Selling a home for the first time can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re looking to buy a new house and aren’t sure how the timing is going to work out. The process can get complicated, which is why it’s important to work with a selling agent (and possibly a lawyer), but the better you understand it, the better you’ll be able to manage the stress of selling a home.
The Phases of Selling a House
Generally, these are the phases you’ll follow when you’re ready to sell a home:
- Goals and initial evaluations. First, you’ll need to think about your current situation, and what you’re hoping to get out of the sale. For example, how much did you pay for the property initially, and what’s the minimum amount of money you would accept for the property? Are you trying to buy a house? If so, what’s your intended timeframe for moving? There isn’t a right or wrong answer to these questions, but you’ll need to consider them carefully if you’re going to make the right strategic moves in the coming weeks and months.
- Market timing considerations. Next, you’ll spend time evaluating the timing of your particular market. Do some research to learn how home prices have increased or decreased over the past several months, and determine if there is a cycle in price fluctuations that is predictable. It’s usually not a good idea to try and time the market perfectly, because there are so many variables that can change what the “right” time to sell really is. However, you may be on a strong upswing or downswing in the local market, and that can majorly impact your decision.
- Finding a real estate agent. It’s important for practically every homeowner to work with a real estate agent when selling a home, even if you think you know what you’re doing. A real estate agent will work with you to help you achieve your goals, no matter what those goals are. They can help you set the right price to sell your property in the intended time period, they can help you finalize the paperwork for closing, and they can answer all your complex questions throughout the process, so you can feel more confident in your decisions.
- Discovering how much your home is worth. After getting a real estate agent, you can start calculating what your home is worth. You and your real estate agent will evaluate the condition of the property, the typical prices for homes like yours in the neighborhoods, its previous sale price, additions and improvements you’ve made, and other factors to get a ballpark estimate of how much your home is worth. Note that this is separate from formally determining your sale price.
- Committing to home improvements. Your home may need or benefit from improvements, both structural and aesthetic, before it’s listed on the market. For example, if there’s a door that squeaks incessantly, or if your yard is in terrible condition, you’ll want to get them in better shape before you start showing the property to potential buyers. Your agent can help connect you to a contractor who can handle the work, or you can make arrangements on your own. For the most part, these will be recommendations, and not strict requirements.
- Pricing the home. After those improvements are made, you can reconsider the value of the home and come up with a strategy for how to price the home. Here, the market dynamics will need to be considered heavily; if homes are flying off the market, you can price the home for more than it’s really worth. If it’s a slow market, you may need to reduce the price if you want the home to sell in a timely manner.
- Staging the home. If you want the home to sell faster, you and your agent will need to work together to ensure it’s staged properly. That usually means giving the home a deep clean, and removing or displacing the features that aren’t appealing to the majority of the population; for example, family photos, gaudy pieces of furniture, and abstract décor will likely need to be removed. Your agent may also recommend how to arrange the furniture, and other small touches to boost the aesthetic appeal of the home.
- Marketing and advertising. After you’ve set a price and staged the home, you’ll need to start marketing and advertising the property. That usually means taking lots of photos and videos, and listing the home in both online and offline platforms. This is where your real estate agent will really come in handy; they’ll have access to platforms you can’t access on your own, and will know exactly how to describe the property. You’ll likely get a few different offers during this period.
- When you have a satisfactory offer, you can start negotiating and finalize the paperwork. The homebuyer will likely have an appraisal and an inspection done, and there may be contingencies in the paperwork that require you to handle a few last-minute fixes or changes. Your real estate agent will help you finalize the closing process.
- Moving out. When the paperwork is completed, you’ll set a firm move-out date, at which point you can make arrangements to move all your possessions. Depending on the circumstances, you’ll probably have several days to a few weeks.
Every Sale Is Different
While these phases reflect the average homeowner’s experience, they aren’t representative of every case. There are complexities to selling a home that can interfere with this procedure, and lengthen the amount of time necessary to get through each step.
If you need help navigating this complex and occasionally intimidating process, you’ll need to hire a real estate agent to help you sell. Even if you feel confident about your abilities, a real estate agent can help you make more informed decisions, and take the burden of marketing off you. If you’re ready to get representation, contact Green Residential today!