STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME
1. GO FSBO?
FSBO - or for sale by owner - is a route some homeowners choose when selling. A real estate broker will charge you a commission or fee to market your home to cover their time, cost of market, and moreover, their expertise.
If you choose this option, be prepared to work. It can and has been done, but if you don’t have the time and energy to commit to it (or need to sell in a hurry), this option might not be for you.
If you are looking for a hybrid between broker representation or FSBO, consider a flat fee service. Barnett & Hill Real Estate offers a $500 flat-fee service, however this still leaves you with many of the responsibilities that come with a for-sale-by-owner deal.
A traditional commission-compensated relationship with a Barnett & Hill agent brings you access to our brokerage's wide variety of resources to get you the highest price possible for the sale of your property.
2. RESEARCH WHAT MAKES YOUR HOUSE A HOME
At one point, you were drawn to your home and you need to revisit the qualities that made you home attractive when you bought it. If you elect to self-sell:
- become familiar with facts about your property including property taxes, zoning, lot size, square footage. Speak to your lender regarding the terms of your existing loan.
- look at prices for homes comparable to yours.
- identify the terms of the sales and understand property disclosures you should provide to prevent litigation
- estimate the price and net proceeds you will receive from sale to cover your mortgage
- identify financing alternatives. Contact lenders in your area to determine what the options are for your prospective buyer. You want to be informed before they ask, or your lack of knowledge may turn them off from dealing with you.
Alternately, employ a Barnett & Hill agent to make the process smooth and leave no money on the table when you sell.
3. ASSESS YOUR HOME'S CONDITION
Look at it from the perspective of both the prospective buyer and the inspector. Take notes on all items that need to be repaired or replaced. Things to consider include:
- Does it need a new coat of paint (either because the old paint is obviously cracked or faded, or because of an uncommon choice in color that might turn off prospective buyers)?
- If a house with a yard, is the lawn and landscaping attractive and well-kept?
- If it is a condo, you can’t do much about the building, but is the front door (and balcony, if there is one) appealing?
- Are the windows and doors attractive and in good condition?
- Are the roof (and the gutters) in good condition?
- Is the grass nicely cut, are the hedges trimmed, are the leaves swept up? Are all toys put away such as bikes, scooters, etc.?
- Are the interior paints and finishes in good condition (recently updated), or do they need to be freshened up? This is one area with the best ratio of least expensive to most desired. For a minimal investment, you could possibly make or break a sale by having your home look well-kept and inviting.
- Are the appliances in good working order and of recent vintage?
- Are the plumbing and electrical systems in good condition? Are they fully functional?
- Are the carpets or other floor coverings clean and in good condition? Like the paint, are they attractive and well-kept? Floor coverings are worth paying for so that your home makes a good impression.
- Are the sealants (sink, shower, tub, windows) in good condition?
- Are all light fixtures working properly, and is there good lighting in each room so that prospective buyers won’t think you’re hiding something?
A disadvantage to a homeowner making a single sale is depth - they don't have myriad transactions for comparison. A Barnett & Hill agent has this perspective and can bring this familiarity to your deal.
4. KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Most prospective buyers will want to know about the local schools, shopping, parks, transportation, etc. Be prepared so you can knowledgeably answer their questions. A great place to start is through sites to look at local schools or understand area crime rates. A Barnett & Hill agent can to help you answer these questions.
5. SET YOUR MARKETING BUDGET
How much are you willing to spend to sell your house? As part of your marketing plan identify:
- real estate commission if you use an agency to sell.
- advertising costs, signs, other fees if you plan to sell by owner.
- attorney, closing agent and other professional fees.
- prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes or home owner association fees.
- any other fees typically paid by the seller like surveys, inspections, or title insurance.
- ensure that your marketing plan will advertise your home on the internet for optimum exposure.
Barnett & Hill agents deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.
When you purchase a FOR SALE sign, it should be well-designed, attractive and weatherproof. The sign must be placed where it can clearly be seen from the street.
