Selling a House: A Comprehensive Guide for Home Sellers

selling a house

Selling a house can be a pretty scary experience. Although it’s doable, the real challenge lies in what the house is really worth—or turning the valued price higher. As much as you want to get better offers, the learning curve can be steep and full of surprises. Once you have a better grip on your home’s value, you can price your home more competitively.

Did you know Houzeo’s Gold Plan provides relevant Federal and State Seller Disclosures?

How To Sell a House?

Whether this is your first home sale or already the second one, it’s important to win over buyers. And save a big chunk of money than paying too much fee on commissions. Also, in selling a house, you have to deal with buyers with low-ball offers, documents, closing costs, and more. Are you ready to sell?

If you’re confused about most certain details on how to sell a house and want to get on with the process easily without sacrificing too much money and time, here’s a checklist and general guide to help you. Just make sure to ask your local real estate agent for some details on the different requirements in your designated state.

How Will You Know If You’re Ready to Sell Your House?

It’s natural to feel jitters when selling your first home. After all, it’s a big decision that requires a big deal of time and energy. Perhaps this isn’t the best time to sell your house if you’re quite unsure why. Or the current market is not the ideal season for selling.

Whatever the case is, don’t forget to weigh the pros and cons of selling your property is really the smart and right move. If in serious doubts, talk to a credible professional real estate agent, or do some research before planning.

Here’s a simple checklist to determine if you’re ready to step into selling a house.

  • Are you emotionally prepared to sell your property and leave all the memories behind? That means you’re more than ready to negotiate with buyers and consider doing repairs and improvements.
  • Are you (financially) certain to buy a new property that better fits what you currently want and need? 
  • Are you confident with what your home is worth?
  • Have you determined the date of listing your home for sale? This means the ideal time for you—and of course, the market.
  • Do you know the estimated actual sale of your home?

If you can confidently answer these questions, then that’s a great start. In order to avoid regrets or using fallbacks, plan ahead and get familiarize with how the process works. Here, we can help you find out how much is your home sale at the closing deal when it is a perfect time, and more importantly, how you can negotiate and handle a home sale.

Work with an experienced real estate agent.  First things first, you have to find the right agent for you. Look for someone who knows how to negotiate, manage, and sell your house fast. Don’t settle for the cheaper one with zero skills—or still newbie—with the industry.

Well, it’s okay to sell your house yourself. But a professional agent can make the complex part of the process so seamless. True, choosing FSBO (For Sale By Owner) option can save you cash, but an agent will give your home an online exposure via MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which can reach several prospects.

selling a house

How Much Will the Valued Price of Your Home?

Pricing your home to sell is also a daunting process. If you’re still not sure what your home is worth, you can start using a free online home value estimate. Just input your address and you’ll get an estimated price of your property.

Another option to determine your home’s value is hiring a real estate agent to do a comparative market analysis (CMA). It’s a comparison report that also estimates the market value of your home by comparing other homes near your location—in sizes, features, or houses recently sold. The CMA provides data, including the area map and images, to help you understand how you can objectively set a competitive price that could get the most money for your house.

Setting an unrealistic home price could take you years in selling a house. Or possibly, your home will not sell. Underpricing can be a great strategy but must be executed with smart and careful negotiation. Remember, the CMA is a helpful way to analyze and know the fair value of your property.

When Is the Best Time to Sell a House?

Understanding the Market First. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is a seasonal pattern to home sales data—and factors such as family, personal finances, or lifestyle changes, can also play a vital role in determining the best time to sell your house. It also shows that February is the ideal month for home sales, and also sales can be peak during summer. However, this sill varies according to location, so it’s still crucial to do research on the market in your location.

Selling a house during winter months is a bad idea, as well as around the holidays.  Most people are busy with their social gatherings and engagements. Also, the cold weather is so conducive for people to stay home rather than doing showings or meeting personally. However, you can take advantage of how low the competition can be. So, weigh the possibility and make realistic plans.

How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

Give at least two to three months of preparation before listing your home. It’s imperative to create a marketing plan and finetune the condition of the house. Although it usually depends on the state of the local market, you can receive offers within the first two weeks of listing your home. According to Zillow, several properties still stayed on the market for an average of 68 days in 2018.

There are copious factors that could affect when your house could sell. Some of the important factors include price range, location, home’s condition, and days on market. However, this doesn’t always hold as fact when it comes to other states. So, it’s advisable to ask your local real estate agent first.

How To Sell a House Fast?

Part of selling a house is preparing it for the buyers to see. If you really want to sell your house fast, start fixing and cleaning your house from floor to ceiling. You can hire a cleaning service and declutter area to make the house look brand new again.

Renovate and do some home improvements.

Now, start to think of the house as a product you want to market. Most of the time, buyers will inspect every nook and cranny of your house, so it’s important to stage it well. However, not all repairs and improvements can help you get better offers. You can consult with your real estate agent to avoid mistakes doing unnecessary repairs.

  • Fix anything that is a structural or mechanical defect. Home sellers who don’t hesitate to repair issues like this can make the house sold quicker.
  • Get a pre-inspection before showing your property to the market. A pre-inspection helps scan the house defects, and pinpoint critical repairs before your buyer can enter the house.

