STEPS TO SELLING A HOME
A great question that many homeowners, considering selling their home, want to know; what steps are involved in selling a home? Knowing the home selling process is half the battle when selling a home; the other half of the battle I’ll save for another article. And knowing what steps are involved in a selling a home, will allow you to prepare both physically and mentally as it can be both physically and mentally exhausting. From getting your home ready to sell & move, to dealing with the emotional side of leaving your home along with all of the memories that may open the floodgate, selling a home can truly be draining. Again, a very common question from homeowners considering selling their home. So just what are the steps in selling a home?
Step #1 – Hire A Real Estate Agent Professional Who Will Deliver On Their Promises
If you actually want to sell your home and not just list your home for sale, you’ll want to make sure you get step #1 right! Without this, you’ll have great difficulty in completing steps 2 – 15, so get this step right!
Step #2 – Disclose Anything That May Affect The Value Of Your Home
Now is not the time to cross your fingers hoping the needed, hidden repair issues won’t pop up and get noticed. It’s the time to come clean, so to speak. Discuss what the known repair issues are with your newly hired Real Estate Agent to determine a course of action on whether or not you’ll fix the repairs or simply plan on knowing that they may become a repair issue that will come up in the Buyer’s home inspection.
This will also pertain to any possible existing liens on your home other than your primary mortgage if owed. Are there any open permits for any prior work completed on your home? Be sure to check your records to ensure the work was inspected and the permit was closed out.
Step #3 – Determine Your Home’s Selling Price
This will be the fair market value of your home. Notice I said fair market value. Wikipedia defines fair market value (FMV) as; “an estimate of the market value of a property, based on what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured seller in the market.” This is based upon knowledge of the local Real Estate market.
Your Real Estate Agent will have completed a thorough, local market analysis by reviewing recent sales, pending sales and active sales to determine your home’s selling price; how much is your home worth?
Step #4 – Prepare Home To Be Listed For Sale
Preparation is always key when your goal is to sell your home for top dollar and fast. Remember all those little things you’ve been meaning to fix . . . plus, some of those larger repair items? If your budget allows for the repairs, by all means, be sure to make the repairs. Letting needed repairs go for a Buyer of your home, will result in a requested price reduction by a Buyer whereas, had you completed the repairs yourself, you would likely be looking at a greater home sale profit. Make sure you consider this to maximize your return when selling your home.
Step #5 – Prepare For Home Showings
Now that you’ve completed step #4, you’re ready for your home to be shown to the pool of Buyers ready and waiting to view your home and more importantly, those ready to buy your home. Imagine this step as setting the stage for a very important opening of a new Broadway show or how about imagining how you’d set the dining room table for a very important guest to your home. You want everything to be just right, so the minute they drive up your driveway that ever important first impression will be a favorable one; a vision where they can see themselves or their family living there. We all likely know about the effect of appearance on first impressions and the same holds true when a Buyer views your home for sale.
Step #6 – Review Buyer’s Offers To Purchase Your Home
You’ll want to make sure the Buyers Real Estate Purchase Contract is reviewed thoroughly by you and your Real Estate Agent. This is where Step #1 becomes even more important. Here in Florida, it is not a requirement to use a Real Estate Attorney, so you’ll want to make sure you’re represented well with your selected Real Estate Agent, particularly if you haven’t hired an Attorney. Besides the purchase price, of course, you need to pay close attention to any and all filled in spaces such as; deposits, financing commitment periods, title evidence, assessments, inspection periods, closing dates, addenda, any additional added terms and signature dates just to name a few of the main areas to pay attention to on the Real Estate contract and addenda. It’s also very important to pay close attention to timelines used and that they are computed correctly, as to not be in conflict with one another.
