Updated on March 13, 2020
Now is a good time to be selling a house in Delaware! According to Zillow Research, property values in the First State rose 0.22% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 2.96% over the next year.
Of course, even the best Delaware 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 Delaware!
1. Finding a Delaware 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 Delaware 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 Delaware 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 $256,246 home — the median home value in Delaware, according to Zillow — that’s a premium of $84,561. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.
2. Deciding when to sell
The best time to sell a house in Delaware can vary based on myriad factors, including the season, local legislative changes, economic outlook, and job market. Timing the market is critical if you want to get top dollar and don’t have to sell your home right away.
Historically, Delaware follows the national trend of listing your home in the Spring (ideally in May). Homes tend to sell quicker and for a higher price during this time, whereas the cold winter months usually slow home sales.
Best time to sell a house across the U.S.
Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center
Best time to sell a house in Delaware
|Best Month to Sell for Speed in Delaware||November||28 days on market||14 days faster than average|
|Best Month to Sell for Price in Delaware||June||$235,000 median sale price||7% more than average|
If you're shooting for the fastest sale possible, listing in November is your best option. Homes listed in this month spend 28 days on market — significantly quicker than the Delaware average of 42 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 $235,000, which is $15,500 more than average.
Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in Delaware
3. Pricing your home
Pricing your home is critical for both you and your buyer.
As the seller, you want to get the best price for your home. But at the same time, your local market conditions will have a strong say-so in your home’s current value.
Buyers typically look for properties based on price. Pricing your home too low or too high could mean missing out on connecting with an eager buyer, which might leave your home sitting on the market for longer than you'd like.
A comparative market analysis compares your home with similar homes in your area and what they sold for, which can guide you in pricing your home to reflect local market conditions.
Your real estate agent can prepare a CMA for you (Clever Partner Agents provide this service for free).
4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home
Most homes aren’t in buyer-ready condition, so be prepared to make some adjustments to attract the best offers.
Prior to listing your home, give your entire home a deep cleaning inside and out. Add curb appeal that will give a strong first impression when potential buyers arrive for showings.
Home staging can make your home feel larger than it really is. Remove bulky furniture, reduce the clutter in bedrooms and closets, and get rid of anything that you don’t need on a daily or weekly basis.
You should also make impactful repairs and improvements that will make your home look well taken care of. Fresh paint, new appliances, and new flooring are common fixes that brighten your home and may even increase your home’s value. Also, anything in your home that’s non-functional (e.g. a door lock, light fixtures, etc.) should be repaired prior to showing your home.
Learn More: The Best Paint Colors For Selling A House
Once your home is in buyer-ready condition, think about how you’ll market your property. Getting professional photos is a must to show off your home’s best features. You’ll also need to write a standout listing description that makes potential buyers want to see your home in person. For example, you might emphasize your home’s new heating system or double-paned windows that can conquer the cold Delaware winters.
And don’t forget the power of maximizing your visibility online. Local MLS directories, social media, Realtor websites, and other portals can help you get your home in front of the right audience.
It’s important to keep your home show-ready at all times so you’re always prepared for last-minute lookers. Have an easy way to hide clutter. Pick up after yourself each day. You may want to make a last-minute checklist of things to take care of prior to potential buyers viewing the property (e.g. put dishes in the dishwasher, put towels in the laundry room, etc).
One way to attract a large number of buyers in a short time period is having a scheduled open house. Your real estate agent can set this up for you, so all you’ll have to do is get your home ready to be shown.
In addition, you may want to consider investing in a lockbox so agents can show your home outside of scheduled appointments. This way, you never miss a chance to let a potential buyer see your property.
5. Fielding offers and negotiations
When you get an offer on your home, you have the chance to make a counteroffer. Many sellers will counteroffer when the buyer’s initial terms are undesirable, such as the price or other requests of the homeowner. Some buyers will stipulate in their offer how long you have to respond before they withdraw their offer, so make sure you review the terms carefully so you don’t miss an opportunity.
Negotiation periods largely depend on how motivated you and your potential buyer are to reach an agreement. If you’ve partnered with a local real estate agent, he or she will handle much of this process for you, along with guidance on whether you should accept an offer or continue negotiating.
Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette
6. Appraisal and inspections
The home inspection (and what comes after) is one of the most overlooked steps to selling a house in Delaware. When your home goes under contract, the buyer will arrange for a home appraisal and inspection of the home. They may include a contingency in their offer that allows them to pull out of the contract pending the inspection, so don’t celebrate your home sale just yet.
Once the inspection and appraisal are complete, the buyer may continue to negotiate based on their findings. For example, major flaws in the home might make the buyer feel it’s not worth the agreed-upon price. Or, they may ask you to make additional repairs in order to keep the contract.
If your buyer is working with an agent, their agent will be guiding them through this process. This is one reason why it’s important that you also work with an agent to level the field and use their expertise to get a fair offer.
7. Paperwork and required Delaware disclosures
As the seller, you are legally obligated to disclose specific facts about your home.
In Delaware, you’re required to disclose material defects you know about. Every state requires you to disclose the presence of lead-based paint because of federal law.
Additionally, a lot of paperwork goes into selling a house. While it's good to be familiar with all the documents you might need to close on your home, always consult your agent or attorney before signing or filing paperwork. A licensed professional should walk you through all the paperwork and ensure you have everything you need for your situation.
Learn More: Disclosure Requirements in Delaware
8. The closing process
The closing is the final step to selling a house in Delaware. This is where the buyer takes possession of the property and the seller receives their payment for the sale.
Prior to closing, the closing attorney will perform a title search of the home, and if the title is “clear,” the closing will proceed on schedule. The attorney will also prepare the title commitment and all paperwork for the closing.
On the day of closing, the buyer and seller will sign all necessary paperwork and the buyer will submit their payment to the attorney.
Most closings in Delaware are complete within 30 days of the home going under contract, though the timeline can vary. Your Clever Partner Agent is your best resource for navigating the process and keeping you on your desired timeline so you can get ready for wherever life takes you next.
Learn More: How Much Are Closing Costs for the Seller?
Next steps: Sell your Delaware home and save thousands
Whether you’re looking to list your Delaware 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.
Top ways to sell your home in Delaware
- Discount real estate agents in Delaware
- We Buy Houses for Cash companies in Delaware
- Flat-fee MLS companies in Delaware