8 Steps to Selling a House in Alabama

By 

Jamie Ayers

Updated 

March 13th, 2020

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Getting ready to sell your house in Alabama? Our in-depth guide breaks the entire process down into 8 simple steps. Learn how to find a great agent, price your home, negotiate with buyers, breeze through closing, and more!

Updated on March 13, 2020

Now is a good time to be selling a house in Alabama! According to Zillow Research, property values in the state rose 4.59% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 4.53% over the next year.

Of course, even the best Alabama properties will struggle to sell if you don’t price the home properly, do a poor job of marketing it, or don’t know how to handle the negotiations.

Read on to learn the eight steps to successfully selling your home in Alabama!

1. Finding a Alabama realtor

Selling a home isn’t easy. It’s a high-stakes, complex transaction and requires a considerable amount of time and expertise to get a good outcome. If you’re looking to sell your Alabama home for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — you need to find a top-rated real estate agent in your area.

The best Alabama listing agents know exactly what local buyers want and how to reach them. They’ll offer expert advice, guidance, and support every step of the way, from the initial listing all the way through closing.

In fact, sellers who work with real estate agents net 33% more, on average, than those who list on their own. For a $137,037 home — the median value in Alabama, according to Zillow — that’s a premium of $45,222. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.

2. Deciding when to sell

Few people realize just how big of a difference the time of year during which you sell a house can affect its closing price. In general, sellers tend to do best during the spring and summer months when the weather is most amenable to neighborhood walkarounds, and it’s in between school years — parents prefer not to have to move their kids to a new school midyear. Alabama abides by this rule to an extent, as homes near schools tend to do best during those months, but sales start to taper off once school has started.

Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on when to put your home up for sale. You don’t want to do it too early in the year, lest the listing becomes stale, but you also don’t want to do it too late when things are starting to quiet down.

Best time to sell a house across the U.S.

Best Time to Sell a House

Source:  2019 Redfin Data Center

Best time to sell a house in Alabama

Best Month to Sell for Speed in Alabama
July
62 days on market
11 days faster than average
Best Month to Sell for Price in Alabama
June
$197,000 median sale price
7% more than average

 

If you're shooting for the fastest sale possible, listing in July is your best option. Homes listed in this month spend 62 days on market — significantly quicker than the Alabama average of 73 days on market.

To get the highest sales price, put your house on the market in June. The median sale price of homes listed then is $197,000, which is almost $13,000 more than average.

Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in Alabama

3. Pricing your home

A comparative market analysis, or CMA, is a service that real estate agents offer to help you price your home competitively. To conduct a CMA, your agent will compare your house to tons of similar houses that were recently sold or are currently listed in order to determine a good price for your home. They will also take into account the current market conditions and adjust the price accordingly.

While most real estate agents charge for this service, Clever Partner Agents perform it completely free.

4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home

Before listing your home, be sure that you’ve properly cleaned up and made the place look nice and tidy. You may want to do some minor upgrades to your home, such as buying smart appliances or repainting walls, to add some value to your home and better catch the attention of visitors.

This part of the process is called staging: it’s when you organize your house so that would-be buyers can get a good idea of what living there is like when they come for a visit. Staging can be as complex as installing smart home products around the house or as simple as putting some note-cards in each room that point out unique features. For example, you may want to leave a note-card that draws attention to the HVAC system, a highly sought-after feature in Alabama houses due to the hot summers.

Make sure to note all your home’s most important features in your listing.

If you want to sell your house as fast as possible, consider doing one-on-one viewings. These help foster a more personal connection and can sometimes help make a sale go faster.

Learn More: The Best Paint Colors For Selling A House

5. Fielding offers and negotiations

Once a buyer is seriously interested in your house, they’ll draft up an offer and send it to you along with their earnest money. At this point, if there’s anything you’re not a fan of in their original offer, you can send over a counteroffer.

When both sides have come to a consensus, they’ll sign a purchase agreement, which is a legally binding document that commits both parties to going through with the deal.

Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette

What's in a real estate purchase agreement?

6. Appraisal and inspections

If everything has gone swimmingly up until this point, the buyer will hire an appraiser and inspector to evaluate your home. The appraiser will decide whether the home will serve as sufficient collateral against their mortgage, and the inspector will evaluate the physical condition of your home.

Depending on the purchase agreement both parties signed, the buyer may be able to back out without repercussions at this point so long as there was a clause saying that the purchase agreement is dependent on a good inspection.

It is also fairly common for the buyer to ask the seller to cover some of the repair costs or closing costs. It’s a good idea to consult with your real estate agent before agreeing to anything, as they’ll know what a good issue to push and when to fall back as well.

Learn More: Can the Seller Back Out of Contract Before Closing?

7. Paperwork and required Alabama disclosures

Unlike other states, in which sellers are required by law to disclose any known flaws in their home, Alabama has no such law. Instead, they operate by a system called “caveat emptor”, which means “buyer beware”. Since the seller doesn’t have to disclose any issues in their house, it becomes the buyer’s responsibility to discover any potential problems with the property. 

Nonetheless, a lot of paperwork goes into selling a house. While you should be familiar with all the documents you might need to close on your home, always consult your agent or attorney.

A licensed professional should walk you through all the paperwork and ensure you have everything you need for your situation.

Forms and Documents for Selling a House in Alabama

Required for All Real Estate Sales in Alabama

  • 2 Forms of ID
  • Copy of Purchase Agreement and Any Addendums
  • Closing Statement
  • Signed Deed
  • Bill of Sale
  • Affidavit of Title

Possible Additional Documents

  • Loan Payoff Information
  • HOA Forms and Guidelines
  • Survey Results or Survey Affidavits
  • Home Inspection Results
  • Proof of Repairs or Renovations
  • Home Warranty Information
  • Copies of Relevant Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney Letters
  • Relevant Affidavits (Name Affidavits, Non-Foreign Affidavit Under IRC 1445, etc.)
  • Closing Disclosure (for certain seller concessions)
  • Correction Statement and Agreement

Alabama Disclosure Forms

  • Flood Zone Statement
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
  • Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement

Note: Alabama is a "buyer beware" state and, in most situations, sellers are not legally required to make disclosures. However, to give buyers peace of mind, many homeowners still provide a disclosure statement.

Learn More: Disclosure Requirements in Alabama

8. The closing process

In order to close in Alabama, you’ll need to work with an attorney. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that require all housing paperwork to be written up by a licensed real estate attorney. 

On closing day, you and the buyer will finalize any paperwork and ownership will also be transferred to the buyer. 

Also, at closing, sellers customarily pay both the buyer’s agent’s commission and their agent’s commission. Assuming you've built up enough equity in your home, this will come out of your proceeds.

Learn More: How Much Are Closing Costs for the Seller?

Next steps: Sell your Alabama home and save thousands

Whether you’re looking to list your Alabama home immediately or 6-12 months from now, it’s never too early to start looking for an agent, getting advice, and making a plan.

Clever is here to help guide you through the home selling process — and save money along the way! In fact, homeowners who list with us save an average of $9,000 on home selling costs.

>> LEARN about Clever's free service and read reviews from real home sellers here!

Top ways to sell your home in Alabama

Additional resources for Alabama home sellers

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