8 Steps to Selling a House in Rhode Island

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By Clever Real Estate Updated January 4, 2023


Getting ready to sell your house in Rhode Island? 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 Rhode Island

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Now is a good time to be selling a house in Rhode Island! According to Zillow Research, property values in the Ocean State rose 2.92% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 4.02% over the next year.

Of course, even the best Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island!

» MORE: Get a free, instant home value estimate now!


1. Finding a Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 $295,922 home — the median home value in Rhode Island, according to Zillow — that’s a premium of $97,654. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.

Editor's Note: In a standard real estate transaction, realtor commission fees can represent up to 50% (or more) of your total home selling costs. Luckily, they're also negotiable. Here's how we can help you work with a top agent and lock in a lower rate up front.

2. Deciding when to sell

Like all things in the world of sales, timing is everything. The market fluctuates from region to region and has its own ups and downs in Rhode Island. Listing at the right time is important if you want to receive the best chances of selling for (or above) market value.

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

Best Time to Sell a House

Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center

Can't wait on the market? You don't have to — sell when you're ready. Learn how to sell fast (and for full value) whenever the timing’s right for you.

Best time to sell a house in Rhode Island

Best Month to Sell for Speed in Rhode Island June & July 47 days on market 12 days faster than average
Best Month to Sell for Price in Rhode Island June $286,000 median sale price 5.5% more than average

Right now in Rhode Island, home values are rising at 2.7% and are predicted to increase by another 2.0% by the end of the year. Median home values are also up, averaging at $285,500 making it a great time to sell your home.

Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in Rhode Island

3. Pricing your home

Pricing your home correctly, right from the start is crucial. Listing your home for too high or low in the beginning often results in the property sitting on the market for a longer amount of time and selling for less than market value.

The best way to ensure your home is priced to sell is by having a comparative market analysis (CMA) done. Your agent can prepare a CMA for you to ensure you list your home at the right price.

Clever Partner Agents will prepare your CMA free of charge with absolutely no obligation to the seller.

But if you're earlier in the process and just want a general idea of what your house is worth, a free online home value estimator is a great place to start. Enter your address below to see your estimated sale price, as well as useful local real estate market trends. Find out how much your house is worth now!

💰 How much is your home worth?

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4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home

You’ll need to spend time preparing your home, marketing, and showing your home in order to attract a high number of buyers. While your agent can help with all of these steps, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to handle.

Preparing Your Home

Readying your home for listing can be the most tedious process. Not only will you need to clean out your home and move the majority of your belongings out, you’ll also want to make repairs and clean your home from top to bottom.

You should start by decluttering, moving, and clearing out the bulk of your belongings. From there, you’ll want to repair anything that’s broken. If you want to be prepared for inspection, you can have a pre-sale inspection performed, to let you know what red flags might show up on your inspection report. This allows you the opportunity to fix any issues before listing your property.

While repairs should be made, now is not the time to make upgrades or renovations, since you likely won’t see the full investment returned in your home sale. In Rhode Island, however, you should ensure the HVAC systems are in top shape, since the humid summers and cold winters make good air conditioning and heating a top priority for buyers.

After repairs are made, be sure to clean your home thoroughly. If you’re not up to the task, you can always hire a cleaning service to help.

Learn More: The Best Paint Colors For Selling A House

Stage and Market Your Home

Before you can list your home, you’ll want to ensure it’s properly staged to attract buyers. Your agent will be a valuable resource during this step. This could be as simple as paring down your belongings, but might involve renting furniture or home decor to make your home more appealing to your target buyer.

From there, your agent will help take high-quality photos which will be displayed on all the major home listing websites (Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, etc). You can even have a professional walk-through tour shot to allow buyers to better envision themselves living in your home.

When your home is staged and photos are ready, it’s time to list your home on the MLS. Your agent will help with other marketing tactics, like posting on local portal sites and supplying "For Sale" signage.

Your agent can also set you up with a lockbox so that buyers can quickly and easily tour your home without delay. Private showings and open houses are other options for marketing your home that your agent will help run and schedule.

Learn More: 4 Cool Real Estate Technology Trends That Help Sell Homes

5. Fielding offers and negotiations

Once an offer is made on your home, your agent will notify you and you can talk through your options. You can accept or counteroffer. Generally, it’s recommended that any home seller in Rhode Island make a counteroffer, unless the first offer is more than satisfactory. If the buyer submits a secondary offer, typically the seller has three days to make a decision to accept or reject the offer.

From here, a real estate purchase contract will be drafted detailing the property details, sales information, estimated date of closing, and a list of contingencies. These contingencies typically include a buyer’s inspection.

Once this is drafted, the buyer will make a deposit which will be held in escrow until the sale is finalized.

Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette

What's in a real estate purchase agreement?

6. Appraisal and inspections

Next, an appraisal is done on behalf of the lender, in order to ensure the property they are investing in appraises for the correct market value. The appraisal might uncover problems that result in a lower appraisal value than expected, so you may need to make repairs before the sale can go through. A pre-sale inspection is the best way to ensure there are no surprises during this stage.

Many sellers think appraisals and home inspections are the same thing, but they’re actually different. After the appraisal, the home inspection, which is a more thorough investigation of the home, is performed to ensure the home is in top working order. Inspections can turn up large issues, likely faulty plumbing or small problems like broken outlets.

Depending on what turns up during the inspection, you might have to work with your agent to renegotiate with the buyer. You might opt to make repairs or reduce some money from the closing price to move forward with the deal. If issues are minor or none are reported, the sale can move forward as is.

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

7. Paperwork and required Rhode Island disclosures

At this point in the process, you’ll want to be sure to make any disclosures as required by Rhode Island law. While your agent can help you determine what specifics to reveal, in Rhode Island, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

You want to disclose any issues within the home, whether they turned up on the inspection or not, since you could be liable for them down the road. It’s important to note that sellers are only responsible for disclosing issues they are aware of, so being honest with the buyer is your best option.

Your agent can help you draft your disclosure in writing and verify that all required disclosures have been released.

Additionally, your agent or an attorney should walk you through all the legal paperwork to ensure you have everything you need for your situation.

Forms and Documents for Selling a House in Rhode Island

Required for All Real Estate Sales in Rhode Island

  • 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

Rhode Island Disclosure Forms

Learn More: Disclosure Requirements in Rhode Island

8. The closing process

The last stage of selling your home is closing on your deal. In Rhode Island, home closings take place in one location, typically at the office of the title company or an attorney. At this point, all finalized paperwork will be signed by the seller and buyer. Once complete, the keys to the home will be released to the seller (unless an agreement was made to allow the seller more time to finalize their move).

During the closing process, the steps below will be covered:

  • A title search will be run to ensure the property is clear of any liens or assessments. This can often be performed before closing to speed up the process.
  • The title company will prepare the deed and title insurance and receive final signatures from the buyer.
  • The final walkthrough is performed either on closing or the day before.
  • The buyer will sign all final loan/financial documents.

Once the buyer receives the keys to the house, the deal is finalized and the home sale is complete.

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

Next steps: Sell your Rhode Island home and save thousands

Whether you’re looking to list your Rhode Island 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!

💰 Get a lower rate with a top local agent!

Want to find a top local agent without overpaying on realtor fees? Clever negotiates 1.5% listing fees with top-rated realtors from trusted brokerages like Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Get guaranteed full service for a fraction of the 3% rate agents typically charge. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a top local agent today!

Top ways to sell your home in Rhode Island

Additional resources for Rhode Island home sellers

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