The Process of Home Selling
By Sadiya Anjum
Selling a home whether with an agent or by yourself requires your close attention and involvement. Minor omissions or mistakes can prove to be costly, time consuming or just stressful. When you decide to sell your home, begin by gathering as much information as possible to get a better idea of the entire process. Here is a basic outline of the process of home selling:
Reason for Selling
It is important that you and your spouse think over the reasons for selling your home. Reasons may include relocation to another state, buying a bigger house, downsizing with a smaller house etc. Your reason will help you make crucial decisions; you may choose to sell quickly for an immediate need for cash or put your best foot forward and wait for the best offer to come your way.
FSBO or Agent
Once you have made a firm decision, determine how you are going to go about it. If you plan to sell on your own, make sure you are emotionally prepared with a realistic picture in mind. If you are hiring an agent, think of how much involvement you want from him and then take time to hire a good agent.
Setting the Price
An agent may see you through most of the following steps but it pays to be knowledgeable at every step. Since pricing is extremely crucial make sure that you do it carefully and appropriately. You can get your home valued online, hire an appraiser or refer to the comparable sales price of other similar homes in your area. Whichever method you choose it has to be reliable so you do not make mistakes in pricing your home. If you choose to sell other items along with your home, make a list of these and make sure to price them appropriately.
Preparing your Home
This is one aspect which you must pay close attention to. Check for various defects in your home and whether you are going to make the necessary repairs. If you are not going to, under state laws you may have the obligation to disclose these facts to the buyer. You can invest in a home warranty if you like. If the house needs major renovation then you may consider selling “as is” and accepting a lower price.
Your agent will take care of putting your home up in the market but if you are selling on your own, then take appropriate measures. A yard sign, newspaper listings and online listings are the most common forms of media used. Paying for a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is also an option.
You must prepare your home to create a good impression on prospective buyers. Some hire professionals for this job but it essentially includes sprucing up your home. Painting, mowing your lawn, fixing broken windows and items, removing clutter, vacuuming, polishing etc. are all part of this process.
Home staging plays a major role on the day prospective buyers are coming over. So your home must be in its best condition to impress them. Showing your home may include options like an open house, individual showing, online showing etc. With individual showing make sure that you spend this time only for a serious buyer.
You may now have received one or more good offers and picked the best one. Negotiating is inevitable unless the buyer is prepared to accept your terms and price completely. Price, items to be sold, repairs required etc. may all be debated upon. So stay prepared for this process especially from the legal and financial point of view. Consider hiring an attorney for his professional advice.
When both parties have come to an agreement and finances are in order, it is time to close the deal. The buyer may take a final walk through of the home before signing. Check to see if any seller’s costs are involved and stay prepared for it. Have an attorney present on the day of closing where you hand over title and ownership to the buyer.
Make sure that you keep track of expenses through the entire process especially for home improvement for tax purposes. Determine the amount you are getting from the sale, your payment to the broker, bank debt etc. A clear financial picture will help you move on to your next home.
Finding Another Home
This should be thought out early in the home selling process so you do not suddenly find yourself homeless. If you are planning to buy a home, consider waiting till you sell your home and meanwhile find temporary accommodation. But if you have an agent then you may consider searching for a home while he is selling yours. Just try not to time the sale of your old home and the purchase of the new one too close to each other. However if such a situation arises then you may have to consider a bridging loan for immediate financing.
Through the entire process of home selling, stay informed and involved. Even with agent representation, you must take time to do research each step of the way. Good luck selling your home!
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