The Home Seller’s Guide

Introduction

This guide provides an overview of the home-selling process in 7 informative steps.This approach can help to sell your home at the best price, with the least hassle.

7 steps to Sell Your Home:

  1. Damage Control – Repair home wear and tear
  2. Go Pro – Enlist a Real Estate Professional
  3. Play the Price is Right – Pricing your home
  4. Go to Market – Marketing your home
  5. Set the Stage – Prepare your home for showings
  6. Negotiating – How to handle offers
  7. Closing – Closing the Deal

STEP 1 – DAMAGE CONTROL

Before trying to sell your home, make it a home people will want to buy.

Unless your prospective buyers are looking for a “fixer-upper” (which translates to a lower selling price), you’ll want to assess the wear and tear on your property and address flaws that can lower your home’s appeal and sales value.

Take a good look around to determine where your current home needs improvement. Some fixes are mainly cosmetic and you may be able to handle them on your own; fresh paint, sprucing up the lawn, updating lighting, replacing door knobs and the like.

Other problems are more significant and may require replacement and/or hiring home maintenance professionals. Issues concerning heating, plumbing, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC system), mold, water damage, wood rot, the water heater, gutters, foundation, retaining walls, or roof, can all be deal-breakers if left unaddressed.

Once you’ve taken stock of it all, tackle what matters most. Be smart. This initial investment of time and money can help generate a faster sale at a higher price.


STEP 2 – GO PRO

Enlist the help of a professional real estate agent.
In working for you, a professional agent should:

Once you’ve found an agent with the right mix of professional expertise, proven track record, and personal chemistry, team up!


STEP 3 – PLAY THE PRICE IS RIGHT

Setting the right price for your property is a delicate balancing act. Aim too high and your home might sit on the market for months, and possibly not sell at all. Price it too low, and you miss the potential for a more lucrative outcome.

Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a document drawn from a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, that presents pricing information, property details, and photos of homes similar to yours (termed “comps”) that recently sold, failed to sell, or are currently on the market in your area.

A real estate agent will typically provide you with a CMA as part of the listing presentation in hopes of being able to exclusively represent your interests when you sell. This CMA will include the price, or price range, suggested for your listing.

Generally, studying what has worked in your area – and what hasn’t – will help you to strategically price, position, and present your property to sell for top dollar in a reasonable time frame, with the least inconvenience to you.

Allow room to negotiate

Adding a bit of a cushion to your asking price is a wise move. Most buyers will want to engage in some wheeling and dealing, so set your sale price to allow for this. Your agent can help you determine the amount of wiggle room. Another way to help seal the deal is offering to cover closing costs, while sticking to a higher asking price.


STEP 4 – GO TO MARKET

How buyers find out about homes for sale

As detailed above, strategically preparing and pricing your home are fundamentals to attract serious, financially qualified, buyers. Equally important is reaching the maximum number of potential buyers with your home listing.

Today, the internet, mobile apps, and direct contact with a real estate professional are the main sources of home information for searching buyers. Other sources include yard signs, open houses, newspaper and real estate magazine ads, homebuilders, and television.

Buyers are flocking to the web

The internet has revolutionized real estate advertising. Accordingly, it’s a must that you select a real estate professional with a robust online marketing strategy.

The main items internet buyers look for on real estate websites are:

Market your community as well as your home

Real estate industry surveys have repeatedly found that neighborhood quality is the most important reason why homebuyers choose where to live. In fact, experience shows that buyers usually “buy” an area first, and are often willing to pay a premium for homes there.

Therefore, it is crucial to highlight your community’s amenities – like proximity to quality schools, restaurants, and shopping, local parks and attractions, as well as other benefits that impact lifestyle. Your agent has access to the kinds of detailed community and school information that buyers want, and are skilled at presenting the relationship between your community and home together.

A comprehensive approach to showcasing your home and community

While the internet is now the real estate information source of choice, if you want to maximize the number of serious buyers, showings, and offers you get, it is necessary to employ a broad spectrum of advertising maximizing a property’s exposure, including:


STEP 5 – SET THE STAGE

Putting your home on the market is a lot like putting up a profile on an online dating service. You want to put your best face forward, minimize flaws, and set the stage for an appealing and harmonious match.

Send clutter packing

Systemically address each room and living area, and pare down with vigor. Rid your home of clutter, extraneous objects, and mess. Aim for an attractive, well-organized environment free from untidiness and confusion.

Allow homebuyers to picture themselves living in the space by getting rid of personal items such as framed photos, your kids’ drawings on the fridge, or your collection of ceramic frogs.

But don’t just stuff those things in the closet

Potential buyers will definitely be checking out the closet space, and you don’t want it crammed with ceramic frogs. Instead, find a place for it all and store neatly in the attic, basement, a friend’s place, or a storage facility.

Boost your curb appeal

Finally, it is time to take a hard look at the outside of your house. After all, that’s the first thing buyers will see when they pull up, so you’ve got to work that curb appeal hard.

Check the condition of exterior paint, your lawn and landscaping, your front door (check the hardware and doorknob), the driveway, a pool, if you have one, and event the mailbox. If any of it appears neglected, damaged, dingy, or in disarray, do something about it or you’ll drive would-be buyers away before they even park their car.

Tips for showing your home

STEP 6 – NEGOTIATING

The reality is that most negotiations proceed without much difficulty. In the event that there are obstacles, your agent will be your strongest ally and best resource for solutions.

The basic process

When a buyer makes an offer on your home, they’ll do so using a contract developed by your local real estate association in conjunction with legal counsel. These contracts enable the buyer to set a sale price, and also include any clauses for specifying various terms of purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, the deposit amount, and a variety of other conditions.

The buyer’s agent will then deliver the offer to your agent, who will then present it to you. Closely review the details of the offer together with your agent.

You may then accept the offer, reject it, or counter it. Countering the offer begins negotiation.

Successive counter offers, with deadlines for responding and for meeting various contingencies and special conditions (e.g. home inspection, the buyer securing financing) will be exchanged between you and the buyer until either a mutually satisfactory pending agreement is reached or the negotiations collapse.

Basic principles for successful negotiation


STEP 7 – CLOSING

If you and your buyer have both efficiently taken care of your respective contractual obligations associated with finalizing the sale, the process of completing the transaction will go smoothly with no surprises.

A pending sales agreement generally includes contingencies and special conditions that must be fulfilled by the buyer and seller by the closing date, which usually falls 30 to 60 days after both have signed the agreement.

Common contingencies and conditions:

Carefully review the sales agreement with your agent to have a clear understanding of your obligations.

Any shortfalls or mistakes at this point can be costly.

Completing the transaction.

While different areas handle the final settlement in slightly different ways, generally, the title company reviews the sales agreement and does the following:

In most cases, the buyer’s possession date will fall within a couple of days of the closing date, at which point your former home will have a new occupant and your home selling journey will be complete.

You did it! Congratulations!


Contact Us

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  • jesscanty@thecantygroup.com
  • 369B Third Street #172, San Rafael, California, 94901