There are many ways to sell a home, there are many Realtors to choose from, but here is a 10 step process that I’ve been using to help my clients and it has been very successful:
1. Initial phone interview. Once you start thinking about selling your home and decide to contact me – we will start with a simple phone interview. Before we get into the value of your home, commissions, marketing plan I will ask you some questions about your situation, reasons for selling, your home and your expectations for the process. This information will help me greatly to prepare for our listing appointment and address the issues that you are most concerned about. At the end of our call we will set up a time to get together for a face-to-face listing appointment.
2. Pre-listing packet. Before we get together I will send you a packet of information with sample listing forms, seller homework packet, information about me, my company, marketing strategies and real estate statistics. This way you will be able to review the information before our meeting and prepare your questions. Many Realtors just show up and ask you to make one of the largest financials decisions without providing any information ahead of time. My goal is for you to be comfortable and informed throughout the process – so you can make the best decisions possible.
3. Listing Appointment. Listing appointment usually takes place in your home and it should not take more than 1 hr. During our meeting we will:
- Look at your home, review upgrades, chat about possible improvements
- Discuss your timeline
- Answer any questions that you had about pre-listing packet and marketing strategies
- Discuss the odds of selling your home – I will have graphs available for yo to review
- Discuss the price of your home – I will approach pricing from many different angles. Read about pricing your home here.
- Discuss current market trends and how they affect you
- Review your NET sheet with worst and best case scenarios
- Discuss the best strategy for selling your home in the time frame you need
At the end of our meeting you may decide to hire me or if you are interviewing other agents you may decide to make a decision later – which is absolutely OK. If I feel I can’t help you achieve your objectives, I have a responsibility to tell you that and not take your listing.
4. Sign a listing agreement. Here is sample listing agreement and required disclosures. Once we sign a listing agreement we will decide when your home is placed on the open market and we will set a date for your 1st Public Open House.
5. Preparations for the market. This is a very important, because most buyers see the house in the first 2 weeks and we only have that short window to make a great impression. It is one of the most painful steps, but it’s worth the stress. It’s better to stress before it goes for sale than wonder why the house is not selling during the listing period. If you want to sell the home in it’s current condition – then you will skip this step. If you’d like to maximize the value of your home I will have a custom improvement plan for your property, and it will most likely include:
- Staging Consultation – the stager will go room by room and make suggestions to wall colors, items to put away, etc.
- Some painting, changing of outdated light fixtures, rearranging your art, changing light bulbs
- Window cleaning
- Actual staging where my stager will re-decorate your home so it looks best for pictures
The goal here will be to make your home as beautiful and as move-in ready as possible, because that will help you get top dollar for your home.
6. Professional Photos
Once the home is ready – a professional photographer will take photos. The professionals that I hire merge 4 different exposures to make the pictures look very vibrant and beautiful. Our Multiple Listing Service allows 30 photos – they are KEY to the advertising, because ALL websites will be pulling information from our system. Internet is where 99% of buyers are looking for a home – so make sure you look good in the pictures!
7. Your homes goes live on open market. Once your home is submitted to our Multiple Listing Service (MLS)- it is LIVE and the showings will start. I like to list homes on Wednesday or Thursday and then set a date to review offers after the weekend is over. That way your home will get the most exposure and it is fair to all buyers who might consider your listing. In addition to enhancing your home in multiple websites I will arrange an Open House for Sunday 1-4.
8. Offer Evaluation. If the home is priced well and shows well – it is pretty common to receive an offer quickly. The seller always wins if there is more than 1 offer. Competition brings out the best offer and best terms for the seller. When you receive an offer you can accept it, reject it or counter. Once all parties agree and sign on all the terms – you will have a ratified contract and will be on your way to closing. It is important for the seller to negotiate the most favorable terms before ratifying a contract, because once the deal is done – it is very difficult to change anything.
9. Contract period. There is usually 30-60 day period between contract and closing. During the contract period buyer conducts inspections, obtains financing, appraisal, clears Title, reviews home owner’s association documents. Every contingency can be a challenge and every contingency has a potential to break the deal. I will guide you through the maze of deadlines, buyer’s requests, and negotiations. I will also meet buyer’s appraiser and will provide him/her with information that will justify our contract price. Appraisers that are not familiar with the neighborhood can easily “shave off” thousands of dollars from the sales price – that’s why it is very important I’m there. During this period you will have to make arrangements for your next home and leave your current home vacant at the settlement date.
10. Closing (or settlement). It takes about 30 minutes for the sellers to sign all the needed paperwork at the settlement co. Sellers bring all the keys and buyers bring the money. This is usually happy, but anticlimactic – everyone is a bit worried about moving, everyone is tired of the process. Purchasers will do a final inspection right before closing to make sure the home is still in the same condition and that all agreed upon repairs were completed. You should disconnect all utilities only after closing, because if there are any unexpected delays you will end up going through a lot of extra hassles. Please read here about sellers closing costs. Congratulations – you are off to the next chapter!
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