Steps to Selling Your Home
Part 1: Evaluate Your Situation
Do you really need to sell? If you love your neighborhood and just need more space, perhaps you can remodel and stay. Or if the market is slow and houses aren’t selling, you may be better off waiting or renting your home out.
Whatever your reason, before you even put up the “For Sale” sign, crunch the numbers to see if it makes financial sense to sell your home. These steps will help you figure out whether you should sell or stay.
- Step 1: Gauge your need to sell, close
- Step 2: Define your goals for the next 5-10 years.
- Step 3: See if you’re subject to capital gains tax.
- Step 4: Calculate the costs of repairs and home improvements.
- Step 5: Compare the costs of selling and remodeling.
- Step 6: Calculate your selling and moving expenses.
- Step 7: Calculate your buying expenses.
- Step 8: Know the mortgage options for your next home purchase.
- Step 9: Research the local housing market.
- Step 10: Consider renting out your house.
Part 2: Plan Your Selling Strategy
After you’ve crunched the numbers and decided now is the right time to sell, come up with a strategy to achieve the financial and personal goals you spelled out in Part 1. Pricing your home correctly is the most important step in this process and will affect your ability to sell quickly and smoothly.
Do your research and be realistic. Know your competition (previously owned homes, new construction, foreclosures) and find ways to make your home stand out. Market your home strategically and effectively and consider offering incentives. Most cities are buyer’s markets right now, so your strategy will mean the difference between stale and sold.
- Step 1: Set priorities and a timeline.
- Step 2: Time your sale to maximize your selling price.
- Step 3: Weigh the pros and cons of selling the home yourself.
- Step 4: Choose a real estate agent and list your home on the MLS.
- Step 5: Negotiate the terms of your listing agreement.
- Step 6: Get a professional home inspection.
- Step 7: Determine your home’s fair market value (FMV).
- Step 8: Price the house.
- Step 9: Consider selling your home at auction.
- Step 10: Know the rules when selling an investment property.
Part 3: Stage and Show the Home
You have a plan. Now it’s time to execute. Prepare your home by cleaning and staging it so buyers can imagine themselves living there. In today’s market, open houses and baking cookies are not enough to get buyers interested. Skip the gimmicks and tricks and focus on marketing your home effectively. Technology and the Internet have empowered buyers, so make them work for you too.
Whether a buyer finds out about your house through the MLS, newspaper classifieds, Web sites like FrontDoor.com or word of mouth, your goal is to get them to see your home and make an offer.
- Step 1: Start with the outside.
- Step 2: Prep and stage your home.
- Step 3: Promote your home’s strengths and potential.
- Step 4: Use photos and video to showcase your home.
- Step 5: Take advantage of the Web and technology when advertising.
- Step 6: Show your home and find ways to increase your showings.
- Step 7: Make open houses count.
- Step 8: Offer incentives that save buyers money.
- Step 9: Explore alternative financing options.
- Step 10: Manage your expectations.
Part 4: Close the Deal
You’ve done all you can to prepare and show your home. Now you can sit back and watch the offers roll in, right? Not. Offers come in all forms — from the dreaded lowball to the contingency crazy. The key is to not take the offers personally. They are not reflections of you or your home; they are business propositions.
Review every offer carefully, evaluate the buyer and negotiate terms so you can come to a deal. But a signed contract doesn’t mean it’s over. You have to pass the appraisal and inspections and negotiate more if needed. Once everyone is satisfied that their terms have been met, you can all sign the paperwork and celebrate.
- Step 1: Prepare seller disclosure statements.
- Step 2: Review offers with a detached eye.
- Step 3: Focus on serious buyers, not casual buyers.
- Step 4: Consider the contingencies.
- Step 5: Make a counteroffer.
- Step 6: Negotiate terms and sign the contract.
- Step 7: Time the sale of your home with the purchase of your next one.
- Step 8: Open an escrow account.
- Step 9: Ensure contract terms are met and sign closing documents.
- Step 10: Move out and into your new home!