Stage your house like a pro.  

To make the house elegantly inviting and welcoming, you can hire a professional stager. Home staging can help change how the space looks. By arranging certain furniture, adding decorative touches, and decluttering, the house can transform into a high-quality, appealing product. Here are a few quick upgrades you can do to attract more buyers.

  • Wall colors can also affect how potential buyers can see and feel the house. A fresh coat of paint (neutral beige or gray) can impress buyers, and add value to your property in no time. This also improves visual aesthetic and enhances the interior or exterior of your house.
  • Scrub mop on the floors or deep clean your carpet.  Refinish floors with professional care to make it look new again.
  • Create a brighter space so it looks more inviting and open. Replace dim light bulbs. Clean thoroughly the windowpane so it brings more natural light.
  • Use a high-quality photo for the listing. Since you’ve done repairs and all, it’s time to show off how beautiful your home is through taking a picture. Use high-grade DSLR or camera with the perfect angle and lighting. Your listing photos will be shown online, so it should highlight the best features and details of your home.

Launch a marketing plan.

There is plenty of marketing arsenal to accrue a large number of buyers for your house. With the help of your agent, you can create a wide online exposure—both offline and online. Here are some tips to follow.

  • Take advantage of the power of social media. Join real estate Facebook communities or groups. Find potential buyers through different channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and more.
  • Do traditional advertising by using print media such as newspapers, flyers, magazines to reach more prospects.
  • Putting For-Sale signs in the yard can also generate exposure to your home. It will help catch the eye of a buyer with your contact info and details.
  • Try hosting a real estate virtual tour that could show the interior and exterior of your house. It’s an online interactive experience that enables buyers to walk-through in the layout of the property.

As much as social media can help boost your exposure, there are also buyers who want to see the property up close with their own eyes. In most cases when selling a house, always be prepared for a showing. Share the schedule (time of availability) with your agent to avoid conflict. An experienced real estate agent can manage to help a flexible showing schedule.

selling a house

What to Avoid When Selling a House?

For first-time sellers, there’s always room for improvement. With no or little experience at all, you can always avoid these pitfalls or mistakes by knowing the essential things to consider beforehand. Here are quick yet useful tips on what not to do or what to avoid when selling a home—without causing too much trouble on your hand.

  • Set aside your emotional state. Most sellers are having a hard time controlling their emotions when marketing their beloved homes. Look at your real estate transaction as a pure marketer or businessman’s perspective.
  • Don’t set an unrealistic price. Though you assume your home is worth double or more, you don’t have to put the price up without assessing different factors. The home price is based upon the CMA (or the comparative market analysis) with the help of your agent. Overpriced houses won’t sell.  So, always think twice before you name the price.
  • Never submit poor shot listing photos. Your featured online photos should be clear and crisp—with a lot of natural light. You can hire a professional real estate photographer to do a good job for you. You must never estimate how real estate photography can help your sale. Several home buyers browse for homes online today. And most of the time, the picture paints a thousand words.
  • Intentionally hiding major defects with your property leads to serious legal trouble. If you don’t want to void your sale and spend a lot of money on court costs, disclose the defects. You have two options to account for major defects: (1) Fix the property issue ahead of time. (2) Adjust your property’s price according to the market value and with the property’s problem. Nevertheless, it’s better to perform a home inspection before listing.
  • Don’t market your property without preparing or staging your house yet. There are plenty of ways on how to increase your home value without spending too much. Decluttering, doing minor improvements, or upgrading your kitchen can significantly increase the price of your home.
  • Whether or not you hire a real estate agent, the decision is yours to make. Hiring a good and reliable agent can be daunting. After all, you have to pay a hefty commission that’s typically for 5% to 6% of the home’s sales price. However, if you want to get your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO)¸ make sure to do your research first. Houzeo offers a wide array of MLS packages customized with you, as a home seller, in mind. And most of the real estate process is digitized for your convenience. Remember, never dive into the market without understanding the fundamentals of real estate transactions. Research, research, research.

Closing a Home Deal

Congratulations! You’ve made it at last. Although you can celebrate with this great milestone, you still have more bunch of paperwork that needs to sign and review. Once you and the buyer have made an arrangement for the closing, make sure to check this list one more time.

  • Forwarded all of your mail to your new address. So, if there’s anything that gets delivered it will be sent directly to your new property.
  • Shut the valves (water and gas valves) to avoid possible major accidents or issues.
  • Leave behind keys for the garage door, etc. so the new owner can open them already and don’t have to ask you again.
  • Inform your family, friends, companies, and relatives of your new home address so there won’t be any mix-ups.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to clean the house for the last time. So, the owner can rest and don’t have to worry about the clutter and dirt in the house.

Ask your agent if you have to be present during the closing day. If you have to be there you need to bring a photo ID, the deed of your home, keys, repair documentations, pen, and paper. Once the final settlement agreements have been signed by both parties, you can now get the proceeds.

Did you know Houzeo’s Gold Plan provides relevant Federal and State Seller Disclosures?

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