Steps towards Selling Your Home
Whether you are moving because your needs have changed or you are being relocated, selling your current home is no small task. Life is forcing you to make some serious decisions that affects more than just your finances. While emotions are inherent in this journey, we want to try to help you navigate through the difficult decisions by giving you information that explains the process you are about to begin.
Step One: Reason for Selling
While purchasing a new home is often an exciting part of life, selling a home can feel a bit more daunting. Most home owners have made an emotional and financial commitment to their current home and sometimes, selling a home is not a choice but a necessity. Whatever the reason, consider the following factors before listing. Pricing a home in today's market is the first step to selling your home. In Austin, we are currently in a Seller's Market which means that there are more people searching for homes than we currently have inventory. Contact us, if you would like to learn more about what that means for you as a seller, without obligation
Step Two: Setting Your Price
This is the first, yet arguably the most important, step when selling your home. The right price will bring potential buyers and offers while the wrong price will bring disappointment and frustration. In general, your home’s price should be based on features such as: square-footage, amenities, and comparable pricing in your neighborhood. For help, click here to receive a current market analysis.
Be careful not to price your home out of the market. This is common due to the emotional attachment you attach to your home, yet your home’s price must be aligned with current market conditions. Over-pricing can lead to smaller buyer pools and extended list time which reduces the number of potential offers you may receive. While under-pricing can lead buyers to question whether there is something intrinsically wrong with your property and lead to fewer as well as lower priced offers.
The good news is that there is an optimal price for every home. You must understand the dynamics of your neighborhood, factor in the local economy and the inherent features of your property. Then determine the amount of money that you’d like to make after the sale, and include the costs of fixing up your property, taxes and inspections. This should provide you relevant data to set your selling price. Remember, placing your home on the market at the precise price is going to be the most important step when selling your home.
Step Three: Curb Appeal
You have set your price now it is time to prepare your home for walk-throughs. A potential buyer notices everything about your home and making a good first impression can be the key to that person making an offer. Begin with the front of your house. Look at your home through fresh eyes as if you are seeing your home for the first time. Make sure that your lawn is cut, weeded and edged. Plant fresh flowers in pots and around trees. Put away all toys and clutter, sweep the walkways. Adhere any gutters, shingles or shutters that may have come loose. Make the extra effort to create an aesthetically pleasing exterior to your home.
Next prepare the inside of your home. Again, step through your front door like you have never entered your home before, and mentally note all that you see. Make sure that walls have been cleaned, touched up and painted if needed. Polish floors and wood furniture. Put away as many personal items (family pictures, diplomas, etc.) as possible so that your home is a blank canvas in which another person can envision their belongings. Create clear pathways to walk so that your home feels more spacious. Consider renting a storage locker to remove unnecessarily large furniture that is not conducive to the visual appeal of your living space. It is a good idea to open drapes, turn on lamps and have music playing quietly in the background.
Make note of your home's unique scent. It has been documented that when your sense of smell is triggered, your brain responds before you can think, thus creating an emotional response which inherently is a deciding factor in how you feel. When a potential buyer enters your home, you want them to have a positive olfactory response. Nothing overwhelming - clean is a good safe scent as is the smell of baked goods - just make sure not to burn the cookies!
It is always a good idea to have a professional stager come to your home to offer advice. Typically your real estate agent will offer this service to you. If you are in the Austin area and need someone to stage your home, please contact us. Now is the time to market your home and showcase your hard work through pictures and an effective listing. Most buyers begin their search on the internet - speak with your realtor about a marketing strategy tailored to your needs and ask how they plan to present your house. To learn more about The Gene Arant Team's strategy, contact us.
Step Four: Receiving an Offer
Your hard work has paid off and you have received an offer to purchase your home. The offer should be signed and in writing. Your agent should determine if the potential buyer is prequalified or pre-approved. Click here to understand the difference. The terms of the contract will come under review to understand what the buyer is requesting. Your agent should review the terms of the contract and you should fully understand the offer. This is a good time to ask any questions that you might have.
At this stage, you have three options:
- Accept the contract as is.
- Accept the contract with changes - a counteroffer
- Reject the offer.
Once you sign the contract, the document becomes legally binding.
Step Five: Negotiating an Offer
Negotiating is an important part of business and imperative in real estate. As a seller, you need to know your goals and create a strategy that respects those goals. While the offered price is a significant part of the negotiation, as a seller, you may have needs that are equally important such as timing or financing. Communicate these priorities with your realtor up front so that they have all the information needed to best represent you during negotiations.
Depending on market conditions, many buyers will submit a low offer to “test” the waters. Stay positive and be open to negotiating; different people have different tactics, this is business, try not to become offended. If you are fortunate to be in a Seller’s Market where there is low inventory but great demand, you may receive cash offers, multiple offers and offers above your asking amount. If you would like to know more about current Austin market conditions, contact us.
Negotiations tend to take a while. This is a large financial investment and there could be several rounds of offers and counteroffers. While this time period is often stressful, remember your goals, stay true to your strategy and remember to be patient. Do not make any hasty decisions, take time to review each new submission. You realtor should help set the tone and pace of the negotiations keeping you as their priority.
Step Six: Inspections and Warranties
Inspection reports are items that every buyer will request. We recommend taking time for due-diligence. Hire a pre-closing inspection. Your buyer may still request a home inspection, but this will allow you to know upfront what items need to be repaired and understand the costs associated with fixing the reported problems.
Ensure that your inspector puts everything in writing. Once the inspection report comes back, make all needed repairs. This prevents your home as being labeled a "fixer-upper" which will impact purchase price. A pre-closing inspection also gives your buyer the confidence of knowing that you are a conscientious home owner who is responsible in keeping your home in good condition. It also allows you to repair the defects on your time schedule and within your budget.
Quick tip: It is a good idea to hire a termite inspection as well. May lenders now require this inspection as a condition for approving a home loan.
Home warranties can be purchased by the buyer or seller. This warranty will usually cover the home’s major appliances, plumbing, roof, structure and just about anything you want included as long as it is specified at the time of purchasing the warranty. Most warranties are good for one year and are renewable.
Step Seven: Closing
Closing is the official act of transferring your home's title to the new owner. The buyers loan will be finalized and the money transferred to your account. It is important to be in touch with your realtor prior to closing to ensure that all the paperwork and documentation is being handled efficiently and without delay. You will sign the final contract and pay off your current mortgage. Your realtor will give you a checklist of items you are required to bring.
Typically the list will include:
- The name and number of your lender as well the loan number on your home.
- Your forwarding address.
- Your social security number and valid drivers license.
- Certified funds (if needed) in the form of a cashier's check or wired funds. Typically, personal checks are not accepted.
Step Eight: Moving
This is the last stage of your house-selling journey. There is much to be done and plenty of items on your "to-do" list. Just because you have closed, your realtor should still be available to help make this final stage as stressless as possible. Ask about preferred movers, complimentary moving trucks and any other services your agent may offer. To learn more about our offerings, contact us.
Quick Tip: Keep a few boxes opened so that as you pack, you put important items that you will need over the next few weeks in the box - such as favorite toys, sport uniforms, medicine, clothes and important paperwork.
Quick Tip: Keep a binder that has all your important paperwork in one place. This binder should be easily accessible and include contracts, birth certificates, passports, medical files, etc.
Contact us for your home consultation.