If buying a house wins the crown for “Most Difficult Adult Thing You’ve Ever Done,” then selling a house must be runner-up.
Completing a home sale can require a lot of time, planning, paperwork and yes, money. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting it done.
That’s why we partnered with our friends at Nerd Wallet to break down the home selling process into 5 main steps: Call it a selling-a-house checklist. Each step includes choices to make and things to do. Some are stressful, some are pretty cool and some are, well, kinda annoying. But each gets you one step closer to your goal of selling your home.
1. Prepare your Home for Sale
Teeing up your home for sale might be the most important part of the process. From enhancing your curb appeal to decluttering, make a commitment to set aside sentimentality and focus on maximizing your home’s marketability. Family photos should be boxed up, walls may need painting, and that cushy-but-worn recliner might have to be retired.
Professional stagers help prepare a home for sale for a fee, and the results can be dramatic. Pros will often remove half the furniture in a home to make it appear larger. The International Association of Home Staging Professionals says such services can dramatically reduce a home’s time on the market — and that staged homes can sell for as much as 20% more than nonstaged homes.
2. Analyze the Market
In the meantime, taking an objective view of your local real estate market will help you manage your expectations, as well as price and market your home properly. In a seller’s market, you might expect multiple bids above your opening listing price. But in a buyer’s market, you may have to discount your asking price.
Gathering information on recently sold homes — otherwise known as comps — can help you get a ballpark price. Look at homes that are as similar to yours as possible in terms of age, style, location, and size. Homes that are currently for sale won’t give you as reliable a picture as sold homes, since the asking price isn’t necessarily the final price.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent, like Alex Abad
A listing agent like Alex will provide you with a comparative market analysis (serious comps!). Their local market knowledge can also be a major advantage. An experienced real estate agent will guide you away from making rookie mistakes. Call us at 310.890.7572 or send us a note at [email protected].
4. Find the Right Mortgage for You
When determining the list price of your home, give yourself a little cushion for negotiation, unless you live in a hot seller’s market. But don’t overprice your property. Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less you’ll get.
There also will be some expenses, including a broker’s commission of 5% to 6%, to deduct from the proceeds of the sale.
Even if you go it alone without an agent, you’ll have marketing expenses (signs, flyers, listing costs, photography, etc.) and any closing costs that you’re willing to offer in order to motivate potential buyers.
5. Market Your Property
You’ve probably noticed homes that have a little extra sizzle in their online listings, with photography that really pops and descriptions that are easy to read yet packed with info.
National Association of Realtors data from 2020 found that of home buyers searching online, 89% found photos very useful. Detailed written information came in a close second, with 86% of buyers finding it very useful. And these days, it’s really all about online listings. The same NAR data found that 43% of buyers looked at online listings before even contacting a real estate agent.
The value of professional-quality photography cannot be overstated. After all, the featured photo on your online listing could very well be a buyer’s first impression of your home.