Home Seller’s Guide

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Have you been thinking to sell but you do not know where to begin? If so, you’re not alone.  The home seller’s guide will walk you through all stages of the home selling process. Possibly you’re thinking about selling your home to upsize, down size, or move for school or employment reasons. Whatever is the reason, it’s important to be ready for the long selling process. It can be both emotional and stressful, especially for first time home sellers, given that you most likely have an emotional connection to your home– and because it’s most likely your most significant investment. The home sellers guide covers the 10 steps to sell your home.

Find out why are you selling

Spend some time finding out the real reasons for selling.  Call your current loan officer to discuss the mortgage / loan balance. It’s your first step towards comprehending just how much equity you’ll have when you sell. Understanding this figure can assist you budget for improvements you might want to do.

Find the best time to sell in your area

Comprehending your local real estate market — including whether you’re in a buyers or sellers market– can assist you determine the very best time to offer. Based on this home sellers guide, if you have flexibility in your timing, you may consider waiting on a sellers market, which happens when there are more buyers looking for homes than there are houses available. It provides sellers the negotiation power and can drive up prices. This selling window can differ based upon your regional real estate market.

Your real estate agent should help you with the best time to sell your home to maximize your earnings and reduce the time on market.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Think about the benefits of having a local real estate agent that possess great negotiations skill. Before hiring agent:

  • Request for recommendations.
  • Interview each potential agent.
  • Do not be reluctant to negotiate your contract.
  • Trust your agent’s home-selling guidance.

Complete home improvements as in this home seller’s guide

Preparing to offer your home usually takes some work. The buyer will fall in love with your home, like you did when you first bought it. right? Spend some time to make it move-in ready if that is possible. You might have to do some repairs and upgrades. Your real estate agent can be a big help in finding what must be on your to-do list. 

Few suggestions:

Opt for a pre-inspection: While it’s most likely that your buyer will do an inspection as part of the buying process, sellers frequently choose to do their own pre-inspection.

Do popular improvements: Consider including a few of the home features that today’s buyers enjoy, like a kitchen and appliances.

Don’t forget curb appeal: To make that all-important impression, invest a long time on your front yard. Powerwash driveways and walkways, add some seasonal plants to pots and garden beds, cut down thick plants and rake leaves.

Prevent improvements by offering as-is: While you will likely cash less money in the end, selling a home as-is, without finishing any significant improvements, is a way to speed up your overall sale process and limit upfront out-of-pocket expenses.

Submit seller disclosures: As a seller you’re required to disclose any known defects or issues that could affect the value or safety of the home — this is known as a seller disclosure. These must be documented in writing prior to closing.

Price your home competitively

Finding the right listing price for your home can be a challenge without a real estate agent, but it’s one of the most important factors in a successful home sale. Based on the home sellers guide, homes that are accurately priced are more likely to sell in a timely manner.  To sell quickly, use all the tools at your disposal to help you price your home for sale.

Your agent will research comparables: Also known as “comps,” comparables are records of recent homes that have sold and their sale price. Your real estate agent will use the comps as a reference of a similar size and condition as your house, and in a very similar area– the closer to your home, the better.

Hire an appraiser: Having a professional appraisal done on your home can cost between $300 and $700, but it can be a small price to pay if it helps you sell your home quickly and for an appropriate price.

DO NOT REFERENCE THE ZERSTIMATE: Zillow’s Zestimate is supposed to be the estimated market value for your own home but they are not accurate and have caused home sellers to cash less and homebuyers to pay more.

Trust your agent: Your real estate agents are experts in home valuation in your area, so they’re a great resource for finding the right listing price. Plus, they can provide guidance on a pricing strategy that will spark the most interest and maybe even inspire a bidding war / multiple-offers.

Stage your house to sell

Preparing your home to sell should also include arranging your furniture, organizing and decorating in a way that appeals to the widest range of potential buyers. Seeing a home staged is extremely and very important to majority of buyers.

Staging your home can take many different forms and require varying levels of effort, but here are a few key tips:

Reduce, clean and depersonalize: Too much stuff in a room can make your home feel small, crowded and lacking in storage. And having too many personal items, like family photos, can make it hard for buyers to picture themselves living in the home.

Select a staging plan that fits your needs: There are multiple levels of home staging to choose from, based on your budget, timeline and how valuable staging is in your local area. Some staging can be done in a DIY manner, while other larger staging projects are typically completed by a professional.

