How to sell a house in 6 easy steps
It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling next week or in a couple months, there are some things you can do today to make your sale a success. Here are MY 6 steps to selling a house (The Right Way).
1. Get a GREAT Agent
Obviously, but how do you know it’s the right agent for you? There are literally thousands of agents, even right here in the Pacific Northwest, so how do you find one that you trust and will actually do a killer job? Well, you’re here aren’t you? You’re already on my site! But seriously, whether you find an agent from a friend, referral, online or at an open house, there are some things you should be asking your agent before signing a listing contract with them:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many homes do you actually sell each year?
- At what price do homes sell? Above, below, or at asking price?
- How will you contact me?
- How quickly do your homes sell?
And of course, you want to get along with them too! If you don’t feel comfortable or trust your agent, it’s time to move on. And it’s okay to fire your agent and hire a new one. This is a BIG sale and you only want the best representation.
2. Find the right price
Remember this: Your home is only worth what buyers are willing to pay. Pricing a home can be tricky especially if you have an unusual home that may not have a lot of comparables. Using an experienced agent is really the only way to price your home right. As a buyer’s agent as well, I know what our area buyers are willing to pay and it makes no sense to price it higher than market value. Homes are selling quick and a good strategy is to actually underprice a home (if appropriate) to get more buzz on the house and multiple offers pushing the sale price up!
3. The Selling Timeline
Everyone’s timeline is different but the basics are the same. It’s important to know and understand how the sale of a property works and your involvement. Here’s a general timeline to preparing, listing, and selling your home.
- Interview real estate agents: Take time to find a pro who has a proven track record and inspires you with confidence.
- Outline a plan: Work with your agent to set priorities so you can focus on knocking out one task at a time.
- Declutter: Decide what you can live without until your home sells. Then pack it up and get it out!
If you have a couple months to plan:
Consider hiring a home inspector so you know what a buyer will know about the house. Take the time to fix up the house and repair anything that might have been neglected or forgotten.
If you have less than a month
Consider staging. You can use professional stagers that range in price from $400-$3000 or simply use what you have and make HGTV your best friend for the next month. See what looks good, what others are doing and what your competition is like so you can compete.
The week before.
Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More! Seriously… buyers are nit-picky and will find a speck of dust anywhere. If necessary, hire a main once a week to keep the deep cleaning in order. A good rule of thumb, don’t make any mess that can’t be cleaned up in 30 minutes or less. This will give you ample time to clean up in case you have a last minute showing.
4. How to Stage Your Home
Oh, Staging. That didn’t use to be a thing, but with the onset of staging TV shows and magazines, everyone’s staging now! And you should too. So how do you stage when you have no idea where to start? Here’s some good ideas to get you started.
- Clean and Clear- Clear half the items from closets, pantries, drawers, and cupboards. Buyers are nosy and they will look everywhere. Make sure they see a ton of extra space and remember, you have to pack the stuff anyway, so now is as good a time as ever. Organize the remaining.
- De-Clutter – Remove personal photos, memorabilia, collections and such. Buyers need to see the house, not your collection of antique teacups and baseball cards.
- Make sure every room has a purpose. Don’t have an office set up in the dining room or play room in the corner. Make every room have and serve that purpose. Make bathrooms the ultimate spa retreat with rolled white linens, toiletries – bedroom should be an oasis retreat with a book and glasses on the night stand – dining rooms should be set and ready for dinner – living rooms and family rooms should be ready for family game night – or… well, I think you get the idea.
5. Time to List
Whew! The time has come to list and sell! What happens?
Fill out the listing contract with your agent. These are usually 3-6 months (although we hope to never have it on the market that long). While I can recommend the right price range, it’s ultimately up to you what price to list your home.
After this, I list on the MLS and all other national and local real estate websites. I promote locally on social media and talk to my connections in the industry to see if anyone has a buyer looking for your home. Here’s what you can do.
Be ready to show at a moment’s notice.
I know that’s stressful and this is why we need to sell as fast as possible. No one wants to live in a staged house 24/7 so the sooner we can get it sold, the sooner you can move on with your life in your new home (and keep it clean and staged)
Remove Pets and Their Evidence
I know you love your dog, cat, or ferret but they need to go when you have a showing. You never know who might be allergic or just downright object to animals and pets. Take them with you if possible and remove litter boxes and dog paraphernalia when you have a showing.
I know it’s not fun when someone calls at 7:30pm just as you slip into your jammies for the evening, but if you want to sell the house, this may be the only time a buyer can see it. Of course, you can set reasonable or logical requests, but you also can’t be too restrictive or you might miss a buyer.
Get the kids to help!
Kids can keep their rooms clean as well and it really works to have a set list of chores for everyone in the house to do when you get that call. Everyone – ON DUTY!
Be cautious of odors.
Vanilla, apple cinnamon, lavender, burnt eggs… wait, what? Yeah, that last one is a killer. Don’t cook eggs or stinky meals the day of a showing if you can help it. Have light, non-overpowering scents wafting through the house to create warmth and light.
6. Seal the deal.
Once you have an offer, inspection, and appraisal the next thing is the final signing. Escrow, Title or your Agent will call you for final signing. You’ll usually come in first before the buyer and sign all the documents. Pay close attention to these:
- Purchase price
- Closing or escrow date
- Special allowances for personal property, home improvements, and closing costs
- Contingency deadlines for the home inspection, appraisal, and buyer financing
- Additional contingencies such as the sale of the buyer’s current home
Ask any questions you may have and make sure information is correct. Make sure you are comfortable with the deal.
What if you want to back out?
Well, it’s unusal but it can happen. Unfortunately, unless something is seriously wrong on someone else’s end, you’ll probably be out some money and you may face a lawsuit. Backing out at the last minute can have major ramifications. Think carefully, ask questions and be confident with the sale and those involved.
Ready? Not yet? Give me a call! Let’s talk about your options and what your home could be worth right now!