a good time to put packing into high gear.
Once you have an executed contract, a home inspection is likely the first thing that gets started after you have an executed contract. Typically, these are completed within 15 days.
You should have already made sure that you’ve taken care of any little things that you know the inspector will flag. It will be a lot less expensive if you do them beforehand. The costs are always greater and the repairs seem more dramatic within an inspection report.
Let your Agent attend inspection on your behalf (as they should be there). This is another time when it’s best for you to not be at home. Having Sellers and Buyers attend a home inspection together can cause a bit of friction that is not at all desired for any optimal inspection results and any possible needed negotiations.
20. Consider any Buyer’s repair/credit requests per result of home inspection.
This is about considering any reasonable request, if you’re asked. If you’re fortunate that the Buyer will accept your home with whatever is in need of repair, jump for joy. Usually however, you will have a Buyer who will request that you do something towards making any needed repairs. They always want to see the home Seller put some skin in the game.
21. Negotiate acceptable outcome for both you and Buyer from inspection report
Again, considering reasonable requests that seem fair for both parties, without just digging your heels in because you want to win.
22. Get ready for the Buyer’s home appraisal
The home inspections have been completed and both you and the Buyer have agreed on how any inspection results will be addressed.
Typically, most cash purchases will not hire an Appraiser to provide them with a fair market value of the home purchase. However, any home Buyer that is obtaining a mortgage will be paying for an appraisal ordered by their Lender; it’s a requirement of the Buyer’s Lender and a condition of receiving a loan approval.
When an Appraiser comes by it doesn’t take too long. It is good to have your home as it was when it was show ready. Remember you want your home to appraise for the most money and any primping to it will always reflect well towards your home’s value.
23. Consider appraisal outcomes
As long as your home appraises for the purchase price or above, all is well.
On the other hand, if it appraises for less, you and the Buyer will have to go back to the negotiation table. The Buyer’s Lender will only provide financing for their home purchase for what it appraises for as shown in the written appraisal. Most Buyers won’t pay above appraised value, which means they’d have to bring the difference in money between the purchase price and the appraised value.
24. Monitor the home Buyer’s financing
Ensure they’ve received their loan approval as per the timeline indicated on your Real Estate purchase contract. Your Real Estate Agent should be monitoring the loan approval process and in fact, any and all contract timelines.
25. Anticipate Title search of your home
The Title Company/Closing Agent will work on receiving a clear title for the Buyer’s home purchase. Includes all applicable components of a Title search such as; transfer of property ownership, municipal property search, lien search, HOA (homeowners association, if applicable) ledger.
This search will uncover any recorded liens, encumbrances on a property, unresolved code violations, building permits not closed out, unpaid utility bills, etc.
26. Resolve any Title issues on your property
Such as, outstanding permits never closed out; you’ll need to close out any permits to show it as an approved permit, which may simply include obtaining a final inspection that was never processed.
Such as, outstanding fees owned to your HOA, etc.
27. Clear Title on your property received.
Your property must have a clear Title to pass on to the home Buyer.
28. HOA issues Buyer approval
Ensure home Buyer has received any needed HOA approval, if required by Association and of course, only if you home resides in an HOA regulated community.
29. Move towards closing date.
It’s getting close now. Moving day is fast approaching. Ensure you’re all set to be moved out of your home prior to closing. On the day of closing, you receive your funds for selling your home to Buyer and with that you must hand over the keys!
30. Contact local utilities to arrange for your last day of service upon closing.
31. Contact the postal office for your change of address
32. Home Buyer completes walk through
Just prior to closing, usually within the hours leading up to the home closing, the Buyer will complete the walk through of your home. They will walk through to make sure that the home has been left in good condition; the same condition as when the Buyer executed the contract with you.
If you were thinking you’d get by in letting something not be kept up in your home, this is not the case. You need to keep your home in the same condition. If something breaks prior to your closing, you’ll need to repair it, otherwise the Buyer may cancel their purchase.
33. Leave any home manuals behind
Help home Buyer by leaving any manuals to your homes appliances, smart devices and/or codes to any and all devices.
34. Bring home keys, remotes and identification to closing.
35. Close on you home.
Congratulations you just sold your home!
So you were looking for an answer to the steps to selling a home quickly and what I’ve discussed here is your actual solution to selling your home quickly; steps that will get you to the desired result. Following these precise steps presented here in my guide will have you well on your way to selling a home. The quick part comes after all the initial steps have been adhered to in order to get you to the quick part, you oh so desired. Was this helpful?!
If you found my article helpful, you’ll likely discover more help in the related articles I reference below:
“Quick home sale tips” sale by Paul Sian
“Authenticity when staging a Home” by Danny Margagliano
“Home sale preparations” by Luke Skar
“Proof of funds and selling a home” by Glenn Shelhamer
Photo shoot preparations” by Sharon Paxon
“How Lighting can increase a home’s value” by Eric Jeanette
“Adding a value to a home” by Jeff Nelson
“Real Estate Appraisal preparations” by Bill Gassett
“Increase your home’s value affordably” by Karen Highland
“What are the 3 “P”‘s that are a must when selling a home?” by Conor MacAvilly
“Showing instructions for your home” by Michelle Gibson
Today’s Real Estate article “A Step by Step Guide to Selling a Home Quickly was written by Lynn Pineda a top Coral Springs Realtor and Boca Raton Realtor. You’ll find Lynn selling homes in Southeast Florida in the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs, Delray Beach, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Margate, Parkland, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Sunrise, Plantation and Ft Lauderdale areas within Broward and Palm Beach counties. Call Lynn at 954-464-1100 if you have questions about the steps to selling a home in Boca Raton to Coral Springs and around!
Lynn Pineda, a licensed Southeast Florida Real Estate Agent serving Southeast Florida since 2005 eXp Realty LLC. Real Estate Promises Delivered. You can speak with Lynn by calling/texting her at 954-464-1100 or you can email her at: LynnP@ImagineYourHouse.com if you need to buy or sell a Southeast Florida home. Your local, trusted professional when it’s time to buy or sell a home. Real Estate promises delivered.