When you make a house your home, it becomes something special, so when it’s time to sell, you want the new owners to love it like you did—and to demonstrate their love by paying as much as possible.
Good salespeople know that most people make decisions based on emotions rather than logic. When people are in the market to purchase a home, they may have objective criteria to judge each property—number of bedrooms, square footage, and location, for example—but it’s their heart that chooses the winner.
Your job, as the seller, is to get your house in tip-top shape and work with a Realtor to go through a series of steps until your escrow closes. Selling a house takes work, but a good Realtor will walk you through the steps to keep hassles to a minimum and help you achieve your goals.
SELECT A REALTOR
Selecting a good Realtor provides you with a partner who understands the legal requirements of selling a house as well as someone who knows how to price and market the house for maximum profit or a quick sale, depending on your needs.
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Before you put your house on the market, you need to get organized. Why are you selling? What’s your timeline? How much time can you to dedicate to the selling process? What do you need to accomplish before you can plant a For Sale sign in your front yard?
DO YOUR RESEARCH, THEN SET THE PRICE
Even if you bought your house last year, the housing market has changed. Mortgage rates fluctuate and the inventory changes. Your Realtor can provide a market analysis to help you understand how much your house is worth and any steps you can take to increase its value.
PREPARE YOUR HOUSE FOR SALE
Do a deep clean and thoroughly declutter it by removing about a third of your furniture. Repair anything that’s broken and if need be, apply a new coat of paint inside and out. Pay attention to curb appeal and consider having your home professionally staged.
LET EVERYONE KNOW YOUR HOUSE IS FOR SALE
Work with your Realtor to highlight all the things you love about this house so others can fall in love, too. Then, make sure that information is everywhere a buyer would look for it. Be sure to use online marketing and advertising, since most buyers check the Internet first when house hunting. (To showcase your property’s best attributes, make sure you get good photos, really good photos.) And ask your Realtor to host an open house so people can walk through and begin to imagine themselves living there.
If you get more than one offer, work with your Realtor to figure out which one best suits your needs—the highest price offer may not be the best one. A slightly lower price from a buyer with a rock-solid pre-approved loan may be preferable to a higher priced offer that’s contingent on the sale of another home, for example
NEGOTIATE WITH BUYERS
If you get an offer that doesn’t meet your needs, work with your Realtor to negotiate by providing a counteroffer. If someone comes in with a low-ball offer, don’t get offended; simply send a counter.
Most purchase agreements are contingent on inspections. This gives the buyer the right to inspect your property from top to bottom and request repairs, some of which may be required to bring the property into compliance with current building codes and/or lender requirements. Your agent can help you communicate with the buyer about which repairs are essential and which are negotiable.
CLOSE THE SALE
Settlement, or closing, is the last step in the home selling process. This is where you sign the final paperwork, collect your check, and hand over the keys.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 462-4000. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.