How to sell a house
At Brick & Banister we pride ourselves in being transparent and upfront about both the home buying and home selling processes. That is why we have put together this step-by-step overview of the entire process and all the moving parts.
Selling your house can be one of the most stressful things, but it doesn’t have to be! With all of the moving parts (and boxes!) plus some unpredictables, it can be easy to get overwhelmed as a seller. Luckily, we’ve got this thing figured out. When you know what to expect, it is easier to make plans.
If you’ve got questions right away, shoot us an email or text/call us today to set up an info session. We are always happy to grab a cup of coffee or pop out to see your place and discuss this process anytime.
There are a lot of variables that affect how quickly and for how much a house will sell. The condition during showings (and in photos online) and the price are the biggest factors that we can influence so let’s dig into these two things.
Step 1: Consider the Condition
The prospect of preparing a house to sell can be overwhelming. You may feel that every room of the house needs updating in order to be market ready. In reality, you may find that you only need to focus on a few specific improvements.
You will be amazed at the difference decluttering and a fresh coat of paint makes. Often, less is more, especially when it comes to décor. Leaving a neutral, blank slate that a new homeowner can personalize is generally the safest bet.
As you consider preparing your house to sell, put yourself in a buyer’s shoes and try to look at your house as if you’ve never seen it before, starting from the street and working your way inside. What opportunities do you see for small improvements that will make your house look fresh, clean and inviting?
As your listing agent, we will advise you on how to prepare your house to sell and consult with you on any improvements to consider in order to maximize its market value.
Step 2: Pricing Your House to Sell
Pricing a house can be a difficult, and sometimes emotional, decision for homeowners. The good news is that your agent has access to technology and market data to help you narrow in on the right price range and decide on a pricing strategy that matches your goals.
In addition to the age, size, condition, amenities and location of you house, seasonality and market conditions will inform your asking price. After seeing your house, we will research what similar properties in your neighborhood have sold for in the last six months, at what price point and after how many days on the market.
The more similar your house is to comparable sold houses in your neighborhood, the easier it is to establish a price range. Pricing becomes more difficult if you have a unique property, or if your house is much more (or less) updated that recently sold houses in your neighborhood.
If your goal is to sell your house quickly, we advise pricing at market value and responding to buyer feedback once you are on the market. Overpricing a house typically creates low showing activity, which leads to high days on market (DOM), and results in lowball offers.
Overpricing also leads to risk of the house not appraising at its sale price. Most buyers use bank financing for their purchase. A bank will hire an appraiser to verify the condition and value of the house and ensure that the property is worth what the buyer has agreed to pay. If the bank’s appraisal values the house below the sale price, either the buyer must bring cash to closing to make up the difference, or, more commonly, the buyer will ask seller to reduce the sales price to the appraised value.
As your listing agent, we will show you what comparable properties have sold for and consult with you on pricing strategy so that you are informed and empowered to price your house to sell.
Step 3: Listing Paperwork and Photoshoot
Once we have established a price point, we are ready to prepare your house for the market! We will schedule a time to take listing photographs, measure your house, and collect all of the information necessary to populate your MLS listing.
Listing photos are best shot on clear, sunny days so that your house is filled with natural light. Regardless the weather though, we will work within your schedule and we will ensure that you receive high quality listing photos that help your house look its’ best to online shoppers.
Finally, we will leave a lock box with a spare key on your front door and make arrangements for a For Sale sign to be installed in your front yard.
Step 4: Your House is on the Market!
When the day arrives for your listing to go live, we will send you a preview of your listing so that you can help us triple-check it for accuracy. Then, we will launch our marketing campaign! In addition to posting your listing on the MLS, we will employ digital marketing strategies including MLS marketing tools, Zillow, social media and email marketing, as well as phone calls, flyers and open houses to promote your listing.
Because showings can be burdensome to you, we want to drive as much traffic through your house in as short a time as possible to solicit offers quickly, so that you can get on with your move! You will receive and approve showing requests via ShowingTime, an app that you download to your smart phone, or that you can manage from your inbox. Do your best to accommodate showing requests, but if you need to deny a showing, inform your agent and propose an alternative day or time.
Real estate agents request showings on behalf of their buyers. Showing agents will receive information on accessing your house only after you approve the showing. Showing windows can be up to an hour long, but often the interested buyer is only in your home for 15 to 20 minutes. Buyers typically prefer that sellers are not present while they see houses. When the showing appointment is over or when you are notified that the buyers have left, you are free to return home.
Step 5: The Purchase Agreement
As your listing agent, we will receive offers from the agent representing the interested buyer. We will notify you immediately of offers received. Offers can be reviewed and discussed at your house, over the phone or even via email or text. We will also discuss with you a multiple offers strategy in the event several parties express interest in your home, or competing offers are received. We will help you evaluate offers, draft counter-offers and sign an acceptable purchase agreement.
Once a signed purchase agreement is in place, the house is under contract. The buyers will typically elect to have a home inspection very shortly thereafter, and depending on the outcome of the inspection, may present an amendment to the purchase agreement for your consideration. We will help you evaluate any requests or concessions made by the buyer as a result of the inspection.
After you are through the inspection period, the bank that is financing the buyer’s purchase will order an appraisal. The appraiser will verify the condition and value of the house and ensure that the property is worth what the buyer has agreed to pay.
In the meantime, you will be busy packing and preparing for your move. Once the appraisal is completed, it is usually smooth sailing until the closing. Typically, closing will take place 30 to 45 days from the date of final acceptance of your purchase agreement.
Closing day is fun and celebratory, but can also be emotional. At closing, you will be asked to sign a stack of paperwork. You may have the chance to meet your buyers and wish them well before you are off to your next adventure!