It can be challenging to set aside your emotional attachment to the home you’ve spent a lifetime in from the need to inspire potential buyers to envision themselves making the place their own as a homeowner getting ready to sell your property.
Even if you’ve previously overcome the emotional challenge of selling your home, the pressure to set a fair price and draw in qualified buyers can present a challenge in and of itself. You might find yourself imitating earlier generations by burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard or staying up all night checking web listings to see how other properties on the market are valued.
Selling a home needs work—possibly much more work than you had anticipated—whether you’re ready to upsize to a larger home to accommodate your expanding family, downsize to a smaller residence, or move across the country for employment.
You’ll have a greater chance of attracting serious buyers who are prepared to pay top dollar for your home if you put more effort into finding an agent to list your home, making necessary repairs, and maintaining your property in immaculate condition so it’s ready for potential buyers to tour it on short notice.
When to Sell Your House
The current property market, the state of your home, and your ability to connect with the right purchasers can all affect how long it takes you to sell your house.
It may just take a week to clean and take images of a home that is marketable. On the other hand, it can take a few weeks to repaint the interior, update the landscaping, and get a roof leak fixed.
The length of time a house is on the market depends on its condition, value, and neighborhood, but once you’re under contract, you can anticipate that the closing date will be set for about a month later. This will give the buyer time to have the house inspected and give the buyer’s lender time to appraise the property, underwrite, and approve the loan.
Before you put your house on the market, think about how your demands as well as outside influences may affect the overall schedule.
Is Now the Right Time to Sell?
There aren’t enough homes on the market to satisfy buyer demand in the majority of U.S. markets due to inventory constraints. This frequently results in competitive bidding wars as numerous offers arrive simultaneously and raise prices.
The best seasons to list your house are typically spring and fall, when the majority of buyers are actively looking. Less people buy throughout the summer because they are on vacation, and during the holidays, when it is chilly outside most of the time, people choose to stay inside.
But that doesn’t imply there aren’t buyers during the off-season; in fact, there isn’t much of an off-season right now given the quantity of buyers on the market. You might even discover that the few buyers who do visit houses in the dead of winter are more intent on making an offer when they locate a home they like.
While there may be favored seasons of the year to sell a property, don’t worry if you need to list your house in the middle of July or at the beginning of November.
A House You’re Selling in 2023
Selling your property in 2023 might be more difficult than it was in the two years prior, when home buyers were in a rush. High mortgage rates at the moment have cooled the market and led to a minor decline in home values.
In spite of projections of a gradual shift toward buyers in the property market for 2023, the market isn’t necessarily cooling everywhere. Get a sense of the local market by speaking with a local real estate agent.
Is Now a Good Time to Sell for You?
Another deciding aspect is your capacity to move after your home sells and to get it ready for the market. In order to avoid making their children switch schools in the middle of the school year or to make it simpler to pack up their belongings to move a few streets over, many parents wait until after the end of the school year.
You could also need to relocate as soon as possible. For instance, advertising your property as soon as you learn that you will be moving to a different state for employment can release the equity in your home, making it simpler to purchase a home in your new area.
After listing, you must also be prepared to relocate. If you reside in a sought-after area where homes sell quickly, don’t expect the listing process to take six months.
Getting Your House Ready for Sale
It takes more than just saying you’re ready to move to prepare to sell your property. Before putting your home on the market, you must do the following actions:
Decide on a listing agent.
Make the necessary upgrades and repairs.
Establish the asking price.
Set up your house.
Select a listing agent.
Treat the process of choosing a real estate agent like you would any job interview: Make sure the individual or group you work with is a good fit for you in terms of communication, temperament, and availability in addition to being the correct fit for your home.
Ask for recommendations from friends or neighbors, interview several agents, and take note of the agent’s local expertise, attentiveness, and marketing strategy.
Additionally, be aware that an agent is simultaneously screening you for a client. According to Heather Hobrock, a real estate agent at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Naples, Florida, “I interview them to see if it’s a good fit for me.”
You certainly have the choice to market your house on your own rather of through a listing agency. However, due to the complexities of a real estate transaction, many buyers and their brokers may find FSBO properties less desirable. According to the 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, the median sale price of a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) home was $225,000, while the median price of an agent-assisted home was $345,000. That is a $120,000 difference.
Make Required Updates and Repairs
An expert real estate agent will examine your house carefully early on and point out minor repairs you can make to prevent prospective buyers from becoming fixated on a dent in the wall or a broken cabinet door. You might also gain from making little improvements, such painting the walls or refinishing the flooring, to prevent potential buyers from thinking your house is outdated.
The first thing purchasers will see is the street view, so pay close attention to that. A successful home sale is greatly influenced by curb appeal, so you might need to repaint the exterior or clean the siding, plant new flowers, and maintain a small, healthy lawn.
