Updated on March 16, 2020
Now is a good time to be selling a house in Iowa! According to Zillow Research, property values in the Hawkeye State rose 3.12% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 4.34% over the next year.
Of course, even the best Iowa 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 Iowa!
1. Finding a Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Iowa 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 $151,252 home — the median home value in Iowa, according to Zillow — that's a premium of $49,913. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.
2. Deciding when to sell
In Iowa, the real estate market fluctuates a lot with the seasons. If you want to get the best deal, you'll want to list your home at a time when you have a lot of buyers looking for homes, but before most sellers have listed their homes to compete with you.
Best time to sell a house across the U.S.
Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center
Best time to sell a house in Iowa
|Best Month to Sell for Speed in Iowa||July||21 days on market||25 days faster than average|
|Best Month to Sell for Price in Iowa||June||$211,000 median sale price||7% more than average|
In Iowa, it's often best to list in June or July. However, working with your real estate agent will give you the specifics for your area, since different cities and counties have different trends. For instance, Iowa City is dramatically affected by school cycles due to the presence of the University of Iowa.
Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in Iowa
3. Pricing your home
Having the right price is essential. If you overprice your home, you won't get buyers to come to see your property. Your home will sit on the market for a long time, or you may have to drop the price.
If you underprice your home, don't assume that means you'll get a bidding war or can sell your home quickly. Instead, you'll be sending the message that something is wrong with the home and high-quality buyers will stay away.
Work with your realtor to price your home based on the comparable properties in your area. The pros understand the market, so they can give you solid advice about how to price the house.
4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home
When it's time to show your home, you'll want to stage it so that it's attractive to buyers. Be sure to remove your knick-knacks and the little flair that makes it “your home.”
It's time to set the house up so that someone else sees it as their home. You may also need to do repairs to help the home sell more quickly.
Learn More: The Best Paint Colors For Selling A House
Marketing your home should be done in a variety of ways, with a special focus on online listings. You'll need professional photos as well as focused promotion to draw in the right buyer for your property.
Your real estate agent will have a lot of experience in the types of marketing that works best in your market, so rely on their expertise.
Once the marketing kicks in, it will be time to show your home to potential buyers. Your realtor may install a lockbox so other agents can bring buyers to view the home. You may also have to work around scheduled private showings, and your agent may hold an open house.
5. Fielding offers and negotiations
If your home is well-priced, you may receive multiple offers. You can negotiate with them by making a counteroffer if you would like. In particular, you may want to make a counteroffer that's contingent on you being able to buy a home if the market conditions are tight.
You may have a bidding war or multiple offers on the table. Your realtor can help you navigate the situation by communicating with the buyer agents on your behalf. In the end, you may be able to sell quickly for a great price.
Once you accept an offer, you'll put a purchase agreement in place. This needs to be in writing and includes the price, contingencies, condition of the property, and much more. Your realtorwill help make sure that you don't miss any details.
Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette
6. Appraisal and inspections
Iowa has very specific real estate disclosure requirements, and the disclosure statement has to be delivered in writing to the buyer before you accept the written offer. If you don't deliver it on time, the contract may be canceled.
Iowa law requires sellers to disclose any known defects. Be sure you fully understand the disclosure and act in good faith.
7. Paperwork and required Iowa disclosures
Once you and the buyer agree, it's time to make sure the bank and everyone else is on board.
The buyer will need to schedule and pay for the home inspection, and in Iowa a radon inspection will be done as well. The bank will do an appraisal, which the buyer will pay for as part of the closing fees.
The bank's appraisal is not related to the sale price or the real estate market. Instead, it's focused on what the bank feels the home is worth. The buyer will not be able to get a mortgage above the appraisal, so if it comes in low you will either need to contest it or the buyer will have to pay the difference.
A home inspection will help the buyer have confidence in the home. The inspector may find problems that need repair, which can cause additional negotiations with the buyer.
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 Iowa
8. The closing process
It's finally time for closing! In Iowa, all parties often meet at a single physical table, generally at the office of an attorney, lender, or title company. The buyers and sellers sign all of the required documents and payment is exchanged.
The buyer receives the keys right away at the closing table, so as a seller you need to have completely moved out before the closing date.
Learn More: How Much Are Closing Costs for the Seller?
Next steps: Sell your Iowa home and save thousands
Whether you're looking to list your Iowa 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 Iowa
- Discount real estate agents in Iowa
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- Flat-fee MLS companies in Iowa