How to Sell A House In 7 Simple Steps

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Buying a house is complex, but selling it is easy, right? Not so much. There are still processes that homeowners need to follow if they are going to get a good top dollar for their house and sell it in a relatively quickly. If this is your first time selling a home, we are here to help. Follow these seven steps to learn how to sell a house.

#1) Understand the Cost of Selling Your Home

The first thing to know when learning how to sell a house is that it isn’t free. While you likely earn a tidy profit on your house, there are certain expenses that come with selling that you need to budget for. These expenses include:
  • Paying for certain closing costs (taxes, legal fees, etc.)
  • Agent commissions
  • Making upgrades and repairs to your home
  • Budgeting for moving costs to relocate
While you may have budgeted expenses if you’re relocating and buying a new house, it’s important to factor in the above costs to close and move out of your existing space.

#2) Prepare Your Home for Sale

Each homeowner has their own list of items they need to do before they can sell a house. You may need to go through your closets and clean out old decorations or mementos you don’t need. Also, look for small projects you can do to increase your home value. Sometimes small projects, such as adding a fresh coat of paint or fixing small cosmetic details, can make your house seem more valuable. The goal is to make your home as appealing as possible for potential buyers.

#3) Learn How Much Your Home is Worth

Do your research to estimate your home’s value, either through an appraiser or through market research of other houses around you. Your home value might have increased since you bought the property or decreased depending on the markets.  Zillow's zestimate is a good starting point, but remember, their algorithm hasn't walked through your front door... Realtors® can prepare a CMA for you, this will use comparable sales data to inform the valuation process...much like a full appraisal would, but without the cost. One of the biggest mistakes that sellers make when they’re trying to sell a house is overpricing their property. You might think that your home is priceless, but the market says otherwise and if your home sits on the market for months with no traction, the price you're asking is probably the problem.

#4) Stage and Show Your Home

Staging is the process of making your home appealing to the largest number of potential buyers. In the staging process, you'll remove odors, update lighting and paint where necessary.  You'll want to also add designer furnishings and decorations to create a cozy feel that appeals to a wide audience. Once your home is ready for others to see, it is time to show it. Potential buyers will come into your home to see if they are interested in it. They may need to see the house two or three times at different days to really feel what it is like living there. During this time you might also have an open house, where agents and potential buyers see your space without scheduling an appointment first.  

#5) Negotiate Offers From Potential Buyers

If the showings go well, you will eventually have at least one offer to buy your house -- if not more. As a homeowner, you can accept, decline or counter any offer that you think is fair. For example, if someone makes an offer on your house but you think it is too low, then you can turn it down or make a counter-offer. If you turn down an offer but are willing to negotiate on the price, you can make a counter-offer. Your potential buyer might balk at your counter and choose to buy another house instead or they may love the house and agree to your price.  A good real estate agent will feel out the situation and help you make an informed decision. One of the best situations for homeowners is to have multiple people bidding on a house. Buyers will have to increase their offers to compete with each other and the seller will eventually decide who to sell to.  Cross your fingers and hope that you've done everything necessary to bring in multiple offers.

#6) Prepare To Have Your Home Inspected

Once you accept an offer from a buyer, the work on their end begins. They will likely create a list of requests in the offer, like repairing the front porch or replacing old appliances. They will also send a home inspector to your home to make sure your home does not have any deferred maintenance or issues with the home's major systems (plumbing, electrical, hvac, roof). The home inspector checks to make sure there isn’t structural damage, problems with the wiring, or major risks of living in your space. If the inspector signs off on your home and the buyer agrees to move forward with the purchase, then you can move on to closing.

#7) Close on Your Old Home

The closing is the final step in selling a house. During this process, you will transfer the deed to the buyer and pay any agreed-upon costs. Your Realtor®, attorney/title agent will likely draft and executed any disclosure documents you need and walk you through the process of what you need to sign to close on your house.

How to Sell a House: Get Professional Help

There are a lot of steps to follow as you learn how to sell a house. If you don’t want to go through it alone, look for the best professional help out there. A professional Realtor® will guide you through the process and make sure you don’t miss any essential and important steps -- as well as make sure that you get top dollar for your home. Find the best Realtor® to help you sell your home using Effective Agents. We use a data-driven algorithm to match you with a Realtor® best-suited to sell your home based on their experience and sales performance. Let us match you with a Realtor® who has experience with your particular type of home, location, and price range.

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