Deciding how and when to sell your home can be a difficult decision and many questions are likely on your mind.

What time of year should you sell? Should you hire an agent or sell it on your own? What repairs and renovations are necessary? What do you have to disclose?

These are all questions you are likely trying to figure out and are struggling to answer. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Here are eight steps you should always follow when selling your home.

1. Choose a Great, Local Listing Agent

The housing market is strong in Virginia, but local conditions can vary quite drastically across the state. Northern Virginia is seeing lots of growth and home prices have been accelerating quite rapidly. However, southern and western Virginia can be quite rural and often attract a much different type of buyer.

An expert, local agent should be able to give you the latest market information, and inventory reports, on where you are and know how to market your home to the right type of buyer. They will know what repairs and renovations add value to your home, and know how to quickly attract interest from potential buyers.

Learn More: How to Choose the Right Realtor to Sell Your Home

2. Get a Comparative Market Analysis and Price Your Home in Virginia Competitively

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is the best way to arrive at what the listing price of your home should be. You can compare similar sales by size, bedrooms, neighborhood, or other conditions of your home. Setting a baseline price, and calculating a price per square foot will help you set a competitive starting point.

You may have special features or other things about your home that add value, but it is important to remember all buyers are different. The CMA will provide an objective view of value for you. However, if you are looking at ways to add more value there are certain renovations and preparations you can do and should consider.

Learn More: How to Estimate a Home Value Correctly & Sell for Top Dollar

3. Time the Market for a Better Price

While timing the market can be difficult, certain fluctuations can be expected and even predicted. Typically, the best time of the year to sell is in late spring. Listing prices in Virginia tend to average $25,000 more than their winter low in May, and time on market typically falls about a third. Lots of buyers create competition and drive up prices for sellers.

Seasonality isn’t the only factor that affects timing though. Northern Virginia is currently benefiting from economic growth and the announcement of Amazon’s new headquarters there. Government regulations can also affect the market as interest rates rise and tax policy changes.

Learn More: When is the Best Time to Sell in Virginia

4. Prepare, Market, and Show Your Home to Attract Offers from Local Buyers

There are several steps to preparing your home to put on the market. You are going to want to clean and declutter anything that makes it hard for a buyer to imagine living in your home. This includes make rooms seem large and open with a new paint job, proper staging, or even making impactful repairs and renovations.

Learn More: 6 Low-Cost, High-Value Renovations & Repairs

A knowledgeable agent will know who to target and the best ways to reach out to those potential buyers. This could include creating a website, utilizing social media, setting up private showings, and organizing open houses to show off the best features of your home.

For example, buyers in Virginia may want to know your home has central air during those hot humid summers. Highlighting special features, as well as preparing your home for a successful open house are vital to a quick and smooth sale.

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

5. Offers, Negotiations, and Purchase Agreements

Getting a strong initial offer is the goal when selling your home. After all the preparation and marketing you’ve done, if the initial offer is not within range of your listing price you will have to negotiate. This can often be a frustrating process.

Buyers will typically submit their offer with an expiration date. Sometimes this will be a few days or even a little longer. If it is below what you were hoping for your agent can help recommend a counter offer and you and the buyer will hopefully settle on an agreed upon price.

However, you can also reject the offer or let it expire and wait and see what else comes in. Once you’ve agreed to an offer or negotiated a purchase price, you’ll then sign a purchase agreement.

The purchase agreement is also when an initial deposit is due and then usually held in escrow until the purchase closes. The closing period is typically 30 days and gives buyers a final chance to back out of the deal.

Learn More: What Is a Real Estate Purchase Agreement?

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

Home inspections are often part of the aforementioned process and included as contingencies when the offer is made. Savvy buyers will typically have their own inspections done before closing, which should be common in Virginia.

Appraisals also happen at this time and are important for the buyer. If a home doesn’t appraise at or near purchasing price it can affect the buyer’s financing. When homes fail to appraise they usually fall out of contract.

All of these issues can lead back to another round of negotiations over the final purchasing price. Major issues uncovered during inspections may lead a buyer to counter with a lower price based on the cost of necessary repairs.

Learn More: Home Inspection Tips for Sellers: How to Prepare

7. Make Any and All Disclosures Required By the State of Virginia

Virginia is a “buyer beware” state, which means that state law doesn’t require much as far as inspections and disclosures. Sellers are required to answer buyer’s questions about the property honestly, but are not required to perform inspections or know anything beyond what they already know.

Furthermore, sellers are not responsible to know anything beyond the property, such as major issues in the neighborhood, zoning or code issues, or potential utility issues. This can be important if buyers anticipate making changes to the home, but fail to properly research the feasibility of doing so.

Learn More: What Does & Doesn’t Have to Be Disclosed When You Sell a House?

8. Close the Deal

Closing is the final stage of the home selling process, and typically takes place at the title office. The closing officer will coordinate all documents that need to be signed and reviewed, and advise you on how to pay closing costs. If it is taking place at the property a final walk through may also occur.

Closing costs typically total 2-3% of the purchase price and include taxes, realtor fees, and any final negotiations and credits can be discussed. The seller’s agent usually disburses realtor fees, and the buyer pays the majority of recording or transfer taxes. However, these can all be negotiated and likely have been in advance.

Loan and title documents are signed, filed with the appropriate government agencies, and then finally keys are handed over to the buyer or their representative agent. The transaction is finally complete and the buyer can begin moving in.

Learn More: The Ultimate Checklist for Closing on a House

Clever Partner Agents can only charge a flat fee of $3,000 per house, or 1% of the selling price if your home is worth more than $350,000. Ready to sell your Richmond, VA home quickly? Contact us via phone or email and we’ll put you in touch with a Clever Partner Agent today.