How do you sell your house?
The process of selling a house is a pretty big deal. Your home is likely your largest asset, and making sure you understand the process is critical to getting the most value once your home sells.
Here are the steps to sell your house.
1) Prepare Your House for Sale
2) Research Prices and Appraise Your Home's Value
3) Find an Agent to List the Property
4) Market the Home
5) Receiving and Accepting an Offer
6) Developments Between Sign and Close
7) Final Walk-Through
8) The Official Closing
9) Post-Close and Moving
And below, we've also provided the detailed information on each step for how you sell your home.
Prepare Your Home for Sale
Before you sell your home, it's important to understand your financial picture and budget, including how much equity you own in the home. Additionally, you'll need to start collecting the critical documents like your mortgage and insurance, title, and survey. You will also want to place your house in a top condition to sell by evaluating your property's condition and fixing certain cosmetic and functional repairs.
Research Prices and Appraise Your Home's Value
Once the necessary preparation is in place, you'll want to start doing some research on how much you can sell your home for. This can be done by paying attention to nearby listings and how quickly those homes sell. Agents who know the neighborhood and have sold homes there will be able to provide the most accurate information about the market conditions. Also, tools like Zillow can be a quick, convenient way to find new or recent properties that have sold in your area.
You may want to consider having your home appraised, which costs anywhere from $250 to $500. While appraisals can help, the market will ultimately determine the price based on the various attributes of your home and the area, including your location, schools, crime, weather, and more.
Pricing your home is the most important factor when selling a home, and overpricing is the single, most common mistake homeowners encounter when selling a home. Once overpriced, the house could lose appeal and interest will fade, which could drive the price below its true value.
Find an Agent to List the Property
There are two paths to selling a home — either with the help of a real estate agent or for sale by owner, also known as FSBO. While FSBO saves money on the traditional 6% commission, 89% of sellers will opt for using an agent to help sell their home quickly and at the right price. Licensed real estate agents also have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a massive online database that contains nearly every home for sale in the U.S.
At Clever, we recommend selling your house with one of our full-service, highly rated, and local real estate agents that can help you save 50% on seller agent commissions.
When you're interviewing agents, make sure to ask the important questions like how they plan to market the property, how they will determine the listing price, and more.
Market the Home
Once you've found an agent and your home is ready to be listed, you'll need to start marketing the property to individuals looking to purchase a home. Like every industry, real estate is always changing as technology evolves. Tools like Zillow and Trulia allow interested buyers to receive push notifications when a new home is on the market and fits their criteria. You can also still go with the old-fashioned route by sticking your ads in the newspaper or putting signs in the yard.
Sellers should prepare themselves to allow interested sellers into their home without much forewarning and at times convenient for buyers. Open houses are also a good idea that creates some buzz for a few hours on the weekends.
Receiving and Accepting an Offer
After you receive an offer, don't accept unless you've done your research. A good offer is close to the asking price, or even above the asking price in certain conditions. If the offer is less than what you expected, make sure you read through the contract to see if the buyer is waiving contingencies, like closing expenses. In any case, having an earnest discussion with your agent who will help you make the right decision.
There are three options you can choose from after you've reviewed the offer:
- Accept the offer as-is.
- Make a counteroffer and be prepared for a series of counter-offers until a final agreement is signed.
- Reject the offer in its entirety.
Once you've decided on the buyer and agreed to a price in writing, you're well on your way to selling your home.
Developments Between Signing and Close
The first thing that you'll need after an accepted offer is the title company. The job of the third-party title company includes examining the title deed and making sure there are no disputed ownership claims or documentation. The title company will also issue title insurance to guarantee the homebuyer against any losses that might stem from title complications.
The next step involves ironing out the details about how the transaction will take place in the contract of sale. The contract of sale will cover information including, but not limited to:
- Sales price, down payment amount and other mortgage information.
- Items included in the sale, such as which party takes ownership of the furniture or appliances
- Closing dates and possession dates
- Conditions for the sale
- Inspection and dates
- How to split the closing costs
After the contract of sale is signed, the buyer will hire an inspector to investigate the property thoroughly. The home inspection is an inexpensive way to discover the actual condition of the home and to point out any costly mistakes or major/minor repairs the house will need. If any issues arise during the inspection, the buyer can request for repairs to take place or credits through an amendment to the contract of sale.
A final walk-through is a similar to a home inspection, just not as thorough. The walk-through is performed in the days or hours leading up to the closing of the home, and its primary purpose is to confirm the property is in the condition the buyer agreed to buy. Basically, it's making sure that the repairs were made and that nothing major has happened to the home.
The Official Closing
The term “closing” denotes the final leg of the process where the buyer and seller fulfill their agreements and the proper exchange of money, documentation, and ownership occurs. As the seller, you will pay off the remaining loan balance on the house, agent commission, and any other negotiated closing costs. You will also know the amount you're making on the sale, along with tax implications.
Post-Close and Moving
After the contract is signed, you're almost to the finish line. Generally speaking, the buyer will want to take occupancy the moment they sign and the funds transfer, so in most cases, you'll need to be out within a few hours after closing unless your contract states otherwise. All that remains is to find some movers, hand over the keys to your listing agent, and reminisce about the good times you had!