How to Sell Your Home: A Complete Guide for Sellers

Whether it’s your first time selling a home or you’ve done it before, most home sellers hope for a stress-free and uncomplicated experience. The reality is that selling a home is a process with tried and true steps that will maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers, optimize the final selling price, and ensure a seamless closing. 

The process ideally begins with interviewing, then hiring a well respected Realtor who knows your home’s market. Resist the temptation to sell your home yourself or “For Sale By Owner.”  An experienced Realtor more than earns their fee because they will expose your home to a broader audience and will know exactly how to position it based on your neighborhood and the current market, which increases the likelihood of more and stronger offers. A professional agent will also help you prep your home for sale (i.e. providing important advice regarding staging; a realistic comparison of home prices in the area, optimal time frame to place your home on the market, etc.), market it, review and negotiate buyers’ offers, manage closing details, and troubleshoot should issues arise. Do a bit of online research so you choose the right agent for your home. Consider how long they’ve been in the industry, their sales history, references, and any professional distinctions and designations they’ve earned.  

Recently, there’s been an increase in buyers’ willingness to waive inspections as inventory levels have waned and home sales have gotten more competitive. While a pre-sale home inspection isn’t required, it can help buyers feel more comfortable making an offer, should they waive their right to perform one. Identifying any issues in your home before you list it ensures no surprises when or if potential buyers conduct their own inspection later in the process. Many mechanical and structural issues can be remedied during your home preparation process which means your house will be ready to sell more quickly and drama-free. 

Prepare your home for sale. Before listing your home, be sure not to scrimp on this step. And, just know that it will likely involve some moving parts, such as:

1. Scheduling any needed repairs and upgrades

2. Deep cleaning inside and outside of your home

3. De-personalizing and decluttering (i.e. pack up the tchotchkes, personal photographs, books on shelves; donate or sell any unnecessary items; store excess furniture and other items in a storage unit; clear kitchen countertops; organize closets, cabinets, garages and other storage areas in the home).  Your Realtor will offer advice and suggestions, too.

4. Staging the house — inside and out. Keep it sparkling clean and tidy at all times.

Don’t waste money on needless and costly upgrades. Your agent can make specific suggestions as to what will provide a better return on your investment for your neighborhood.  

Your Realtor will hire a professional photographer to take photos of your home. Nowhere is the adage ‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words’ more true than in Real Estate!  Consider your online presence as your home’s first showing. High quality, professional photos are critical for maximizing your home’s online appeal and can be the difference between a quick sale or a languishing listing. A professional photographer knows how to best portray your home’s unique features and personality.  

Set a realistic price and put your house on the market. Even in a sellers’ market, pricing is important to get right. Setting your price too high can really backfire in a hot market because some buyers won’t even attempt an offer, believing that the price will be driven even higher and outside of their competitive range. Trust your Realtor, who will rely on neighborhood comps and trends in the area to inform your decision. 

Review and negotiate offers. Depending on your situation, certain factors beyond the offer price are important to consider, such as how the buyer is paying (cash vs. financing), type of financing, contingencies, and proposed closing date, to name a few. Anticipate closing costs (your agent’s commission, government transfer tax, fees, buyer credits) and weigh any potential tax implications.

Finally, organize any documentation that might be helpful to buyers when making their decision (i.e. utility costs, etc.).

Selling your home is indeed a process. Hiring an experienced real estate professional will ensure that you maximize your home’s online appeal and that your home is priced correctly from the start. Contact me at (804) 833-2130 if you have any questions or are interested in selling your home in 2022!

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