8 Essential Steps to Sell any Home
1. Define your needs and goals: People usually decide to sell for only a handful of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are: Up or Down Sizing, Changes in Income, Changes in Marital Status, Job Relocation, or Death in the Family. Most of the time it’s a serious life event that is causing someone to need or want to sell, which can add stress to an already stressful situation. That’s why its important for the decision makers to sit down and organize their thoughts, objectives, and timelines from the start. Write down if you’d like to sell your home in a specific time frame, or for a specific profit margin. As your Real Estate Agent, we can help you map out a plan for success from the very start.
2. Name your price: Setting the asking price for your house is an essential step that can either set you up for success or failure. The objective should always be to maximize the amount of money you’re putting back in your pocket, and to do that you need to set a price that the market will be willing to pay. Take into account the condition of your home, what similar homes have been selling for, and the overall state of the market. Know the inventory, and what your home will be competing with when listed for sale. We can help you understand the numbers and set an asking price that will maximize the amount of money you put back in your pocket. Over-pricing a house can be a shot in the foot, because as your days on market rise (sitting, not selling) your house gets harder and harder to sell. According to National Association of Realtors, homes that have one or more price reductions end up taking 3 times longer to sell on average.
3. Prepare the Home: Our market in Raleigh and surrounding areas is being driven right now by new construction. That means that the buyer expects a certain standard when walking into a home, and that standard is “new”, “fresh”, and “move in ready”. Most of us however do not keep our homes in showroom condition. We live in them, customize them, make them our own. It’s important to recognize that when we’re selling a house, we want it to appeal to the largest amount of buyers so that we get the highest price. Often times this means undoing some of the customization that made your house a home. We refer to this as getting out of the “owner’s” mindset and into the “seller’s” mindset. Your house is now a product that is being compared against other similar products, so to stand out you have to get the house in tip-top shape! Our interior designer will consult with you about how to make your home shine!
4. Get the word out: Now that you’re ready to sell, we will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including: The Internet, Yard signs, Open houses, Social Media advertising, Agent-to-agent broadcasting, Direct mail marketing campaigns, and Circle Prospecting. In addition to listing your home on the MLS, we will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. We will structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.
5. Receive an Offer: If you’ve done steps 2 and 3 properly, step number 4 should come naturally! Although it’s exciting to receive an offer there are many things to find out. As your Agent we will confirm the financial ability of the buyer by obtaining pre-qualification information from their lender. We will also evaluate any contingencies contained in the offer, such as whether or not they have to sell a home in order to buy yours. We’ll also look at what type of financing they plan to obtain, and what their down payment is. They also may ask for seller paid closing costs, or other concessions. We will evaluate the strength of the offer with you and determine which of the three responses would be most appropriate: accept the offer as is, make a counter offer, or decline the offer.
6. Negotiate the Offer: When it comes time to negotiate an offer, we’ll help you understand the best course of action. Negotiating Real Estate contracts is what we do every day, so we understand what it takes to reach an agreement with the buyer. There are many pieces of the offer to negotiate, besides just price. The timelines, good faith money, personal property, fixtures, closing costs, warranty, and contingencies are all negotiable. It’s important to have a seasoned negotiator on your side in order to obtain the best possible contract. Once all items are negotiated, the final contract is drawn up and both parties sign.
7. Navigate Due Diligence: Now that the house is under contract, the buyer will begin their Due Diligence process. This is the time between contract and closing where they take as many variables out of the equation as possible. Typical Due Diligence activities include: Home Inspection, Termite Inspection, Radon Test, Appraisal, Land Survey, and Loan Commitment. During this time the buyer will likely ask you to make some repairs to the house, which becomes another negotiation. This is somewhere that we can really save you money! Our experience in negotiating repairs ensures that you only agree to items that are reasonable, and don’t over-commit to someone who may have unrealistic expectations.
8. Prepare and Close: Now that Due Diligence is over, your closing is approaching quickly. During this time you’ll arrange for the move, change utilities, forward mail, etc. We’ll help you with a checklist of pre-close activities to organize your to do list. The closing will take place at an attorney’s office (of the buyer’s choosing), and the documents both parties sign will transfer the deed into their name. As a service to our clients, we attend closing in your place so that you can focus on the logistics of your move.