Getting ready to sell your house in Florida? 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 16, 2020
Now is a good time to be selling a house in Florida! According to Zillow Research, property values in the Sunshine State rose 2.65% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 4.27% over the next year.
Of course, even the best Florida 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 Florida!
JUMP TO SECTION
1. Finding a Florida 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 Florida 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 Florida 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 $243,527 home — the median home value in Florida, according to Zillow — that's a premium of $80,364. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.
2. Deciding when to sell
Although it's probably not one of the first things you think about when selling your home, the timing of your sale can have an impact on the amount of time your home spends on the market — and the sales price you achieve.
Best time to sell a house across the U.S.
Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center
Best Time to Sell in Florida for Speed
|Best Month to Sell for Speed in Florida||April & June||48 days on market||3 days faster than average|
According to Redfin data, April and June are the months to quickly sell homes. Homes listed in these months spent 48 days on the market, which is 3 days faster than the Florida average.
In comparison, homes listed in February were on the market for 57 days to sell.
However, remember that Days on Market (DOM), does not include how long it takes to close on a sale. So even in the fastest months, you'll need to account for another 30-40 days to close.
Best Time to Sell in Florida for Price
|Best Month to Sell for Price in Florida||June||$256,000 median sale price||4% more than average|
If you're looking for the best month to achieve an optimal sales price, list in June. Homes listed in this month ended up selling for a median sales price of $256,000, which is almost $10,000 more than the average sales price for the whole year.
Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in Florida
3. Pricing your home
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is a tool used to get an accurate idea of your home's value. It's calculated by comparing sales prices of homes recently sold in your area and takes into consideration data points such as square footage, the condition of your home, and any special features it has.
It's important to note that comparative market analysis is not an appraisal (more on those later). However, a CMA can help you create a strategic and realistic pricing plan for your sales goals.
An experienced real estate agent is invaluable when it comes to accurately assess the value of your home — especially if you need a fast sale, without compromising on your sales price.
4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home
Effective marketing can have a significant impact on the saleability of your home. It gets your listing in front of more buyers by highlighting its best selling attributes.
Here are some steps that will increase the visibility of your home and maximize its appeal to potential buyers.
Home Staging Works!
Home staging presents your home in its best possible light by decorating it with furniture and accessories that emphasize its selling points and helps buyers envision their lives there.
For example, if you're trying to sell a home and believe that your kitchen and dining area are the highlights of the home, you can draw attention to them by making sure the dining table is staged. This can help buyers imagine what it would be like to live there and hold their own dinner party.
Staging not only helps make your home more attractive to buyers, but the data also shows that staged homes spend 86% less time on the market than unstaged homes.
Craft an Appealing (and Accurate) Listing Description
Your listing description is the first impression your home makes on potential buyers; it entices them to make an appointment to tour your home. It's important that you highlight all of the best aspects of your home that aren't evident from your pictures alone. For example, your home's great location or the roof replacement you've just completed.
Set the scene for buyers, and make them feel like your home is one that they can't miss out on — but never mislead. Advertising your home as “fully renovated” or “immaculate” if you know this not to be true is not only morally wrong, but it can also backfire. If buyers are coming to your home expecting one thing and end up seeing something very different, they won't put in an offer.
Marketing Your Home
Getting the word out there that your home is available for sale is crucial in expanding your potential pool of buyers — the more people that know about your home, the better your chance of selling quickly and for more.
While your agent will handle most of the marketing (like listing your home on the MLS), you should still pass on your listing to family, friends, and social media network.
Showings and Open Houses
If you want to sell your home, you have to be open and flexible to buyers stopping by to take a look. Often showings take less than 20 minutes, and it's almost impossible to sell your home without them.
If you really want to make your home easily accessible for buyers, especially those with busy schedules, you should consider holding multiple open houses. Although an open house many seem inconvenient, it's a highly effective way to ensure your home is exposed to buyers, and can actually be more convenient than scheduling individual showings.
Don't Forget to Make Any and All Disclosures Required By the State of Florida!