Also, included in this step is to confirm Buyer’s financial ability to buy your home if they’re financing. A Buyer simply having had a conversation with their Lender over the phone providing verbal numbers as far as their credit, income and assets will not provide you with confirmation of the Buyer’s ability to purchase your home when the Lender then spits out a letter indicating the Buyer is Pre Qualified. This is simply a waste of everyone’s time. The Buyer’s credit, income, and assets need to be reviewed by their Lender in order to accurately determine credit, income and asset worthiness and provided in a writing as a Buyer’s Pre Approval Letter. As a Real Estate Agent, I will be sure to go over this with the Buyer’s Lender also. Keep in mind, that this does not guarantee the Buyer’s ability, however, it will provide you with the most assurance that you will have at this point, of the Buyer’s ability to gain final loan commitment.
If they’re paying cash to purchase your home, you’ll want to see their proof of funds. These funds must be liquid funds not tied up in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other investments not liquid. The statement of their account also needs to show that the funds are in their name and not say, for example, in the name of a relative or friend.
Step #7 – Prepare For Your Home’s Inspection
A Buyer will hire an Inspector to thoroughly inspect your home to make sure there are not any major issues to contend with in the purchasing of your home. The inspection will detail all the little items and uncover any major items that they’d need to address. This may involve negotiations according to inspection results.
Step #8 – Make Preparations To Move
By now, you should have been considering where you are going to be moving to if you didn’t know prior to deciding to sell your home. Typically, once you have a signed executed Real Estate purchase contract, you’ll have roughly 30 days in which to move. Of course, keep in mind that a closing date can also be negotiated with the Buyer.
Step #9 – Keep Home In Same Condition As When Buyer Submitted Offer
Phew, it was tough to get your home ready and to keep your home in tip-top shape. Now that you’ve made it all the way to this point, it’s time to relax and don’t worry too much about what goes on at home; don’t even think about it! Now more than ever you need to keep your home in the same condition as when the Buyer initially fell in love with your home, as the Buyer’s are going to want to see your home again, very soon, as Step #13 reveals.
Step #10 – Be Advised Of Buyer’s Financing Progress
If the Buyer of your home is financing their purchase, you’ll want to make sure that you are kept informed of the loan progress and that all is moving along satisfactorily. The Buyer’s loan commitment date according to the Real Estate purchase contract is important to be aware of, as that is a date that must be met so the Buyer is not in default of the contract. Far too many, don’t pay attention to this critical date. Missing this date and not keeping you, as the Seller, advised can have the Buyer forfeit their escrow deposit should anything happen with the sale not being completed.
Step #11 – Title Company Preparation For Real Estate Closing
The Title Company plays an important role in making sure that the Title is clear for a deed transfer to the new Buyer. They will provide the Buyer with a Title Commitment through the proper examination which also includes a search for any possible existing liens or open permits that exist for the property. If any existing liens or open permits exist they will have to be resolved prior to closing.
Step #12 – Get Moved Out Leaving Home Neat And Clean
Closing date is just a few days away. You’ve made your preparations to move and the moving company knows when to arrive to get a lifetime of memories safely relocated to your new place to call home. It’s important to leave your home clean upon your departure.
Step #13 – Buyer Completes Final Walk Through
Now upon reading this step, you’ll know why it was so important to keep your home in tip-top shape even after the Buyer’s contract was signed and delivered.
Usually, the day of closing, right before the Buyers head on over to the Title Company to sign all of the closing documents for their new home purchase, they will go back to your home to make sure that all is the same, as when they saw it last. If anything is missing and/or damaged it will likely stop the closing in its tracks if it can’t be resolved before closing.
Step #14 – Attend Closing
The day you’ve been anxiously waiting for has arrived. Before you leave to attend the closing you’ll want to gather up all of your house keys, remote controls, codes, manuals, etc; anything that the Buyer would need to operate the home and then anything you’d think they’d find useful while living in your home. Once at the closing table, you will sign all of the necessary closing documents to sell your home. The closing typically takes a few hours. Once all is completed and signed, you’ll be provided with your funds in a great big black briefcase. Just kidding, you’ll receive your funds from the sale of your home typically having been wired to your bank account from your bank account numbers that you
had previously provided to the Title Company.
Step #15 – Dance – You Just Sold Your Home!