1) Choose a Listing Agent Your home is one of the most important investments. Be sure to pick a REALTOR that will market your home well and give you honest advice. The agent will make recommendations about how to get the home ready for sale. Together, you decide on the proper asking price. The agent will guide you through the process, helping you every step of the way.
2) Prepare the Home Before your house hits the market, you need to prep it for sale. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count! The most important things are to declutter, clean, depersonalize, and tend to repairs. It may seem like a lot of work upfront, but by completing these items, the rest of the process will go much more smoothly. In the end, your home will sell faster and for more money.
3) House is Marketed For Sale This is when the sign is placed in the yard, the lockbox goes on the door, and the property gets listed for sale online. Now other REALTORS and prospective buyers can see detailed information and photos of the house.
4) Buyers View the House Interested parties will call the listing agent to ask questions and set up showings. The seller should leave the house for all showings so the buyer will feel comfortable exploring the home. The buyer will most likely be accompanied by their own REALTOR. If not, the listing agent will be present at the showing. After buyers view the house, good agents will call for feedback. It is important to get feedback on showings, so adjustments can be made if necessary.
5) Negotiating the Offer A property in good condition that is priced right and marketed well should sell quickly. The longer a house sits on the market, the more negotiating power is lost by the seller. Ideally you get a good offer within the first 30 days (longer if the market is slow). Your agent will go over the offer in detail. You can either accept, reject, or counter the buyer's offer. When both buyer and seller agree to terms- Congrats! You have an accepted offer and a pending sale.
6) Inspections In a typical purchase agreement for real estate, the buyer will have a right to inspect the property. This needs to be completed within the first 10 days following an accepted offer. An inspector will arrange to see the house with the buyer and will evaluate the overall condition. Inspections are usually the biggest hurdle in the sale process.
7) Appraisal If a buyer needs a loan to purchase the house (most do!), there will be an appraisal. The appraiser is hired by the lending bank to value the property. This is to ensure the buyer is not paying too much, and the loan will be a good investment for the bank.
8) Tending to the Details There are a lot of things that REALTORS take care of behind the scenes. They are making sure that all contingencies in the contract are met. Examples of some of these details are checking in with buyers lender, ordering and reviewing the title work, and ensuring surveys or other required inspections are completed (well and septic, sidewalk inspection, etc).
9) Closing Closing is the last step once everything else is completed. The closing usually takes about an hour. This is where all paperwork is signed by both buyer and seller. If there is possession at closing, the buyer will receive keys at this time. It is also common for the buyer to have possession AFTER closing for a specified time period (7, 14, and 30 days are normal). In this case, the key transfer would take place at a later time.
Congrats! You sold your house! After all these steps are completed, the only thing left to do is move to your new place.