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8 Steps to Selling a House in Florida

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!

8 Steps to Selling a House in Florida

Updated on January 7, 2020

Now is a good time to be selling a house in Florida! According to Zillow, property values in the Sunshine State have risen 4.4% in the past 12 months, and are projected to rise a further 3.4% 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.

If you’re looking to sell your home for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — you need to work with a top-rated, local real estate agent.

The best 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.

> Get in touch to interview top-performing Florida agents near you.

Note: our referral service is 100% free and there’s never any obligation to move forward with one of our recommendations.

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

1. Find a Top-Rated, Local Florida Real Estate Agent

An experienced and knowledgeable local real estate agent can streamline the home selling process significantly. From negotiating with buyers to helping you create an effective pricing and marketing strategy, a great agent will have your back.

When you’re looking for an agent, be sure to find one who has experience selling homes in your local market, or preferably your neighborhood specifically. Be sure to check out reviews about any real estate agents you interview. Even if you simply need to know your options, it’s never too early to seek the opinion of a professional.

2. Time the Market for a Better Price (and Faster Sale)

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 Across the U.S.

Best Time to Sell a House

Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center

Best Time to Sell in Florida for Speed

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 6 days 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

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.

Best Month to Sell for Speed in Florida April & June 48 days on market 3 days faster than average
Best Month to Sell for Price in Florida June $256,000 median sale price 4% more than average

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

3. Get a Comparative Market Analysis and Price Your Florida Home Competitively

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.

Home Pricing Strategy

4. List Your Florida Home, Maximize Its Visibility and Appeal

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 housemany 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. Offers, Negotiations, and Purchase Agreements

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

What's in a real estate purchase agreement?

6. Appraisals, Home Inspections, and (More) Negotiations

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.

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

7. Closing the Deal

Once the inspection and appraisal have been successfully completed, 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.

But understand that 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.

Forms and Documents for Selling a House in Florida

Required for All Real Estate Sales in Florida

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

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

Florida Disclosure Forms

  • Seller Property Disclosure - Residential
  • Property Tax Disclosure Summary
  • Flood Zone Statement
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

How much are closing costs for Florida home sellers?

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

8. Time to Move!

In the state of Florida, sellers typically move out of their home before they close on the property. This is because the house should be empty before the buyer completes their final walkthrough. There might be exceptions to this, for example, if an extended stay part of the sales contract.

If you’re moving out of the area or even out of state, it may be necessary to negotiate with the buyer for an extended move out period, which gives you some more flexibility.

Luckily, even once you’ve closed, your real estate agent can still help you out. They can recommend local moving companies that fit your budget and timeline.

Learn More: The Best Moving Companies of 2019

Next Steps for Florida Home Sellers

A lot goes into a successful home sale. Naturally, questions will pop up along the way. You might be unsure of the best way to prepare your home for market. Or your house might be unique and difficult to accurately price.

Get answers and advice from a licensed professional.

No matter where you are in the home selling process, Clever Real Estate’s team of experts can help. They can help you weigh your selling options and make smart decisions that are right for your specific situation.

Reach out for a free, no-obligation consultation from an expert!

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Jamie Ayers
Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

See all Jamie's Posts
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