In the state of Florida, sellers are required to advise buyers of any faults the property has that can affect its material value; however, sellers are only required to disclose defects that they're aware of.
The Florida Association of Realtors provides a standard disclosure form for sellers to complete. The disclosure list asks sellers about the condition of the homes major systems and appliances, and whether there was previous structural damage from things like water or termites.
If you aren't sure of your seller responsibilities in the state of Florida, you should seek the advice of your real estate agent, who will be able to advise you on what is expected of you, and how you can avoid potential legal issues.
Learn More: Disclosure Requirements in Florida
5. Fielding offers and negotiations
Once you receive an offer on your home, unless it's for your full asking price, you'll likely negotiate with the buyer to reach a sales price that's mutually beneficial.
If you plan to negotiate, the first thing to do is present the buyer with a counteroffer, which is usually done by your agent on your behalf. A counteroffer typically stipulates your proposed sales terms, such as a higher purchase price, and how long the buyer has to accept your offer. Most counteroffers allow the other party at least 24 hours to respond; however, this can vary.
There may be several counteroffers back and forth between the seller and buyer until an agreement is reached; however, your real estate agent can advise you on the appropriate way to respond to buyer's offers.
Once all sales terms are agreed upon and signed by both parties, both parties can proceed toward a closing.
Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette
6. Appraisal and inspections
The next step in the sales process is the home inspection. Although most sellers dread the home inspection, it rarely highlights anything that homeowners aren't already aware of.
A standard sales contract must stipulate the length of the “inspection period.” Typically in the state of Florida, inspection periods are 14 days long; however, they can be as short as a few days or much longer if the home is particularly large or old.
If the inspection finds any new issues, the buyer may want to renegotiate for a repair or a credit at closing, assuming there's the appropriate contingency in the purchase agreement. Major inspections issues in Florida include roofing issues, such as missing or damaged tiles due to extreme weather, and damage to wood from water or termite damage.
Once the inspection period is over, the appraisal process begins. An appraisal is a professional opinion of a home's market value and is performed by a licensed appraiser. The appraisal is ordered by the buyer's lender and helps to protect the lender from giving the borrower more money than the home is worth. If your buyer is purchasing in cash, they may not request an appraisal.
Appraisals compare your property with other recently sold homes in the area. By analyzing data points such as the square footage and condition of homes, the appraiser aims to reach an accurate assessment of the home's value.
If the home appraises below the agreed sales price, the seller and buyer will need to negotiate once again to come to an agreement. Often this means both parties meeting in the middle with the seller agreeing to a lower price and the buyer paying a larger down payment. Your real estate agent can advise you on the best approach for your situation.
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.
8. The closing process
Once the inspection and appraisal are done and the paperwork's in order, you're ready for the closing table. On the closing day, the seller legally transfers ownership of the property to the buyer. In order to complete the sales process, both parties must meet all the conditions stipulated in the sales contract, and this includes settling all closing costs.
In the state of Florida, most closings are conducted in person and overseen by a title agent. The title agent is responsible for recording the sale and legally transferring ownership of the property. Once all legal documents have been signed and completed, you can hand your property off to the buyer and receive your money, less closing costs.
Closing costs in Florida vary between counties, due to differences in recording fees and local government taxes. However, most sellers in Florida should expect to pay anywhere from 1% to 3% of their total sales price in closing costs.
If you receive the average Florida sales price of $246,583, homeowners can expect to pay up to $7,397 in closing costs. This does not include the real estate commission, which is typically an additional 6% of the total sales price.
Learn More: How Much Are Seller Closing Costs in Florida
Next steps: Sell your Florida home and save thousands
Whether you're looking to list your Florida 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 Florida
- Discount real estate agents in Florida
- We Buy Houses for Cash companies in Florida
- Flat-fee MLS companies in Florida
- iBuyers in Florida
Additional resources for Florida home sellers
- Average cost to sell in Florida
- Average time to sell in Florida
- How to sell by owner in Florida
- Transfer taxes in Florida
- Sell “as is” in Florida