The process of selling a house can be incredibly intimidating to the average homeowner. Most of us only buy or sell a house a few times over the course of our entire adult lives, so even if this isn't your first listing, the details still might be a little bit fuzzy.
In order to help you understand exactly what to expect from the selling process, we have put together this basic walkthrough that explains the key points in just about every real estate listing.
Clean, Paint, Stage
Everyone knows that the three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location. However, the three most important things in SELLING real estate are clean, paint, and stage!
No matter how clean you might think your house is, keep in mind that cleaner houses are proven to sell faster and command higher price points, so the first step in selling your house is always going to involve a good cleaning.
Next, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for curb appeal, and inside your home paint can go a long way towards making your living space more appealing and inviting.
Last but not least, getting rid of excess clutter and arranging your furniture and accessories in the most appealing way possible are essential to giving your house an edge in today’s market.
Hire an Agent
The next step in getting your house ready for market is to hire a real estate agent to represent you throughout the process. You might think that the idea of listing your house as a "for sale by owner" will save you some money, but when you add up all of the services that an agent provides throughout the rest of the selling process, you will almost certainly find that the price of their commission ends up being a great deal when the transaction is finalized.
Decide on a Price
One of the first ways that a qualified agent can assist you is in helping to decide on an appropriate listing price. Your agent should be extremely knowledgeable about what similar homes in your neighborhood have sold for recently, which will give you a ballpark for pricing your home correctly.
Open Houses & Showings
One of the most tedious aspects of selling a house is hosting regular open houses and being available to show the house at a moment's notice. This is one of those key areas where your real estate agent can really earn their commission by saving you the hassle of showing the house yourself. Depending on how long it takes for the house to sell, there could be quite a few long open houses and dozens of different showings ahead of you.
Negotiations - Round 1
If you and your agent have done a good job up to this point, eventually someone who sees the house is going to bite and make you an offer. This is the beginning of the first negotiation phase where you will likely respond with a counter offer. Once again, your agent will be a tremendous asset in helping you to make the right calls during negotiations.
Inspection & Appraisal
Once you agree on a selling price, the buyers will then have a set amount of time to get the home inspected and arrange their financing. The inspection will involve a neutral third party inspector going over every inch of your house looking for possible issues and reporting back to the buyer. Any issues that might arise will lead to a second round of negotiating.
If the buyer is working with a mortgage company, there will also need to be an appraisal, which is typically no problem as long as the house was priced correctly and the sales price is in line with that price.
Negotiations - Round 2
Following the inspection and appraisal, the buyer may come back to you with some issues. At this point, you typically have the option of either taking care of these matters or adjusting the sales price to accommodate them. Once again, everything is negotiable, so think outside the box to get any problems solved quickly. Assuming the appraisal went well and the buyer has their financing in place, the next step is the closing table.
The Closing Table
The final step in the process of selling your house will be sitting down at the closing table with the buyers. Everything is pretty much a done deal at this point, and you will just need to sign all of the paperwork and collect your check. Once again, should any issues arise at this point, your agent will be there to coach you through to the finish line.
Selling a house is a long and involved process that requires a vast amount of knowledge and skill. By knowing what to expect and having a great agent by your side, that process will seem a little bit less intimidating, and will probably get you better results in the end.