However, be careful not to ignore the appearance of your house’s front. According to Lisa Morales, owner of Team Morales with Coldwell Banker Realty in the Cincinnati metro region, “Many homeowners enter their home through the garage, (but) buyers won’t – go to the front door and look critically at your first impression of your own home.”
There is always the option of listing your house for sale “as-is,” which means the buyer can anticipate having to handle any necessary repairs, renovations, or maintenance activities. This is a choice if you lack the funds or the time to perform the required changes or repairs.
But keep in mind that a house listed as-is will see a difference in the sale price; if a buyer understands she’ll need to fix the water heater and roof and repair an old deck, don’t expect to obtain the same price your neighbor did for a home that was ready to move into.
Figure out the asking price.
You and your real estate agent can talk more specifically about the asking price for the house after any renovations and repairs have been completed, or not. The asking price need to be determined by what recently sold comparable houses around and what makes your property unique in comparison to others rather than what you believe the house is worth.
Buyers won’t pay attention to a home with an inflated asking price, even in a hot market when there are more buyers than homes available for sale. According to Molly Gallagher, a real estate agent and member of the Falk Ruvin Gallagher Team, a division of Wisconsin’s Keller Williams Milwaukee North Shore, “They’re not desperate; they don’t want to overpay for something that doesn’t warrant it.”
Set Up Your House
Staging the property is the last stage before opening your home to the public. Moving a few chairs about and decluttering may be all that is required as part of this process, or it may entail putting your own furniture in storage and renting more basic items.
Instead than reflecting your personal taste, the goal of staging your house is to make the major rooms—the kitchen, living room, primary bedroom, and primary bathroom—appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.
To achieve this, family portraits must be taken down, countertops must be kept free of clutter, and each area must be accessible without having to dodge furniture.
The more you can let people envision themselves in every room of the house and how to use the space, the more people will do so, according to Morales.
Putting Your House Up for Sale
What follows when you list your home for sale is information you should be aware of:
web advertising for your home.
organizing an open house.
preparing your house for visitors.
Online Real Estate Marketing
Online is where the majority of prospective buyers and their brokers will first find your house for sale. The local multiple listing service, which is available to real estate professionals, will be updated by the agents with the details and pictures of the properties.
Additionally, your home will probably be listed on consumer-facing websites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and realtor.com. These listings are either made by your agent personally or taken from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
For this reason, to draw purchasers to your house, professional images of your home in immaculate shape are a necessity. According to Alec Cantley, a real estate agent at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Asheville, North Carolina, “the photography is the first impression, so that’s huge.”
Real estate marketing soon changed to incorporate video tour options, 3D tours of properties, and virtual walk-throughs to let customers to examine a home without having to go inside after the assault of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Prior to the epidemic, Cantley says he had begun using 3D tours, but “last year was the first year that I saw those explode.” Finding the ideal buyer for your house may depend on the additional online choices, as more buyers are choosing to submit an offer without making a physical visit.
Making the home stand out from the dozens of other properties for sale nearby is an important aspect of web marketing. To achieve this, avoid using clichés like “cozy” and “updated,” and instead focus on highlighting special features of the home or neighborhood that will attract buyers.
Organizing an Open House
Online information about your home will draw potential buyers if you promote it well, but they’ll also need opportunities to visit it in person. Even if they aren’t yet serious buyers, a typical open house may be a great way to get people in the door and talking about your property.
In addition, a different broker’s open house invites agents to the property so they may talk about the pricing, see the house, and consider potential clients.
Never be present during the open house as the home seller. Give your real estate agent the keys so that prospective buyers or agents can see the property and develop a more honest assessment.
Preparing Your House for Visitors
When your home is up for sale, never leave without cleaning up. Put away the laundry, make the beds, vacuum every day, and keep the sink free of dishes.
Be prepared to leave the house in less than 15 minutes. It’s not always possible to give a 24-hour notice, thus it would be wrong to turn down a prospective buyer’s request for a tour. Have a spot in mind where you can go while potential buyers are viewing your home because it is uncomfortable to tour a house while the sellers are outside with their dog or children.
Your In-Process Home Sale
The sale process will seem to be moving even faster after you find the ideal buyer, whether it takes a few months or you receive an offer on the home’s first day on the market.
What you need to know is as follows:
what to do if your property receives many offers.
How to bargain a deal.
What to anticipate when your contract is in effect.
Information for the conclusion.
How to Respond to Multiple Property Offers
You might get several offers if your home is in a high-demand price bracket or if your neighborhood is well-liked. Make sure to evaluate every offer, not just the one with the highest price.
