Prior to Listing Your Home
2+ months out
Find an experienced local real estate agent
This is a crucial first step! Enlisting the help of an experienced agent who understands your needs to guide you through the process will save you time and a lot of headache - and will of course get your home sold more quickly and for more money than trying to list your home on your own.
6-8 weeks out
Consider repairs and improvements
Your real estate agent will do a thorough walkthrough of your home and will likely make recommendations on both minor and major repairs or improvements you should consider. Additionally, be proactive about any known maintenance issues to your home, as these will surface during an inspection.
4-8 weeks out
Price is right
Another crucial step to ensuring the highest return on your valuable investment in the shortest amount of time is finding a competitive price. You will want to consider the price of nearby homes that have recently sold, the prices of nearby homes currently on the market, and the condition and location of your specific home. Request a neighborhood sold report and work with your agent to find the right listing price.
1-4 weeks out
Get your home ready
Hopefully, you have already started decluttering some of the bigger collections of unused furniture and other items stored in your attic, basement, or closets. Continue to work through your home, removing clutter, junk, and even personal decor. Start deep cleaning your home, really targeting the forgotten nooks and crannies.
Listing Your Home
Reach the greatest number of buyers
The key to selling a home is in finding the right buyers, and that requires a lot of marketing and advertising. This is where working with a skilled agent can really pay off. Skilled listing agents are skilled marketers. They know where to find the best buyers for your home, and they have access to a wealth of resources, including online listing services, print advertising distribution, large social media followings, even local agent networks.
Let buyers take a tour
In addition to scheduled open houses, your home can be shown at any time, so be prepared. Keep it neat, clean, organized, and staged. Don't leave dirty dishes or laundry lying around, be sure to dust and vacuum regularly, and promptly address any potential clutter buildups. Additionally, you should be ready to clear out of the house during showings to avoid making buyers uncomfortable.
Dealing with offers
Negotiate & accept an offer
If a buyer wants to buy your home, they will make you a written offer, which usually states how much they'll pay, their mortgage amount, closing and occupancy dates, and any contingencies. You can either accept the offer or negotiate for different terms. Negotiations can include your own contingencies, such as a first right of refusal if your buyer's offer is contingent on selling their home, making the offer contingent on you buying another home, or adding contingencies for closing and occupancy dates or buyer financing.
Cooperate with home inspections & appraisals
Next, the buyer will hire an inspector to ensure that no major repairs will be needed after they buy the house. The inspector will go through every inch of the house, paying particular attention to the roof, basement, heating and cooling systems, structure, plumbing, and electrical. If the inspector finds any needed repairs, the buyer can negotiate for the costs of the repairs.
Wainting in escrow
Gather the paperwork
Next, you will enter escrow, which is a sort of limbo period between selling your home and receiving the money. You may remember this step from buying your home, though rather than putting money down, your role is now to hold up your end of the agreement. During this time, you and your agent will work with an escrow company to complete paperwork and ensure that all parts of the contract are complete.
Sign, collect & hand over your keys
On a predetermined closing date, you and your buyer will sit down with your agents to sign all the paperwork and pay all your fees. You will relinquish your keys and your property title, and you will receive a check for the remaining balance after the remainder of your mortgage is paid to your bank. Congrats - you have sold your home!