You should also have an OPEN HOUSE sign in case you decide to host an open house for prospective buyers. Make sure that they include a place to write the address of your property and the date/time of the open house. In addition to one for the front yard, you’ll want to place several in conspicuous locations around the neighborhood, such as main streets leading to your house. For these, directional arrows can point prospective buyers to your house even if they don’t know the area. Make sure that you take these signs down as soon as the open house is over. You don’t want people showing up on your doorstep at all hours of the day and night.
Both types of signage and open house services are part of the package when you hire a Barnett & Hill agent to sell your property.
7. MAINTAIN A LIST OF POTENTIAL BUYERS
As people come through during open houses, or as they call from reading your ads or seeing the sign out front, keep a list with their names and phone numbers. Concentrate your attention on those who seem serious about your property, as opposed to those who are just checking out the neighborhood or whiling away a Sunday afternoon. Make sure that you make follow up telephone calls to persons who seem seriously interested in your property. Make sure potential buyers are credit-worthy so you don't spend time on buyers who can't close the deal. Bringing a buyer who can close the deal is part of the job for a Barnett & Hill agent.
8. NEGOTIATION PT. 1
Leave your emotions behind when you enter negotiations. You never want to get angry or give away the fact that you’re overly eager. If you are in the fortunate position where you have multiple offers, identify the contract that brings the best price and is most likely to consummate in a sale.
A number of forms are required for the legal sale of your property. In addition to the contract of purchase and subsequent counteroffers, there are multiple forms that the seller may be required to provide to the buyer. It is necessary to review the contract carefully to determine when these forms/documents are due and what the buyer’s rights are once they receive the document. The form and content of many of these documents are prescribed by state or federal law and must be adhered to in their entirety. These forms are not just designed to make a sale, the are also designed to forestall litigation once the sale is closed.
Buyers need to contract with the seller regarding the following:
- which party bears non-price expenses e.g. survey, title insurance, closing costs.
- duration of option period and price of option
- inspection contingencies
- financing terms
- date of closing
- venue for closing
- date of possession
- non-realty items conveyed
A Barnett & Hill agent can help you with each element of the contract to ensure that a sound offer is crafted and is poised to close.
9. NEGOTIATION PT. 2
Your buyer will like purchase an option to unilaterally vacate the purchase contract for your property. This gives them a period to evaluate your property and make sure they understand what issues they may inherit in the sale. Buyers may self-inspect or they may hire a licensed inspector to evaluate the property. Using their own assessment or the written report of the inspector, they may ask that the seller make specific repairs or adjust the price as compensation for the unremedied repair.
As a seller, you should be prepared for this second round of negotiations. Your Barnett & Hill agent understands what's at hand. They can differentiate between reasonable and unreasonable requests to help the seller keep their equity versus concede it to the buyer.
10. NEGOTIATION PT. 3
When both the buyers and a witness can be present, schedule a final walk-through before you complete settlement in order to determine that the property being conveyed meets the expectations of all parties involved.
11. YOUR NEXT NEW HOME
Unless you have already built or bought a new residence, you’ll need to be the “buyer” for a new property while simultaneously being the “seller” for your current one. If possible, schedule both transactions to close at the same time, or else close your purchase shortly before closing your sale. You need to be moved out before the new owners take possession. It's a bit of a logistical hassle to finesse this hand-off, but that's another part of what a Barnett & Hill agent can bring to your deal.
BARNETT & HILL AGENTS
Our agents at Barnett & Hill are ready to help you through steps 1 through 11 to position you for step 12: a completed sale. All our agents are Realtors with membership in our local, state and national organizations. Still, we call ourselves agents because we recognize this term to be meaningful. It means we are in your transaction to be just that: an agent working on your behalf representing your interests and putting them first.
Ultimately, you need to find an agency relationship that is right for you. We look forward to our first consultation with you about your sale and the chance to earn your business and be your agent.
To get started, request a comparable market analysis using the link below or reach out directly to one of our Barnett & Hill agents to guide you through the steps to sell.