Remove pets’ and kids’ belongings: While many buyers are pet owners or parents of young kids, they want to visualize their own families in the home, not yours. Take the time to fix pet damage, remove pets’ belongings, and clear away kids’ items like gates, highchairs and piles of toys.

Market your listing effectively

Once your home is ready for buyers, the next step is getting your listing in front of as many buyers as possible. It’s the real estate agent job to list your home on MLS, social media and other platforms.

Your agent will advertise your home across multiple channels. Today’s home buyers search for a home online, through their real estate agent and for-sale or open-house sign. Bottom line: The more places your listing shows up, the more buyers will see it– and the more likely you are to find a buyer!

Your agent will Invest also in a professional marketing photos. With the majority of buyers (and their agents) searching online, your local MLS is your home’s first impression, and a professional photos can go a long way toward making your home stand out. Your agent will hire professional photographer to ensure the photos are realistic and in high quality. He might even consider doing a video tour.

Your agent will also craft an attracting listing description: Your listing description will highlight your home’s best features and the amenities that buyers in your area are looking for. If a rooftop deck, backyard pool, access to public transit or nearby green belt are popular where you live, your agent will make sure to include them.

You agent will host open houses. You and your agent have done all the work to get your home ready for buyers, and now it time for as many showings as possible, whether that’s private tours or open houses.  The real estate agent will ensure there’s a way to let buyer’s leave feedback.

Follow home seller’s guide and watch for closing hurdles

If your home has been on the market for a while and isn’t selling as quickly as you had hoped, you may need to revise and address some of the steps discussed above, such as making home improvements, setting a competitive price and marketing effectively.

Getting that perfect offer is probably the biggest hurdle to the home-selling process, but once your home goes under contract, that doesn’t necessarily mean the challenges have ended. Consider these potential issues that can come up between the time you accept an offer and the closing day.

Bad home inspection report: The home inspection a buyer does on your home can raise all kinds of red flags, and when major issues are uncovered, a buyer might decide the fixes are too expensive and walk away from the deal. Whether the inspection report reveals small fixes or big problems, be prepared to negotiate after the report is completed.

Home appraisal too low: If your buyer is financing the home, their lender will typically order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the amount being financed. If the value of the home comes in below the loan amount, the buyer will have to come up with the difference in cash or walk away from the deal.

Financing failure: During the underwriting process, it’s possible that your buyer’s financing could fall through. This can be caused by many different things, such as new debt, missed credit card payments, or a change in employment that makes the bank feel like there’s too much risk in financing the home.

Move out

Plan for moving costs: No matter where you’re moving, moving is expensive and time-consuming. Even a local move of less than 100 miles, serviced by two movers and a moving truck, has an average charge of $80 to $100 per hour.

Time it right: Not only is moving expensive, but the timing is crucial.  If you’re buying and selling simultaneously, you might consider temporary housing so you don’t have to worry about timing your sale and purchase perfectly, which rarely happens.

Be prepared to move quickly: The average time it takes to sell in some areas in DFW is 60 and 90 days, from list to close, so you’ll need to be prepared to move out in a short period of time. It’s a must that you be out of the home by the closing date.

Fulfill closing obligations

When it comes time to close on the home, you as the seller, is responsible for some legal documents and processes. This home seller’s guide recommends the following:

Complete repairs and obtain certifications: If you are obligated to complete repairs as a condition of your post-inspection negotiations, it is your responsibility to complete those tasks before closing. Additionally, if the buyers asked for (and you agreed to) any specific inspections or certifications, like a sewer line inspection or roof condition certification, those should be completed as well.

Review expected closing costs: Selling a house can be expensive, so review your estimated closing costs ahead of closing day to prepare for the charges you’ll see. Assuming you have some equity in the home you’re selling, these costs will come directly out of the profits you’ll be receiving upon closing.

Sign documents: One of the very last steps is showing up for your closing appointment, where you’ll sign all the legal documents related to the sale of your property. You may sign during the same appointment as your buyer, or you may do it separately.

Hand over keys: The keys are handed over to the buyer once you vacate the house, and as stated  in your contract with the buyer. If the buyer is taking immediate possession, you might hand over the keys at the closing appointment. Or, depending on the terms of your agreement, it could be much later.

Close the transaction: At closing, the escrow agent (either the closing attorney or escrow company hired at the outset of the transaction) will record the new deed for the home with the county, pay off your remaining mortgage balance, pay all closing costs and make sure you receive your net balance.

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