Home Selling Process – Step by Step
The Home Selling Process Using a professional REALTOR®
Step 1 – Interview and select the right REALTOR®
It’s an excellent idea to interview at least 3 agents. Ask lots of questions – it’s an important decision to sell your home and you want to make sure you pick the best candidate. All agents should be explaining agency to you. Great agents will be happy to answer all your questions and will go through a listing presentation with you explaining why you should choose them, what their proven track record is, their marketing strategies, their team, their selling systems, etc.
Here is a link to questions to ask when hiring a REALTOR® to sell your home
Step 2 – Set the right price
You need to find out how much your home is worth in the current market. Unfortunately, the biggest mistake sellers often make is over-pricing their home. Over-pricing can not only lead to very long marketing times, but it can also mean having to take less then your home is worth to close a sale or even worse – not selling at all! Proper valuation of your home by your REALTOR®, will consider what other similar homes have sold for, what competition you are currently up against, and any other factors directly impacting local market conditions including interest rates, government regulations, unemployment, immigration trends, new home building, and possibly much more! Once you have all the information – then you can effectively employ a market-sensitive saleable pricing strategy.
Step 3 – Get your home ready for sale
This starts with cleaning, decluttering, and boosting curb appeal but on some homes, it could also mean investing in new shingles or evicting a messy tenant. The more time and effort you put into this step the better chance you’ll impress potential buyers. There are many experts your REALTOR® may recommend at this phase. Stagers, movers, storage companies, professional cleaners, painters, and other contractors may all be a part of this process. Remember that when there is a small job needing completion in your home, it may cost you a few hundred dollars to resolve, but most buyers will see that as a reason to take thousands off the price they are offering. Most buyers today want a home that’s “move-in ready”!
Step 4 – Engage the right marketing plan or selling system
Marketing real estate is done in different ways by different agents. Every REALTOR® knows how to use the 4P method to sell real estate (PUT it on the MLS, PLACE a lockbox, PLANT a sign, and PRAY!) but if you want to achieve a successful sale you’ll need 3 things to come together for you. The right agent, the right price, and the right marketing plan. With all the properties available for sale today, your listing is truly a needle in a haystack, and the key to properly marketing real estate is maximizing exposure. In today’s marketplace, with over 90% of home-buyers starting their property search on the internet, effective exposure must be online. You need both an engaged social media channel as well as fully responsive and interactive websites (like ReginaRealEstateShop.ca !). Your listing needs to be easy to find and well written with lots of stunning visuals and accurate data. An agent with a really effective web strategy will be able to produce 1000 clicks or more on your listing. If an agent can’t or won’t show you that statistic – be weary of their online marketing skill.
Step 5 – Be ready for showings
At some point when your home is being actively marketed, you’ll have some buyers interested in viewing it. Try to make the property as available as possible (within reason). Use a lockbox. When 24 hours notice is required to show the property (like when there is a tenant in the property) you will have less showings. There are many times when buyers come for a couple of days to your city on a buying trip and if you can’t accommodate their schedule, that buyer will go buy a different home. On the other hand, restricting showings before noon or after 8pm because of shift work, babies, etc. is not unreasonable. Always make sure the home is presented at it’s cleanest and best. Plan to be out of the house for up to an hour during a showing. Strong smells can be very off-putting to buyers (less fish and curry – more apples and cinnamon). When possible have any pets out of the home for showings. Have the temperature as comfortable as possible – make sure to turn on the A/C in the summer and flick on the gas fireplace in the winter. Turn on all your lights if you are having an evening showing. Don’t forget about your outside spaces in any season – cut the grass, shovel the snow, clean the leaves & trim the shrubs. It all matters.
Step 6 – Entertaining offers and negotiating a deal
When an offer comes in on your home, your REALTOR® will present the offer to you and explain it fully. REALTORS® must present ALL offers to you and some you’ll like (full price or competing) – and some you won’t (lowball). You always have 3 options on how to respond to an offer – You can accept, reject, or counter offer. Your agent will offer negotiation advice to you based on your situation but at the end of the day it is always your decision as the seller on how to respond. Price, deposit, terms & conditions, dates, and inclusions will all play a factor. If the buyer has written you a good offer the decision will be easier. Most offers you receive will have some sort of conditions attached. Commonly we see conditions of financing approval, home inspection, sewer line or furnace inspection, disclosure, and perhaps even the sale of another property. If you accept an offer with 1 or more conditions, then those conditions need to be met before you have a firm sale. That is often a 1-2 week process – don’t jump the gun thinking you have a firm sale yet. The buyer will need to remove those conditions in writing before you have a firm sale and that doesn’t always happen. Financing doesn’t always work out, and appraisals or insurers can also mess things up. The inspections can uncover surprises big and small that may result in estimates, repairs, renegotiations, or even a total collapse of the sale. It’s a process – work through it together with your REALTOR® to negotiate your sale to a successful close.
Step 7 – Firm sale to possession day
Once all conditions have been satisfied (if there were any) then you have a firm sale. That means the marketing campaign stops, you start packing, the sold sign goes up in front of the house, and you finally get to post it on social media! Possessions can occur as quickly as a few days (often with vacant houses) or I’ve seen them as long as a year in a case of bare land. On the average, about 30 days is pretty common. Contact Express Address to disconnect or transfer your utilities: and contact any other company you may be renting from (water heater, alarm system, etc.). Book movers as soon as possible if needed – especially if you are moving around the end of the month – they are very busy those times. You will need to go in to the lawyer’s office to sign off on final land transfer documents (including discharging your mortgage if applicable). Most lawyers recommend coming in a few days to a week prior to possession. The lawyer will handle all disbursements of funds for you so that means paying out your mortgage, condo fees, taxes, rental agreements, legal and real estate fees and anything else that may pertain to your sale. The remainder of the proceeds are usually provided to you as a check on possession day. It is not uncommon that funds can take an extra day or 2 or 3 to transfer through all the hands (bank, buyer’s layer, seller’s lawyer) but the offer states interest is payable from the buyer to the seller if funds are late. Your lawyer will inform you of those details. Make sure you’ve got the house all cleaned up and empty for possession. Try not to leave it for the last minute in case you run into a time crunch. The home is expected to be in the same great condition that it was when the buyer made the offer. Don’t plan to leave anything behind without the buyer’s express permission. Often a seller thinks “I don’t need this furniture (or paint, or lumber, or whatever) so I will leave it as a gift for the new owner.” Unfortunately, the new owner is not interested in that item and now there’s frustration over who’s responsible to get rid of it. Also, if anything has become damaged in the interim, then you are responsible to repair or replace. That could mean fixing a broken window or buying a dishwasher. Take care of things as good as you can!