Even if the price is lower, a cash offer may be the best choice because it can make closing much simpler. The deal is less likely to fall through as a consequence of a financing difficulty, and the closing date can be scheduled for just a few days in advance, if desired. You won’t have to wait for a lender to approve the agreed-upon price.
Another buyer can offer to close before you vacate and lease the house back to you for the required time frame if you need to stay in the house until a specific date. Another person could be prepared to forego the inspection or accept a mortgage with preapproval rather than just prequalification.
How to Bargain a Deal
Even though an offer you get might have elements that give you reason to believe the buyers are sincere, you can still bargain to make the purchase go in your advantage.
A counteroffer can involve paying the other party’s closing costs, performing some repairs, or satisfying other requirements of the buyer in addition to changing the sale price. Negotiations shouldn’t go on for too long because doing so can scare off the buyer, but most sides are willing to make some adjustments to make a deal work.
The Things You Can Expect While Under Contract
You are under contract and the home will be posted as either pending or contingent, depending on the terms of the contract, once a price and conditions have been established and agreed upon. The home will be inspected and valued during the due diligence period, which is typically the first 10 days under contract.
Don’t assume that just because your house isn’t on the market anymore that you can start ignoring it. Keep the house tidy as you are ready to leave. Buyers are instructed to anticipate a “broom-swept” clean home during the final walk-through, which means there should be no apparent dirt or dust on the floor, all nail holes should have been filled and painted, and there should be no new damage from when you moved out.
Remember that the buyer intends to make the house his own, so don’t take offense if there are plans for upgrades or modern interior styling.
The buyer and agent will typically perform a last walk-through of the vacant home on the day of closing or the day before to make sure all the fixtures and shelves that must remain are there, there is no debris, and there is no unexpected damage.
A number of documents, including the deed and others pertaining to the transfer of title of the property, will need to be signed, but the seller is frequently not required to be present in person at the closing.
The Price to Sell a Home
To successfully sell your home, you will have to invest money from beginning to conclusion. You must have the financial wherewithal to make payments during the listing period and transaction, whether it be for the cost of renting furniture for staging, steam cleaning the carpet, replacing broken cabinet doors, or paying the brokers’ commission.
Before selling your house, you can be required to pay the following expenses:
Prior to listing, the house needed repairs.
expert images for marketing.
following an examination, repairs.
charge for your lawyer.
A commission of typically between 4% and 6% of the sale price is paid to both the listing and the buyer’s agent.
Possible lender fee for early payoff.
a portion of the buyer’s closing fees, if included in the purchase agreement.
Tax on transfers.
The overall cost varies substantially based on where you reside, the type of home you have, market activity, and the amount of money you have to invest in a sale that is successful. According to Zillow, property sellers may expect to shell out between 6% and 10% of the home’s final cost, including broker compensation.
One significant advantage of selling your house is that you almost certainly won’t have to pay taxes on the proceeds. As long as they utilized the property as their principal residence for at least two of the previous five years, the capital gains exclusion rule enables individuals to benefit from the sale of their home up to $250,000 personally or $500,000 jointly filing as a married couple without paying taxes.
Avoid these Mistakes When Selling Your Home
It’s simple to become engrossed in the excitement of the bargaining process or overconfident that you are more knowledgeable than your agent. Here are a few blunders to avoid while marketing your house for sale:
insisting on an excessive cost. Everyone wants to sell their house quickly and for a healthy profit, but refusing to budge on the asking price with your realtor would probably result in the house staying on the market for a long time with no activity.
not neutralizing the house. Although your home may look lively and lived in with bright red walls and your child’s preschool artwork, that is not the impression you want to give potential buyers. People like to see a blank canvas, which is why most homes on the market have beige or gray walls with little other decoration.
not making the house better. Even while you are aware that your antiquated kitchen may result in a somewhat reduced sale price, you should nevertheless make little upgrades that give the house a feeling of care. Because they live there, Gallagher claims that home sellers “don’t see the clutter, the scratched walls, and the dinged up trim in kitchens.” Baseboards should be painted, baseboards cleaned, empty sinks scrubbed, and counters and coffee tables cleared to make the area look tidy.
waiting indefinitely before selling. You’ll have to wait an eternity if you wait for the ideal market conditions to sell your house. Interest rates change, purchasers come and go, and the weather is unpredictable. While waiting for a job offer or for the kids to finish school for the summer are good reasons to establish a deadline, don’t wait for a sign that won’t materialize.
being unbending. You can only injure yourself by saying no, whether it be to a prospective buyer’s request to view the home on a Tuesday night or to refuse to bargain when the offer includes you paying the closing fees. You might receive an offer if you ate out one night even if you would have preferred to stay in. It is possible to modify an offer so that you only pay a portion of the sale price toward closing costs.