7 Key Steps to Selling Your House
Selling any form of property requires you, as the seller, to consider a number of possibilities and options. It is often wiser to create a checklist of the things that need to be done. This becomes especially important when selling something like a car, a parcel of land or a house. Here is a run-through of the key points that you should prepare to ensure the success of this undertaking:
1. Why Do You Want to Sell?
The first step is to know why you want to sell. It seems pretty basic but when it comes to selling your home, buyers will often want to know the reason behind your decision to sell: You may have received a job offer that requires you to move to a different area; your family may be growing in number, thus necessitating a bigger space, etc. The important thing here is, that your buyers see that you have a good reason to let go of your home.
As early as this stage, you would also want to consider what things are important to you. You might want to sell within a particular time period – this can be longer or shorter depending on how you approach the next key steps, or you might be more interested in getting a certain amount of profit from the sale. In either case, you should decide based on your requirements and needs.
2. How Much Is Fair?
Determining a fair price for your home is a little bit trickier. At this point, before you decide on an amount, you should look into the following things:
- The general condition of your house.
- The prices of the homes in your area.
- And the current market (whether it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market)
Too often, sellers want sell their property at a higher price for better profit. However, there are downsides to this. One is that, if you sell at a higher price than the current rates for a similar house, there is a good chance that it will sit longer on the market. When this happens, it makes the impression that there is a problem with your house, and people who could have been interested buyers may have second thoughts about looking at your property. On the other hand, if you sell at a lower price, it might appear as if there is something wrong with your property. Hence, it is always best to get your house appraised to get a more objective price. That way, you spend a few hundred dollars for a service that in turn, will give you better opportunities to sell for an amount that will be fair for both you, and the buyer.
3. What Do You Need to Do to Prepare?
It is vital to make a great first impression. Buyers generally decide whether they are interested in making an offer or not depending on how they first perceive your house. It is important to make sure that the condition of your home is good. You should be prepared to do a few things to appeal to the interest of your potential buyers.
- One of the first things you should note is that buyers want to feel that they are buying their future home. They need to be able to visualize your house as their own. So when buyers come for a visit, make sure that you do not have a lot of personalized decorations, personal items like photos and other mementos. This makes it easier for them to see the house as something that they own. It also makes it easier for them to feel like they could personalize the space as they want.
- Another vital thing to do is to make minor, yet necessary replacements, minor repairs, etc. on different areas of your house, especially when it comes to utilities. Things such as leaky faucets, switches that do not function, torn screens, broken door handles and locks. These may seem like minor details, but they play a big role in attracting potential buyers. You always want to put your best foot forward when selling.
- Clean your house. There’s no better way to put it. Any form of clutter, even normal everyday stuff, is simply not acceptable. Buyers should be able to visualize themselves as new homeowners and it helps if you keep the house clutter-free, especially in key areas like the kitchen, bathrooms and living room.
4. How Do You Market Your House?
You can advertise your house in a number of different ways and through different media. The most commonly used are:
- The Internet. If you use this technology right, you will have a farther and greater market reach.
- Email Campaigns. This is for when you have a potential and target market in mind. Emails should include beautiful photos of your house that would showcase the space well.
- Yard Signs. This time-tested strategy is the simplest and easiest way to go about marketing your house.
- Open Houses. This is where you should refer to Step 3. Make a great impression by presenting a clean house, devoid of clutter and with minimal personal decor.
- Media Advertising. You can use local papers and other forms of media to reach potential buyers.
- Referrals from Other Agents. Real estate agents are usually abreast about the latest trends in the market. Be sure you tap into this form of marketing. People usually have their own representatives when scouting for houses and your house should be advertised through these representatives.
5. How Do You Receive an Offer?
When you receive an offer, note that you can do any of the following:
- Agree to and accept the contract without changes
- Accept with contract changes
- Reject the contract
In order for you to make the best choice, you or your agent needs to determine that your buyer’s offer is valid. It is important to make sure that the interested party is pre-approved or prequalified. A basic contract should have (but is not limited to) the following items:
- Legal property description
- Price offered by a buyer
- Down payment amount / scheme
- Arrangements for financing
- Reference list of fees and who will handle / pay them
- Repair allowances if necessary
- Inspection rights
- Title conveyance method
- Person who will handle the closing
- Items (furniture and appliances) that will be part of the sale
- Settlement date
Once you and the buyer have signed the contract, both of you are legally bound to uphold the conditions and agreements therein.
6. What are some Key Negotiation Points?
If you do not agree with some of the terms offered, there are some key negotiation points that you can tweak to make a win-win solution for you and your buyer. Please note though that it is always best to look into these options with an expert to advise you. Here are some key things that you could negotiate for: price, financing, cost of closing, repairs and coverage for repairs, landscaping, painting, fixtures and appliances and the move-in-date. It is best to come to an agreement with the buyer to ensure a smooth sale process.
7. What Do You Need to Prepare to Close the Deal?
Both parties (you and your buyer) should fulfill all the terms agreed upon in your contract. This means that your house may be inspected, checked for repairs, repaired and appraised formally. These expenses may be shouldered by either you or your buyer and are dependent on the terms stipulated in your contract agreement. Note that the contract will serve as a guide through this stage of selling your house.
One or both parties may opt to walk away from the deal or start a fresh round of negotiations. If everything goes smoothly, the next step is to make sure that all the necessary documents are ready for closing. As the seller, you also have to be ready to move to a different home.
The closing stage is the actual legal transfer of the property to your buyer. You may opt to be represented by your agent or a lawyer. Also, check if you have to cancel utility subscriptions or if the buyer-now-owner would prefer to continue these services, and apply for a change in the account names.
Those are the key items to put on your checklist when selling your home. Of course, these vary on a case-to-case basis, but it is helpful to keep in mind the possible scenarios that may present themselves.