They say that right now is a seller’s market, but in my little neighborhood it was definitely a buyer’s market.
This made our home sale a little more difficult than what others may be experiencing in the United States but luckily we were still able to get a contract on our home 3.5 months after our home was put on the market. In fact, we actually received three contracts on our home that very week after not receiving any bites for 3.5 months (and over 30 home showings in that time period).
While I'm no expert at selling a home, I did recently go through the whole home selling process.
Selling a home can be a long and stressful process but hopefully with this guide I can help someone’s home sale go a little more smoothly than mine did.
Preparing your home to be put on the market and knowing the necessary steps and tips to selling a home can make a home sale go much more smoothly.
Plus, I don’t think anyone wants to experience any sort of surprise when selling their home since it is such a big expense.
Below are my steps and tips for selling your home. Enjoy and good luck with your home sale!
Find a real estate agent.
If you decide to sell your home by using a real estate agent, then you should look for one sooner rather than later. This way your real estate agent can give you an idea of what your home may sell for, what changes you may want to make, what the timeline for selling your house may be, and so on.
We used the same real estate agent from when we originally bought our home. If you need one in the St. Louis area, let me know and I can send you her contact information! She made the process a breeze.
Get a city home inspection.
I highly recommend looking into whether your city requires a city home inspection in order for your house to be put on the market.
We had to call our city office and schedule an appointment. I thought it would be easy and that they would just come over, but the wait time was actually quite long in order to fit my appointment in. Plus, we were calling during the slow season so I wouldn’t want to imagine what the wait would have been if we would have called during the spring or summer months when everyone else is trying to put their home on the market as well. The wait may have been months!
Also, keep in mind that these are only good for so many months. Ours was set to expire in the summer but thankfully we received a contract on our home and it sold in time. The city home inspection wasn’t expensive, but it did take a lot of time and there were some small changes that we were required to make before the house could be closed on.
We decluttered our home like crazy before we even showed it to our realtor. Home buyers do not want to see clutter as it can make a house look smaller, dirtier, and not as nice.
Decluttering is probably one of the easiest things you can do during a home sale, so why not do it?
Some of the things you may want to do include:
- Clear out your basement and/or attic. Most have their basements and attics filled with things they do not need.
- Put away any personal items. Sadly, you may have to tuck away your favorite photos during a home sale. Buyers like to imagine themselves in a home and if there are pictures of you everywhere then that may make it more difficult.
- Sort through closets, cabinets, extra rooms, and so on.
- Remove anything that may make a room seem smaller.
Cleaning is something that everyone who is planning on selling a home should do. Sadly, this is a step that some skip!
Some of the cleaning tasks you may want to add to your to-do list include:
- Clean and wax floors.
- Power wash the driveway.
- Dust everything.
- Wash windows and mirrors.
- Paint furniture, walls, trim, and so on if you are able to. It’s a relatively cheap change that can completely change a home. This is actually one of my TOP tips for selling your home. Paint can go a long way.
- Clean your fridge. Yes, sometimes home buyers will peer in there.
Improve your curb appeal.
The first thing that a potential home buyer looks at is pictures of your home from the outside. The first thing they see in person is the outside of your home as well.
They say that everyone judges a home within the first 5 minutes. If that’s not enough to tell you that curb appeal is important, then I don’t know what will!
Potential home buyers don’t like to see a house that needs a lot of maintenance. Even though every house needs it, no one actually wants to think about it.
For curb appeal you will want to:
- Keep your lawn cut and tidy.
- Remove any trash from the front, back and side of your home.
- Pick up any leaves and keep your gutters clean.
- Plant flowers.
Decide if you will stage your home or not.
Homes that are staged usually sell quicker and for a higher amount of money than homes that are not.
If you are able to then look into staging your home or leaving some of your furniture in the home (if you are moving before the home sells).
Show your home.
When you’re house is on the market, you will have to allow for home showings. Potential home buyers may show up at the very last moment so your home should always be clean.
I’ve been asked by many if the home seller should be home during a home showing. I pretty much think that’s just a bad idea overall. You should clean your home and leave (take your pets with you) so that the potential home buyer can look at your home and be stress-free.
Since we didn’t live in our home while it was on the market, it made for selling our home much easier. Many times potential home buyers would come just 5 minutes to an hour before they wanted to see it, which would have been quite difficult if we would have been living there.
The house also would have been a disaster!
Accept an offer.
Eventually, you will hopefully receive an offer or two. You may do some negotiating on price and again after the homebuyer completes their own home inspection and appraisal as well.
Once you accept an offer though, you may be able to breathe a little easier. However, it's not done just yet! You still need to actually close on the house and give the keys to the homebuyer.
Close on your home and move out!
The last of my tips for selling your home is finalizing everything on closing day. You will be told how much you owe or how much you will receive, what you need to do in order to close on the loan, and so on. Then, you will sign tons of papers and hand over the keys.
The last part may be the best or worst – you have to move out! Depending on when the home buyer's closing date is, you generally want to have everything out of the home by then unless some sort of agreement has been made.
Hope you enjoyed my guide to selling your home. While my home sale didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, there were no surprises and the only thing that held us back was tanking neighborhood prices. Hopefully the tips for selling your home I gave above will make the process for you much easier!
Did anything go wrong with a past home sale of yours? What tips for selling a home would you give to someone?
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